Facebook’s data breach has been the centre of attention for the last few days now. #deletefacebook has been all over Twitter over the past week and continues to dominate talking points all over the world. It was also caught up with two very big named CEO’s. Brian Acton, the Co-founder of WhatsApp – (who itself is a Facebook property when it was sold to the company for about $19 billion in 2014), tweeted the following:
Elon Musk apparently was not aware about his own company’s presence on Facebook, until the SpaceX and Tesla CEO responded to a tweet calling him out to delete the pages in regards to the sudden boycott Facebook movement.
Musk responded to the comments and in less than 20 minutes, he had taken down pages he didn’t even know he had. Both SpaceX and Tesla Facebook pages had over 2.6 million Likes and Follows, and very high engagement rates with the audience. Musk’s big statement on Facebook comes on what might just be one of the worst weeks for the social media company. Over the week, it was leaked that Cambridge Analytica (a consulting firm that closely works with data, and apparently also with United States president Donald Trump’s election campaign), had unethically gathered data from about 50 million Facebook users. People all over the world have then showed concern over the disregard for their private information. It was reported that Mark Zuckerberg had lost an estimated $5 billion in a matter of hours over the situation. On early Monday this week, politicians in the United States and the United Kingdom heavily criticized Facebook and demanded Zuckerberg to provide more explaination.
After proving in fact that he really is “the man” on Twitter, in another tweet, Musk wrote about using Instagram and that how he believes that the social media was “borderline” since Facebook’s “influence” is “slowly creeping in”, despite Instagram being owned by Facebook. Only a matter of time until both SpaceX and Tesla’s social media managers will have to go and find other platforms.
Last weekend, it was reported that Uber’s self driving vehicle had struck and killed someone. Police in Arizona confirmed that a woman identified as Elaine Herzberg was crossing a street with her bicycle when a self-driving Uber car had crashed into her. Police later identified that the car was traveling at 40 miles per hour. Uber has responded swiftly by suspending its self-driving vehicle program until further actions. Despite being in an autonomous mode when the crash happened, the vehicle was reported to have had a human safety driver behind the wheel to monitor and retake control in case of an emergency. The crash has prompted different responses and will most likely affect the self-driving vehicle sector, which over the years has seen billions spent on research and development for a technology that can promise more efficient modes of transport.
“Safety” and “Progress”: A Bad Will Smith Dystopian Movie
The incident has raised many pressing questions. How safe is it to test driverless vehicles on public roads? Crashes are very unpredictable, and unless the human behind the wheel is drunk, updating their snapchat or just very tired l, then you just can’t really predict how and when a crash may occur. About 40,000 people became casualties on American roads in 2017, and about 6,000 of them were pedestrians. According to statistics, human drivers kill about 1.16 people for every 100 million miles driven on roads. Self-autonomous vehicles are not even close to having that sort of distance, but they’ve already killed one.
So what now? the words “safety” and “progress” will be thrown around quite a lot. Developers insist that their employees are perfectly trained to handle situations when needed by taking over from the self-driving software implanted in the vehicle. However, researchers continue to speculate about how imperfect that sort of technique can be when dealing with such a delicate software. The Arizona incident may have just shown the flaw in that system – a little glimpse as to what can go wrong as we step further into an AI influenced future.
The “Trolley Problem”
According to the Ryan Calo, a researcher looking into the implications of self-driving vehicles at the University of Washington, the ethical questions about self-driving vehicles can be linked to the “trolley problem” which look into the issue that the vehicle will need to choose between two potential victims in case of an incoming accident. The “trolley problem” is a thought experiment in the fields of ethics. You picture a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are 5 people tied up and they are unable to make a move. The trolley is directing towards them. You stand away from some distance and next to you is a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley switches to a different set of tracks. However, you see that there is 1 other person tied up on that track and you presented with a dilemma:
1. Do nothing, and the trolley kills 5 people on the main track.
2. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley to the other track, but kill that 1 person.
Which is the more ethical choice?
Calo says the accident that killed the woman “may have just been prompted by the sensors not being able to pick her up”, or that the algorithm “didn’t understand what it’s seeing”. Calo also adds that those creating AI-based vehicles should really think about the potential dangers on human lives. A professor at the Arizona State University, Subbarao Kambhampati, who is a specialist in AI, claims that the incident raises serious questions about the ability of safety drivers in really monitoring systems, especially after long hours of testing and learning. Other researchers aim to look at the challenge of creating efficient communications between self-driving vehicles and pedestrians.
Yume Nikki is an adventure game from the Japanese indie developer Kikiyama. Yume Nikki was first created in 2004, however, Kadokawa Corporation and Active Gaming Inc. have recently announced the plan on releasing an official reboot of the cult horror game. It is scheduled to be launched on Steam and Playism at the end of February this year.
Yume Nikki is Japanese for “Dream Diary”, the game itself is about a Japanese woman named Madotsuki, who goes out and explores surreal out of this world landscapes in her dreams. In these dreams, Madotsuki can collect various
“effects” that will then change her appearance and sometimes even give her some sort of ability. There is however, no actual goal to the game itself, but players will try to collect all of these effects. While in these dreams, Madotsuki will encounter a series of hostile beings and abstract psychological art.
For quite some time, Yume Nikki was shared in English through different fansites or even through direct download links. It is also a game that can be found quite difficult to really wrap your head around on how to really “win”. Yumme Nikki isn’t really a complicated game per say, its just that there is no actual direction or actual “goal”. Once the player jumps into the first dream, the player is on their own. From snowscape mountains, pitch black darkness to spectrums of colourful symbols, players are expected to just explore and try to find something.
Marketing Brilliance and the Classic Cult Scheme
Now heres where the game gets branded as a cult classic. Over the years, Yume Nikki’s developers, known only as Kikiyama, released new builds on their website. Once Yume Nikki teached version 0.1 back in 2007, Kikiyama disappeared and the website suddenly stopped updating. A year later, Yume Nikki took off in the west and collected a cult fanbase due to its unique, unusual visual effects and the very oppressive,terrifying tone which creates a mysterious mix.
Nobody really knows about Kikiyama, nobody knows the company’s whereabouts, age, or even who the people actually are. Fans have only found a contact for them and an email address from a readme file encrypted in an earlier version of Yume Nikki. Despite the mysterious whereabouts and lack of actual updates from the company, fans still post and write about the game. Fan art, blogposts and even reaction videos about Yume Nikki can be found throughout the internet, theres even a cozy subreddit thread.
The reboot of Yume Nikki appears to be a 3D adventure game that contains the influences from the original Yume Nikki game and other recent indie horror games. It will feature returning characters aas well as characters that the creator, Kikiyama cut from the original game.
The game is said to also contain no actual dialogue, just like the classic 2004 original. Yume Nikki’s release has built up the topic for some fans, but people still are unaware about who Kikiyama really is.
Before the big news of this long awaited reboot, it was thought that this Kikiyama may have died in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake as people claim that their last ever reply to an email was before the earthquake hit.
A couple weeks ago, a countdown timer for the official release of Yume Nikki’s reboot has already started and has at least made fans know that the creator is at least active. Whether or not dissapearing for over a decade was all part of Kikiyama’s plan to create hype, it is still something big for the fans. The mysterious question mark on the whole point of the game along with the question mark on the actual creators, has probably added fuel to the fire.
Yume Nikki: Dream Diary will officially launch on the 23rd of February, after 16 years of wait. RPG Makers Kadokawa has stated that they are collaborating closely with the original creator, Kikiyama. Exactly how much Kikiyama is involved with them is still a mystery. Without a doubt, the original and reboot will always be something to try out.
2018 has just started, a year of new findings, new experiences and of course new trends. However, some trends are better off left in some other year – preferably not one anytime soon. Starting off as a meme, people are actually having the idea to put a laundry pod – more specifically Tide’s detergent product, in their mouths. Packaged in plastic and filled with all sorts of chemicals, people are actually taking over the internet by filming themselves (or others) biting into these Tidepods.
Tidepods started off appearing up on pizzas, cereal bowls, donuts and all sorts of common food. It’s probably become a big contender for meme of month as the joke behind it is the highly chances of finding one within consumption…up until now. Tweets and memes flood with all sorts of content about people hungry for them and YouTube has even begun taking down videos of people coughing, spitting out mouthfuls of these soap pressured packages.
Famous American showman and circus owner back in the 19th century, Phineas T. Barnum once said that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” while of course we are all aware of the opportunities and dangers of society regarding the ever-changing worldview on brands and businesses, the Tidepod has probably experienced this twofold. Looking into the brand awareness factor, Tide has probably never seen themselves in such a trending position. Sadly, it’s quite safe to say it’s not exactly the reason they’d hope for. Tide has probably never had a thought come through their mind that they would have to tell people not to eat their products. Chances of having a folder labelled “What to Do When People Make a Trend Out of Eating our Products” were probably very low. Despite being swarmed by memes and other gimmicks on social media; the brand has responded to people by emphasizing on the “don’t” in “please don’t eat TidePods”. They’ve reached out to several people to contact doctors and poison control. Heres a tweet Tide published with the help of New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski.
What Exactly is in a Tidepod?
– Fatty Acid Salts: Otherwise known as soap, fatty acid salts are merely an element found in all sorts of cleaning products. By attaching its hydrocarbon chain on the stain found on clothing, it gives the water a way to wash it off. – Denatonium benzoate: It was reported that in 2015, Tidepods were added a bittering agent to the outside packaging to discourage children from tasting them. This white poweder is believed to be one of the most bitterest known substance. The Tidepod has also strengthened outer layers so that a child wouldn’t be able to easily squeeze it open.
– Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate
Besides the very difficult pronounciation, this substance takes in ultraviolet light and produces it in a visible range. It then makes a faint blue glow that reduces the yellowing of clothing to make them look whiter or brighter.
– Calcium formate
To prevent the process of enzymes consuming eachother over time when exposed to heat, this substance helps put the enzymes in place until the pack is used. When it is in the wash, the calcium formate puts itself away from the enzymes and making space for it to clean up the stains on clothes.
These are of course just four of the other substances that can be found on the inside of a Tidepod. A simple rule to follow that we’ve all seen or heard at one point, would be that “if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably something to consider before actually consuming it”. This Tidepod trend will probably not ware out anytime soon, but the fact will always remain that these aren’t made for consumption. Will people learn? a question that will be best answered by time. Once again, it has possibly been one of the most eventful starts to a year we can imagine. Sadly, while time continues to move us forward, we may have just hit a speed bump in a form of a trend along the way.
Besides the fantastic food and a huge variety of culture, Asia also offers some of the most bizarre and sinister cults in the world. A cult is defined as an unorthodox, religious group which is devoted to a person or a thing based on a set of ideas. People who usually join cults are often unsure about their place in this world and thus seeking answers that just-so-happen to be given by these groups. It can often be very difficult to leave a cult; kind of like getting up from bed on a Monday morning, except sometimes with life threatening factors.
Here are 5 bizarre cults from Asia:
1. Aum Shinrikyo: Starting off as a small Yoga class in 1984, this Japanese cult was founded by a self proclaimed Buddha fusioned Messiah, known as Shoko Asahara. He gained alot of popularity in the late 90’s and was even appearing on national talk shows. Weirdly enough, the group even released a set of anime series depicting him as an anime looking Jesus with divine supernatural powers that one would expect from any other anime show.
Moshi-Moshi, Jesus desu~~
The cult would often stress out about the impending doomsday that was believed to be coming “real soon”. In 1995, the cult carried out the deadly Tokyo subway attack. The cult convinced some of its members that the apocolypse was starting and so they were ordered to use sharp umbrellas to puncture bags filled with sarin gas once it rush hour hits the subway. 13 people were killed and thousands were left injured. The cult has then been forced underground and Shoko Asahara is until now waiting on death row. The Aum Shinrikyo cult has never confessed about their involvement and Asahara himself is still insisting that his innocence.
2. Eastern Lightning
Founded in China in 1990 by Zhao Wei Xiao, this cult was believes that Jesus had been reborn as a Chinese woman named Yang Xianbin and that she was sent to purify all of humanity. The group has been named as a terrorist orgnization as they were known to cause riots and commit numerous murders. The cult believes that the world is bound to end, however, no exact date has been actually stated. The Chinese government had also arrested around 400-1000 members and label the group as an “evil cult”.
One famous incident which sparked international recognition was an incident that happened in 2014. 6 members of the group had brutally stompped a woman to death at a McDonalds in Zhaoyuan, Shandong, China. Not to mention the riots that the group had also incited that lasted for a reported 12 days in a county. In 2010 members of the group had also killed an elementary school student and left lightning-like marks on of one of the victim’s feet. It was found that the boy was killed because one of his relatives, a member of the church, had expressed his desire to quit the group. Founder of the group, Zhao Wei Shan, also known by the members of the group as “Almighty God” is now living in the United States under political asylum. Despite the incidents and also constant pressure from the Chinese government to stop its expansion, Eastern Lightning has been reported to be growing its influence in Malaysia, Indonesia, and various other countries in Asia.
3. The Sung Chi-li Miracle Association
The Sung Chi-Li Miracle Association was a cult made in Taiwan. The cult was led by businessman Sung Chi-Li who claims to be a geomancer. He was jailed for several years the 80’s after he had been caught writing faulty checks. During his stay in prison, he claimed that he was visited with an ancient spirit and that his name was spelt out in the clouds. After his stay in prison, he made money based on people who believed that he had supernatural powers.
He claims to have supernatural powers such as the ability to appear anywhere at any given moment and time. In 1997 he was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment for fraud as he was found to swindle 7 million US dollars from his followers. His verdict was later overtuned in 2003 as the high court cited that freedom of religion was protected under Taiwan’s constitution. It was also reported that he had tried to hypnotize an officer – it was also reported that it never worked.
4. Evangelical Baptist Church of Korea
This South Korean religious movement was founded in the early 60’s by Yoo Byung-Eun and his father in law, Pastor Kwon Shin-chan. Media reports that the group has about 10-200 thousand members worldwide. The church teaches these followers that those who were saved by God are completely cleansed of any sins and they will ever commit in the future. However, unlike most Christian affiliated organizations, this one known to focus little on repentance. In 1992, the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches considered them to be a cult.
In 1987, the South Korean police investigated 48 year old woman, Park Soon-ja who was known to had swindles about 8.7 million USD from about 220 people in the country. Her company, Odaeyang Trading Co. was a firm that was associated with a religious sect. It turned out to be a splinter group from Yoo Byung-eun’s Evangelical Baptist Church. On the 29th of August, 32 members of this sect who had believed that doomsday was imminent, were found dead. The famous case became known as the Odaeyang mass suicide. South Korean police assumed that it was a murder-suicide pact, and that Yoo Byung-eun was linked to the case.
On the 16th of April 2014, South Korea witnessed the second worst ferry disaster to ever happen in the country. The ferry Sewol capsized and sank, a ferry operated by the company Chongheijin Marine where Yoo Byung-eun was a former chairman. It was also found that Yoo had used hundreds of other Church affiliated companies embezzle millions of dollars which prompted nationwide outrage. Yoo then went into hiding and prosecutors warned people that whoever was found helping him hide faced a minimum 3 years of prison. Yoo Byung-eun’s decomposing body was eventually found in a rice field, and till this day nobody actually knows how he had died.
5. Chen Tao
Topping the bizarre level of cults is this cult that originated in Taiwan. Founded by Hon-Ming Chen, the Chen Tao group was a “New Aged” UFO cult. Chen was a former professor who had claimed to be an athiest until he had joined several religious groups. He broke off one of the groups and then created his own. It wasnt until the early 90’s where he had decided to move to the US where he added elements such as cosmology, flying saucers, Christian motifs, prophecies and of course the “ever imminent approaching doomsday” and thus, creating something entirely bizarre. In Taiwan, the group officially registered as “The Chinese Soul Light Research Association” and then changed its name in the US as “God’s Salvation Church”.
Chen and his followers believed that the earth went through 5 tribulations where it went back to the age of dinosaurs. Each tribulations were survived by beings who had lived in North America who was also rescued by God in a flying saucer. They also believed that the solar system was created by a nuclear war. In 1997, Chen predicted that on the 31st of March, 1998 God would be seen on a single television channel all across North America. Mind you, here comes the best part, the group was said to had moved to Garland, Texas because the name sounded like “God Land.” Just to see this appearence on TV.
Surprisingly, the long awaited appearance never happened. Chen then announced that he had misunderstood God’s plans. No worries Chen! clearly a mistake many of us make time to time. It was reported that Chen had offered to be stoned or crucified for the event, but no one really took him up on that offer. The existence of the group is still uncertain as the group lost many members after the failed prophecies.
In just this year, there have been at least 370 cases of mass shootings all around the US. It is so depressing how it has become a reoccurring thing for a long time and yet there is just no actual progress in stopping them from happening. The Texas church shooting atrocity continues to dominate the news, just 35 days after the Las Vegas shooting. This has now sparked the gun control debate once more and has also given people more reasons on why we should talk about it. Statistics now show that Americans own more guns than any other country in the world with at least 89 for every 100 people, which isn’t so hard to believe when gun control continues to be within the grey area. So why is gun control still within the “grey area” and why are there no actual signs of it actually progressing?
When we talk about “gun control” we think about the actual law that allows people to have guns in the first place. The 2nd amendment within the American constitution states that people are free to bear arms. The reason behind this amendment was to make sure that if ever a totalitarian government were to rule the people, the people would be able to “fight back.” However, a lot has changed since 1791 (when the amendments were made), and its probably time we talk about a change. But when you have the powerful gun lobby as well as the National Rifle Association (NRA) taking a strong stance on keeping the 2nd amendment, this “change” might not always be so easily seen.
Who are the NRA?
If you think of the NRA as these gun devoted enthusiasts, then well you kinda have somewhat of an image. Founded in 1871, the NRA is an American nonprofit organization who advocates for the right to own guns. They are known to be one of the most powerful groups with a huge strong financial support. When the NRA was officially brought up, the main goal was to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis”. To date, the NRA reports having about 14 million members. The NRA also catch on the news for very controversial statements on where they stand regarding the whole gun control debate.
After the Las Vegas incident, an NRA spokesperson dismissed guns being the actual problem to focus on by saying that “feet are just as deadly as guns.” Shortly after writing THIS tweet.
And if that wasn’t shocking enough, mind you, that wasn’t the only outrageous thing mentioned about the incident. Heres a segment from one of the shows on FOX News.
“If that psychopath had…driven a truck into that crowd and killed 100 people would we be talking about truck control?” Yes. As humans, we tend to learn from our mistakes. Its called, evolution. Probably something to consider when it comes to this gun control debate.
And then you have some who go “I need my gun to protect me fromterrorists“However, (as of January 2017)
You’re more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. AND STILL, “guns don’t kill people. people kill people.” is being thrown around as if to say guns aren’t the threat here. It is shocking and it is something that will need proper action to actually make a change. “Make America Great Again”, then do it. Again, it is time to talk about gun control and it shouldn’t be something we just brush aside every time an incident similar to the Las Vegas and Texas shootings arise. As long as the NRA and the powerful support it has behind them continue to do just that, the fear of more of these incidents arising will just never go.
Because there are guns they had back in the day when the amendment was created