Take That Lollipop (I Dare You!)

When posed with the statement: “Take This Lollipop, I Dare You” on a website, of course my initial instinct is to take it! Not only did it dare me to, but I am one of those people with a seriously sweet tooth who could always do with a lollipop! But this interactive digital story is not exactly of the sweet variety, check it out here… if you dare!

“Take This Lollipop” is a personalised digital story which will inevitably creep you out, so it was probably not the best idea to view it at 11:28 at night in my bedroom alone with the doors closed and the lights all turned off… (or conversely maybe this was the perfect setup!)  The power of the story lies in the personalisation of the piece, so to get the true experience you have to sign into your Facebook account and grant it access. And this is the way in which the story then proceeds to freak you out! Eerie music building up tension, amazing 3D graphics lead you down a dingy hallway to a room where an excessively creepy man sits at a computer, as the visuals turn to display the computer screen you watch as this creepy man logs into Facebook and accesses your very own Facebook account!! Your exact news feed on display post for post, before he clicks onto your profile and ever so creepily stalks through photo after photo, progressing through them as he begins stroking the screen with his fingers. The epitome of the creepiness when the stalker opens up google maps and types in your location, before proceeding to get into his van, a photo of you taped to his dashboard!

The true strengths of the digital story are not only in the graphics and the way it is interactive without too much involvement, but also the way in which it emotes and sets a mood without the use of dialogue but rather,through the use of colouring, excessively creepy musical score and sound effects, the various angles within the animation and the expressions of the stalker character. The viewer becoming well and truly immersed in the story. The only weakness in the piece, I am finding it increasingly difficult to even think of one, it was that well done, would probably be the ambiguity of the piece, if you have no idea what the story is before you ‘take that lollipop” (like me) you have no clue what you are getting yourself into. However, this could aso be quite intentional on the part of the creators. As far as horror stories go, the plot is not overly twisting or complex at all; but it is the whole seeing yourself cast as the victim that really draws you in.

This video whilst extremely creepy, truly for me just shows how far the world of digital story telling  has come and is indicative of all the possibilities for future stories, especially with the increasing progression of technology these days. The way the story becomes personalised for you the viewer, the overall construction and its ability to access your information a truly signifcant development for storytelling online and in general.

Many people in the world having a tendency to underestimate the power of social networks. Short and succinct this viral video also teaches an important lesson about the potential dangers of  online networking, sending a warning about being very careful with privacy, making you think twice about what you share on the internet and how you safe guard this information.

One final quick note for the future: don’t take candy from strangers, online or otherwise!


The City of 2057…

Have you ever wondered what our world will be like in the year 2057? Okay well maybe not the exact year 2057, but just the future in general?

Discovery channel documentary ‘2057: The City of the Future’ explores their idea of what the future holds for us, supported with a scientific insight.

[image source: http://kandaka.com/tag/madonna/%5D
We are advancing into  a future that is taking a new shape each day. In around 50 years will we have automated cities, flying cars and artificial organs?  With computers not even existence 50 years ago the rapid rate at which technology is developing, who can even begin to estimate what the future holds. Scientists that’s who! The scientists within the documentary creating a virtual world and story line, their impression of the world in 2057.

So what do they think that the world will be like in 2057? 

They think it will be a “network city” a  world with ultra modern architecture, where children will have holographic dolphins that can jump out of their computers and interact with them, with cities all linked together by computers, everyone swimming in gigabytes of data! Not to mention the fact that they believe there would be cars function via auto-drive, our clothes will be constantly processing gigabytes of data and no one will even know what a keyboard and mouse are anymore!!

The plot of the documentary uncovering the fatalities that can come with the introduction of this kind of techology, even in the future computers can crash and networks can fail. A child hacking into the system sending the whole network, the whole city crashing down. A  major downfall of this almost glorified network city.

So what do I think? 

Well after viewing the documentary and extensive, alot, a little bit of research I think, as NBC’s “Deep thinkers see how things will be in 2058”  explores I believe that with medical science progressing in 50b years one of the major achievements will be cures and explanations for  many diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Schizopherenia, Bi-polar and even Cancer. I also do happen to agree that we may have automated cars (which would be quite cool) and hover-boards! ( according to back to the future we should already have them after all)  However, I am not quite sure about the whole. The fact that having such a city all controlled and connected by computers was shown even in the documentary to go so devastatingly wrong so quickly sends great doubts in my mind that whoever is to be running the world/ country/ universe in 50 years would actually allow a system as  extensively connected as the one shown to be put into place.

There are always going to be predictions that are way off, as history has proven! Although back then scientists didn’t understand the law of nature so now the predictions can be more accurate. And I guess whilst there is no point spending too too much time living in the future as the scientist in the documentary states it is “better to walk in a forest with foggy glasses than be totally blind.”

Six Degrees of Seperation

“You know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone who knows me or well anyone on the entire planet!”

True story, or at least according to the logic of the theory of the six degrees of separation.

Ever heard the saying: “Did you know you’re only six hand shakes away from anyone in the world?” The documentary ‘Six Degrees of Separation’  by Lucy Leveugle, explores the idea that maybe our world is not as unpredictable and full of coincidences as we have always thought.

So what exactly is this 6 degrees of separation theory?

Basically, it is a theory of networks that suggests that everybody in the world can be connected in just a few steps.  Nature having this hidden blue print structure that connects us all, the world much more unexpectedly connected than you ever thought.

A theory that has the potential to change the way we fight terrorism, predict pandemics and combat disease! And who would have thought that this, one of the greatest scientific insights of moder times would have been inspired by the Hollywood actor Kevin Bacon ( yes, the one from Footloose and a lot, a lot, a lot of other movies ).

The six degrees claims that everyone on the planet can be connected to everyone else in just a few steps, all due to networking. So if I know 100 people and one of them knows 100 people in two steps there is already 10000 people, in 3 steps already a million. Although, there could be overlap which makes the whole theory so difficult. We tend to know people very much like ourselves, making our social circles very clustered. A contradiction in itself! How can the world be both large and small at the same time? Solving this paradox the key to understanding the Six Degrees.

The solution?

Well the pattern suggests that the majority of people know only a small amount of people, yet there is a small amount of people with extremely large networks who have come to be known scientifically as ‘hubs’.

Marc Vidal and Steven Strogatz two scientists who began looking into networking, deciding to look into the Hollywood network to try and prove their theory. After all within Hollywood there is a huge network of connections, more than a million actors have worked on more than half a million films. During the mid 90’s college students began playing a game which linked every actor to just one star: Kevin Bacon. This later got turned into a website which would track an actor’s path and find their ‘bacon number’. Seriously try it! Type “bacon number” and then the name of any actor into google. No matter who you type, even the most little known actors they will be traced back to Kevin Bacon in approximately just two steps. Its legitimately insane!

AND is proof that the Hollywood  network supports the Six Degrees theory. It conforms precisely to the theory clustering over a million actors in just a few steps. Kevin Bacon inspring a phenomenon without even realising it, now a cult figure for the Six Degrees of Separation. Even starting his own charity SixDegrees.org, which is all about “using [the six degrees of separation] idea to accomplish something good. It’s social networking with a social conscience.” (sixdegrees.org/about)

From urban myth to math equation to a daring new approach to fighting disease, this the promise of network science a new way of seeing the world Six degrees is not just an urban myth after all. The world truly more interconnected than I could have ever imagined.

I guess it really is a small world after all!

The Battle of The Search Engines

Search engines? 

You mean there are others besides google? Why yes, yes there are. Quite a few at that! Todays post a battle between the classic search engine Google against two newbies (at least in my world) Instagrok and Duck, Duck, GoEntering the identical search term “potato” I shall evaluate the three search engines, naming only one the winner of “The Battle of The Search Engines”.

First up: Duck, Duck, Go..

The interface simple with a search bar and the sites logo, a creepy cute duck just begging you to just begin your search!! The simplicity of the layout quite nice and inviting. Upon entering my search term “potato” the search layout was quite neat and basic presenting a box at the top of the page with the different meanings of  potato – “The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family”; as well as some relating or similar terms such as the definition of sweet potato and informing of Potato- a thai rock band. (Sounds interesting, may have to google “duck, duck, go” them later…) Underneath this, all the search results. However, upon clicking them, I did discover they were all rather basic results; leading me to believe that perhaps Duck Duck Go is more intended for a quick not too in depth search. (This potentially could have something to do with my search topic…) For instance the “I’m Feeling Ducky” function taking you straight to wikipedia, a site which any-one who has ever been to school knows is not always the mos reliable of sources, but perfectly adequate to find out some quick facts. I did also like how there was an option on the side entitled “search suggestions” with topics such as ‘history’ and ‘recipes’ to truly help you logically refine your search and gather the information you were after. One thing I did not like about this search engine was its inability to display images or videos related to the search term, rather taking you to the image searches on Google or Bing…. hmmmm. It does offer very low-spam  search results, which is always a plus.

Overall, Duck Duck Go was quite simple, easy to use, quick  and visually pleasing in terms of a search engine. While it has not won me over entirely it was fairly good earning itself a sold 6/10

Next Up: Instagrok

The initial interface of Instagrok has a lot more going visually as opposed to most other search engines. The page suggesting that the term “grok” is in fact a verb meaning “to understand thoroughly and intuitively”…. hmm is the epitome of a good search engine, the ability to use its name as a verb?? (I’m sensing a pattern here!) Just from the exterior it looks to be an educational type of search engine. I type in my search term “potato” and was presented with a box reading “groking..” as my search loaded; and well, lets just say this the Insta in Instagrok most definitely must not stand for instant!! When my search eventually pops up, wow, visual excitement that’s for sure. I found the graph feature to be quite interesting, a visual flowchart presenting the topic and all things connected to it in a very easy to comprehend way. I also liked the way the sidebar presented easy ways to navigate through key facts, images, videos, websites, books, quizzes and even a glossary. The thing with Instagrok, it only sources from ‘educational’ websites, which is not entirely a bad thing! The only question with that: what counts as educational?

Overall I quite liked the concept of Instagrok and the layout also. And although I will not be starting to use the verb “Grokking” I will probably end up using it for a few assignments in the future! Instagrok you have beat one competitor already, earning a solid 7.5/10

Finally, Google

I don’t think the process of how to search with Google needs much explaining at all, seeing as everyone who has ever used the internet ever has most probably encountered Google and used it with ease. Like each of the search engines before, I typed in “potato” into the search bar and am displayed with an instant a variety of search results are displayed clearly. A box on the right displaying a definition, whilst links to the left and at the top make it easy to navigate through other sources such as images and videos. Google just seems to have it all! Functionality, simplicity and diversity with its results.

Overall I still thoroughly enjoy Google as a search engine, an oldie but goldie that’s for sure!! It earning itself a good 8.5/10

So the overall consensus?? Whilst it was interesting trying out other search engines and will probably use the other two in the future also, for me Google is still the ultimate champion. It truly making searching the internet that much easier!! It shall definitely remain being my default search engine.


1- GOOGLE 8.5/10

2- INSTAGROK 7.5/10

3- DUCK, DUCK, GO 6/10

Licensing- Creative Common Style


So what even is a creative commons copyright license?

Basically he Creative Commons copyright licenses create a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” settings that copyright laws create. They simply allow everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work.

Creative Commons License
Everything’s An Illusion by Lauren Burgueno is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Licence I have chosen for my blog is the a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 unported license. This license informing the oh so many people who I am just sure are spending their lives reading my compelling blog; that if the wish to share, remix or make commercial use of any of the work featured on my blog they must attribute the work to me, the writer/ owner of the content. Perfect way to protect all my ever so ingenious ideas and wisdomous words, which will clearly one day lead to my great success and/or world domination from being completely stolen and claimed by anyone else; rather just shared. This licence also requires anyone who is planning on using my content to share alike, so if someone is to alter, transform or build upon my work they have to distribute the resulting work under the same or a very similar licence to this  one.

In other news…

Some changes have been made to particular settings within my blog as a part of a spam control mission. In order to filter  all comments and spam I have adjusted the settings so that all comments must first be approved by the administrator before they are allowed to be published, allowing me to monitor all content published on my site and do some manual pest control and prevent the spam from invading the territory of my blog. I have also made an attempt to make this blog more for lack of a better word, categorical introducing a number of different groupings for the types of content I post, making it a lot easier for readers to obtain the exact information which they are hoping to get of my blog.