Thinking about going green? Try a small business!

By: Reagan Welch

Small businesses are becoming the next new big thing and here’s why: small business owners take time and energy on creating your products while reducing the carbon footprint of business. That means keeping the environment clean.

Small businesses are the key to saving the environment. Instead of mass producing each and every product, over charging for the amount spent to make that product, and making more than necessary, they are making them in smaller amounts and in cleaner and greener environments.

A many small businesses are alternative energy companies: green retail outlets, organic food growers, and locally sourced craft sellers. Many businesses that are green have fewer employees but have a low turnout. That is changing though, and you can help them grow too!

As people grow and understand more about the environment, and global warming, there is a higher demand for green products, and small businesses are stepping up, producing more and keeping clean. Sure, each product is much more expensive than anything you can get from a fast fashion store, but that’s the price you pay if you want to keep the environment healthier and the earth alive longer.

Supporting small businesses is not only beneficial for you and the environment, it is extremely beneficial to the owner or owners. Almost all owners are extremely grateful and excited that you decided to buy from them, and of your support of them and their business. Some even include extra little gifts and thank you notes as an extra thanks. You could make someone’s day or help someone pay their bills just by switching up where you buy your clothes or gifts or anything.

Swikirti Sheela Nath from Linkedin says going green is working towards decreasing environmental pollution, therefore, improving the soil, water, and air. This will help slow global warming (loss of biodiversity, deforestation desertification, resource depletion, etc) which will automatically help the earth and its animals from destruction for as long as possible. That is why instead of just thinking about going green you should go green.

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A.I. Generated Music Article Title

lil robot guys playing some trumpets from the Toyota Kaikan Museum in Nagoya, Japan Image taken from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/09/affordable-home-robots-james-dyson

You guys ever have the Travis Scott Burger™ at McDonald’s®? Cause I have, and it was glorious. I could feel my big stinky gullet grow with every bite of it, truly an experience for the ages.

But, why in the seven seas did I take a big ol’ chomp of this Travis Scott sandwich in the first place?

Well…because it was funny, because it was a hamburger with the name Travis Scott on it, and that amused my rat brain into giving money to McDonalds in order to get this regular burger with barbecue sauce. Like that was the only thing about the burger by the way, like it literally was just a regular burger, like they didn’t do anything wacky like put apple sauce and elk tongue on it (which is how I usually take mine).

But why oh why am I telling you this story?

Well…it’s because I just wanted to say that we, as individuals, like people’s names being attached to a product. Remember being a kid and buying that Spongebob Go-Gurt, that literally was the same as regular Go-Gurt, but it had good ol’ Spongbob on it?

It’s basically that, and now when I’ve happened upon this cool lil’ thing of A.I. generated music, it got me thinking of just how far could we take it, in regards to marketing a personable celebrity person attached to it.

If you don’t already know, a while ago, at an obscure song competition in the middle of Portugal, I think it was called Eurovision or something, they premiered a song that was entirely generated by an artificial intelligence, or A.I. The melody, instrumental, and lyrics were all procedurally generated by a computer microchip, and it was honestly pretty interesting, and it was legitimately structured like a real song. Here it is if you’re interested in watching it.

Anyway, but more compelling than that (at least in my dumb lil’ opinion), was this A.I. Travis Scott song I happened upon, because as opposed to the Eurovision one, which was just an isolated song, sung by a text to speech robot voice, with a lil’ machine avatar, this fake Travis Scott song, actually has opportunity to be sold and marketed, in place of an actual human production team that could create a product very similar to it. Like honestly, while this specific style of music isn’t really for me, I could see a song like this being popular to an extent, (though the lyrics could use a lil’ work in like, actually making coherent sense).

But in regards to brands, how marketable could an A.I. artist be? Like sorta if a Gorillaz type like fictional character(s) was/were the icon of it, and all their songs were generated by a big wacky computer machine, how far could we take it.

Shot from the game Detroit: Become Human where robots are basically a replacement for humans and are gonna take our jobs and are gonna drink our milkshakes and build our Ikea furniture and there’s nothing we can do about it, which it really makes you think and scratch your chin with your big ol fingers very inquisitively and go “hmmmmmm”

Well, that concept was explored in Detroit: Become Human to an extent where there was a guy playing a guitar on a street corner with a sign saying “real human music”, which was a pretty wacky scene, but I dunno if that’s gonna happen or not, for a couple reasons. Mainly because people’d probably see it as a fad, and sorta have an aversion to it, even if it did get to a level where you couldn’t tell otherwise, and also because A.I. artists would probably end up creating songs that attempt to appeal to everyone, which usually ends up appealing to…no one.

So, honestly, Ed Sheeranbot5000 isn’t gonna replace people anytime soon, at least in my opinion, but the concept of already established artists feeding their songs to an algorithm, and just trying to put stuff out that’s generated by that without anyone noticing, is a different story. But I feel like most artists who make music would actually wanna, y’know… make music, at least to an extent.

Like, I know not every part of the production of a song, at least with a large portion of artists, is really done by one guy in whole, like of course there’s a team of people who you’d never even think about in most major productions now. Like a few guys to mix and master stuff, production in the backing track/instrumental, needing to credit a guy who does sample tracks that producers pay to download and plop into their DAW then add extra drums and stuff to it if needed, and even if a song is made using reference vocals and ghost writing, at the end of the day, there at the very least is a team of people, who all would have a passion for what they do to an extent, who come together and just make something, and just put lil’ details in, that I don’t think technology really could calculate.

I mean, until it can. But, I dunno. Just enjoy what’s already out and gonna be out, and watch movies, read books, do whatever you wanna do to blow off steam, cause by the time A.I. could perfectly replicate what humans could create, in regards to art on that deep or personal of a level, they’re basically human at that point, so I guess it’ll be fine.

But, who’s to say, I dunno. Happy pride month everyone.

The controversy over Tokyo’s 2021 Olympic Games

By: Caroline Crosby

Japan was primed and ready to host the 2020 summer Olympics last year. They received the usual mass of international funding and built the “Japan National Stadium” in late 2019, at the expense of a mere $1.4 billion USD. Hotels and other widespread private tourist organizations were frantic with the construction of new establishments to host the influx of overseas visitors. Tokyo was looking forward to hitting the reset button on a global stage after years of economic stagnation following the devastating loss of life and property that it endured after being struck by the Tohoku earthquake, a tidal wave, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and finally a global pandemic. 

They were ready for most of the usual contingencies, but not for what 2020 had in store with the rampant outbreak of COVID-19. As such, the 2020 games were optimistically postponed to the summer of this year. They will be held in Tokyo, from July 23 to August 8. The Paralympics will start shortly after, lasting from August 24 to September 5.

Over the past year and a half since the emergence of the pandemic, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has forged ahead selling event tickets to fans, finalizing COVID-19 precautions, and preparing to welcome hundreds of thousands of international travelers to attend this year’s games. 

What could go wrong?

A recent survey, of Japan’s willing residents, asked if they approved of the country hosting 2021’s event at all. 83% believed that it should be canceled. The numbers speak for themselves, and many residents agree that Tokyo hosting this event will endanger community immunity and deplete already scarce medical resources stretched thin by the recent surge of COVID-19 cases. Only about 2% of Japan’s population is vaccinated. 

Japan’s government has heavily relied on adherence to strong social distancing measures. In this densely populated country, these measures will be further strained by an influx of tourists from around the world, all of whom will be meeting up at sporting and entertainment venues across Tokyo and its countryside. 

Even though overseas attendees got the boot, the Olympics will still instigate mass migration and raise the risk of the pandemic’s spread. Others are concerned that Tokyo doesn’t have space in the first place – with an estimated population of 37,339,804 residents at roughly 16,121.8 people per square mile, according to the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. 

A groundswell of residents in the event’s surrounding areas has begun sounding the alarm and protests have gained momentum. A Change.org petition recently gained traction with over 400,000 signatures calling for the cancelation of the 2021 games. 10,000 of the 80,000 local volunteers quit amidst growing concern over unsatisfactory COVID-19 precautions.

The International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) issued guidelines that were supposed to have the consultation of the World Health Organization, but seem to lack sufficient detail and focus on out-of-date science. Many critics argue that the games should be canceled entirely to keep the Japanese public safe. The Change.org petition creator, Kenji Utsunomiya explains, “Turning to the Olympics the medical resources that are facing a serious shortage even in the [present], further tormented […] healthcare professionals who are battered by corona epidemic, endangering the life and livelihood of the residents and participants in particular.”

Additionally, the sudden cancellation of event admission for international fans has not gone over well. Many have devoted funds to and planned their attendance for over 2 years now. Ticket holders now search for refunds. Many are unclear on when, if ever, their money will be returned.

Self-dubbed superfan, Everen Brown, told the New York Times: “Since we are being barred, it is only right for them to make everyone whole and refund all of the money paid…It would be real painful watching this at home on TV and knowing they have the money, and not knowing when you’re going to get it back.”

Monica Treece told the Salt Lake Tribune: “At this point they’ve held our funds for two years already, and I’m concerned it’s going to take months more to get them back again…everyone is still in the dark. We’re just waiting.” 

Personal economic status isn’t the only pressing concern here. There are widely shared fears that Japan will fare worse than other past host countries. The most recent estimate, from February of this year, dictates that while the IOC’s bid committee originally projected in 2020 that the games would cost around $12.6 billion USD, Japan’s National Audit Board assessed that the final price would jump to over $22 billion USD with approximately 75% derived from public funding.

Let’s hope that Japan escapes Greece’s previous Olympic-catalyzed fate, whose 2004 Athens games, and resulting economic loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in debt, played a major part in literally bankrupting the country. 

Almost all facilities built for Greece’s 2-month event are now derelict. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the cost of canceling the IOC’s plans, and cutting Japan’s losses now, would result in a loss of $17 billion USD. This is a steep price, but the cost of a post-Olympic emergency would be far greater both economically, and in terms of human life.

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