SpaceX Capsule returns safely


According to ABC News, SpaceX’s new crew capsule passed its test with an old-fashioned splashdown in the Atlantic on Friday. Before this test, the capsule already made the trip to the International Space Station for six days.

NASA televised the return live, showing the red and white parachutes popping open.

“I am so surprised and excited,” said Benji Reed, SpaceX’s director of crew mission management.

This was the first time in a half century that a capsule designed for astronauts returned from space by dropping into the Atlantic. Splashdown was the final hurdle of SpaceX’s test flight on Friday morning. However, the company’s purpose is fly astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on the next flight during the summer.

Boeing also planned to launch its Starliner capsule without a crew on the next month. Boeing explained that it probably would fly astronauts in August. The Starliner is designed to land on land. 

Space station astronaut David Saint-Jacques from Canada was the first to enter the Dragon capsule and the last to leave this week.

NASA awarded the first contracts to SpaceX and Boeing in 2014. SpaceX stated that it still need to work and fix some problems on this project.

Times shows how to delete Facebook


It is no secret that social media have taken over as the premier way to absorb content in today’s world. Specifically, Instagram and Facebook have become the modern-day radio and television. However, because of recent issues with data breaches and studies coming out that show the negative effects of social media, many people are saying goodbye to these platforms.

Brian X. Chen, a writer for The New York Times gives us a look at exactly how to do that, and why its not as easy as just deleting the apps off your phone.

What’s great and refreshing about this article, is that it cuts out all the unnecessary commentary about the pros and cons of social media. It just shows the readers how to cut these platforms out of their lives and the things they need to be concerned about.

For example, he shows that temporarily suspending his Facebook account revealed that using other apps on his phone became much more of an issue. He had created accounts with his Facebook account, which can be linked to a variety of other apps. He realized he could no longer promote products on his Instagram and had to recreate a lot of account like Pinterest for example.

This article shows how these platforms have dug deeply embedded roots in our lives and why it’s so hard to break away from them.

The step-by-step guide is very helpful and tells the reader how to keep their data safe while making the process as simple as possible.

Tesla getting attention, but not all good


Tesla is a company that is covered on what seems like daily basis. Whenever Tesla announces a new car, the release date gets pushed several times and the company’s business model is often questioned.

The most talked about car from Tesla is the Model 3, which was announced in 2016. The thing about the car that caught most people’s attention was its $35,000 starting price, which is less than half the price of Model S.

The Model 3 had even more delays than expected and Tesla is still unable to meet demand.

Even though the Tesla Model 3’s lower-priced version generated a lot public interest, this version is still yet to be released. The car manufacturer is aiming to start production in early 2019, nearly three years after its initial announcement.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also received criticism for his somewhat erratic style of leadership.

Tesla’s stock value decreased a full five percent when he was criticized for smoking marijuana during an interview on the “Joe Rogan Show.”

Musk’s use of Twitter has also created problems for him and his company.

“I am considering taking Tesla private at $420,” Musk said on Twitter. “Funding secured.”

The SEC has filed a lawsuit against Musk for fraud because they said he did not actually secure the funding.

Many news sources seem to be eager to label Tesla as a failing company. Even though it’s widely reported that the company is losing money, it is not widely reported that the company has expanded from a little-known manufacturer of niche sports cars into a household name in only 15 years.

Forbes released sales figures that show the Tesla Model easily outsold all of its competitors in July and August. To illustrate this, the Tesla Model 3 alone outsold the total combined sales of the BMW 2, 3, 4 and 5 Series.

In addition to receiving much negative coverage recently, many news media outlets are not giving Tesla credit for its impact on the automobile industry. The company has undoubtedly played a major role in shifting the public perception of electric cars from being lackluster vehicles to cars that can be compared to some of the most respected on the market.

Not only is Tesla responsible for making electric cars “cool” and “fancy,” many well-known car companies are suddenly making aggressive pushes into the electric automobile industry. These companies include Porsche, Jaguar, Audi and BMW, just to name a few. This shift is better for the consumer and the environment.

Tesla is far from a failing company, but much of the negative coverage will undoubtedly hurt the companies value with consumers and investors. If Tesla fails, other major car manufacturers might be led to believe that electric cars are not a worthwhile investment. When Tesla becomes more stable, news media coverage of it will become less negative, as the company has already had a major impact on the automobile industry.

Negative news coverage hurts Tesla


Tesla, a very well-known luxury vehicle company, has been exposed by the news media in much negative light the last few days. Apparently, a Tesla employee confessed to sabotaging the company by disclosing confidential information as well as making changes to the computer code of the company’s manufacturing operating system.

After reading this story, I decided to Google search more information about Tesla and the company only to find many reports of these cars catching on fire— specifically the new Model 3. These stories can be traced all the way back to January.

These fires are allegedly caused from the new model’s battery. According to an article on Digital Trends, employees claim some workers, who lack training, routinely install the lithium-ion cells in the battery pack too close to each other, which could cause the battery to short out or catch fire.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, sent Digital Trends an e-mail denying the allegations. On the other hand, Tesla’s projected manufacturing goal for September was 1,500 new Model 3 cars. In October, they were only able to produce 260. It is my opinion that this projection led Musk to do whatever he could to speed up the production process in order to reach the goal, but like most things in life, taking shortcuts will get you nowhere.

Now Musk is bashing journalists about their recent coverage even though Tesla admits most of its sales have come from the news media. After everything is said and done, this coverage has changed many people’s view on Tesla and their vehicles. Some on waiting lists have pulled out their investments and the companies shares dropped five percent on Tuesday.

These reports show the type of impact the news media has on a businesses success. Businesses rely heavily on news coverage of their products for sales and Tesla is currently suffering from its bad press.

Milky Way full of black holes


At the center of the Milky Way is one massive black hole, which we thought was the end of the story. However, a recent study shows that there are actually nearly 10,000 black holes surrounding this one massive black hole.

Apart from the thought that black holes sink to the center of a galaxy, this proves that black holes have the ability to join together in an area and gather near each other. A NASA telescope called the Chandra X-ray Observatory helped scientists discovers this observation.

This discovery is extremely important since prior belief was that isolated black holes don’t have the ability to be detected without an orbiting star, but since these multiples of isolated black holes formed practically a park of thousands, interaction with a star took place.

Media should explain what this discovery means to us. In this news, the focus is on the findings. However, this is immensely important to our galaxy, which is said to be 100,000 light-years across. This will lead to the discovery of a completely hidden population.

The locating of this tightly squeezed matter is just one example of the positive path our technology has taken to discovering more about this planet and the abilities of survival that may exist here. The capabilities of these new advances in technology will significantly help shape the future for discovering and proving theories for the galaxies thousands of light-years away.

A theorist explained that this helps estimate how many cosmic smashups might occur and generate detectable gravitational waves in our galaxy. The discovery of hidden populations will serve to show humans more information about our world and how to survive in certain situations, as this hidden area did.

Nonetheless, as the media are focusing on the discovery as a whole, the next step must include why this benefits the current population and how it will benefit the world we live in today.

Saks credit card user data hacked


Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, which are owned by Hudson’s Bay Co., were both reportedly hacked. Those affected include more than five million credit and debit card clients of these stores. Hudson’s Bay Co., has responded and stated it is working to solve the issue. The company has also declared it will compensate those affected with free identity protection services and web monitoring of the credit card information.

Gemini Advisory, a cybersecurity firm, explained that the hackers, known as JokerStash, took the data and put it up for sale on the dark web, causing this scandal to be the biggest attack on retail chains yet. The most cases of stolen information were in the New York and New Jersey locations of Saks and Lord & Taylor.

How this happened is the real question. According to the Gemini Advisory, the hackers installed unique computer codes into cash registers, sending every in-store purchaser’s information to their own computers. This explanation may be estimated because only in-store purchasers were affected while the online shoppers weren’t.

The news media are explaining what steps will be taken to ensure customer relationships and to fix the reputation of feeling safe to purchase at these megastores. The issue here is the fact that the hacking has supposedly been occurring for a year now. Why has this been able to happen? Focusing on the fact that fraudulent charges are probably unlikely, considering the purchasers of these stores buy expensive items, what are customers supposed to do when their identity is compromised?

The media need to inform customers of what is going on, as Hudson’s Bay Company is continuously investigating and enforcing regulations to prevent future situations and to keep customers’ trust. Providing a change in cybersecurity and communicating with customers is the best step to take for now.

MIA introduces facial recognition


Traveling is such an amazing experience. Whether it’s traveling to visit friends in snowy Canada, or going on a beach vacation in the Caribbean, the experience is great. There is one thing, though, that many, if not most, travelers don’t like and that is the dreaded TSA security line.

If you’re lucky, the line won’t be long, and if you’re traveling to an international destination, forget about it. The process with international travel is a long and dreadful one. Not only are the TSA lines brutally long, but the customs and immigration lines are quite frustrating. Personally, having the patience of a second grader doesn’t help either. When I was home watching the NBC6 news, I saw a story about new facial recognition technology at the busy Miami International Airport, and I had to do my research.

Late last month, Miami International Airport introduced new facial recognition technology in its newly renovated E Concourse. The E Concourse (also known as the international concourse) is the busiest concourse at the airport. The new technology hopes to speed up TSA checkpoint times and airport safety.

Miami airport officials believe this new method of airport safety will spread across the country and even the world. The new technology is able to screen as many as 10 passengers per minute. One may ask, how will this new facial recognition system work? The answer is actually very simple. The camera will match the traveler’s face to the traveler’s passport.

This will shorten custom lines and make international travel safer and faster. Another pondering question many, including myself had to ask was “Is this safe?” Customs and Border Control authorities could not stress enough how safe the facial recognition system was, and said there were no risks whatsoever.

Immigration lines will still be long; however, if you have global entry, the process should be a breeze. Global entry should be on every international traveler’s to-do list for this year. I myself have global entry, and it makes immigration and customs a piece of cake. The next time you’re at Miami International Airport, check out the new facial recognition system in Concourse E, and say cheese to the camera.

TESS to take over Kepler’s mission


On April 16, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla. TESS was created by NASA and its main goal is to search for exoplanets. According to CNN, officials said Wednesday that TESS will search for planets that can sustain life, much like Kepler did since it launched in 2009.

After discovering more than 4,500 potential planets and exoplanets, Kepler will run out of fuel soon. Luckily, TESS will have arrived in space by the time that happens to continue the search for exoplanets. CNN stated that Kepler “will be abandoned in space, orbiting the sun and never getting any closer to Earth than the moon.”

To have a mission that outlives two years, TESS is expected to orbit around the Earth through the use of fuel and a gravity support from the moon. The mission will officially begin when TESS has an established orbit around Earth and when it passes instrument tests 60 days later.

Although similar in mission, CNN included the differences that Kepler and TESS do have. TESS will be able to “survey an area 400 times larger than what Kepler observed.” The area will also have 200,000 of the brightest stars. TESS will have four-wide cameras that will, for days at a time, take pictures and videos of the sky.

Through the transit method, TESS will search for exoplanets by detecting the brightness dips of stars as planets pass in front of them. NASA is predicting that TESS will find more than 1,500 exoplanets, but also think that TESS could find much more.

According to CNN, officials believe that out of the 1,500 possible exoplanets found, 300 could be similar to Earth or double the size of Earth, with the potential to support life outside of our solar system.

George Ricker, the TESS principal investigator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, said that “we expect TESS will discover a number of planets whose atmospheric compositions, which hold potential clues to the presence of life, could be precisely measured by future observers.”

With Kepler, it was discovered that there were more planets than stars. TESS will reveal even more of those planets, allowing researchers to have a better understanding of the differences between these planets and whether they have the potential to sustain life.

Google, Facebook store private data


What does privacy mean in a social media-infused world?

Not much, as it turns out. Most people are aware that big tech companies, like Google and Facebook, harbor a good chunk of data on its users, but the extent to which they do so might surprise and frighten some.

Dylan Curran, a web developer from Ireland, decided to reach out to these companies and ask them for all the information they had on him. What he saw prompted him to launch a firestorm of tweets this past Sunday, and it gets creepier the further you venture into it.

As one might imagine, this discovery proved to be quite the bombshell. Curran appeared on CBS News today to discuss.

Curran found that Facebook alone stores all information that comes from users of their service. Naturally, that makes sense, it’s their platform and they would want to collect data from their users.

The truly scary part comes when Curran says that Facebook stores your contacts, call records and text messages from your phone, not from the Facebook app. This means that even though they don’t have permission, this huge corporation has all your private information.

Google’s freakiest privacy breach is likely their location tracking. While it’s amazing to be able to drive somewhere you’ve never been before without using a map, you may not realize that when you use a service like Google Maps, your location stays on unless you manually turn it off.

According to Curran, every time you turn on your phone, Google receives your current location and the time you were there.

That’s just scratching the surface. Curran’s exposure of how these tech companies keep tabs on us is going viral. Facebook has already responded, saying that they will “update” their privacy settings “in the coming weeks”.

While that sounds nice, many critics have highlighted how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made these types of promises before, only to back away from the situation after the controversy of the time dialed down.

Here’s to hoping that this newest storm will actually create something better.

Space station to make crash-landing


A Chinese space station that was launched in 2011 has begun a spontaneous crash-landing towards Earth. The station is expected to crash on Earth’s surface within the next few months.

Illustration of the Tiangong-1.

The Tiangong-1 space laboratory, nicknamed “Heavenly Palace,” weighs 8.5 tons and has begun its downward spiral towards Earth. According to CNBC, pieces as much as 100 kg could potentially crash onto Earth’s surface.

Chinese officials say that the space station’s functions failed after two years of orbiting Earth.

Jonathon McDowell, a Harvard University astrophysicist, claims that scientists will only be able to predict where pieces of the station will come down a few hours before it happens.

Current predictions, according to ABC News, have debris from the Tiangong-1 hitting the surface anytime between March 29 to April 2. The majority of the station will supposedly burn up on it descent to Earth, but it is possible that some debris will make the journey to Earth.

Information on the falling station is extremely vague, despite that the potential landfall is just days away. Chinese officials have not given much information on what exactly happened to the station since it ceased functioning on March 6, 2016.

Instead, researchers and scientists have been making assumptions about the impact of the fall. According to CNN, researcher Alan Duffy claims that “China’s secrecy around the space mission made the risks difficult to assess.”

CNN claims that the last space station that fell to Earth landed in the ocean. The first U.S. space station that ever fell landed in a part of Australia that was hardly populated and injured no one. The falling of the Tiangong-1 is similar to the space stations that fell before it and poses little threat to humans. Researches claim that the odds that the debris will damage ground activity is “very low”.

Only few types of materials could withstand the plasma in space. If titanium, makes the journey, according to CNN, it could fall to Earth.

Spotify and Apple battle for users


Spotify has been around since 2008, when it was released Ken Parks (the chief content officer from its founding until 2015) was asked ” Why wouldn’t Apple just kill this thing while it’s still in the cradle?” The simple answer to this was: Because Apple probably didn’t think it needed to.

When Spotify first started, Apple’s iTunes store had a dominant position in the music industry when it came to downloads, not streaming. Spotify was competing against less dominating services such as Pandora.

When Apple released a service called Apple Music, it was not viewed as an existential threat. Spotify believed its focus on algorithms to personalize the music experience was a better bet than Apple’s push for human curators.

Although, in 2017 Spotify had a net loss of $1.5 billion, more than double the amount from the prior year. Those losses would once have been unfathomable for a startup, but Spotify was able to raise billions in debt despite them.

Today both Apple Music and Spotify are widely used by people all over. It is a personal choice as to which is more your cup of tea.

Since Spotify has been around longer, there are people who had no interest in using Apple Music when it came out. Although, for Apple enthusiasts who weren’t apart of Spotify, Apple Music became more attractive.

This was reported in a very informative matter displaying facts regarding both companies, which I found useful because I had no idea about Spotify having a decrease in subscriptions. The reporter didn’t side with one company at all.

Can AI stop extremists on social media?


A few days ago, the United Kingdom government unveiled a new, $843,834 (600,000 British pounds) technology that would detect and flag videos with extreme jihadist propaganda.

An image from Isis’s Dabiq propaganda magazine.

This is the first major step into improving the automated flagging of inappropriate videos which has become a major concern for both viewers and content creators.

This issue was first brought to light in 2016 which jihadist videos reached hundreds of thousand of views on YouTube.

At this point, the platform would trust viewers with flagging content, which would then go under individual review by YouTube employees. But since the content creation has spiked in recent years, the review process has become inefficient and has fallen to criticism.

In response, the program set up an imperfect algorithm which flagged anything relating to violent acts, tragic events, or inappropriate content in general. As a result, many news-focused pages lost their funding and creators became unable to speak on tragedies or even curse in videos without the risk of losing their income.

ASI Data Science’s new artificial intelligence has proven to accurately flag videos and has only flagged 0.005 percent non-IS related videos and major giants like Facebook and Google are meeting with the developers to see about implementing the technology onto their platforms.

With the reveal of this technology also came British government’s willingness to pass legislation to make this a mandatory part of online technology. Many social media sites have had major issues with violent, terrorist-focused pages and videos using them as a host and even as a place for group recruitment.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have worked to create blanket solutions but still come under fire for the inaccurate and ineffective results produced by algorithmic solutions.

UK man Shafi Mohammed Saleen, a prolific ISIS supporter, who was convicted of spreading terrorist group propaganda on Twitter.

‘Social media companies continue to get beat in part because they rely too heavily on technologists and technical detection to catch bad actors,’ says an expert at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in the use of the internet by terror groups.

As the popularity of social media continues to grow so does the untraveled “Wild West” of the internet and we continue to question how we should handle it. The improvement in AI recognition seems like a step in the right direction, especially with the compliance of internet giants like Facebook and Google.

This Tesla’s fate is to be announced


The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6 was successful. There is a Tesla roaming space right now, playing “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, with a mannequin wearing a spacesuit whose name is Starman in the driver’s seat.

In the Tesla, there is a screen that says, “Don’t Panic!” But what is going to happen to it now? And where is it headed?

Red Roadster and Starman (Courtesy of Elon Musk, Instagram).

This past Tuesday night, Elon Musk announced via his Twitter that the Tesla, named “Red Roadster,” exceeded its envisioned orbit and would eventually pass by Mars and into the asteroid belt.

According to CNNtech, experts in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory took a look at SpaceX’s data.

Based on their observations, they inferred that “the farthest it will go is about 250 million kilometers from the sun, or about as far as Mars,” contrary to what Musk predicted. This prediction by NASA was supported by Johnathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who also took a look at the data.

By November, it is believed that it will reach its farthest point from the sun. But by September 2019, CNNtech said that the Tesla will complete a full loop around the sun. The expected path of the Tesla, however, could change by then, rising another problem and discussion.

Because solar radiation can shift the Tesla into a different direction, or because excess gas in the second-stage rocket can also move it into an unknown path, it is hard to predict its path and final destination.

While they still can, astronomers are taking the opportunity to take shots of where the Tesla is now. They are saying that the it will be too far away from Earth to spot by next week.

While the path of the car aligns with Earth’s orbit, CNN informed its readers that space expert Marco Langbroek made calculations that predicted that the Tesla would not be spotted again until 2073. But even he said that any predictions made right now would lack reliability. Being an asteroid expert, he also said that another possibility would be that the car could be confused with an asteroid.

Luckily, NASA added the Red Roadster, as well as Starman, into its “artificial object catalog” to avoid it being mistaken with anything else.

Exercise app threatens national security


Australian student and analyst for the Institute of United Conflict Analysts, Nathan Ruser, recently discovered that the Strava fitness tracker could impose threats to U.S. national security by revealing locations of military bases.

In November 2017, Strava released global heat maps that use running and cycling information from wireless devices to show hot spots of heavy activity. Strava’s maps take the GPS location from a variety of devices that have their tracking services turned on, covering over 17 billion miles and tracking 27 million users.

According to Ruser, “US Bases are clearly identifiable and mappable.” The running paths of soldiers became visible to Twitter users when they noticed high activity in places including a suspected CIA base in Somalia, military sites in the Falkland Islands and a suspected military operations base in the Sahel region of Africa.

As of 2015, 20,000 soldiers and reservists were invited to participate in a program in which the Army issued Fitbit Flex wristbands. The location and patterns of these devices are easily accessible to those who have the Strava fitness tracker. The participants in this program do not even include the thousands of soldiers who exercise in their spare time using their personal devices.

Ruser tweeted on Saturday that “if soldiers use the app like normal people do, by turning it on tracking when they go to do exercise, it could be especially dangerous. This particular track looks like it logs a regular jogging route. I shouldn’t be able to establish any pattern of life info from this far away.”

Nathan Ruser reveals privacy violations for U.S. bases his tweets.

Strava not only shows where people move, but also how they move. Time and paths are easily determined from the tracker. The Washington Post said that Afghani and Syrian bases are exposed and not only patrol lines, but also where “troops live, eat or work, suggesting possible target lines of enemies.”


The heat maps put a spotlight on the daily lives of all military personnel, not just U.S. forces. Hmeimen, the main Russian base in Syria, is visible, along with patrol routes.

The spider web-esq lines that connect bases and protrude from highly active locations endanger the lives of many and poses a breach of security.

Ruser’s in-depth research has led him to conclude that this slip-up by Strava is a “big oversight,” according to his tweets. Strava is now working with military and government personnel to change privacy settings and protect troops.

Bitcoin value subject to ups and downs


The value of cryptocurrency known as bitcoin has dropped 16 percent, down to $9,600 from the record $11,434 that it had reached on Wednesday.

While not universally accepted, the digital currency is used online due to its entirely-digital nature. Serving as an alternative currency, it is usually considered an attractive to conventional currency, due largely to its financial independence from governments.

However, the digital currency is usually traded like a financial investment; in fact, at its peak, Bitcoin had increased substantially from the $1,000 value it had when the year started.

It’s worth noting that Bitcoin is “prone to wild swings” due to lack of regulations, as well as the lack of traders. Financial analyst Neil Wilson described trading in recent times as a “rollercoaster like nothing I’ve ever seen” and he equated it with small investors that lacked market experience with the coin.

Because they have no way of discerning the coin’s fair value, as well as the perception that the coin is not a currency, bitcoin has been perceived to be going through a bubble similar to the dotcom crisis.

Financial analysts have warned that bitcoin is not an official currency and should not be treated as such. It is simply a commodity with people choosing to invest and trade it whenever they feel like it.

This has led to some scrutiny by financial entities, whom warn investors about the inherent risks with the coin, whom have warned investors that they might lose their entire savings if they are not careful.

Billions invested in futuristic cities


Bill Gates and other big companies has invested $80 million in a high-tech planned urban development outside Phoenix.

The society in Belmont is planned to be designed around high-speed networks, autonomous vehicles, high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and autonomous logistics hubs.

The group that is leading the project, is called Belmont Partners. This project will be a similar in size to nearby Tempe, Ariz., which has a population of 182,000.

Big companies such as Uber, Wymo, and Intel are testing their innovations in the state. Since Arizona has a reputation as being a technology-friendly state, these autonomous vehicle companies are willing to increase their brand in this project.

The investment is the latest example of excitement surrounding rebuilding cities from the ground up with a digital mindset.

The smart cities trend has gained momentum as Silicon Valley’s disruptors shift their focus to transportation innovations such as autonomous vehicles and ride sharing services.

Belmont’s developers are counting on the expected development of Interstate 11, which will serve the area, to boost development. But right now, the company is not rushing to move forward.

New media: Inform, discuss, educate


In the middle of the huge competition and fight between news media to become the leading newspaper for readers, newspapers offer new services that have been previously unnecessary .

As I pointed in one of my past posts, online newspapers use new tools as Virtual Reality to offer a new experience of the same service. But that’s not enough now.

As a result, The Washington Post tries to differ from the competitors providing a service called “Washington Post Live.” It’s described as “the newsroom’s live journalism platform.” It’s a platform where legitimate voices of different fields discuss the main issues that concern the citizenship.

The service is based on live programs about some contemporary topics, but not necessarily related to breaking news. The procedure to attend is free and just requires a pre-registration. And for those people that cannot attend in person, they can subscribe to receive a notification and watch it streaming.

This open knowledge almost plays a public service role participating in the audience’s education.

If we assume that one of the duties of the news media is to inform the readers about issues that can impact their lives, we can claim that this platform contributes to achieving it. Also, it contributes to the democracy because an informed public serves democracy the best.

Photo by Esther Vargas

For example, the last program was the 8th of November about Cybersecurity: Personal Privacy in a Digital World and the next one will be on Nov. 14 about the transformation of American cities to adapt to demographic, economic and technological changes.

The Washington Post is a sample of how a newspaper without neglecting its main informative priorities, such as breaking news, can cover other important topics that most of the times don’t create break news by themselves, but they’re enough important to be known by the society. And meanwhile, The Post creates a discussion space and empowers every single listener.

Digital changes news consumption


This week, we are discussing in class how to create news stories that make use of media. Learning this skills is a new way to use technology tools to the journalist’s advantage incorporating more and new information to our online pieces. It is not only a way to make what we are writing about more visual, but it is also what catches “the eyeballs” of our consumers nowadays.

Digital content is the journalist’s last spicy touch to each of his stories, what makes the whole recipe complete. It is the pictures, videos and social media that sometimes make the articles are more appealing for people, especially younger generations.

The Internet and ,more recently, social media have been shaping the news landscape in many ways. People currently consume news and receive information in strikingly different ways than previous generations. The paths to a discovery of information are more nuanced and varied, one click away in a variety of devices.

News stories are woven into ways readers are connected to the world generally, mixing it with social connection, social action, and entertainment. Social media have also evolved a lot, now it’s about a lot of sharing articles, sharing of videos, sharing campaigns, and so forth. These companies are exposing users to more news than they initially would search for, making this mix of random and intentional learning greater.

Despite the fact that there is a lot of controversy and opinions on which news consumption method is the best and why I think one of the strongest points of getting your news from social media is the immediateness.

I spent last summer in Venezuela, where most of the news media outlets are owned by the government or they are banned. CNN in Spanish vanished from the channel list among many other channels that informed and reported the truth of the situation in the country. The only way people could get another point of view was through YouTube and more information about protests and attacks through Twitter. It is a really extreme example because Venezuelans are living in a dictatorship. However, is a different example of how a population can use social media for news consumption.

Social media content not regulated


Exhaustive research by The New York Times has evidenced Russian psychological strategies addressed to American citizens who shared the social media to broadcast their frustration during the 2016 presidential elections, but who lacked a well-informed vision of the matters in discussion. This manipulative dystopian weapon raises the subject of Russian agents’ intervention in United States domestic issues.

This brave Times initiative during difficult political times, which took several months of thorough investigation of thousands of posts, meets the goal of investigative journalism to discover and reveal to the public a critical hidden truth, one involving manipulation of  freedom of expression.

On the side, this report highlights another aspect of social media (Web sites like Baidu, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, Viel, Weibo, WhatsApp and YouTube have more than 100 million subscribers): while there is legislation for press and television content, there is lack of control of content of social media. You can say anything, criticize, influence, but since there are no parameters nor filters in the messages, you can also silently manipulate, distort and confuse information.

California wildfires continue to rage


Wine country in California has been engulfed in flames since Sunday night, leaving at least 17 people dead, hundreds more taken to the hospital with injuries and more than 2,000 buildings affected by the blaze.

The fires were spread in part by strong 50 m.p.h. winds that were present when the fire started. While they have since dissipated, they will likely resume as the week goes on, and the fire remains uncontained, according to officials. Based on the nature of the fire and the lack of control that firefighters have been able to establish, those numbers are sure to rise.

In analyzing the news coverage of the fires as the story develops, I notice two prominent characteristics that are worth discussing. The first is the personalization of the stories that are being written. The fires are the week’s biggest developing story at the moment, but readers are usually unsatisfied with the simple hard read of the facts. In using a softer lede by recounting a personal tale of tragedy, before getting into the colder facts about the fire, readers are naturally drawn into the story.

The New York Times, for example, started its story by introducing the reader to Matt Lenzi, who “hiked through smoke-choked vineyards and waded the Napa River to reach the home his father lived in for 53 years.”

This is a deeply personal story, which brings personal connection and life to an otherwise cold read about fire statistics that are likely to be updated in half an hour. Readers can connect to his experience and are motivated to keep reading. If they do, they’ll meet Maureen Grinnell, Pamela Taylor, James Harder and many more victims, who are able to offer an emotional perspective that makes reading the story a worthwhile endeavor.

The second element of the stories that I noticed is the use of new technologies to supplement the article and take advantage of the full capabilities of media today. The New York Times included drone footage of the fires, to give online readers a sense of the scale and devastation that the fires have caused.

CNN has included video from multiple sources, to allow readers a complex look at the fire from multiple points of view. Combined, these two techniques compel readers to continue reading and give them a complete experience of the events that are unfolding.