If anyone is even remotely updated on current events, you should know what is going on with the Nation Football League. Last week a video surfaced of former running back for the Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice beating his then fiancé, now wife, in an elevator. Although this incident happened back in February (Rice was suspended for two games), now that the video is out he has officially been kicked out of the NFL.

CoverGirl is the official beauty partner of the NFL. In their most recent campaign, they have been promoting the organization by creating a signature makeup look for every team in the league. “Get your game face on” is the tag line used to entice women football fans. Last night, a photoshopped picture of the CoverGirl Ravens ad went viral.


Original CoverGirl ad for the Ravens


Edited ad

Whoever photoshopped the ad altered the model’s make up to make it look like she has a black eye.  Many have tweeted this image along with #GoodellMustGo and #BoycottNFL to encourage the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, to resign. Fans of the NFL are outraged by how the NFL handled the situation and now they are looking for someone to fix it. Since the video has come out the NFL has changed the rules for whoever breaks their domestic violence policy. The consequence is now a six game non-paid suspension.

Although CoverGirl is still backing the NFL they released this statement to E! News: “As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, COVERGIRL believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans. In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.” 

Different companies have also been affected by the domestic violence case. EA, the creators of Madden, have taken Ray Rice out of the popular video game and Nike has terminated Rice’s contract and taken his  jersey off their website.

Do you think that whoever edited the advertisement was ethical? Was it okay for them to intervene with the campaign in such a way? Is the picture powerful enough to get through to people?


Finn, N. (2014, September 15). CoverGirl Model Given a Black Eye in Ad Photoshopped to Protest the NFL After Ray Rice Domestic Abuse Debacle. Retrieved September 16, 2014.

Lobosco, K. (2014, September 15). CoverGirl ad attacked by NFL protesters. Retrieved September 16, 2014.


Spotify: Not Just Audio Anymore

            That’s right— Spotify is no longer limited to audio! Starting solidly with Ford, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Target, Wells Fargo and NBC Universal Pictures as its first takers, Spotify has begun hosting video advertising campaigns on both its desktop and mobile versions. In order to accommodate the multitude of users that stream music freely, Spotify has branched out from its solely audial and static visual forms of advertisements and extended into what it is calling “Sponsored Sessions.” Click here to watch a video ad on…video ads.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 8.22.53 AM

            “Sponsored Sessions” is a name for the exchange of 30 minutes of free commercial-less play for the viewing of one brand video. By testing out different time slots ranging from 15 minutes long to an hour long, Spotify was able decide on the sweet spot of 30 minutes. These sessions exist on mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. However, by holding a subscription for Spotify Premium ($9.99, but $4.99 for students), one can avoid advertisements entirely.

            From the point of view of a Spotify user, this digital advertising plan seems like a win-win-win for Spotify, Spotify users, and brands. Spotify is being compensated for the block of free listening it is giving its customers. In addition, the Sponsored Sessions might inspire users to join Spotify Premium as the scale of advertisements increases on the site. Spotify users, with the start of Sponsored Sessions, will be interrupted less and experience an increase of free streaming without ads. The brands benefitted by the Sponsored Sessions will be able to access a large and growing market of all ages and backgrounds. Brands will also be able to associate themselves with a company that maintains a good reputation.

            Launched in Stockholm, Sweden in 2008, Spotify is a music streaming service, accessible from computers, mobile devices, tablets, and home entertainment systems. Spotify began with offering paid subscriptions to everyone, but restricting the number of free accounts. Immediately after, the company simultaneously suffered massive losses, and announced the establishment of many licensing deals with record labels. By September 2011, the company had two million paying subscribers in Europe, and decided it was time to launch in America. Approximately a year later, Spotify recorded that 4 million people were subscribers. Over the course of two years, Spotify created and managed its own app, which now allows Premium users to access its repertoire of music freely from their phones, and lets anyone with the app access and shuffle their pre-made playlists.

            Spotify has grown quickly in the past and will continue to grow. They offer smart solutions that appeal to every stakeholder. Do you think this is a good move for Spotify? Will it affect the number of users that switch to Premium?

Are You a TingleHead? The wonderful world of ASMR


The world is divided into two types of people:

those that experience ASMR, and those that don’t!


Maybe it was the voice of your first grade teacher that initially triggered a similar sensation in you? Perhaps you go to get a haircut more often than others because you feel the tingly sensation spreading all over your body, when the attentive stylist gently washes your hair.



Figure 1 ASMR Triggers (Via Jesus Gonzalez Fonseca Blog)

Via Jesus Gonzalez Fonseca Blog


But all this is old news, isn’t it? Because one night, anxious and unable to sleep, you hopped on YouTube and landed on a whisper video…. And just like that you’ve discovered that others also respond in a similar way to head massages and certain voices because just like you they have ASMR.

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s not a scientific name because at this time there are no studies conducted on the effects of ASMT triggers on the brain. And it makes it harder to quantify because not everyone responds to ASMR. According to Novella (2012):

“What we need at this point,” writes Steven Novella, Director of General Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine, on his Neuroscience blog, “are functional MRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation studies that look at what is happening in the brains of people while experiencing ASMR versus typical controls. Are their brains really different, and in what way? I also wonder if the same or similar experience can be artificially induced in typical (non-ASMR) people.“

Jeff Thomson (2013), the creator of a popular ASMR website, The ASMR Lab, mentions seven common triggers ASMRtists use in their films:

(1) Whispering;

(2) Scratching and tapping;

(3) Blowing;

(4) Turning pages;

(5) Personal attention;

(6) Touching head (for instance, head massage or hair brushing);


PBS Remix-Happy Painter

(7) Bob Ross! — a painter, and a star of The Joy of Painting, an American PBS program, who apparently has induced virginal ASMR responses in tingleheads across the world. Bob’s tantalizing paint-smearing technique, and his calming and positive narration that is often centers on trivialities (such as squirrels or cherry tomatoes), keeps Ross’ videos popular among tingle-hunters even after his death.


Image via FiveThirtyEight.com

And here’s an example of one of the coolest, in my opinion, ASMR videos out there:


Via ASMR Requests YouTube channel


(This blog post is modified version of a White Paper written previously by the author)




Novella, S. (2012, March 12). NeuroLogica Blog » ASMR. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/asmr/

Thomson, J. (n.d.). ASMR Triggers – Common ASMR triggers that cause tingles | The ASMR Lab. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from http://www.asmrlab.com/common-asmr-triggers/




3D Printing is the next industrial revolution


What if I told you that in the comfort of your own home, you could design an outfit you intend to wear to a fancy dinner function put the specification into your computer and print it out from your home just in time for that event that same day?

What if I told you that technology is available and is very close to being mass produced? Would you believe me?

As a kid, I remember watching Star Trek and there was this particular machine in the cafeteria, where customers would simply input their choice and it would make it on the spot. The ingredients would materialize out of thin air and assemble into the desired meal. Whilst this is a bit far fetched, similar is already happening. This company is selling a machine that promises similar.

All this is possible because of what is known as 3-D Printing.

What is 3-D printing you may ask?

3-D printing according to 3D PRINTING.com is “a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.”

This is achieved when the desired object is rendered in a virtual space through the use of specialized software, which enables the 3-D construct to be brought to life.

Many have lamented for years that the American manufacturing industry is on the decline, with jobs rapidly being shipped overseas and many industries closing in the wake of that. But don’t hit the death knell just yet; 3-D printing seems to be giving a lot of people hope for the future. Some have gone as far as saying that this will be the next big industrial boom. The one that will not have to bring back the lost jobs, but rather create new ones that will have an impact on an economy that desperately needs said jobs.

The applications and uses for this technology is mind blowing, with it being applicable to pretty much every sphere of life. Take for instance the health industry, the ramifications are astounding. Pardon me for using so many superlatives in succession, but this really has the ability to change life as we know it. But I digress, imagine a world where organs could be designed to match those in need, pretty much making things like organ donors irrelevant. No longer would people have to suffer for lack of finding the right organs or donors, when their needs could be addressed with a 3-D printer. Some are even speculating that this could prolong our lives if we are able to design perfect organs to work with our bodies; optimized to ensure that they don’t break down over time.

How many times have we bought an outfit online only to realize it doesn’t fit? With 3-d printing, anybody can make their outfits and the neat part is those clothes will always fit. Why? Because you design to your specifications. All you need do is input your measurements and what type of outfit you are trying to create. According to this article, the hours spent behind sewing machines will also decrease drastically. 3-D printers will take out all the effort, all we have to do is sit back and let the machine do its thing.


Could 3-d printing even solve global hunger? It’s possible. With a dearth of materials in certain places affected by famine, a 3-d printer could be the solution. We know it only requires certain materials to function. With limited resources, much can be created and effectively. Unfortunately, most of the 3-d printed food coming out still hasn’t solved the taste conundrum. But with so much time and effort going into this technology, that issue will definitely be addressed.


In conclusion there’s a lot to look forward to. As the world population continues to balloon and resources continue to decline at an alarming rate. 3-d printing offers a solution, whereas each individual is responsible for their livelihood. Everything from the cars we drive, to the houses we live in may eventually be created by a 3-d printer. The more proliferated the technology is, the cheaper it will be for the consumer. In the end, everyone wins. This is a band wagon you want to hop on.



Giant 3D printer starts spitting out a house – CNET. (n.d.). CNET. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.cnet.com/news/giant-3d-printer-starts-spitting-out-a-house/

The 3D-Printed Car That Will Drive Across the Country. (n.d.). Popular Mechanics. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/industry/urbee-2-the-3d-printed-car-that-will-drive-across-the-country-16119485

“Food is the next frontier of 3D printing”. (n.d.). Dezeen Food is the next frontierbr of 3D printing Comments. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.dezeen.com/2013/03/27/food-is-the-next-frontier-of-3d-printing-janne-kytannen/

The World’s First Lab-Grown Meat Burger Tastes Terrible (Surprise!). (n.d.). Gizmodo. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://gizmodo.com/the-worlds-first-lab-grown-meat-burger-tastes-terrible-1027385867

Kurutz, S. (2013, December 14). Taking Fashion to a New Dimension. The New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/fashion/3D-Printing-Clothing-fashion.html?_r=2&

3-D Printing: What You Need to Know About the Next Industrial Revolution. (n.d.). Inc.com. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.inc.com/aaron-aders/3d-printing-the-next-industrial-revolution.html

What is 3D printing? – Explanations – How it works – Industrial – Personal – 3D Printing. (n.d.). What is 3D printing? – Explanations – How it works – Industrial – Personal – 3D Printing. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/

Star Trek Replicator Nearing Reality?. (n.d.). StarTrek.com. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.startrek.com/article/star-trek-replicator-nearing-reality



Studio Ghibli: Educating A Populace Through Animation


A few weeks back I watched The wind rises, a beautiful animated story set in war time Japan, telling the tale of a young Japanese engineer whose dream was to create the perfect war time plane. The movie was made by Japan’s top animation studio, ‘Studio Ghibli’ and was directed by animation legend Hayao Miyazaki.

The movie although commercially successful as gotten some very tough criticism from inside Japan. The reason being, some feel that Miyazaki and his studio have white washed war and painted Japan in a less positive way. Historians and pundits will mostly agree that Japan was on the wrong side of World War II, the era in which the film was set. But watching this particular movie, one could easily get carried away by other themes that bubble to the surface, cleverly keeping the war at bay. In fact war is used as a clever back drop, playing up the young engineers’ dreams and the woman he falls in love with and eventually loses to illness. Yet as with many movies of theirs, studio Ghibli shows the heart break and devastation war brings, the lives lost, the savaged environment and the people that have to put back the jagged pieces of their lives.


Hayao Miyazaki has said many times that he considers himself a pacifist and an environmentalist. Just like their founder, his studio mostly makes movies that addresses one social issue or the other. Whilst a lot of their movies cater to kids and young adults, there’s a usually a very strong social message that goes along with it.

Some readers may or may not have watched some of the studios famous movies, but this link has the list of all the movies Studio Ghibli has made.

Films like Castle in the Sky, Grave of the fireflies, Porco Rosso and The wind rises all deal with themes of war. Interestingly enough, in both Porco Rosso and the wind rises, fighter planes and their pilots have a strong role in the telling of the stories. This perhaps has to do with the fact that Hayao himself is a son of an aeronautical engineer. His father was responsible for creating airplanes that were used in fighting the war. Whilst these machines are beautified in his movies, they are not exempt from being portrayed as weapons of devastation, destroying lives and properties with the ease that some of us would apply to devouring our favorite dessert.


Another big theme with Studio Ghibli and their movies, is the topic of environmentalism. Take for instance Nausicaa of the Valley of the wind. A movie whose main protagonist lives in perhaps the world’s only utopia, until that place must come to terms with the scarred outside world, and everyone has to figure out how to coexist. You might perhaps wonder how can a movie aimed for kids pack such a strong message, but one only has to watch a Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki movie to realize just how much of a genius he is at telling stories and conveying his message in a beautiful and enthralling method.

Its little wonder that TIME magazine has named Hayao Miyazaki one of the most influential people in the world, twice running. Till date no other foreign animated movie has won an Oscar, which Spirited Away did in 2001.

Its not that Studio Ghibli is the only Japanese animation studio making socially conscious movies. Heck, one can see strong anti-war themes in classics such as Akira, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Mobile Suit Gundam. But whereas those shows and movies were geared towards a more mature audience, Miyazaki and his company take simple themes and give them a global appeal.HAYAO-MIYAZAKI-animation

Its little wonder why its one of the most successful movie studios not just in Asia, but in the world. Pretty much every release of theirs is a gold mine, which is quite a feat in itself. It is a testament to the remarkable Hayao, who up until his recent retirement, adhered to a stringent moral code, that he would not only make beautiful movies, but also ones with a conscience. With how widely accepted his movies are, generations of Japanese youth have been inculcated into the Miyazaki way. Learning about the perils of destroying our environment, the savageness and brutality that comes with war, and the jeopardy of abandoning our dreams.


. (n.d.). IMDb. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.imdb.com/company/co0048420/

Deep Focus Review – Movie Reviews – Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). (n.d.). Deep Focus Review – Movie Reviews – Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.deepfocusreview.com/reviews/nausicaaofthevalleyofthewind.asp

Hayao Miyazaki Contemplates Dreams, the Environment and the Elegant Simplicity of ‘Ponyo’ | 7×7. (n.d.). Hayao Miyazaki Contemplates Dreams, the Environment and the Elegant Simplicity of ‘Ponyo’ | 7×7. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.7×7.com/arts/hayao-miyazaki-contemplates-dreams-environment-and-elegant-simplicity-ponyo

Spirited Away. (n.d.). IMDb. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245429/

Akira. (n.d.). IMDb. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094625/

Shin Seiki Evangerion. (n.d.). IMDb. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112159/?ref_=nv_sr_1

The Greatest Living Animation Director Explains Why He’s Retiring. (n.d.). BuzzFeed. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/hayao-miyazaki-retirement-the-wind-rises



Take a Bow Siri: LinkedIn’s new app predicts the future, and then some

Today, Tuesday, July 15th, LinkedIn, a professional social networking site with 300 million international members from over 200 countries, is launching their new application, Connected that attempts to keep individuals on top of their business tasks by predicting various criteria of details one might need to keep in mind for optimum performance in a meeting. (Olson, 2014)

According to LinkedIn, by providing “access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights” they are connecting “the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Certainly, the new app, which is a significant upgrade from the previous version called Contacts. It “uses a card-like interface to show users updates on what’s happening with people in the network. The app is also smarter than its predecessor in a few ways: it can integrate with a smartphone calendar, to learn about forthcoming appointments.” For instance, if you have an upcoming meeting, and it is recorded on LinkedIn, Connected — whether the application is turned On or Off — is made to ping its owner a ‘talking points’ summary relating to individuals s/he is about to encounter. This summary would include the other party’s recent developments; including photos and updates they’ve posted on LinkedIn. Moreover, just like the screenshot (courtesy of LinkedIn) proves, the app goes as far at to suggest: “Remember to ask about her two kids, Holly and Matt.” (Olson, 2014)


LinkedIn’s new Connected app

The app is actually made of six different applications that include a flagship app. This setup allows Connected to analyze and rank an individual’s LinkedIn network; prioritizing who is important, and to what degree. The app would work often with a network spanning over 500 connections per individual.

In addition, to help Connected hone its familiarity with a person’s network, “LinkedIn has built a contextual learning platform called Ropod.” The idea behind this platform is using pre-meeting intelligence, so that the application is proactive and truly helpful and its reactions.

This applications is employing two recent trends in the world of technology:

(1)  Data sharing and ‘talking’ between applications. For instance, the Connected app will have an ongoing dialogue with iCal and Google.

(2)  Anticipatory computing.

Finally, Connected follows the process known as ‘implicit personalization.’ “A sophisticated program learns about a person behind the scenes, for instance by noticing how they refer to certain people in their contacts list as their ‘sister’ or ‘boss,’ and then making decisions about who’s most relevant.” (Olson, 2014)



About Us. (2003, January 1). World’s Largest Professional Network. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from https://www.linkedin.com/about-us?trk=hb_rr_ft_about

Olson, P. (2014, July 10). LinkedIn’s New App Predicts What You Need To Know Before A Meeting. Forbes. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2014/07/10/linkedin-connected-app-predictive/




What movie did that come from? Um just the oh so fetch movie mean girls! Mean Girls was the movie that changed the way high school was as we now know it! Who didn’t want to be a plastic? This year marked the 10 year anniversary of the movie and this year on Wednesdays girls across the world wear pink.   images Many people believe mean girls might have just been a teen movie about silly girl drama in high school but it actually shed light on one pressing issue – bullying. I remember always being on the opposite end of the bullying spectrum; I was a mean girl. I was not your Regina George but I was Gretchen Weiners; I was just as guilty by association. I often think about what those people we made fun of are doing now. Are they successful? Are they married with children? Did they go to college? Most of all I think was I was wrong for not being nice to people? Or was it just apart of growing up? The thought that haunts me the most is what we had the choice to bully someone vis the internet? Cyberbullying-–-vs-–-Bullying   The reason why the thought crosses my mind is because so often we see cases on cyber bullying and bullying within the schools. Kids commit suicide or cry themselves to sleep over words that someone else says about them. Studies show that bullying has taken a different turn because of the internet and social media. In mean girls it was just three way phone calls and a burn book; now you can post embarrassing pictures, screenshot text messages and harass someone via social media anonymously (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook). Many high school girls have no way to escape because it is constantly in their face; what someone else things about them, how they look or if everyone saw that picture of them doing who knows what. Cyberbullying-–-vs-–-Bullying   Many of us Gretchen Weiners never saw this an issue because we were not the ones being made fun of but bullying actually touches everyone and cyber bullying touches more kids than we know.   Here are some quick facts that many people may not have know about cyber bullying but may actually changes their views on the act of cyber bullying! 1. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once. 2. 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online. 3. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying. 4. 68% of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem. 5. 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person. 6. 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have ignored it. 84% have seen others tell cyber bullies to stop. 7. Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse. 8. Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying. 9. About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out 10 say it has happened more than once. 10. Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide. 11. About 75% of students admit they have visited a website bashing another student. The scary thing is that it is a trend that we follow unknowingly and have no choice to perpetuate. In this life you are either a bully or Regina George. Bullying extends way beyond high school; it follows you to college and adult life. There are mean girls everywhere! Have we not learned anything from mean girls?

Actually we have; On Wednesdays We Wear Pink!

Sources   11 Facts about Cyber Bullying. (2013, December 31). . Retrieved June 8, 2014, from https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying Mean Girls. (2014, May 30). Retrieved June 8, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_Girls Donda, V. (2011, January 28). On Wednesdays We Were PInk. . Retrieved June 8, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E85eO6lqQ