How to Write a Good Graduation Speech

How to Write a Good Graduation Speech: Basic Guidelines

Giving a speech during a graduation ceremony is both an exciting and challenging opportunity at the same time. It’s a special honor bestowed upon the best students who have earned the respect of teachers and peers alike and were chosen to represent their graduating group or class. However, this fact does not make the process of writing and delivering the speech any easier. You have to apply all your skills and imagination to create a memorable valedictorian address, and inspire your fellow group-mates on their further fulfillments. Luckily, there are plenty of great resources around that can help you with this task. In this article, our essay writer will tell you how to plan, structure, and write an outstanding graduation speech.

How to Start a Graduation Speech: Brainstorm for Ideas

The process of creating an inspirational commencement speech differs for all students. Some may immediately come up with a bunch of good ideas but experience a writer’s block once they start working on a draft. For other young people, it takes a while to decide which themes to bring up in the speech, but they cope with the process of writing easily.

To choose a great topic for your future speech, you’ll need to start with brainstorming. There are plenty of things you can tell about: your past experience, your future, the advice you’d like to give to your peers, etc. Not to miss out anything, we recommend you write all suggestions into a notebook and keep updating the list whenever something new comes to your mind. It may also be helpful to look for inspiration online or discuss possible variants with your group-mates or a teacher.

It’s important to start working on a commencement speech as early as possible. You’ll be expected to speak in front of the audience for 10-15 minutes nonstop, which means that your piece will have to be long enough to cover this time.

You shouldn’t talk longer than 15 minutes either: after this point, your listeners most likely will lose their interest and concentration, and won’t remember much of what you’ve said.

It’s believed, the first 30 seconds of your speech is the most important because it’s your best chance to engage your listeners and keep them focused till the moment you finish speaking. With the average of 140 words spoken by students per minute, you have only 70 words to get your point across. Keep this in mind, and avoid including unnecessary details and retreats aside from your main subject.

How to Write a Valedictorian Speech: Choose a Theme
The speech can either have one main idea or cover a few related topics providing real-life examples in both cases. At its core, your commencement speech is a story, and all stories have a special power of not just bringing advice to life, but actually making it stick. Here’s a list of themes you can cover:

Believe in yourself
Explore who you are
Be selfless and serve others
Use your creativity
Challenge self with the new goals and achieve them
Work hard towards your dreams
Learn from your mistakes
You don’t need to be perfect, cherish your uniqueness
How to Write a Commencement Speech: Build a Basic Structure
What is a commencement speech other than a creative piece of writing? Much as different types of literary work, a graduation speech has three main parts: an introduction, main body, and a conclusion.

An introduction, or an opening part, should include a hook – a relevant quote, an interesting or a controversial statement, an anecdote, or a real-life story that grabs the attention of the audience. After a hook, comes a thesis statement – the key point of your speech, formulated briefly in a few sentences. Your introduction should be convincing and well-planned because, as mentioned above, the strongest effect is achieved within the first minute of addressing to the audience.

The main body always is the largest part of a graduation speech. In this part, you should present your arguments and thoughts to support the essay’s main point.

The best way to organize the body of the speech is to present the arguments (tips for other students, examples from your life, etc.) in a series of points that logically follow one another. This way, the audience won’t lose the thread of your speech.

A conclusion is the closing part of a speech. Just like the introduction, it makes a strong impression on the listeners. In conclusion, you should re-state your thesis in different words, and provide a logical ending of your speech. Besides, you should:

Summarize the key points of the speech;
Offer your audience some ‘food’ for further thought;
Conclude with the final emotion/thought.
To understand the structure of commencement speeches better, we recommend you to read the examples of speeches delivered by famous speakers such as J. K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, and others.

How to End a Graduation Speech?
Once you’ve chosen one of the best graduation speech topics and familiarized self with the structure of the speech, it’s time to write a detailed outline. Basically, the outline will have three parts – introduction, body, and conclusion; organize your notes and ideas to fit them. When everything seems to be in place, move straight to writing a graduation speech as such. Don’t be afraid to make changes, re-read, and revise the text as many times as you need. Read the speech to your family and friends, and ask their opinion. When you are happy with the result, memorize your speech and practice delivering it to the audience.

What to Say in a Graduation Speech Aside from the Main Topic?
There’re a few things to include in your graduation speech aside from the main point. As you start speaking, you should greet the audience, introduce self, and congratulate everyone on finishing the course. Later, you can thank your friends, family, teachers, deans, staff, and everyone else who helped you throughout the journey. At the end of your speech, you can wish your fellow classmates the best of luck in their future.

Tips for Graduation Speeches of Different Levels of Education
In middle school valedictorian speeches, a student can highlight a few important or funny moments that happened to him/her or the whole class, and talk about their future in high school.

In a high school graduation speech, it’s worth mentioning the experience that the students have gained over the school years, and debate over the challenges that the college life brings.

In a college commencement speech, a valedictorian can share his/her expectations of the future, the importance of working towards the dreams and goals, and of trust in self.

Good Problem Solution Essay Topics for Firm Writing

Good Problem Solution Essay Topics for Firm Writing

The problem-solution essay is a popular academic assignment. It is a form of persuasive writing where you have to explain the problem to your readers, convince them that the problem is significant and worth solving, present your solution, and refute any possible counterarguments that you can foresee.

A good problem and solution essay suggests an actionable and efficient solution. It doesn’t have to be easy, but it must be realistic and possible to implement. Keep that in mind while brainstorming problem solution essay topics.

The composition depends on your essay’s volume. However, there are some necessary elements.

Introduction to the problem

In your essay’s introduction, lay the problem out before your readers. If the word count allows it, you can add some background information, such as the cause of the problem, contributing issues, and its effects on a community. Include a short solution proposal as a thesis statement – just outline it in one or two sentences.
Explain the significance of the problem
In the body of your essay, explore the problem and the solution you propose in detail. Present relevant research data to reinforce the importance of the issues at hand. Why should it be solved? Why should your audience care? How will the solution benefit everyone? Depending on the nature of the problem you’ve chosen, you can build your arguments on logic and statistical data or appeal to your audience’s emotions by sharing a relatable human-interest story.

Detail the solution you propose
Depending on the problem and word limit, you can propose several solutions. If that’s the case, make sure you explore each answer in a different paragraph. Alternatively, if you have chosen to examine one solution, give each reason why this specific solution is good in a separate section.

Be practical
Your solution doesn’t have to be a step-by-step business plan with every little thing provided for, but a healthy dose of pragmatism never hurts. If your solution requires funding, think of where the funds can be procured. What non-profit organizations can you involve in your project? What is the approximate timeline of the project? And so on.

Be persuasive
Don’t forget that your goal is to persuade the audience that the problem is worth solving and that your solution is the most efficient. Appeal to any successful implementations of the solution if it was carried out before. If this is a new and original proposition, you may have to build your case on logical arguments. Cite any relevant data, expert opinion, studies, statistics, etc., as evidence. Explain why you are convinced your solution will be effective.

End on a strong note
In your concluding paragraph, reiterate the gravity of the problem and reaffirm your solution’s importance by putting it into a broader context. Recap your most significant arguments for the answer you’ve proposed and outline the steps that should be taken immediately. End with a call to action or with a thought-provoking rhetorical question that will make your audience agree with you. For example, “Wouldn’t we all benefit from living in a fairer society?” or “Isn’t human life the most important value we should strive to protect?”

As you can see, writing a problem and solution essay is not rocket science. If you have basic essay-writing skills and have ever dealt with research and persuasive writing, you will do just fine.

However, for your essay to be a success, you must choose the appropriate topic you can handle. Here is where we can help. Below you will find 100 topics for problem solution essays grouped by discipline. Some of them are interdisciplinary, so if you don’t find what you need in a corresponding section, look in others. You may find something suitable there. The scale skews on the larger side, so feel free to narrow the topic down if you need something less ambitious.

Cryptocurrency: Boom or Bust?

With the meteoric rises in Bitcoin prices during the past few months, more and more people are flocking to the concept of investing in Bitcoin because of its potentially insane return rates. Trading blue chip stocks using sophisticated algorithms for one percent or less of a return on your initial investment also pales in comparison to the explosive power of Bitcoin’s shift in value, which seems to promise its holders returns that frequently result in double, quadruple, or even greater multiples of return on their initial investments.

Why bother trading stocks when there is an order of magnitude of difference in the gains to be made with Bitcoin and similarly popular cryptocurrencies if you play your cards right? Recently, the head of one of my friend’s trading desks in a wealthy Chicago firm quit his lucrative job dealing with securities to pursue Bitcoin trading. What’s really going on here, and will the phenomenon last? Let’s dive into the issue.

A Rundown of the Current Situation

To begin, it’s not just Bitcoin that’s gaining traction. As a striking example, people are willing to consider dumpster diving and looking in huge landfills to find the Bitcoin they’ve carelessly thrown out that has been stored on physical hard drives. People are waking up and noticing that one Bitcoin is a life changing amount of money at $16k to $17k per coin. The danger lies in the fact that no one really knows which direction the value of Bitcoin will proceed in despite its initial promise will end up in.

Their earnest enthusiasm – such as that of the landfill diver – is incredible and it shows how far Bitcoin has advanced in value as a currency over such a short period of time. Moreover, lesser-known currencies such as Monero, Zcash, Ethereum, and Litecoin are all riding this seemingly growing wave of enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies. But past all of the hype and Bitcoin’s amazing run from about $1000 in January of 2017 to about $17,000 currently in December of 2017, the dark shadow of speculation still looms over cryptocurrency.

What Explains The Sudden Increases The Value of Bitcoin (BTC)

There are a number of multifaceted factors contributing to the value of Bitcoin, and it is true that most of these factors deal with the feasibility, popularity, and social understanding of Bitcoin as either a reliable or unreliable method of storing money. A number of people in Asian countries, especially those in China, have been getting increasingly involved in the prospects of cryptocurrency. A strong international acceptance and consensus regarding the validity of Bitcoin as a “currency” rather than a “commodity” is driving Bitcoin values further up. Legitimacy in the form of recognition by formal national market interests creates good press and reputation for Bitcoin and makes people more receptive to investment opportunities.

Further, there was also a time where Bitcoin was touted as belonging to a group of sketchy, unscrupulous criminals who were looking for ways to circumvent the recording of their transactions and make it harder for authorities to trace them. While that was not the intention for Bitcoin’s use by their creators, the so-called “Dark Web” in spaces like Dream Market or Agora Marketplace have undoubtedly given the fledgling Bitcoin the credibility and value it needed to ultimately expand past illegitimate uses in its nascent stages.

Now, regulations and tracking methods for authorities have gotten much for sophisticated and keen when it comes to the matter of illicit transactions involving Bitcoin, but it remains a fact that Bitcoin will never separate itself completely from its shady beginnings. Despite the negative stigma that Bitcoin has received as a result of its associations in the past and its continued associations with these criminal activity related transactions, the attitudes of the general population have gradually begun to shift due to a number of countries and economic instruments that function to promote the legitimate use of the currency.

Essentially, new markets have opened up for Bitcoin globally, and Bitcoin’s shedding of its negative image associated with criminality in this recent years has allowed for this interface. There are licensed sites hosting important exchanges such as Gdax or Poloniex that handle the trading of cryptocurrencies and cash, specializing in these transactions. Again, legitimacy stands as one of the primary reasons for the huge increase or boom in the BTC to USD rates over the past few months.

The use of Bitcoin as a financial instrument has also contributed to the crazy increases in value that we have seen over the past few months. For example, consider the impact of Bitcoin futures, as documented by Bloomberg: “Bitcoin futures expiring in January were 18 percent higher at $17,710 as of 12:25 p.m. in New York from an opening level of $15,000, on 3,561 contracts traded.” Clearly, this ties in with the theme of legitimization again since the fact that Bitcoins are now being used to fulfill a host of innovative modes of trade has attracted consumer interests and appear to have a connection with the trading prices.

Things To Keep An Eye Out When Investing into Cryptocurrencies

The real money lies in some complex analysis of the statistical trends that are captured through the order book, price charts, market size, spread, and a number of other variables. The second way to get a lot out of the current cryptocurrency craze is to take advantage of developing cryptocurrencies offering ICOs or ICO-like agreements. One such company attempting this funding attempt, B3 Coin structured the payments in a strange manner and are now dealing with a fair degree of losses as a result due to the mishandling of publicity on the part of the owners. Awareness is key when it comes to investing in general and in cryptocurrency.

Tips for Running a Writers Group

5 Tips for Running a Writers’ Group

When it comes to running a writers’ group, it’s an exciting endeavor. Whether you’re all meeting up in a park once a week to write poems inspired by nature and discuss them or emailing each other fiction submissions to analyze every Thursday at your favorite local coffee shop, there’s something so special about sharing the love of writing with other people. And besides, it’s got the added benefit that you’re feeling more inspired, writing more and getting brave enough to send out your submissions to magazines.

But when it comes to running a writers’ group as efficiently as possible—and as sensitively as possible, considering this can be pretty personal stuff you’re penning—you’ll want to make sure you follow these tips:

1 Set some rules

If you want to have a healthy group dynamic, it’s a good idea to set some rules. Not only logistical things like how late you’re allowed to arrive or how many submissions everyone has to read a week, but also how you’re going to give criticisms and suggestions. Emotions can be high in a creative environment, but coming up with rules together will give everyone a sense of camaraderie and fairness.

It’s not like you’re running a kindergarten class or anything like that, but because many people are going to feel quite sensitive, you do want to talk to members when they’re breaking the rules. There’s a reason why artists are more likely to marry other artists and elementary school teachers–and it’s because they want their art to be understood, but they also want to have some rules to follow.

2 Use prompts

When it comes to giving everyone ideas for their assignments, being a good writing group leader means providing everyone with great prompts. For example, you could check out the Lists for Writers app, which has tons of information on it to inspire writers, from personality behaviors, plots like the seven basic plots and 36 dramatic situations, settings, genre ideas, and entire encyclopedia of myths to inspire you.

97 percent of American writers don’t even finish writing the novel they wanted to start writing in the first place–so this is a chance for you to really change these aspiring novelists’ lives.

3 Hold members accountable

This is one of the trickiest rules, but if you’re enforcing rules you’ve all come up with together and expressing disapproval when one of your members has clearly not completed any reading for the group (even though he fully expects everyone to comment on his piece), then it’s going to be better for everyone. If you do have to confront anyone, it’s a good idea to email first, then remind them personally and in private after meetings. Having this as a set rule in the beginning, with all the details of your policy, will also make things feel fair and not personal.

Just because the typical American spends on average 5 hours a day on their phone, that doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable for someone to have their phone out while short stories are being critiqued.

4 Have motivational activities

Are some of your members saying they wish they submitted more to magazines? Then make one of your meetings a SUBMIT-A-THON, where writers can research the best literary magazines to match with their styles (and you can even train them to use Duotrope and Submittable), find out who the editors are, and write submission letters to them with their attached favorite pieces.

Wake of the Crypto-Quake

As January closes, we all might want to do a bit of self-reflection on the idea of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain in light of the recent volatility of Bitcoin’s price. The way I see it, we’re at a crossroads right now with regards to the digitalization of currencies. We have genuine teams of people trying to better systems of payment for efficient mixed in with snake-oil salesman (i.e. the alleged Bitconnect ponzi scheme). What price do faster and more secure transactions come at? Is the world ready for such a revolution?

The Technology and The People

Nowadays, our lives are surrounded and run by technology to an extent that no one from two or three decades ago would have imagined. The adoption of technologies isn’t anything new or surprising in the context of modern, developed nations which head innovation. Remember that just a few years back, Elon Musk was still fending off doubts that he could design an electric car that could be feasibly driven long distances along with almost bankrupting himself with his SpaceX efforts.

Now, he’s arguably the symbol for innovation in the automobile and space industries, stealing the spotlight from a number of traditional car manufacturers. But what about technology as it applies to the Blockchain? Does the direction of the increased digitization of currency make sense?

If you think about it, people actually really have very few qualms about using technology that they don’t understand as long as there’s a bottom line. What I mean by that is that people don’t care about the thinking, effort, and research put into a product as long as it reliably works and provides them with an intuitive and easy-to-understand convenience. Just ask the average Joe if he knows how a credit card or an ATM works, or if he understands the inner workings of his computer’s operating system.

But regardless, people still use credit cards and computers. When it comes to technology, advancement does not have to coincide with 100% comprehension, and this is one of the reasons behind both the feasibility and the risk associated with cryptocurrencies.

The Barriers to Blockchain Technology

The actual algorithms that are executed when mining for coins usually fall far outside the expertise of most people that are participating in the Blockchain. The majority of people might be enthusiastic because they buy into the cool sounding idea of a decentralized, private currency that allows for nearly instantaneous payments, but if you ask them what the benefit of a ledger that records all transactions is, or the anatomy of that recording mechanism itself, they’d be hard pressed to come up with something coherent.

Here are some issues that are pretty relevant to blockchain tech that most people overlook completely.

1. Decentralization

What’s the point of decentralization if you can’t trust those who are doing the decentralizing. Again, I don’t have to point out the numerous pump-and-dump ICO schemes that have popped out of nowhere in recent times. How does decentralization simplify the process instead of making it more haphazard overall? Who do you trust?

2. Lack of regulatory oversight

Nobody wants the government in their business, but the fact is that a lack of regulatory oversight will inevitably create bouts of speculation as well as a breeding ground for market manipulation and trading based on insider information. One research article claims that a single individual or group may have been responsible for driving the price of Bitcoin from an initial $150 to $1000 over two months in 2013. Can we trust the market to be fair to its participants?

3. Privacy

Monero (XMR) has gained a lot of popularity in the past because of its innovative take on privacy. But if you think about it, doesn’t privacy and untraceability of transactions defeat the purpose of a ledger that records all the transactions that have ever taken place to begin with? You’ll end up with a system where you know which payments in what amounts have been sent at which times, but that information will be dissociated from individuals.

The Importance of Trust

At the end of the day, cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology derive their value from the same foundation as any non-virtual currency: from trust. People should never forget that the basis of the dollar stands on the promise that the United States government will not default and is able to pay back all of its loans.

Similarly, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular cryptocurrencies are bolstered by the fact that people are interested in decentralization and the digitization of assets. How long that trust and interest will last is tenuous, and we should keep thinking critically about it if we want to see a paradigm shift from the widespread adoption of the Blockchain.

Reasons Why Using Cryptocurrency Will Eventually Become A No-Brainer

Cryptocurrencies are all the rage now, but if youÕre not familiar with Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. The truth is that while the cryptocurrency community can be a bit ÔvocalÕ on social media, theyÕre actually onto something. Integrating cryptocurrencies into traditional financial markets can make life a lot easier for everyone. ThatÕs why right now, weÕre going to look at some of the most no-brainer reasons why cryptocurrencies should be a part of our financial systems.

1. Immediate Settlement

If youÕve never purchased property or real estate, thereÕs a good chance that the term Òimmediate settlementÓ means nothing to you. Before we discuss what immediate settlement actually is, and what it has to do with cryptocurrency, we first need to understand the way things are traditionally handled when you try to buy a property or some real estate.

The reality of major asset transfers like these is that you canÕt just show up with a briefcase filled with cash and shake hands on the deal. If youÕre planning on buying actual property, then that process is typically going to involve a variety of third-party service providers. That means that youÕll need lawyers, a notary and all the fun bills that come along with them. You can also expect plenty of delays and unexpected red tape along the way.

TodayÕs status quo for major asset transfers is, to put it mildly, inefficient. But thatÕs obvious. The real issue is figuring out how to actually improve this process. And thatÕs where blockchain and cryptocurrencies come into the picture.

The beauty of something like a Bitcoin contract is that it can eliminate the need for any third-party service provider approvals. Not only does this save you a ridiculous amount of money in the long-run, but it also keeps you from wasting time on antiquated processes.

2. Inherent Fraud and Theft Protection

LetÕs get one thing out of the way: the concept of fraud as it relates to cryptocurrency is a non-issue. Why? Because with cryptocurrencies being designed as a digital currency from the very beginning, they canÕt actually be counterfeited.

But the inherent protections that cryptocurrencies offer you go far beyond that. To understand why, you first need to understand the difference between paying with a credit card and paying with a cryptocurrency.

When you pay a vendor with a credit card, you set in motion a process that essentially gives vendors access to your full credit line, no matter the size of the transaction in question. This is commonly referred to as operating through a ÒpullÓ mechanism. The merchant starts the transaction process, then pulls the specified amount from your credit card account.

How is cryptocurrency any different? Well, cryptocurrencies operate on a ÒpushÓ basis instead of a ÒpullÓ one. That means that when you initiate a transfer, youÕre sending exactly the amount you want to send to the vendor without giving them access to the rest of your account information. Whether youÕre making a small purchase like a Juul e-cigarette or a huge one like buying a used car, bitcoin protects your financial lines from unauthorized viewing.

3. Decentralization

Okay, so I know what youÕre thinking. The moment anyone brings up the concept of decentralization, reasonable people start looking for the exit. And with good reason, since most of the time that it gets brought up, someoneÕs talking about the corruption of people in charge or some other conspiracy theory.

But thatÕs not what weÕre doing here today. No, today weÕre going to look at the tangible benefits of decentralization and why the average person is better off operating within a decentralized financial system. Imagine that you, like a lot of people, only use one bank for all your financial needs. And most of the time, you put up with the monthly maintenance fees and the inconvenient banking hours because that bank is Ògood enough.Ó

But one day, for seemingly no reason at all, you canÕt access your money, which is odd, since you know you have plenty in your savings. You give the bank a call only to find out that thereÕs been a freeze put on your account. And hereÕs the thing about freezes: while they technically originate from violations of the terms of service agreement that you signed before opening your bank account, the specifics of your violation can be ridiculously arbitrary.

As far as actual institutions that this is commonly an issue with, Paypal is pretty high on the list. The problem with Paypal is that, while their customer support has certainly gotten better over the years, it can still feel like pulling teeth when youÕre trying to address a complex issue. This is basically the point of decentralization: to demystify your money and keep other businesses out of your way.

When you operate using cryptocurrencies, no business can arbitrarily decide that you canÕt have your money today. Cryptocurrency isnÕt just about protecting your finances; itÕs about ensuring that your money is always yours.

The Growing Oligopolies of the Internet

Everyone’s familiar with the recent and incredibly controversial decision surrounding the repeal of net neutrality by the FCC – it’s been plastered on most websites for the past few months given its pertinence to the commercial state of the Internet itself. The repeal has sparked outrage ranging from derogatory and satirical characterizations of the FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, to more measured moves by individual states to keepnet neutrality intact. Phil Murphy, the newly elected governor of New Jersey, for instance, has signed an executive order in direct contradiction of the repeal.

Walking Down The Path Towards Dystopia

But what does net neutrality have to do with the oligopolization of the Internet? Well, I think that while the Internet has already tended towards an economic structure where a small group of companies control a large swath of the online audience, the repeal of net neutrality has hastened the growth of that control.

To prove this point, initiatives allowing ISPs to aggregate and sell the data that they tacitly collect from you have been in the works months before the more obvious push against net neutrality emerged. USA Today reported in April 2017 that ISPs can legally collect and sell your data as a result of a Congressional resolution signed by President Trump. More recent reports indicate that transparency about data caps and fees that were required of ISPs are now moot. Anyone still remember when SOPA and PIPA were a thing?

Don’t you ever get the uncanny feeling that less and less control of the Internet is in the hands of its end users? Or the feeling that corporations are slowly manipulating your behaviors through very sophisticated tracking and analytics? Has the Internet changed for the worse over the past two decades for you in a way that you can’t really put your finger on?

Who’s In the Driver’s Seat

In one of my recent conversations, a friend confided to me that he no longer trusts anything and always uses a VPN when browsing the Internet now. I questioned him on if he was just being a tad paranoid about the entire situation. I mean, does the repeal of net neutrality along a few other tweaks to certain legal rules surrounding the provision of Internet services really call for that level of protection and security?

After doing some research and thinking about it, I don’t think he was being unreasonable. I stumbled across this example of a couple accusing Facebook of passively listening to their conversation and then changing the ads to target the subjects of their conversation. The video is particularly concerning if you’re an average consume. This probably wasn’t the “invisible hand” that Adam Smith was envisioning when he wrote one of the most famous books on capitalism and the free market, The Wealth of Nations.

I don’t really want to get into a discussion of intentionality and the existence of the power of corporations over Internet end-users, but rather, I’ll leave the decision up to you. Just think about it intuitively and ask yourself: “How many big websites are there that I visit and use on a daily basis?” Try to name more than 20 or 30 websites (subsidiaries like Instagram or Whatsapp for Facebook don’t count) in five minutes. Think about your browsing habits – do you find yourself unconsciously looping back to the same website when you’ve just closed it?

The Death of Autonomy

The integration of our lives with the Internet starts on the basis of two primary needs in my opinion: (1) the need to share information and (2) the need to connect with others in a social setting. In a deregulated and non-manipulated setting, the fulfillment of such needs through a service platform like the Internet may lead to creativity and generativity beneficial to a society as a whole.

However, with the advent of the smartphone and the narcissism fueled by popular social media tags, alongside the emergence of online retail giants (i.e. Amazon), the popularization of the Internet has led to a deviance due to the interests of a coincident commercialization of that service. The profit-incentive that drives creativity and collaboration is the same one that drives unethical exploitation of human behaviors to give rise to systems which trap their users into a cycle of spending rather than one that forces companies to compete against each other, innovate, and produce better products and services.

At some point, we need to ask ourselves if we’re still in control of the Internet, even as a disjointed population of end-users or else soon we might not even be able or want to ask it anymore.

Ways to Find the Perfect Dress for any Occasion

The feeling you get when you put on the perfect dress is unmatched, but unfortunately, it can be all too elusive. Whether you’re searching for a sorority dress or are hunting for the perfect job interview outfit, finding the right dress for the occasion can be challenging.

A limited budget and a plethora of options can also make it particularly hard to find the right dress. But rest assured, the right dress is out there. In order to find it, you’ll need to select a dress that is cut perfectly, features practical fabrics, and is well priced. This article will help you to do just that and more.

1. Set a budget and stick to it

You closest shouldn’t cause you to go into debt or to need to consider a balance transfer credit card. When hunting for the right dress, it’s important that you first establish a reasonable budget. Doing so will help you to narrow down options, and will ensure that you spend your money responsibly.

Considering that the average American who is in credit card debt owes nearly $16,000, it’s possible that a friend who lives above her means may pressure you to purchase a dress that is out of the budget.

But remember, just because a dress fits just right, doesn’t mean it is worth investing in. If you think that the dress can be worn on a variety of occasions, and thus might end up saving you from needing to make future purchases, it may be a good idea to splurge. Otherwise, stick to your budget and opt for a dress that fits well and is well priced.

2. Know what kind of dress flatters you most

According to a report cited in Vogue, how you dress impacts self-perception. For example, the study found that people who wore doctor’s coats when taking a medical school exam performed better than those who wore street clothes.

When we dress well, we see ourselves in a better light and therefore act more confidently and more intelligently. That means finding a dress that fits you just so can have a meaningful positive impact on how you move through the world.

Rather than settling for a dress that fits imperfectly, invest in garments that flatter your body. Start by trying on a variety of well-made dresses that feature different silhouettes. Once you’ve determined what cut or cuts work best, you can begin shopping for particular types of dresses that fit this description.

Remember, if a dress doesn’t fit perfectly you can always take it to a tailor. Tailors are experts at making minor but meaningful alterations that transform how a dress fits.

3. Keep up with the latest fashion trends

A study conducted by Vocativ found that, on average, fashion trends operate on a twenty-year cycle. That means something that is in style today will come back in style twenty years from now. Keep fashion trends in mind when searching for the right dress. The last thing you want to do is purchase a dress that quickly goes out of style, and becomes unwearable as a result.

Instead, search for dresses that are relatively classic and feature mainstream colors. A black dress will always be in style, for example, though it’s possible that dress details or specific cuts may go out of style.

In order to get a sense of what’s ‘in’ consider using a Pinterest to quickly browse curated (and shoppable) collections. Alternatively, you can always turn to tried-and-true fashion magazines like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar to get a sense of the hottest styles.

Just remember, if you find a dress you once loved is no longer fashionable, it likely will become fashionable in just a few years. Assuming the dress still fits, consider leaving it in the back of your closet until it is once again wearable.

4. Check the return policy

While it may seem obvious, it’s always a good idea to check the return policy before purchasing a dress. According to a recent article, nearly 9 percent of all items purchased in a traditional store are returned, and roughly 30 percent of items ordered online are returned.

If the dress you purchased isn’t up to your standards, don’t hesitate to return it. On the other hand, if you just bought the dWays to Find the Perfect Dress for any Occasion   The feeling you get when you put on the perfect dress is unmatched, but unfortunately, it can be all too elusiveress in order to try it on at home, consider renting a high-fashion dress first.

Rent the Runway offers women a variety of well-made dresses to rent for a reasonable price. One of their plans for super users allows members to rent an unlimited number of dresses per month.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect dress doesn’t need to be stressful. Simply set a budget, and search for styles that are fashionable and flattering.

What tips do you have for those searching for the right dress? Let us know in the comments below!

Uses for Blockchain

With so much hype and investment behind blockchain this past year, itÕs time to start seeing some companies actually implement their solutions. And while some startups are still building out their foundation, there have been some amazing strides regarding what blockchain can accomplish, especially in the near future. ThatÕs why weÕre bringing you a few great examples of blockchain uses weÕre excited to see. Check them out:

Asset Management

As noted by CNBC, asset management is estimated to reach $145 trillion by 2025. Part of what makes that number so significant is the sheer force of whatÕs backing it — quite simply, while some of it is considered a legitimate valuation, if assets are overvalued, that speculation could potentially undervalue the other assets packed with it. However, thatÕs a problem blockchain is looking to solve.

What makes asset transactions so fascinating with blockchain is the level of accountability it adds. For example, if I was looking to purchase a piece of commercial real estate, I could see exactly the type of work that was done on it, as well as how much was paid for it. Granted, some of this information is available now; however, it isnÕt always streamlined (and can also vary in requirements depending on local law). Certain blockchain startups such as TrustToken are looking to address this problem and should be a fascinating development to watch in 2018.

Finance

Another sector that could see an early impact from blockchain is finance. This could be a particularly interesting field to watch because as noted by Forbes, with $17.4 billion invested in FinTech alone, this sector is already one of the most heavily bet on in technology. However, with the added layer of new ICOÕs and crypto taking the stage, expect this field to start accelerating at a rapid pace.

The usage of blockchain in FinTech so far has varied. On one end, you have large financial institutions that are using it internally for file storage and transmission; on the other side, you have those startups that are trying to tackle the credit or lending industries. The progress for each could be intriguing, as smart contracts allow for some noteworthy practices on the consumer-side that could help with repayment structure, as well as how we view creditworthiness.

Overall, the only thing holding finance back in this regard is the same challenges it faces across the board — onboarding and experience. If companies can figure out how to get people over those humps to use blockchain, theyÕre off to the races. Expect some significant advancements regarding this roadblock this coming year into what might be the first great use of blockchain adoption.

Food Supply Chain

A problem that blockchain can start solving immediately, food supply chain is a sector that you should keep a close eye on in 2018. A big problem the blockchain solves here is where errors occur in our foods. For example, as noted by IBM, with foodborne illnesses costing $55 to $93 billion in the US alone, the blockchain could help show where that problem stemmed from. We all deserve to know where our food came from, and blockchain provides the perfect solution for that.

A big thing blockchain is going to be able to help us track is not only the distance our food is traveling, but also what type of environmental impact thatÕs having, as well as if there are any suppliers closer. Additionally, this will help to show people the health impact food travel has, as well as the costs associated. All-in-all, the food industry is due for a little bit more transparency, and thatÕs one thing blockchain can do a gUses for Blockchain We Are Excited To See In 2018   With so much hype and investment behind blockchain this past year, itÕs time to start seeing some companies actually implement their solutions.reat job of providing.

The Legal Marijuana Industry

Finally, although it might only be a temporary fix, a lot of entrepreneurs have been looking to solve the marijuana industryÕs cash flow problems. As noted by BusinessInsider, this was a $6.7 billion industry in 2016 alone, which doesnÕt count the states that recently passed legislation for legalization. This is a huge market to tap into, and while there have been a few attempts, no company has yet to really hit the ground running.

WhatÕs going to be required for someone to tap into the legal weed market is breaching both customers and dispensaries. This is especially hard, as it requires a fair amount of trust-building and changing legislation. However, at the end of the day, whoever can solve the problem of getting legal marijuana purchases from one bank account to the other with crypto as the intermediary could be in for a pretty significant payday.

What are some blockchain applications youÕre excited to see this year? Comment with your answers below!

The State of American Democracy

The digital revolution has ushered in an age of seemingly immense interconnectivity, but at the same time has created and propagated platforms through which various groups of bad actors can extend their influence in unsettling ways across large swaths of people. Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and prominent venture capitalist, recently described the problematic impact of unbridled social media feedback loops magnified at scale to an audience at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

 

What are some of the far-reaching implications of social media networks that we have overlooked or ignored in the past decade as Americans, and how is it impacting our democracy?

The Basis of How Social Media Propagates

In his lucid talk about the engineering the growth of Facebook, Palihapitiya mentions that the basis of how social networks spread is through an effort that concentrates on short-term, dopamine-based rewards that reinforce and magnify behavior over time. He gives the example of the “like” or the “hearts” that anyone who has used any major social media network is familiar with, and notes that these mechanisms provide an avenue for strangers to receive external validation from a large, decentralized group of strangers. In turn, a user is encouraged to post more material to seek out more of this validation.

One big point is how Facebook’s business model spreads itself through the erosion of personal bonds. Consider that the more involved and invested an individual becomes in seeking validation from people that they’ve never met, the less they care about receiving validation from people within their immediate physical vicinity. The idea that people can only maintain and track anywhere from 100 to 250 meaningful relationships, Dunbar’s number, plays a intriguing role as a way to understand this.

Whether you believe in the estimates of Dunbar’s number or not, it is a fact that the number of personal relationships you can maintain around yourself is finite. It is also true that the expansion of social media networks and similar infrastructures gives you access to meet potentially billions of people. Given that the amount of relationships that you can form are limited while the number of possible connections you can make are in the billions, it is easier to see how social media might detract from an individual’s ability to form the maximum number relationships with the people in their local areas.

Hijacking Social Media To Influence Public Opinion

Social media in itself actually possesses the incredible potential to be wielded as an instrument to influence public opinion if there is enough thought and coordination put into particular efforts. Even before the results of the Mueller investigation in the events of the recent indictment, there are reports of Russians using Twitter accounts in a coordinated way to feign hysteria over events that never actually happened.

As an example, the Russians were able to fabricate and draw attention to a food poisoning case during Thanksgiving by posting as Americans claiming to have bought and eaten infected turkey from Walmart. In reality, none of these people actually existed and there was no evidence of any food poisoning. The Wall Street Journal in their above article that this represents one in a series of attempts to test the waters and understand just how gullible and influenceable the American population is.

In a world where the validation of a few thousand or maybe a few million strangers counts more than the words and opinions of those surrounding you in real life, it’s completely feasible that system responsible for using the psychology of validation can be hijacked for more nefarious purposes.

The Direction of American Democracy

With the 2018 midterm elections coming up, the issue of how social media intersects with American democracy stands out as an increasingly concerning issue. As a society, we have engineered platforms to make our social lives more fluid and far-reaching. However, in the same step, we have failed to account for the large-scale influence that the introduction of these connective networks brings to bear on the foundation of our state.

As Americans, it is important to ask ourselves about just how much we are willing to sacrifice for convenience and to consciously question how each new wave of technological advancements will impact the ability to newer generations to interface with more traditional forms of governance. Do we even control our own opinions anymore in this newfound social age?

The State of American Democracy

The digital revolution has ushered in an age of seemingly immense interconnectivity, but at the same time has created and propagated platforms through which various groups of bad actors can extend their influence in unsettling ways across large swaths of people. Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and prominent venture capitalist, recently described the problematic impact of unbridled social media feedback loops magnified at scale to an audience at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

What are some of the far-reaching implications of social media networks that we have overlooked or ignored in the past decade as Americans, and how is it impacting our democracy?

The Basis of How Social Media Propagates

In his lucid talk about the engineering the growth of Facebook, Palihapitiya mentions that the basis of how social networks spread is through an effort that concentrates on short-term, dopamine-based rewards that reinforce and magnify behavior over time. He gives the example of the “like” or the “hearts” that anyone who has used any major social media network is familiar with, and notes that these mechanisms provide an avenue for strangers to receive external validation from a large, decentralized group of strangers. In turn, a user is encouraged to post more material to seek out more of this validation.

One big point is how Facebook’s business model spreads itself through the erosion of personal bonds. Consider that the more involved and invested an individual becomes in seeking validation from people that they’ve never met, the less they care about receiving validation from people within their immediate physical vicinity. The idea that people can only maintain and track anywhere from 100 to 250 meaningful relationships, Dunbar’s number, plays a intriguing role as a way to understand this.

Whether you believe in the estimates of Dunbar’s number or not, it is a fact that the number of personal relationships you can maintain around yourself is finite. It is also true that the expansion of social media networks and similar infrastructures gives you access to meet potentially billions of people. Given that the amount of relationships that you can form are limited while the number of possible connections you can make are in the billions, it is easier to see how social media might detract from an individual’s ability to form the maximum number relationships with the people in their local areas.

Hijacking Social Media To Influence Public Opinion

Social media in itself actually possesses the incredible potential to be wielded as an instrument to influence public opinion if there is enough thought and coordination put into particular efforts. Even before the results of the Mueller investigation in the events of the recent indictment, there are reports of Russians using Twitter accounts in a coordinated way to feign hysteria over events that never actually happened.

As an example, the Russians were able to fabricate and draw attention to a food poisoning case during Thanksgiving by posting as Americans claiming to have bought and eaten infected turkey from Walmart. In reality, none of these people actually existed and there was no evidence of any food poisoning. The Wall Street Journal in their above article that this represents one in a series of attempts to test the waters and understand just how gullible and influenceable the American population is.

In a world where the validation of a few thousand or maybe a few million strangers counts more than the words and opinions of those surrounding you in real life, it’s completely feasible that system responsible for using the psychology of validation can be hijacked for more nefarious purposes.

The Direction of American Democracy

With the 2018 midterm elections coming up, the issue of how social media intersects with American democracy stands out as an increasingly concerning issue. As a society, we have engineered platforms to make our social lives more fluid and far-reaching. However, in the same step, we have failed to account for the large-scale influence that the introduction of these connective networks brings to bear on the foundation of our state.

As Americans, it is important to ask ourselves about just how much we are willing to sacrifice for convenience and to consciously question how each new wave of technological advancements will impact the ability to newer generations to interface with more traditional forms of governance. Do we even control our own opinions anymore in this newfound social age?