The Identity Crisis of Smartphones in 2019

Within the past decade (2010-2019), the smartphone industry has completely blown up in size ever since the release of the original iPhone in 2007. Features were starting to pop up left and right in newer renditions of smartphones, which mainly came from Apple and Samsung, with fingerprint scanners, denser screens with tougher glass, and better designs for the housing for the phones. There’s quite a noticeable difference between the original iPhone and the iPhone 5s, which were only about 6 years apart.

In the recent years however, the rapid innovation seems to have slowed down. Since 2016, there have been a lot of new manufacturers pop up in the Android scene, such as Oppo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Huawei. More phones are now being created, but the only real competitive features being brought out are the prices. These companies are taking the current generation of phones, with all of their drawbacks as well such as the loss of headphone jack and having glass back panels, and pricing them much more competitively than Samsung and Apple, which is working and helping the consumer but also hurting them since nothing has been changing for the better.

Ever since Apple decided to drop the headphone jack to replace it with a barometric vent, which is in no way more useful to the common person who uses their phones, almost every manufacturer has followed them, with the latest one being Samsung, after years of making fun of Apple for getting rid of it. The most common reasoning behind this, besides Apple’s “courage,” is that it gives the phone extra space to put more useful features. With the technological advancements that have been made, what features constitute being more useful than a headphone jack? Apple’s FaceID sensors take up space at the top of the phone, and they started using L-shaped batteries in order to fit them into the phone. It seems to be more and more of a push for Bluetooth headphones as companies are dropping the jack and releasing their version of wireless earbuds.

Aside from the drop of the headphone jack, phones have seen a decrease in bezel size, inclusion glass back panels (even on phones without wireless charging), and a push for thinner phones. What do people gain from this? Weaker phones with the same battery life they’ve seen in their phones for the past few years while the prices for these phones increase. Even the companies, such as OnePlus and Huawei, have increased their prices from a very competitive tier on their high-end models up to barely cheaper than the base models from Samsung or Apple. This still seems to be good for the consumer, however this trend will lead them to be exactly what they claim to be fighting against.

Smartphone Innovation

This paper will serve to bring awareness to the recent changes that have been coming to the smartphone industry. There has been plenty of new features coming out that have made the phones look more visually appealing, however the practicality of these devices are taking a hit. More and more features that have been normal for smartphones are starting to disappear from the market that have been present since the beginning. Without a a public protest against these manufacturing processes that are being claimed as sacrifices, more and more features will be taken away from the consumer and the price of phones will only increase.

How scary is transhumanism?

Transhumanism is an extremely broad concept involving the modifications of the human body to make them as what the creator deems better. The range of the modifications being described seems endless, as there are so many possibilities for what could be done to the human body. Some perceived examples of these are technological singularity, or creating a superhuman intelligence, bionic implants, and cognitive enhancements. For more on the history transhumanism, see https://www.theverge.com/a/transhumanism-2015/history-of-transhumanism.

Transhumanism doesn’t just encompass these radical possibilities as since it so widely known it is bound to have radical ideas, however people seem to focus on these radical ideas and choose to ignore this concept completely. This should not be the case, as this concept is aligned with the medical world, and has very similar beliefs to it at its core.

In its current state, humanity is still extremely flawed when it comes to areas such as disease. Our bodies aren’t made to be constantly fighting off infections, which heavily decreases someone’s chances of survival in a poorer country. However, even “developed” countries of the past suffered from diseases that even poorer countries today never see. This is thanks to the technology of modern medicine, which is widely accepted and praised by most people today. The medicine used is not something natural to the body, it is transferred into the body and is utilized by the body to fight off the foreign entity.

By thinking about how medicine is not native to the human body, would someone from the past not view what we now have as a transhumanism concept? We are the same species as them, but we are using tools to modify the body in order to improve the human body, in this case in order to have a longer and healthier life span. Transhumanism at its core is not something to be scared about, as most of the ideas that are thrown around by people who study these concepts are most likely not possible with the current technology, so there is plenty of time to consider the morals of body modifications before they become a reality.

Analysis of: “Politics, Patriotism, And The Public’s Perception of Protest”

In the article by Emma Rigaud, she explains her stance on how protesting helps a country. Rigaud effectively argues her case, however the article suffers a bit from a weak introduction. There are two main problems with the introduction, one being that she opens the article referencing the kneeling debate, which is not something people would want to read about anymore. The other problem with this part is that Rigaud repeats her thesis statement multiple times, however she never expands on why she believes that, which doesn’t setup the rest of the article. After the introduction, the rest of the argument is very well executed, starting with Rigaud gaining credibility by being upfront with her knowledge on the topic. After stating her own opinions about the topic, Rigaud then goes on to bring in data to support her claims, as she references the Civil Rights Movement and the Freedom Riders, and explains how these acts of protest were negatively received in the past, and today we take for granted the amount of results from the protests. On top of that, Rigaud then compares two surveys given out that questioned peoples opinion, one if which was about the Freedom Riders, and the other being the kneeling protest. The results of the surveys were very similar in that a majority of the nation disagreed with the acts of protest. Throughout the whole article, Rigaud did not let her opinion impact her argument, but rather brought up an explanation from the past on why people should listen to her.

Analysis Outline: “Politics, Patriotism, And The Public’s Perception of Protest”

Thesis: “Protest does not signify the absence of patriotism; rather, it is an exhibition of patriotism. Protest provides all people with an equal opportunity to raise awareness of the issues that plague their country and argue for ways in which it can be made better.” This excerpt shows the thesis of the article, which is that protest shouldn’t be viewed as “unpatriotic,” and the author continues further to explain that it is necessary in a democracy.

Audience: The audience of this argumentative piece are those with the same views as Hillyner, who was quoted in the article. Hillyner believed that modern day protests are “hideously rude” and unpatriotic, which the author is trying to persuade the opposite.

Ethos: In the opening paragraph, the author creates a comfort in credibility, as she continuously is up front and states her knowledge on the subject, as seen in the qutoes, “Despite the fact that our country was founded based on a protest,” or “Past movements for change, like the Civil Rights Movement, had each received a fair share of backlash from the public when they began.” By bringing up these topics, it gives the reader a sense that the author has researched the topic in depth, as these are setting up the themes for the argument and will be present throughout its entirety.

Logos: The use of logos in this piece explains the magnitude of situations, as shown in “with transit services logging 275,000 metro riders at 11:00 that morning,” and “By 1967, 15,058 Americans were killed; 109,527 Americans were wounded; the cost of the war had risen to $25 billion per year; and about 40,000 troops were being called to service each month.” This data allows the reader to digest the information being given, which makes it easier for them to keep following along with the article. Another area that logos is used in the article is related to a survey in which “61% of adults who were part of a national sample disapproved of what the Freedom Riders… 51%, of adults who responded to an online survey… Only 35% of people approved of what Kaepernick was doing, and 13% had yet to form an opinion.”

Pathos: The major area where the author includes pathos involves the Civil Rights Movement, specifically Martin Luther King Jr. The author describes how King “was portrayed as a troublemaker with ill intentions, which proves that it takes time for people to adjust to the positive change that is so often brought about by protest.” This quote relates back to the beginning idea that protests are not always widely accepted at first, but are eventually seen as something that was desperately needed. The events of the past are then directly related to the present, in the quote “As citizens of a free country, if we desire, we have the right to raise our voices, make a speech, march in a rally, or take a knee in protest.“ Bringing American rights into the argument influences the targeted audience, as they believe that they are taking advantage of them.

Kairos: The topic being discussed in the article is one that is very old, but comes in many different forms. The author gives modern day examples, however, as seen in the quote “The past decade has seen a rise in the number of movements for change, as well as in the number of participants. Events like 2018’s March for Our Lives and 2017’s Women’s March on Washington called upon marginalized groups of people to stand up for the fate of their future in this country.” This inclusion of specific events helps it to stay relevant, as the readers have a reference for what time period the author is referring to.

TSA Journey

Have you ever put your heart into something and have it fail in the end? It’s a very negative feeling, having something that you’re so passionate about squashed in front of you. This occurred to me over the course of my last two years of high school. It was a useful learning experience, however, as I was able to understand to appreciate the journey rather than the destination. 

               The Technology Student Association (TSA) club was founded during my sophomore year of high school. The teacher who sponsored the club was Mr. L, who had been my teacher in multiple classes such as math and computer science. He had similar interests as me, as he was also the chess coach and favored math and computer science. The TSA competition, which the club prepared the team for, was around March every year, and the club was created around May, so it was postponed into the next school year. 

               When early January came around and the parts were in, it felt like we were just starting out again. The concept worked but translating that to metal sheets was not ideal. For months every Tuesday and Thursday after school, which eventually turned into Monday through Friday, we built and destroyed robots trying to make the concept a reality. The same cycle occurred time and time again, as we would come up with an idea, spend hours trying to make it work, and ending up back at the drawing board. Eventually, around the beginning of March, and very close to the day of the event, we had a functional robot.  However, something had broken on the bus ride over to the competition, and there was not enough time to troubleshoot and fix it, so when it went in to compete, it eventually just stopped moving. The ride back was full of disappointment, but it had been our first year, and there was still the next year to try again. 

               The next year wouldn’t be anything that any of us would have expected. For most of the time leading up to the competition, we were just having fun instead of working on the robot. The final product, “Big Data v2,” which was produced mainly by one of the members spending hours of lunch periods and extra periods working on it, was nowhere near as well thought out as the first version. The competition this year involved having to pick up a ball and launch it. At the competition, it somehow managed to last through the first round a barely clawed its way up to the pedestal it needed to finish on. There was not much life in it after the first round, and the frantic patch jobs were futile in the end, as the robot had reached the end of its lifetime. 

               The experience of just enjoying the club rather than viciously trying to be the best team impacted me greatly. It showed to me that it is not always about what happens in the end, the ride along the way is what you will remember the most. This is exactly what happened at the coding competition, I didn’t care about the results of the competition, but the time I had while competing in was one of my favorite memories from high school. Sometimes it is good to let go and have fun, if of course the results don’t end up negatively impacting your life. 

Introduction

Hi, my name is Max Tyler and I’m from Brick, New Jersey. I plan on majoring in Chemical Engineering, and possibly going forward to a master’s degree in Bio-molecular Chemical Engineering. I have a heavy interest for math on top of chemistry, so I might try and obtain a minor in Mathematics. Outside of school I enjoy to play chess and I also play the guitar. I am excited to see what the semester brings, and can’t wait to experience all there is to experience at UD.