Technology

Vacation Bragging & Cheaper Flights

Curated by CLAI

VACATION BRAGGING: Had an amazing experience that no one else has had before? Better keep it to yourself. Post-event social encounters are built on commonality. People are more likely to enjoy talking about an ordinary experience they have all had rather than hearing about the fabulous one they didn’t. So sharing the details of your singular experience in a social setting can indeed backfire, leading to feelings of being excluded.

Read more: Great Vacation? Don’t Brag to Your Friends (New York Times)

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu (Credits: John Yoo)

FAKE LOCATION – CHEAPER FLIGHTS: Flights are cheaper when bought from a certain location. For example, use Google ITA to buy a flight from Bogota to Cartagena and save $75. Same with routes from Santiago to Easter Island when bought in “Santiago” instead of New York City.

Read more: Fake Location. Cheaper Tickets (Time.com)

ZIP Codes: What Does it Say About You? West v. East Germany

Curated by CLAI

ZIP CODE DEMOGRAPHICS AND LIFESTYLE: Want to know what your zip code says about you? Learn about the people and culture of an area with ZIP Lookup.

  • Arlington, VA: 56% Metro Renters & 44% Laptops and Lattes. We’re affluent, well-educated singles or partner couples, who hold professions in business, finance, legal, computer, or entertainment. Young, mobile, or still in school, we live along or with a roommate in rented apartments. Long hours and hard work don’t deter us. Most of our income goes to rent, fashions, and latest technology. We live close to our jobs, so we can either walk or take a cab. We practice yoga, go skiing, and attend Pilates.
  • Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY: Asians, particularly Chinese, are concentrated here. Nearly half are foreign born and 1/3 don’t speak English. Long commutes are the way of life. Spending is careful; we’re not brand loyal and use coupons when we can. Dancing, casino gambling, eating out at our favorite restaurants consume our leisure time.
Income distribution in Arlington, VA.

Income distribution in Arlington, VA. (ESRI)

West & East Germany: Those in West Germany have greater disposable income, lower rates of unemployment, more young people, more foreigners, and more trash. East Germans have more childcare, bigger farms, and higher flu vaccination rates.

Disposable income in West Germany v. East Germany (WAPO)

German statistical office. Visualization: Gene Thorp, WAPO.

Selfie Makovers and Facebook Backburners

Curated by CLAI

SELFIE MAKEOVER APP: If you haven’t been hitting the gym lately, Photox can add six-pack abs ($3.96), give you skinny legs ($3.96) or bulk-up your arms ($2.97). If it’s a dermatologist you desire, the app can also minimize wrinkles ($2.97), lighten skin ($3.96) and remove acne (99 cents). Photox is connects people with a team of experienced photo editors who can alter images as quickly and naturally as possible.

Developed by a No. Virginia professional, Photox allows users to submit photos for an editing makeover. (Courtesy of Photox)

DIGITAL INFIDELITY: Facebook users in relationships frequently use the site to keep in touch with “back-burners” — exes or platonic friends they know they could connect with romantically, should their current relationships go south.

  • Men have back-burners at roughly twice the rate of women.
  • On average, respondents in relationships said they had romantic or sexual conversations with two people (!) besides their current partner.

Hit the Brakes on Killing People & Animals

Curated by CLAI

½ WORLD’S ANIMALS DEAD: We’ve killed roughly half of the world’s non-human vertebrate animal population since 1970. Tropical areas saw greater declines, while temperate regions – like North America – saw lesser drops. Habitat-wise, land and saltwater species saw declines of roughly 39 percent. But freshwater animals – frogs, fish, salamanders and the like – saw a considerably sharper 76 percent drop. Habitat fragmentation and pollution (think algae blooms) were the main killers of freshwater species.

Decrease of vertebrate species populations since 1970 (World Wildlife Fund/WAPO)

Decrease of vertebrate species populations since 1970 (World Wildlife Fund/WAPO)

NO TEXTING AND DRIVING APP: Katasi, installed under a car, stops all incoming and outgoing text from those in the driver’s seat.

  • The telematics box sends a wireless message that the car is moving. The phone sends its own message about its location. Both sets of information — from the car and phone — are sent to Katasi’s servers.
  • Then, an algorithm weighs the incoming data with other information, like the location of the phones belonging to all the people who drive the car and the starting point of the trip; if the trip starts at Junior’s high school, and mom and dad’s phones are at work, the driver has been identified — Junior is driving.
  • So what happens when husband and wife share a car and Katasi’s servers say that both are in the car at the same time with their phones? Which one is driving? At that point, Katasi generally doesn’t block the messages on the assumption that the passenger will prevent the driver from texting. The system is capable of blocking calls, email and other data, but initially the plan was to block texts.

 

Humblebrag: Faking Your Vacation

Curated by CLAI

Projecting an enhanced reality is nothing new. Paintings flatter their subjects like Napoleon Crossing the Alps did, presenting a better and rosier version of reality. Now, we just can do it faster and better on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While I don’t like to admit it, I, myself, am guilty of humblebragging. “Finished my master’s application on Waikiki!” Woohoo, look at how efficient I am when tanning on the beach! I crave that pat on the back that I did a good job – external support and approval. Nonetheless, it’s what makes us human.

Projecting a believable alternate is something new. The ability to use technology to manipulate what you see, so that everyone believes you are in one place while you are not. Check out the “Faking Your Vacation” story below.

HUMBLEBRAG:  Outright bragging expects to be met with awe, but humblebragging wants to meet with awe and sympathy. It asks for two reactions from its audience, and in so doing makes fools of its beholders twice over. There’s nothing new about false modesty, nor its designation as a form of bad manners. But the prevalence of social media has given us many more canvases on which to paint our faux humility — making us, in turn, increasingly sophisticated braggers.

  • “My emails send so slowly over here in Cannes! So frustrated!”
  • “Why do men hit on me more when I’m in sweat pants?”
  • “Mother of God. Tornado coming. Hide in my wine cellar or my theatre? Or my gym.”
  • “Totally walked down the wrong escalator at the airport from the flashes of the cameras… Go me.”
Faking your vacation to Phuket using your local pool and Photoshop

Faking your vacation to Phuket using your local pool and Photoshop (Zilla van der Born, NYTIMES)

 FAKING YOUR VACATION: We create an online world which reality can no longer meet. We filter and manipulate what we show on social media to distort reality.

  • She spent 5 weeks traveling through Southeast Asia and documented the trip in photos on Facebook. She posed for pictures while dining on dumplings, snorkeling among colorful fish in azure waters and visiting ornately decorated Buddhist temples.
  • In reality, she never left her home city, Amsterdam. Each photograph was expertly contrived through photoshopping local temples, restaurants, and a pool.