Tuesday, March 4, 2014
facebook is an online social networking service launched in February 2004 that allows and encourages users to create personal profiles, add “friends”, and update their status to connect with other users. This resulted in an easily accessible site allowing a wide range of people to connect and interact. Many people found this social service to be convenient and helpful at first. However, the easily accessible part of facebook began to be a problem. By uploading pictures and videos of their private lives, people were unknowingly being exposed to strangers around the world. facebook’s safety issues have been brought to light, as when status updates about vacations gave others a perfect timeframe for home robberies. But a new type of scam has arisen.
This year, a story with a picture of a beautiful seven year old girl posing in her cheerleading uniform made the rounds on facebook. The most important part of the picture was the girl’s bald head: a sign of her chemotherapy treatments. The story and photo exploded in popularity with messages of support and, of course, donations. All this sympathy would be touching, except for one problem. The photo was taken six years ago and the girl has since fully recovered; it wasn’t her family that posted the tear-jerking story, but scammers. The girl’s mother expressed shock and anger at how people had used her daughter’s sickness and photo as an insidious way to make easy money. Sadly, this is only one instance of many where people’s private photos are exploited for fame and/or fortune. At times, people use it as a way to become popular or to garner sympathy, in others, money is involved.
This lying works because when posts get enough fans or “likes” on facebook from users, the ones who posted it gets opportunities to place advertisements on the page, and those ads automatically show up in all facebook users’ news feeds. These advertisements can include an app, game, or service they want users to buy or it could be a “recommendation” for a product on an online shop like Amazon. Therefore, the page owners get a commission for every purchase users made through the links, making money on top of the donations they already receive.
This can happen to anyone who owns a facebook account. I want to say to users - think before posting photos and videos on facebook. Nobody knows when and how his or her photos and videos are going to be used. While those sweet posts that fill users’ news feed may seem harmless, some of them are being used for nefarious purposes.
How do these scams spread?
- Wall posts
- News feed is the most common facebook scams
- Chat/Private Messaging
- Some of the recent 419 advance fee scams and identity scams make use of the chat and private messaging feature of facebook to solicit money from the victim’s friends.
- Groups and Pages
- Scams also spread through viral groups and pages which promise something in return for you inviting your friends to also join the group.
- Rogue Applications
- Applications are allowed and can pull profile information from its users.
- Fake Events
- Lure participants into performing a set of actions like inviting their friends and posting links on other pages.
Some of the most common Facebook scams!
- Phishing/ Identity Theft
- Hijacks facebook account by luring users to a webpage having a fake facebook log-in page
- Malware/Spyware infested links
- A scam that also lures facebook users into clicking on a link
- Click/Like jacking
- Involves luring facebook users into clicking on a link that accompanies a message that friends have “liked”.
- A scam that lures users to unknowingly subscribe to a service that will automatically charge their mobile phone accounts or credit cards.
- 419 Advanced Fee scams/Romance scams
- Involves convincing facebook users to send money in order to collect a lottery prize, to buy a nonexistent product.
Citation: "The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Scams |." Facecrooks. Bitdefender, Private Wifi, Abine: Do Not Track Me, 2009. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
- Eun Jung Park -
Image: Credit to Facebook
CULTURE / CURRENT EVENTS / LIFESTYLE
Posted by Ozine Otis at 5:07 PM
To start off the discussion about drug abuse in creative professions, I want to talk about some basics. What is it, that makes drugs so appealing to people and what does addiction mean, to our body and society?
Most drugs trigger a feeling of intense pleasure, which we can all agree on to be desirable. Some drugs such as Cocaine are accompanied by stimulating effects, while opiates such as Heroine are calming and relaxing. So we have a few reasons here already: People take drugs to feel good, or to feel better. Drugs offer an immediate relief of anxiety, some make you feel more confident, give you more energy or relieve distress – but only as long as the drug is in the system, of course.
Another reason for consumption is the desire to extend the abilities of the body. Some drugs enhance sensitivity, prolong attention spans, send signals to the body that it is not tired, weak, anxious or anything else that could get in the way of succeeding. The last reason I must mention is curiosity; Any person who is only a little bit curious has probably wondered at some point how it must feel to be on LSD or another drug. For some the curiosity ends here, for others it is where it begins. How is this curiosity fed? By the community, the media, pop culture.
All these effects are no magic. With drugs, we add chemicals to the working systemof our body to get the pleasure usually only used motivate us to survive (eating,procreation). Drugs increase the amount of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for the rewarding feelings.
Now all these things sound great so far. Controlling the chemicals in my body to react in my favor instead of having to deal with problems inside my head? I can see how that could be tempting. But if this was all there was to drugs, not only would they be legal, but everyone would take them all the time!
There is a downside, or should I say downfall? The higher you get, the lower you fall. The human body gets used to the extreme amount of dopamine and normal levels simply don’t suffice anymore. What used to be pleasurable, lost its rewarding abilities.While dopamine normally conditions us to stay alive, taking drugs to increase dopamine levels conditions us to, well, take drugs. And this is addiction.
There’s no magic, no dark power, no evil villain called Mr. Addiction picking one and not the other. Addiction is proven to be bio-chemical reactions in the brain. Depending on genetic disposition (about 40% according to studies on heritability in families and twins) and the environment, some people are more likely to become addicted than others.
Also, certain drugs are more addictive than others. All of this is true, but we all have this reward system set up and messing with it by using drugs will eventually get them on the top of that reward list. When it comes to taking drugs regularly, addiction is not a choice, it’s a consequence. The tables turn and soon the drugs consume us. Instead of expanding human abilities, they start inhibiting them, making the body dependent on something that slowly –but surely– destroys it.
Why I’m writing about all this medical, chemical blah blah reminding you of the torturing hours of biology class you hated in high school? I know it took me some time to accept the danger of drug addiction as something that comes with being human, something that is real.
The general assumption of society is a completely different one: Drug addiction is
associated with junkies, homeless people, the outcasts of society, the weak-willed. It is
easier to look at it that way, to believe this does not concern people with jobs, who go to
good schools, drive decent cars and grow up in nice neighborhoods.
The world is speeding up by the second and endless possibilities of comparison raise the bar for all professions. To keep up in that race of modern survival of the fittest we must push ourselves harder to exceed our own abilities now more than ever. The human brain can keep up with the racing development of the world, but the body can’t. With stress levels as high as the expectations, exhaustion is a natural consequence we
simply don't seem to have time for.
Every day, I find myself wishing the day had more hours, dreaming of the time in middle
school where I could get a sufficient amount of sleep and not feel guilty about it. My first semester at Otis, I was so consumed with trying to do my best at school that I forgot to eat regularly and fought sleep creeping up on me like an enemy.
This didn’t happen because I was an art student or a creative person or a workaholic. This simply was what I felt was demanded by the highly competitive world I am living and planning on surviving in independently. Of course, there are consequences to this kind of behavior that the body isn’t made for. But who has time to work out long-term solutions in this kind of world? We want express lanes at Ralph’s, we want drive-through banking, we want fast food, we want instant credit, we want it quick and want it now. We take off the bandaid and say we’ll worry about the infection later. We ignore the writing on the wall for as long as we can. We witnessed the economic crash in 2008 and picked up right where we left it. Why does all this seem to me like a one-way street? I feel like I am a passenger on a train speeding up with no breaks and a broken steering wheel, where everybody on board decided to put on a seat belt rather than changing gears. Drugs can offer something to hold on to in the craze of this speeding train; But they don’t avert the crash, they expedite it. It is a vicious circle and deep down inside we all know it.
Yes, many people use drugs to get through the day –probably far more surrounding me than I know of– but how long will it work this way? I am writing all of this with a heavy heart. The more I researched, the more I realized the extent of this issue. Instead of finding answers, I am now facing even more questions. My first impulse was to turn around and simply look the other way. Having to consciously witness artists I personally know well and think highly of, being carried away by the torrent is such a painful experience. But I am committed to facing this issue and with my thoughts in mind, I hope you do, too.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
|Image by Sumiko Yamashita 2012|
by: Jonathan Taylor
For over forty years Los Angeles has brought local as well as traveling families to its sandy beaches for the annual Festival of the Kite. This event is completely free of charge and will be held at the Redondo Pier on Sunday March 9th 5pm. As this is one of the longest-running kite festivals in Southern California, the Sunshine Kite Company and the Redondo Pier Association are working very hard to make and organize free community events throughout the year such as this one.This is a way to show your kids a great day out having fun in the sun. Not only will there be hundreds of kites flying above spectators heads, there will be contests. What better way to enjoy the day than by adding a little competition? Some of the contests are who can fly the highest kite, the best handmade kite and a new contest, the youngest kite flyer. Another project this year is launching a 25 foot wide kite that the attendees can volunteer to help soar through the air. Seeing a kite that large held down by a string is amazing to see. Even if you’re not into kite flying there is definitely room for you at the festival. Random novelty activities will also be present, such as a hot dog-on-a-stick eating contest, folk rap performances and a yo-yo competition. I don’t know about you but the miscellaneous activities alone make me want to go this year. Live bands, fresh food, a sandy beach, kite flying, and even nice bars for the adults to enjoy a treat all lead to a wonderful fun-filled day.
Sunday, March 9th
100 Fisherman’s Wharf Redondo Beach 90277
12pm to 5pm
- Jon Taylor -
The Smartphone's Paypal
It's 2014 and we are still awkwardly fumbling for cash when splitting checks or paying back friends; sometimes it's too tiring to remember a debt after ten separate excuses of, “I haven't been to the bank yet.” In an age when we're doing everything on our phones, isn't it about time to dust our hands of IOU's as well? Now, there's an app that seeks to remedy the hassle of cheques and cash in a social setting. That app is Venmo, and it allows easy transactions via your smartphone with people in your social circles.
Venmo is free to download and use if you link your bank account or a debit card. Credit cards carry a 3% fee if your are making a payment, but you are never charged when you are receiving money. The data is sent over a 256-bit encrypted connection and protected by the FDIC (that's a lot of protection)! Transactions via Venmo are fun, easy and fast with users offered the option to hold money in their Venmo account or “cash out” to their synced banking account.
But there is a catch, Venmo can only be used with other Venmo users, thus you must convince enough friends to download the app to actually use it. It’s akin to adding friends on Facebook; interaction only works if both of you have one. That being said, Venmo is a quintessential app for OTIS students: twenty-something year olds scrounging for cash underneath couches and trying to avoid a life as a hermit in the hills. Venmo your utility bills, that food you stole/borrowed from your roommate, and countless other things!
- Sara Ji -