Are Devices Listening to Us?

I mentioned this video in class. Here’s the link of the actual video if you guys wanted to watch it:

Despite Chris’ comical insanity over the world “Crib”, it raises awareness to a much larger issues (that’s now becoming a meme). Are our devices listening to us, and if this was true, is it accessible for them to do it in order to promote safety? The meme that has been going on is the idea that an FBI agent is assigned to watching our every mood, and people smuggly joke on this topic by creating memes about themselves asking that agent whether or not they should wear a certain outfit to a party.

It also ties into the short online panic of Alexa speaking randomly about dark topics (closest cemetery, random laughs, etc.) without ANY cue to cause her to respond. Even then, the videos of countless people asking if Alexa is working for the FBI and her not directly answering the question…

I digress though.

If anyone would like to tackle this for the Semester Project (the creative one, not the one for the blog) this would be an interesting place to start from, and an interesting topic to expand on that would take minimal effort to conduct everyday.

-Katelynn DiBiccari


Research paper sources

So far in my research I have developed a better understanding of the long tail theory as a whole and how it is relevant in the music industry.  Althought the many articles I have come across in my search so far have been somewhat conflicting.  Some bloggers say that the effects of the long tail have benefited independent artists, while others say it is hurting them.  According to a chunk of articles I read, 77% of total revenue in the music industry comes from the top 1% of big-name artists alone. Even with our modern ability to search for music infinitely has not changed people’s taste of sticking with the artists who are a part of the biggest labels.

The music industry has become a “superstar economy” in which the big artists saturate the market.  In the original theory explaining how the long tail would be benefitial for independent arstists, and even out the distritbution (in some cases it has) but mostly it has hindered small artists moreso.

This is because with the rise of digital content it has caused the superstar’s to thrive because of the lack of ‘front end display’ on digital devices.  Also, the fact that listeners are overwhelmed by the “tyranny of choice”, having too many options in which there are endless possibilities of new music to discover.  This theory states that excessive choice actually hinders discovery.

However, all these sources have been on my first two pages of google, and I plan to continue to dig deeper to find more information about this conflicting idea.

Blake Hagerman



Interesting Move to Preventing Gun Violence

Robert W. Runcie, superintendent of Broward County Public School, announced that students will be required to have clear backpacks in order to attend Douglas High School after spring break. They also made it clear that they will provide each student with a backpack that are deemed worthy by their standards at no cost.

In my opinion, this is a very interesting way to recover from gun violence at a school that had a shooting last month. Likewise, a very immediate response to 3 students who got arrested this week alone (2 were arrested for bringing knives to school, 1 was arrested for threats on Snapchat.)

In addition, the district is debating on using metal detectors in addition to using the clear backpacks.  However, Runcie recently criticized it at being ineffective, saying that “someone is not going to go through a metal detector with an AR-15”. He equally said that metal detectors do not help create a welcoming learning environment. However, it will relieve the tension currently lingering from the previous shooting and recent events (like the suspect’s brother trespassing on campus and the school’s deputy falling asleep on the job).

If Manhattanville, or even if your hometown High School, was to implement this how would you guys feel? Would it feel unwelcoming or would feel safer with these safety integrations in place.

-Katelynn DiBiccari

Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny

For my research paper, I am particularly inclined to write about hoaxes in terms of what positively and negatively affects people. In class we discussed how the idea of Catfishing is seen as negative, that people are let down when they realize they were being lied to. My topic seems to differ from this idea. If individuals feel as though they are not being negatively affected, they might get joy from a lie.

I want to write about the myths of Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and more. This relates to Bunk hence we had a very interesting class discussion on this topic. I feel as though I can offer a different (outsider) perspective on the topic since I was raised in a Jewish household and was never taught to believe. I am genuinely curious to explore the psychology behind the continuation of these lies. My classmates had very fond memories of how Santa Claus enhanced their precious childhood Christmas experience, but honestly I can’t relate. After class, I brought this up with a family friend and she said her son was absolutely traumatized when he realized Santa wasn’t real.

These myths are HEAVILY commercialized in modern society so I don’t see this stopping any time soon. I’m sure these beliefs must fund a multimillion dollar commercial industry.  

How is the concept of Catfishing different than believing in Santa Claus?

Here are the sources I have so far:

Psychology Today

Science Direct (scholarly journal)


Parenting Science

The University of Melbourne

David Sedaris: Santaland Diaries (audio)


– Leah Bromberg

Research​ Paper Sources

For my research paper, I would like to propose writing about the #MeToo movement in relation to #TimesUp. I’d like to examine the evolution of the movements over time and how the #MeToo movement was started. I want to look at why each of the movements was started as well and which one came first and how the #TimesUp movement evolved from the #MeToo movement. I’d also like to explore how this affects women and men.

Recently both movements have gained a tremendous amount of attention. I’d like to look deeper into what the #MeToo stands for as well as #Timesup. The #MeToo movement allows women to share their personal stories they have suppressed relating to sexual harassment or assault. #Timesup is a movement similar to #Metoo although it relates to sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. I think this is an important topic to research because women are becoming comfortable with discussing many aspects of their life now than they were ten or twenty years ago. Both movements are also very important and while they were started by middle-aged women it is up to the next generation to educate and make others aware.

My idea for my paper came from a combination of ideas. I had listened to a segment on On The Media at the beginning of the semester about the #MeToo movement which sparked my interest but I never really followed up on it. Around the same time the podcast I listen to, Adult Sh1t also discussed the movement which made me think more about it. In addition, I began to spark an interest and do my own research.

For my sources, I choose a couple of different ones. Some of them give basic information that explains what the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement are about. While the others explore the movement in depth. One of my sources is an interview with the founder of the #MeToo movement. It’s interesting to read as she started it the hashtag ten years ago. One of the articles I found strikingly intriguing was about the sexual assault offenders and how they are viewed. The article discussed whether they should be forgiven or how they should be viewed.





Time Magazine


Times Up







Carmella DeCaria

Planned Obsolescence

In my research paper, I am planning to look at planned obsolescence. I was inspired by another class I’m taking that pointed out how we don’t tend to use our material possessions to their limits. Instead we tend to use things until we reach the first glitch, and then we give up on them. In our class we talked about how we are being over advertised to, so I wanted to put the two together. When we hear planned obsolescence, we tend to think of electronics, which is why I am planning to examine the idea through the example of iPhones and how, after a long time of theorizing, a statement confirmed that the older phones were indeed being slowed down on purpose. With this in mind, research regarding the iPhone situation specifically, along with more general sources on planned obsolescence will be used. I would like to get a general opinion from the online community on how many people are aware of the concept, believe that it is used to increase corporate profits, and of those who are aware, I would like to know how, if at all, it affects spending and perception of their possessions.
Below are some inicial sources I have been looking at using in my paper.


Planned Obsolescence

Planned Obsolescence: 5 Products That Have It and What to Do About It

Global backlash spreads over Apple slowing down iPhones

We’re all losers to a gadget industry built on planned obsolescence


Plagiarism in Literary Community

For my semester research paper, I plan on focusing on the problems regarding plagiarism in the literary community. Plagiarism, “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own,” is taken seriously when regarding published works. This is especially true when thinking about extremely popular publishing houses and authors. The risks associated in publishing something that is found out to be false or plagiarized are substantial enough that these publishers would not want to get involved in a scandal of that sort. But the tone shifts when it is regarding fan fiction. The professional literary community separates itself from the online community of fan fiction, so sometimes the practice of plagiarism can be missed if a few details are changed. Additionally, there is less regulation and online creators are more susceptible to having their work stolen. Throughout the essay I plan to have a better understanding if fan fiction itself an act of plagiarism. Does the author have the ability to make the decision on whether or not people can write fan fiction about their work? And how can this be published on its own. The Fifty Shades of Grey series acts as an example of fan fiction being professionally published with great success and the precedents it set. Additionally, looking at additional cases like Cassandra Clare, a popular YA author who got her start in online fan fiction, who has been accused of stealing from fan fiction and other texts without crediting sources from the beginning of her career.


This article reviews the legal and copyright issues within the Fifty Shades Series

This less reputable source chronicles similarities between Twilight and 50 Shades. It will act as a bouncing off point when looking for specific instances within both series.

This article delves further in to the ideas and legality of fan fiction. It will act as a good guiding source with additional link within to help better understand specific cases.

This article is helpful in trying to better understand the Cassandra Clare case and how wide-reaching it is. This article also points to other pieces that could later be helpful.

This article goes more into detail about the actual legal case that was brought about against Clare for supposedly copying the novels by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

-Katherine Matuszek

Research Proposal & Sources!

Main foucs:

Cell phone addiction- Are we addicted to our phones and what is that doing to us?

In Mexico, Unfortunately, I had my cell phone stolen out of my purse. There have been days where I don’t end up every really using my cell phone because I’m too busy and days where my phone breaks and I have to go to the store to get a new one, but I have never gone an entire week without my phone since having one. I didn’t think it would be a big deal or bother me at all but I was shocked when I found myself constantly checking my pockets for my phone, or accidentally picking up my friends because it was ‘habit’. It was so interesting to me to not have my phone, I noticed how often my friends would be on their phones and we would just all be together… not talking… just on our phones. Yes, granted if I had my phone I would’ve been doing the same thing but since I didn’t I was able to observe this. When I was at the airport I noticed people walking on their phones, running into people, or couples sitting together, not talking and just being on their phones. Being able to watch and observe how different it was to not have your phone, but everyone else having theirs was extremely interesting. When we were out to dinner I saw a couple on a date, a woman was sitting and her date had gone to the bathroom, she had gotten up to put her jacket on and while she was waiting you could tell she felt uncomfortable just standing there alone so she immediately went on her phone, but what if she didn’t have her phone to do that? When I got home from the trip I was constantly on my computer because I had missed that feeling of being connected and being intertwined in everyone else’s world. When I realized this I started looking up articles about smartphone addiction, and how/why are we addicted? I found it extremely interesting to see all of the different studies and articles that came up explaining people and their smartphones. There, of course, are positive things to having the world in your pocket, but at the same time, the negative effects are just as huge.


Questions to be answered:

If we are addicted, why/why not?

What led us to this addiction?

Is it social media that mainly caused it?

What are the negative side effects/positive side effects?


Gentrification in Sunset Park BROOKLYN! Research Proposal and Sources, Taide Acevedo

Main Focus for Research Project: 

The Gentrification Sunset Park Has gone in the past 10 years and who it benefits and or affects.

Areas of Focus in Sunset Park: 

-Industry City

-5th ave.

-NETs facility work out gym

-Bush Terminal



Gentrification in Sunset Park Brooklyn, and the opinions of those being affected and benefited:

The place where I reside, is a place that for twenty one years has taught me how to survive. It is the place I call home, down to the aroma of taco trucks and street vendors that make your tastebuds dance, to the booming sound of tropical music that makes your soul scream and chant where the hot humid air rising from the sewer caps fumigating the streets with pestilent odors and the sight of a rich multicultural neighborhood. It is Sunset Park Brooklyn, the place I call home. In this literature review I will discuss the changes Sunset park and other gentrified cities like Williamsburg, Prospect heights, Harlem has undergone. There has been a huge influx of college students, hipsters, and starving artists moving into a neighborhood that was known to be dominantly latino, African American and Asians. All these changes are occurring due to Gentrification. Gentrification is a renovation or improvement to a certain district (specifically low class) in order to appeal or accommodate middle class individuals (Freidheim 2016). Throughout this Research I would like to answer several questions; Does Gentrification have an effect with the ultimate quality of life for residents of any age, race or gender for the community of Sunset Park Brooklyn? Gentrification is striking down almost every part of Brooklyn. Sunset park seems to be the next neighborhood where an abundance of change has been occurring without the input of their immigrant residents nor the tenants that have been in Sunset park for decades. This community lives and breathes unsanitary living standards with several factories and fossil fuel discharge that affect their everyday life and yet, have do not have a voice to be heard about these concerning living standards. Gentrification has been changing some of these hazardous environments but the real question is why now? I will be using different electronic platforms in order to explain Gentrification in Sunset Park and it Pros and Cons it brings with them.

Videos and Some Articles being used for Research: