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Hardcore Parkour

Posted by cr0uchingtiger on May 23, 2012

It’s the crazy sensation that has swept it’s way from angsty French teen rebels all the way to the USA. Parkour! Also known as Free Running, parkour is a new fitness craze and adventurous activity in which individuals interact with their environments in dynamic and creative ways. Parkour requires great balance, strength, and courage, as one most overcome physical obstaces presented by the enviornment. Parkour can basically be done anywhere, from parks to buildings, to trees.

While parkour is incredible to watch and perform, it is also quite dangerous. The parkour-ers must be well trained before attempting big stunts, such as leaping gaps between buildings or risky flips. To help newbie parkour-ers, a new gym galled the Tempest Freerunning Academy in Los Angelos, California. This incredible gym was actually made by the X-Games course designer Nate Wessel, and contains safe facilities for people to run around and parkour. The gym is stocked with professional freerunners as trainers to help teach the ways of Parkour! How nifty!

Impressed? If not, you need to watch again. I drop my jaw at 1:25 every time, I’m pretty sure that strength is physically impossible.

And did you think Parkour was made exclusively for people? WRONG.

(this is probably my favorite video on youtube)

As I mentioned earlier, while Parkour is crazy fun, it can also be extremely dangeorus…and lead to some pretty dangerous decisions. In fact, two guys were arrested this week for attempting to scale the Ravenel Bridge, who claimed to be “just practicing parkour”.

http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20120523/PC16/120529645/young-men-who-climbed-ravenel-bridge-while-practicing-parkour-issue-apology

I can’t help but think of “Man on Wire”, and the ridiculous stunts he pulled in pursuit of his tightrope dreams. But at what point does “chasing your dreams” get outweighed by practicality and safety? Is parkour capable of spurring acts of vandalism and disruption of society? What say you?

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Pinners Beware: Copyright issues with Pinterest

Posted by cr0uchingtiger on April 12, 2012

It’s the sensation that sweeping the nation: Pinterest. For those of you who don’t know what this website is, it’s media site in which users can share and upload their own photos and ideas. The majority of the users on the website are women, and the most common themes of their posts tend to be fashion, food, humor, work outs, and travel. It’s like a super Stumble Upon made for girls…..Pin-tastic!

But while this website seems to be sugar and spice and everything nice, there are some growing concerns and issues associated with it. The biggest problem is copyright infringement. As each user happily and passively scrolls through the thousands of photos on their newsfeed, they re-post or “re-pin” photos or posts that they think without as much as a second thought. What they don’t know is that they’re are actually breaking the law by posting the said photos without user permission. Amazingly, according to LLsocial.com, a whopping 99% of the “pins” are in violation of Pinterest’s Terms of Service.  The problem with this is that Pinterest’s own terms of service states that you need to be the owner of or have explicit permission including all right, licenses, consents and releases to pin any image to their service”
Read more: http://vasimpleservices.com/pinterest-controversies-giving-you-second-thoughts-just-asking#ixzz1rt5gbrqE

So, while the Pinterest board (ha-ha) members have specified these copyright rules in their policies, a majority of the website’s users are entirely oblivious to their defiance. I’d definitely be lying if I said I had actually read the “Terms and & Conditions” before I accepted them for this website or any website for that matter, and in retrospect I wish I had at least skimmed them.

This issue doesn’t only apply to Pinterest, but to thousands of websites. Music Pirating websites have become incredibly popular, as youtube to MP3 converters, and several other blog-based websites are in violation of Copyright laws. Heck, I probably broke some sort of copyright law by posting the photo at the top of this post. It’s amazing how little privacy and ownership internet users have over their own documents and property as soon as they post them to a public website.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/08/tech/web/megaupload-file-hosting-sites/index.html

In this CNN article ^^ , they discuss the closure of the popular media sharing website called Megaupload. According to the article, Megaupload “has denied copyright holders an estimated $500 million and that those indicted have earned roughly $175 million in the process”. That amount is absolutely absurd.

Do you have a Pinterest? If you do, were you aware of the copyright violations? Do you think that all of this is a big fuss over nothing? Share your thoughts!

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Can Technology Become Too Advanced? Honda’s revolutionary ASIMO

Posted by cr0uchingtiger on February 3, 2012

Dance, ASIMO, DANCE!

Have you ever imagined a world where robots are just as advanced as humans? While this level is nowhere near possible (yet),  Honda’s new strides in mechanical technology do show us that robots have become far more advanced than most of us have realized.

Honda’s Robot, ASIMO, is an entirely autonomous, friendly robot, who has revolutionized the robot world. In fact, little ASIMO is so advanced, he even has his own featured performance at Disney World! Honda has been working on an ASIMO prototype since 1986, and now over 20 years later, ASIMO is one of the most advanced and complex robots in the world. ASIMO can perform a wide variety of tasks, from opening pickle jars to walking over uneven surfaces. While at first glance, these skills may not seem all too impressive, the reality is that these capabilities have required endless hours of work and advancement. The capability to open a jar requires artificial motor skills and complex wiring, and walking over uneven surfaces requires balance and coordination that most non-living things do not have.

Here is a video of ASIMO and some of his incredible capabilities. Isn’t he precious??

If you weren’t already blown away by all of the awesome things ASIMO can do, here are some more of his talents. ASIMO can:

- Hop on one leg

-Pour Liquids accurately without spilling

- Run almost 6 miles per hour

- Distinguish and interpret different voices coming from speakers who are speaking simultaneously (even I can’t do that) !

However, while all of this new technology sounds extremely exciting, it’s important to step back and consider, is this advancement necessarily a good thing? ASIMO is an autonomous robot…which means it can make it’s own decisions. Does this fact trouble anyone else as much as it troubles me? While I’m all for further advancing our current technologies and working forward to a revolutionized future, I do think there’s a point of going too far in our technologies. In my opinion, while I find ASIMO very intriging (and super adorable) I fear the consequences of it’s further advancement. Machines already take the jobs that several unemployed Americans would love to have, and now that we have machinery capable of recognizing speech and with developed motor skills…who knows what could happen.

However, this advancement is not yet possible. Jeffrey Smith, project leader for ASIMO in North America from 2000-2007  states that “One of the biggest challenges in this regard is to develop a robot that can think conditionally, to interact and adapt in a rapidly changing and unstable environment.” Smith admites that while they have ” made strides in this regard”, they still “have a long way to go” before they can develop a robot that functions at human level.

Is it dangerous to make our technologies advanced enough to point of potentially surpassing our human capibilities? Do you think that technology consumes human life today? What do you think?

If you want to know more about ASIMO, here is an article that talks all about him, and further elaborates on  all of his amazing features: http://techland.time.com/2011/11/16/how-hondas-asimo-became-the-running-drink-serving-autonomous-robot-it-is-today/

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Dying your pets: Totally cool or just plain cruel?

Posted by cr0uchingtiger on October 30, 2011

Attention weird trend lovers! There’s a new sensation that’s sweeping across the Asian nation! And it’s dying your pet’s fur! The newest and most popular pet craze taking place in China, Japan, and other Asian nations is coloring your dog’s fur, from as simple as one color to as complex as wild animal patterns, such as tigers, pandas, and zebras. OH MY!

Look at how majestic! It’s the year of the tiger in China, so the tiger stripes dying trend is very popular right now.


Here’s a fun little article about the new craze in Asia, with some more adorable pictures. http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/22/chinas-latest-craze-dyeing-pets-to-look-like-other-wild-animals/

While this does seem very cute and fun, the question of ethics must be considered. Is it safe to be frivolously exposing our beloved pets to harsh and dangerous chemicals such a hair dye? Is it animal cruelty? The answer is no, as long is it done safely.

It is true that many hair dye products contain harmful toxins and chemicals, such as ammonia and several carcinogens. Using hair dye made for humans could potentially be dangerous if placed upon a dog’s skin, as well as if a dog were to consume some by licking it’s fur. Also, you should avoid dying any type of rodent or small animal. The Daily Puppy (Why does this source title make me laugh) posted an article on dying pet’s hair, and stated that “Small animals such as hamsters and exotic animals such as chinchillas shouldn’t be dyed, because applying many types of colorant requires rinsing. Water exposure can make pet rodents ill, and in the case of chinchillas, ruin their fur. Any other negative effects of dyeing small animals haven’t been studied, so it is best to stick to larger pets such as dogs and cats.” So basically, do not attempt to dye very small animals. (There goes my friday night plans).

The Daily Puppy Article:

http://www.dailypuppy.com/articles/what-is-a-safe-way-to-dye-your-pets-hair/dcfafb94-3dde-ae8f-73a3-a25bdeb532fb

Another article from the global post (link is included later in article)  says that “Owners should seek pet spas that use natural coloring which won’t damage the dog’s hair or irritate the skin,” said Tian Haiyan, who works at the Beijing Guanshang Animal hospital. “Mentally, some dogs that aren’t used to being in the spotlight may react negatively to the sudden attention.” So, if your  dog is not usually very social or has tendencies of lashing out/ violence, you should probably think twice before you dye it.

However, there are safe methods in which you can dye your pet’s hair. They are and tips on how to dye your pets.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4998312_dye-dogs-hair.html

“Chinese-domesticated animal relations have come a long way since the days of cooking and eating canines. Now instead of eating dogs, people are entering them in competitions, such as the dog dyeing competition at Pets Show Taipei.” -Weird Asia News

Here’s a cute little article about a professional pet dyer, Sun Ruowen, who owns her own animal dying salon.  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2010/06/china-panda-dog-dye.html It says that the owner’s pet dying treatments cost from a range of $7 to $300 based on the long-lasting quality of the dyes and the amount of the dog’s fur that is dyed. The average doggie-makover lasts about 6 months.

So, I’m not quite technologically advanced enough to know how to insert this as a video, but here is a video of some dogs being dyed in Japan! My personal favorite is the turtle, hahahaha.

http://www.eitb.com/en/video/detail/454080/dyeing-pets-latest-trend-japan/

I’m very glad to see China developing and becoming more open-minded in their culture, as a nation who once frowned upon even owning pets now fully supports and advertises being good pet owners, and treating your dog or cat like family.What are your thoughts? Do you think that dying animals is considered animal cruelty? Do you find these dogs as adorable as I do? Lemme know.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

 
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