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Rich Parents Are Paying ‘Theme Park Nannies’ to Take Their Kids to Disney
On yet another early morning, on yet another oppressively humid day in Central Florida, 25-year-old Cyan Nardiello adjusts her Mickey ears and prepares to go rope-drop-to-park-close at the Most Magical Place on Earth. That, of course, could describe any of the millions of tourists who descend upon Orlando on an annual basis, but Nardiello is different—she’s a theme-park nanny, and she’s about to make $400 for helping kids have fun at Walt Disney World. On any given day, you’ll find a handful of paid magic makers like Nardiello visiting Disney’s 27,520 acres. Orlando’s theme-park nanny business is booming, and for good reason—visiting Disney World is more complicated than ever. Grappling with Genie+ (Disney’s paid skip-the-line service) and the odyssey that is navigating from one side of the resort to another is stressful in the best of times. Throw in a screaming kid or two, and you have a weeklong math problem, not a vacation. And so, in 2020, Nardiello came up with a solution: a theme-park nanny agency called Once Upon A Nanny. As a senior at the University of Central Florida, she took a child she nannied to Disney World on their last day of school. When this became a regular occurrence, she started filming video diaries of their adventures for TikTok. Millions of views followed—as did inquiries from parents hoping Nardiello could do the same for their kids. “From my first TikTok, I had hundreds of parents asking me to help,” Nardiello tells me. “I still get kids who are excited to see me because they’ve seen my videos.”
How Can we Protect Satellites in Earth-moon Space? This New Software Could Help
As the space around Earth becomes increasingly cluttered with human-made junk, scientists are ramping up their efforts to safeguard satellites in real time. The latest in that effort are new algorithms being developed at the University of Central Florida (UCF) to automatically monitor and protect spacecraft from bumping into satellites and asteroids in cislunar space — the realm between Earth and the moon, which is under the gravitational influence of both celestial bodies. Because cislunar space is so vast, tracking and predicting the orbits of satellites, spent rocket stages and asteroids is a challenging task, scientists say. The existing infrastructure "is not equipped to provide the needed coverage in cislunar space," Tarek Elgohary, an associate professor of aerospace engineering, said in a UCF statement. "There is a need for fast and accurate solutions to quantify uncertainties to improve predictions and provide [space domain awareness] information in the absence of continuous coverage." The new algorithms are being designed to autonomously track objects and predict collisions in low Earth orbit (LEO), which is expected to become increasingly crowded in the coming decade. Elgohary said the same tools, whose development is largely being funded by the Virginia-based Air Force Office of Scientific Research, could also be used to monitor ships at sea, predict their paths and "spot suspicious behavior in real time."