Chocolate > privacy

There are very few things I wouldn’t do for a piece of chocolate.  I wouldn’t get anywhere near a spider, I wouldn’t give up my faves Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU, I wouldn’t throw my phone in water, but beyond that, I’m pretty much game.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s proof.

This past Tuesday in class, my professor John Robinson asked the class who would give him the password to their email account for a miniature Twix bar.  He had a piece of chocolate in his hand so I was already prepared to shoot my hand up into the air before he finished his sentence.

Once I heard what I’d have to give up, my hand went up.  Only a few other hands were raised and Mr. Robinson instructed me that I couldn’t delete anything and that I’d have to email him the password after I got the candy bar.  I agreed because, honestly, I don’t have anything to hide and if I do have stuff to hide, it’s not on my email.

After I happily ate my chocolate and did a little food dance, I sent an email to my professor with my UNC email and password.

A few of my classmates were hesitant to give up their passwords because they use the same password for multiple accounts.  I’m guilty of doing this, but my Carolina email is my ONYEN (only name you’ll ever need) and the password changes every 90 days.  That being said, I don’t use that password for anything else because it’ll change and I’ll forget about it.

Mr. Robinson asked the class if anyone would give him their Twitter password and sure enough, someone volunteered for a mini candy bar.

He then asked the class if anyone would email him their social security number for a mini candy bar.  The class was silent– well, almost.  A classmate of mine sent her SSN to our professor in an email for a piece of chocolate.

While we all discussed the reasons we did– or didn’t– give up our information, the issue of privacy was the main subject in everyone’s reasoning.  I don’t care about the privacy of my email, some people really care.

Ironically, we all read an article written by Dan Barker about how much information Buzzfeed records about its users through the many quizzes on the site.  Buzzfeed tracks what answers you choose in a quiz as well as tracking what answers you don’t select.  This may not be an issue if you’re taking a quiz about what character in Frozen you are or a quiz testing how well you remember the lyrics to Britney Spears’ songs, there’s nothing personal about the questions.

I got Olaf and obviously got a perfect score for Britney lyrics.  Is anyone surprised? No.

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Other quizzes ask more personal questions and it’s more intrusive when Buzzfeed records your answers.  Barker brings up the quiz “How Privileged Are You?”  Depending on what answers the user selects and doesn’t select, Buzzfeed could figure out many things about the person taking the quiz.

For example, if the person doesn’t select the choice “I have never had an eating disorder,” Buzzfeed can determine that the person once struggled with an eating disorder.  The same can be said for the answer choice “I have never taken medication for my mental health” or “My parents are heterosexual.”

These bits of information may be private to the individual and not realize that he or she is giving this information away.

I’m okay with this information being recorded in the same way that I’m okay with my cell phone service provider tracking my location and my internet provider tracking the sites I visit.

I don’t have anything to hide, I’m not doing anything illegal nor would I be upset if the government keeps track of what I do.  I have nothing to hide, and if I did, it’s probably a good thing that I’m being monitored so it could be handled.  In fact, I’d prefer that we’re constantly being tracked so that people that are dangerous and plotting to hurt others can be found and stopped.  Maybe that’s me being paranoid and dramatic, but it’s true.

Maybe now you understand a little bit better why I would give up my password for a 50 cent piece of candy.

Would you do the same?

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Breaking down the dress

Last night after stressing about a pretty ugly dress on the internet, I decided to let the world know that the dress was, in fact, white and gold.  You can read the post here.  I saw only the colors white and gold and no matter what I did to manipulate the photo, I couldn’t fathom how anyone could possibly see black and blue.  Below is said dress (but you can reference the original image in a Buzzfeed article).

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I think I’m losing my mind because when I attached this image I saw white and gold…. and now I see blue and black. SOS HELP


I analyzed the dress and talked with various people for an hour and a half then wrote the blog post, so upwards of two hours were spent on a picture of a dress.  In an effort to remove this dress from my mind (and get ready to hang out with friends), I took a shower and played Missy Elliot’s Pandora station.  I got ready and hiked in the snow to get to my friends’ house.  I wasn’t surprised to hear discussions of the dress when I got there, considering I had already spoken to a few of them about this conundrum.

I was staying strong about the fact that I saw gold and white when I looked at the image above, the images in the Buzzfeed article, the image on my phone and on my computer, images on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter then the unimaginable happened.

I saw blue and black.

Now this may not have been such a big deal if I hadn’t tried every trick in the book to make myself see those colors.  Nope, it happened when I was trying to prove my point to those blue-and-black-seers.

I legitimately thought that it was a fake picture and someone had altered the image to be black and blue but then I looked at my blog post (with an image I had previously seen white and gold) and I saw blue and black.

I immediately started screaming and threw my phone away from me (I’m not dramatic at all……..) letting everyone else know that I, too, had seen the blue and black.  As I write this post, I feel that same sense of panic because I attached the above image maybe 2 minutes ago and it was white and gold and now it’s blue and black.


Sorry, I’ll go back to the moment I lost my mind.

After running across the room and trying to make sense of this as everyone laughs at me, I finally worked up the courage to look at my phone again.  Still, I saw blue and black.  I can’t compare this to any other experience I’ve ever had because it was as if reality had switched and that what I had previously seen as facts, were now false.  What else was I seeing wrong?  Have I lost my mind?  Why did I once see white and gold?  Why do I now see black and blue?

The chaos subsided after few moments until I started seeing white and gold again.

More than 12 hours later, I still don’t understand why this happened, nor do I understand why I was starting to see different versions of the image.

Yeah there are explanations on Yahoo! and about how we perceive light and that the image is over exposed so we’re interpreting it as white and gold but once you adjust the colors in the image to make it less exposed, it’s a blue and black dress, or something like that.  Mashable even claims it knows where the dress can be purchased, but I’m still not convinced.  This is some sort of sorcery and aliens must exist.

Kidding.  I’m sure once I relax and forget about this dress, I’ll be able to see the validity in the explanations, but until then I’m still confused.

Alright, now that I’m done rambling about my own experiences with the dress, I think it’s important to look at why and how everyone is talking about this dress.

The post was already on Tumblr and had received a lot of attention, but when it was posted to Buzzfeed at 6:14 pm it was getting ready to go viral.

A friend of mine tweeted this link at 7:09 pm and I replied saying I saw white and gold at 7:13.  I have no proof of this considering I wasn’t on the journalistic hunt (shame on me) but the article had only 9 comments.  I puzzled at this optical illusion and sent it to a lot of people.  An hour and a half later when I decided to blog about it, I looked at the comments section of the Buzzfeed article again and it had 189 comments.  The top comment had hundreds of likes (you’re going to have to trust me on this) and it had only been a few hours.

Discussions of the dress were on Twitter happening between my friends, random anonymous Twitter accounts and even celebrities took to this platform to share their opinions (Justin Bieber thinks it’s blue and black and a friend of mine thought that Justin claiming it to be true made it the truth…… no).

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Instagram users hopped on the trend too.

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The last image is a play on Drake’s new album cover that’s written in that style reading “If you’re reading this it’s too late.”

Snapchat wasn’t left out of this and I saw videos of my friends in arguments about what color they thought the dress was.  Snapchat stories, including mine, were full of mentions of the dress and it was great.

It’s not like there’s a listserv for life that everyone gets when something cool happens, like Alert Carolinas or emails sent to members of an organization like a sorority listserv.  That didn’t happen here, so how did this become viral?

An article on Fast Code Design analyzed an interview of Gawker’s editor Neetzan Zimmerman on the Wall Street Journal as well as analysis from Wharton behavioral scholars.  The article attributes emotional content being a leading factor to whether or not something will go viral because emotions are contagious.

On the surface, the dress doesn’t seem like it’s emotionally charged but Mindy Kaling said it best:

Read the bottom tweet first then the top one because that's the order they were written.

Read the bottom tweet first then the top one because that’s the order they were written.

It doesn’t matter what two colors you see the dress as, you see it as the truth.  “Seeing is believing” is a popular phrase that many of us use to determine the validity of something but it works against us in this case.  When I could only see gold and white, I didn’t want people telling me that I was wrong or that I was doing something wrong and seeing those colors because of an error.  I was also trying to not tell others that they were wrong, because in the back of my head I knew that it was possible (other than when I thought everyone was in on some joke that I didn’t know and that it was a conspiracy).  Gold and white was my reality so it was my truth.

I was confused and stressed when trying to figure it out, so yes, emotions were most definitely involved.  A classmate of mine (that I won’t name) told me that she cried about the dress.  Yup, emotions are definitely involved in the dress.

When I saw black and blue after only seeing white and gold, I had a lot of emotions with confusion, panic and excitement being the most intense.

Whether you see blue and black or white and gold, you can probably agree with me that how quickly and how far it spread is incredible.

That being said, I don’t want to see that dress ever again because I’m losing my mind trying to figure out the truth.

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Y’all I’m distraught.  Before I can explain, follow the link below and decide what colors you think the dress is.

I see a white and gold dress and have no earthly idea how anyone could see anything different, especially not the color black.  I’ve been discussing this with my friends, family, pledge class, classmates, roommates and looking at tweets on Twitter and there are people that genuinely believe that the dress is black and blue.  For some reason I think that everyone saying black and blue is joking and in on some elaborate scheme to fool the world, but maybe they really see black and blue.


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I’ve turned up and down the brightness on my phone, looked on my computer, closed and opened the link upwards of 10 times, squinted my eyes, focused on the background of the picture, stared intensely at the dress, put my phone across the room and put the phone up close to my face.  Still white and gold.  My friends have even been putting images of the dress on their Snapchat stories and again, I see white and gold.  On Twitter, pictures of the dress appear and still, I see white and gold.

The friends of mine that see black and gold are flabbergasted that I see white and gold (I spoke about vocabularies and how they’re evolving, and I think flabbergasted is on its deathbed).  People are getting into legitimate arguments about what colors they think the dress is but I’m unwavering in what colors I see.  I’ve been told to squint and put the phone far away from my face but I’m not convinced.

I even tweeted at NASA asking for answers (not even joking) but they haven’t replied so we’ll see if they reply.

I’ve lost an hour of my life trying to understand this picture and I’m just as confused right now as I am now.  My sister read somewhere that it has to do with the rods and cones in our eyes but my friend said negative emotions make you see black and blue and if you’re feeling happy or content, you’ll see white and gold.

This reminds me of arguments I’ve had my entire life.  I see something one way and someone else sees it a completely different way.  Perception has a lot to do with how we go about our lives, and I truly believe that perception is reality meaning, what you perceive to be true is true for you.  It doesn’t make it true for the person next to you but it’s your truth.  My classmate Elyse blogged about this earlier in the semester and it rang true with me because I’ve heard it hundreds of times.

Whenever my sister and I get into arguments, we’ll both interpret the exact same event, phrase or action differently and we want the other one to understand how she is wrong.  My mom is normally the referee for these and she tries to make us understand that neither of us are wrong: we simply have differing interpretations of the same thing, meaning our perceptions are different.

This is difficult to grasp sometimes but it makes sense.  Maybe she took my comment as an insult and maybe I’m thinking about what she said too much.  That being said, it’s important to realize that just because you don’t see it the way someone else does, doesn’t make it any less true.  In the book Emotional Intelligence, it is said that empathy is a great indicator of emotional intelligence and I understand why.  You have the ability to understand what someone else is going through– or thinking– without experiencing it firsthand.

This lesson is a tough one and it isn’t the easiest thing to put into practice, but I know it to be true.

I think the dress situation is a little bit different because I’m sure the genetic makeup of our eyes has something to do with it, but maybe it has a little bit to do with perception.

But once again, the dress is white and gold!!!


Look a little harder

The past few weeks haven’t been a cake walk: school has been overwhelming, the snow has messed up my routine and everything isn’t necessarily going my way.

That being said, I try to remind myself to find the good in every situation.  This is so much easier said than done, but like I mentioned in a blog post about a terrible day, wallowing and focusing on the bad doesn’t help anything.


I’ve been trying to keep this in the front of my mind rather than my mom reminding me of this when I’m already down.  And honestly, it’s much better than pouting because the only way you can make your situation better is by trying to, or by at least making the best out of it.

There is good in today for more reasons than one: my good friend Olivia is taking me to the UNC vs. NC State game tonight, I finally did some grocery shopping so I won’t starve incase I get snowed in and Law and Order: SVU is on TV right now.

What’s the good in your day?

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My vocabulary is on fleek

I’d like to consider myself somewhat in the know about what the kids are up to these days, mostly because I wouldn’t consider myself a grown-up as of now despite being 22 years old.

I spend a good amount of time on Vine and I pick up on many of these new trends– like phrases, music choices or other random things that become viral– and Twitter is another platform that opened my eyes to what’s happening in the world.  Yes, these platforms keep me updated on the news and current events but they also help me pick up on new trends.

These trends may range from new fashion-forward items, new apps like Snapchat or Vine, or even words.

I think it’s inevitable that our vocabularies will evolve with our populations, and dictionaries have added words to their pages to reflect the changes.  For instance, do you think “bootylicious” would be an actual word in the dictionary if it weren’t for the ladies of Destiny’s Child?  I think not.

For instance, I learned about “on fleek” by watching a Vine.  According to Urban Dictionary, this phrase means “the quality of being perfect, or on point.”  If you don’t know what on point means either, it basically means perfect.  The phrase “on fleek” (which keeps getting autocorrected to fleck on my computer, but no computer, that’s not what I’m referring to) is not in any dictionaries as of yet, but it’s being used in our vocabularies as if it is.

The New York Time’s Upshot featured a quiz testing users on their knowledge of new words that have emerged: follow this link and you can take the quiz yourself.

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I got 11 out of 12 correct and didn’t know what ‘boolin’ was because no one uses that (no I’m not a sore loser at all….. but I mentioned that in my blog about Dook and in my blog about Aaron Carter).

In a long-winded manner, I’ve brought myself to the point of all of this.  Our world is constantly evolving and that includes our words, it’s only appropriate that the books that catalog our words follow suit and document the words.  It’s a small step in the right direction that the words are being recognized as real, but it’s another step when they are used by mainstream society.

Before you roll your eyes at me, I don’t mean that I think “on fleek” or “bruh” (which I would argue has only one u) should be used by the media or in a professional context, but they should be recognized.  Whatever couldn’t have been an “original” word in the dictionary, but many people understand its meaning today.  The same can be be said for LOL which is understood as laughing out loud.

What words will no longer be used in 20 years and what words will stick around to be taken seriously?  To be continued…


“Real” photography

In today’s world, there is definitely a pressure to look nice in pictures.  My dad would argue that we should dress to impress but I’m a firm believer in doing, and wearing, what I want so I’ll stick to t-shirts and shorts for as long as possible.

Whenever I do look nice, I want pictures for a few reasons: I need evidence that I can clean up, it’s nice to have proof that I have friends and finally, I need to Instagram (don’t judge).

Instagram has built-in filters that users can put on their pictures and many, including myself, try to pick the perfect filter so that your picture is perfect.  This seems like nothing compared to what some people go through to make sure their pictures are perfect.

Some celebrities are guilty of heavily editing their pictures to make their skin smoother, their waists narrower or their hips smaller.  I don’t mind seeing Kim K making her waist tiny for her Instagram, but I expect more from companies than I do from individuals because I trust companies, including news sources and magazines, to give me the truth.  It’s been proved time and time again that my trust is misplaced when photos are heavily edited, manipulated or completely fake.  We believe what we see, so I place an extra importance on images being as close to reality as possible, or it skews how we interpret the truth.

Target is an example of a company I expected more from.  The company had a scandal involving poorly photoshopped model wearing swimwear.


If you aren’t noticing anything wrong with the picture, look in the nether regions of the picture.  I’ll leave it at that.

Rolling Stone made significant changes to Katy Perry’s body for the magazine cover.  The same happened for Jennifer Lawrence on the cover of Flare Magazine.  See the differences below on how different the before and after images are for both women.



I think both of those women are beautiful without any photoshopping, but that’s beside the point.  The fact that images are so heavily altered sheds light on the fact that there seems to be a shortage of “real” images in the media.

Aerie, American Eagle’s intimates company, took a stand against heavily edited images by launching a no retouching campaign called “Aerie Real.”  This is what the company had to say about its change:



Aerie did more than only refusing to photoshop its models, but it offered customers the option of shopping for bras by size meaning they could look at models that are like them.  This campaign was praised by AdWeek and quite honestly, I think the praise is well deserved.

Dove has done something similar with its Real Beauty Campaign which gives me hope that one day, we’ll actually see “real” images in the media.  A picture is worth a thousand words and I’d prefer that all of those words weren’t lying to me saying the model looks one way when they actually look another.


HoloLens will make you look awkward but will improve communication

Thursday in class, we watched a video showing women wearing the Microsoft HoloLens to demonstrate what the product can do.  The normal reaction to a video of new technology might inspire ‘Oohs and Ahhs’ but that’s not what happened in class.  We laughed.  Yes, we thought the video was funny.  Unfortunately I can’t find the exact video we watched, but below is a video Microsoft has about its product.

Yes, the technology is advancing and shows that the future will have new devices that use augmented reality.  Augmented reality is defined as “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (as a smartphone camera); also  :  the technology used to create augmented reality” by Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  In regards to the Microsoft HoloLens, this means that the user will see something through the Lens that isn’t actual in reality and they will be able to interact with it.

I haven’t hopped on the smart glasses train for a couple of reasons.  I don’t want to look like a crazy person waving my hands to work the lens when there is nothing there.  I don’t want to accidentally walk into a wall trying to read text messages that appear in the air in front of me.  I don’t want to have to speak my texts out loud (nosey people exist and I wouldn’t like having to speak all of my texts).  And most importantly, I don’t want to be consumed with what’s being projected in front of my face rather than what’s actually surrounding me.

Amy Webb says that the future will have technology like this everywhere.  Webb says that we won’t be holding phones or cameras in the future, but we will be wearing these devices.  She even proposed that one day when taking a picture of your daughter on her wedding day, we could blink twice to take the image.  That still seems far-fetched to me, but HoloLens and Google Glass being real products shows that this is going to be a reality one day.

These technologies will change communication as we know it.  Yes, we can sign up for mobile alerts from some news organizations but this will take it a step further.  Breaking news will be on our eyeball-tips (get it? Like fingertips, ha ha I’m hilarious).  I think this has the potential to make our population better informed about important issues, but I’m sure someone will find a way to disable those alerts.

As far as safety, these devices have the ability to make communicating safety alerts reach more people faster.  This would need to happen when wearing the devices becomes mainstream, but imagine sending out an Amber Alert and everyone immediately seeing the alert flash in front of these eyes.  This makes it more difficult to ignore or miss until it’s too late: we’ve all put our phones down to do work or put on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on our phones when we go to sleep before.  Unplugging is good for sanity, but it makes it difficult to reach large masses of people at once.  If a natural disaster is about to hit a town, alerts could be sent to everyone and again, it’ll be flashing right before their eyes.

I think these devices will affect more than what we look like while walking down the street, I think they’ll have positive affects on communication.

Until they’re popular and mainstream, these benefits won’t be able to happen but the future is bright.


And that’s how I beat Shaq

This week has been pretty out of the ordinary.  For starters, I didn’t have a class until Wednesday night at 5:45 because of we had Round Two of the Chapel Hill Snowpacolypse.  That was great for me because I hadn’t had a class since the Thursday before so I had a nice 5 day weekend.

The snow isn’t the only reason this week was different than usual: we played Dook in basketball this week and it gets a little (okay a lot) tense here in the Southern Part of Heaven during Beat Dook Week.  Unfortunately, we lost to the Blue Devils in overtime and I was not happy with that outcome, for obvious reasons.  That brings me to one part of the week that was definitely not normal.

Let me start by saying that I’m not a shy person, nor am I afraid of voicing my opinions.  Though I wouldn’t say this is normally an issue, but it definitely becomes an issue when Carolina loses to Dook.

I didn’t really drink the bleach, but that may have eased the pain of the loss (I really dislike autoplay videos so I apologize for the fact that I can’t figure out how to make that stop).  I get aggressive and become incapable of tolerating Dook, but I get especially irritable with fans that don’t attend that university 8 miles down the road.  I’ll work on my breathing exercises and we’ll see how the game goes on March 7 and revisit that subject then.

I was going to spend my Thursday evening catching up on homework but I decided to actually live a little bit and not schedule out every second of my life, meaning I was actually going to take the advice I gave myself in a blog post written over a month ago.  I decided to go to an Aaron Carter concert at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.  I had never seen Aaron in concert and I had never been to a concert in Cat’s Cradle so it seemed like a perfect chance to knock something off of my bucket lists.

Yes, Aaron Carter: the younger brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter.  Yes, he is 27 years old now (just a little bit older than when he released his first album “Aaron’s Party” in 2000).  And yes, he is on tour.  If you don’t understand the title of my blog, you should go watch the classic music video That’s How I Beat Shaq.

Aaron performed in Cat’s Cradle last year but I didn’t go to the concert.  This time around, I decided that I didn’t want to sit in my room doing work all night, even though that didn’t work out so well because I’m awake late writing this blog post.

I knew I was going to the concert for little over an hour before it started so I didn’t have time to refresh myself on the songs I know.  Even though I didn’t know the songs that well nor have I heard any of his new music since the early 2000s, I made it up to the second row and remained there for most of the performance.

Here’s a picture with Aaron Carter (I’m on the bottom right with my phone in my hand, FYI).


I lost a little bit of sleep because I went to the concert, but it’s not everyday that you can see the second best Carter brother perform a mile from your house for less than $20 dollars.  I also recognize that I don’t need to pick a fight with everyone that likes the wrong shade of blue, so I’ll try to do better.



Last year on February 12th (my 21st birthday), my Carolina Tar Heels were scheduled to play the Dook Blue Devils in the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.  The game was cancelled because it snowed and because Coach K was scared to travel 8 miles in the weather/ they chickened out.  Cry me a river, they could’ve made it.

I’ll be honest, the roads were basically out of commission because whenever it snows any amount in North Carolina, we all freak out.  We Southerners panic, we all frantically rush to the grocery store to stock up on food and people begin driving erratically.  Below is an actual picture of the chaos that ensued last year.



Regardless of if the roads were hectic at some point or another, the weather forecast warned us about inclement weather that Wednesday, so the snow wasn’t a surprise to anyone– including Coach K, but I digress.  When the game was rescheduled for February 20th, the boys in Carolina blue did not disappoint and won the game 74-66.

The night we stormed Franklin Street after the victory, and that night is probably the best night of my whole life.  Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but that night was incredible.  The energy in the Dean Dome was electric, the run to Franklin Street was long but so worth it, the celebrations on Franklin were fueled by pure bliss and my adrenaline rush didn’t run out until close to 4 in the morning.



I’m more than a little bit enthusiastic about my school and this is the most evident when we play that school in the wrong shade of blue 8 miles down the road.  I’m guilty of being aggressive towards Dook fans (mostly because approximately 5% of them have ever stepped foot on Dook’s campus) and I’m guilty of being sassy if we lose.  I have an explanation though.

Both of my parents went to Carolina and I’ve been born and bred a Carolina girl.  I legitimately did not know there were other colleges other than UNC and Dook until 2005 when we were in the playoffs playing– you guessed it– other colleges.  I had turned 9 right before the playoffs, so I was still young.

My entire educational career revolved around getting good enough grades so that I could get into Carolina; I needed to be involved in extracurricular activities so that I was well-rounded like Carolina wanted us to be; I had to write the perfect essays so that Carolina would want me.  When I finally got into my dream school, I was ecstatic.  I had already had a love for Carolina before applying there but now I could love Carolina as a student (exactly why the opinions of Dook fans, not students, don’t matter to me).

Tar Heel babies are the cutest.

Tar Heel babies are the cutest.

My love for Carolina basketball is genetic: my dad will not leave the house if UNC is playing a basketball game.  He refuses.  My mom loves Carolina just as much as I do but she isn’t as vocal about her dislike for Dook as I am.

And even though I can’t stand Dookies and their cry baby basketball players, I respect them.  They’re a worthy competitor for us, in both academics and athletics.  Dook is our rival (sorry other schools in North Carolina, we don’t say your name at the end our alma matter telling you to go to Hell).

I’ll be preparing myself for the greatest rivalry in all of sports by re-reading the Anti-Duke Manifesto and reading every article chronicling why the world hates Dook.  Fingers crossed Roy’s Boys can beat those Blue Devils tonight in Cameron Indoor at 9 (up until a few hours ago I thought it was at 7:30… embarrassing).  Either way, it’s a GDTBATH (good day to be Tar Heel for those of you that are unfamiliar with that acronym).




I’m a Tar Heel born

I’m a Tar Heel bred

And when I die

I’m a Tar Heel dead.

So it’s Rah, Rah, Car’lina-lina

Rah, Rah, Car’lina-lina

Rah, Rah, Car’lina-lina



Smart House is a classic movie

If you’re a ’90s kid like I am, I know you’ve seen the classic Disney movie Smart House.  If you haven’t, I recommend it.  Back in ’99 watching this movie with my sister, I knew that it was a made-up concept and that a house could not have a personality and terrorize a family.  I knew that houses could not speak to you, know where you were in the house, or trap you inside your home like a jail.  Well, I thought I knew.

Turns out, houses do have the potential to be “smart” and cater to the people living inside of it.  Turns out, this is actually happening now on a smaller scale.

Smart phones have voice recognition, listen to and carry out the commands we tell them (and Siri even calls me Princess).  Phones aren’t homes nor are they as advanced as a smart home will eventually be, but it speaks to the concept of the internet of things.  Techopedia defines the internet of things as “a computing concept that describes a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices.”  In other words, everything we interact with will be connected to other things.  Common examples used to describe the possibilities of this internet of things include your fridge telling you when the food inside of it is going bad, your house knowing what music you like to hear when you get home from work and your house knowing exactly where you are and adjusting the lights accordingly.

I imagine this being similar to the world in the movie Minority Report, and I think the smart houses will eventually resemble the house Tom Cruise’s character lives in.

Smart televisions are accomplishing this, in a very basic way, by allowing your voice to control something in the device.  As my classmate Hallie pointed out in her blog, there are some downsides to this technology for those concerned about privacy: turns out these smart televisions may be sending your voice recordings to third parties.  This could be used to create personalized and targeted advertisements for the user, but that may come at a price of the third party eavesdropping and robbing us of our privacy.

Mashable reviewed Amazon Echo, a gadget that is part personal assistant and part speaker to use with Bluetooth.  This gadget reminds me of the house’s personality in Smart House because it, like the house, can make the things you request actually happen.  Yes, Siri has the ability to complete tasks for you as well, but this technology is not in a phone.  It can exist on its own.images

I’m not a technology wiz nor am I an early adopter when it comes to new gadgets, but it’s important to acknowledge that more than our phones will be smart in the future.  How we address privacy will need to change, as Hallie has already pointed out.  How we interact with items around us will also change.

Making the items that surround us smart seems like a smart idea, but I have some reservations (that are mostly because of the movie Smart House).  When your house is smart, what will happen if something malfunctions and the lights no longer automatically adjust themselves when you walk in the room?  Will society ever get to a point where we can no longer function without something happening for us?

My Current Issues in Mass Communication class talked about internet addiction the other day: some of us think that we could not live without the internet because we are obsessed with it, and others of us think we are completely reliant and dependent on the internet so we could not function.  Either way, the Internet has become a large part of society when it is only a little bit older than I am.

Take Apple Pay for example: if I have my phone contacts, my pictures and my debit and credit cards on my phone (and no longer carry an address book, camera or wallet), I will be helpless if I were to lose– or break– my phone.

Maybe my late majority tendencies are showing (I learned this from Crossing the Chasm), but I am hesitant to think that I will want to voice control items around me– or have them know my habits and make it happen without me asking– anytime soon.  I don’t want a smart house.  I’ll stick to a smart phone.

PS– Fingers crossed our houses don’t take a turn for the worse like the house did in Smart House.