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Showing posts from 2012

Policy Paper: The effects of Iowa College Student Aid Commission’s (ICSAC) decision to reduce the Iowa Tuition Grant (ITG).

This is an old draft (please excuse the grammatical errors!) of a paper I wrote for a macroeconomics course. Thought it would make a good blog post as I reminisce through some old e-mails, several years old in fact.



Overview
The Iowa College Student Aid Commission is the state agency that administers the Iowa Tuition Grant for Iowa students attending not-for-profit independent colleges and universities. Last spring we authorized Financial Aid Administrators to provide awards of up to $4,000, the maximum award allowed by law. The recent economic downfall has led to the drops in state revenue, thus ICSAC will reduce the grant by $435 for the remainder of the year. While the maximum award has been lowered to $3,565. The full reduction will affect students scheduled to receive awards totaling $1,000 to $2,000 for the remainder of the academic year. All students scheduled to receive less than $1,000 will have their awards reduced by $220. This reduction in ITG funding will result in a higher …

Branding and your Identity

Why is it that certain popular cultures and sub-cultures feel as though they identify with a certain brand? After all these items, especially fashion, are made out of cotton and thread, rubber and canvas, plastic and wires. Any certain combination of cotton and thread is NOT unique to YOU.
It is called a BRAND for a reason!

I saw a post referring to the above photo, stating that "this is (the reason) why I want to destroy my Vans". There is nothing unique about Vans and whatever culture you identify yourself with. They buy their shoes at the same store as you, and your teenage angst is not exemplified by wearing them.
It's just a brand. It isn't unique. You are.
Just do wear it.

By Blake Smith

Augmented Reality: Google's Project Glass

One day Google will take over the world, knowing our whereabouts and happenings of all of us at all times...







I can't wait.


The fact that this technology is not that far away is both awe-inspring and awful. This kind of technological advancement will always create mass amounts of furor and virality, but will it really make our lives better? Soon enough will we all be walking around looking like Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix." 
I really hope this little gem is executed perfectly and we are all walking around talking to ourselves, in our own little augmented reality.

By Blake Smith

Small planes, Chicago, H&M.

Ok well first of all, this is the plane I am going to be travelling on in approx. 40 minutes:


Cozy isn't it?
The hood news is that after the flight I will be in CHICAGO!!! Even though it is somewhat of a business trip, I am really looking forward to checking out some of my fave shops downtown. 
Blazer - $99 - by H&M

H&M is one of my all-time favourite stores and is one that I will definitely be checking out. They always have pretty good deals and i'm hoping to catch some good ones on the sales rack!
With that being said, it is time to board for my flight. Wish me safe travels and feel free to share your fave new releases by your brand/s of choice!
By Blake Smith

Striving for Greatness

This is a cool little video that shows just how hard one has to work to achieve greatness, and can be a great little motivational tool for aspiring young people

Regardless of the profession, art, or sport one is striving for, there is one thing for certain:

To achieve true greatness, the only thing that can surpass your level of hard work are your aspirations to be great.

So there's my word for today. Go out and be great.

By Blake Smith

Exit Through the Gift Shop: were we Banksied by Banksy?

"In my admittedly naïve opinion, street art is one of the most significant art movement of the 21st century." - James Gill - http://bit.ly/GGaHOQ

I tend to agree with the Mr. Gills analysis. Street art is becoming a culturally defining movement. Growing up in the city of Sydney, Australia, many an artist in my neighborhood would turn any and every blank wall into a colorful mosaic of tags, characters, and politically empowered messages. Regardless of your attitude towards graffiti, street art, or if you prefer, public vandalism, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary we can all appreciate and enjoy. I highly recommend it!



Synopsis:
"This is the inside story of Street Art - a brutal and revealing account of what happens when fame, money and vandalism collide. Exit Through the Gift Shop follows an eccentric shop-keeper turned amateur film-maker as he attempts to capture many of the world's most infamous vandals on camera, only to have a British stencil artist named …

Kony 2012 = Astroturfing?

I am sure most of all of you have seen the Invisible Children, and Kony 2012 campaign. For those who have not check out the video on the left.



So the question is, does Kony 2012 = Astroturfing?
For those who don't know what Astoturf advocacy is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

Are we being coerced by something or someone with their own agenda? I am by no means a conspiracy theorist, and I do not suggest that this campaign is, but viral videos that provoke such strong political messages will always receive scrutiny.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

By Blake Smith