World of Color Dessert Party Review

first_imgShare This!On a recent visit to Disneyland my wife and I decided to splurge a little and try out the World of Color Dessert Party at Disney’s California Adventure. Much like the Wishes Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom, it is an opportunity for reserved seating and snacks to a popular nighttime spectacular. Of course, this all comes at a price–and what a price–so let’s start there.Cost and ReservationsI’m not going to dance around this: it costs $79 per person. That includes tax and gratuity, but $79 is the price for both adults and children. That means my family of 4 had to pay $316 for this opportunity. Later I’ll discuss whether I think it even remotely approaches a good value and after I finish writing this I’ll research tax exclusions and the warning signs of financial stress-related heart problems.When you book the dessert party, full prepayment is required. It can still be cancelled without penalty up to 24 hours before the reservation, but it must be paid in full upon making the reservation. If there are two World of Color showings in one evening, the dessert party is only offered for the first one.Location, Seating, and ArrivalNow that we’ve gotten through the worst of it (the cost), let’s discuss the best of it. The site for the dessert party is on the second tier, right in the center of the viewing area. It actually is behind the best, front-and-center viewing spot reserved for those with the dining package, but that’s not the whole of it.If you get dining package reservations, you are in the best section, but it is a deep area and all standing room only. Therefore, if you’re not waiting to enter at least 60 minutes before the show you will be packed in behind many other people. The dessert party is raised slightly above the dining package area so the effects are fairly easily seen above their heads.I’m slow-rolling the best part here, though: everyone at the dessert party is seated. Yes, you can sit at your table in relative comfort looking above the heads of other guests. It does inflate the ego a bit. Specifically, the party area is a long section with two rows of tables–some high tops and some low. Where you sit is based somewhat on when you arrive.For instance, we arrived at the check-in area around 8pm–one hour before the World of Color scheduled show time. The reservation when we booked was for 8:15pm, but it also tells you to arrive an hour before the show, so we’re starting off a little confused. When we got there at 8, we were behind a handful of groups already waiting.At about 8:15pm, they began to actually check people in which involved checking names on a list and putting wristbands on everyone. The bands allow you access to the actual party and re-entry if you need a bathroom run. From the check-in podium, you head down to the actual party area, where they check your name again and assign a table. There were 2 front-row tables left when we got there–a high top and a low. We chose the high table assuming it would give a better vantage point. I don’t know if that’s true because I didn’t sit at a low table, but we had no problem seeing, including the children.I didn’t count the tables, but I would guess there are around 20, with 10 being in the front row. While the people behind us said they had no issues with the view, I would still recommend getting in line early enough to try to get a front row table.One other thing I’ll mention is that we were firmly in the “mist zone.” We didn’t get what I would call wet (the people way up front did that night), but we often got misted. As it was a pleasantly cool evening and we didn’t have jackets, the mist got a little chilly. Be ready for that.Dessert and DrinksIf I set the cost aside for the moment, the actual food and drink offerings were what I was most disappointed in. You can look at the menu for yourself in the image, but it lacks what I would consider simple desserts–thing like cake, cookies, or pastries that are common flavors. I am neither a food snob nor an anti-snob (that can’t be the right phrase). The desserts offered were not fantastic, but they were decent; however, I would prefer a mix of more common desserts with these fancier ones. My kids would certainly have enjoyed a sugar cookie or chocolate cake more.I was personally more excited about the drinks, since an alcoholic drink was supplied to all over 21. I was less excited by the 1 drink limit, but our server told us that she could bring 2 for each adult if we wanted. The only drinks offered were some sort of blue concoction that tasted like mostly Blue Curacao and Sprite (I don’t remember the name) and champagne. The blue drink contained almost no alcohol, and the champagne was likely the bottle you buy for $4.99 to mix with orange juice and drink while you type blog posts in the morning…wait, just me? Anyway, I was not a fan.The kids were given gigantic plastic things that blinked and glowed with the show lights. They were fine, but too big to pack in the suitcase and full of a soda-based concoction that neither of my kids really liked, so the gains were short-term.VerdictIt is very hard to recommend this based on the price, the desserts, and the drinks. However, as we sat there in comfort watching World of Color, looking over the people who rushed and bumped and got annoyed on their way to their spots, it felt worth at least a portion of the money. I doubt I’ll ever do it again–with this menu, anyway. In short, if you can afford it and were considering the World of Color Dessert Party, you’ll likely enjoy it, at least somewhat. There is absolutely no way that it is a good value, but it may be worth it.last_img read more

A hairy anthropological puzzle

first_imgThe brown hyena – prime suspect in theancient whodunnit. (Image: Richard DuToit, Nature Picture Library) Electron microscope scans of fivefossilised human hairs.(Image: Born Animal – Discovery News) Gladysvale has yielded thousands of fossilsof man and beast, with millions more stillin place. (Image: Gladysvale)Janine ErasmusThe World Heritage Cradle of Humankind site has yielded another important archaeological find, with the discovery of what is very probably strands of ancient human hair in a fossilised piece of hyena dung – dating back to around 200 000 years ago.The strands are the oldest examples of their kind, surpassing the previous oldest known specimens of human hair by 191 000 years. The latter were found on a 9 000-year-old Chinchorro mummy from Arica, Chile.The Chinchorro culture was prevalent in northern Chile and southern Peru between 5 000 and 3 000 BC. Mummies from this epoch are the oldest examples of mummified human remains, much older than even the Egyptian mummies. However, the new find makes the hair from the Chinchorro mummies seem positively youthful.The strands were found in a hyena latrine – typically used by a single animal – embedded within a fossilised clump of dung known as a coprolite. Appearing to the untrained eye to be nothing more than a group of round white rocks, the coprolites each measured roughly 2 cm in diameter.The high calcium content in such biological objects, and the calcium-imbued drip from the cave roof, facilitated the fossilisation and preservation of the hairs. After carefully extracting the delicate specimens with tweezers, researchers placed them under an electron microscope. Scans revealed external wavy scale patterns that are characteristic of primates – these, and the size and shape of the hairs suggest that they are human in origin.The hyena species in question is the brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea), a canny opportunist that derives most of its nourishment from scavenging, although it has been known to occasionally hunt small mammals.Although they consider it most likely that the animal stumbled upon its last meal, scientists have not ruled out the possibility that a hyena attack was the cause of death. Brown hyenas are found in the area still today.Rich source of fossilsThe exciting discovery was made at Gladysvale Cave in Gauteng, located about 45km north-west of Johannesburg. The cave, which sits in the John Nash Nature Reserve within the boundaries of the Cradle of Humankind, has been a prolific source of fossilised specimens since the first fossil, that of a baboon, was found in 1946.The complex consists of three underground caves containing a substantial amount of breccia – that is, a clastic (fragmentary) rock composed of angular gravel-size fragments in a matrix or cementing material. Sediments in the cave date from as ancient as three million years to as recent as 250 years ago.Since 1946, thousands of fossils have been recovered from the Gladysvale deposits, both inside and outside the cave, including rare remains of hominids. The first hominid remains – two teeth of the early human species Australopithecus africanus – were discovered in 1991.The famous fossils of the Taung Child and Mrs Ples are both fine examples of A. africanus. The good news for the scientific community is that there are still millions of ancient bones in place in the cave, waiting to be unearthed.International collaborationPaleoanthropologist Dr Lucinda Backwell of the School of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand headed the study, together with a team of South African and international colleagues from Switzerland and the UK.Their findings are due to be published shortly in the print version of the Journal of Archaeological Science, but for those who can’t wait, the article has been available on the journal’s website since 31 January 2009.The owner of the hair has not yet been established but, said Backwell, the hyena dung falls within the period of existence in Africa of early species of humans such as Homo heidelbergensis. This period, which spans 195 000 to 257 000 years in the past, also saw the emergence of the first anatomically modern humans.“The hairs could belong to either of them or, of course, to a species not yet recognised,” explained Backwell.Although there are no hairs from early human species to use for comparison, and DNA sampling from the hairs was not possible, there is a plethora of coprolite material in the cave. Further analysis of the fossilised dung may well lead to a better understanding of the environment in which our ancestors lived, and their interactions with the creatures around them.Significant findThe hairs are significant in a number of ways. They represent a soft tissue find from a period, said Backwell, which rarely even yields skeletal material.Furthermore, commented biological anthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State, “The hair is an especially exciting find because it raises the possibility that there are other coprolites with other hairs, which would give us a new and quite accurate means of looking at the composition of ancient animal communities.”Hyenas search for food in their immediate surroundings, she added, so at that time a human lived, or at least died, close to Gladysvale cave.This also raises the possibility that at that time humans were preyed upon or scavenged by hyenas, or that they competed with them for food resources.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at storiesUnearthing our human ancestors Ancient arrows a clue to the pastTracing the origins of humankindUseful linksBernard Price Institute for Palaeontological ResearchWits University School of GeosciencesDiscovery ChannelHyena – African Wildlife FoundationBrown hyena – IUCN specialist groupGladysvaleMaropeng – Cradle of HumankindCradle of HumankindTransvaal Museum of Natural HistoryJournal of Archaeological ScienceSmithsonian Institution – Human Origins programmeUnesco – Cradle of Humankindlast_img read more

Open-access megajournals lose momentum as the publishing model matures

first_img Graphic: J. Brainard/Science; Data: SCOPUS IEEE Access Open-access megajournals lose momentum as the publishing model matures When PLOS ONE debuted in 2006, its founders declared it would transform scientific publishing. It was the first multidisciplinary, large-volume, open-access journal that published technically sound science without consideration of novelty. Five years later, Peter Binfield, then its publisher, forecast that by 2016, 50% of all scientific papers would appear in 100 such “megajournals.”Based in San Francisco, California, PLOS ONE grew to become the world’s largest journal, publishing more than 30,000 papers at its height in 2013 and spawning more than a dozen imitators—but megajournals have fallen far short of Binfield’s aims. From 2013 to 2018, PLOS ONE’s output fell by 44%. Another megajournal, Scientific Reports, surpassed PLOS ONE in size in 2017 but saw its article count drop by 30% the next year, according to data in publisher Elsevier’s Scopus database. Growth in new megajournals has not offset the declines. In 2018, PLOS ONE, Scientific Reports, and 11 smaller megajournals collectively published about 3% of the global papers total.PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports have also slipped on other measures of performance. Publication speeds, a key early selling point, have fallen. And a study published in August showed that by certain citation-based measures, the journals’ connection to science’s cutting edge has frayed.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“Megajournal publishers clearly have yet to persuade many researchers that their approach adds significant value to the scholarly communications ecosystem,” information scientist Stephen Pinfield of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and colleagues wrote in a July study in the Journal of Documentation.But megajournals still occupy a unique and important niche in scientific publishing, some analysts say. Because their acceptance rate is high—about 50% of submitted manuscripts—and they don’t insist on novelty, they allow authors to publish valuable findings, such as replication studies and negative results, that might otherwise face rejection by traditional selective journals. They remain relevant as an option for European authors whose funders plan to require that their papers be free to read on publication. And megajournals’ publishing fees—$1595 per paper at PLOS ONE, forexample—remain low compared with more selective open-access journals, such as Nature Communications and Science’s open-access sister journal, Science Advances, which charges $4500. (Science’s news department is editorially independent.)Driving the fall in output is a decline in submissions. At Scientific Reports, authors submitted fewer manuscripts after a drop in its impact factor—a measure of citations per paper, says James Butcher, vice president for journals at its parent company, Nature Research in London. The metric, which many authors follow closely, usually declines when a journal expands rapidly, as Scientific Reports did until recently. By Jeffrey BrainardSep. 10, 2019 , 5:15 PM 20102011201220132014 40,000 2015 50,000 20,000 30,000 Other megajournals 2018 60,000 Scientific Reports DAVIDE BONAZZI/SALZMAN ART Number of articles Joerg Heber, PLOS ONE’s editor-in-chief, says its decline in submissions stems from increasing competition from newer open-access journals: “We had a first-mover advantage, now gone.” Leaders of PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports say submissions are rising again. PLOS ONE has added new services to attract more authors, including publishing peer reviewers’ comments.Meanwhile, the megajournals have lost one source of their appeal: rapid publication. Early on, PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports published papers an average of 3 months after submission, compared with traditional journals’ average of about 5 months. But by 2018, PLOS ONE’s lag had risen to 6 months and Scientific Reports’s to 5 months, according to a 2018 study in Online Information Review. Both Heber and Butcher blame the logistical difficulties of handling large volumes and say they have improved staffing and operations to shrink the lags.Perhaps more worrying: As publishing volumes have declined, so have megajournals’ connections to the frontiers of science, according to a study by Petr Heneberg of Charles University in Prague. It looked at how often papers in 11 megajournals cited recently published papers in each of three highly ranked selective journals—Nature, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Science. It also analyzed the converse: how often papers in the three selective journals cited papers in the megajournals. For PLOS ONE, both measures fell significantly between 2008 and 2016, approaching zero, Heneberg reported in the August issue of Scientometrics. Other megajournals’ citations to the three elite journals also plummeted.Heber says Heneberg’s study is too narrow to be meaningful. For example, he says PLOS ONE has recently published more clinical research, a topic that doesn’t often appear in the three highly rated journals.Even while the founding megajournals have lost momentum, others that are more selective or specialized are thriving. Three discipline-focused megajournals have grown rapidly in recent years: Medicine, from the publisher Wolters Kluwer; BMJ Open; and IEEE Access. Broad open-access journals such as Nature Communications and Science Advances that do consider papers’ novelty have also expanded, notes Cassidy Sugimoto of Indiana University in Bloomington, co-author of a forthcoming study of such journals. “To me, that doesn’t show that megajournals are dying,” she says, but instead suggests their trailblazing has led to a greater diversity of useful publishing options. ​The biggest megajournals fell farthest After rapid growth in their early years, PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports published fewer papers recently. 10,000 201620170 PLOS ONE 70,000last_img read more

Shane Warne, Sachin Tendulkar back new ‘greats’ T20 league: Report

first_imgSachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne are backing a new Twenty20 league for former cricketing greats that will be played in cities around the world from later this year, the Australian newspaper reported on Friday.Indian batsman Tendulkar and Australian spin bowler Warne, now both retired, are widely regarded as two of the greatest cricketers in the history of the game.The report said Australians Brett Lee, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath, Englishmen Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff as well as South African Jacques Kallis had all been approached with offers of $25,000 a match.Tendulkar and Warne planned to recruit 28 players to play 15 matches in the Cricket All Stars League over the next 3 1/2 years, starting with matches in three cities in the United States in September, the report added.Several of the players targeted have, like Warne, extended their careers with lucrative stints in Twenty20 leagues after retiring from international cricket.While senior tours in tennis and golf have proven successful in providing an income for older players and regular doses of nostalgia for fans, it has never before been attempted in cricket.last_img read more

A day in the life of a freelance fashion designer

first_imgÁgnes Mikke is a freelance fashion designer, in the earliest stages of starting her own brand. She loves freelancing because it allows her to follow her passion. Discover what a day in her life is like in this Member Spotlight:7:30 AMWhile I’m sipping coffee I’m browsing Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, and Facebook. Social media is an important part of my business, so I start work while waking up.9:00 AMMy to-do app,, wakes me up for real. First, I get stressed. Then, I get dressed! And start checking things off my list.11:00 AMFreelance perk– time for brunch!1:00 PMI have a Skype meeting with my web designer to discuss the details of my new website, and how to integrate it with my blog.2:00 PMBack to work on my new collection. I have a little old-fashioned scrapbook where I collect all my ideas– motivational drawings, patterns, or designs, and long-term to-do lists.** 3:00 PM**Time to go shopping! I’ve got to buy sketch brushes so I can work on some new patterns.Thankfully, I don’t have to shop for fabric today– finding the right fabric to fit a particular concept can be challenging! Some days I have to get up early in the morning and browse all day. I literally go from shop to shop touching all the textiles that exist.6:00PMOn my way home, I stop at the park and sit to clear my head. It doesn’t look like working, but sometimes my best ideas come to mind like this. Actually, I had to learn how to NOT feel guilty about this part of the process. Thanks Creative Mornings!7:30PMA lot of my design inspiration comes from staying active– tonight, it’s yoga. Many of my patterns are inspired by my outdoor adventures!10:00PMBefore going to bed, I always force myself to read one Shopify article about online marketing, especially as I’m planning to launch my new line AND website. Sweet business dreams!Ágnes Mikke has been a Freelancers Union member for just under a year. She’s got a typical Hungarian love of potatoes, and her favorite bands are ones you haven’t heard of yet (“The Asteroids Galaxy Tour” and “The Cotton Jones Basket Ride”… anyone? Anyone?) See her work here.last_img read more

Badminton Asia Team Championships: India lose 2-3 to Indonesia but reach quarters

first_imgKidambi Srikanth went down in straight games against Jonatan Christie as India were edged out by Indonesia 2-3 in their Group D encounter at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Malaysia on Thursday.Despite the loss, India made it to the quarter-finals stage of the tournament, having thrashed Philippines and Maldives in the previous two days of the tournament.While the highest-ranked player for India, Srikanth surprisingly lost Christie who is world No. 13, B Sai Praneeth and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty starred for India with their crucial wins that kept India in the hunt till the very last match of the tie.It was a neck and neck encounter which was decided in the final match as Indonesia edged past India to top their group in #BATC2018 India (@PBLIndiaLive) February 8, 2018The day started with world No.5 Srikanth facing a shock loss against Christie in just 35 minutes. Srikanth produced a performance much like his second round loss at India Open and Christie eased past him 21-17, 21-17 to give Indonesia a 1-0 lead in the tie.However, it was the men’s doubles tie that changed the wind for India.Up against Mohammed Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Satwik and Chirag rallied from behind to win 18-21, 21-18, 24-22 to level the tie 1-1.Satwik and Chirag have been on the rise in the men’s doubles circuit and they showed their mettle against a strong Indonesian pair. Even though Ahsan and Sukamuljo are not a regular pair, the combination of quality and experience in them made them the favourite in the tie.advertisementSatwik and Chirag, though, quashed all perceptions and registered a big victory.ALSO WATCHPraneeth, then, took some momentum from the men’s doubles and won his singles against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to give India a 2-1 lead.In a battle that lasted 44 minutes, Praneeth grinded out a close 21-18, 21-19 against the world No.9. Praneeth is known to be a crafty and rally player and even though Ginting is a good retriever, Praneeth was able to play him out.MR Arjun and Ramachandran Shlok played the other men’s doubles against Angga Pratama and Rian Agung Saputro and despite a tremendous fight, they lost steam towards the later half of the match and eventually lost..In 48 minutes, Pratama and Saputro beat Arjun and Shlok 14-21, 21-16, 21-12. Despite a very bright start where they took the first game by the scruff of the neck, Arjun and Shlok were unable to sustain their intensity level and the Indonesian pair made the best of it.The last singles was surprisingly played by doubles specialist B Sumeeth Reddy. Sameer Verma had played the third singles on Wednesday but Sumeeth was up against Indonesia’s Ihsan Maulana Mustofa and lost in just 25 minutes.Mustofa hardly faced any trouble against Sumeeth, who struggled to keep pace and lost 12-21, 7-21, as Indonesia took the tie.Earlier in the day, the Indian women’s team also lost to Japan 4-1 but made it to the quarter-finals of the tournament.Even though PV Sindhu began the day with a solid victory against world No.2 Akane Yamaguchi, the other could not follow suit and India lost the tie.last_img read more