technology – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students Thu, 08 Apr 2021 01:45:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://www.langaravoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LOGO-100x100.png technology – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca 32 32 New UBC network to localize data on air pollution https://www.langaravoice.ca/new-ubc-network-to-localize-data-on-air-pollution/ Thu, 08 Apr 2021 01:45:35 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48869 By Christi Walter A team of UBC experts wants to measure Vancouver’s air quality in finer detail than what is currently possible, to help combat localized pollution issues. A coalition of researchers from varying disciplines have teamed up as the Rapid Air Improvement Network (RAIN) to test local air quality for quick data collection. Using […]]]>

By Christi Walter

A team of UBC experts wants to measure Vancouver’s air quality in finer detail than what is currently possible, to help combat localized pollution issues.

A coalition of researchers from varying disciplines have teamed up as the Rapid Air Improvement Network (RAIN) to test local air quality for quick data collection. Using sensors ranging in size from that of a cell phone to that of a loaf of bread, RAIN plans to gather highly specific air quality research to compare air pollution and emissions across regions. They will also study the impact of new technologies on the air we breathe.

Filling in the data gap with new technology

Steven Rogak, one of RAIN’s principal investigators, said localized differences in air quality are difficult for existing networks to pick up because they’re too sparse. RAIN will be able to make up for this gap.

The team wants to analyze and collect data from local areas, which can be coupled with local developmental policies and issues of social justice, according to Rogak.

“Some communities are more affected than others, for example,” he said. “These are things that the existing networks can’t typically pick up on because there just aren’t enough sensors.”

One of their first projects will be measuring the air quality in some newer buildings at UBC with different HVAC systems. But Rogak said their goal is to expand their research quickly to other areas.

“Often [the sensors] are battery operated, so you could put them on a streetlight or a moving vehicle. Imagine putting them on police cars or taxis,” said Michael Brauer, a RAIN team member and a professor of medicine at UBC. “They’re actually moving and they’re computing data into a server, but it’s real-time information and it also gives you much more granular information — like right here, right now.”

Graphic courtesy UBC media relations.

Saving lives

They also plan to monitor the impacts of wildfire smoke which might inspire communities to do things like offer local clean air shelters when heavy smoke hits the area.

“We want to test new technologies or, let’s say, policy actions, repeatedly evaluate whether they work or not, and then sort of scale up,” Brauer said.

An estimated 15,300 premature deaths per year can be linked to air pollution in Canada, according to a 2021 Health Canada report. The World Health Organization reports that worldwide, nine out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits for pollutants. Low- and middle-income countries are most at risk.

Brauer says air pollution has been found to affect everything from birthweight to neurodevelopmental diseases.

The team has an eye to expand their research globally.

“We’re seeing now around four million deaths globally every year that we would say are attributable to air pollution,” said Brauer. “If you took away air pollution, we would see four million less deaths that year.”

RAIN will receive $2 million in funding for its upcoming research from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

Mark Lagacé, Senior Programs Officer at CFI, said the organization aims to invest in new research that’s going to provide a benefit to Canadians.

“Things that have a direct impact on air quality will have a direct impact on everybody,” Lagacé said.

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Compost this coffee pod, just not in Vancouver https://www.langaravoice.ca/compost-this-coffee-pod-just-not-in-vancouver/ Thu, 08 Apr 2021 00:13:56 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=48856 By Sena Law A new compostable coffee pod has been created by UBC’s Zachary Hudson, though things may not be as green as they seem. In the right facility, the product can be fully composted. In Vancouver, our green waste facilities are unable to do the same. Hudson, a Vancouver-based chemist, launched the Nexe Pod […]]]>

By Sena Law

A new compostable coffee pod has been created by UBC’s Zachary Hudson, though things may not be as green as they seem. In the right facility, the product can be fully composted. In Vancouver, our green waste facilities are unable to do the same.

Hudson, a Vancouver-based chemist, launched the Nexe Pod along with Nexe Innovations in February, marketing it as a fully compostable coffee pod that will keep coffee fresher for longer, which other recyclable coffee pods have struggled to achieve.

The problem with bioplastics

The pod is made up of a bamboo outer jacket and a bioplastic inner capsule — the latter making it possible to be properly composted only in special organic waste facilities, like Surrey Biofuel which was opened in 2018.

In these facilities, the new coffee pods turn into compost in as little as 35 days.

But in Vancouver, biodegradable or bioplastic products, such as the Nexe Pod, are nearly guaranteed to end up in the landfill, according to Kai-lani Rutland, a representative from Vancouver Landfill. Rutland said this is due to the fact that bioplastics are labelled as contaminants and cannot be processed properly.

“Contaminants are most likely to be removed from composting and recycling streams and then disposed of at landfill or incinerator,” Rutland said. The city encourages food vendors and residents to choose reusable alternatives wherever possible.

Michael Levenston, executive director of City Farmer, a group that operates the city’s compost hotline, said bioplastics are labelled as contaminants because of the majority of facilities’ inability to distinguish between them and conventional plastics.

The Surrey Biofuel facility, which opened in 2018, participated in the development of the Nexe Pod to ensure the product would be fully compostable. Photo: City of Surrey

No guarantees in the world of garbage

“You’re dealing with the garbage world, which is a mysterious world,” Levenston said. “You want to think all the green waste does go to a compost facility, but unless you’re on the trucks, you don’t know where it’s going.”

According to the City of Vancouver’s Doug Thomas, the city’s compost has two destinations. Green waste is routed to GFL Environmental in Delta, while yard trimmings head to the Vancouver Landfill. At both sites, the material is turned into compost, but neither is fully equipped to process bioplastics. When included, these products degrade the quality of the finished compost.

Vancouver has no plans to develop an organics processing facility, Thomas said.

Currently, a Keurig-compatible K-Cup is available online, and Nexe Innovations plans to have Nespresso-compatible pods out for late 2021.

Over 40 billion similar coffee pods find their way into landfills per year. Each pod takes around 100 to 150 years to fully decompose, Hudson said.

Hudson said that he believes the Nexe Pod is thriving because of its convenience when it comes to recycling, and that even if the product ends up in a landfill, “it’s not going to be any worse than a regular plastic pod.”

“All of the regular plastic pods are going to landfill anyway,” he said. “The recycling rate is less than one per cent.”

“We are looking to displace all kinds of single-use plastics,” Hudson said. “Coffee is really just the first sort of target market that we have.”

Zachary Hudson shares his thoughts on bioplastics and waste management in the video below.

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Combining the worlds of art and technology https://www.langaravoice.ca/combining-the-worlds-of-art-and-technology/ https://www.langaravoice.ca/combining-the-worlds-of-art-and-technology/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2019 14:00:22 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=43846 Reported by Soubhik Chakrabarti Jim Andrews is at the helm of a new art form, creating computer-generated art with a program that he built himself. Though he may receive some pushback from the art world who may not accept his work as conventional art. “I think that the work I do is also very beautiful,” […]]]>

Reported by Soubhik Chakrabarti

Jim Andrews is at the helm of a new art form, creating computer-generated art with a program that he built himself. Though he may receive some pushback from the art world who may not accept his work as conventional art.

“I think that the work I do is also very beautiful,” Andrews said.

Aleph Null, Graphic Synthesizer runs until November 20th at Massy Books on 229 Georgia St. E. Andrews said that the exhibit is his second after 1999, but one of his best. The titular Aleph Null is a program that Andrews wrote himself and has continually updated since 2011.

From music to brush strokes

Andrews likened Aleph Null to a musical synthesizer, or an instrument one learns how to play, rather than a tool. While a synthesizer can either create sounds from scratch or sample sounds from the real world, Aleph Null can create images with pure colour or sample images the user imports into it.

“Aleph Null is a software, but it’s all about computer art. The material I’m using is literary, it’s [poetic],” Andrews said, in reference to his work with Bill Bissett and Jim Leftwich, collaborators featured in the exhibit. “But then there’s the Colour Music stuff, which is just pure colour and that’s more like the computer art part of it.”

A number of the pieces in the exhibit are part of Andrews’ collaboration with Bissett, a renowned poet, artist, and musician. The collaboration was born after Bissett reached out to Andrews while curating another exhibit in Toronto.

“I said, ‘how about you send me some of your visual poetry, and I’ll feed it to Aleph Null, and you’ll have something for your show and I’ll have something for my website and other stuff that I do’,” Andrews said, recounting the exchange.

Some of the prints at the show, such as pome that frees and 2 th see, resulted from Andrews using Aleph Null to combine some of Bissett’s archived poetry from the 1960s and his more recent works.

“The new stuff looks kind of like computer code and the old stuff looks typewriter-ish,” Andrews said.

Style develops as the program develops

Viewers have told Andrews that this work is “really striking visually, but also very readable.”

Bissett, calls Andrews a, “genius”.

“The way he collages text is really wonderful,” Bissett said, of Andrews’ work with Aleph Null. “You can see more than usual, the stitches in the letters and the letters in the pictures. Most languages are [pictographic], so language in letters… comes alive.”

One of the pieces in the exhibit, USAMERICAN HITLER, mashes images of Adolf Hitler and U.S. President Donald Trump together. Although he was commissioned to create the work, Andrews said he’s “not all too fond of Trump” either.

“He’s going to contact the band, the Nine Inch Nails, and hopefully get them interested in using these images in a music video,” Andrews said, of a potential collaboration. He said that the project is his and the commissioner’s attempt to “fight fascism”.

Peter Courtemanche, an exhibit attendee, thought Andrews’ work was unique. “It’s different because of the painted look. It looks more like printing on paper, like multi-media,” Courtemanche said.

Video shot by reporter Soubhik Chakrabarti at the Massy Gallery event

 

Always question, always redefine

The entirety of the impressionist movement, similar to Jim Andrews’ Aleph Null, made audiences question what counted as art.

Impressionists such as Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne painted quickly as if to capture fleeting moments in their paintings, such as early morning or evening light. The results were frequently panned by conservative art critics of the time, who thought that the urban scenes looked sloppy and unfinished.

The Impressionist movement was all about breaking hyperrealistic and academic tradition within art. The movement rejected traditional subjects, such as scenes from history, religion, and mythology, in favour of capturing urban scenes
and landscapes.

Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain is a 1917 piece consisting of a urinal submitted to the Society of Independent Artists. Fountain is a ‘readymade’, an everyday object that is considered art just because the artist said it was. Baffled audiences of the day wondered what the evaluation process of submitted art was, and asked if Fountain and other ‘readymades’ should be even called art. Love it or hate it, the piece shaped the direction of art made in the 20th century.

 

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Assistive technologies increasing participation in sport https://www.langaravoice.ca/assistive-technologies-increasing-participation-in-sport/ Thu, 04 Apr 2019 02:30:59 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=42045 Assistive technologies have helped bring many people with disabilities into sports. These opportunities are growing for local athletes, and is the focus of a UBC panel happening next week.]]>

Reported by Maxim Fossey

Assistive technologies have helped bring many people with disabilities into sports. These opportunities are growing for local athletes, and is the focus of a UBC panel happening next week.

Andrea Bundon, assistant professor at UBC’s school of kinesiology and one of the speakers of the April 8 panel, said a lot more research has been done in those technologies in recent years.

“This is something that’s good for the athletes. There’s a sort of social obligation to help people with disabilities that provide opportunities,” Bundon said.

Bundon said that paralympic athletes have been successful with social media by getting a lot more publicity and sponsorships, and spreading awareness about the paralympic movement.

Researching new technologies

Cameron Gee, a PhD candidate in kinesiology at UBC, said that post-secondary institutions across Vancouver are working on research to improve assistive technologies for sports.

“There is a group at Camosun College on Vancouver Island that use 3D scanning and rapid prototyping techniques to create individualized seats and different assistive technology that are helping a lot of athletes with comfort, which can help to improve stability, speed, and agility, which are important for many para-sports such as sledge hockey and wheelchair rugby,” Gee said.

Ethan Hess, a local para-nordic skier, said that the better the technology gets for sit-skis, the faster he can go and the better he gets.

“I think sports for people with disabilities is incredibly important,” Hess said. “And can really help people in a bunch of ways to deal with having a disability.”

Gee said the Canadian Paralympic teams are making athletes appear as superhumans with all the impressive things they do.

“When I tell people about friends that have been surfing or skiing, they can’t believe it.”

 

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Millennials are leading the technology job market https://www.langaravoice.ca/millennials-are-leading-the-technology-job-market/ Fri, 01 Mar 2019 17:00:06 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=40983 The technology workforce in B.C. is thriving, largely thanks to millennials who have been surrounded by tech from a young age, according to one software development manager.]]>

Reported by Kristian Trevena

The technology workforce in B.C. is thriving, largely thanks to millennials who have been surrounded by tech from a young age, according to one software development manager.

Millennials, anyone born between 1981 and 1996, make up a large portion of technology-based jobs, which make up about five per cent of B.C.’s total workforce.

A main reason why millennials pursue careers in technology has to do with the way they were raised in an environment saturated with technology, said Jordan Rieger, a software development manager at Webnames.ca and special industry guest at the Feb. 28 Tech Thursdays event, a monthly Langara session about careers in technology.

Video games are valuable

“You can’t discount the impact of computer games” Rieger said, adding that the habits of fixing up and tinkering with these games lead millennials to learn more about their computers and how to make them run better.

The technology industry is booming, but many employers are looking for candidates with a good deal of experience, something new graduates often lack, said Ryan White, a video game developer at Kabam in Vancouver.

Tech jobs require more than just technical skills

But tech companies are looking for more than just computer smarts, said Raymond Chow, who coordinates Langara’s web technology program. Many companies also want to see social skills and how candidates will fit in with company culture.

“A lot of technology jobs out there require a good sense of teamwork and collaboration,” Chow said.

That said, millennials sometimes face the challenge of youth and inexperience, White said.

“Tech companies always want more experienced and more senior people, but people can’t get that experience unless someone actually hires them,” he said.

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New food ordering app aims to cut lunch lineups https://www.langaravoice.ca/new-food-ordering-app-aims-to-cut-lunch-lineups/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 20:50:43 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=33601 Reported by Darren Amner The Boost app, new on campus, launched earlier this semester. Boost allows you to order food on your phone, and pickup directly from designated zones. So far, students can use Boost at Tim Hortons, Triple O’s, Starbucks and Subway. Darren Amner talked to students about the app, and why or why not […]]]>

Reported by Darren Amner

The Boost app, new on campus, launched earlier this semester. Boost allows you to order food on your phone, and pickup directly from designated zones. So far, students can use Boost at Tim Hortons, Triple O’s, Starbucks and Subway. Darren Amner talked to students about the app, and why or why not they’re using it.

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Trade and Tech Support Announced By Premier https://www.langaravoice.ca/trade-and-tech-support-announced-by-premier/ Tue, 27 Mar 2018 19:50:49 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=33067 Today, Premier John Horgan and Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills said the provincial government will be investing money into technology and trades. ]]>

Reported by Lisa Tanh

The provincial government is taking B.C.’s technology and trades students into the future with funding for new equipment.

Today, Premier John Horgan and Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training, announced during a visit to Northwest Community College that the provincial government has invested more than $5.4 million in industry-standard training equipment to give students the “skills they need to succeed.”

The funding has allowed 15 public post-secondary institutions to replace aging equipment of their choosing with the latest technology in order to respond with changes in technology and trades industries.

Mark said students need to be trained on the same equipment that they will be using in their future jobs.

“Our investment will help students succeed and thrive in a variety of jobs in different sectors, from carpentry to computing, through to automotive and web design,” she said in a news release.

Northwest Community College’s communications director Sarah Zimmerman said the the college allocated their funds to the automotive service technician, carpentry and professional cook programs, even going so far as to purchase a Toyota Prius so the student’s could work on a modern vehicle.

“It’s really important at the college level that we’re training all of our students with the latest technology,” Zimmerman said. “We want to make sure that we prepare students the best way we can for the challenge that they’re going to face in their career.”

Ryan Lockhart, a plumbing graduate who attended BCIT and Pacific Vocational College, said that the funding is good for trades programs, but it’s not enough.

“I would like to see [more funding] go towards after-class teaching,” Lockhart said. “Almost like a tutor … a class where you can go and have a teacher that can help you understand certain parts of the material that you’re stuck on.”

The provincial government has promised an additional 2,900 tech spaces by 2023, which is supported by the funding for new equipment.

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Women Code Their Way to the Top https://www.langaravoice.ca/women-code-their-way-to-the-top/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:00:32 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=32534 Vancouver women say these workshops create a safer space for women to learn]]>

By Amanda Poole

Women-only technology workshops provide a safer space for women to learn, according to organizers and participants.

Ewuraesi Thompson, the Vancouver chapter lead for Canada Learning Code, a non-profit organization that hosts coding workshops for girls and women, said women want to learn in a space that won’t make them feel inferior or insecure.

“A women-only or majority [workshop] is a place where people can feel safe, which is why we put them on,” Thompson said.

Women learn web design and more

Canada Learning Code is in its sixth year of hosting Ladies Learning Code where women and youth can learn about web design, artificial intelligence, WordPress and more. Other non-profit organizations such as Django Girls and Women Who Code, Vancouver teach similar courses and also highlight a safe atmosphere.

Christina Reider, a recording engineer, said attending Ladies Learning Code was one of the best educational experiences she has ever had.

“I felt like I could ask more questions,” Reider said. “There was a certain relaxed vibe that I really enjoyed.”

Thompson said there is a wide range of women interested in women-only technology workshops.

Participants range from lawyers to accountants

“It ranges from people who are unemployed and looking for a job to lawyers and accountants who want to up their skills,” Thompson said.

Jessie Adcock, the chief technology officer for the City of Vancouver, has been working in technology for 20 years. Adcock said there are noticeably fewer women than men in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

A Statistics Canada report confirms Adcock’s observation, despite the fact it also shows that women represent the majority of young university graduates.

Learning in a less pressured environment

Adcock said women-only technology workshops allow women to explore STEM careers in a less pressured environment.

“It reduces a barrier to entry because it allows women to see what this is all about without necessarily having to go up against other external pressures,” Adcock said.

“I see it as a good thing.”

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Voice Podcast 18: Investing in a cryptocurrency to pay off your student loan is risky, but attainable https://www.langaravoice.ca/voice-podcast-18-investing-in-a-cryptocurrency-to-pay-off-your-student-loan-is-risky-but-attainable/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:13:02 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=30801 Reported by Duncan Anderson On this week’s edition of The Voice podcast, we look into the possibility of paying off a student loan with cryptocurrency. Converting your cryptocurrency into cash is straightforward. Coinbase was founded in 2012 and allows you to convert your Bitcoin into cash and wire that cash to your bank account. Should you invest […]]]>

Reported by Duncan Anderson

On this week’s edition of The Voice podcast, we look into the possibility of paying off a student loan with cryptocurrency.

Converting your cryptocurrency into cash is straightforward. Coinbase was founded in 2012 and allows you to convert your Bitcoin into cash and wire that cash to your bank account.

Should you invest in Bitcoin because it’s the oldest and most stable cryptocurrency? Or do you invest in newer technology that’s looking at the holes within Bitcoin and try to improve upon that? It’s all uncertain, which makes it a highly volatile investment for not just a student but anybody. The one thing that every cryptocurrency expert can agree on is that the technology behind cryptocurrencies is here to stay.

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Langara library sees dramatic increase in e-book collection https://www.langaravoice.ca/langara-library-sees-dramatic-increase-in-e-book-collection/ Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:25:12 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=27453 Electronic resources now far exceed the number of physical books at Langara College’s library, due to being cost-effective and taking up no space.]]>

By Chelsea Powrie and Cheryl Whiting

Electronic resources now far exceed the number of physical books at Langara College’s library, due to being cost-effective and taking up no space.

Ryan Vernon, the coordinator for technical services at the library, said he thinks the change reflects students’ needs, too.

“It really depends on the student, but generally I think students prefer print books and electronic journals,” Vernon said.

Jasmine Brer, a health sciences student at Langara, loves the ease and accessibility of downloading an electronic resource.

“Our instructors sometimes put the links on D2L,” Brer said. “It bothers me little bit to read everything on a screen … but being environmentally friendly is good.”

Some students still prefer a physical book, though.

“I prefer the textbook. I just feel like it’s easier to sink into your brain. And you can also write in any notes on the side,” said Danielle Carrie, a political sciences student. “I feel like it’s so much harder to connect with an e-book.”

Check out our video where editor Cheryl Whiting speaks to Ryan Vernon about e-books at the Langara Library

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