Category Archives: Archive

High Class Fashion Handbags Meet Low Sales

Throwing it back to the ‘90s when high end fashion products were a symbol of nonchalance in the social facet. Coach, Kate Spade & Co.,Gucci, Michael Kors, and many more were the place to shop if you had the money. This generation’s teenagers or the “Gen Z” as we call it, have definitely deviated this concept. Adolescents nowadays do not wish for the costly, luxurious items they would have desired about a decade ago. Instead, they rather support their fashion icons who encourage them to purchase the affordable products on the market rather than the expensive. Nancy Nessel, a Generation Z expert, told Business Insider “For Gen Z, gifting is an occasion that mirrors the more conservative behavior of Gen Z: they are practical, frugal, and prefer to blend in, not standing out with glitzy items.” Concluding from Nessels statement, young people do not have interest in purchasing expensive goods such as handbags to show their standards. Researchers have noticed the changes in sales in many of these high end companies which may not be so high end anymore.

Data shows that Coach, a prevalent handbag company, dropped 12% in sales in its fourth quarter of 2015 and declined 19% in stock value. In addition, Kate Spade & Co. plummeted in stock value about 35% since the beginning of 2015. Michael Kors lost nearly half of their value in share price. Lastly, Gucci’s sales have slumped 1.1% in 2014. As you can see, reduction in sales have certainly occurred. The real question is, what conflicts will arise for these companies if the situation is not treated properly?

The shift of preferences in goods could lead to a surplus in goods for the high end companies who experience a decline in sales. The company then loses all the money they spent into producing how much is left over. In addition to sales dropping, the value of the company drops as well, inducing its share price to fall. People start selling the stock when they come to realize the company’s sales is not doing good and the company itself loses even more. The chain of events that may occur could lead to a very disastrous outcome. On the other hand, Vera Bradley, being a well known but not so lavish compared to the others, saw an immense growth in the latest holiday season in which their sales rose 48% and share price increased by 46%. Therefore, the chic companies are in trouble as a result of the Gen Z finding interest in fashionable products that are not so high end.  



I’m Asian American, and this weekend’s Peter Liang’s protests show that Asian Americans too are marginalized against whites and majority

This weekend, New York cop Peter Liang was convicted for killing Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, while on duty, which carries a possible 5-15 year prison sentence. As a result, many Asian-American groups have gone out to the streets of NYC and Philadelphia to protest in solidarity with Peter Liang. The issue at stand is that while Peter Liang was convicted of murdering an unarmed person while on duty, while  white policemen, like Daniel Pantaleo, veteran police who killed Eric Gardner with a chokehold, Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown, or Ryan Zimmerman, in the infamous Trayvon Martin case, are regularly acquitted of these killings.While many may say that the bigger issue is racial discrimination and racial profiling, as well as the disproportionate amount of people of color who are often targeted by police and also often serve longer sentences than whites for nonviolent crimes, one must note that it does not answer the fact that why Peter was convicted and the other white cops weren’t for their killings. The issue of racial profiling is an issue that all cops in America face, which lends itself to the side conversation of gun control, racial tolerance, and criminal justice reform as a whole. For it is with the vast proliferation of guns in America that threaten the safety of not only cops but also anyone when on duty and investigating cases.

However, one must also understand that Asian-Americans stand at a unique and somewhat awkward position in the US. With cultural stereotypes of Asians as “tributes to hard work, strong families and passion for education” and Asian-Americans as on the upper-echelons of the economic strata, Asian-Americans have been viewed as the “model minority” and thus looked upon with different lenses–Characterized as ‘privileged’ and not really considered minority, yet with unique Asian-American cultures, are not considered exactly mainstream as white Americans.)

Aside from the sheer disparity and competition that Asian students have to score on SATs (which in itself is already unfair to Asian students versus students of other races), the facts are still facts: Asian-Americans still only make up about 5.4% of the US population. Thus, many have certainly overlooked the struggles of Asian-Americans. For instance, Southeast Asian-Americans drop out of high school at an alarming rate: nearly 40% of Hmong-Americans, 38% Laotian-Americans, and 35% Cambodian-Americans do not finish high school. These groups, along with Vietnamese-Americans, earn below the national average. “Sweeping generalizations of Asian-Americans as the ‘privileged’ and ‘successful’ minority cannot replace unnerving disaggregated data that bring truth to the inequalities that many Asian-Americans face daily.” [2]

In addition, because of such “model minority” stereotypes overlooking the real struggles of Asian-Americans as well as other generic Asian-American stereotypes often not as the ‘toughest’ but rather more passive group, the US too is a new, unfamiliar, and daunting place for Asian-Americans. So with these stereotypes, in the midst of the “Black Lives Matter” and the racism/violence between whites and blacks, Asian-Americans have often been seen as not a minority. And as a first-generation Asian-American to Taiwanese immigrant parents myself, such violence and racial instability lately certainly keeps me on my toes and threatening of my well-being. In essence, as Asian-Americans with foreign culture and our parents often with language barriers, we too are victims of indirect racism and discrimination yet are not recognized nor our voices heard as much.

According to investigation sources, Peter Liang discharged his weapon in a “dark stairway” while “the bullet [merely] bounced off the wall” to hit the unarmed father and son, Akai Gurley. Meanwhile, for instance, Daniel Pantaleo with the chokehold of Eric Gardner had done it in broad daylight. Similarly, the police shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina also in broad daylight. Same with Darren Wilson. Clearly, he can see their “suspects” more clearly, presenting less of a threat to their lives than if it were done at night, as in Peter Liang’s case. Yet Daniel Pantaleo has yet to be tried, and Darren Wilson acquitted? While that contributes to the 2nd-degree nature of the murder than 1st-degree, Peter Liang was threatened, both as a police on duty conducting investigation as well as being an Asian-American amid the recent racially-charged climate of the US. He had to act in self-defense.

I stand in solidarity with both Peter Liang and Akai Gurley. Both were simply at the wrong place, wrong time. Both Asian-Americans and African-Americans experience racism and discrimination. Both are minorities with different struggles to overcome in the US. Therefore, what we should focus on is not to use Peter as a punishment, a precedent to cops killing unarmed people. Rather, we should focus on reaching out and even the playing field for all races, religious groups, for all people in general. We should focus on tackling criminal justice reform, dealing with the issue of urban and minority poverty (that is a significant cause of the disproportionate amount of people of color behind bars and their disproportionately longer sentences) through extra funding in education and welfare.

We are at a crossroads of 2016. We have had too much shootings and racial-profiling around the country. We’ve seemed to have forgotten the progress that we had built during the Civil Rights Movement. African-Americans have most definitely come a long way. But while there is still a long way for them to go, let us remember that there are others as well who are also in the void, beneath the shadows. While incidents like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, while heinous and racially-charged which certainly requires the unity of the African-American community to protest, the same should be with Asian-Americans as well. Our voices too should be heard, and heard loudly across the nation. The US is a land of diversity, we must accept each and every racial group in America, and treat each and every one of the same. I hope that through this entire experience (and, the protests), my fellow Asian-American friends would start to challenge our silence and call attention to our struggles. 亞裔美人萬歲!華人萬嵗!正義何在!






Why We Do What We Do

What makes the difference in the quality of people’s lives?  How do you make a change?  What is it that shapes us?

So many people fail to do what they want to do, and they blame it on so many things: financial issues, lack of training, social or family issues, even lack of motivation. It seems like only the super-gifted and talented people become what they want to be; we don’t know why we can’t achieve what we want to achieve, it seems.

People like Tony Robbins are not just here to just motivate people, their job is to find out why people do what they do.

In this TED talk from the legendary man himself, Robbins explains everything he knows about how to help people accomplish their dreams and aspirations.





After reading the title “The Way in which Chemistry Plays a Major Role in Movies”, you all may be contemplating the multifarious relationships evident among characters in movies or perhaps the complex interactions between two people, which can occasionally be referred to as chemistry. However, the term “chemistry” in this particular scenario embodies absolutely no affiliations with any attributes that may be intimating a relationship. Rather, it inhabits its orthodox definition as a branch of science and the study of the composition, structure, and properties of matter as well as the changes matter undergoes. Although it may not appear patent at first, chemistry has numerous, profound roles in the making of all movies. To begin with, simply think about how a movie is made. By a director, right? WRONG! I mean yes, but think deeper! What does a director use to make a movie? A camera. How exactly does a camera capture the moments of life, and later display the moments onto the big screens? The correct answer is that a camera utilizes a vital component that is known as the film. The film, a major constituent of a camera, is a pliable and attenuated strip of plastic with light-sensitive emulsion for exposure in a camera, fundamentally used to produce motion pictures. The primary chemicals (substances that have a definite composition) and compounds, which are made from the atoms of at least two chemically-bonded elements, become involved when actually developing the film. The first layer of a film is a protective coating which protects the emulsion layer that has the gelatin and the silver halide crystals in it. (Higher speeds of film have multiple layers of emulsion.) The next layer is the film base, which is a polymer that is chemically stable and flexible. The last layer is the anti-halation backing, which precludes reflections off the back of the film

Moreover, the origins of photographic processes date back to the 1800s and yet were still astonishingly dependent on chemistry. The beginnings of photographic processes were devised by William Talbot during the 1830s. Talbot’s procedure consisted of continuously rinsing paper in baths of saltwater and silver nitrate (AgNO3) solution, hence depositing silver chloride (AgCl) in the fibers of the paper. Afterwards, this wet piece of paper was exposed in a camera till a dark, silvery image appeared in the light-struck regions, and the remaining silver chloride (AgCl) was removed by washing it with a concentrated salt solution. By waxing or oiling the negative sheet, Talbot made the paper translucent, and then by making an exposure of diffuse light through the negative onto another sensitized sheet, he produced a positive image. Therefore, an interminable number of copies of a photograph could have been generated from any one negative. In other words, behind the multiplex concept of filmmaking and photography lies a simple (or not so simple) answer: science, and specifically, chemicals and compounds, which are all ultimately a part of chemistry. In the following centuries, as photographic processes advanced, mechanisms of processing undeniably altered to later on, produce color and digital photography.

All in all, behind a movie is a director, behind a director is a camera, behind a camera is a film, and behind a film is the work of chemistry. As technology continues to expeditiously evolve, along will come the emergence of further advanced photography, and along, in the years to follow, will come the institution of an augmented role played by chemistry throughout the film industry via the concept of photography.

The Art of Stillness

Sometimes we are all so caught up in our own business; sometimes we feel like we are so ‘busy’, like we have so many things to do. Sometimes we simply feel like we have no time to do what we really want to do. Indeed, I sometimes experience this same predicament. ‘If only I had more time.’ I keep telling myself. Hours and even days go by and I wish I had them back, feeling like my seconds are ticking away. We all want to do great things, like traveling the world, or writing a novel, or becoming famous, or changing lives. This world puts a lot of expectations on our backs. But, ironically, the place that travel writer Pico Iyer would want to go to is… nowhere.

Pico Iyer is the author of the book The Art of Stillness, and he talks about his story in TED talks, like this one below.

In a world where everything is happening and people want to do everything, I take some time to just do nothing but think. It’s a cathartic experience; taking a break from the world helps you come back to your senses and set your mind back on track. Spending just 5-15 minutes just being separate from EVERYTHING, is a very powerful act. It’s not very easy to explain here, so I recommend you try it for yourself. Pico Iyer is a much better speaker than I am, so take his word for it.

New Year, New Views

Many of us have probably heard of the intelligent young teenager, Ahmed Mohamed, who built a clock and was arrested because his teacher thought it was a bomb. How ironic, that this 14 year old wanted to impress his teacher, and was instead incarcerated for his exceptional abilities. Of course, Ahmed is now meeting influential figures like Obama, and his life has been changed for the better. But is this incident a unique example of religious discrimination, or is it just one of many discriminatory incidents? Let’s take a look.


The US population, especially in recent months, is all too aware of Donald Trump’s views on immigration and religion. He recently declared that he wanted to forbid the entry of all Muslim people into the country, because he believes it will lower the chances of terrorist acts. Beverly Swanburg, a Trump sympathetic, stated “We should not let any more in, any more immigrants from Mexico or Muslim.” Is it fair to ban all Muslims from entering the country, when there are only a select few who commit terrorist acts? Even those who practice the Islamic religion are scared of those who engage in terrorist activity.

Real estate tycoon Donald Trump speaks during the prime time Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Moreover, there is also racial discrimination present in the US. The idea of affirmative action that is used in college admissions is just one example. Although the purpose of affirmative action is to ensure a diverse population within the student body, it is harder for Asian students to get into a college than Hispanic students with the same test scores or accomplishments. This means that Asian students have to work much harder in order to get into top schools than other minorities or Caucasian applicants. In order to prevent selection based on ethnicity and gear them towards intellect and accomplishments, admissions should be race blind.


There are obviously more incidents of discrimination that occur world wide. However, listing all of them would take far too long. A change to a more inclusive society is possible if people learn to be more accepting of other religions and races, rather than just tolerant. It’s now 2016, and a new year may be just what we all need to change our attitudes towards others’ differences.

Chipotle’s Stock Crisis

A recent outbreak in October 2015 has captivated everyone’s attention as hundreds of news reports dominate in about every news network. Chipotle, a franchise known for having the healthiest organic ingredients, has depreciated its stock price after several cases of E-coli were disclosed in numerous consumers. Reports reveal information about fifty-three customers who were infected with E-coli in nine states including Oregon, Washington, California, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Marchipotle-2yland, and Pennsylvania. As a result, forty-three Chipotle restaurants closed for cautionary purposes. Although the commotion has ended with the solution of officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigating the issue and intensifying food safety procedures, Chipotle is still suffering through an immense decline in sales.
Customers discontinued the consumption of meals from Chipotle in fear that they would become infected with the virus. As seen in the image, profits plunged throughout the last four quarters. The chipotle.jpgpublic has lost faith in the quality of the food produced by Chipotle, causing them to abominate the restaurant for putting them at the risk of severe disease. The stock price has plunged to a disappointing $480 when it was originally $730 before the E.coli chaos. Investors have also lost faith in the company so they have sold stocks that they have invested earlier in the year. For this reason, the market value of the company has plummeted leaving the company at a loss. Merrill Lynch and CRT Capital, credit rating agencies, both downgraded Chipotle and five analysts cut their price targets for the company. As you can see, there are several factors that contribute to the slump of Chipotle’s wealth. While Chipotle is in a crisis to recover their sales, rivals celebrate as the previous Chipotle fans revert their preference to alternatives.

Data proves that Chipotle’s rivals are benefiting through Chipotle’s struggles. Many rivals had growth in sales as customers turned to alternative fast foods/restaurants. Some of these businesses include Taco Bell, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Qdoba, all of which had a growth ranging from 4%-8%. Taking advantage of what has happened, sales increased with no extra marketing necessary because they have similar choices as the poorly repudiated, Chipotle. In addition, Chipotle lost market share to Qdoba, being its biggest rival and Meditteranean restaurant, Zoe’s Kitchen. Although Chipotle and Panera are said to be the two leading fast food chains for their healthy food choices, Panera may be taking the lead because of the E.coli outbreak.chipte stock.jpg

Not only is their reputation damaged, but profit margin may also be affected. The chain of restaurants may need to reduce their prices in the future so people start to buy their food once again. On top of low sales, the business will have a lower margin which may barely exceed their costs. The entire corporation is put at risk as it is possible for it be at default in the near future. Although these are only possibilities, Chipotle must take action to acquit their name. All in all, the erupted conflict resulted in improved cautionary procedures by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention which is one of the few beneficial impacts of the event that occurred. Going forward, other companies and Chipotle itself will be attentive so such action does not occur again.

True Underdog

I’m certain a multitude of you are familiar with the story of David and Goliath. Here’s an excerpt from a source which I will explain later:

“At the heart of ancient Palestine is the region known as the Shephelah, a series of ridges and valleys connecting the Judaean Mountains to the east with the wide, flat expanse of the Mediterranean plain. It is an area of breathtaking beauty, home to vineyards and wheat fields and forests of sycamore and terebinth. It is also of great strategic importance.

Over the centuries, numerous battles have been fought for control of the region because the valleys rising from the Mediterranenean plain offer those on the coast a clear path to the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem in the Judadean highlands. The most important valley is Aijalon, in the north. But the most storied is the Elah. The Elah was where Saladin faced off against the Knights of the Crusades in the twelfth century. It played a central role in the Maccabean wars with Syria more than a thousand years before that, and, most famously, during the days of the Old Testament, it was where the fledgling Kingdom of Israel squared off against the armies of the Philistines.

The Philistines were from Crete. They were a seafaring people who had moved to Palestine and settled along the coast. The Israelites were clustered in the mountains, under the leadership of King Saul. In the second half of the eleventh century BCE, the Philistines began moving east, winding their way upstream along the floor of the Elah Valley. Their goal was to capture the mountain ridge near Bethlehem and split Saul’s kingdom in two. The Philistines were battle-tested and dangerous, and the sworn enemies of the Israelites. Alarmed, Saul gathered his men and hastened down from the mountains to confront them.

The Philistines set up camp along the southern ridge of the Elah. The Israelites pitched their tents on the other side, along the northern ridge, which left the two armies looking across the ravine at each other. Neither dared to move. To attack meant descending down the hill and then making a suicidal climb up the enemy’s ridge on the other side. Finally, the Philistines had enough. They sent their greatest warrior down into the valley to resolve the deadlock one on one.

He was a giant, six foot nine at least, wearing a bronze helmet and full body armor. He carried a javelin, a spear, and a sword. An attendant preceded him, carrying a large shield. The giant faced the Israelites and shouted out: ‘Choose you a man and let him come down to me! If he prevail in battle against me and strike me down, we shall be slaves to you. But if I prevail and strike him down, you will be slaves to us and serve us.

In the Israelite camp, no one moved. Who could win against such a terrifying opponent? Then, a shepherd boy who had come down from Bethlehem to bring food to his brothers stepped forward and volunteered. Saul objected: ‘You cannot go against this Philistine to do battle with him, for you are a lad and he is a man of war from his youth.’ But the shepherd was adamant. He had faced more ferocious opponents than this, he argued. ‘When the lion or the bear would come and carry off a sheep from the herd,’ he told Saul, ‘I would go after him and strike him down and rescue it from his clutches.’ Saul had no other options. He relented, and the shepherd boy ran down the hill toward the giant standing in the valley. ‘Come to me, that I may give your flesh to the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field,’ the giant cried out when he saw his opponent approach. Thus began one of history’s most famous battles. The giant’s name was Goliath. The shepherd boy’s name was David.”

This was how it all began. A battle between two seemingly polar opposites in terms of strength, power, might, and skill. You have Goliath, an absolute giant who was trained to fight from birth, and then you have David, a young shepherd boy (which was one of the lowest occupations back then) who claims that he killed lions and wolves. Who do you think would win?

Here’s how it all played out. Goliath was offended when he saw David walk down the hill, looking at his staff and saying, “Am I a dog, that you should come to me with sticks?” While the giant was mocking him, David took a stone and put it into the leather poach of a a sling, and fires the rock at Goliath’s forehead. Boom. The stone hit him square in the head, making him fall unconscious. David then “runs toward him, seizes the giant’s sword, and cuts off his head.” The Philistines were so afraid that “their warrior was dead, and they fled.”

How is this all possible? How could a shepherd boy who couldn’t have weighed more than 150 pounds take on a brute of a man with spears and swords and armor that probably weighed more than David himself? This type of story is what popular culture likes to call “an underdog story” – a battle that was won by someone who shouldn’t have won at all. This is how I interpreted this story, but as Malcolm Gladwell states in his new book David and Goliath, we all got the story wrong.

Since this is Gladwell’s book, I feel he deserves the honor of explaining how we all messed up the legendary story of David and Goliath. Here is a video of Gladwell speaking at a TED talk, where he tells the story perfectly.

A UNiversal Deal


December 12th 2015 ; a historic landmark was reached in France that is an amalgamation of thousands of delegates and 195 countries efforts to solve the pressing issue of climate change.This unprecedented accord will commit to every country to lower greenhouse gas emissions to avert climate change in every possible way.Hence, this deal was no ordinary one, it was rather “a historic breakthrough on an issue that has foiled decades of international efforts to address climate change.”

Even President Obama praises this deal as a crucial segment of his presidency as he televised from the White House “This agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is fully committed to a low-carbon future.” This powerful statement showed that the UN and the world as a whole has the innate virtuosity to take on a challenge that might lead to some devastating effects. However, this deal alone won’t solve climate change even though it is the world’s last hope before it will succumb to global warming.

The scientists present in France, have analyzed this decision and said “this will cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost one half to reach a certain global temperature.”If this temperature is passed even by a margin it will result in an increase in sea levels,severe droughts and floods,food and water shortages across the globe,and even more devastating storms.

Despite the negative effects of climate change in accordance to the deal, there is an incentive to the world financially.There will be a necessary halt  in investing for coal,oil, and gas for energy sources, but a growth in the use of solar, wind,and nuclear power.This can become a reality depending on how seriously every country will follow through to it, looking back at Copenhagen where a similar consensus was reached and collapsed due to lack of cooperation within certain nations.The primary difference that makes this Paris accord more suitable to this day in age , is the transformation within “domestic policies,and bilateral relations between China, and the U.S, the world’s two largest polluters of greenhouse gas.”

In regard to this relation Xie Zhenhua , a Chinese climate change negotiator says this deal needing some additional improvement is still “fair comprehensive,balanced, highly ambitious,enduring,and effective.” President Obama also had a say on this by enacting the nation’s first climate change policy which will include, stringent regulations for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to stymie greenhouse gas pollution emanating from coal-fired power plants.

This does not only concern China ,and the U.S, but rather every countries national plans.These plans will greatly vary in terms of their requirements since there is no standard amount of cutting off greenhouse gases for each one.Hence, these countries will have to reconvene after 5 years to update their policies and plans using a universal account system, resulting in a hybrid legal structure as the crux of the accord.
The Paris accord is the framework for a world with limited greenhouse gas pollution that will depend on the global peer pressure, actions of future governments, and future leaders in upcoming elections. In response to this and the Paris attacks there are doubled efforts to show the nations goodwill towards France. EU commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete couldn’t have culminated the spirit of the conference any better and motivating than by saying “ today we celebrate, tomorrow we have to act that, this is what the world expects of us.”

The iPhone “Smart” Battery Case

We’ve all been there. You’re texting your BFF when suddenly, the welcoming green battery level indicator transforms into a terrifying red color with the message “YOUR BATTERY LEVEL IS LOW”. Normally, you would find the nearest power outlet to charge your iPhone. However, sometimes this isn’t an option. What do you do?

This past week, Apple announced the newest addition to its list of iPhone accessories: the iPhone Smart Battery Case. It’s exactly as it sounds: a case that protects and charges your iPhone. Sounds perfect right?

Not exactly.

To start off, the case itself looks a bit…unusual. Looking at the case upfront, you’re greeted with a super sleek silicon finish that feels amazing in the hand. But flip the case over and you instantly notice an unsettling hump that detracts from the sleekness the iPhone is known for. Obviously, the case’s battery has to go somewhere, but the point still stands that Smart Battery Case isn’t the prettiest case in the world.


Aesthetics aside, a larger problem is apparent- the $99 price tag. Apple isn’t the first company to produce battery cases. Companies like Mophie have produced battery cases long before the advent of Apple’s version of the same idea. In comparison to other battery cases, Apple’s Smart Battery Case is lacking in some departments. The size of the battery is smaller than its competitors, resulting in a weaker charge. In addition, unlike Mophie’s battery case, you can’t control when you want to charge your iPhone. As soon as you insert your iPhone in this case, it will begin charging. All of this combined with the fact that there are cheaper battery cases with more features begs the question: Should you buy this case?

If you want everything Apple and a case made by the same people who made your phone, then this case is for you. For those who want a cost-efficient and feature-rich battery case, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

For more information about the iPhone Smart Battery Case, watch MKBHD’s video: