All posts by dsconzo6

Coke vs. Pepsi

Screenshot 2014-11-08 at 3.45.29 PM

The controversy between Coke and Pepsi has become more prominently displayed since moving to Atlanta due to the Coke headquarters being so close. Upon arrival, I had to be a tourist and visit the factory when I first moved down and I found it really interesting how soda was so impacted by events throughout history. Using Google Ngram Viewer I made a graph comparing Pepsi, Coke and Dr. Pepper for another beverage comparison. Surprisingly, Dr. Pepper barely had any popularity even though it was first established in 1885 and was nationally produced and sold in 1904.

Coca-Cola shows a gradual rise from the early 1900’s and on, while Pepsi only takes off in the late 1930’s. Both beverages were created around the 1890’s, however Coke had a brilliant marketing scheme where salesmen would hand out coupons for a free coke. Pepsi’s gained popularity in 1936 with the introduction of a 12 oz. bottle. This was twice as much soda for the same price as a bottle of Coke, encouraging price-watching consumers to buy Pepsi over Coke.

On the graph, there is a huge drop on the graph for Coca-Cola in the mid-1960’s. This is because at this point in time in history, many women began to count their calories. This led to the creation of TaB which had only one calorie and was more appealing to calorie conscious consumers. From the 70’s and on there is a huge rise in popularity for both companies because the competition was growing fierce. From then on, the marketing battle began and both companies focused on who could claim more fame in the worldwide market.

 

Culture’s Big Impact on Health

ABSTRACT

Culture is integrated into all aspects of a person’s life. It can determine the type of food they eat, the level of hygiene and even social interactions. These factors determine the level of well-being of an individual and overall health of a society. Healthcare can be drastically different depending on factors such as religion, economics and education. The implications of such diversity could mean that while one person is being healed from a disease in one country, across a border there may be another who is dying from the same disease but with no means of help. Ultimately, our own interpretation of health is defined by our individual culture.

Continue reading Culture’s Big Impact on Health

Culture of NYC reflected in the Subway

Pecha Kucha by Devan Sconzo

 

Reflection

Selecting a topic for my presentation was fairly easy, the difficulty came in narrowing down what I should discuss. I knew that I could easily relate culture with my home in New York City but the hard part was how to specify this. With such a broad spectrum, I felt like there was too much to cover because I initially planned to talk about NYC as a whole. After looking up different pictures of Broadway, Times Square and the typical tourist attractions, I came across this image of the crowded subway trains.

I thought about how I spent 2 hours sitting on the train just to get to school everyday and I had seen a lot pass through. I realized that this was the topic that I would be able to discuss in depth because of my firsthand account. I thought that a good way to relate culture would be through art. This was my initial argument for my Pecha-Kucha. However, as I searched through images of graffiti covered trains, I noticed that the pictures were mainly just from the 70’s through the 90’s. Most trains nowadays are fairly clean and don’t have nearly as much tagging as back then. I switched my train of thought again and decided that I could have a stronger argument for culture on the subway if I showed how the atmosphere and appearance of train cars changed as society progressed through the decades.

The focus of the presentation then began to branch out from art to history. The subway connects New York in more ways than just commuting. This opened up a lot of new ideas for what I could include. I thought about how different disasters really changed the feel of the people’s emotions in the atmosphere. A lot of my parents and teachers always talked about how drastic the difference was in people’s behavior after the 9/11 attacks. I remember getting to school 5 hours late one day after Hurricane Sandy because we were stuck on the newly re-routed trains and I could feel that sense of culture within the mutual feelings of people in the car. I thought that another huge way the subway connects people, sometimes subconsciously, is through advertising. There are always jokes in social media about the ads that everyone sees on the train. I felt like they all had something to say about the direction of New York City and wanted to talk about something that is sometimes glanced over. Throughout the process, the focus of my argument did sway a few times but overall I felt like I was able to cover a lot of material on how the subway creates and holds the culture of the city.

 

Jeff Iliff: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

Jeff Iliff discusses the scientific reasons behind One more reason to get a good night’s sleep. He speaks with emotion and includes the audience by creating an engaging atmosphere using various methods that can be connected to WOVEN. His main statement in the talk is that sleep is when our brain clears out all of the waste byproduct from a long day. His presentation is well worded to include everyone, even people who know very little about biology. Jeff brings up images throughout the presentation to help paint a clear image of what is taking place as we sleep. He even uses evidence to argue his point through the data from a scientific studying showing the blood vessels of a mouse’s brain while resting versus awake. He includes brief labels on these diagrams to further prevent any confusion with his scientific terminology. While speaking, Jeff maintains a comfortable eye contact that keeps the audience interested in what he is saying. His hand movement is limited- not overwhelming- but just enough to be relaxed. He faces many directions of the audience to engage everyone viewing, not only those who sit directly in front. He also maintains a good pace when moving from image to image. He moves slow enough for the audience to understand his point but not lingering on anything long enough for the audience to become bored.

Looking specifically at the time between 5:01 and 5:11, we see how he transitions from his talking point o the image of the brain of a mouse. His tone is not arrogant when pointing out his personal findings in the research. Instead, he continually uses the word “us” and his voice is the mere awe that matches that of his viewers. Combining visual representations with an interactive speech creates a strong argument and makes for an effective presentation by Jeff Iliff.

America runs on coffee?

Infographics by Stephen Catapano, via Behancehttp://www.pinterest.com/infographicmad/beverages-infographics/

I found this infographic on Pinterest, however when I researched where the data came from I found multiple branches of sources. The first “fact” I was concerned with in this image was the 48 million styrofoam cups used daily. I grew up in New York City where there is a coffee cart every half a block. I bought coffee every day at many various locations and I was only ever handed paper cups. Even when buying drinks from a deli or Dunkin Donuts I usually am given plastic, not styrofoam. After researching the amount of styrofoam cups used by Americans, the average was about 1 billion per year. When you use this number to find cups per day it comes out to approximately 3 million per day. 3 million per day is significantly less than the 48 million daily number on the infographic. Next, I found a website that specifically looks at coffee statistics. This website states that the average price of a cup of coffee is actually $1.38. Surprisingly, on the website Statistic Brain I found almost all of the data exactly the same as on the infographic. Noticeably, the data was sometimes reversed to show larger percentages on the graphic. For example, on Statistic Brain it states that 35% drink their coffee black. The opposite of this would be those who add cream or sugar (the 65% on the infographic). Larger percentages and  statistics makes the infographic seem more interesting to read and seems to stand out more when it comes to the facts and figures of coffee drinking.  Almost all of their remaining data points match precisely with what was posted on Statistic Brain.

After following through 4 other sources from Statistic Brain to Live Science Magazine eventually to a study published in  the Archives of Internal Medicine, did I find the original source of the data. the study was actually performed in 2011. I think that the data found in the infographic posted, while interesting, is misleading because of its outmoded facts. This really emphasizes how we should always question the information that we are given and check the relevance of the data.

Google & Privacy. Worried? You shouldn’t be.

Vaidhyanathan criticizes Google for having a “lack of privacy” and  for being an invasive “smokescreen”. While Google does have a history of exposing private information, their mission, overall, is not to expose our private lives. Indeed, there are times where it seems Google is absorbing every bit of information like a sponge. What we must remember is that the purpose of this information vacuum is for our benefit. Google’s purpose is not to blackmail us. Vaidhyanathan is concerned about the amount of data Google holds but he might as well be just as concerned with the government. We send in tax forms and fill out censuses with just as much information regarding our lives. David Carr, writer for the New York Times, argues that although Google’s motives have been called into question, it is overall an extremely useful tool. In his article “How good (or Not Evil) is Google?” he points out that Google financed more than $4 billion dollars towards pure research and applications to make it more powerful in order to please us, the users. Both authors point out the 2007 incident where Google scanned millions of books without permission. Vaidhyanathan argues this as evidence that Google is invasive however Carr makes a good point: no one else put effort into scanning these books page by page. Google’s goal here wasn’t to rip off all of the authors, it was to share the information in the books with the world and to preserve text that could otherwise be lost. Marie Curie’s books, for example, are too radioactive to touch and can be used by very few select scientists with expensive suits. This is a specific reason why we would need a company like Google to put the information online for all to see and use. By extending access to billions of people, Google is expediting the advancement of society. Yes, Google’s massive absorption rate and capacity of data is frightening but it is not being used for evil. It is only benefiting us and making our lives easier for the moment so even though Vaidhyanathan is critical, we shouldn’t be too worried.

The Minds Behind the Data

Revised Edition:

“Google took the 50 million most common search terms that Americans type and compared it the list with the CDC data on the spread of seasonal flu between 2003 and 2008. The idea was to identify areas infected by the flu virus by what people searched for on the internet. Others had tried to do this with internet search terms, but no one else had as much data, processing power, and statistical know-how as Google….Thus when the H1Nl crisis struck in 2009, Google’s system proved to be a more useful and timely indicator than government statistics with ‘their natural reporting lags. Public health ·officials were armed with valuable information.” – Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier’s Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

The amount of information that Google contains on every person is an enormous compilation of information. The data can be dangerous if it is being used against us however, it is only as dangerous as the people behind the screens. Using the data for a greater purpose; to benefit humans is all up to us. If we put data into the right hands then the positive outcomes will outweigh the negative side effects. In the passage, Google demonstrated that by use of its information, we were able to design a formula for detecting the H1N1 virus, eventually helping to control and calm the pandemic. We have so much technology and information that could be potentially harmful, however, we have to realize the information itself is not the  problem. We, the people who make conscious decisions are the ones who make the choice. In Google’s case they helped save what would have been thousands of cases of H1N1.

Many of us are engineers here at Tech. We are the minds behind the technology and we can control the use of it. We are the ones who will use technology to benefit the human race. There are many people who fear that the change in technology has been for the worse. Even though many fear change, overall I believe it has had a positive effect. Data is a tool that is no different than a swiss army knife; we could use it to harm others or to help others, but the decision is up to us. We are now able to live longer, travel faster and communicate further with technological advances. Technology can be dangerous but with the right minds controlling it can lead to a better society ahead.

Original Edition:

“Google took the 50 million most common search terms that Americans type and compared it the list with the CDC data on the spread of seasonal flu between 2003 and 2008. The idea was to identify areas infected by the flu virus by what people searched for on the internet. Others had tried to do this with internet search terms, but no one else had as much data, processing power, and statistical know-how as Google….Thus when the H1Nl crisis struck in 2009, Google’s system proved to be a more useful and timely indicator than government statistics with ‘their natural reporting lags. Public health ·officials were armed with valuable information.” – Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier’s Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

The amount of information Google contains on every human being is a dangerous thing to have. However, it is only as dangerous as the people behind the screens. In actuality, the information is arguably the most useful resource to mankind. In the passage, Google demonstrated that by use of its information, we were able to design a formula for detecting the H1N1 virus, eventually helping to control and calm the pandemic. We have so much technology and information that could be potentially harmful, however, we have to realize the information itself is not the problem. We, the people who make conscious decisions are the ones who make the choice. In Google’s case they helped save what would have been thousands of cases of H1N1.

Many of us are engineers here at Tech. We are the minds behind the technology and we can control the use of it. We are the ones who will use technology to benefit the human race. There are many people who fear that the change in technology has been for the worse. Even though many fear change, overall I believe it has had a positive effect. We are now able to live longer, travel faster and communicate farther with technological advances. Technology is a tool that can be dangerous but with the right minds controlling it can lead to a better society ahead.

TFTF Video response: Devan Sconzo

What does the story tell you about your own relationship with technology?

Post Video Reflection

It was not difficult to think about a topic to base my video on. The issue was choosing one topic to focus on because I felt like there were so many related reading topics I could have discussed. I considered using an anecdote of how I lost a camera I had when I was ten, then I found it again about 6 years later. I watched all of the videos with my family and it made all of us happy and it brought back so many memories we had naturally forgotten. I was going to use this example as to why Remem might be a good thing but ultimately decided against it.

There were many challenges in producing the video, even simple things such as camera placement. I was worried that it would look to much like I was reading off a script and tried to look into the camera as much as possible. I also wanted to keep a casual attitude so that viewers would feel comfortable when watching my video.