Tag Archives: EOInternational

The “Turing” of Tables

Back in September of 2015, the pharmaceutical industry was in complete uproar over the 5,000% price increase of a life saving drug. And just a month ago, the infamous “pharma bro,” Martin Shkreli, who was responsible for this price hike, was arrested. Ironically, his arrest was not on the basis of the unfair price increase; rather, Shkreli was arrested on fraud charges on his previous companies.

Taking a step back, Martin Shkreli, dubbed the “morally bankrupt sociopath,” “a scumbag,” “a garbage monster,” and “everything that is wrong with capitalism,” once was a rap music-loving and hedge fund manager; with one move overnight, he became the ridicule and criticism of people across the Internet and country.

Under Turing Pharmaceuticals, one of the many companies he founded, Shkreli acquired the rights to the drug, Daraprim. Previously only costing $13.50 a dose, this drug is a treatment for the relatively rare parasitic infection toxoplasmosis, and a drug that patients of weakened immune systems, such as AIDS, have come to depend on. What came to be the most controversial move in pharmaceutical history, Shkreli raised the price of this drug to $750 a dose, a 5,000% increase from its original price. Although such actions of raising drug prices for profit are commonplace in the pharmaceutical industry, seldom has any individual company dared to do so so publicly and unapologetically.

Following the public’s response, he later conceded that his only mistake, unapologetically, was not raising the price more. For a person to make a tremendous profit off a critical and devastating life situation evoked backlash from people, both morally and economically. And just overnight, Shkreli was propelled into the criticism and disdain of the public (although not as much as Trump, who knows?) and became the symbol of greed in the industry.

However, despite all this controversy, Martin Shkreli was not arrested on charges of this scandal that had made headlines. He was instead arrested for using money from a biopharmaceutical company, Retrophin, which he started as a hedge fund manager, as his own personal source of funds to pay off investors who lost money at his previous hedge fund. Shkreli’s previous business expenditures were not all that clean, and he had experienced many bankruptcies and failures. With every failure, debt accumulated and his liabilities to the investors of his hedge funds grew significantly.

And his way of paying off this debt? Even more startups.

Shkreli began a vicious cycle of creating new startups to pay off previous debt, but then having that startup fail and add to his existing debt. Using his startups to pay his private debts, his practices were soon found out and he was consequently arrested.

In the end, Shkreli was not caught legally for the crimes we know him best for, but for something we probably would never have known about had we not paid so much attention to his conducts. Martin Shkreli’s decision to drastically raise the price of the drug garnered him lots of attention, and because his action was not legally wrong, there was no way the public could throw him in jail. It’s ironic how Shkreli’s plans for profit only led him to his downfall. It was revealed that previous companies had flagged Shkreli on fraudulent charges, but had no results and conclusive findings. Yet after people paid more attention to him, were prosecutors able to find these fraudulent practices. We can only say, how the tables have turned.

 

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THE WAY IN WHICH CHEMISTRY PLAYS A MAJOR ROLE IN MOVIES

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.

A Slow Clap for Equality

A quick scroll through CNN’s homepage or a flip through the morning’s New York Times is almost guaranteed to communicate some type of headline on the issue of equality—whether it be of the minority, women, or LGBT. The fact is, conversation in America, ever since its breakaway from Great Britain, has been constantly involving the issue of equality. Even the sheer mention of this country is able to evoke images of fairness and freedom for all.

Yet, in this highly modern and growing society of today, meanings have changed and views have shifted. What equality and the push for this concept once were no longer hold constant. The oversensitivity and impulse to grab onto any type of advancement, and to be satisfied with a superficial legislation has taken over our reason.

For the first time ever, Saudi Arabian women were granted the right to vote. Headlines on multiple major news sources donned prosperous and feel-good stories of this progress. However, they fail to account for the entire picture and the restraints the nature of Saudi Arabian government place on this achievement. In this notoriously misogynist country, this reform appears as an obvious milestone. Still, this milestone falls short.

The catch is that Saudi Arabia is not a democracy. Unlike America, Saudi Arabia provides no meaningful medium of expression: no free press, no personal authority, and no legal authority. Politics revolve around the King, rather than the voices of the population. If any change is to be made, it is more likely to be accomplished through connections with the prince than running for office with an egalitarian driven candidacy. Amid this patronage network for the royals, the ability and value of voting are crowded out and have little to no influence at all.

Despite being able to vote, the women of Saudi Arabia are still discriminated against, and laws that exclude women are still in relevance. Women, without the accompaniment of their male relative or spouse, can neither drive nor travel. Even with the power to vote, what can Saudi Arabian women do? In respect to Saudi Arabia’s highly oppressive political system, we can only see this as an advance on paper only.

All in all, we should still commend the women of Saudi Arabia, and other minorities alike who are discriminated against, for making it so far, and accomplishing such feats. Although we cannot respond to this event with celebration and applause, a slow clap will do.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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:

 

HOLLY HOLM DETHRONES ROWDY RONDA ROuSEY

In the past 25 minutes, the world may have witnessed one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, as the famous Rowdy Ronda Rousey, the previously undefeated 12-0 bantamweight champion was dominated in a fight that went to the second round.

I watched this fight myself, and on a personal review of the fight, Rousey relied too much on her grappling experience as a Judo master, and left herself completely vulnerable to Holm’s wrath of punches and kicks. It was as if Ronda forgot how to block.

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This teaches a valuable lesson about life: don’t refuse the glove touch in the beginning of the fight. If anyone asks you to touch gloves, touch them.

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That’s What It Takes

The book Outliers by Malcolm is a real treasure. This book just takes your past knowledge of the world and just warps it, flips it upside-down, and cuts it in half. It’s amazing how many misconceptions we can have of the world. Yet we lived in it for thousands of years, I feel like we are understanding it less and less… However, just in case some people want to be informed, I’ve read the book, processed the information, and am now regurgitating it for your reading pleasure or for your intellectual curiosity.

Once again, success is not all about individual traits! We all wonder, ‘Is there such thing as innate talent?’ Of course there is! But it’s not about how ‘smart’ you are or how ‘talented’ you are! I know it’s hard to understand, but it’s true! Your environment and all the factors around you decide first. In Outliers, it is mentioned that birth dates are much more important to success than many would think. Now I’m going to debunk the myth of the ‘natural’, a person who breezes the top without working hard.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s chapter ‘The 10,000-hour rule’, he provides an example of a study. The study featured students at Berlin’s elite Academy of Music. There were three groups of violinists: the first were the stars, the second were the “okay” ones, and the third were the “not so good” ones. You might be thinking, ‘The first group must be the one with talent!’. Really? It turns out, by the age of twenty, the elite performers totaled ten thousand hours of practice. The “okay” students totaled eight thousand hours, and the “not so good” students totaled four thousand hours. In fact, there were no “naturals”, people who succeeded without working, nor were there “grinds”, people who work hard, but fall short. It seems that practice really does make perfect. A LOT of practice, that is. The results were then compared to that of pianists. The same pattern emerged. The number 10,000 kept popping up. What’s so special about this number? Why is it that true mastery always seems to be linked with this number?

You all know Mozart, right? Child prodigy, he wrote his own music at the age of six! Many use him as an example to argue against the idea of hard work- that talent reigns supreme. However, it turns out that the earliest pieces by Mozart were mostly written by his father, and his childhood works were not all that original. Mozart’s greatest, finest work came when he wrote pieces for ten years! After his ten thousand hours! In fact, it might be possible that Mozart actually developed late! What?

Two examples of the ten-thousand hour rule: The Beatles and Bill Gates. The Beatles are the unanimous choice for the greatest band in the history of music. They were simply spectacular (I listen to some of their songs today!). Starting from February 1964 to 1970, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr just TOOK OVER America! But do you want to know how long Lennon and McCartney had been playing together beforehand? Seven years! Even more, their past has some even more secrets. While the Beatles were still in Europe, and not that famous, they performed in Hamburg, Germany. They mostly played in strip clubs, so they got a lot of alcohol and sex, which is probably why they kept going there. The real kicker is this: They played eight hours a day, seven days a week. Holy smokes! That’s essentially performing twelve hundred times in a period of four years. They definitely hit ten-thousand hours by the time they came to America in 1964! 

Bill Gates used to be the President of Microsoft, and is currently the richest man in the world. Everybody knows that he was a good, if not great, programmer, but do they know how long he worked on his craft? Back in the 1960s, it was very difficult to find a computer that wasn’t larger than a full-sized room, but Gates did. In fact, when most people had to use these clunky, slow computers that required cards to execute commands, Bill Gates was about to do real-time programming at THIRTEEN! Over his school career, Gates just kept getting lucky, by getting opportunities to program ALL DAY LONG. He would sneak out of his house at night and just program away, and everybody around him probably wondered how he could have gotten so addicted. By the time he dropped out of Harvard and started Microsoft, he had been programming continuously for seven consecutive years. That’s MUCH more than ten-thousand hours! You know what they say, “You get out what you put in”. And Bill Gates got a lot! Therefore, it was his determination and grit and passion for computers which created his endless wealth.

Sometimes success is not what we always believe it to be.

Recap of ‘The Exodus’

Disintegrated clothing, trails of tears, turbulent childhoods- this is an everyday reality for the multiple Syrian refugees witnessing a war fought in front of their humble homes. The solution is escape. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 3 million Syrians have fled to Syria’s neighbors Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. However, the continent of Europe did not fully respond to this ‘exodus’ until the end of September, and many are beginning to question why.

Europe has closed its eyes far too long to the bloody civil war, and tried to keep the suffering of millions of Syrians outside of its iron doors. However, the forces of political and moral conscience suddenly knocked on these doors seeking for a response- a response to the 3-year old Kurd, whose life was claimed by the plight of this crisis. The image of this toddler reached the trenches of our hearts as it acted as a wake-up call to those who take freedom for granted. Nevertheless, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, displayed her political role during this movement by setting aside a common fear of these migrants and replacing it with compassion and empathy. This was fulfilled when German crowds welcomed the resilient migrants with effervescent cheering and chanting. Hence, Germany, during this moment in history, remains an exemplar of hope and courage.

Although this triumphant moment is heart-warming, it raises serious economic and social problems within Europe. For example, Germans and other European nations will have their culture and traditions violently shaken by these ‘aliens’, and  have burdening economic outcomes, as well as sparks of dissonance within the populaces. However, there is heated debate on whether or not Europe should continue to build more barriers, or manage the pressure and risk of handling these migrants with hope for peace in society.The answer comes with a sense of a new perspective towards the migrants and their hosts.

Throughout history we can see that Syrians have “a well -founded fear of persecution”, and to help them is an evident moral duty Europe and the world must fulfill. Although Europe is enveloped by poverty and chaos across its borders, they must acknowledge the need for workers to pay and provide for the retirement of its citizens. The fundamental solution is the influx of migrants. However, to reach this grandiose goal of economic stability in a socialist society, Europeans need to start with the creation of a safe environment for the migrants. This means protected havens, funded UN agencies, and properly functioning education systems- not just roofs in the desert.

Regardless of the blurring social boundaries, the new dimension of morality Europe is witnessing everyday calls for significant changes in the world as a whole. However, this global reality cannot be achieved without adversity. Although many will say it has been more than a month since this crisis broke out, and the refugees are retreating back, we must not forget their profound suffering, their undeniable spirit, and their unconditional sadness leaving home. Along with the pain that is crushing, exquisite, and infinite, the pain causes them to tremble with fear. I deeply hope that when you look at another post of a Syrian refugee on “Humans of New York”, you will have the temerity to understand how it feels to be born in a different way than you are. One individual, European, African, or American can alter or even save a Syrian refugee’s life. Hence, we must acknowledge that human empathy fused with action can change lives in ways you can never imagine.

Is America in Danger?

There is a lot of talk about terrorism. After 2001, when the war on terrorism was declared, security in the U.S. had dramatically increased, and continues to do so.
But now it is reaching new extents. The U.S. has to be on the lookout for ISIS. Although this is well-known, recently, it is said that this aggressive group has been trying to breach through American cyber defense and attack the energy grid. There had been hack attempts at a conference of American energy firms on Wednesday. Although the exact details are not known, it is said that ISIS is behind it.
But looking at the positive side, the attempted break-ins have been completely unsuccessful. As of now, the ISIS group lacks the capabilities to do this kind of job. They hardly have the necessary sophisticated technology.
But what they lack in tools, they could very well make up in intent.
There is undoubtedly an option that they could simply buy the abilities.  The FBI is anxious over this idea. This terrorist organization, or its allies, could buy detrimental software to execute the plan. And of course this attack could range from minor to pretty severe. An attack on a power grid could very well shut down progress and businesses. This “mess-up” could interfere the flow of energy to our homes as well.
Unfortunately, this situation is not restricted to such radicals. Domestic groups could very well do the same. At the same time, it is important to remember the low probability of such events. It is difficult to go through with such a plan. It would take a very large group of advanced, knowledgeable, and highly qualified technicians as well as finesse in such matters to hack  the energy grid. And even if this does happen, it would most likely be in a small section of the area.
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