A Lesson Learnt from Architecture: Technology and Social Media


We speak of technology as though it has its own character, with its own will and right to make choices. But too often we forget that technology and social media are mere gadgets and tools that channel the intentions of people, good or bad.

Technology and social media, like the right to vote, are placed in the hands of both wise and foolish people. Similarly, how technology and social media impact us and our society depends on in whose hands they’re in and how they’re used.

The world of social media is a web of contradictions. Websites are some of the most popular haunts on the Internet and have revolutionized the way people communicate and socialize. French philosopher Michel Serres claims that “for the first time in history, the voice of almost everyone can be heard”. Yet how clear can each person’s voice be as an individual?

I believe that in today’s connected world everyone can speak up but not everyone can be heard. In the brouhaha and din of social media, individuals’ voices are lost. How easy is it to write a post to raise awareness about a certain issue, and how easy is it to report that very post and have it removed instantly?

Technology and social media are extremely powerful tools in the hands of humans. Like the remarkable thunderbolt of Zeus, the relatively smaller gadgets in our hands are much stronger than we are; we cannot underestimate their potential to work with us and their potential to have authority over us.

From Me to You: Be Skeptical of News Outlet Credibility


Back in high school, our English classes gave particular attention to credibility: how to be a credible writer and how to find credible sources. I never really thought much of it. It’s a lesson, it’s homework, it’s an assignment. Once done, it’s over. I probably won’t look back on it again. But here I am, with the sudden ringing of my high school teacher’s voice telling me to be skeptical of what I hear, see, and read.

Friday night was when word on Paris being attacked was plastered all over news outlets and social media. I immediately felt sorrow for Paris, and even shared a couple of grieving photos and statuses myself. The next morning, Facebook installed that new “Paris Profile Picture” update. I didn’t do it. Not because I had anything against Paris, but because I forgot about the other countries in the world experiencing the same hardships that were in many ways worse than Paris. A couple days later, there were some posts on my newsfeed about #PrayForTheWorld. It included Japan and their earthquake, Beirut and their suicide bombings. But what about Syria? What about Palestine?

I’m not one to delve myself into politics and world issues, but the pressing matter is the credibility of our journalists and news outlets. We’re clearly missing half the story, maybe even three quarters of it. What about the rest of the world? And even if they do report on it, chances are, what they say is skewered. I’ve seen the comments and even the petitions going on in an attempt to stop Syrian refugees from coming to Canada. Why haven’t they reported a positive light on Syrian Refugees? Does the world truly believe Syria is full of terrorists? What about Palestine? What about Palestine?

Many people (I’ll narrow it down to North Americans for the time being) are unaware of the real situation in Palestine. That has to do with our search engines, with Google. When I tried to Google what was going on in Palestine, I got a whole load of propaganda videos. It took me awhile to actually find the real stuff, with big help to my very educated peers of course. But the entire Google fiasco made me think to myself, why is the truth hidden in a bed of lies? Google isn’t as free as we think it is (we actually had a discussion about this in ENG287). It’s an American company you should be skeptical of. Extremely skeptical of, if I may reiterate. Unless you try really hard, you won’t be able to find the credible sources you’re looking for. Below is a video Banksy filmed on the situation in Palestine:

It’s crazy if you think about it. Banksy’s creation and video of Dismaland was covered by a variety of news outlets and social medias, so why hasn’t this video received the views it should be?

When I was riding on the subway this morning, I felt a surge of fear. I wondered, “what if this subway blows up? what if this subway gets hijacked? I’m underground. I can’t send any text messages. No one will know what happened to me.” And it was at that precise moment that I realized, I was succumbing to the war on terror. I let the news instill a fear in me that I was going to die by the hands of a terrorist. How could I let the news do this to me?

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post now. All I can do is ask you to be skeptical for the right reasons. Read the news, but be skeptical. We only see, hear and read what they want us to see, hear and read. Use the intelligence and knowledge you were given to make the right conclusions. Don’t let others make a conclusion for you. Don’t be a follower of social trends.

Club Profile: University of Toronto Electronic Music Community (UTEMC)


Image by UTEMC

Interested in electronic music? As per one commenter’s request, read on to learn more about U of T’s only electronic music community!

blogUT: How was the UTEMC created and what is its mission?

UTEMC: The UTEMC was created by two close friends who have been going to EDM events together forever. They decided to create a club where U of T electronic music fans could come together to meet other people and attend events together, as well as foster a culture of electronic music appreciation by fans from all over the three campuses. Our mission is to establish a group of like-minded individuals with an interest in electronic music and DJ events. Our goal to is set up a place for everybody to congregate and discuss events (both upcoming and past), new music, or just to meet somebody else with whom you might share a similar electronic music taste to. Throughout the year we’re going to be hosting events to bring people together, including in-house DJing events and workshops. Continue reading “Club Profile: University of Toronto Electronic Music Community (UTEMC)”

Club Profile: University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS)

Have you ever been afraid of public speaking? I know I have! Interested in improving? Then see what the University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS) is all about!

blogUT: How was the University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS) created and what is its mission?

UTPS: The University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS) is a student-led campus group, open to all three campuses at the University of Toronto. Established in 2013, it aims to give students an opportunity to overcome their public speaking fears and to improve their oral communication skills in a welcoming and supportive community. Continue reading “Club Profile: University of Toronto Public Speaking Club (UTPS)”

2015 VMAs highlight: Kanye West as US President?

(Americans should get ready to move to Canada)
The 2015 VMA’s was probably the most entertaining year ever!! Just when you think it isn’t funny enough that Donald Trump is a presidential candidate, forget 2016, Kanye West for 2020 is even more entertaining. Taylor Swift presented West with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and the rapper announced his presidential bid in conclusion to his candid acceptance speech on Sunday night’s MTV awards.

But real talk here, could Kanye West actually be a decent President? On one hand he is a God awful politician as he is overly honest with the press and socially tactless. There are countless scandals of  Mr. West regarding his ex girlfriend Amer Rose, his wife Kim Kardashian (behold the first ever possible first lady to have a sex tape), his comments regarding award candidates like Taylor Swift, his comments about the current President Mr.Obama and much more. Part of the responsibility of being President  would be to represent the whole country, so it would be wise for Mr. West to keep his future personal opinions to himself.

On the other hand, his rap lyrics reveal his values regarding fundamental political issues such as gun violence, war, and drug law reform that can qualify him as being a compassionate leader. The rapper is sick of gun violence as seen from his lyrics in the song Murder to Excellence, “I feel the pain in my city wherever I go / 314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago”. Mr. West is also opposed to the Iraq War as seen from the above lyrics as well as lyrics in his song Power (Remix), “Ben a don, praying for the families lost in the storm / Bring our troops back from Iraq, keep our troops out of Iran”. Lastly, as a presidential candidate who admitted to possibly being stoned at his presidential announcement, it is safe to say that he is probably pro drug law reform.

In short, presidential candidates such as The Donald and West are both cancerous either way because they are without a doubt running for the sake of publicity if anything, so it’s a win win for them. Of course, it also serves as great entertainment for the public and if anything, will allow more people to become interested in staying in tune to politics. Events like this are definitely the reason why I know more about US politics than Canadian politics. Without a doubt, there is much to look forward to in the news in the upcoming years.

List of UofT Related Facebook Pages

Oh social media, how well you can provide instant gratification and escape for the short attention-spanned generation. I’m going to attempt to compile a list of funny UofT related facebook pages because I realized there are a lot of them. Let’s begin.

Stuff UofT Professors Say


“UofT Professors say the funniest things. Inbox us your favourite prof quotes.”

Likes to date: 6 853
Frequency: Variable- Usually 2-5 posts/week

Recent Posts:

“Nothing in this world is perfect. Except my wife, when she can hear me.” – Prof. Mohammad Mojahedi ECE357

Student: “So what are you going to do for Valentine’s day?”
“You know, I am really tempted to say ‘Your Mom’. Good thing I didn’t.” – Prof. David Liu CSC236

“Has anybody heard of APOG? It’s a very important technique for this course. Okay write it down: A, P, O, G. It stands for……”the Awesome Power Of Genetics”- Prof McCourt BIO260

Spotted at UofT


“Have you seen someone at uoft and you would like to send him or her an anonymous message? This is the place! Send us a private message and we’ll post it anonymously.”

Likes to date: 6 467
Frequency: Frequent! 3-7 posts/day

Recent Posts:

I’m hopelessly in love with one of my best friend’s longtime girlfriend, any advice?

Shout out to one of the robarts starbucks employees who gave me a free second coffee just because it was sunday! You made my day!

Hey, anyone got stories about weird stuff happening to them in Queen’s Park?

UofT Memes


“Make your memes @ memgenerator.net & send them in!”

Likes to date: 11 880
Frequency: Sporadic- Used to be 2-4 posts/week, recently dwindling

Recent Posts:


Things U of T Students Don’t Say


“Certain things you will never hear a University of Toronto student say. Feel free to send anything you would like us to share!”

Likes to date: 3 165
Frequency: Frequent! 2-8 posts/day

Recent Posts:

“I’m sure the average won’t be that bad, the professor wants us to do well!”

“I sleep.”

“I did well on my math tutorial quizzes, looks like I’m ready for the last question on the midterm!”

Humans of The University of Toronto


“Humans of The University of Toronto is a photographic census of all the lovely people who go to UofT.”

Likes to date: 4 672
Frequency: Frequent, 2-6 posts/day

Recent Posts:

“I love reading anthropology…that’s what I’m gonna do right now…
*moment of silence*
…I’m very weird.”

“What makes UofT special?”
“It’s a place where you can live, laugh, love.”
“Ok seriously though, UofT is a place of incredible opportunity. Yes, it is huge, yes it’s impersonal, but that’s the real world for you. It gives you space to try as many new things as you want. You have to look for it though. I found it outside of the classroom through student groups through which I taught in Istanbul, did development work in Kenya, and currently working on a startup idea to help students stop smoking in Toronto.”


I’m certain there are many more, but I didn’t want this to be an overly long post. If you like any UofT related facebook page, add it in comments below!

The OC: A Review

So, I just finished watching The OC and, I must say, I was skeptical about the show near the beginning. I even got bored at certain points but, now that I’ve finished it, I realize how much I truly loved the show. For those who haven’t watched, it’s about a 14-year-old kid named Ryan, whose mother is an alcoholic and whose Dad and brother are in jail.

The show begins with public defence lawyer Sandy Cohen bailing Ryan out of jail (Ryan’s brother forced him to help steal a car) and, after seeing how hopeless Ryan’s situation is, he decides to bring him home. Sandy lives in Newport Beach, where everyone is extremely rich: they all have huge mansions and all the teenagers have their own cars. Soon, Ryan becomes part of the Cohen family and bonds with Sandy’s son, Seth, who is a social outcast until Ryan comes into his life. From there on, Ryan meets Marissa, who is a popular and attractive girl. Things get especially complicated as Marissa’s boyfriend starts getting into fights with Ryan. By the end of the show, you see how much everyone’s lives (including Ryan’s) have been impacted because of Ryan’s arrival to Newport.

This show does a believable job of presenting the class issues involved in having a “poor kid” move in with a “rich family”. Others have pointed out that it avoided the initial cliché by having Ryan and Seth become friends, but later episodes have shown that, in spite of their friendship and common interests (like comic books), there are still deeper issues of class and sexuality that show how different their worlds really are.

Finally, I was surprised to see that the writers were actually able to make me care about the problems of the rich characters! (The adults, anyway.) For too many nighttime soap operas, portraying the “problems of the rich” are just a way to get us “unwashed” types to sneer at the problems that money brings (“I wish I had those problems!”). In The OC, the writers actually explore questions of money, class, and love in the various adult couples in a way that brings Jane Austen to mind; we can relate to the struggles the characters are going through even if their day-to-day lives are completely foreign from our own.

If you haven’t watched this show or still feel skeptical, I suggest you watch the first 5-6 episodes. I’m sure you’ll be hooked.