LEGO Reaches Renewable Energy Landmark

It seems like now more than ever, the news we hear about our climate is. . . not great. Earthday.org lists “deadly heat waves, extreme weather events, and threats to life on earth” along with “Global sea levels are rising. . . Surface temperatures are setting new heat records. . .glaciers are in retreat globally. . .” in the long list of negative effects on our Earth due to human activity.

As individuals, there is only so much we can do ourselves to halt the rising temperatures on Earth. It’s nice to see large corporations, like LEGO, step up to the challenge. According to energymanagertoday.com, the LEGO Group is using a combination of wind and solar energies to power their entire manufacturing facilities. On top of that, energymanagertoday.com notes that LEGO is even three years ahead of schedule. With global temperatures on the rise, it seems like every second counts. If more corporations would follow suit with where they get their energy, maybe the planet would be a better place.

Climate Change

LEGO Achieves its Goal of 100% Renewable Energy Use 3 Years Ahead of Schedule

 

How influential are Instagram Influencers?

When it comes to this generation that we are transitioning into, Instagram and social media influencers are rising, but I feel that the ways that these influencers are posting do not necessarily positively influence the masses like many think they do. From my experience and observation, the life of an Instagram influencer can be complex in the sense that it can be emotionally and mentally straining with negative comments from followers and the constant obligation for updates to their followers. As result, there can be times where these negative situations can put the influencer in a bad place and promote bad habits to their followers as well. On both sides, it can be toxic for those exposed to it. On the other hand, there are times that influencers positively affect their audience. There are influencers such as Jamie Oliver and David Chang, who are both critically acclaimed chefs, who use their platforms on social media as way to teach young chefs or even people wanting something new to cook, how to cook in an easy, safe, and occasionally healthy way. Additionally, other influencers are known promote really healthy lifestyles as well, showing tips and tricks to make eating and living easier and more eco friendly for a more sustainable future. One of the main things that James Asquith discusses in his article is the fact that influencers are spoiling special destinations in the world that should be experienced in person, rather than through a screen. He mentions that influencers do not have the exigence to be able to recommend activities for their followers and they do not actually influence their audience; they essentially provide their lifestyle full of content and have it looked at through a magnifying glass (Asquith 1). I can agree with this ideology, but there are aspects that are not necessarily as black and white as that. These influencers curate content, no different than an advertisement, but there are always areas for promotion and influencing in areas that are familiar with them on their audience.

Have Instagram Influencers Ruined Travel For An Entire Generation?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesasquith/2019/09/01/have-instagram-influencers-ruined-travel-for-an-entire-generation/#1f6d2d171e30

The Area 51 Raid And Its Implications

It’s amazing how an idea can spread through the internet. A great example of this is the Area 51 Raid meme. It began as a joke when somebody posted a Facebook event saying there will be a Raid on Area 51 on September 20th, 2019, saying that  some people began taking it seriously. According to Criss (2019), the creator of this joke, Matty Roberts, disavowed storming Area 51. However, he still planned on having events. An event called Alienstock was planned to be in the nearby town of Rachel. However, Criss (2019) said that Roberts cancelled this due to, “”…lack of infrastructure, poor planning, risk management and blatant disregard for the safety of the expected 10,000+ AlienStock attendees…””

According to Criss, the official event has been changed to the Area 51 Celebration in Las Vegas. This is probably a wise idea. Criss mentions how two dutch men had already been arrested earlier this week. This shows how a joke on the internet can be taken too far. We may need to teach people in the future about safety regarding jokes on the internet, and not taking things too far.

Source: Criss, Doug (20 September 2019), Alien enthusiasts descend on Area 51 for an event that started as a joke, CNN, Retrieved on 20 September 2019 from:  https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/area-51-raid-weekend-event-trnd/index.html

Is Social Media Good For Us?

Social media is a crazy world and it has truly blossomed during our generation. Being able to communicate with people all across the world, share photos and stories globally, and all the other incredible things social media has to offer. Unfortunately as many of us know, social media  is not all rainbows and butterflies. There are so many wonderful things social media brings to the table for us but it is a known fact that it can also have many negative effects. A major issue with social media has to do with mental health. For example many people comparing themselves to “instagram models” and get so caught up in it that they develop such bad, unhealthy  habits. “Seeing others’ lives on social media platforms like Snapchat “may also expose adolescents to idealized self-presentations that negatively influence body image and encourage social comparisons.”” (Williams, 2019). This is a major issue especially as younger and younger teens are using these platforms. 

Alongside the issue of body image and young people comparing themselves to others and the issues that it arises, bullying is also a large problem that occurs on social media. Since many people think that hurting someone over the internet is easier than in person, people have relied on social media to make fun of or bully people. Obviously, these platforms were not intended to do that but unfortunately it does take place. “Time spent on social media may increase the risk of experiencing cyberbullying, which has a strong association with depressive symptoms’ (Williams, 2019). It is important to learn how to use social media in an appropriate and healthy way as these platforms are still on the rise and are only getting bigger. Our mental health should not be jeopardized by these social media platforms. 

https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2019-09-12/social-media-use-may-increase-teens-risk-of-mental-health-issues

 

Is Instagram Copying Snapchat?

The world of social media can be so competitive, when one app launches an update, the other apps always seem to follow. Instagram and snapchat have been competing for a long time. At first snapchat launched filters and days later instagram had came out with filters too. Let’s see if it happens this time around! Snapchat has just launched a new type of camera lens. It is a 3D camera mode that “Will let users make and share images with diorama-like depth effects that move when you tilt your phone.” (Lunden, 2019). Snapchat launching new features is a great example of staying up to date in the technology and application world and trying to provide services that your competitors don’t. 

Even though Snapchat was the first to launch filters and other features in the past, Instagram still seems to be more popular, “Instagram currently says its DAUs are over 500 million” (Lunden, 2019), while snapchat “Most recently reported 203 million daily active users”(Lunden, 2019). This is probably due to the fact that instagram is a bigger platform and has more to offer, where snapchat is great for sharing quick pictures with instagram you are able to make more of a portfolio.

In class we discussed the importance of making sure your social media accounts reflect positive things about you and how important it is to think every time you post. There has been so many cases where employers want to hire someone but they take a look at their social media and find information and realize that they don’t want that type of person in their workplace. In class we learned that, “70% of employers use Social Media to screen candidates. Just over half of these found content that led them not to get hired”(CareerBuilder).  As social media plays a major role in people’s lives, it is crucial to watch what you put online. 

 

https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/17/snapchat-is-adding-in-a-3d-camera-mode-the-latest-salvo-in-its-feature-race-with-instagram/

https://www.careerbuilder.com

 

Deepfakes used in the wrong context

Deepfakes have always fascinated me. “Deepfake is a term for videos and presentations enhanced by artificial intelligence and other modern technology to present falsified results.”1(technopedia) The videos where you can see somebody’s face morphed onto another’s body along with the conspiracy videos about deep fakes have been the type of videos I can watch for hours. Deepfakes are But what if deepfakes took a wrong turn?

I have heard about deepfakes being misused in revenge porn-like forms. “Deepfakes are mostly weaponised against women and girls; a dangerous new frontier in so-called “revenge porn”.”2(Melville,K. The insidious rise of deepfake porn videos — and one woman who won’t be silenced) This became more prominent as people began to find videos of themselves on the internet.

“Noelle Martin was an 18-year-old law student when, late one night, she did a reverse Google image search out of curiosity, … Instead, hundreds of explicit images of her face photoshopped onto the bodies of porn actresses engaged in sexual acts flooded her screen.”2 (Melville,K. The insidious rise of deepfake porn videos — and one woman who won’t be silenced)

 

Revenge porn is not a new thing, it has been the ugly underbelly of the internet. The new element is the deepfakes being more accessible to the large public. Deepfakes are not an evil thing on its own. The people misusing them to harm other people are an unfortunate abuse of a new technology. And since it is such a new technology, laws regarding the misuse of deepfakes are not in place yet. Being careful with new technology, especially where everything has a share button and can be spread far and wide, is becoming more crucial.

The good news is that there are laws being placed in regard of deepfakes. “Virginia has officially expanded its nonconsensual pornography ban to include realistic fake videos and photos, including computer-generated “deepfakes.” The amendment was passed earlier this year and goes into effect today, making Virginia one of the first places with a law covering deepfakes.”3 (Robertson A. Virginia’s ‘revenge porn’ laws now officially cover deepfakes). Abuse of new technology is not a new thing. But with new problems presenting themselves every day, I feel like people are more aware of fake things on the internet and new precautions are being placed faster.

 

Resources:

1 https://www.techopedia.com/definition/33835/deepfake

2 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-30/deepfake-revenge-porn-noelle-martin-story-of-image-based-abuse/11437774

3 https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/1/20677800/virginia-revenge-porn-deepfakes-nonconsensual-photos-videos-ban-goes-into-effect

4 Photo: Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash

How would society be different if social media never existed?

The influx of social media has lead a lot of people to wonder what was its original intent. Today, social media is a significant part of the youth in America and many wonder if it was for the better or for the worse.

The first major social media platform that had lots of people hooked on it was actually Facebook. The intent of facebook was to keep friends from college closer together. It was a place to share memories and stories. Facebook was the “high tech” cell phone. Today facebook is used for a lot different purpose. Today, most of the time social media provides a platform for one of two things: bragging and reacting.

Im not going to lie, I use social media to brag about my life.

Kiev, Ukraine – October 17, 2012 – A logotype collection of well-known social media brand’s printed on paper. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Vimeo, Flickr, Myspace, Tumblr, Livejournal, Foursquare and more other logos.

https://images.app.goo.gl/bZpprp4ba3VbhksH9

Social media presence is being looked at now by employers. It puts lots of pressure on young people today to make smart decisions with their cellphone. In addition, social media has limited face to face interaction, something that I for one think is a major problem. Tradition and the ability to communicate in person with one another is becoming something of the past.

Furthermore, we only share the good on our social media pages. We use it as an escape. That is not the reality of life.

The True Purpose of Social Media 2018

Tor—the anonymity network

Nowadays our online privacy are put on the table.

The most popular browsers we use today probaboly are IE, firefox, chrome which are not privacy-friendly, which means there are some other parties like  advertisers and rivals who can spy on you and track your web behavior, so your browsing history is going to be exposed.

On the contrast, the Tor browser is a free computer application that can be downloaded and used to avoid filtering.

“TOR”的图片搜索结果

picture from (https://www.torproject.org/)

It helps us to better protect our privacy, from their website(https://www.torproject.org/), it offers these: 1. Block Tracker: after browsing, history will be cleared, so trackers and ads cannot follow you. 2. IP will be hidden; no one can spy you. 3. You cannot using fingerprinting, since every users are made to look the same. 4. Information are coded 3 times, which means it would be much safer. 5. sites your network may have blocked which can be accessed by you.

However, Tor isn’t like other browsers. Any data is not going to be saved on Tor, for example: browsing history. It’s hard for police to trace Tor, even NSA cannot spy on the use of Tor, which means police cannot trace bad guys who are using Tor.(https://www.quora.com/Does-the-NSA-target-you-when-they-figure-out-you-use-Tor)

Tor is now supported by many organizations and countries. However, I don’t think China is going to fund on this project. This is because China has severe censorship on the internet. Like everything online should be censored under regulations. Therefore, like hidden IP is not going to pass under censorship.

Second, it’s not a Chinese company running this business. Like Emerging Technology from the arXiv said(Apr 4, 2012,https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427413/how-china-blocks-the-tor-anonymity-network/)”The biggest and most powerful of these is China, and the government there operates a firewall that denies its citizens online access to the outside world. ” This means that most of applications here like TOR are not allowed in China. Plus, for TOR, ISP can still detect you are using Tor though they cannot trace. This, in come aspect, is enough to do some repercussions.  Also, there is a fact provided by Sumit Passary Tech Times that there were someone who use Tor to make child pornography site, and it shut down by FBI. This tells us that FBI, in some content, can still spy on you. Though FBI do this for good, who can say that they are not going to cover other fields?(https://www.techtimes.com/articles/167002/20160626/the-fbi-can-still-spy-on-you-even-if-youre-using-tor-and-dont-ask-why.htm, “The FBI can still spy on you even if you’are using tor and don’t ask why”,)

 

 

 

Reference:

www.torproject.org

https://www.quora.com/Does-the-NSA-target-you-when-they-figure-out-you-use-Tor

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427413/how-china-blocks-the-tor-anonymity-network/

https://www.techtimes.com/articles/167002/20160626/the-fbi-can-still-spy-on-you-even-if-youre-using-tor-and-dont-ask-why.htm

 

How Could 3D Printing Affect Construction

A few years ago, I saw a time lapse video of a 3D printer constructing a small building in someone’s backyard. Thinking about it, it made me wonder whether or not 3D printing will ever become to dominant way to construct some things in the building industry. In 2016, Spain opened up the first 3D printed walking bridge. Since then, Shanghai has opened up the world’s longest 3D printed concrete bridge, and the city of Amsterdam is constructing a steel bridge with the help of a 3D printer as well (Patel, 2019). In addition to bridges, the city of Eindhoven plans to make 3D printed houses available for rent (Frearson, 2018), led by the Eindhoven University of Technology team. The man in charge of this team is the brain behind the first ever 3D printed concrete bridge in the Netherlands, Theo Salet. Salet says, “3D-printing of concrete is a potential game changer in the building industry. Besides the ability to construct almost any shape, it also enables architects to design very fine concrete structures” (Frearson, 19). In classic construction methods, workers have to pour concrete into molds made out of plywood. However, when using  “large-scale” 3-D printers, concrete is pumped out of a nozzle on a crane arm that is guided by a computer. This creates each structure layer by layer, and it’s no longer necessary to make a new mold for ever single piece. Basically, a 3D printer uses fewer materials and less labor than traditional construction. I, for one, and looking forward to seeing the future of 3D construction and how it may change our world in the years to come. ‘

Sources:

Patel, P. (2019, March 25). How 3-D Printing Could Break into the Building Industry. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-3d-printing-could-break-into-the-building-industry/

Frearson, A. (2018, June 6). Eindhoven to build “world’s first” 3D-printed houses that people can live in. Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2018/06/04/eindhoven-university-technology-project-milestone-3d-printed-concrete-houses/

Google is removing Youtube’s TV connection feature

Google is pulling the plug on YouTube's TV-friendly browser interface

Currently, viewers have been seeing this message when their devices are streaming videos on Youtube through TV. This feature was released in 2010, that allows other devices to connect to smart TV using the app. There are speculations that due to many other options making Youtube streaming more accessible such as Ipad and portable projectors. Now if people want to stream Youtube on TV, they have to use the app that was installed on the TV or built in stream boxes. (Rosenberg 2019). Google has yet to make any comment regarding about this topic

This is a rather surprising news for me. I do use this feature frequently when I am alone. But since this feature will be removed, I am forced to use HDMI cable if I want to watch videos. I do want to keep this feature because I am a frequent user.

Reference: https://mashable.com/article/youtube-leanback-shutting-down/