By Kris Mitchell
These days Apple press events happen so regularly you can set your Apple Watches to them. Sept. 9, The Cupertino company announced new gadgets that will surely bring a little joy to any enthusiastic Apple fan. The event introduced new additions for the company’s smartwatch, a 12.9 inch iPad Pro, a new Apple TV model with Siri voice control; a touchpad remote and upgraded models of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
If the timing of Apple annual events are becoming easier to predict then the same can be said for the Apple rumor mills. For months, tech websites reported, with increasing certainty as the Sept. 9 event drew closer. The iPad Pro has been a persistent rumor with some predicting that the larger device would also launch with a stylus to take advantage of its new features. The substantial rumors turned out to be true, which comes as a surprise from one of the world’s most secretive companies. Apple has been having some difficulty keeping details of its production line a secret from scrupulous bloggers and journalists.
The headline new feature of the iPhone 6S is 3D Touch, which allows the touchscreen of the new iPhones to register the pressure of a touch and gives users new dimensions to interact with apps. For example, an iPhone 6S user could hold down on a message in Apple’s Message app and see it at a glance without leaving their current location. But, holding down on the message for longer could bring up the message in full. Apple demonstrated similar technology named Force Touch earlier this year with its new MacBook computer that featured a remodeled touch pad with haptic feedback and pressure sensitivity.
The iPhone 6S includes a 12 MP camera capable of shooting 4K video; a new FaceTime camera with a focus on taking high-quality selfies. The new iPhone is also made of a custom aluminum alloy designed by Apple that the company says is “the strongest [Apple] has ever used in a smartphone.” Given the stories of bendable iPhones that Apple battled since the original iPhone 6’s debut last year there will likely be considerable scrutiny behind the company’s claims.
The Apple TV had its chance to shine today with Apple’s little box getting faster hardware, an all new interface and access to the App Store. There have been stories about Apple failing to gain the licensing permissions that it needed to premiere an all new subscription service rivaling that of current cable providers such as Comcast. Apple has yet to comment on the details of any talks, but the absence of such a subscription service comes as bit of sour news for fans.
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With Thanksgiving being celebrated around the United States today and the holiday season now coming into focus, every millennial knows exactly what to expect during family gatherings, and lets just say that it’s not presents.
The bombardment of questions is heading your way, but fear not! Here’s our guide to surviving the most anxiety ridden holiday questions.
Q) How’s school?
This go to question delivered by those relatives that you see once a year and who have probably forgotten your name. In short they don’t care about your answer. Best solution? A short answer that segues you into moving away. Try, “Oh it’s great! Have you tried the pie?” or “It’s awesome, give me a second, nature’s calling!”
Q) What are your plans after graduation?
This relative at least cared enough to remember that you’re graduating. Be cautious though, graduation is right around the corner and Christmas isn’t the only time presents are warranted! Try something like, “I’m excited to be done, what’s the best address to send a graduation card to?”
Q) Are you still single?
Everyone knows there’s no good response to this question, so have fun with this answer. Anything from “My dog ate my boyfriend,” to “My waffle maker only makes 1 waffle at a time….so” is a perfect way to dissent from an awkward holiday moment!
Q) You’ve gained/lost a lot of weight!
Just for the record, this isn’t a question and the cheekiness of the statement may prompt a sarcastic response. But remember it’s the holidays, so take the higher ground and why not give yourself a compliment too? Say something akin to, “ Thanks! I really love the way I fill out this outfit,” or “I know! My hard work has really been paid off!”
Q) When are you getting a promotion?
This is one of those questions that may come off as rude unintentionally. This relative probably just really wants to get to know you, so take your time to answer this question fully. You may even discover what’s actually holding you back from that promotion you deserve!
Happy Holidays millennials and may the holiday questions forever be in your favor!
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What Do You Think?
By Zhe Huang
I have met many teachers since I was a little child.
There are some who just taught me about subjects.
But there is one who taught me much more.
He was my electronic organ teacher during my extracurricular time on weekends when I was from 9 to 12 years old back in my home country of China.
His name is Haitian Cai.
When I first met him, he was already in his 50s.
I was very amazed to know that he would be my electronic organ teacher.
His hands were gigantic for me and on the keyboard, too.
How could he remember all those staves?
The first song I learned from him was the Song of Joy.
He taught me to practice with the right hand first then remember the chords on the left hand.
It was very exciting for me to use both hands to play a song, even it was the simplest one among all songs I would play.
Time and time again, I fell in love with playing songs since I learned more and more.
I enjoyed having classes with Mr. Cai, too.
Each time I knew it was time for the class I would beg my mom to take me to the class at least 20 minutes earlier.
During weekdays, I spent at least 1 hour every day to practice.
My parents even joked that I would be a genius to put the same amount of efforts into my regular classes at school.
Mr. Cai was very different from other teachers.
Most music teachers in China are gentle and young women.
But Mr. Cai was sedate, sincere and patient.
He had steps to teach us little children and told us about interesting stories about the people that he met in other musical schools.
There was a concert held by the institution and I got a chance to see my mates to perform on stage.
The first time I saw the beautiful song played by a girl and it just stimulated me to practice more and learn that song.
One day I would be able to shine on the stage.
I was 10 and I loved learning and playing so much that I didn’t stop during breaks.
I enjoyed interacting with Mr. Cai and listened to his feedback about my playing.
When he played I couldn’t stop looking at his hands.
He told us it was very important to know the principles first then to play.
There is one story that I remember the most.
He said us girls who played well would marry elegant boys because we would be matched.
At that time, all girls laughed and were shy but we all knew it was truth.
Mr. Cai once talked with my mom and got to know that I was so enchanted to playing the organ.
He expressed his compliments to me in front of all my mates.
I was shy and knew that I couldn’t be complacent.
I just needed to keep going and purse my shining dream.
As time went by, my skills grew better.
Mr. Cai invited me to join his “talented class “ in which are his most outstanding students.
I was so happy to be able to learn from other mates.
I kept learning more and grew faster than before.
Mr. Cai encouraged me.
For example, if I could finish a 4-page song in a week, he would say I can start to learn the next one.
However, it was not always good to grow too fast.
If he found some defects in my playing he would let me practice for a specific phase for one hour then play for him.
He also said playing songs is like eating the fruits that we bought before.
If we play old songs, we enjoyed the sweetness of fruits.
If we just forgot and let go of old songs, those fruits decayed over time.
Mr. Cai was not a strict teacher.
He would call us to go back to the room to practice when the break time was over.
But he never forced us to go.
He knew that everyone has his or her own pace to learn things.
There were other students who were taken by their parents to learn but not for their own interest.
Mr. Cai knew this deeply.
He encouraged every student in different ways.
To me, he had higher standards and was never mean to express his recognition towards me.
I liked the way the Mr. Cai taught me.
Not like other young teachers who just talked gently with children and lose temper easily, Mr. Cai was more sincere and calm.
I felt very comfortable to talk with him and learn from him.
He would find some beautiful songs to enable me to learn more than what I needed to pass the music level test.
Mr. Cai was versatile and he taught traditional Chinese painting, Erhu and flute, too.
By the time when I was preparing for the level 10 test (which is the highest level), he was ready to teach painting.
I decided to end my learning if I passed the test because I knew I would had enough knowledge and reached my goal.
So I didn’t accept the invitation to join his painting class a year before I took the test.
It turned out that after several months, another young teacher took over Mr. Cai’s classes.
It was said that Mr. Cai asked for a long leave.
I was only half of a year before the test.
I was sad but I didn’t know when he would be back.
I felt lost after he was not there.
I had a new teacher but she was young and didn’t give much feedback as Mr. Cai did.
I missed him but I had to keep going to pass the test.
Finally, I passed the test, which made me the only student who first passed level 10 among all his students.
I felt proud of myself.
It was a little sentimental that my mentor Mr. Cai was not there.
Even before I left, he never came back.
I don’t know what happen to him.
Maybe he was sick or he had something important to deal with.
I imagined that I wrote a letter to him to express my gratitude and appreciation towards him.
I thought about the words I wanted to say to him.
However, I never got the chance.
This experience opens my window towards the beauty of music.
My voice is deep and I was not considered as a good singer at school.
But learning the organ developed my talent in music and I started singing and playing.
Since I was 9, music has been my best friend.
It changed the way I look at the world.
It enriches me with the opportunities to find more beauty in life.
Those four years of learning music and playing was the most precious time in my life.
I didn’t get much happiness from study at school.
I paid all my attention and efforts into one thing I enjoyed and loved.
I got such a great teacher to guide me and motivate me.
Mr. Cai kept encouraging me to learn, practice and grow.
Now whenever I meet challenges, my memory will bring me back to the girl who was so hard-working and persistent.
It is always lucky to do what I like to and grow.
I hope Mr. Cai is still well and I will always make wishes for him in my heart.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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Watch what you spout on Facebook – and anywhere on social media – because it could come back to bite you. Or get you kicked out of college.
Today’s college students grew up with social media, so it’s easy to make a connection as to why in recent years an increasing number of students all over the globe have been under fire for expressing their opinions, on platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. One of the most controversial subjects is, not surprisingly, religion.
Should universities and colleges regulate and prohibit certain types of speech? In a new survey of college students, 69% said colleges should be able to establish policies that restrict the use of racial slurs and other language that is intentionally offensive to certain groups.
Gallup surveyed more than 3,000 college students for the study conducted by the Knight Foundation and the Newseum Institute.
When it comes to free speech and First Amendment rights, all speech isn’t created equal in the eyes of colleges, and in some cases students have been expelled for unsavory code of conduct, with religious issues at the heart of it.
Earlier this year, a Christian university student in England was expelled from his courses in social work after he expressed views about gay marriage and quoted the bible on his Facebook page.
Someone filed a complaint, and the University of Sheffield suspended him two months later.
Felix Ngole, 38, was in the process of getting his master’s in social work, when he posted a supportive message about Kim Davis, the Kentucky marriage clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The university argued that Ngole’s beliefs are discriminating and not appropriate for someone entering the social work profession.
Ngole says he’s the one being discriminated against. Universities censoring students for their views and beliefs raises major concerns about the value of free speech, his supporters say.
“The university has failed to protect his freedom of speech under Article 10 [of the British Human Rights Act] and his freedom of religion under Article 9,” Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Ngole said in a statement. “Students are entitled to discuss and debate their own personal views on their own Facebook page.”
Some people do in fact use a public forum like Facebook as if they’re having a conversation in their living room.
The old adage “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” typically describes principles of free speech, although not so much in the university setting lately.
Ngole is a prime example.
“The university claims my views are discriminatory, but I am the one being discriminated against because of my expression of Christian beliefs,” he said in an interview with HuffPost UK. “I wonder whether the university would have taken any action if a Muslim student who believes in Shari’a law, with its teaching about women and homosexuality, had made moderate comments on his Facebook page. I don’t think so.”
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In a similar case, a student at Texas Christian University was kicked out of school last year and instructed to take a diversity class and see a psychiatrist. Student Harry Vincent described Baltimore rioters as “hoodrat criminals” on his Facebook page and in a tweet, on a different topic, stated Islam is “clearly not a religion of peace.”
His messages offended a woman named Kelsey, who compiled his “disgusting and racist” posts and shared them on her Tumblr asking people to email TCU to let the university know Vincent was “shedding a bad light” on the institution.
The dean’s office received more than 20 complaints and Vincent was suspended by the university. He was charged with infliction of bodily or emotional harm and disorderly conduct. He appealed the decision but the university denied his appeal, stating “The choices you made caused harm to other individuals. These types of comments are not acceptable at TCU and directly contradict our mission of being ethical leaders and responsible citizens in a global community.”
Vincent said he probably won’t return to TCU because he will not attend a school that doesn’t support the Constitution or the school’s own student handbook.
Religion is a touchy subject, and universities don’t want their constituency threatened – whether by a student or faculty. In a case involving a tenured professor in Idaho, social media wasn’t necessarily at play, but the broader spectrum of First Amendment rights.
Professor Thomas Oord of Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho was laid off last year under the guise of budget cuts.
Oord, a prolific writer and popular theologian, believes in evolution and he clashed with the university’s president on theology.
One writer pastor named Tim Suttle put it brilliantly when he said Northwest Nazarene should have just been honest and “own up” to why Oord was fired via email by president David Alexander.
“It’s such a failure of nerve to call it a budget cut,” Tim Suttle wrote. “Be straight about it, man… ‘I fired him because I disagree with his theological positions and he’s a pain in my butt. He’s a brilliant theologian but I don’t want him at my school and that’s my call.’ I would disagree with it, but at least your integrity is intact as a leader.”
As institutions of higher education continue to wake up to the realities of social media, there will no doubt be more flash-points in the fight for free speech.
Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer and social media marketer in Idaho. She has a degree in Journalism from the University of Montana.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
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