The “Hard” Problem of Consciousness

first_imgBillions of Missing Links: Mysteries Evolution Can’t Explain Tagsanimalschildrencomputersconsciousnessearsevolutionevolutionary biologistsevolutionistshuman brainhuman evolutionhuman originsmechanical brainspainprimeval slimescientistssidewalk,Trending “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Granville SewellGranville Sewell is professor of mathematics at the University of Texas El Paso. He has written four books on numerical analysis, most recently Solving Partial Differential Equation Applications with PDE2D, John Wiley, 2018. In addition to his years at UTEP, has been employed by Universidad Simon Bolivar (Caracas), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Purdue University, IMSL Inc., The University of Texas Center for High Performance Computing and Texas A&M University, and spent a semester (1999) at Universidad Nacional de Tucuman on a Fulbright scholarship, and another semester (2019) at the UNAM Centro de Geociencas in Queretaro, Mexico. Share Human Origins The “Hard” Problem of ConsciousnessGranville SewellSeptember 8, 2020, 9:44 AM A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Evolution Above is a picture of three children in the 1950s. One of them is me, the other two are not. I saw the world from inside one of these children. I saw every picture that entered through his eyes, I heard every sound that entered through his ears, and when he fell on the sidewalk, I felt his pain. How did I end up inside one of these children? This is a question that rarely seems to trouble evolutionists. They talk about human evolution as if they were outside observers and never seem to wonder how they got inside one of the animals they are studying. They consider that human brains are just complicated computers, and so the problem of human origins would be essentially solved if they could explain how these advanced mechanical brains evolved.  Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Recommended Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Well, my new video “Why Evolution is Different” shows that most scientists are not even going in the right direction in their attempts to explain the origin and development of life: But even if they could explain how animals with mechanical brains evolved out of the “primeval slime,” would I consider human origins to be a solved problem? Certainly not, that would still leave unsolved the most important problem of all, the one that evolutionary biologists never seem to even wonder about: How did I get inside one of those children?last_img read more

Nationals lineup: 7/19/19

first_imgPlease follow and like us: Victor Robles CF Here is the Nationals lineup! Anthony Rendon 3B Ryan Zimmerman 1B With a 51-44 record, the Nationals send Patrick Corbin to the mound for his twentieth start of the 2019 season. The Braves send right-hander Julio Teheran. The Braves come into the game with a 58-40 record. Trea Turner SS Adam Eaton RF Howie Kendrick 2B Yan Gomes C The Washington Nationals face the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park for their ninety-sixth game of the regular season Patrick Corbin SP Juan Soto LFlast_img read more

A list of Pittsburgh’s 2015 football signees

first_imgArchbishop Wood’s B.J. Powell (17) reaches for Central Valley’s Jordan Whitehead (3) during the first half of a PIAA, Class AAA championship football game in Hershey, Pa. on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)A list of Pittsburgh’s 2015 football signees including position, height, weight, school and hometown:Saleem Brightwell, lb, 6-0, 195, Paramus Catholic, Palisades Park, N.J.Ben DiNucci, qb, 6-2, 190, Pine-Richland HS, Gibsonia, Pa.Allen Edwards, dl, 6-4, 235, Dean College (Mass.), Miami, Fla.Darrin Hall, rb, 5-11, 215, Austintown Fitch HS, Youngstown, OhioMalik Henderson, db, 6-0, 197, Hallandale HS, Plantation, Fla.Quadree Henderson, wr, 5-8, 170, Alexis I. du Pont, Wilmington, Del.Gentry Ivery, 6-1, 195, Mansfield Legacy HS, Mansfield, TexasDane Jackson, db, 6-0, 165, Quaker Valley HS, Coraopolis, Pa.Anthony McKee, lb, 6-2, 200, Marion-Franklin HS, Columbus, OhioAlex Paulina, ol, 6-3, 300, Canon-McMillan HS, Canonsburg, Pa.Nathan Peterman, qb, 6-2, 220, University of Tennessee, Fruit Cove, Fla.Tony Pilato, ol, 6-5, 315, Hempfield Area HS, Greensburg, Pa.Jay Stocker, db, 6-2, 185, Coatesville Area HS, Coatesville, Pa.Tre Tipton, wr, 6-0, 170, Apollo-Ridge HS, Apollo, Pa.Jordan Whitehead, db, 5-11, 185, Central Valley HS, Aliquippa, Pa.last_img read more

Gerrard thinks Rafa Benitez has “broken” relationship with Real Madrid stars

first_img 25/11/2015 Upd. at 18:48 “He’s had a vote of confidence – they are usually deadly at Real Madrid, so we’ll just have to wait and see,” he said. “It’s difficult to put your finger on it, but Rafa’s all about team, he’s not really a fan of individual players, he’s all about his philosophy as a team. “Rafa’s a good manager, for me, I just have to wonder what his relationship is like with the big players in the dressing room. It looks a bit broken at the moment, from the outside. Time will tell how long it lasts. Steven Gerrard thinks Rafa Benitez’s relationship with the Real Madrid dressing room is “broken”.center_img CET The former Liverpool midfielder played under the coach at Anfield for several years and was working as a pundit for BT Sport when he spoke about matters at the Santiago Bernabeu. Sport EN “But you’ve got to manage individuals differently, especially at Real Madrid, it is all about Ronaldo and the big players. Rafa’s got to adapt to them, rather than vice versa.”last_img read more

CWC 2019: Arjun Tendulkar helps England prepare for Starc challenge

first_imgImage Courtesy: India TimesAdvertisement oxgjNBA Finals | Brooklyn VsdWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E56i8j( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) aquWould you ever consider trying this?😱16Can your students do this? 🌚bobkmRoller skating! Powered by Firework The England Cricket team have sought out the help of the fiery left-arm pace of Arjun Tendulkar ahead of their crucial encounter against arch-rivals Australia at Lord’s. Advertisement Image Courtesy: India TimesSon of renowned cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Arjun was seen bowling to the England batsmen during their net session at Lord’s. The tall lanky pacer is expected to help the team prepare for Mitchell Starc, who has set the tournament ablaze with his bowling.This marks the second occasion where Arjun has bowled in the nets for the England team. He previously bowled to the members ahead of the second Ashes test as a fifteen-year-old in 2015.Advertisement The left arm allrounder, who is 19 years old, is marking his presence in the Mumbai domestic circuit with his participation in the Cooch Behar Trophy and the recently concluded Mumbai T20 League, where he represented Akash Tigers. The youngster was also involved in the U-19 tour to Sri Lanka.Watch Arjun Tendulkar bowl to the English batsmen below:Advertisement Read Also:CWC 2019: Shoaib Akhtar feels India dodged a bullet in their narrow victory against AfghanistanCricket: Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah to be rested for limited overs series against the West Indies Advertisementlast_img read more

Irish Sport Horse Studbook Jumping Series Has Successful Start In Galway

first_imgOne of only five double clears in the 7-year-old class, McEntee beat off stiff competition from the competitive 30 competitors in the class. In the 5-Year-Old final at the €10,500 event, 19 combinations jumped double clear to split the win. While in the 6 Year Olds, there were twenty-eight clear rounds.“We are delighted to be hosting the first leg of the ISH SJ Series in 2020,” said Frances O’Brien from Galway Equestrian Centre.  “We welcomed the new SJI Live system and it has worked extremely well for all competitors and it aided in the smooth and successful running of our show.“Mark Breen was on hand to help with any queries on using the new system and it all went really well. All riders were on time and the four supervised warm up areas helped in keeping with the Covid 19 restrictions.”The next leg takes place in Barnadown on 18th and 19th July. Full results, including breeding information, are detailed below.==5 year olds=1stMHS Sunday Girl (ISH) by CORNET OBOLENSKY out of LADY LIGUSTRA by CAVLIER ROYALE bred by Ita Brennan owned by Michael and John Brennan ridden by Gemma Phelan           =1stSVS Miss Zigali (ISH) by Kigali out of P.Zermie by Palfrenier bred and Owned by Brian Hutchinson ridden by Jason Foley=1stColui (ISH) by Luidam out of Vereedom G by Orame bred owned and ridden by Thomas O’Brien=1stChurchtown Quality Breeze (ISH) by O.B.O.S Quality 004 out of Awbeg LilyMilan bred by Noel Lynch owned by Sean Duggan ridden by Rhys Williams=1stCastleforbes Fedora     (ISH) by Cornet Obolenskyout of Lagoa des Malais by Germino d’Ellebred and owned by Lady Georgina Forbes ridden by Cian Goggins=1stLISSADELL (ISH) by Plot Blue out of WINTER CRUISE by CRUISING (ISH) (TIH) bred and owned by Dr. Noel Cawley and ridden by Ethen Ahearne=1stHSH Harper Du Seigneur (ISH) by Aganix Du Seigneur out of Covers Chip by Chippison (ISH) bred and owned by Hadley Sport Horses ridden by Sven Hadley=1stPremier Dreamer (ISH) by Balou Du Rouet out of Premier Hope by Hermes DE Reve bred by Dominic Rice owned by Francis Derwin and ridden by Francis Derwin (Jnr)        =1stHHS Calgary (ISH) by Luidam (KWPN) out of La Juanita by Don Juan De La Bouverie bred by Marion Hughes owned by Bravo Hughes Ltd ridden by Adam Carey=1stHHS Blue Moon (ISH) by Plot Blue out of HHS Daisy (ISH) by Ard VDL Douglas bred and owned by Marion Hughes ridden by Adam Carey=1stOughterard De Muze (ISH) by Pollux De Muze Z out of Oughterard Cruiser by Puissance bred by Gerard Lynch owned and ridden by David Williams=1stLuicruz (ISH) by Luidam out of All Cruz by Puissance bred by Sean Fahy owned and ridden by Adam Carey=1stGifted New Year (ISH) by Echo Bay out of New Year’s Sindy (ISH) by Taloubet VDL bred by Norman E Watt owned by Anne Torrens and ridden by Jennifer Torrens=1stCrossroads Quality Chip (ISH) by O.B.O.S. 004 out of CROSSROADS MISS CHIP owned by Edward Widger bred by Shane and Heather McCole and ridden by Edward Doyle=1stCurraghgraigue Quality Two   (ISH) by OBOS Quality 004 out of Curraghgraigue Zelda by Aldatus Z bred by Baden Powellowned by John Kearney and ridden by Jason Foley=1stCBI Bella Donna (ISH) by Zapatero VDL out of CSF Lulu by Luidam bred by Mr Aidan Carroll, owned by Kayleigh Soden and ridden by Vincent Byrne=1stLCC Lui Two      (ISH) by Luidam out of Wendoliene by Darco bred by Tom Taite, owned by Linda Courtney and ridden by      Annie Courtney-Cadam=1stHHS Good Times (ISH) by Sheikh IT out of Cheryl CH by Chameur bred and owned by Marion Hughes ridden by John McEntee=1stSubway Surf (ISH) by Corland out of Cendry Nouvolieu by Tresor De Cheux bred by Ronan Byrne owned by David Moran & Fionnuala Byrne and ridden by David Moran=1stMuze Abby Moyne        by Bamako de Muze out of Abby V Overis Z by Arko III bred by PJ Ryan, owned by GBBS Int LTD ridden by Ethen Ahearne==6 year olds=1stFernhill Check Your Pockets (ISH) Carol Gee By SIMBA out of CAVELLE by CAVALIER ROYALE bred by MR & MRS ALAN WHEELER owned by Carol Gee and ridden by Kate Derwin=1stEmerald Mystique (ISH) by Emerald Vant’ T Ruytershof out of Overruled by Cruising bred by Dr Noel Cawley owned by John Cawley and ridden by Ethen Ahearne=1stLisboy Mermus (ISH) by Mermus R out of Dianes Cruise Clover by Cruising (ISH) (TIH) bred by Sean Keevans owned by Joseph M Sharkey and ridden by Cora Sharkey=1stHERITAGE LVS VAN GOGH by VANCOUVER out of AGONDA by SILVERSTONE bred by             Ann Marie O’Gorman owned and ridden by Aoife Mc Cabe=1stCBI VICTORY (ISH) by VITTORIO out of CENITH M by DIAMANT DE SEMILLY bred by AIDAN CARROLL owned and ridden by Susan Fitzpatrick=1stCREEVYQUINN PEARL (ISH) Michael Condon by Cardento out of Fragonda by Corland  bred by Stephen and Elisha Reilly owned by Michael Condon and ridden by Jason Higgins=1stEcklands Helado (ISH) by Cobra out of Annaghmore Charisma by HHS BR Charlton bred by Eckland Sport Horses owned by Sandra Duffy and ridden by Brendan Murphy=1stFSS Outlaw (ISH) by Cardento out of Cimenta C by Orlando van de Heffinck bred, owned and ridden by Olive Clarke=1stHW True Blue (ISH) by Plot Blue out of Warrenstown Lass by Warrenstown You 2 bred and owned by Hilda Wall ridden by Maria Vozone=1stBeechfields Billy Barnwell (ISH) by Billy Mexico out of Billy Rock by Vechta bred by Donal Barnwell owned and ridden by Gemma Phelan=1stKinkeen Lough (ISH)  by Camillo VDL (KWPN) out of Rushlomelass (ISH) by Mohill Cavalier Clover bred and owned Thomas Murray ridden by Tadhg Mulligan=1stSVS Sensation (ISH)    by Emerald van’t Ruytershof out of Beauty van de Panneberg Hoeve by  Vincenzo bred by Brian Hutchinson owned by Seryna Van Kuelen and ridden by Paul Beecher=1stPoshes Legacy (ISH) by Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet BEWB out of Too Posh ISH bred by Ross Finnerty owned by Rory Finnerty and ridden by Mark Finnerty=1stBlackfield Gold (ISH) by Luidam out of Gold West by Goldmark bred by Cathal Loughnane owned by Noel Feeney and ridden by Raphael Jnr Lee=1stFlorida Springs (ISH) by Mermus R out of Rockville Star by Kings Master bred by Patrick Smith owned by Francis Derwin ridden by Francis Derwin (Jnr)=1stCSF BLUE LAGOON by ZIRROCCO BLUE VDL out of CSF FAIR EXCHANGE by FLIPPER D ELLE bred by PATRICK CONNOLLY owned by Susan Fitzpatrick and ridden by Taylor Cummins=1stGCS Ita (ISH) by OBOS quality out of MHSAttraction(ISH) by Numero Uno bred by Olivia Brennan owned by Tim Brennan and ridden by Ger O’Neill=1stBallybeg Loui (ISH) by Luidam out of Lady Breemeersen by Conquistador bred by Seamus Leahy owned by Geraldine Gallagher and ridden by Oisin Dillon=1stLisboy Emerald (ISH) by Emerald Vant Ruytershof out of Hollypark Lux Alright by Lux Z (HANN) bred by Michael Mc Donagh owned by Joseph M Sharkey and ridden by Cora Sharkey=1stBP Pocahontas (ISH) Elica Edgar by Emilion out of BP Hero by Pacino bred by Greg Broderick owned by Elica Edgar and ridden by Kevin Gallagher=1stAHG Whiterock De Muse Of Cruise (ISH) by Cardento out of Raheenwood Cruise by Cruising (ISH) (TIH) bred by Anne Gannon Clancy owned by Joseph M Sharkey and ridden by Cora Sharkey=1stCBS Adrenaline (ISH) by Cardento out of Mrs Quinn by Laughton’s Flight (ISH) bred and owned GBBS Int ltd and Liam Cleary ridden by Ethen Ahearne=1stJunior Kannan (ISH) by Castlelawn Captain Junior (ISH) (TIH) out of White Kannan by Kannan bred by John Lee owned by Gabriel Slattery and ridden by Raphael Jnr Lee=1stNext Episode (ISH) by Diamant De Semilly out of Calandra Z by Cobra bred by Alan Robertson owned by Gabriel Mullins and ridden by Raphael Jnr Lee=1stRiverview Candy Kid (ISH) by Silgo Candy Boy out of Millhollow Melissa by Crosstown DancerBred and owned by Michael O’Callaghan and Ronnie Kelly ridden by Ethen Ahearne=1stCastleforbes Elie (ISH) by Vivaldo van het Coastersveld out of Quibell by Quidam de revel bred and owned by Lady Georgina Forbes ridden by Cian Goggins=1stCarnlea Premier Balou (ISH) by Balou du Rouet out of Armagh by Cavalier Royale bred by Premier Sports Horses owned by The Ballydun Group c/o Edward Little and ridden by Edward Little==7 year olds1stHHS Vancouver (ISH) by Indoctro out of La Juanita bred and owned by Marion Hughes ridden by John McEntee2ndEMS Adelaide (ISH) by Mermus R out of Sante Cruise by Loch Cruise bred by Willie McElhinney owned by Daisy Duggan and ridden by Sean Monaghan3rdHSC Sunny Jim (ISH)by Pacino out of Sunblest by Conquistadorbred and owned by Mrs Sarah Heather Crawford and ridden by Edward Little4thKillaloan Cobra Carel     (ISH) by          Cobra out of Carrigeen Carel by Harlequin Du Carel bred by Owen Cooney     owned and ridden by Richard Hourigan5thGarryndruig Limoncello (ISH)  by Amaretto Darco out of Garryndruig Cruising Akademi by Cruising (ISH) (TIH) bred and owned by Geri McGeoghan-Santry ridden by Nikki Murphy6thZambia (ISH)        by Diamant De Semilly out of Sambia by Alba bred by Alan Robertson owned by Gabriel Mullins and ridden by Gemma Phelan.print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email HHS Vancouver, ridden by John McEntee won the seven-year-old final at the first round of the Irish Sport Horse Studbook Jumping Series at Galway Equestrian Centre on Sunday (5th July), jumping double clear in a time of 31.52 seconds.last_img read more

Manchester City told to pay release clause for Real Sociedad defender

first_imgManchester City must pay Inigo Martinez’s £28.5million release clause in full if they want to sign him this January.Pep Guardiola is looking to add a centre-back to his squad this month and he has earmarked the Real Sociedad star as a potential purchase.Martinez was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the summer and he is regarded as one of the best defenders in Spain.However, according to Sport, if Manchester City want to sign him they must pay £28.5m.That is the 26-year-old’s current release clause and Sociedad are refusing to let him go for anything less.Barcelona called off a move in the summer after finding out his price tag was non-negotiable. 1 Inigo Martinez was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the summer last_img read more

Kenneth W. Carter Jr., 77

first_imgKenneth W. Carter Jr., age 77, of Borden passed away on December 3, 2015 at his residence. Born on February 23, 1938 inWaukesha, Wisconsin, he was the son of the late Kenneth Carter Sr. and Loretta Helsper Carter. Kenneth was retired from Commonwealth Edison of Chicago, Illinois. He was in the Air National Guard in Illinois. He was amember of St.John the Baptist, Starlight, Indiana.Survivors include: wife, Nancy Theodori Carter; 2 sons, David Carter (Janice), and Timothy Carter (Laura); Mary SusanFolkerts (Roger); 6 grandchildren, Nikki Carter, Dan Carter, T.J. Carter, Patrick Folkerts, Jessica Carter Emmons, and MeganFolkerts.Preceded in death by: parents.There will be no services.last_img read more

The Best Disney World Ticket and Hotel Prices – and the Stories Behind Them

first_imgShare This!This past July I paid $253 per night – with tax – for a standard room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. That’s more than 50% less than the $533 rack rate Disney was asking for similar rooms. It was less than Disney was charging for the same room in 2001 – 15 years ago.  And I didn’t have to listen to a timeshare presentation or be a close, personal friend of Disney CEO Bob Iger to do it.  All I had to do was believe what I read on the internet.In this case, I’d seen a lot of talk in our Lines Chat forum about a company called Magical Vacations Travel (MVT), whose Disney World room offers were far below the prices we were seeing everywhere else.  And that was unusual, because we have relationships with some very large travel companies, who you’d expect would be able to match any offer a smaller company could come up with. But the big travel companies weren’t matching MVT’s offers. I wanted to find out why.I also thought it would be a good time to look at a new Disney World ticket vendor called Parksavers.com. We first noticed them in 2014, when Lines Chat folks started mentioning the fantastic deals they were getting on multi-day Disney World tickets – prices far, far below what even the biggest Disney World ticket wholesalers were offering. Disney World ticket scams are legendary, so, as with Magical Vacations Travel, I wanted to make sure Parksavers was a reputable business for the TouringPlans community.Here’s what I found: Both Magical Vacations Travel and Parksavers.com are legitimate businesses that sell exactly the products they advertise. But the way they can make these great offers to you – the business models behind these companies – are fascinating stories in their own rights. This is how they work.Group Sales Contracts: The Magical Vacations Travel ModelIf you’re a travel agency looking to get the lowest prices for your clients’ Disney World vacations, there are a couple of ways to go. One is to wait for Disney to announce a “special offer” and book your clients at those rates – for my trip, the best rate available to the general public was around $468 per night with tax.  And many clients would be satisfied simply knowing they got the lowest advertised rate for their trip. But there’s another option that often results in even better offers, if your agency is willing to sign a contract with Disney’s “Group Sales” department. But those contacts come with risks.Here’s how that works: Your travel agency tells Group Sales that you’re going to sell a minimum of 10 rooms for a least 3 nights each, at some Disney hotel, during specific dates in the future. For example, let’s say that you’re willing to commit to selling 30 “room nights” (10 rooms for 3 nights each) at Disney’s Polynesian Resort between November 10 and November 16.Disney’s Group Sales department has 2 kinds of contracts your travel agency can sign, each with different levels of risk. Your price for the rooms depends on which contract you sign, and thus the risk your travel agency is willing to accept:In one contract, you commit to selling 30 room nights, but Disney gives you the option of “returning” any unsold rooms back to Disney without penalty. Let’s call this the “standard” contract, because it’s the most common one used by far. I’m told that a typical per-night room cost  for the Poly with this contract might be around $300 per night during busy times of the year.In the other contract option, you guarantee to Disney that you will pay for all 30 room nights and give up the option of returning unsold rooms to Disney. In that case, Disney’s willing to provide better offers because you’re guaranteeing Disney the revenue. I’m told that per-room rates for these contracts are similar to the $253/night I got at the Poly. Let’s call this the “risk/reward” contract, because you travel agency now has to sell those rooms or lose money.There’s one other notable condition on the risk/reward contract: Disney doesn’t allow the contracts to cover certain dates. For example, November 1, 2, 13, and 28-30, 2016, aren’t available on MVT’s Agency-Exclusive Offers. That means that clients have to be willing to take their vacations during the dates that are covered, if they want the best offers. And some resorts or room types may be excluded from the contract.The vast majority of travel agencies I spoke to, will only sign the standard contract. Why? The smaller agencies typically can’t risk thousands of dollars on clients who might cancel at the last minute. Larger agencies, especially those with hundreds of thousands of clients, say that most of their clients can’t make their vacation dates fit the offer dates, because of work, school, or family commitments. The number of clients who are willing to do this, doesn’t offset the risk that comes with the contract.Magical Vacations Travel is using the risk/reward contract. They also let clients cancel with refunds using Disney’s standard cancellation policy (i.e., up to 5 or 6 days in advance), not the 30-day policy that they’re being held to in their contract. Again, that’s part of the risk MVT is accepting in return for less expensive rooms.Here are examples of how much that can affect your vacation price as compared to just booking through Disney’s website yourself.The first example covers the week of Easter 2017. It assume 2 adults and 2 children (ages 11 and 9) in a standard view room for 5 nights beginning April 15, 2017. The family also gets 5-day Magic Your Way tickets with the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options. All prices include tax. Disney’s prices come from their website.That $500 (18%) price difference you can lock in right now at Pop Century is remarkable for Easter 2017 – I’d expect Disney to announce something in the range of 5 to 10% tops, eventually, for a value resort package during a holiday period this far away.Around $290 of that $500 difference – a little more than half – comes from buying Parksavers tickets. As you move into the Moderate and Deluxe categories, the difference in room rates increases while the ticket price differences stay the same. A $639 (19%) price difference at Port Orleans Riverside seems to be pretty good this far out too. I don’t think a 14% price difference at Animal Kingdom Lodge is as good, in comparison.  It could be that Disney thinks they can sell out AKL to the general public anyway over Easter, so they don’t think they need to offer lower rates to groups.Here’s the same scenario for the following week, April 22-27, 2017:The rates are slightly better the week after Easter 2017, probably reflecting the lower demand once most families have to send their kids back to school. Still, it’s a busy time of year and these are decent savings off what Disney is currently offering to the general public.One last thing about Magical Vacations Travel before we look at Parksavers.com: I think one of the big challenges they’ll face is how to scale their customer service if they find themselves growing very fast. The good news is that they seem to have a core group of solid agents. But it’s something we’ll keep an eye on. If you ask Magic Vacations Travel for a quote, let us know how the process goes.And now, for some background on Disney World ticket sellers!Discount Disney Tickets and Third-Party WholesalersDisney considers itself a premium brand, especially when it comes to its theme parks. And like other premium brands, such as Apple, Disney rarely offers direct discounts on its core products – in this case, theme park admission. Disney’s reasoning is consumers would eventually start expecting ticket price discounts, and the discounted price would effectively become the normal price people are willing to pay for admission. And, as JC Penney learned, once customers start expecting discounts, it’s almost impossible to stop offering them.  For a company like Disney, whose revenue growth depends in large part on raising prices much faster than inflation, direct discounts on theme park admission are a long-term threat to their stock price.But Disney knows that finding even slightly discounted tickets can motivate some cost-conscious families to visit a Disney theme park, thereby increasing Disney’s overall theme park revenue. And that’s where third-party ticket wholesalers come in. Many of these wholesalers are small, family-run operations located near Disney’s theme parks. They all have contracts with Disney that allow them to buy thousands of regular theme park tickets, at prices lower than Disney charges at its parks.The wholesalers add on a small amount – I’m told it’s sometimes as little as $3 on a $390 ticket – and resell the ticket to the public. This arrangement lets Disney capture business from those cost-conscious families without having to offer discounts to everyone. It also provides dozens (possibly hundreds) of jobs in the areas around Disney’s theme parks.What Disney didn’t count on, according to the people I’ve talked to, is Expedia.com.Expedia is one of the largest travel sellers in the world.  In fact, only two companies – Expedia and Priceline.com – account for 95% of the $152 billion online travel market. In 2015, Expedia earned almost $6.7 billion in revenue. That has fueled an aggressive growth strategy, allowing Expedia to acquire competitors including Hotels.com, Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, and Hotwire.com.A few years ago, Expedia launched Local Expert, a program that allows Expedia and third-party companies to sell tickets, activities, and tours, through Expedia’s website. The idea behind Local Expert is that once you book airfare or a hotel to a specific destination, Local Expert will offer you an activity to do in the same area, earning Expedia a small commission for each sale.  For example, if you book airfare to Washington DC, you might be offered a guided tour around the city’s monuments from a tour operator, or discounted admission to the Newseum. Buy the tour or ticket, and Expedia makes some money as the middleman.Expedia’s Local Expert ProgramExpedia’s Local Expert program offers discounted tickets to Walt Disney World too, in the form of electronic vouchers. These are different from the park tickets sold by Disney and most third-party wholesalers, in a couple of minor areas.  But in every meaningful way – admission, Fastpass+ reservations, and linking to My Disney Experience, the vouchers are essentially identical to a ticket you buy directly from Disney.What’s Behind That Great Deal on Disney World Tickets?Here’s where things get interesting. Parksavers’ website confirms that they’re reselling Expedia’s Walt Disney World ticket. And in many cases, Parksaver’s prices are lower than Expedia’s own prices for the same ticket: a 7-day Adult Park Hopper is currently $394.10, while Expedia wants $410.03. For comparison, long-time Disney ticket vendors such as Official Ticket Center and Undercover Tourist are asking just under $450 for the same ticket.In fact, Parksavers’ and Expedia’s prices are so low, according to industry people I spoke to, that third party wholesalers can’t even buy those tickets from Disney for the prices Parksavers and Expedia are selling them.How are Expedia and Parksavers able to sell tickets at those prices? There are only a couple of likely explanations:Expedia negotiated a fantastic one-off contract with DisneyExpedia is intentionally losing money on each ticket as part of a long-term strategyThe industry people I’ve spoken to think it’s the latter. Their opinions, all seemingly arrived at independently, is that Expedia is using some of its $6.7 billion in profits to sell Disney tickets at a loss, in order to drive third-party ticket wholesalers out of the market. Just as Expedia’s purchase of other travel websites reduced competition, this would eliminate most competition in the Local Experts ticket market for Orlando. And with other ticket wholesalers out of the way, it might allow Expedia more leverage with Disney when it comes to setting ticket prices.Disney, I’m told, thinks Expedia is playing the long-term strategy too. And they’re not at all happy about it. Some of that unhappiness is because Disney really wants these small, family-run ticket wholesalers to stick around.  That’s partly for altruistic reasons – Disney seems to understand (in this case, anyway) its role in the local economy includes supporting the tourism industry. It’s also partly selfish, because Disney knows that any one of that small group of mom-and-pop vendors is never going to have enough bargaining power to tell Disney how to set ticket prices. But Disney’s concerned that Expedia might.One hurdle with Expedia’s strategy is, I’m told, that Expedia’s contract with Disney expires at the end of 2016 and has not yet been extended for 2017. It’s almost certain that ticket pricing is one of the main discussions in that renewal, and I’m sure Disney is pushing for restrictions on how low Expedia can set its prices. In the meantime, you can still buy those ticket vouchers for dates in 2016, and use them in 2017.Disclaimer: Neither TouringPlans nor its staff have any relationship of any kind with Magical Vacations Travel or ParkSavers.com. Our requests to Expedia’s affiliate and travel agency divisions, and to Parksavers.com,  for clarification on their voucher pricing, got no response.last_img read more

Ban welcomes Durban climate deal

first_img11 December 2011United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the set of decisions reached at the UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa on Sunday, saying they represented “a significant agreement that will define how the international community will address climate change in the coming years”.After marathon negotiations extended over the weekend, the 194 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed on a historic package of decisions known as the “Durban Platform”.New protocol or ‘legal instrument’These include the launch of a protocol or “legal instrument” that will apply to all members, a second commitment period for the existing Kyoto Protocol, and the full implementation of the Green Climate Fund.In a statement on Sunday, Ban said the Durban Platform would be “essential for stimulating greater action and for raising the level of ambition and the mobilization of resources to respond to the challenges of climate change.”Ban also welcomed the agreement to establish a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, saying it would “increase certainty for the carbon market, and provide additional incentives for new investments in technology and the infrastructure necessary to fight climate change.”Cancun Agreements to be implementedBan said he was gratified that the countries in Durban had reached a decision to implement the Cancun Agreements created at last year’s conference in Mexico.The new measures, which will come into full effect in 2012, include setting up a Technology Mechanism that will promote developing country access to clean, low-carbon technologies, and establishing an Adaptation Committee to coordinate activities to adapt to climate change on a global scale.Ban welcomed the agreement to launch the Green Climate Fund, added that he was gratified that a number of countries had signalled their intent to contribute to it.The Fund was created following the Cancun talks to help developing countries protect themselves from climate impacts, but had not been launched yet, and Ban had urged developed countries throughout the two-week conference in Durban to inject the necessary capital to kick-start it.“Taken together, these agreements represent an important advance in our work on climate change,” Ban said, calling on countries to “quickly implement these decisions and to continue working together in the constructive spirit evident in Durban.”SAinfo reporterlast_img read more