Archive for August, 2013
(Actually, there are a number of McDonald’s which are practically there already…)
“Welcome to McDonald’s. My name is HAL 9000. May I take your order?”
McDonalds recently went on a hiring binge in the U.S., adding 62,000 employees to its roster. The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.
The move is designed to boost efficiency and make ordering more convenient for customers. In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook notes that the new system will also open up a goldmine of data. McDonald’s could potentially track every Big Mac, McNugget, and large shake you order. A calorie account tally at the end of the year could be a real shocker.
The touch screens will only accept debit or credit cards, adding to the slow death knell of cash and coins. This all goes along with an overall revamp of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide aimed at projecting a modern image as opposed to the old-fashioned golden arches with a slightly creepy (to my taste anyway) clown guy hanging around the french fries.
This puts McDonald’s one step closer to opening up its first Alphaville location. At least our new computer overlords will be nice enough to serve us a Filet-o-Fish. Maybe they’ll even throw in an iPad with the Happy Meal one of these days.
Another thing this solves, a cashier mishearing your order. Oh, they might still screw it up in the “Putting the food on your tray” phase, but most of the times you don’t have to hear “What was that again sir?” when you’re standing in line getting your order taken.
No comment from SEIU, or whether they will go full Luddite in Europe and destroy the machines by force with hammers and other means.
From the smartest man in American politics, Michael Barone on the continued closed mindedness of the Climate Change crowd.
(I tried to make similar points when I was on WPR a couple weeks ago. My point was that those supporting complete compliance to climate change science are focusing on only one series of data points and not focusing on a wide variety of other factors; many that Barone points out here.)
Does this mean that global warming theories have been conclusively refuted? No. There’s a difference between weather (short-term) and climate (long-term). If carbon dioxide emissions were the only factor affecting climate, then global warming alarmist theories would indubitably be correct. But other factors seem to affect climate as well — like the sun, clouds, oceans and the interactions between them and other factors. Scientists don’t fully understand how these factors interact. It makes sense for policymakers and citizens to keep an eye out for possible climate change and to think about how to mitigate any negative effects. But for the moment let’s appreciate this summer’s moderate temperatures.
Last month the magnetic poles of the sun began to flip. No scientist on the planet honestly knows what that will do to temperatures or climate on Earth.
Of all the Avengers’ villains out there, “Ultron” has always been my favorite (Kang the Conqueror is a distant second). He has long represented a number of things in the Marvel Universe, but the biggest being that he is what the truest form of the dark side of technology looks like.
Think HAL 9000 and SkyNET are scary? They got their inspirations from Ultron. Think you can kill him? Wrong, he’s got about 20 different back-ups in servers you haven’t even considered looking into. Simply put, it is not a question of if Ultron will destroy the Avengers, but when, as his constant upgrades and newer and more devious uses of technology will eventually make him unstoppable.
Marvel today announced the next cinematic voice of the “Robo-Pocalypse,” Emmy winner James Spader.
James Spader will face off against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as the villain in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the sequel to 2012’s record-breaking “Marvel’s The Avengers.” The Emmy Award-winning actor will play Ultron in the Avengers’ much anticipated return to the big screen from writer/director Joss Whedon. The film comes to theaters on May 1, 2015.
Spader earned three Emmy Awards for his role as Alan Shore on “Boston Legal” and “The Practice,” and will return to television this fall in NBC’s highly anticipated series “The Blacklist.” Most recently Spader was seen in the critically-acclaimed film “Lincoln” directed by Steven Spielberg and has previously worked with a long list of accomplished film directors including David Cronenberg, Curtis Hansen, Sidney Lumet, Mike Nichols, Tim Robbins, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone. David Mamet also directed Spader in the Broadway play Race.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” will bring the Marvel Universe’s biggest heroes together again to face one of their biggest villains, with “Marvel’s The Avengers” director Joss Whedon returning to write and direct the sequel. “Marvel’s The Avengers” was released in 2012 and went on to earn $1.5 billion worldwide, making it the third-largest grossing movie of all time.
Filming for “Avengers 2” is set to begin next spring.
The special license plate developed for Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, will be replaced throughout the next year amid concerns from law enforcement that they are too faded to be read, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The plates, issued between 1996 and 1998, also don’t reflect as well as they used to, officials said.
“Law enforcement officers around the state have been struggling with reading these faded plates for some time now. We appreciate the fact that they’re being replaced,” Steven Riffel, Sheboygan Falls police chief and Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association president, said in a news release.
Wisconsin license plates with red letters and numbers also will be replaced with those that have black letters and numbers instead.
About 160,000 sesquicentennial plates and 135,000 red plates will be reissued, according to the DOT.
Recall a few years back the state DOT replaced all red-lettered vehicle plates with black-lettered plates. (If memory serves, my plates at the time were one of those which were replaced…) The point is clearly the same here, to increase visibility for law enforcement (and regular folks) to see the letters on the plates. Black obviously offers the best visibility.
A Texas megachurch has shifted its stance on immunization, following a measles outbreak among its faithful.
At least 20 members of the Eagle Mountain International Church in North Texas have been diagnosed with measles after a few members of the congregation traveled abroad on a mission trip and contracted the disease. The church is part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, which has advocated abstaining from vaccinations and immunizations for fear they cause autism.
Pastor Terri Copeland Pearsons, daughter of Kenneth Copeland, announced in a sermon last week that the church will be hosting vaccination clinics and urged her congregation to attend.
Health officials report that exposure to the virus in foreign countries by unvaccinated people is one of the most common ways for outbreaks to occur in the U.S., but that the virus is otherwise largely avoidable due to regular vaccination schedules for children.
In response to the Copeland Ministries outbreak, the state of Texas health officials are now in a state of “Alert,” and the Center for Disease Control is said to be monitoring the situation.
It is unlikely that anyone on “The View” will ask McCarthy about this, or whether the topic will even be brought up.