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On November 20, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on Why VR could mean the end of Art museums :

I hope that there never comes a point in time where museum goers trade in a trip to the museum for a pair of VR glasses. Visiting a museum is more about the experience. Curators spend their lives figuring out the perfect way to arrange art so that the light hits it in just the right way, and I don’t think this could ever be captured through a computer. Looking at Monet’s Haystacks new colors emerge as the sun sets. Digital mediums just can’t capture that. Plus part of the joy of going to a museum is connecting with a piece of art that isn’t famous that is simply special because in that moment it means something to the viewer. If all museum goers decide to trade in a trip to the museum for virtual reality, viewers will only see what the VR company has deemed is popular and a lot of beautiful/important, but less well known artwork will become forgotten. While I think that things like virtual reality and internet displays are important because all people should have access to art, I worry that the shift towards digitization will harm smaller museums. Museums like the Louvre or the Met are not suffering from a lack of visitors…if they were you wouldn’t have to wait in the 1.5 hour line. The museums that suffer the most are the small local museums that may have one or two famous pieces in their collection, but not nearly the breadth of other museums. I worry that these small museums will be hurt by the use of virtual reality in art. These museums cannot afford to invest in the technology that the large museums can invest in, nor do they have the budgets to prevent VR companies from placing their works online.

On November 20, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on Samsung, connecting your everyday life. :

Samsung’s decision to make the refrigerator the hub of the “connected home” is genius. However, an item like a refrigerator or washing machine is very expensive and the purchase only occurs after 10 or more years. This creates a huge barrier for entry for new users who want to start to build a more digital home, but don’t have the excess cash to spend on a brand new set of appliances. Has Samsung considered creating a smart device like the Amazon echo or Google home to ease customers into home automation or does Samsung simply plan to link into these devices? Additionally with items like refrigerators or washing machines that have a long lifetime, how does Samsung plan to make these refrigerators and smart devices remain relevant as technology changes?

On November 20, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on There’s an App for Trash, Too :

This service seems slightly ridiculous, but at the same time I’m pretty sure that almost anyone would utilize this if they knew they wouldn’t have to take out the trash. Has the company considered installing a an IoT sensor that automatically senses the amount of trash in a resident’s bin so that it can time the pickups without having to interface with the resident? This would allow the iValet company the ability to better plan pickups and better predict the trash patterns of residents. The company would then be able to optimize the pickup schedule.

On November 20, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on Education Content in a Digital Age :

The digitization of education is very interesting. I believe many schools look to technology as a one-size fits all problem that will solve all the issues that American classrooms are facing. However, many educators have voiced concerns with the shift towards technology. Scientists have determined that the brain interprets digital and printed text differently, and that in fact comprehension is diminished when reading via a digital screen. Scientists have used fMRI while students read to see how the brain works when a subject is reading. The research showed that when reading print different neural pathways are used than when reading digital. This suggests that digital may not be a one to one switch for students. While I think digitization can serve a great purpose in the administrative tasks of a classroom, I worry that the world has too readily accepted technology as an easy panacea for all the problems that are faced in the classroom. I would hope that before schools completely eliminate paper in the classroom that they spend time assessing the negative externalities that come with going digital.

On November 20, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on Bezos, the Washington Post and the future of news publishing :

I would be interested to know if data on users accessing the data from “the Washington Post” is meshed with the data on those same users accessing Amazon. If so, this provides Amazon a huge advantage over competitors because they can create a holistic view of a consumer. The more data that an e-commerce platform has about their consumers, the more capable they are to predict the consumers buying behaviors. They have the ability to better refine their algorithms. The Post also has provided more options for users to subscribe. There are about 5 different types of digital subscription. I think that this has also broadened their customer base because they are able to attract users at many different price points.

On November 20, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on IRCTC – Reinventing the “wheel”? :

It is interesting that people were able to trust the online payment since the government was backing IRCTC, especially considering that a number of online applications have failed on a global level due to an inability to adapt to the local payment practices. As tools for eCash expand, does IRCTC plan to expand the types of payment options? Also are any other transportation or travel companies partnering with IRCTC to sell their products since IRCTC has such a large network of users?

On November 7, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on Implications of Climate Change on US Navy Operations :

The geo-political implications of climate change will have a great impact on the Navy, especially because many of the areas currently covered in ice are expected to be oil-rich. I think that this will cause a greater need for security and sea control presence. Since Fleet Commanders generally have authority to determine the locations of the various Navy assets, congressional approval is not always required. Congressional approval is only required for the general ship operating budget.

The Navy is taking steps to make new ships with technologies that will reduce the level of fuel dependence. For example the new class of Areleigh Burke Destroyers (DDG) will be outfitted with a hybrid electric drive. Propulsion power on a DDG is powered by 4 LM2500 Gas Turbine Engines. These engines are most efficient at 13+ knots, and therefore most transit plans are created to minimize fuel usage with average operating speeds greater than 13 knots. The hybrid electric drive will attach an electric motor to the main reduction gear of the ship and turn the drive shaft to propel the ship at speeds under 13 knots. This is expected to extend time on station by 2.5 days before a ship is required to refuel.

On November 7, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on More with less at Nike :

Thanks for providing some of the ways that Nike has been able to move towards a more sustainable future. I would be curious to see how much Nike has invested in developing technology to recycle old clothing and apparel into new clothing. I know that in many of their stores they have drop boxes, for customers to recycle their old sneakers, but I would like to know if they also recycle old apparel? One of the biggest sustainability problems with the apparel industry is that in the past decade, the periodicity with which new products are released has decreased from multiple months to mere weeks. As companies, like Nike, look to drive their revenues higher, they release more and more clothing. This not only creates an attitude of wastefulness among customers, but also causes a glut of inventory that Nike sells off in outlets. Even when consumers donate their clothing, the clothing rarely ends up being reused. Instead, it is often shipped in bales to emerging nations where the majority of the clothes in the bale then get dumped. While apparel recycling could alleviated some of this problem, it ultimately does not solve the underlying issue. If Nike was truly dedicated to sustainability, then they would rethink the way in which they sell apparel and shoes to customers.

On November 7, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on Monsanto – Facing a Wicked Problem or a Major Opportunity? :

Monsanto is in a position to make change. Unfortunately, they have mostly caused harm. While many of the claims against genetically modified seeds have gone scientifically unproven, companies like Monsanto do cause great harm to the world with the sale of pesticides like Roundup. While GM producers had originally touted that their seeds would reduce the reliance on pesticides, that has not been the case. Pesticide usage has increased in the United States, and now many anti-herbicide seeds are sold in conjunction with herbicides. Not only does this cause pollution of the waterways, as excess toxins from herbicides join rivers and fresh water sources via the run off, but it also negatively impacts small farmers. If a farm not using herbicide-resistant seeds is down wind from a farm using herbicide resistant seeds, then the farmer down wind’s crops will essentially be decimated as the wind carries the herbicides to the farm. Typically more wealthy and generally larger farmers are able to invest in GM seeds, and thus they are able to wipe out their competitors. Allowing only the largest farmers to succeed. Additionally, as the prevalence of herbicide increases, weeds become resistant to it. This has forced companies like Monsanto to develop more and more toxic pesticides. Roundup is even reviving chemicals like the compounds once used in Agent Orange, a compound used in chemical warfare. Monsanto may have taken over the food industry, but they are certainly not doing anything to make agriculture more sustainable.


On November 7, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on Imagine A World Without Lobster Rolls :

This article was very fascinating and illuminated how quickly climate change can have an affect on global waters. While I agree that Luke’s Lobster is doing a great deal to stem the decrease in lobsters and to ensure that all of their lobsters are ethically sourced, I don’t know that one restaurateur alone will be able to have a significant impact. Nothing that the restaurant is doing will prevent oceans from warming. I would be curious to learn more about what the restaurant is doing to avoid waste. In the restaurant industry especially it can be hard o estimate the fluctuating demand for a product, and many restaurants end up wasting a lot of food. With lobster supply decreasing so rapidly, I wonder if Luke’s Lobster has been able to develop tracking mechanisms to ensure that they don’t over order the amount of lobster.

On November 7, 2016, Ellyn-C commented on Hope you take your coffee hot :

While Starbucks has led the coffee industry in the investment of Fair Trade coffee, I am always surprised by how little they do to make their stores sustainable. Most coffee shops, offer patrons who are staying in the option to use reusable cups (i.e. ceramic mugs). Very few Starbucks locations in the United States offer this service. The store does provide a discount for patrons who use their own travel mugs, but it seems that any easy step towards in-store sustainability would be to offer customers a reusable mug.