Wednesday, September 11, 2013

iPhone 5S criticism is unwarranted

The iPhone 5S in black, gold, and white.

The iPhone 5S has had a mixed reception, to say the least. Unsurprisingly, most Android users hate it, citing its screen and apparent lack of value. Even iPhone users have made some complaints, with one commentator on a post saying that "the 4S will be my last iPhone, because I can no longer [use them for reading]."

At first glance, these would appear to reveal a general sentiment among consumers that iPhones are declining and quickly being surpassed by its competitors.

Upon closer inspection however, the same criticisms people have for the iPhone 5S can be leveled against the entire smartphone industry. As I argued in a past article on this site, smartphones have hit a tremendous wall of diminishing returns, so much so that from one year to the next it is hard to tell if these devices are actually getting noticeably better.

Is criticism for the 5S even warranted with this taken into consideration? Is it even hypocritical to some extent? For instance, Android users claim that their phones are filled to the brim with features that remain inaccessible to even those who will buy a 5S. They are right in some ways, as Apple has yet to add features such as NFC or a true HD screen. That being said, what exactly has Samsung or HTC done to significantly change the face of the smartphone industry? Sure, both are adept at producing monstrous phones with beautiful screens and a handful of software gimmicks, but is what they have done truly any more innovative than what Apple has done with the 5 or 5S?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Aliens in the Kuiper Belt

The Kuiper Belt encases our solar system. In my mind, it would provide a hyper intelligent alien race the perfect real estate by which to establish observational posts.

I have explored in this blog previously the Fermi Paradox. In short, this is the idea that despite the fact that our galaxy is so old that it should have fostered thousands of intelligent species by now, it appears to us to be entirely devoid of anything resembling life as we know it.

This article will serve as a rebuke to that paradox. To frame this discussion, I will start with this question: what if there were aliens in the Kuiper Belt?

For those who do not know, the Kuiper Belt is the disk of asteroids, comets, and other planetary materials that circle the sun at a distance far beyond Pluto. In simple terms, it is an asteroid belt that circles the solar system.

If I were a hyper intelligent alien race wanting to contain possible upstart civilizations such as humanity, this would be the region where I would establish my first line of defense.

About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.