Weekend Thoughts - 10.7.17

Image  by  mikegi , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by mikegi, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. I love books and lend some credit for that all the way back to going to the book fairs at my elementary school. It turns out that I'm not entirely alone on this—apparently plenty of other people have fond memories of the Scholastic Book Fair from their childhoods as well. The linked article takes a look at what caused us to get nostalgic about the book fair. It turns out that one of the keys to our enjoyment in the fairs was that they marked the first times we were presented with choice about what we would like to read, upgrading the experience of reading from a forced homework assignment into a pleasurable recreational experience. I can still remember perusing the books in my elementary school library and wanting to read them all! Alas, I'm sure I (well, my parents really—thanks Mom and Dad!) only bought a few dozen of them, but the Scholastic Book Fair certainly played a role in my reading education and helped me form a lifelong reading habit.

2. Nowadays it seems like there's yet another online security breach every day. This time it's a bit different though—Yahoo is revising its statement from last year when it admitted that it had been hacked in 2013 and estimated that 500 million user accounts had been affected. Now they've revised that statement to say that all 3 billion Yahoo user accounts were compromised in 2013, which is huge news. If you had ever had a Yahoo account, it would be wise to change your password as soon as possible. But probably even more important than that—if any other user accounts used the same password, you'll want to change those passwords too. This is a great example of why it's important to have a different password for each service that you use, because your Yahoo password is now up for grabs by people with malicious intent, and could be used on any other services that used the same password. Your email account or bank account, for example. Make sure you make password management a priority!

3. Drone deliveries seem to be just around the corner, and a new app called DelivAir is shifting the focus to have drones deliver directly to a person instead of a location. With this technology, users can request a delivery from the app, a delivery drone identifies their location via GPS, and once it arrives the user points their phone at the drone to deliver a coded blinking pattern via the camera flash to verify that the drone is delivering to the correct person. The drone then hovers near the person and lowers the package into their hands before returning to its base. There are plenty of scenarios that this delivery method would be useful for, like delivering essential supplies to stranded people or during disaster relief efforts, or delivering medical equipment directly to those in need. One downside of this technology might be that our skies may eventually be filled with buzzing drones, but that may be a trade-off that our society is willing to make for the sake of convenience.

4. I wasn't anticipating this final bit of news anytime soon, but McDonald's has launched it's McVegan burger—a fully vegan burger that is only available for a limited time in Finland while McDonald's performs a test run. The burger is made out of a soy patty and comes complete with fully-vegan chips (known as "French Fries" in America). This is great news because it means that veganism is becoming more accepted (apparently 6% of Americans self-identify as vegan now as opposed to 1% in 2014). Although I'm not a fan of McDonald's, I would probably still stop in on a road trip to try out a McVegan if it was available.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.