Friday, June 27, 2008

Flickr is the New Photo Album

-Lauren Silverman

Do you remember photo albums? I do. On a shelf in my living room there are 20 photo albums. Each one represents a year of family history. The first red leather album is from 1983, the year my brother was born. As you scan from left to right the albums get progressively thinner, entirely disappearing by the year 2002. No, my family didn’t stop taking pictures. In fact, if anything, we take more pictures now than ever before. The difference is that we, like pretty much everyone else, don’t print them.

Today, printing pictures is an anomaly. It's not just teenagers who are uploading photos of crazy parties and drunken adventures. Your 10 year-old son, grandma and grandpa, and even new moms and dads have put aside the old fashioned photo album and decided to pick up their laptops.

Theoretically, online photo albums mean more opportunities to share those “special” moments with friends and relatives. In reality, it has meant subjecting friends and relatives to pretty much EVERY moment of everyone's lives. You see, photo albums have a limited number of pages. Flicker, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Photobucket, on the other hand, allow you to upload as many pictures as you want. Now that’s a lot of baby photos, or kitties, or sunsets.

The problem with storing photos online, instead of printing them, is that photographers no longer have any incentive to be selective about what they share and what they don’t. Rather than sifting through a collection of that year’s photos and showcasing the top 25, they share all 1,300. Oh, and I do mean 1,300. Sitting on a couch and looking through a photo album with two pictures per page was painful enough – sitting on desk chairs and scrolling through flickr albums with 300 shots per page actually makes my eyes bleed.

It’s not that I miss glossy photo paper or dropping rolls of film off at the grocery store to be developed. What I miss is sitting down with a friend and seeing a few breathtaking views from her most recent trip, instead of being sent a link to a webpage with 500 pictures documenting her every step.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is The Fist Bump The New High Five? [Video Bonus]

This week, the WTNW video squad provides you with a handy dandy guide to international hand gestures. Think of it as a primer on sign language for the hip.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chinese is the New Black [South Africa]

-- Unathi Kondile, South African Correspondent

I’d like to apologize, in advance, to all Chinese people who might read this. It’s not personal. I can just already imagine Chinese folks screaming, “kuai dian! kuai dian! (hurry! hurry! ) make us black too!”

Now ask me what the new what is?! Well, it was on Wednesday – the 18th of June - when I stood, gaping, watching the late night news as the presenter said something along lines of, “The Pretoria high court granted a landmark ruling that Chinese South Africans are to be included in the definition of ‘black people’ in legislation designed to benefit previously disadvantaged groups,” and further said Chinese now “automatically qualify for full benefits in terms of employment equity and broad based black economic empowerment legislation.”

“Come on!” I thought. We’re barely grappling with African immigrants who are already being included in this definition of “black people” and reaping the benefits of our hard fought freedom. How far can you stretch the definition of black people anyway? Doesn’t black refer to a skin colour?

So now, as it stands in South Africa, being black means you are Chinese, you are Indian, you are a white woman who was previously denied jobs in the past; and finally you are also the person who actually has a black skin colour and was subject to abhorrent discrimination in the past. Talk about a rat race - and increasing the competition pool for scarce resources!

We already have enough black locals who are struggling to make ends meet or even secure Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) deals; locals who still haven’t benefited from these empowerment programmes, and now we have more people being conveniently labeled “black”? One must never forget that certain races in South Africa refused to be classified as “black” in the past – all in the name of convenience. See if you were termed black in the past – you were the lowest denomination of God’s creation and you were sidelined into townships and makeshift shacks, whilst the Chinese or let me call them “new blacks” had better privileges than the lowly original blacks. Actually Chinese South Africans were called coloured people (or mixed race) back then, and not black, and not subject to the same discrimination. Now all of a sudden everyone wants to be black? Seems being black is fashionable these days. Everyone wants to be black in South Africa. I can just see everyone dreaming they were black.

As I watched the news I heard an emotional Patric Chong, chairperson of the Chinese Association of South Africa, expressing his joy and how they were overjoyed with being afforded the opportunity to be black and reap the benefits of being black. “A black Chinese!” I thought, “Now that’s definitely new!”

Mccain is the New Flip Flopper, and "McCainisms" will soon be the New "Bushisms"

-Lauren Silverman

Type in the words “flip-flop” and “McCain” into google and you'll probably forget that Kerry was the original “flip-flopper”. Headlines say McCain has flip-flopped on gay marriage, on his “100 years in Iraq” comment, on immigration, on ethanol, and now on offshore drilling. Krugman of the New York Times explains how McCain used to be fairly independent on energy policy, voting in the past against the special-interest-driven 2005 energy bill, but is now nothing more than a big flip-flopper. Last Monday, McCain made the call for more offshore drilling - illiciting a slew of criticism - criticism he rightly deserves.

Like the media, I stopped making fun of Bush a long time ago. Yes, I still think he’s an ignorant human being, but I, like others, am also aware that the Republican who wants to take his place, Senator McCain, is a flip-flopper, ridicuoulsy superstitious, and on the verge of needing a respirator - which provides me and political pundits plenty of fresh joke material. I mean, how hard is to make fun of a guy who at all times keeps on him a lucky compass, a lucky feather, a lucky penny and even assigns his assistant to carry his lucky pen – a Zebra Jimnie Gel Rollerball.

I have a feeling magazines such as Slate will replace their “Bushism of the day” section with “McCainisms” before we know it. Some of my favorite quotes from the flip-flopper are:

"I'm older than dirt, I've got more scars than Frankenstein, but I've learned a few things along the way."
"You know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran? Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran."

For more entertaining McCainisms, check out

* "flip-flop" image taken from

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spanglish is the New Ad Lingo

--Luis Sierra, Youth Radio LA

What’s the new What? Spanglish is the new ad lingo.

Spanglish, code-switching between English and Spanish, is what marketers are using to sell everything from the war in Iraq to Burger King’s fusion food, “Chicken Fries”.

But don’t get it twisted. Spanglish has been around for a long time. And you can hear it everywhere Spanish speakers live and communicate with one another. But, according to Catarino Lopez, Creative Director for Bromley Communications, and maker of the BK Chicken Fries Commercial, the Latino market is always growing, as immigrants come to the U.S. for jobs and better opportunities. And as immigrant populations gain economic mobility, advertisers are trying to sell them more and more expensive products. They’re not just selling products; they’re selling a sense of belonging.

The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies estimates that Latino purchasing power will grow to over a trillion dollars by 2010. But Ilan Stavans, the editor of the Spanglish Dictionary, and Professor at Amherst College, believes the financial impact of Spanglish will be minor when compared to the way it will rewrite culture. He says Spanish will become much more prevalent in media, and ultimately shape the way we use English. “So in other words, even if you don’t speak Spanglish, at some point in the very near future not able to understand even a little bit of Spanglish will become a handicap for you, ” Stavans says.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bikes Better be the New Cars

-Lauren Silverman

Back in the 80s there was talk about electric cars being the new BMWs. Today you hear rumors about hybrids being the next SUVs. I am all for replacing our gas-guzzling behemoths with something more energy efficient, but there is a new alternative that’s gaining ground. Thanks to unaffordable gas and cities taking the lead in creating more bike-friendly neighborhoods, bikes are quickly becoming the new transportation vehicles of choice.

I started riding my bike to school back in 9th grade, and since then, I’ve been hooked. It wasn’t the wind blowing in my face, or the off-roading capabilities of my cheap mountain bike that converted me. It was the ability to avoid traffic, park wherever I desired, not have to ask my dad for a ride, and save money on gas that really tickled my fancy.

More and more people are recognizing the advantages to biking to work and school; it is often faster than driving a car helps save money, the environment, and even keeps you in shape. Just look at the growing popularity of Critical Mass, an event typically held on the last Friday of every month in cities across the globe where bicyclists take to the streets en masse. Last time I rode in the Critical Mass of San Francisco there were hundreds of people, and the police were actually facilitating the event. And it's not only police that are jumping on board, other government officials are catching on to the bike trend too. Mayors, such as Newark, NJ.’s Cory Booker, and Boston’s Thomas M. Menino are making plans to improve their cities and stressing the importance of public transit and bike friendly streets. Portland just started a “Create-a-Commuter program”, which provides low-income adults with commuter bicycles as well as a session on commuter safety. The bikes even come with lights, a lock, a helmet, a pump, tool kits, maps and rainwear. If programs like this existed in more cities, I bet bike lanes would become a lot more common. Other bike-friendly modifications are taking place too. Across the street from where I work is a new free bike parking service, which means I don’t have to lug around a lock for my bike or worry about the wheel getting stolen. On more and more pavements I see the cute little bike sign indicating I actually have a few feet reserved for me and my bike - outta my way Volvos! And ratings for the most “bicycle friendly cities” not only help girls like me plan for future trips, but they make it desireable for cities to become “bike-friendly” tourist locations. Common rating websites gives the city of San Francisco spot number Eight - and I think they may be right, because since I moved here a month ago I have yet to be hit by a car…it was another story in Oakland (a city which isn’t on the list for a good reason.)

Because bikes are the new cars, in cities that haven’t made the necessary accommodations, bike accidents are increasing. I have experience with this first hand. Unfortunately, I have been hit by a car twice - well, once a man actually slammed into me because he didn’t look over his shoulder when he was trying to park, and the other time I was “doored” – someone carelessly opened the car door without checking to see if there were any bikes rolling by. I got quite a few roses and plenty of kind words after the first accident, but getting “doored” is basically an initiation ritual that doesn’t bring forth any sympathy cards from the biker community.

Even though they may be dangerous, bikes are flying off the shelves. Just the other day, as I walked over to pick up my bike and head home, I overheard a co-worker mumble to himself “I gotta get a bike!” I agree. My coworker should get a bike; but first we need to make sure our streets are prepared for bikes to be the new cars.

*image featuring SF's critical mass from Wikipedia.

Spanglish is the new Adspeak

This week's video bonus features examples of Spanglish as used in television ads.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Breakfast is the New Dinner

-Lauren Silverman

Breakfast is the New main course. Ever since health researches began stressing the importance of eating a morning meal, and corporations such as McDonald's found out that getting people to buy breakfast food items would boost revenues, there’s been a major push to get kids to stuff their face while they’re still in their pajamas.

Humans have been eating breakfast since…well…for a long time. Yet only this year has breakfast really made it on the menu (pun intended). Subway, McDonald's, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Starbucks now feature special “breakfast menus”. Most recently, Jamba Juice entered the breakfast war with new breakfast smoothies. I just tried the “chunky strawberry smoothie” and had trouble chugging down the strawberries, bananas, yogurt soymilk and peanut butter mix topped with fresh bananas and organic pumpkin flax seed granola at seven in the morning. It was everything I might normally want to sit down and eat for breakfast, put in a blender (literally).

Adding breakfast to your daily routine is supposedly a good thing. Scientific research shows many health benefits to regularly eating breakfast. So, when on April 9th the Burger King Corp. announced the introduction of the new Cheesy Bacon BK WRAPPER[TM], and the senior vice president of global product marketing said "Our guests will never skip breakfast again..."
We should have been relieved. Right?

I’m not so sure. And neither is the Board of Health in New York. They came up with a plan to help people think before they bite into a 1,280-calorie McDonald's deluxe breakfast.

And those morning breakfast bars that have become so popular? When I was little I definitely didn’t sit down to morning cartoons with a “Coco-Pops bar” or an “Oats Sugar Raisins Coconut Granola bar”. I mean, what ever happened to normal, un-compacted meals. I’m talking about some cereal, some milk, and some fruit – not cereal milk fruit bars that are the size and density of a brick.

Us young folk are getting a pretty confusing message. “EAT BREAKFAST – DON’T EAT BREAKFAST”. Skipping breakfast leads to poor health, yet embracing egg mc muffins and chocolate peanut butter toffee bars daily can’t be good either. I agree with the BBC news that “Cereal bars are no substitute for cornflakes,” and for that matter, “hamlettes”are no substitute for fresh scrambled eggs.

What's on your breakfast menu?

* Images taken from: &

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The 70s are the New Golden Years

-Lauren Silverman

The 70s are the New golden years. People have been living longer lives for a while now, but it’s
only recently that old people have actually been able to enjoy the additional years and not simply spend them dreaming about being young again. Old people are partaking in activities that used to be exclusively for young people; they’re breaking norms and transforming the structure of the very society that we know – mostly because of technology.

Technology has not only made old age tolerable, it’s made it enjoyable. Whether its advanced knee surgeries, fancy hiking skis, or all-terrain wheelchairs, technology is making it possible for the elderly to do things like run marathons and conquer mountains. It’s allowing grandma and grandpa to have children when they would normally be having colonoscopies. Because of technology, women are getting pregnant later, the average age is 29.1 (the country with the oldest average pregnancy age is New Zealand, at 29.9, according to 62 year-old men are taking up marathon racing as their newest hobby.

The senior Olympics may not be as popular as the regular Olympics, but the fact that last year in Louisville there were over 10,000 competitors and 20,000 spectators, with oldest competitors being over 100 years old, is pretty telling. Old age doesn't have to be boring anymore.The demand for new technology to help the elderly stay "young" is creating plenty of new tech jobs, yet the elderly’s newfound independence won’t be good news for nursing homes. High-tech homes, equipped with everything from computerized therapy to help boost memory and robot arms to assist with housework, enable elderly people to stay in their homes and make their golden years truly golden. Old people across the nation are joining wrinkly hands to form "naturally-occurring retirement communities" that feature concierge services and weekly field trips to the natural history museum. Sounds pretty good to me.

Our society has reached a tipping point where it’s no longer unpleasant to be old, in fact, it can be quite refreshing.

*Images taken from: and

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Friends Are The New Lovers [Bonus Video]

This week on NPR's Day To Day, we'll test out the theory that Friends are the New Lovers. Our proven scientific method included wrangling our "What's The New What?" writers and asking what they think about the "Friends With Benefits" lifestyle.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Music is the New Background Noise

- Lauren Silverman

On the train, in the park, at the gym, in English class – these are all places I’ve become accustomed to seeing people listening to music. But when I saw several people climbing up Half Dome, an 8,842 feet high mountain on which over 60 people have died, that’s when I knew music was the new background noise.

Today, men, women and children screw their ear buds in tight, nod their heads rhythmically to a muffled beat, and stare blankly ahead during just about every activity . Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against music, and drowning out street noise and chit chat with my favorite song or Youth Radio podcast is something I am definitely guilty of; however, I have my limits, and you should too. You won’t find me on a hike blasting Maroon Five’s newest hit, or taking in a breathtaking view of Yosemite Valley while drumming my fingers to 50 cent’s latest remix.

I know daily routines can get boring, but I feel like today people have absolutely no tolerance for silence. I mean, I get frustrated if I forget my I-pod on my way to work, and throw a mini tantrum if I have to talk to a friend’s house with no distraction. Heaven forbid I sit quietly on the subway, or stop and say hello to the person sitting next to me on the bus. I-pods may take the edge off the repetitiveness of every day activities, but they also take away people’s ability to be in the moment – even just for one moment.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Organic Clothing is the New Haute Couture

What’s the new what? I say Organic Clothing is the new Haute Couture

If you’re fashionable, but aren’t already an “environmentalist,” you will be soon – whether you want to be or not. The trendy shoes you slip on in the morning, the designer sweatshirt you zip up as you leave the club – its becoming increasingly likely those accessories are made from organic materials.

That's right, major retailers such as Payless and Target have embraced "green" clothing. Payless doesn't only offer silver stilettos, brightly colored plastic flip-flops, and fake leather boots. Now, it features 100% organic sneakers and hemp slides. Target, "where fashion fanatic meets organic-on-a-budget," just launched its first international collection featuring certified organic items.

A trend that began a decade ago with high-end companies such as Patagonia, 100% organic cotton clothing is no longer exclusively for the elite traditional environmentalist. You don’t have to go to stores with names like “The Pure Spirit” or “Children of the Green Earth” to get organic accessories. All you have to do is go to your local Walgreens.

This means people are walking around with their feet snug in organic cotton, bamboo or hemp fiber socks. Guys and girls are buttoning up organic cotton jeans and running on Nike’s recycled tire shoes – but does sustainability actually play in to consumers’ purchase decisions?

I doubt it. I have a feeling that people will purchase environmentally friendly apparel and accessories provided they are fashionable. Unless consumers understand the bigger reasons behind buying organic clothing, eco-chic will just be another short-lived fad, not a truly sustainable fashion statement.

(Image taken from

Psychics are the New Psychologists

-Alyssa Wagner

What’s the new what? For me and lots of my friends, psychics are the new psychologists.

So here’s an example: One of my best friends Leslie and her boyfriend broke up. It was a pretty bad break up, and everyone agreed the boyfriend was a pretty bad guy. Leslie’s parents thought she needed some help coping and sent her to therapy. After being in therapy for three months, Leslie realized that she hadn’t moved on - all she was talking about in therapy was the past. Plus, hearing from her therapist what was wrong with her relationship and herself made her feel like she was crazy. So on her birthday, she decided to go see a psychic. It really made a difference.

Of course she was skeptical at first, but the psychic helped her look to the future, not just dwell on what went wrong in the past. She wanted to know that she could be happy again and that she wouldn’t always be stuck on this guy.

Anyone who has gone through something awful knows that dwelling in the past isn’t any fun if what you want is to be happy and hopeful again. And getting to that point isn’t always quick with a psychologist. Even the psychics I know agree that if you have some serious stuff going on, you might want to take the time to see a psychologist, but time is money, and when you go see a psychic you get a lot more bang for your buck. A lot of my friends are on budgets, so this is a great way for them to get exposed to some of what’s going on for them in one session. In fact, the psychic I see, Rabbit, deters people from coming all the time. I call her a psychic, but she doesn’t really like the word psychic, and prefers to call herself an “intuitive consultant.”

Rabbit is a woman I saw when I was about to go abroad and had some serious reservations about the trip. As soon as I walked in the door, without my saying anything, she understood my fears and so much more. After that, it all made sense. When you have a Tarot Card reading session with Rabbit, she asks you if there is anything in particular that you want to ask about and then you both shuffle the Tarot cards. She sets out the cards in a way that will best answer your questions. She refers to the cards as keys that unlock things that were already on your mind. .

A lot of people thought at first that Rabbit must be a quack, and that I was a weirdo for going to see her, but the more they heard about her and what she said, the more they realized this woman was the real deal, and before I knew it, I had more friends and family members asking me for her number than I could keep up with! Believe it or not, Rabbit actually sees a lot of therapists – just further proof that more and more people are taking the intuitive arts more seriously.

And if licensed mental health professionals, are getting hip to this trend, you know there must be something to psychics becoming the new psychologists. To find out more about Tarot, Astrology and Intuitive Channeling readings, check out Rabbit's website.

Listen to the whole story here:

Check out the Bonus Video.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Psychics are the New Psychologists (Bonus Video)

This week's What's The New What will be Psychics are the New Psychologists, and as a treat we've prepared this story extras featuring Rabbit, the psychic in our story.

In this episode of WTNW Video Rabbit shares a brief history of one of the Tarot Deck.

[Viddler videos might take a moment to load, but the image quality is worth it. Enjoy!]