A Look Into the Future

Technology continues to advance in the world. It has made things easier and more efficient, as well as safer. You have the world at your fingertips, literally! Fingerprints, iris scans, and other unique human identifiers are soon going to be forms of payment. Some mobile technology and financial companies are hoping you’ll give a quick imprint of your finger, scan of your eye, or tap of an armband that links to your heartbeat. Companies like Apple and Samsung have implemented fingerprint-scanning features into their latest smartphones. Iris scanning and fingerprints have also been used for high-level security clearances. Their goal is to replace credit cards and PIN at the touch of your fingerprint. Banks in United Kingdom and Poland are planning on releasing credit cards, online banking features, as well as ATMs, where you will be able to approve payments or withdraw cash by scanning your fingerprint or having your vein read as a form of ID.

This interest has been driven by the ongoing problems with identity theft and credit card fraud. Over the past year, more than 96 million credit card numbers have been stolen from a couple of department stores such as Target and Home Depot. Iris scanning and fingerprint scans are going to be more popular in the near future.

 

Are You Happy With This Meal?

imageAt the close of last year, there was a brand new change in one of America’s largest and oldest companies that is always booming with business. That’s right. McDonalds. Most people don’t know of this revolution, but McDonalds had chosen select restaurants to feature a “Build Your Burger” electronic tablet menu. Opinions have been split about whether or not this is a good idea. On one hand, the service gives the customer nearly endless choices, but on the other, it strays from McDonalds already perfected menu, so why tamper with it?

Everyone has had those moments, standing on line, finally asked to give your order, but then, you become unsure of yourself, blindsided by the copious amount of options.  So, you head into a black vortex of questioning every decision you’ve ever made- ever! Soon, the line piles up and a socially awkward, crippling disaster, has been created. You go home and don’t leave your room until you’ve grown one of those beards that are long enough to double as a comb over on the top of your head. You tell yourself that you’re just being one of those Tumblr people, but the truth is, you’ve forgotten what the outside of your house looks like. That is, until you look up yourself through Google maps and find a picture of yourself taking an outrageous mirror selfie. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. 

But I digress.

To me, the “Build Your Burger” device is, in a way, pointless. Yes, it’s a clever marketing ploy to invent the next “cool new thing”, but in reality, if a customer doesn’t want onions on his burger, he could just tell the cashier.

But, maybe you’re one of those individuals recovering from your socially crippling experience as detailed above, and have finally shaved your (“futuristic and functional”) beard. You go outside to McDonalds again after way too long and BAM!

Human confrontation. In that case, you’d much rather stare at a tablet menu than go through the trauma of all that again.

Feel free to comment if you’re for or against the “Build Your Burger” menu.

Student Profile: Ben Varughese

I recently interviewed Ben, who joined the Village community this January, and asked him a few questions about himself. He was born in Jamaica, Queens and moved around a lot through the city for years at a time. After 2011, he moved to New Hyde, where he lives today. He was traveling a lot and subsequently missed a lot of school, even up to six weeks at one point. Village has helped him attend school much more often than he did at South.

Ben is extremely passionate music, writing poetry and his own lyrics. He’s actually going to be working at his friend’s studio soon. Moving around a lot and struggling with personal problems, Ben has developed the music taste he’s into today, anything he can relate to and has relatable meaning.

Below are some other questions I asked Ben, directly quotes from our interview:

What do you do in the studio?
“I mean I kinda just play around with everything. Like it’s no problem, and we have an ill time. I’m a poet, a lyricist, and a storyteller.”

Why were you missing so much school?
“I mean I was busy with my own hustle, traveling and all that. Also, I just couldn’t focus for my life so class had me like: what’s the point?”

Kendrick Lamar: The M.A.A.D. City’s good Kid

This article is a meditation on the artist known as Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, formally known as Kendrick Lamar, is a West Coast rapper that lived his earlier years in Compton. He gained national attention once he called out every living rapper on the West Coast and claimed to be the king of New York with his verse on Big Sean’s “Control.” Ever since, Lamar has only exhibited growth. Kendrick has never hesitated to challenge and call out practices and habits that seem to collapse on themselves. He pours out the bitter reality of self-medication through alcohol in his track “Swimming Pools” off of “good kid M.A.A.D. City” saying, “All I have in life is my new appetite for failure/And I got Hunger Pains that Grow Insane/Tell me Do That Sound Familiar?/If it do then you’re like me, making excuses that your relief/Is in the bottom of a bottle and the greenest indo leaf.”
Lamar also released “i” late 2014, a track dedicated to self-love and embracing one’s self regardless of flaw. However, knowing Kendrick’s background makes the single even more powerful.

King Kendrick

King Kendrick

He battled depression for years haunted by the scars left behind from his life in Compton, including the murder of his best friend’s younger brother, for which Lamar continues to feel responsible.
“To Pimp A Butterfly,” Kendrick’s latest studio album that had a surprise release, illuminates his poetic prowess. He almost abandons the mold that has attached itself to modern hip-hop.

Finna stay killing

Finna stay killing

With almost no other features, Kendrick focuses on his personal storytelling and craft. The album also pushes the limits of the rap genre, as production flirts with funk, jazz, and smooth melodies. Lamar has a tendency to stand out, as no topic that crosses his mind is filtered from his music. As he has in earlier albums, he continues to express his frustration with religion in tracks like, “How Much A Dollar Cost”, as well as the pain he carries on his shoulders, feeling like a failure, and the self-hatred he has wrestled within a tracks like, “u.” “U” stands in stark contrast to “i” as Kendrick breaks down every single barrier and spits so raw you need to stop whatever you’re doing and take a deep breath whenever it starts playing.
The whole concept of the album is highlighting how society tends to only love the individual for the talent within. The caterpillar is forgotten and hated, but the potential that is the butterfly is apparently the only aspect of a person that is worth loving. However, Kendrick, marred by the streets has decided to pimp the butterfly to fit what he wants, hence “To Pimp a Butterfly.” The whole message is an allegory telling the story of what Lamar feels plagues individuals from the ghetto: only loved for the talent they have the potential to harness, the ugliness they come out of is often ignored.
Lamar has made it known that he embodies a certain bitterness that Compton instilled within him. In Compton, the survival rate is extremely low, with a high school graduation rate of 57% along with a 14 out of 100 on the crime safety index. And if the hood doesn’t kill the individual physically, you can trust that the streets have already killed them on the inside spiritually.
Kendrick Lamar has evolved since his emergence, breaking down barriers with every new track. He refuses to be held back by any filter or stereotype. When one listens to any other hip-hop artist, the mind is limited to the same repetitive ideas that are just expressed in different ways. However, Kendrick will have you studying history, opening the dictionary, and leave you speechless from the hard-hitting messages he drives through your head with his lyrical hammer..

Warping the Day Away

Since 1994, there has been a rock festival founded by Kevin Lyman called Warped Tour. It’s a big festival that goes international. Since this tour is during the summer, this event has always been set outside except on rare occasion where they have problems with where the venue is supposed to be held. Everyone who goes to these festivals always end up having fun due to the great music and bands, and all the mini-games everyone is allowed to play and the contests you can try out for. You don’t even have to like a band to have fun, just run into a crowd and join mosh pits or the walls of deaths and have a good time, but try not to get stomped on if you fall.

Many different artists had the chance to perform at this festival, such as Katy Perry since she was considered “punk”. Also the Black Eyed Peas got the chance to perform at Warped Tour; they were the first group of performers not categorized as “punk”, which was a little strange because all the bands were classified as punk. Most of the bands that play at this tour are mostly punk, rock, metal, screamo, and sometimes even techno.

The day you attend usually lasts the whole day almost, so if you wake early at 6AM just because you don’t want to be in the back of the line, you would wait approximately 2-3 hours until it starts and finishes around 5-7pm, so yay. Warped has even been nice enough to make a “cut-the-line-line” where you have a smaller line to get in first if you donate 10 cans of food that are in turn given to the poor. Besides that, even though most people have fun, there are still those people in the world who know how to be annoying, by running through the crowd and shoving everyone out of their way, but these people are usually the cocky big dudes. Usually if someone is their size, they would probably get into a fight, or start a mosh, which is fun! In my opinion, I think one of the best things you can do there is crowd surfing from the back which is when you go on top of the crowd and pretty much surf them, so you are getting tossed to the front to see your favorite band. I wouldn’t know what would be better than that, and if you are really lucky you might even get a handshake or something from the singer! If you go, you should usually go with a decent size group of friends or you would just be lonely. However, it’s almost guaranteed that you will always see some of the weirdest things out there.

Reasons to Smile

Smiles are the universal sign for happiness. They have both internal and external benefits. Studies have been proven that smiles are indeed CONTAGIOUS. So if you smile you could brighten up someone else’s day. If you yourself are having a bad day here are some reasons why life is beautiful and you should smile.

  1. Chris Pine (no explanation needed)
  2. There are billions of ice cream flavors you haven’t tried yet. Parlors such as Max & Mina’s in Flushing serve flavors such as spicy peanut butter and pizza ice cream. Finally, the two best foods in one.
  3. Late night Parks & Rec reruns on Netflix
  4. There’s millions of books out there you still haven’t read yet.
  5. Turtles are able to breathe from their butt. #goals
  6. Eugene Cernan, one of the astronauts on the Apollo wrote his daughter’s initials TDC on the moon. That’ll be there for thousands of years.
  7. Malala Yousafzai, the 17 year old girl that was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out on women’s education is the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
  8. 2000 women in LA threw a dance party for a heavy man that was ridiculed for dancing.
  9. 85% of the human population travel somewhere foreign in their lifetime.
  10. Lake Hillier in Western Australia is pink. PINK. It contains micro bacterial organisms that give off a pink hue.
  11. You are more likely to marry your favorite celebrity than dying from a shark attack.

In all seriousness, smiling gives off endorphins which makes you happy. Life is beautiful and there’s so many things in this world worthy of living for. Go enjoy life and smile!

Vladimir Putin’s Horrible Vacation

Vladimir Putin has finally returned after his mysterious disappearance. When asked where he was, he told us about his terrible vacation.

Because of the tension between Israel and America over Obama’s negotiation with Iran, Vladimir Putin invited Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu to spend a few days with him at his personal water park and mansion outside of Moscow.

Putin and China’s President

After consulting with advisors, Obama and Netanyahu cancelled plans at the last minute.  Unfortunately, their messages were not delivered to Putin or his advisors in time and reports state that Putin waited at the park for hours.  In a phone interview, Putin explained what a horrible time he had at the water park. Not wanting to be alone, he invited Xi Jinping, the President of China, to accompany him. To add to Putin’s luck, President Jinping turned out to be a not-so-fantastic guest. Putin stated that Jinping was afraid to go on most of the rides, chews with his mouth open, snores so loud Putin could hear him from three rooms over, and worst of all, Putin reported, he is quite the talker.

Putin said he’s glad to be back to ruling the country, because if he’d stayed with Jinping any longer he probably would have started a thermonuclear war with China.

Why I Wear Shorts in the Winter

image

Well, there are countless reasons…

For one, I don’t feel the cold nearly as much as the average 100% human because I am, in fact, not actually 100% human.

Another reason is comfort. Shorts are just more comfortable to me.

That’s why I can not wear a pair of jeans, because they are really uncomfortable and, in addition, not aesthetically pleasing.

I also like showing the scar on my leg that I got from falling of my bike about three years ago (Joke).

Also, I don’t have any money to buy pants, because I spend all my money on sneakers… which is is another reason I don’t wear pants.

Plus, if the pants are really wide, I can’t see my shoes and that bothers me. And if I get pants that aren’t as wide… Well, no one wants to see that…

And there’s another subject I would like to touch upon.
Why do people care? I don’t! I just scraped together reasons at the request of my classmates. But the real reason is that I just don’t care enough about pants.
Why are you reading this article? Because if you are, it proves that you genuinely care about what pants I wear– isn’t that pathetic? Think about what else you could be doing with your time. You could be reading the other articles on this website which are probably exponentially more relevant!

Why are you still reading this? Go!

Beauty and the Beast

imageIs self-vain worth the price of guilt? All throughout the U.S., big brand cosmetic companies are using animals to test their products on. The use of animal testing is inexpensive and quick, causing companies to incubate mass groups in facilities. These creatures are abused and left to die in tragedy and pain.

Common animals used include rodents, rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds. Not enough? What about your pets at home? That includes your loving dogs and cats. They’re ripped out from their natural habitats only to be locked in filthy minuscule cages. The “scientists” then continue to inject them with lethal chemicals that are used in certain makeup brands.This causes a series of painful reactions including blindness, skin burning, and in some cases death. No big deal though. Only 100 million animals die a year. These beautiful species are abused by makeup companies such as Maybelline, Cover Girl, L’oreal, and MAC cosmetics. It is unfathomable how people think this is an acceptable concept of treating these innocent creatures with such cruelty. As a humane society, it is expected of us to shame those that hurt other people. Why doesn’t that apply that to animals?

Overall, the treatment of animals is despicable but in reality this topic sadly doesn’t cross the minds of many people. Next time you’re shopping in the makeup aisle, take a moment to look for the animal testing free logo and think about how much pain was caused just for that little tube of mascara or lipstick. Cruelty isn’t beautiful.