Daily Inspiration: Sometimes Creativity Finds You

Vincent Bal is a shadowologist and filmmaker from Belgium. His unique style of art is made by using the shadows of ordinary objects to complete a drawing.

Today’s video displays some of fun and quirky drawings in action. The inspiration for these projects came from a coffee cup. It serves as a reminder that the most unlikely thing can get creative juices flowing. See more of his doodles on his Instagram.

Digital Marketing Has Changed the Way People Internalize Ads

Advertisements are everywhere—on tv, in movies and in print. Companies have found new ways to market their products using technology. Mostly to their benefit and not the consumers. Photoshop showed society that too much of a good thing definitely exists.

Perfection gleamed across pages and screens so much so, that magazines had to admit that their models were heavily airbrushed(edited). Although, some of these ads were frowned upon, the culture of perfection intensified.

Recently, a model named, Shudu, made waves across Instagram. People seemed to be enthralled with her beauty and amazed at her hyper realistic features. Why? Ironically enough, because she’s not real. She was created with a computer program, making her the first digital model that we can openly identify.

The fashion and beauty industry is known for breeding perfectionism within itself; the growth of advertising and social media has greatly increased its influence. Ads are a symbol of what society deems beautiful, worthy and acceptable.

Self-esteem is directly correlated to how one sees themselves in the world. When young people and adults are constantly viewing ads, it is common to project what is being marketed inward. Suddenly it isn’t just about the shade of lipstick or the shirt with the logo on the model.

The consumer sees the features of the model: glowing perfect skin, white porcelain teeth, those long flowing locks and  perfectly sculpted abs. Internalization is the unintended symptom for the consumer. Companies are counting on the individual viewing the ad wanting to emulate what they see.

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign in 2004 was aiming to counter act the photoshop dilemma in magazines. The sentiment was nice in that they focused on how real women look. They were striving to give a face to the regular mom, sister, and overworked teacher.

The ‘real beauty’ campaign still exists today for Dove and other companies, but it will forever remain the step-child of regular ads that find no fault in the perfectionists game. Artificial intelligence is sure to advance this culture and society will have to stay vigilant in reminding itself that not everything in magazines and sponsored pages is real—its just marketing.

The Internet Isn’t Always a Data Dumpster

The internet has proved to be an invaluable resource. The world’s knowledge is available at lightening speeds, transmitting from our fingertips directly to our brains. While the internet has ushered in a new digital era, everything that has a connection isn’t gold. The method that we receive all of this data can actually make us dumber.

When scrolling down to the comment section of any article, at least one person makes a comment or asks a question that is actually answered in said article. Taking into account that many of these comments are just the product of trolls; many people don’t read fully or retain the information. Not surprisingly enough, this is because our brains are specifically outfitted to process information on the internet.

In an article by Fortune, the author explains how this method of distracted learning is not conducive to remembering information for long periods of time. The overwhelming amount of information that is available and the way that it is presented may essentially be useless for comprehension.

According to a study in the Journal of Digital Information, those who read documents with hypertext didn’t retain as much information as those who read text without links. Indeed, book reading is under stimulating. That is a good thing because your brain can transfer this information from your “working memory” to “long-term memory.” Neuroscientists have discovered that long-term memory isn’t just where you store random facts, but “schemas” that help you organize thoughts and concepts. But there is only so much you can transfer into your long-term memory at once, what scientists call the “cognitive load.”

If the bulk of the information you seek is gathered from internet sources, how much have you actually learned? Think about the last few books that you have read. The likelihood of being able to recall the plot, characters and your general emotional response to the story is highly likely. Upon using the internet, a person has read hundreds, if not thousands of articles. Can you recall specific information about any article that was read longer than 6 months ago?

This cannot be deduced for all those using the internet as a resource. Interest and general willingness to learn are also factors.  Research with intent provides endless insight into new ideas and concepts. It is also safe to assume that many click-bait articles or things read in passing have made its way to the data dumpster.  Reign in the internet searches and focus on content that is meaningful to you,  you will be smarter for it.

 

Daily Inspiration: The Advancement of Animation

Walt Disney was a very successful entrepreneur, animator and film producer. His name might ring a bell. His company has produced very popular animated films and Walt Disney theme parks.

Digital technology is the cornerstone of Disney’s success. The animated films produced by Walt Disney Studios are widely known throughout the world and have been reimagined several times as the technology becomes more advanced.

In this video Disney describes what the multiplane camera is and how it made animated films more realistic. The development of this idea helped make animation into what it is today.

Microchip for Chips

Technology is rapidly expanding and becoming more innovative in the name of convenience. Subsequently, we are adapting to this way of life and enjoying the instantaneous results. One piece of equipment can make life so easy, that people are considering injecting themselves with it. The microchip may be the next step in advancements of the future.

The microchip is no stranger. We use them every day without a second thought, or knowing what they are. Wisegeek provides a simple definition:

A microchip is a small semiconductor used to relay information via specific electrical characteristics. In some cases, the term can be used interchangeably with integrated circuit. The microchip is at the heart of many electronics, including computers, cell phones and even microwave ovens.

The thought of using a microchip in these products does not raise eyebrows, but implanting it under the skin does. Employers and even transportation systems consider microchips an easy and fast way to store valuable information for people on the go.

A vending machine company in Wisconsin introduced microchipping as a way to complete activities such as, entering the building to buying snacks for lunch. Fifty employees were willing to receive the chip to try out the technology while others were a bit apprehensive.

Health and privacy are among the number one concerns for those opposed to being implanted. These same concerns do not stop most people from using cell phones, computers or credit cards. They also, are tracking our movements and collecting data on the individual it is associated with.

Companies will surely become more willing to embrace and promote the education behind this technology; the fear of this invasive measure will likely dissipate. Society’s  need for instant gratification will continue to grow, ushering in new advances that will be amazing albeit terrifying.  Ultimately, leaving one to wonder, how far are you willing to go for convenience?

Are Cell Phones To Blame For Rude Broadway Audiences?

The beauty of theater is the ability to get lost in the allure of the acting and captivating story lines- not the glare of a cell phone. A story in the New York Post reports that audiences have become ruder than ever and it’s making the actors angry.

Actors practice for hundreds of hours to deliver amazing performances. While a ringing cell phone may seem like a mild annoyance to the average person; it can be viewed as an insult to their craft.

A cellphone went off as Laura Benanti was singing “Will He Like Me” during a performance of the 2015 revival of “She Loves Me.”

“I’ll wait,” she said. The phone continued to ring. “We’ll all wait,” she said, and the orchestra stopped playing until the phone was silenced.

Benanti later tweeted: “Anyone saying I shouldn’t have called out the ringing during my quietest, most vulnerable moment during yesterday’s matinee can suck my phone.”

Current Broadway shows are running an average of seven times per week. The probability of at least one person engaging in disruptive behavior via smart phone during each show is high.

Many theater houses are not able to enforce a no phone policy due to the massive culture surrounding social media and the use of this technology in everyday life. Apparently, using a cell phone in this space is an offense that is punishable by ticket. Cara Joy David cites that the probability of actually getting a ticket for phone use is unlikely.

When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg vetoed the New York City law that makes cell phone “use”—defined as dialing, talking, having it ring, etc.—in theaters a ticketable offense he cited the enforcement difficulty. The City Council overrode the veto and so it is law, but we all know the law doesn’t do anything.

To avoid being a rude audience member, general theater etiquette would include enjoying the hard work of the actors sans cell phone and being present to enjoy all the scenes. That way, the chance of you getting accosted by an usher or a side eye from an actor would be slim.

Empathy. Friend or Foe?

Recent events have showcased many mixed feelings among different groups of people. The highly publicized events in Ferguson surrounding the death of Michael Brown, John Crawford, and Vonderriit Myers Jr. who were all shot by a police officer has created quite a stir. In so many words a race war ensued pointing accusatory fingers and waves of reasons for justifications on both sides. Along with the very controversial news coverage – social media exploded with support and damnation for the victim and perpetrator. The comments differ on distinguishing who the victim and perpetrator actually are named. Among the range of comments I have read on social media, one on my Facebook seemed to pinpoint a very serious issue that no one else has seemed to address.

    Why does everyone keep making this about race, where is the humanity?

Humanity. Where is our obligation to have empathy for one another? To further examine that, the question should not be where is the humanity. The question is and always has been, how is the concept of humanity used? Daily we are shown incidents of death by merciless murderers, uniformed officers using excessive force, causalities of war, or brutality fueled by hate. The answer is looming all around in plain sight. The level of empathy for another person is dependent on how they are viewed. The art of dehumanization enables the mind to disassociate itself with actions that are less than sub-par.

This practice has been seen across civilizations and generations allowing for others to seize and maintain power as well as to implement inhumane punishments based on a flawed morality. Colonization, slavery, the feudal system, tribal wars, imprisonment, apartheid, and public executions highlight the dangerous exploits of the human mind that allow us to view another life as expendable.

It is easy to attribute this type of behavior to survival. Our ancestors survival was based primarily on beating out the competition. Competition for resources whether abundant or scarce create a sort of animosity between humans. Over time the instinctual notions of this animosity began to breed subconscious hatred. One could say that this was the beginning of the loss of empathy for others and the destruction of humanity.

Times may come where the pull of a string of the heart may insight empathy from others. These instances seem to become more rare and need to meet a list of qualifications. The basics starting with: who, what, where, when and how? Those five words are the basis on how we determine who is deserving.

Can this instinctual turned learned hatred be reversed? You would think that the massive societal advances in the human race would trigger would a kill switch on this type of thinking. What some fail to realize is in time our instinctual needs adapt to these changes. Survival is always an inevitable part of living no matter how progressive the surroundings. Therefore, empathy will remain where it has always remained- stuck underneath the plight of humanity.