Anahit's Blog

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Self-Driving Cars?

How cool would it be if your car could operate on its own, without you having to control it?? California has begun the testing of autonomous cars, or self driving vehicles, and who knows, maybe in a couple years or so these cars will be everywhere.

Waymo, a self-driving car company, owned by Google, has developed vehicles that are able to function on their own. These cars have been equipped with a technology called Lidar, which is pretty much the car’s sensors. With the help of the Lidar system and its 360 degrees view, Waymo cars are able to detect pretty much anything around them, including people, other vehicles, and even road constructions. Waymo began this program in 2009, and have been testing those cars and finding ways to perfect them ever since. With a big technology like this, there’s probably going to be many problems. The vehicle’s sensors will most likely be the toughest part to figure out. If something goes wrong with that, then the entire car can be in trouble. If at one point, something happens that causes the sensors to malfunction, the car might hit whatever is in its way, and that could cost a lot, especially for the company. In order to avoid these type of situations, Waymo runs various tests on their vehicles beforehand.

The Waymo prototype car, which was released two years ago, isn’t like the cars we’re usually used to driving. This specific vehicle has no steering wheel and no brake or gas pedals. The car turns on with a click of a button and then it begins to completely function on its own. It knows when to stop and when to go, and it probably has a navigation system that’ll get you to your destination. The Waymo company hopes to perfect their technology, in order to make it safer and convenient than any other car.

If Waymo actually manages to perfect their self-driving car without any problems, which I’m sure they will because technologies getting more and more advanced, then that’ll probably be one of the greatest things yet. There would be much less accidents on the roads, since these cars will function better than some people can drive. People will actually get to be on their phones the entire time, or will be able to do some last minute homework, or even just read a book or watch their favorite tv show.

These self-driving vehicles are going to take things to the next level, but we also have to think about how much something like this will cost. It’s definitely not going to be cheap, and the price will probably vary because of the different equipment. For instance, there will be various models of the Lidar system, some may include more features, but it will also cost more. But I mean, if you have the money, why not?

Waymo is not the only company that’s producing these self-driving cars, a few other organizations are doing this as well. In a couple of years, if this is all successful, autonomous cars will be the future of vehicles. These autonomous cars will make things simpler, especially for people who are constantly on the road. Millions of people use automobiles to go to work, and after a long, stressful day, they barely have enough energy to get home. Sometimes, people might be too drunk to even drive themselves back home, not that that’s a good thing, but in situations like so, these cars will be helpful. It’s basically like having your own chauffeur, except even better. This technology can also be convenient for those who just aren’t able to drive, perhaps because of a physical disability. It will provide them not only with a quicker way of transportation, but also a safer way. Maybe these self-driving cars will even be the beginning of something much bigger someday.

Is Technology Making Us Lazier?

Could the constant use of technologies actually be making us lazier? I mean think about it, technology is taking over, and we use it for pretty much everything. We use our smart phones and computers to watch movies, do online shopping, find new dates, and so much more.

Technology’s been around for a while, and it’s getting more and more advanced. We’ve began to rely so much on technology, that we can’t even go a day without using our phones. People don’t even really need to go out anymore, they can do mostly anything with just their phone. They don’t need to go grocery shopping, when they can just use Amazon Prime and Peapod to get all their necessities delivered straight to their homes. They don’t need to all the way to the mall just to buy a couple t-shirts, instead they can just order them online and have it delivered to them in a couple days.

Who needs a book anymore, when you can read any book you want online! Does anyone even bother going to the movie theaters anymore? People just need to take a few seconds to set up a movie on Netflix and order pizza or something. You can find a date by just signing up for one of those dating websites and meeting random people online, so you don’t have to actually go looking for someone.

The most wonderful thing about technology is that we can find any information through a magical search engine called Google. Do you want to find out more information about donkeys, or who was responsible for WW1? Well you don’t have to go to the library and take time reading through a book, you can just search whatever you’re trying to find online, and it’ll bring up all the information you need. Have you been trying to learn how to play guitar but been too busy to actually take some lessons? Well, it’s okay because you can take lessons online, or even just learn by watching YouTube tutorials. Apps like TaskRabit make people’s lives easier by having other people do their errands. A person can just sign up for this app and can find someone who will wash their dishes for them, do their laundry, or even go to the super market to buy groceries, it’s like having a personal assistant.

Technology allows us to communicate with our families and friends who live in another continent, and when we have no clue where we’re going, it helps us not get lost. We can literally just put the address of the place we want to go to, and it’ll provide us with the exact directions. But I can see how this can make a person lazy. Someone can get so used to relying on their navigation, they probably won’t bother remembering street names, so when they’re phone dies for example, they’ll have no idea where to go. Most people probably don’t even bothering memorizing others’ numbers because they know that they’ll always have it in their phone. I’ll be honest, the only two numbers that I have memorized are my moms’ and dads’ numbers, and that’s only because I learned it when I was a little kid and they haven’t changed their number ever since.

I think that technologies are beneficial. It enables us to acquire any information and allows us to communicate with people we might not often be able to see. Personally, I don’t know how I would ever be able to live without my phone or computer, however I also believe that it’s making us lazy. We shouldn’t completely rely on technology, we should be able to do certain things on our own. What if one day, something happens and all of the technologies completely stop working, then what will we do? I’m definitely a fan of technology, but I think everyone should at least be able to do the basic things such as buying groceries or cleaning up their houses on their own. Maybe we should all challenge ourselves and see if we can go at least a month without our phones…just kidding, that’s just crazy.



Ted Talk: Why Sneakers are a Great Investment

Just by reading this title, you might wonder, how can shoes be an investment? Well, Josh Luber, a sneakerhead (a person who collects sneakers), talks about how someone can make a good profit just by owning certain sneakers.

Sneakers are actually a pretty big thing nowadays. People all over the world buy different pairs of sneakers that are worth different amounts and make a lot of money from it. Luber mentions how a pair of Air Jordan 3s Black Cement that were first released in 1988, are worth so much more now, and that’s all because of marketing. Using data, we are able to understand how sneakerheads are able to make a profit by reselling shoes from big companies such as Nike. Luber shows how in a year, people who resell Nike sneakers were able to make almost twice as much money as the Skechers company!

People go out and camp for sneakers, even sometimes for a couple days, and some of them aren’t even able to get it because of how quickly they sell out. Some retail stores even raffle sneakers, especially when they’re rare. There are websites where you can see the release dates of  upcoming hype sneakers, and you can try to get them online the minute they are released. Now you might think, why would I waste my time trying to buy a pair of sneakers that I might never even wear? Well, the sneaker market is a stock market. Most people buy the shoes and then make twice or sometimes three times more money by reselling them, but it’s actually not as easy as it sounds. I once tried to buy the new Air Jordan 6s, so I woke up at 5 am to try and get them. However, it sold out in less than a minute, so of course I wasn’t able to get them. A couple days after, those same exact shoes were put on websites such as Ebay for twice their retail price.

The reason why people are so obsessed with buying these sneakers is because of all the hype. Plus, some of them are rare, so you’ll be considered lucky if you get your hands on them. For example, aside from Nike shoes, I think that one of the most popular sneakers on the markets are the Adidas Yeezys. Those shoes release for around $200-$350 and sell out really quick, so those who do get a chance to buy them, either store it in their collection, or resell them. Currently they are being resold at prices that range from $500 to about $1000, depending on how popular they are. Throughout the years, Nike has released limited pairs of sneakers that have been quite successful. For example the Air Jordan 4 undftd, which came out in the year 2005, only released 72 pairs. Today, that sneaker is being sold for around $30,000, even though it’s pretty hard to find. I personally think that specific colorway isn’t as nice as the others I’ve seen, and I don’t think I would ever pay that much money just to get myself a pair of those shoes. However, I believe that it’s wanted by many because of the fact that it’s rare, and over the years, the price may even increase due to that.

The good thing about the sneaker market is that anyone can resell shoes. Luber mentions that you have to be at least 18 years old in order to participate in the stock market. However, you can be a teen and still be able to sell sneakers. Anyone can go online and check to see when a specific sneaker is being released, and once they buy it, they can resell if for more than it was released for. Campless, a company owned by Josh Luber, is basically a stock market for sneakers. It’s used by many sneakerheads in order to sell or buy shoes, and even keep track of how much their collection is currently worth. I believe that the sneaker market will continue rising as long as there are limited sneakers being released and customers who want them.

How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

A lot of people may already know what they need to do in order to be healthy, but most of the time, they don’t do it. Having a healthy lifestyle can be a great benefit since you’ll be gaining more energy, and you’ll be feeling good about yourself overall. It might be hard at first, since we’ve already developed our habits, but with a little motivation, it’s possible. There are many steps you can take to maintain a healthy lifestyle, most of them are obvious, but not everyone does it. Eating right, exercising, drinking plenty of water, and being less stressed out are just a couple ways to be healthy.

One of the things you can do is watch what you eat. It’s important to have fruits and vegetable in your daily diet, because a lot of them have vitamins and antioxidants which can improve your immune system, as well as help fight against diseases. Different fruits and veggies contain different vitamins that are very beneficial. Greens such as spinach and kale contain vitamin A, which helps maintain good vision, and even helps with having healthy hair and skin. There are many people who aren’t big fans of vegetables, so what they can do is simply be aware of what they eat. Eating too much or even not eating enough can be unhealthy, so it’s important to make sure that you have a balanced diet.

I think drinking water is one of the easiest things you can do to stay healthy. It might not seem that important, however, drinking water cleanses your body, balances body fluids, and can help control your calories. Water even keeps our skin healthy, I mean who doesn’t want to have good looking skin? It is said that we should drink 8 glasses of water on a daily basis, however many people believe that that rule doesn’t necessarily apply for everyone, since we all have different bodies.

Being active also improves your health, and even gets you into great shape. Sometimes, it may be difficult to get into the mindset of exercising regularly, but once you do, it would just become a habit. If not on a daily, exercising three or four times a week for about an hour or so can be very beneficial. Exercising doesn’t always mean going to the gym and working out, doing yoga, playing a sport, or even going on a hike are all considered exercises. I’ve always tried to workout on a daily basis, but it never seemed to work, probably because I procrastinate too much, so in my case, playing a sport was a better alternative. Exercising can be fun, if you’re the type of person who isn’t really interested in playing sports, then you might want to go hiking with a group of friends.

Having a healthy lifestyle also includes not stressing out too much. Stress is never good, it may cause eating disorders, sleep deprivation, or depression, so it’s important to know how to manage it. Stressing out can affect your sleep, which can be bad for your health since without sleep, we won’t have enough energy. People should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep everyday, although those hours may vary depending on age. Stress affects a person’s both mental and physical health. It can be caused from family problems, work, or relationships and can affect your mood and even lead up to illnesses. But there are various ways of dealing with stress so it doesn’t get worse later on. Exercising, listening to music, and being surrounded by your loved ones are some ways to manage your stress.

There are so many things people can do to start a healthy lifestyle, the list goes on. These were a few different ways you can use to continue your healthy lifestyle. Health is substantial, therefore we should do everything we can to be healthy. Quitting your bad habits and getting in the right mindset can actually be a good way to start.

How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One

There are a lot of people who have bad habits, but in this article, James Clear shows us various ways we can stop them. James believes that in order to stop our bad habits, we have to find ways to replace them. Bad habits are usually caused by two main reasons, stress or boredom, and whether it’s biting your nails or something more hardcore like smoking or doing drugs, you can stop them if you’re committed.

The first reason which may cause a bad habit is stress. A person might start to constantly drink, smoke, or may even do drugs because of stress. It’s different for everybody, one person might have better ways of handling tension, while another might not, therefore leading to bad habits. We all know those stories of someone who gets dumped and as a result begins drinking, and eventually that becomes their bad habit. In another case, a student might be stressed out over school or her classes, and may start developing a habit of biting their fingernails. We all get stressed out, but the most important thing is knowing how to deal with it the right way. Stress isn’t permanent, so is it really worth doing stupid things just to get your mind off it? You might start a bad habit and not even realize it, but there’s always ways to fix them.

A lot of bad habits can also be caused from boredom. When you’re bored, you don’t really know what to do, so sometimes you might develop a habit that isn’t as bad but isn’t healthy either. An example would be constantly eating, sometimes even when you’re not even hungry. This can turn into a bad habit because it’s not healthy for your body and can later on have a more serious effect such as diabetes or obesity. Even just constantly going shopping can become a bad habit if you don’t know how to control yourself. It may lead to some big debts that you might have trouble paying in the future. Every bad habit has a consequence, so that’s why it’s best to start replacing them with good habits before it’s too late.

James provides us with a couple of different ways to replace our bad habits. The first step to stopping any bad habit is to be aware of it by keeping track of when, why, and how many times you do this habit on a daily basis. That’ll help you plan out your next steps in order to replace your habit. Someone with a bad habit of smoking might try chewing gum whenever they feel the urge to smoke. Another person who might have a habit of overeating, could try dieting or exercising daily. I actually used to bite my nails, so when I just watching tv or doing an assignment and I stopped to think for a moment, I would just start biting my nails, and sometimes I wouldn’t even realize it. That was my bad habit and I was determined to get rid of it. I used one of those nail polishes that had a terrible taste, so every time I went to bite my nails I would get disgusted. I also began to keep my hands occupied whenever I felt the urge to bite my nails, that way, I was focused on something else. Getting rid of or replacing your bad habit isn’t as easy, and it might take a while. At some point, you might even slip up, but another one of James’s methods is to “plan for failure.” That way, when you do make a mistake, at least you’ll know how to recover from it.

I believe that we all have bad habits, even though some may be worse than others. But, we now also know how to prevent those habits and instead have better habits in their place. There are many more reasons that cause bad habits, and even more ways of preventing them, I think that the strongest tool is having the right mindset. If you truly want to put an end to your bad habits, then you’ll be able to do so by finding ways that work for you. In this article, James showed us some effective techniques that can help get rid of the bad habits for those who have it.

Ted Talk Pamela Meyer How to Spot a Liar

      In this Ted Talk, Pamela Meyer discusses why people lie and how we can tell if someone is lying. According to Meyer, lying is a cooperative act, meaning that a lie itself isn’t powerful, until someone else chooses to believe it. People tell lies for various reasons, whether it’s for their own good or just to keep someone else from getting their feelings hurt. But I think that most of the time the truth finds its way out, which sometimes causes conflict. Pamela demonstrates how we can all learn to spot liars with a couple different methods, such as a person’s speech as well as their body language.

     Everyone tells lies, whether it’s to make yourself seem better, to avoid being punished, save a relationship, or get out of doing something they don’t want to do. But not all lies are hurtful, such as “white lies,” which people tell in order to not hurt someone’s feelings. An example of this would be if your boyfriend asks you how those shoes look on him and you say it looks stunning, when in reality you think it’s probably one of the ugliest shoes you’ve ever seen. But yet you lie because you don’t want him to be upset at you or you just don’t want to make him feel bad about something he might like. However, there are also lies that can actually cause harm for yourself or for others, such as committing fraud or being a double agent. For example, during WW2 a man named Eddie Chapman, who was a double agent for Germany and Britain, tricked the Germans by giving them wrong information, therefore betraying them. Everyday, a person gets lied to anywhere from 10-200 times, and although we all say that we’re against lying, we’re actually secretly for it, since it’s sometimes easier than telling the truth.

    Pamela Meyer shows us ways we can tell if someone is lying, even if we aren’t trained or professional lie detectors. We can tell if someone is lying by the type of speech they use. If a person is talking and they use words that are aren’t contracted, such as “have not” instead of “haven’t,” then that shows us that they’re trying too hard to show denial. Also, when speaking, a person’s voice may change. Sometimes, those who are lying tend to tell their stories in chronological order, so when they’re told to tell it differently, they slip up. But these are all just red flags, so it doesn’t automatically mean that the person is lying. Aside from the way they speak, their specific actions or movements also help us determine whether they’re lying or not.

    Most people believe that if a person’s lying then they are likely to move around more than usual and will try to avoid eye contact. However, they actually stiffen their upper bodies and tend to make more eye contact than they normally would. Someone who’s lying can also fake a smile, but a there’s always ways of telling if the smile is genuine or fake. For example when someone truly smiles, their cheek muscles contract and their eyes sort of close, unlike a person who’s faking it. We all rehearse what we’re going to say, but never practice our movements, so when speaking, a liar might say yes yet shake its head no, or the other way around, or in the middle of a sentence he/she might do slight movements that are red flags. These movements include shrugging of shoulders, shifting of the body, touching of their face, etc.  

    Constantly telling simple lies that you think might be okay, can later on lead to lying about bigger things which may cause the loss of trust, or even an end to a relationship. I believe that everybody tells lies even if they don’t do it all the time, or if their lies don’t cause any harm. Lying is a part of our daily lives, whether we’re the ones who are lying or being lied to. But I also think that people shouldn’t get used to lying all the time and think that it’s okay, I think that being honest and telling the truth is more important.