What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality, you may or may not have heard of it. The immersive computer-simulated experience has taken the technology world and turned it upside down. Software Designers create three-dimensional environments for users to play games, interact, complete tasks, work out, and so much more.

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Now for those of you that think Virtual Reality headsets were just created in the last few years, unfortunately, you are incorrect. The history of VR dates back to 1939 when the “View-Master”, a stereoscopic virtual simulator, was created. With the many advancements in technology since then, many have continued to try and create the immersive experience with applications and experiences being released throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The popularity of VR grew slowly but surely in the 90s as in the beginning it was mainly used for military and medical training. Flight and training simulations were groundbreaking for the piece of equipment as they showed its true potential in immersing someone in a completely different environment.

Virtual Reality has since widened to a consumer demographic, becoming more sophisticated and affordable for the average person. Companies such as Facebook, Google, and Samsung have all created their own headset, looking to reap the rewards of the fast-growing frenzy for VR. The possibilities for VR users now are infinite. You can play many different games, learn a new language, interact with friends and colleagues, or travel the world all from your own home.

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It has also huge possibilities for training and learning purposes as well. Oculus recently partnered with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to build immersive high-risk pediatric training scenarios for medical students and staff. VR is also used in law enforcement and military training to create different scenarios and simulations where authorities need to make split-second decisions. Also in the automotive industry for manufacturers to experiment with new designs. Even here at the BCIT Campus, our library is equipped with multiple VR Headsets to help students fully immerse themselves into many different learning experiences.

So while games are the main attraction to getting yourself a VR headset, the uses, and purposes for it will only expand as the technology world grows larger and it has the potential to transform how we play, work, learn, communicate, and experience the world around us.

 

The Boom of Bicycles

Since its invention, the bicycle has been an efficient, flexible, and eco-friendly mode of transportation. Millions of people not only in Vancouver but around the world rely on cycling to get them from Point A to Point B. Added benefits to riding a bike are that it is also a great source of exercise and a way to get outdoors!

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Over the pandemic, the bicycle business has gone into what many would call a “boom” state. Many people believe the massive increase in bike sales over the pandemic was mainly due to the heightened anxiety and safety concerns of taking public transportation along with the closure of many exercise and fitness centres, encouraging people to find a different outlet for exercise.

The evidence of this boom is very clear and obvious as manufacturers and suppliers have struggled to keep up with the demand for bicycles and bicycle equipment. Many cities including Vancouver have reconstructed and redesigned streets, parks, and bridges to accommodate the number of cyclists around the city. Economists and manufacturers have also begun studying the longevity of the biking industry as well as analyzing the popularity of E-Bikes and bike tours.

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There have also been many additional factors that have led to the acceleration in the popularity in the cycling industry. Fitness apps such as Strava have become extremely popular as cyclists are enabled to track their routes, distance, and fitness levels; all while being able to share and compete with friends and family that used the fitness app as well. Competition is always a great way to build a platform and encourage participation as everyone loves a challenge.

What was an already popular activity has been completely catapulted into a frenzy of cyclist enthusiasts around the country due to the pandemic with many curious as to how this will change the future of cycling? Whether you cycle to commute or just to enjoy the city scenery, the boom of bicycles has benefitted many, and looks to continue its trend as one of the most popular hobbies in the city.

 

Trends in Fashion and Why they Repeat Themselves

Throughout history, the fashion industry always seems to repeat and recycle certain trends. Fashion is an editorial art and can be caught being repetitive over time, especially now with the amount of access we have to different trends, brands, and designer’s fashion. The fashion world is a timeless relic that keeps cycling around like a clock, redefining different types of couture and culture while capturing the interest of the younger generation.

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There are a few theories that attempt to break down and explain why fashion trends become popular again many, many years after they are first seen as fashionable or “trendy”.

The most referenced theory is the “20-year rule”. This theory is solely based on the rule that what is popular now, will be again in 20 years. What was popular 20 years ago, is trending now. I mean, I don’t think any of us will deny going into our parent’s closets to try on their pearl necklaces, big goofy ties, retro glasses, or vintage graphic tees. Many people believe fashion designers of today often draw inspiration from the clothing their parents and grandparents wore.

Another thing that inspires our taste in fashion is the media we are exposed to. For example, if you are a big fan of 90’s sitcoms, like Friends, wearing large, chunky running shoes and baggy sweatshirts and jeans were all the rage! Analyzing all the different fashion that is present in media nowadays could be exhausting and difficult to keep up with!

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Another theory about the lifecycle of fashion trends people believe in is, how the state of the global economy influences what we wear. This was first explained and demonstrated by Economist George Taylor who developed “the Hemline Theory”. In the 1920’s, he noticed that women would wear shorter skirts to show off their silk stockings, insinuating they had money. However, when the markets crashed, so did the hemlines. Skirts hems then went down to their ankles so they could hide that they weren’t wearing stockings, because they were not able to afford this fashion luxury.

Fashion trends are something people constantly analyze and critique. Every designer always strives to create the newest, old trend, to spark the consumer to buy, buy, buy. Who knows what will be trending in 20 years? Maybe Crocs?!

Podcasts: A Popular Place to Pass the Time

Podcasts have been on an unprecedented rise since the start of the pandemic. Podcasts are a way to keep us informed and connected to a community. Now there were plenty of podcasts before COVID-19 entered our lives and they were of growing interest to many people but when we were suddenly shut down in 2019 our lives were catapulted into a frenzy of new media along with a feeling of isolation. Podcasts have become an essential way to pass the time!

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It’s not like podcasts were suddenly invented three years ago and everybody started making one in their basement to pass time. Podcasts have been around since about 2002 according to Google search trends, and they were not extremely popular in their early days. It was considered “a disappointment” by many early investors that didn’t see it as an attention-grabbing venture, and some investors decided to move on to other outlets that were more ‘lucrative’.

The audience for podcasting slowly continued to grow as more podcasts were created and the shows began to have more and more loyal and appreciative followings. The rise of podcasts is an interesting one to discuss as we live in such a sink-or-swim society these days. Chris Sutcliffe, a content publisher at the Advertising Association, believes it all boils down to Amara’s Law, “the idea that we overestimate the impact of technology in the short run and underestimate it in the long run.”

Podcasting seems to have now become an essential way for people to tune in and listen to their favourite shows and series. Many believe the trend of Podcasts took a turn in 2014 when the wildly popular true-crime series “Serial” was released. Bringing the ordinary person right into the middle of a real crime scene.

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There have been many other podcasts that have contributed to the monumental growth of the podcasting world. Shows such as The Joe Rogan Experience with around 11 million daily listeners, the widely popular Call Her Daddy Podcast by Alexandra Cooper, the infamous Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast that has changed the game in the NHL Media, and even news outlets such as The Daily which sits at #2 on Apple Podcasts. Slowly but surely, the industry has built up its loyal following and now, podcasts are everywhere.

Even us here at BCIT are regularly posting podcasts on a variety of topics! Check them out at the Evolution Podcast Network!

 

McHappy Day 2022 – Supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities

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Today we celebrate McDonald’s 28th annual McHappy Day, the company’s largest charitable initiative supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and other local children’s charities. On May 11th, head over to your local McDonald’s for a meal, snack, or coffee as every purchase made will be donated to the RMHC and other local charities.

The Ronald McDonald House (RMHC) is a non-profit organization that funds and supports programs that can directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families. RMHC has three core programs that facilitate family care: the Ronald McDonald House, the Ronald McDonald Family Room, and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.

There are so many ways you can support the RMHC and McHappy Day. You can buy your favourite item at any local chain or on online delivery service. You can make a $2 donation with your purchase and receive a McHappy Day Heart. You can also purchase any of the limited-edition McDonald’s Canada x Peace Collective t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other merchandise with a portion of proceeds from every sale going to the RMHC and supporting families with sick children across the country.

If you can’t make it over to the golden arches today, don’t worry, all year long with every purchase at McDonald’s you can “Round Up for RMHC.”  In 2020, RMHC provided about 1.5 million dollars for overnight stays in Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room programs, saving families more than $440 million in meals and housing costs.

Another awesome way to show support for the RMHC is by listening to and sharing the brand new McHappy Day Mixes on the McDonald’s Canada Spotify. Using the power of music to connect one another, McDonald’s Canada has created a playlist featuring some of the best DJs in Canada to bring some of the happiest mixes from coast to coast.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities are more than just a place to sleep and eat. They support over 1.4 million families, in making it possible to get the medical care and treatment they require, while being able to stay together as a family during stressful and difficult times.

 

How the iPod changed the World

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This week Apple announced that the iPod has been discontinued. Many have seen this move coming for a long time however as the music and technology world started to outgrow the capabilities of the once-beloved MP3 player.

When the iPod was first launched in 2001, it was a revolutionary handheld device, as was the Walkman, that would let us carry our favourite tunes wherever we went. The iPod let you carry up to a whopping 1,000 songs on it and if you could get your hands on a certain generation of iPod, you could also have a touch screen. Touch screens were a huge step in the development of the iPod as the first generation, the Shuffle, was a simple device with only a play, pause, forward, back, and volume button.

These things are all small little details but all add up to what made the iPod such a special device. Never before were you able to pick any song you wanted, control the order of the songs you listened to, or make playlists. All these were new and exciting developments in technology.

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The iPod continued its progression through the years. Apple would go on to create different generations, there were colourful ones, small ones, big ones, and ones that had enough storage for not only 1,000 songs, but movies as well.

Now as time went on, Apple began to create the iPhone, making equivalent iPods until the 13th generation, but if iPods were solely made for music, why were they discontinued?

Music is an extremely popular thing now in the world and with the creation of streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, you were given access to over 80 million songs, something the iPod was not made to handle. I guess size does matter.
The iPod changed the world in so many ways and it is hard to imagine what the world would be like without that small rectangle of joy. You will forever be missed but never forgotten. Rest in Peace iPod, thank you for all the great times.

National Nursing Week – #WeAnswerTheCall

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been acknowledging, supporting, and praising our health care workers for their tireless efforts to save lives and support and help those that are sick or injured.

We used to salute our healthcare workers every night at 7:00, clapping, shouting, and banging pots out our windows and on our balconies in support of our Health Care Heroes.

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Recently, doctors and nurses have been extremely overworked and overlooked and are calling for action this week on the shortage of staff and safety for patients. Organized by the B.C. Nurses’ Union, the protest this week is focused on better working conditions as contract negotiations are being held later this year. Union President Aman Grewal said earlier this week, “Nurses everywhere are stretched thin after two years of the pandemic. It’s taking a toll on them, physically and mentally. They are just getting burnt out, they are getting called in on their days off, they are having to extend their shifts.”

Highlighting these concerns seems fitting as it is National Nurses Week this week, which gives us some insight into why our Nurses are using their voices to call for change, not praise.

The theme of National Nursing Week is #WeAnswerTheCall, developed by the CNA (Canadian Nurses Association), its focus is to showcase the different roles that nurses play in the health care system. The week is aimed to bring attention to nurses and bring awareness to the public and government of the many different sacrifices and contributions of nurses.

National Nurses Week first started in 1971, when the ICN designated May 12th, the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.

Commemorate the anniversary of Florence Nightingale and nurses all around the world this week by showing your support through social media, joining the peaceful protests, or just showing your appreciation to these hard-working everyday heroes.

 

Gastown’s Jewel – The Gastown Steam Clock

Gastown is one of Vancouver’s popular and iconic areas to visit. It was named a National Historic Site of Canada in 2009. The main reason for this is that it was the first neighbourhood in Vancouver where a Yorkshire steamboat captain named “Gassy” Jack Deighton arrived in 1867 to open the area’s first saloon. Therefore, it is named “Gastown” as it was originally coined “Gassy’s Town”, then evolved into the current name.

Gastown is an area full of tourist attractions, shops, stores, restaurants, and nightclubs. There are also many important artifacts, monuments, and features within the area. From the cobblestone roads to the brick buildings, the area is rich in history. Perhaps one of the most historic artifacts within the town is the famous Steam Clock.

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Built in 1977 by Raymond Saunders and Doug Smith, the clock was originally built as a monument for local merchants as well as to keep local homeless people from sleeping on the warm steam grate it was built on during the cold weather.

The steam grate it is placed on is connected to the underground steam system which leads to the generating plant at Georgia and Beatty. This system not only provides heat to the downtown population but also provides the steam that makes that old clock sing.

The two-ton clock is one of six other working “steam” clocks in the world making this a must visit attraction. Every quarter-hour, the clock will shoot steam and whistle in its version of the Westminster Chime for all to hear. At the top of each hour, the clock will signal the time with a toot of steam from each whistle.

The iconic Steam Clock on the corner of Cambie and Water Street may be old but it is still in good condition thanks to the many local businesses, builders, and Horologist Raymond Saunders that keep it in top shape.

Nat Bailey Stadium – Vancouver’s Beloved Ballpark

The Vancouver Canadians season is in full swing. The Toronto Blue Jays High-A Affiliate has already played 25 games so far but it is never too late to head down to “The Nat” to catch a great ball game as the weather is starting to warm up. There is nothing better than hanging out in the beautiful Vancouver air with friends and family, enjoying a hot dog, popcorn, and a cold beverage, and watching a ball game at the old but still golden Nat Bailey Stadium.

The official name of the park is actually Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium. The name of a field within a park, you don’t hear that too often, but I think if you ask any local baseball lover, they would call it “The Nat”. It just feels wrong calling it anything else.

Nat Bailey Stadium was not the original name when the stadium was first built in 1951. It first opened as the Capilano Stadium, as the team that first played there was the “Vancouver Capilanos”. The stadium held the name until 1978 when it was renamed, Nat Bailey Stadium in honour of Vancouver restaurateur and founder of White Spot, Nat Bailey, who made great efforts to promote baseball in Vancouver.

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Ownership has significantly improved and modernized the stadium over the years while also restoring parts of the park to their original condition from 1951, making for an extremely authentic feel to the ballpark.

The Canadians are entering the summer stretch soon, hosting home series every other Tuesday to Sunday until September 11th. One thing on my bucket list for certain this summer is to head down to Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium, catch a couple of ball games, have a few hotdogs, and have some good times with friends and family.

The Growing Frustration with Gas Prices

The pain at the pump has been a continuing theme over the past month or two both in Canada and other parts of the world as the price of gasoline continues to skyrocket along with the price of most consumer goods. But why and how has the price to fuel our vehicles gotten so expensive? As the price of gas hits a record high of $222.9 cents per litre in Metro Vancouver and other parts of the Lower Mainland this past weekend, frustration throughout the public community has started to rise. Whether it is the long lines of the late-night gas run, the second-guessing of a road trip due to the cost of gas for the trip, or just straight up not being able to afford the ridiculous price, filling up your tank has never been more of a hassle.

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Experts say that the ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine have ultimately “turned a bad situation worse” and the knock-on effect is being felt throughout the country, compounding the inflation toll on Canadians.

“This uptick in price also has a drastic impact on Canadians with lower incomes”, says Sohaib Shahid, an economic innovation director at the Conference Board of Canada, “they tend to spend a larger portion of their income on their basic needs such as transportation, accommodation, and food.” Living in the lower mainland is expensive enough, without raising gas prices!

The price of gas is a very tricky thing to predict. The fact that Canada depends on other countries for fuel makes the situation one that is out of our hands. Hopefully, the gas prices will be back to a certain norm where it does not break the bank to fill up your vehicle. This would be good news for the summer months when many Canadians look forward to a nice long road trip.