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Katsucon: The People Behind The Masks

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Katsucon

The comic, anime, and video game community is growing at an extraordinary pace, with fans going to conventions across the country. Katsucon is one of those conventions, and takes place every year at The Gaylord Hotel at the National Harbor in Maryland. They bring in thousands of fans and the number of attendees grows every year. The question is – who are these people? This fandom has brought together people from all parts of the world with various backgrounds into one place, creating an amazingly diverse community. The rest of the country may be buzzing about politics, environmental change, etc, but at Katsucon, the focus is on what’s going on within those walls – the fandom.

Going to one of these conventions can open up your eyes to the inclusiveness of the culture without social and occupational barriers. The attendees are especially friendly, sharing news about their favorite fandom with people who would have been complete strangers otherwise. The excitement and openness is unparalleled. Because of this, businesses like Filthy Casual has been able to tap into the audience and further promote the love for the culture through niche apparel, accessories, art, and various other products.

What makes a convention like Katsucon so special is the community. People come for the panels and guests like the CEO of Rogue Studio, Lee Malone and Voice Actress Cherami Leigh, but they stay for the friendships that they make throughout the 4 day event. As for the crowd, there were people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and careers. Katsucon was flooded with cosplayers. They dressed up in costumes as their favorite characters from comics, anime, and video games, often beautifully handmade. We explored who the people were behind the masks. What we found was extraordinary. Their occupations vary from business executives to college students and most travel by car, bus, plane, or whatever it takes just to attend.

 

Burger King

Audio Engineer

Katsucon

“I got into cosplay from my sister actually. She had been going to Katsucon for a long time and it always sounded like fun. My first Katsucon was 5 years ago I think and I love it every year!”

 

Mokujin, Tekken

Store Manager at Game Stop

Katsucon

 

Tristana, League of Legends

Aspiring Prop Maker

Katsucon

“My dream is to be a prop maker and cosplay is helping me achieve that dream. 🙂 I started cosplaying in 2010 when I realized it was a thing to dress up as your favorite characters and go to conventions where others do the same, since I always loved dressing up as a child. Though I didn’t realize how much I loved making props until the last year or so! Being able to make something physical from scratch is truly an amazing feeling.”

 

Elsa, Frozen

Teacher

Katsucon

“I got into cosplay because I like sewing. I went to my first convention in 2013, and was so excited to see all the costumes around. I put together a casual TARDIS cosplay for my next con, and things have just escalated from there.”

 

Crown Prince Arthas, Heroes Of The Storm

Analytical Manager

Katsucon

 

Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus

Graphic Designer For Rowman and Littlefield

Katsucon

“I’ve always loved dressing up, Halloween, renaissance festivals etc. I chose to do the Frizz at Otakon 2010 and the response was overwhelmingly positive. And so I did another costume…and another. I love the community and to be totally honest I love the attention too. It’s a fun hobby and I feel accomplished and proud when I complete a project.”

 

Dr. Strange

Business Development Executive at NNDATA

Dr. Strange

“I’ve always been a nerd, but it took me until a friend from my welding class suggested AwesomeCon would be a great outing for our nerd friends and we decided to go as a zombie bridal party using the dress from my first wedding. We showed up on Easter Sunday as church was letting out across the street – shouting Happy Resurrection Day – and I realized I would never have more fun than being a giant nerd in public. My Instagram has a picture of the dress!”

 

Reinhardt, Overwatch

Design Drafter

Katsucon

 

Cinderella

Student and Cashier at a supermarket

Katsucon

“Cosplay for me started when I saw a group of lolitas at a fancy castle I used to live near, I saw them and thought to myself that I wanted to look like that too. And after research I found out about cosplay”

 

Final Fantasy XV Nissin Cup Noodle

Student

Katsucon

 

Guts, Bersek

Insurance Agent

Katsucon

“I got into cosplay because I’ve always been a do it yourself kind of guy. I wanted to be a Saiyan so I made Saiyan armor and people really liked it, so I felt confident to try making a lot of other things too

 

More from Katsucon

Katsucon

Snorlax-Pokemon

 

Katsucon

Overwatch

Katsucon

Halo

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

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Events

Snap Spectacles Drops Vending Machine In Philly

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snap spectacles

When you know Snapchat’s Snapbot is going to pop up in your city, you go. That’s exactly what happened today in Philadelphia, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Local non-profit Visit Philly was a big player in getting Snap Spectacles into the City of Brotherly Love.

 

 

Driving into Center City and parking a block away from the destination, we hurried into Dilworth Park and got in line as a drone flew over us documenting the entire thing. Seeing the Snapbot in person is an experience in itself. The bright yellow box with one eye and a smile stood solo in front of the infamous LOVE statue in front of City Hall as eager customers waited patiently in line to get their hands on a pair or two of the Spectacles. Going for $129.99 per pair, the Snapchat glasses ran out in just a few hours. For those who weren’t able to make it, see where they’re popping up next!

snap spectacles

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Everything You Need to Know About The Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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Cambridge Analytica

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal is dominating the news. From Elon Musk to Keith Weed, experts in the industry have been keeping a close eye on the story’s development around the globe. So, how did the scandal come to be and where is it going from here?

A Tale of Two Lawsuits

The giant scandal engulfing Facebook and user privacy has made lesser-known Cambridge Analytica a household name. Cambridge Analytica is a British, data-driven, political consulting company. Cambridge Analytica contracted Kogan GSR to harvest data from Facebook users via an application called This Is Your Digital Life.

The application was created in 2014 and banned in 2015 from Facebook when they realized that Kogan “lied” about the utilization of their harvested data. They reportedly ordered Kogan and all parties given access to that data to delete it.

There are two lawsuits raging against SCL Group (CA’s parent company), Kogan GSR and Facebook in the UK and US. The lawsuit in the UK is by Jason McCue, who alleges that the defendants abused the human right to privacy.

The case aims to ensure that violation of privacy will not happen again in the future, specifically the extraction of names, phone numbers, mail and email addresses, religious and political affiliations and other data.

About 270,000 users installed Kogan’s application to take a personality quiz, so why is the number 70 million affected? The permissions on the application allowed Kogan to collect data from friends of the 270,000 users who took the quiz.

While these users’ willingly gave out personal information, Kogan claimed the information would have an academic application. The lawsuit asserts the information was, in fact, used for commercial and political services. The 70 million user figure only covers those affected in the US. worldwide, that number is estimated to be almost 87 million, with over 1 million in the UK alone.

The US-based lawsuit puts the pressure on Facebook. Lead Counsel for the case, Robert Ruyak places heavy blame on Facebook, stating that Facebook failed to secure the personal information of millions of its users, in addition to failing to take appropriate action even when aware of this failure.

The Current Pulse of Litigation

Cambridge Analytica

In the past few weeks, there has been an influx of memes associated with Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg is testifying in the US lawsuit though refused the UK’s request to interview for their lawsuit. The US lawsuit is still ongoing and continues to generate more questions than answers.

The affair also highlights how out of touch many in Congress are with current technologies, with videos of aging Congressmen struggling to understand some of Zuckerberg’s tech-based answers and reply in kind. In the UK, the Cambridge Analytica and Kogan investigation is also ongoing.

An Uncertain Future for Facebook Stocks

Facebook saw its first downgrade since January this Wednesday. Stocks fell 1.7%. However, the company has seen an overall increase of 3.9% in its stock since the scandal broke in mid-March.

With a lack of consumer confidence, both companies are not as enticing to veteran investors as they once were.

A Leaderless Organization

News first broke about the scandal via the New York Times on March 17, 2018. A Channel 4 news video leaked the following Monday, adding further evidence to the claims asserted. The video produced footage of CA’s CEO, Alexander Nix, seemingly engaging in illegal political techniques such as entrapment.

Nix was suspended the following day and recently stepped down from the CEO position. Alexander Taylor, CA’s chief data officer, sat down as quickly as he stood up to take the CEO position, serving only a few days. It is unclear who will lead the company during this tumultuous time. Alexander Nix refused parliament’s request to testify, showing additional distaste from the general public.

The Future of Digital Privacy

There is an aura of doubt clouding the general public’s faith that Facebook will take preventative actions to ensure a data breach of this level does not occur again. Many wonder how Silicon Valley’s brightest minds could let a mistake this large pervade its data for over a year. More importantly, Facebook did not alert authorities to the morally gray and illegal data collection.

With scandals like Equifax’s 2017 data breach still fresh, the public sees an unwillingness for companies to take responsibility. The unspoken protocol of these breaches appears to err on the side of deception rather than transparency. Equifax was aware of their breach, which exposed nearly half of the US population’s personal financial information, weeks ahead of the news breaking.

Additionally, the company sought to turn a profit by offering data-protection services after the incident. Even more frustrating, is that the only recourse for consumers affected was to freeze their credit and to unfreeze credit comes with fees.

Facebook

The lack of accountability and transparency means that these data breaches could simply be warning signs of far larger scandals to follow.

When companies are unwilling to make ethical decisions, it’s ideal that laws enter the creation process to ensure the safety of the public. A bipartisan effort is on the way in the US to give power back to the consumer. In a country where regulation is a dirty word, it’s unclear how this effort will be received.

On the tech, innovation side come solutions from a forgotten class of researchers: tech privacy experts. An unglamorous field is now finding itself at the center of fixing a growing problem.

A peer-to-peer decentralized internet (first introduced to the non-tech obsessed via the HBO show Silicon Valley), strong advertising blockers, information fiduciaries (whose purpose is to protect users’ data) and better encryption techniques are all points of notable research. May their innovation spawn a new era of data privacy.

The on-demand economy continues to grow quickly and with it comes many avenues for illicit data collection. There is a struggle to balance convenience with privacy. Tech privacy experts are working to ensure their solutions mesh well with consumers’ expectations for efficiency.

Flailing Confidence

Facebook’s rise as a tech giant may be in jeopardy. Their business model is strongly based on consumer trust. Zuckerberg’s decision not to alert authorities deny a request from parliament, his evasiveness in his testimony with Congress and his negative public image (he’s frequently touted as overly robotic and was presented unfavorably in The Social Network) has generated contempt from many consumers.

The #deletefacebook hashtag also gained organic momentum. For a company dependent on users for profit, a tall order for their public relations team is in store.

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Superbowl 2018 Results – Eagles Won!

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superbowl 2018 results

Superbowl 2018 Results – Eagles Won! It was an incredible game played by both the Patriots and the Eagles. With a final score of 41 Eagles to 33 Patriots, the Eagles won their first ever Super Bowl bringing the championship home.

A genius offensive play

The Eagle’s play tonight was purely offensive – and they had to win at all costs. LeGarret Blount rushed for 90 yards and scored a touchdown. Corey Clement could be seen throughout the game rushing for the 108 total yards of offense. And Nelson Agholor’s perfect synchronization with Foles was able to catch 9 passes for a total of 84 yards throughout the game. And we can’t forget Zach Ertz, who scored the final touchdown in the 4th quarter after diving over Devin McCourty. It was a tense moment as everyone in the stadium and at home watching held their breath while waiting for the verdict. Ertz made a brilliant leap of faith and landed just over the end zone, but the ball bounced. Did it hit the ground before bouncing? Were his feet both in the end zone at the time of landing? Was he in possession of the ball in the final seconds of the landing in the end zone? The crowd went wild and Philadelphia has never been more lit when the referees announced it was a touchdown.

Rushing for the win

The Eagles were still behind. The Eagles kept pushing through yard by yard. Nick Foles made a daring move on 3rd-and-7 that ended with Foles completed a phenomenal 11 yard pass to Zach Ertz. Ertz made an olympic worthy leap over Devin McCourty and into the end zone. Ertz narrowly landed both feet in the end zone, but the ball bounced, and was caught again mid-air by Ertz. It was unclear if the ball made contact with the ground which caused the bouncing. It was a tense moment as everyone awaited the referees to review the footage to make the final call. It was determined that Ertz was in possession of the ball before landing on the ground and the touchdown ruling was upheld.

Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett – turning the tides

With 2 minutes and 21 seconds left on the timer and one timeout left, the Patriots were ahead and had everything lined up for the win. And that was when Brandon Graham decided to reveal himself. He’s been hiding from the camera all game and decided it’s now or never. Brandon Graham sacked Brady forcing a fumble which was picked up by Derek Barnett that decided the fate of the game. If it weren’t for Brandon Graham’s bravery and Derek Barnett’s keen reflexes, the game could have been very different. Tom  Brady could be seen on TV sitting on the field not getting up. He knew it was over at that moment. The Eagles had won decisively.

The underdogs and their Foles

Who would ever thought that the backup quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles only took on the role of starting quarterback after Carson Wentz got injured on week 14 of the season. Foles completed 28 of 43 passes with a total 373 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. Foles even CAUGHT a touchdown in a last minute offensive play where Brady actually failed to catch the ball when attempting a similar play.

Foles was able to consistently convert those 3rd and 4th downs into game changing opportunities the entire game. If you doubted Foles before, he’s proven you and everybody wrong. If you’ve doubted the Eagles before, after tonight’s game, there’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that these underdogs played their heart out and earned their world title as the winner of the 52nd Super Bowl Championship.

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