CultureLearn

Generation Y is the most digitally connected demographic to date, yet we often struggle to keep up with current affairs happening globally. It often surprises me how many people I meet on a daily basis who have no idea of what’s going on outside their bubble of personal existence. With more ways than ever of keeping up-to-date and informed, it amazes me how so many from my generation fail to take note, or have an interest in foreign current affairs.

I’ve always had a genuine interest in current affairs; not only the news coverage that make the global headlines, but also more niche stories that many often fail to pick up on. Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris earlier this year, it sparked my revival of wanting to utilize my background in international affairs and politics, to start to purse my passion of journalism more seriously as a profession.

Currently, I am struggling to comprehend why more young people don’t make it a point to stay connected to world affairs that affect their lives in ways they may not even realize. I don’t find it relevant enough of an excuse saying ‘not enough time’ is the issue, as I see Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn on far too many mobile phones, tablets, and desktops at offices on a daily occurrence. We pre-select what we wish to indulge our brains with when going on a media binge, and sites such as BBC, CNN, and Reuters News get avoided.

I find Londoners read print newspapers far more frequently than Americans, as it often makes the notion of personal space on the morning and evening tube commute home a bit difficult. Either way, print media is dying, and the way we consume news is becoming exclusively digital. Previously in times past, it was assumed that individuals in society keep themselves informed with politics and current affairs, as it generally affect their futures and well-being. Today, its appears to me too often that we have lost this approach of preserving the importance of keeping the culture of current affairs relevant in young people’s lives.

With so many news outlets in various languages, diverse viewpoints and political leanings, I don’t understand why more people don’t make it a point as part of the day to tune and learn what’s developing around the world. Social media does a good job of reaching out to audiences that would not necessarily have exposure to certain current affairs, but it often makes me laugh when I overhear discussions of young people asking what ‘ISIS’ is and wonder why it is trending on Twitter.

There’s a plethora of important events happening daily, and it’s a shame we don’t make it a point to tune in and analyze how they affect our direct lives. Believe it or not, in some indirect aspect, the conflict in Ukraine, continued rise of ISIS (The Islamic State in Iraq and Ash-Sham) and Boko Haram’s continued havoc causing trouble in Africa pave the future landscape of Generation Y a great deal.

It’s easier than ever to start paying attention to current affairs. Whether it be on a local or global level, there are vast news outlets and mobile apps that make receiving and sharing news accessible. Checking the news shouldn’t be a chore, but rather, a part of our daily routines.

We as human beings should feel in sync with how events unfold, and how others’ actions affect our daily routines. Incorporating your social media existence into current affairs is a fantastic outlet to get started if you struggle to make it to the BBC’s or CNN’s homepage. Simply connecting with several of your favorite print or media news entities on sites like Facebook and Twitter can significantly add the most important and breaking stories into your world.

The means to get involved and have further immersion is easier and more convenient than ever before. The younger and earlier you start reading about current events and following what goes on around you, the more informed your life will become.

Image: Jon Ottosson

Culture

Whether you are a self-professed media geek (guilty as charged) or are simply looking for a boost to your weekend party small talk, here is a roundup of the coolest, most innovative, creative, and significant videos we’ve seen on the Internet recently.

1. Actress and activist Eva Longoria’s recently released documentary, “Fair Food,” advocates for the rights of farmers in the U.S. The Fair Food Program, on which the documentary focuses, hopes to increase the price of produce in our country from 1 penny to 2 pennies per pound, which would double the salaries of farmers. You will be both entertained and informed by Longoria’s recent interview with Stephen Colbert. So far, McDonalds, Chipotle, and Burger King have pledged to join the Fair Food Program.

2. What do you get when you cross fashion, technology, and functionality? MICA: My Intelligent Communication Accessory. Fashion house Opening Ceremony teamed up with Intel to create a stylish and utilitarian wristwatch complete with a curved sapphire screen and built-in wireless radios. As a bonus, the promotional video stars the ultimate cool girl, Rashida Jones, as the Girl Boss we all want to work with.

3. Yes, we originally fell in love with Eva Chen during her tenure as Teen Vogue’s Beauty Director, but it’s her vibrant personality and obvious intelligence – not to mention her awesome #EvaChenPose daily Instagrams – that make us love her now! Even though this video is from July’s New York Internet Week, we recently discovered it, and loved every minute! Chen is charismatic and engaging as she discusses the impact of social media on the changing world of fashion.

4. This video is also sort of old news (it was delivered four weeks ago), but I would be remiss not to post it. Monica Lewinsky’s speech at the Forbes Under 30 Summit provides a jarring look into the effects of media scrutiny, bullying, and name-calling. We can all learn from Lewinsky’s experiences, from the power she gained through her vulnerabilities, and from the noble cause she is pursuing today.

5. Thirteen-year-old Ireland Hobert-Hoch of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, is making national headlines this week after refusing to be weighed in her junior high’s physical education class. Ireland declined to be weighed in front of her entire class, was sent to the office, and told school administrators she didn’t feel her weight was their business. Watch the De Moines Register’s interview with Ireland to get her perspective on the incident.

6. This newly released video from NASA tells the tale of a year in the life of global carbon emissions. The video is not only aesthetically beautiful, but it also provides some enlightening narrations that provide a glimpse into the interactions between the human community, the seasonal cycle, and C02. Most importantly, though, NASA scientists state that “we’re seeing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere each year. This is contributing to the long-term trend of rising global temperatures.”

Image: Kristina Alexanderson

Culture

The end of every semester is riddled with exams and final projects that make your head ache and your heart race as you reach for your aspired grades. However, non-stop studying can prove to be detrimental to retaining information. So taking 10-15 minutes out of your studying session to catch up on the news and cat videos is perfectly fine. And just so you have a chance to take a break, here are the three wackiest, most ridiculous bits of news for you to peruse:

1. Murderer Charles Manson Is Getting Married and Most Of Us Are Still Single

According to the Associated Press, on November 7 Manson and his 26-year-old girlfriend Afton Elaine Burton were issued a marriage license. They will have to get before February or else the couple will have to reapply for another license. Burton professes to love Manson, who is convicted of multiple murders, and moved from her Midwestern hometown at the age of 19 to be closer to him. So while you are studying for your classes, the “Helter-Skelter,” conspiracy ridden Manson is planning his impending nuptials; it’s a strange world.

2. Beyoncé’s Sister Gives A Shout-Out To Benadryl

Now I put this on the list purely because I am surprised that this is even news, but apparently between Solange Knowles wedding ceremony and reception she broke out in hives. Benadryl seemed to cure this breakout and the festivities were back on. Knowles even posted an adorable picture of her and new husband dancing at the reception. Moral of the story: celebrities aren’t perfect and Benadryl is magic.

3. E-Smokers Rejoice As ‘Vape’ Is Chosen As the Word of 2014

Out of all the words in the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary chose ‘vape’ as the word of 2014. This spawned tons of tweets from e-smokers and vapor enthusiasts alike to tweet their delight in learning that their own movement of vaping has left a mark. This was a long time coming seeing that although ‘vape’ was added to the online site this year, electronic cigarettes have been around since the 1960’s and an estimated 4 million American’s now use the product.

Good luck studying!

Image: Aleksi Tappura

Culture

With the U.S. patent office preparing to strip the Washington Redskins of their trademark, the team that has received much backlash might lose its ability to solely own the Redskins logo.

For years, American sports teams have come under fire for their mascots or team names that follow culturally insensitive caricatures of the Native American race. Stanford, Dartmouth, and Marquette are just a few schools who changed their trademarks in response to complaints from the Native American community. However, teams like the Washington Redskins still perpetuate these Native American stereotypes by fighting for their trademarks and claiming that they are honoring the culture through their use of an infamous racial slur.

Whatever intentions the Redskins hoped to make, it does not discount the fact that their actions preserve older viewpoints that were used to justify the oppression of tribes in the Old West. For example, in old Western films Native Americans were either portrayed as noble savages that existed as sidekicks to the John Wayne-esque hero of the film, or as bloodthirsty savages who tore their way through western American civilization, leaving carnage and despair in their wake. So these people were only ever viewed as those worthy of assimilation into white-society or as beasts to be sent for slaughter. These two portrayals are not only constrictive of the Native American culture, they are also still used constantly in American sports.

And, to an extent, American society has tried to make up for these indiscretions through film and media. Some Westerns such as The Searchers attempted to make the idea of miscegenation between Native Americans and Caucasians more palatable for society and hoped to show discrimination against tribes as a thing of the past. Also, in the 1970’s, the Keep America Beautiful campaign utilized The Crying Indian as a way to show Americans the downside of littering. But with all things aside, both forms of media exploited the bloodthirsty and noble savage institutions. Why can’t media portray Native Americans like they do Caucasians, as limitless beings?

One of the few accurate portrayals of Native Americans in film is in Smoke Signals. The film follows young Victor and his friend Thomas, two Coeur D’Alene Indians, as he comes to terms with his father’s death. But what is underneath the surface of the film is the idea of reconciliation with the past; the idea that sons can mend what fathers have broken.

And I believe that idea is the solution to all of this uproar with American sports teams like the Redskins. By using a person or race as a mascot, you are reducing them to the status of an animal- considering that is what most mascots are. We have done away with most logos that marginalize African Americans, so what is different about the Native Americans? And as the Washington Redskins prepare for the appeals court in order to protect their patent on their mascot, I hope people keep in mind the fact that this racial slur is a commonality of the past. As the present and future of society, it is vital to be culturally sensitive and to fix what social issues past civilizations threw to the wayside.

Image: Business Insider

 

CultureTravel

Recently elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a speech about India launching a very cost-effective piece of space technology. Last November, India was the first Asian country to launch a spacecraft to Mars, putting itself in first place in the red race. If that mission is successful, India will be a part of a small group of countries to have successfully reached and explored Mars.

Modi proudly says, “Our scientists have shown the world a new paradigm of frugal engineering and the power of imagination.” This spacecraft and the mission all come at an extremely cheap price: 4.5 billion rupees, or $75 million. Modi even claims that this project costs less than the budget of the Hollywood movie Gravity.

The new Indian Prime Minister wants to also hold a meeting with neighboring South Asian countries that are a part of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to discuss how the freshly launched satellite is “a gift from India,” as Modi claims it to be with quite the zeal. He hopes for the amelioration among the nations of South Asia, as he wants them to also be an integral part in the world’s limelight.

Along with many accolades, the Indian government has faced some rebuke. India is a country that is filled with problems: poverty, disease, lack of sanitation, etc. India also dangles on one of the longest economic slowdowns it has ever faced. Should the government really be focusing on improving its space program over trying to combat the domestic and social issues ostensibly present?

Despite the criticism, Modi claims that space technology can offer quite a few uses and can become “an integral part of our daily life today.” India celebrates its leap in space science and hopes for a bright future in the field. But what do you think about advances in space technology? Would you consider joining this innovative field? How do you feel about the exploration of Mars? We want to know what the youth’s view of space exploration and technology is, as this is a blossoming field with vast job opportunities.

Image: NASA