The Zodiac Killer Facts and Cover Songs

The Zodiac Killer investigation leaves so many questions open leaving an audience wanting The Zodiac Killer Facts. Here we’ve answered some of your questions about the infamous serial killer.

“I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me. I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradice (sic). all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me,” the decrypted message reads, without throwing any light on the killer’s identity.

Introducing the Zodiac Killer

Serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, David Berkowitz, and John Wayne Gacy captivate audiences. Human beings are fascinated by the destruction that these people have left in their wake. The Zodiac killer is another example of audiences being enthralled with death and destruction. It’s morbid but fascinating in a way.

Facts About the Zodiac Killer

This is still an active case.

Napa County, Solano County, and the California Department of Justice have maintained an open file on this crime spree. As well, there are several people, professionals and civilians alike that are working together to solve this mystery (CNN).

They are getting new leads in the investigation.

Thanks to the work by the San Francisco Police Department, the FBI, and a team of private citizens, one of the ciphers has been cracked and finally understood. This ‘trio of code breakers” includes a trio of code breakers — David Oranchak, a software developer in Virginia, Jarl Van Eycke, a Belgian computer programmer, and Sam Blake, an Australian mathematician (CNN). The FBI said in a statement, “Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not be providing further comment at this time.”

In a comment to New York Times, Blake describes that “Not only were we lucky enough to find the needle in the haystack, but we were lucky enough to pick the right haystack to start searching for the needle.”

There may be more victims.

There are only 7 confirmed victims by the names of David Arthur Faraday, Betty Lou Jensen, Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, Cecelia Ann Shepard, Paul Lee Stine. In the killer’s letters and cards, he admits to killing 37 people. There are up to 37 probable victims including Ray Davis, Kathleen Johns, and Donna Ann Lass and several others (; Graysmith).

Crime writer Robert Graysmith argued that the Zodiac killer remained active through the 1980s and murdered dozens of more people (Britannica).

There have been thousands of Zodiac suspects.

Since 1968 there have been countless suspects including Gaikowski, Allen, Marshall, and Kan ( Russell Johnson, known for his role as Professor Roy Hinkley on the sitcom Gilligan’s Island, was rumoured to be the infamous Zodiac killer. This was found to be untrue as it was originally printed on a satirical and amusement website Empire News (Snopes).

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the Zodiac killer.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about his motives, his methods, and most of all the letters. The Zodiac Killer gained notoriety by writing cryptic letters to law enforcement and local media. This is what set him apart from other killers (The Varsity). The Zodiac never clarified his symbols or the letters, although there are many ideas about what it meant (

The original sketch of the Zodiac killer is futile.

It’s useless due to how nondescript it is. Over the years there have been countless people that know someone that matches the sketch whether it’s a neighbour, brother, father, grocery clerk, real estate agent. They simply look like a generic young-to-middle-aged white man in the 1960s. Add to this, even in optimal circumstances, sketches done from memory aren’t very reliable or accurate (SFGate).

Covers of Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan

Here’s the original for your viewing pleasure. Let us know in the comments how the covers compare to the original. Did they do better? Or worse?

Below are numerous covers of Donovan’s Hurdy Gurdy Man, a song that is intertwined with the film, Zodiac (2007). that investigates the infamous Zodiac killer murders.

“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Cover By The Phantoms



“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Hurdy Gurdy Cover By Daniel Mantey


“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Cover By Jimmy Ether and family



“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Cover By Eartha Kitt



“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Cover By Arthur Horeanu



“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Cover By Azzmeir



“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Cover By Maša Gjerek


“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Harp, Sitar, Guitar & Harmony Cover By Teak Wood Gallows


“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Cover By Eric Mercury


“Hurdy Gurdy Man” Cover By Reflective Detectives



Final Thoughts: Who Is the Zodiac Killer?

In the end, we’re still left with the same question “Who is the Zodiac Killer?” This is the main question that everyone is still asking. Still, we have no answers.

Although they had a suspect in mind and have an ongoing investigation, authorities are still looking to hold someone accountable for 7 possibly more murders. The Zodiac killer is responsible for the deaths of David Arthur Faraday, Betty Lou Jensen, Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, Cecelia Ann Shepard, Paul Lee Stine that we know of. May they rest in peace.

Learn More About the Zodiac Killer at These Following Resources.

Dowd, K (2021, January 6). Why has the Zodiac Killer never been caught? SFGATE; SFGATE.

Fagan, K (2021). Zodiac ‘340 Cipher’ cracked by code experts 51 years after it was sent to the S.F. Chronicle. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Graysmith, R (1976). Zodiac (1st ed.).

Leah Asmelash and Cheri Mossburg, C (2021). After 51 years, the Zodiac Killer’s cipher has been solved by amateur code breakers. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Sarah Moon and Cheri Mossburg, C (2021). Group claims it has solved the identity of the Zodiac Killer as law enforcement investigates. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Snopes (2019). Hollywood Shocker: “Gilligan’s Island” Star Turns Out to Be Zodiac Killer.; Snopes.

Voigt, T (2021). Homepage – ZODIAC KILLER .COM. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Wang, H (2021). Half a century later, the Zodiac Killer’s identity is still a mystery. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from (2021). Top 10 Things Zodiac Got Factually Right and Wrong. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Zodiac Killer (2021). Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Zodiac killer | History, Murders, Movie, Letters, Suspects, & Facts (2021). Retrieved 28 October 2021, from


Reviewing Zodiac (2007)

The Zodiac killer film brings forth a murderous mystery in film form. Switching styles is bringing you everything you wanted or needed to know about the film’s soundtrack in this article Reviewing Zodiac (2007).

“I like killing people because it is so much fun. [from segmented cipher, or coded message, sent to three local newspapers following the 1969 murders of Mike Mageau and Darlene Ferrin.]”

—Zodiac Killer

Introducing The Film as A Film

Zodiac killer is a film about, well, the serial killer. Directed by David Fincher and based upon a screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Zodiac brings a horrifying cold case file to light. Based on the novel by Robert Graysmith, The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr.

Fun Fact: Jake Gyllenhaal was David Fincher’s very first choice for the starring role. If he had declined the role, the second choice was Orlando Bloom.

The film follows the Zodiac killer, a case that’s been described as the most famous unsolved murder case in American history. Hunting in the San Francisco Bay Area between December 1968 and October 1969, the Zodiac killer murdered five victims that we know of. The name Zodiac killer came from the murderer himself. This is what he called himself in a series of letters and cards that he sends to regional newspapers. This was his way of taunting both the public and the police. These letters stopped in 1974. However, in his letters and ciphers, he claimed to have murdered 37 people.

“The Zodiac usually targeted young couples in secluded areas. He used both guns and knives as weapons. On at least one occasion he wore an unusual costume. On two occasions he telephoned the police afterward to report his murders” Tom Voigt, the curator of explains the killer’s M.O. or the modus operandi.

For a film about a serial killer, this was a great film. This specific murder case inspired this critically acclaimed dramatic film Zodiac (2007), and the influential 1971 action film Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood. Despite this film being a fantastic crime drama, it doesn’t bring much authenticity from the case. Voigt explains that “Zodiac” is an entertaining film. However, it’s only about 35% accurate.” For example, Robert Graysmith and Paul Avery were not friends. their amicable relationship was fictionalized for the film.

Reviewing Zodiac (2007) Soundtrack

This Is a film that you’d expect drama, intensity, and horror. One thing you may not expect is a soundtrack that is on fucking point.

Originally, the director wanted the soundtrack to have more of a vintage feel by using popular movies during the nearly three decades of the investigation. Fincher and the music supervisor George Drakoulias explored songs of the era such as Three Dog Night‘s cover of “Easy to Be Hard“.

The starting introduction song, “Easy to Be Hard” by Three Dog Night sets the mood for the film. It’s certainly a poignant first song with the lyrics, how can people be so heartless? How can people be so cruel? Easy to be hard Easy to be cold”.

Adding in music that’s upbeat is chilling. That’s what the soundtrack adds to the film because this isn’t a horror movie. This film isn’t a story about a fictional serial killer like Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees. This is the Zodiac Killer that has killed 7 people within our lifetime. It’s real-life horror.

Final Thoughts: Who Is the Zodiac Killer?

In the end, we’re still left with eh question “Who is the Zodiac Killer?” If you’re like me, then having a story as scary and real as the Zodiac killer, you need closure. That’s what adds to the horror of these killings. There’s no one to hold accountable.

Although they had a suspect in mind, authorities were never able to directly connect him to the crime. That’s what adds to the horror. It’s unsolved. There are many theories and many more questions to this case. It remains an unsolved murder. As of the April of 2004 was closed and remained inactive until March 2007. Though Napa County, Solano County, and the California Department of Justice have maintained an open file on this crime spree.

The Zodiac killer is responsible for the deaths of David Arthur Faraday, Betty Lou Jensen, Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, Cecelia Ann Shepard, Paul Lee Stine that we know of. There are over 30 potential victims of which we aren’t aware. May they rest in peace.

Photo by Aviz from Pexels

Want to know where I got my facts for Reviewing Zodiac (2007)? Check out my citations list below to learn more about the Zodiac Killer.

51 Years Later, Coded Message Attributed to Zodiac Killer Has Been Solved, F.B.I. Says (2021). The New York Times.

Fagan, K (2021). Zodiac ‘340 Cipher’ cracked by code experts 51 years after it was sent to the S.F. Chronicle. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Graysmith, R (1976). Zodiac (1st ed.).

Leah Asmelash and Cheri Mossburg, C (2021). After 51 years, the Zodiac Killer’s cipher has been solved by amateur code breakers. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Sarah Moon and Cheri Mossburg, C (2021). Group claims it has solved the identity of the Zodiac Killer as law enforcement investigates. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Voigt, T (2021). Homepage – ZODIACKILLER.COM. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Wang, H (2021). Half a century later, the Zodiac Killer’s identity is still a mystery. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from (2021). Top 10 Things Zodiac Got Factually Right and Wrong. Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Zodiac Killer (2021). Retrieved 28 October 2021, from

Zodiac killer | History, Murders, Movie, Letters, Suspects, & Facts (2021). Retrieved 28 October 2021, from




Students During Covid – 19; Q&A With Shauna Lee

Students During Covid – 19; Q&A With Shauna Lee is also published on

Students During Covid – 19 have more than just a full load to deal with. Students have a full load when they take on school; exams, studying, assignments, extracurricular. They do all this while balancing a healthy life, and a job. Add in the pandemic, and it’s a whole new story.

Shauna Lee Is an international student travelling from Canada to University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. There she is taking her Ph.D. in Museum Studies.

Although taking a Ph.D. is largely an independent task, her research thesis has been made even more interesting by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

How Did You Decide On Your Major? 

I don’t really have a major. Since my Ph.D. is research-based it’s entirely rooted in my own self-determined field of interest/work, which is museums. I’ve worked for 15 years in the museum sector, so the pursuit of my Ph.D. is just a natural continuation of my learning/career development. My research is rooted in the Archaeology department because that is where the Master’s in Museum Studies programme is based. I approached the department to see if they would be willing to take me on as a researcher and if a member of the faculty would act as my supervisor. I’m pursuing the first to pursue Ph.D. in museum studies within the department. 

Can You Describe A Bit More About Your Research And Your Research Topic? 

My research is rooted in the emerging concept of museum activism. This ultimately has me seeking out examples of the ways in which museums are using their collections, exhibitions, and programmes to inspire, implement and activate positive social change. I’m exploring how museums can become activated themselves as institutions and inspire visitors to take action against things like racism, inequality, human rights abuses, and climate change.

What Drew You To Attend University College Cork In Ireland? 

I did the Master’s in Museum Studies here in 2015-16. I applied to that programme because I had previously lived in Ireland on a working holiday visa in 2013 and I wanted to return to Ireland.

Is Your Program Primarily Online, In Person, Or Mixed? 

My degree is not a taught program, it is research-based. As such, pandemic or not, I wouldn’t be attending in-person classes. I may have chosen an occasional in-person module to enhance my study experience, but I’ve chosen from online options instead. In some ways, I feel this has been preferable as it is less disruptive to my overall workflow.

Please Describe How Your Coursework Is Set Up. 

My research is very much a solitary and self-directed endeavour. As such, I’ve developed an ideal home office space so that I can work at home, something I would have chosen to do pandemic or not. In addition to this, I occasionally meet with my supervisor, present at university conferences and seminars, and lecture for the master’s in museum studies program. All of these things have easily shifted online. I also engage with peer groups of other postgraduate researchers. This has probably been better in the digital space that Covid has allowed to flourish. I think I interact with them more regularly than if we were to occasionally schedule an in-person meetup as would have been typical pre-pandemic.

How Has The Pandemic Impacted Your Learning? 

Ideally, my research would have included a number of research trips to visit museums and evaluate their programs and exhibitions in relation to my research topic. I’ve dealt with the inability to do this by restructuring my research activities and pushing in-person visits to later in my process.

Additionally, I’m focusing more on virtual exhibitions and other online initiatives offered by museums. The pandemic has forced museums to adjust their practice and they are producing a lot of great online content. Finally, I’ve also devoted a significant amount of time to attending online conferences like museum next and the Museums Association. This has allowed me to connect with other museum professionals and keep informed of emerging ideas and projects relevant to my research, and like my academic peer networking, I’ve been able to do more of it than if I were to have to attend conferences in person. As I believe this overview of my activity suggests, the pandemic has not prevented me from being able to pursue my research and make significant progress. 

What Policies Has Your School Put In Place For The Pandemic for it’s students? 

Online instruction, mask-wearing/sanitizing/social distancing protocols, capacity limits/restricted access/pre-booking of campus spaces/services like libraries/computer labs/study hubs.

Do You Think They’re Working? 

I’ve only needed to be on campus five times since September. On those occasions, I observed very few other people, faculty, students or otherwise. This made me feel safe when I did have to go to campus.

Are There Non-Academic Government Policies That Are Impacting Your Learning? 

Yes. My research topic is “Curating Change: A Trans-Atlantic Study of Activism in Museums”. This ultimately has me exploring examples of the ways museums are using their collections, exhibitions, and programmes to inspire, implement, and activate positive social change and take action against things like racism, inequality, human rights abuses, and climate change. Ideally, due to the Trans-Atlantic focus of my research, I’d be conducting research trips to museums in Ireland/Britain and Canada/USA. Nationally imposed travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements during the pandemic have made this kind of international travel impossible at present.

Would You Change Anything About Your Academics?

I think it could have been really exciting to pursue my Ph.D. split between 2 universities. Here in Ireland and maybe somewhere in Canada. This would have allowed me to benefit from double the resources and faculty support. This kind of split-institutional research isn’t entirely unheard of but requires advanced cross-institutional negotiation as the student still needs to be primarily based at one university or the other. It would have been interesting to explore if this would have been a possibility in my case but considering the pandemic it probably would have been hindered by travel restrictions.

How Has The Pandemic Impacted Your Life Outside Of School? 

Yes. I haven’t been able to enjoy the perks of living abroad as much as would like to be. You can imagine that I’d typically be spending my weekends and time off exploring the country and visiting some of my favourite places from previous sojourns to Ireland. I’d also likely be taking advantage of my close proximity to the rest of Europe. Neither of these things has been an option as for much of the pandemic we’ve been under quite severe restrictions, at times even limited to within 5 km of our homes.

Also, if it were not for Covid I would be spending my leisure time in pubs, restaurants, local attractions, and just enjoying the city of Cork. The inability to do this has limited my opportunities to meet people and socialize, an important part of developing a sense of feeling at home while living abroad. Thankfully, I’m living in a rental with four other housemates, so the pandemic restrictions haven’t been completely isolating. Finally, pandemic restrictions prevent me from travelling home to Canada if I so desire.

For example, I was not able to come home for Christmas. I made the best of it though and took advantage of a brief relaxing of restrictions here in Ireland. I rented a car and a cottage on the Dingle Peninsula and enjoyed a wonderful, despite being solitary, Christmas by the seaside.

Has The Pandemic Impacted Your Mental Health? 

A little bit. Mostly in regard to things that are out of my control. Like not being able to readily travel home to Canada if I needed to or when my housemates aren’t being as strict about covid restrictions as I am (not that anyone isn’t taking it seriously, I’m lucky to have great housemates in that sense). Anyway, to cope with this, I focus on the things that are in my control.

For example, to make me feel less stranded I signed up as a Canadian living abroad with the Canadian consulate in Dublin. Even just having them send occasional email updates regarding the Covid situation makes me feel less disconnected. In regard to my housemates, if I’m feeling worried about exposure, I change my behaviour by taking the time to sanitize shared surfaces, wash my hands more, stay in my room more/use the common spaces less. This is an easier approach to making myself feel better than trying to worry too much about what others are doing.

What Advice Do You Have For Other Students? 

1. Stay connected with supervisors/instructors and other academic supports as best you can,

2. Keep to a schedule/routine just like you would in a campus-based environment,

3. Be flexible/creative regarding your work plan/learning process,

4. Embrace the opportunities (like digital research projects or virtual study groups) that you likely wouldn’t have encountered if the usual way of doing things hadn’t been disrupted. 

Here’s the musical element of the students’ experience. Enjoy these remixes for all your studying needs for all students regardless of level.

“Megamix” By Grandmaster Miah

“Henry Salvador – Dans Mon Île” Remix by Froto

“Midnight Drive” by The Bootleg Boy 2

“Positive” Happy Hip Hop Beat Rap Instrumental by Ihaksi

“Beethoven – Für Elise (Klutch Dubstep Trap Remix)” By Dubstepgutter

What Advice do you have for your fellow students during Covid-19?


The Ironic Truth of Ecommerce Students in E-Commerce Remixes

This is a collection of different questions from several ecommerce assignments to deal with commerce, Ecommerce, and economics. Put into an easily digestible form, it is here to help anyone wanting to know more about finances for anything from a study aid to sounding smart at thanksgiving dinner. And E-Commerce Remixes!

Of course, since we’re all about the music. While researching about everything to do with money, all I could think of as a college student writing these words is, “I Ain’t Got No Money”. Every university student will understand that sentiment. Thus, why after these did you know on finances and economics, we are following it up with remixes of “No Money” by Galantis.

How have the internet and e-commerce have impacted the five forces of industry competitiveness?

The internet has allowed businesses to compete in a way they were not able to before.

Differentiation allows e-commerce businesses to make their products unique to their brand. Ecommerce provides a chance for differentiation to be easier to research not only what the competitors are doing but what their customers would like to see from them.

Cost competition allows e-commerce businesses to make their products cheaper than competing brands. Using the internet to source reasonably priced B2B goods, services, and logistics, as well as increasing profits allows them to lower prices while maintaining a profit.

The scope allows e-commerce businesses to compete in global markets without being limited to their geographical location. Due to online and digital marketplaces, businesses can go to their customers.

Focus niche allows e-commerce businesses to make their products appealing to a narrow market segment or product segment. Although different, this is related to both scop and customer intimacy. The company can be available for customers looking for their niche product without having to leave the comfort of their home.

Customer intimacy is when a brand develops a bond or a relationship with the customer. This is greatly improved by the internet due to the different platforms and mediums that the business can engage with the customer and vice versa.

What is one of the key factors in the future of e-commerce?

E-commerce is the combination of commerce, or buying and selling, and the internet. Since the invention of the internet, commerce has had the opportunity to adapt and utilize the internet in new and exciting ways. This holds true for the future as well. The key factors for the future of e-commerce are for it to continue to provide the factors that make it unique. These include ubiquity, global reach, universal standards, richness, interactivity, information density, personalization, and social technology.

What do servers have to do with e-commerce?

Servers are one of the key factors of internet functionality. There are several different types of servers including database server designed for data information access; ad server designed for delivering specific advertisements; mail server designed to provide e-mail support and messages; and video servers designed for providing video clips; and of course, the traditional web server designed for access to webpages. Web servers provide more than just access but also security, file transfers, search engines, and data monitoring.

When an e-commerce business is picking their servers, it is important to get one that is going to provide the best one for not only their business but their management style. When purchasing or utilizing a server, a business owner needs to keep several factors in mind. As well they must make sure to ask themselves the following questions to ensure the server is ideal for them. What is the main purpose of your presence online? Where is the best place to put your effort for the best impact?

How do social media networks support businesses?

Social media has touched every aspect of our lives from announcing births, and milestones to Facebook, to following news on Twitter, to providing memorial social media accounts for loved ones that passed away.

Businesses can use social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Medium, Fetlife, Pinterest, Patreon, and many more to showcase themselves as a brand, and a company.

For example, my blog switching styles utilizes Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Medium, Pinterest, Patreon, Simbi, Google Business, Google Plus, Buy Me A Coffee, Pixabay, Flickr, And Redbubble to connect with my audience both current and potential. I use all of these to drive traffic to my website, as well as promoting myself as a writer and my magazine as a music staple.

How can e-commerce systems be used to streamline a business?

The internet has changed everything it has come into contact with. Ecommerce is an exact example of that observation. The internet has transformed how we interact as a capitalistic system. Simply using management systems such as LMS, CMS, employee portals, direct deposit payments, have revolutionized the interpersonal part of a business. The business side of the strategic planning has benefited from e-commerce by being able to expand to markets they had no feasible way to. For example, e-commerce such as e-transfers, virtual meetings, and emails have limited the need for in-person communications assisting in scheduling, relationship maintenance, and timeliness. Another example is simply e-transactions allowing for simple and convenient payment for both the retailer and the customer.

Macbook Photo by Hasantas
What is important for creating an e-commerce site?

Three main aspects are important: analysis, design, and implementation.

  • Analysis is taking stock and data of the website to analyze and summarize both what the e-commerce site is doing and what it needs to do. Take my blog, for example, I utilize google analytics as well as the statistics gathered by WordPress to analyze the frequency of views, where they are from, how many pages they looked at, what link they clicked and so much more.
  • Design is about the structure of the site both logistically and aesthetically. This is the bulk of the work as it is the actual creation of the website. Continuing with, this site is designed as a blog site with e-commerce attached to it. Thus, the logistics and aesthetics favour the content of the products.
  • Implementation is when it is put into action and made a functionally live site. Once it is launched or published, it takes continual maintenance to ensure consistency, accuracy, ease of access, and up-to-date correct information.

All of this combines to create an e-commerce site that serves both its function and its users the best it can. The best practice is to utilize and optimize all of these elements.

How do mobile pages differ from web pages? Why does it matter?

Mobile web pages and traditional webpages essentially serve the same function; to share information with the viewer. They both contain a combination of videos, images, and text created in a certain way to encourage sales primarily but also social media engagement, user-created content, data analysis for digital marketing, and so much more. Users use their cellphones and computers for similar purposes, thus there needs to be a website accessible to both. However, the way that people interact with websites on either device is different.

However, they differ in the type of device they are created for. A mobile web page is designed to be around 5 to 6 inches. On the other hand, computer screens range from 13 to 43 inches and can increase beyond 84 inches when a television is used for a monitor. That is a huge difference with no overlap. Next because of the type of device, it is used differently. Users are more likely to look for quick information on their phone and longer research on a computer. For both of those reasons, content is altered to fit the specific devices properly.

What are the benefits and concerns of cloud computing for e-commerce?

Cloud computing makes e-commerce simpler, faster, and more flexible. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services such as servers, mail, networks, software, file transfer, analytics, data and so much more being sent via the internet making everything faster. This increases efficiency, overall productivity, and thus more profits.

However, one of the biggest concerns is data security. This is a big issue that has been in the news and media lately due to the climbing infrastructure of e-commerce.

What security threats could mobile technology pose to businesses?

Mobile commerce sites and apps have become the hit technology in the modern economy because of their increased relevancy and use. Companies should be taking advantage of this by integrating and adopting new advancements to stay relevant and accessible via mobile.

However, advances in technology are innovative but so are the security threats. Any of the apps you utilize for convenience such as banking apps, communication apps, apps that let you access files on other servers, mobile wallets, connected cars and so on can be hacked into, and accessed without permission. This can lead to an invasion of privacy at best and financial fraud and identity theft at worst.

What are the key security technologies for modern communication systems?

Communication systems need a layer of technology as the system itself provides access to an individual and thus they need to be protected to ensure that only approved people can access the individual and their information.

Some of those key technologies for communication system security include the following.

  • Authentication procedures – its role is to ensure the identity of the sender to avoid a form of mistaken identity.
  • Encryption -this role ensures that the transmission of information is sent safely and properly.
  • Network security protocols – this security provides protocols for who or what is allowed within a network.
  • Virtual private networks – this security technology is otherwise known as a VPN, establishes a secure connection when using public networks and thus designs your online identity.
  • Firewalls – these are additional programs that allow only specific programs, and messages access to a device.
  • Proxy servers – these are a kind of gateway similar to firewalls that act as an intermediary between you as the end-user and the websites on the internet
  • Intrusion detection and prevention – this form of security is programs or settings in place to detect and prevent intrusion.
  • Automated software updates -software operators such as apple, android, windows, ubuntu have an option to automatically update their products to ensure the elimination of bugs and code vulnerabilities.
  • Anti-virus software -antivirus software such as McAfee, Avira, antivirus, and many more provide a layer of security to avoid viruses, malware, and trojans from infecting the technology.
  • Access controls – only the intended person should have access to controlling settings and information on the device. This puts it very clear who has authority and access.
What is the difference between symmetric key encryptions and public key encryptions?

Encryption, in general, is a way to keep information secure both in terms of the security to store and transmit the information. It can provide most of the safety dimensions including message integrity (providing an unaltered message); nonrepudiation (provides proof as to the sender of the message); authentication (ensures the identity of the sender); confidentiality (assures that the message isn’t read by anyone else than the intended recipient.

Symmetric key encryption is a form of encryption. Both the sender and receiver use the same key for both encrypting and decrypting the message that they trade externally to the information being sent. Public-key encryption or asymmetric encryption is a kind of encryption that uses mathematically related keys. There is a public key and a private key one is open to the public. The latter is kept secret by the owner to determine who has access to the information.

With the current trends of globalization and e-commerce technical advancements, what is the process of analyzing ethical concerns?

Ethics are such a diverse topic, that there is an ethical component to every industry within current society. Technology and communication services are no different. Below is the process for ethical dilemmas analysis.

  1. Identify and clearly describe the facts surrounding the dilemma.
  2. Define the dilemma and identify the higher-order values that are involved.
  3. Identify those that have an interest in the outcome and their motives
  4. Identify all of the reasonable options
  5. Identify all possible and potential consequences of each option.

With all of this analysis, it provides a holistic approach to the specific dilemma. E-commerce and the internet specifically have raised several ethical dilemmas such as privacy, security, individualism, profit, and copyright.


Buchwitz, G.A.P.T.K.V.T.L. A. (2016). Marketing: An Introduction, Sixth Canadian Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from

Below are some E-Commerce Remixes for all you studying students.

“No Money” Remix by T-Mass. Check it out on SoundCloud!

“No Money” Remix by B-Sides Remix. Check it out on SoundCloud!

“No Money” Remix by Dillon Francis. Check it out on Spotify!

“No Money” Remix by B3nte. Check it out on SoundCloud!

“No Money” Remix by Branwell. Check it out on SoundCloud!

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Music E-Waste

“Music E-Waste” Guest Written by Barbara Joens, Climate Reality Leader and Unity College Student.

Modern technology has made listening to music easier than ever before. In 1982, the first CD player was released, followed by the first version of the iPod in 2001. In recent times, it has become a common practice to use smartphones to listen to the radio or a music service, something that 87% of 18 to 29-year-olds in the United States were reported as having done in 2016 (Anderson, 2016).

Technology continues to advance, which benefits music lovers by providing them with more convenient ways to enjoy their favourite artists and songs. However, it is evident that as technology advances, old technology frequently gets left behind. Many music listeners are drawn to new technology for a number of reasons. New devices come with convenient features that old devices do not have, which makes them more attractive to purchase.

Apple is a tech company constantly releasing upgraded products with improvements.

Continuing to move on to the latest music-playing devices means producing more electronic waste. Electronic waste, or “e-waste,” is becoming an increasingly serious problem. E-waste is all electronic devices and accessories that are unwanted, outdated, or no longer usable. As people move on to the latest music players, an excessive amount of e-waste is produced. Unfortunately, only 10% of e-waste gets recycled throughout the globe (Recycle Coach, 2019).

While many people think that only large devices pose a problem, the accessories you use to listen to music may be contributing to e-waste as well. People throw out small accessories, such as headphones that no longer work properly. Headphones are easily replaceable, so people often do not think twice about throwing out an old pair that no longer work. Large devices, such as music players and smartphones, have increasingly shorter lifespans. If electronics were made to last longer and be more durable, there would be less e-waste. In addition, aggressive advertising is able to persuade people to want the latest and coolest things. This is particularly true for ads targeting young people.

A broken pair of headphones to be thrown out as photographed by Markus Kniebes

So, why is it a big deal if you improperly dispose of your outdated music players or broken headphones? The 90% of e-waste that does not get recycled ends up posing various risks to the environment and human health. Old electronics contain chemicals that can be harmful to humans, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium (Recycle Coach, 2019). These chemicals end up polluting the environment. The illegal exportation of e-waste to foreign countries is also a common practice. People try to recover valuable materials from the e-waste, which exposes them to chemicals and can cause negative health effects from the exposure.

Even the smallest choices can make a difference for the better.
What can we do to prevent our music purchases from becoming e-waste?
  • Invest in good music products.
    Be sure to do research in advance to so that your next purchase of an item will have the features that you want. This will help avoid being tempted to buy new products, and adding your old products to e-waste.
  • Treat your music accessories with care.
    Wireless ear buds are easy to lose. If they become lost in a public area, the finder will most likely discard them instead of taking the extra steps to recycle them. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure to keep your wireless earbuds and other small accessories in an appropriate case. This can also prevent your accessories from getting damaged. With headphones that have a cord, wrap the cord in a way similar to how it arrived in the original packaging, and secure it with an elastic band. This will prevent damage to the headphones that result from tangling and pulling.
  • Properly recycle any unwanted music devices.
    Recycling your old CD players and iPods is much more sustainable than allowing them to end up as e-waste. Check out recycling facilities in your area and see if they accept unwanted music devices. If not, instead of just throwing them in the garbage and having them end up damaging the environment, consider the possibility of giving them to friends or family members. There are also some manufacturers that have trade-in policies. Call the store that sold you the device and ask if this is an option.

Together, we can continue to enjoy music in a sustainable manner.

Listen responsibly. Listen sustainable.

Anderson, M. (2016, January 29). More Americans using smartphones for getting directions, streaming TV. Pew Research Center.
Recycle Coach. (2019, October 4). An intro to E-wastE: Why it’s a problem.

Switching styles

Losing The Journalistic Voice in A Crowd of Voices; The Ideas of Political Coverage in Today’s Press of Walter Pincus and Other Writers

Essay Written by Dylanna Fisher

“At a time when it is most needed, the media, and particularly newspapers, have lost their voice” (Pincus, 2009). Journalists boast their objectivity, fairness and coverage. However, as suggested by Walter Pincus, today’s journalism has become about neutrality instead of equality and can be mended by more substantial political coverage (Pincus, 2009).

Though, some may disagree with him, claiming that today’s journalism would not be able to appropriately bear the responsibilities that come with the increase of political coverage. Pincus explores the idea that political controversy has a place within the media, that the press shouldn’t be coy about politics (David, 2006). Though I and several others agree with Pincus’s issues, there are other issues that need solutions in order to make political coverage more applicable.

Walter Pincus worked for The Washington Post since 1966 reporting on such political topics as intelligence, defence, national security, foreign policy, the pentagon, and congressmen (David, 2006). The press’ purpose is to be a counterbalance of the government, by having government cover, being a watchdog, and showcasing political events. Pincus disagrees with the way that the press covers politics today, claiming that truth is the most important goal, while neutrality degrades citizens’ rights and countries’ democracy (Rosen, 2008).

Unfortunately, mainstream media wants only to be neutral, to stay simple, to portray the two conflicting sides and only those two sides can take part (Pincus, 2009). This only works to keep politics in something like the academic ivory tower. Pincus attributes the distress of the press to the idea that “editors have paid more attention to what gains them prestige among their journalistic peers than on subjects more related to the everyday lives of readers” (Pincus, 2009). Punic claims that being passive in political coverage only leads the press to sacrifice importance, relevance and sometimes accuracy (Pincus, 2009).

Another issue is that journalists aren’t able to gain expertise in one specific topic of journalism like politics, environment, healthcare, education, and so on (Pincus, 2009). Instead, they have shifted around while resources are reallocated, and expertise is limited (Pincus, 2009). As a result, the press has turned into more of a public relations machine that covers events where the information is merely given to them such as press conferences, speeches, or spokesmen comments. In this age, there needs to be a different kind of courage, one that encourages journalists to do more than summarize what’s being said from political advertisements (Pincus, 2006). Punic states, “I certainly hope that as witnesses to wars, civil-rights riots, peace marches, famines, and terrorist events these past decades, we all have developed opinions which at times we may discuss or even argue about—or we just are not human” (Pincus, 2009).

Joan Didion claims that disunity has resulted in what she calls the process (Didion, 1988). This process is not about the democratic process or even democracy at all, it highlights journalism and its issues (Didion, 1988). Rather, it’s the reverse, “a mechanism seen as so specialized that access to it is correctly limited … to that handful of insiders who invent, year in and year out, the narrative of public life (Didion, 1988, p. 2). Through her writings, Didion explores the issues and injustices of the mainstream media.

Lawrence martin believes that newspapers have lost their originality, independence as well as some of their legitimacy (Martin, 2009). When asked about the current state of Canadian political writing, Martin responds with little faith in it (Martin, 2010). He answers, “The state of political writing is weak. There are many good journalists in Ottawa, but media proprietors are not making big enough investments to support real investigative journalism, which we require. Nor are journalists independent enough” (Martin, 2010). Journalism, as it stands today, depends too highly on the money of corporations (Martin, 2009). He writes that “Journalism, chiefly south of the border, didn’t put up much of a challenge to the moneyed men before they climbed aboard their golden runaway trains “(Martin, 2009). His hopes are that eventually there will be” a journalism that is tougher, less knee-jerk, less beholden to elites, more beholden to the truth” (Martin, 2009).

Daniel Boorstin considers political coverage to be less about covering events as it is repeating what the political figures want us to say (Boorstin, 1964). These pseudo-events are filling up newspapers and are not allowing the audience to get enough viable information. The media wanted things to be quick and upbeat meaning that snappy questions replaced longer more insightful questions, leaving the voter “to judge not on issues explored by thoughtful men, but on the relative capacity of the two candidates to perform under television stress” (Boorstin, 1964, p.43). Boorstin expands on this idea, that the platform of a politician has come to matter less than the political and even personal image (Boorstin, 1964). Unfortunately, “We have become so accustomed to our illusions that we mistake them for reality” (Boorstin, 1964).

Andrew Coyne believes that although each election differs, the media coverage is always the same and is always an embarrassment (Coyne, 2016). This is partly because of the tabloid-type news stories but also because of the serious news (Coyne, 2016). “We aren’t just missing an opportunity to help the public make sense of things at a critical time. We’re making things worse. We’re actually getting in the way.” (Coyne, 2016, p. 1).

He writes that people want to know who’s running and what they intend to do when they get there (Coyne, 2016). Instead, journalists tell them who’s ahead and who’s behind again and again, “of the candidates on TV, we ask them why they’re behind — over and over and over, apparently in the hope that if we keep at it long enough, we might make them cry” (Coyne, 2016, p. 2). The media doesn’t cover the platforms but instead covers the campaign, the tactics (Coyne, 2016). As Pincus suggests it’s become an arena sport (Pincus 2009; Coyne, 2016).

Mark Bowden writes that instead of gathering information or stories, journalists are just looking for “ammunition” or mere content (Bowden, 2009). He uses the 2012 American election as an example, “I flipped to MSNBC, and lo! … they had the exact same two clips. I flipped to CNN… same clips. CBS… same clips. ABC… same clips” (Bowden, 2009, p. 3). These clips all provided by political activists, repeated on several channels (Bowden, 2009). The journalism work is being done more and more by political figures, or public relations operatives, with the goal to win instead of educating the public (Bowden, 2009). Pincus brings up a great argument against the neutrality of political journalism. In order to improve on the various political issues within a country, like corruption, ignorance, low voter turnout there needs to be more depth and transparency in political reporting.

All of the discussed writers believe that there are problems with the way that politics are covered.

The first and most prominent issue is that news is being constructed rather than discovered (Boorstin, 1964; Pincus, 2006; Didion, Bowden). Punic and Boorstin agree that news has become more about public relations and republishing the ideas of state officials, apparent experts than the actual truth (Boorstin, 1964; Pincus, 2009). Bowden writes that this kind of repetition across the news channels, “has largely replaced the work of on-the-scene reporters during political campaigns, which have become, in a sense, perpetual” (Bowden, 2009, p. 3).

Didion agrees that the political content in newspapers is not only recycled but fake pseudo-events as Boorstin suggests (Didion, 1988; Boorstin 1964). Didion writes that “This perfect recycling tended to present itself, in the narcosis of the event, as a model for the rest,” that once the story is over everything just disappears (Didion, 1988, p. 17).

Another issue is the amount of disengagement from the public (Pincus, 2009; Didion, 1988; Bowden, 2009). Pincus writes that the press treats political, “as if they were refereeing a game in which only the players – the government or its opponents – can participate” (Pincus 2009). Didion expands upon this idea where in the journalistic process one is either on the inside or not at all. (Didion, 1988). Add to this the fragmentation of news on television and the internet, People are more likely to listen to what they already think (Bowden, 2009). If they disagree, then they disengage.

Then corporate ownership is another issue, with so much media ownership being controlled by such a limited number of corporations, journalists cannot help but be a reflection of the people who sign their paychecks (Martin, 2009; Bowden, 2009; Coyne, 2016).

Coyne claims that journalists are just manipulators that are paid to slant the truth to benefit their clients (Coyne, 2016). Bowden writes, “Journalism, done right, is enormously powerful precisely because it does not seek power. It seeks truth. Those who forsake it to shill for a product or a candidate or a party or an ideology diminish their own power. They are missing the most joyful part of the job” (Bowden, 2009, p. 11).

There are numerous issues with the relationship between politics and journalism, that make an improvement in its coverage difficult. In order to have a functional and democratic press, there need to be adjustments to the current model of journalism. Specifically, changes regarding quality content, functioning finances, and broader access. In a free press, there shouldn’t need to be a question of if journalists should publish a story. Journalism needs to find its voice before neutrality is the only option.


Boorstin, D. (1964). The image (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row.

Bowden, M. (2009). The Story Behind the Story. The Atlantic304(3), 46-54. Retrieved from

Coyne, A. (2016). How journalists get in the way of the election. Macleans121(38). Retrieved from

David, G. (2006). The Optimist. Columbia Journalism Review44(6), pg. 38 – 44. Retrieved from

Didion, J. (1988). Insider Baseball. The New York Review of Books. Retrieved from

Martin, L. (2009). To save journalism, bring on that Jon Stewart outrage. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from

Martin, L. (2010). Lawrence Martin – Authors – Best Political Books – What We Do – Retrieved 7 December 2016, from

Pew Research Center, (2016). Majority of U.S. adults think news media should not add interpretation to the facts. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Pincus, W. (2006). Fighting back against the PR presidency. NiemanWatchdog. Retrieved from

Pincus, W. (2009). Newspaper Narcissism. Columbia Journalism Review48(1), p54-57.

Rosen, J. (2008). Getting the Politics of the Press Right: Walter Pincus Rips into Newsroom Neutrality. PressThink. Retrieved from


Why I write the way I write; An opinion piece on literary Journalism

Essay by Dylanna Fisher

Journalism: it is a world of finding the truth and providing the truth. As a journalist myself, I always had an image of journalists that were more of a Hollywood stereotype. A no-nonsense man in a brown suit providing the facts without the flair, without drama; just the cold hard truth. He works in a busy newsroom full of smoke and telephones ringing. Everyone is talking. The man is talking on the phone busily typing up notes before rushing out the door with his jacket to ask the hard questions. There’s no room for flair or drama in the newsroom because that’s not hard-hitting news. That’s a kind of idealized professionalism that I attributed to journalism – and accurately at that.

There’s almost a science to writing a news article. Writing starts with a lede, something to give the facts right there right away. Each paragraph is written in order of importance until the last one. The final paragraph is the one that’s there for future thought as a reward dedicated to readers who stay to the end. Though not every reader gets down to reading. Then quotes are used sparingly and only the strong ones make it in. A good quote is a quote that you couldn’t paraphrase better. Overall, keep it simple and straightforward.

That’s the basic idea behind journalistic writing in a watered-down version. It provides the facts with a little flavour, like a dash of salt and pepper. That’s respectable journalism in its purest form, as considered by people that consider objective reporting vital to the craft. They’re right about objectivity and authenticity being a vital role in any journalist’s morals. The science behind journalism is what’s taught, what’s deemed as journalistic writing, separating it from other forms of the written word.

Hartsock writes that professionalism in a journalist’s work is determined by the means of their livelihood’s production, “The work of journalism has been dismissed as literature not on its merits but because of what journalists do for a living as determined by their means of production.” Essentially, journalists are professionals because they write for a newspaper or a magazine, rather than a novel.

There was a kind of professionalism to the average journalist that made the work respectable, which allowed it to be different from other forms of writing. There was a fine line between feature writers and “scoop” writers as Tom Wolfe describes them in terms of their style and subject of writing and beyond that. Feature writers were more able to have a style outside that of a hard-hitting scoop reporter. Feature writers threw out the rule book on a kind of scientific look at writing as a journalist. There is still a cut and dried lede in a feature as in an article, but it’s nearly hidden as a nut graf.

Literary Journalism

Photo by Wallace Chuck on

Feature writers first separated themselves from hard-hitting news by writing “human interest stories,” as Wolfe describes them, which were “long and often hideously sentimental accounts of hitherto unknown souls beset by tragedy or unusual hobbies within the sheet’s circulation area… In any case, feature stories gave a man a certain amount of room in which to write.”

Literary journalism is a kind of journalism that has that flair, that exact flair that isn’t in the idyllic movie setting of a newsroom. It’s more along the lines of novelists. Literary journalism takes the scientific and traditional method of writing a news article and uses it as a bookmark for fiction novels by Bram Stoker, and Mark Twain, and Margaret Atwood.

Novels were outside the realm of journalism; outside the realm of even feature writing. They were considered artistic, dramatic, wholly subjective, and thus in their own realm of writing. As Wolfe explains, when journalists wanted to adopt this style of writing, they would quit their jobs and become novelists.

“The idea was to get a job on a newspaper, keep body and soul together, pay the rent, to know ‘the world’ accumulate ‘experience,’ perhaps work some of the fat off your style—then, at some point, quit cold, say goodbye to journalism, move into a shack somewhere, work night and day for months and light up the sky with final triumph. The final triumph was known as The Novel,” Wolfe writes. This is how novels were viewed as being above journalism. This created the impression that reporting was a stepping-stone to becoming an author; to making it in the literary world. Interestingly enough, it was that professionalism that encouraged journalists to emerge beyond this kind of hard-hitting journalism, as they could expand into higher literary worlds.  That’s where literary journalism comes in, as well as the debate surrounding it.

The Debate of Literary Journalism

There’s quite a lot of debate on what is literary journalism and if it exists. It doesn’t. Not as its own genre of writing does it exist. It is not its own genre of journalism because its definition is much too broad for that. It’s a style of writing that expands throughout journalism. It can be a journalistic nonfiction novel such as Joan Didion’s non-fiction books (She has written several novels; as well as several memoirs and works of literary journalism).

Furthermore, it can be a one-person profile reading like a novel, as in Barbara Goldsmith’s work.  It can be a nonfiction creative article in the terms of Richard Harding Davis or Stephen Crane. Literary journalism is a style of writing that takes the stylistic readability and audience enthrallment of a novel to give you something with credible real-world substance. One is called a literary journalist not because they write literary journalism but because they write journalism that is stylistically literary.

Hartsock explains that literary journalism is a style all its own. The content is gathered in the same way as typical hard-hitting news with reporting, research, and interviewing. But the story is written in a more artistic style.  

“If narrative literary journalism is permitted to be dismissed based on the professional class of the people who engage in it, then it can be conveniently lumped into a broader category of literary nonfiction. The result is that it can continue to be overlooked and ignored. In effect, one can’t tell the trees from the forest. The danger of course is that this form would continue to be lost in the critical forest.” Literary journalism is not the same as other forms of nonfiction novel-like writing because it is inherently journalistic.

Furthermore, literary journalism is a kind of marriage between novel-writing and journalistic writing. The authors include everything that makes an article credible (the research, reporting, interviewing, editing, fact-checking, objectivity) and combine it with everything that makes a novel fun to read (style, dialogue, scene-setting, literary devices, creativity, descriptions). There are literary devices that enthrall an audience that wasn’t typically used in journalism with the worry of being too artsy or not artsy enough and ending up being tacky, Simile, personification, understatement, irony, dialogue, dialect, anthropomorphism, metaphor, digression. People like stories, stories are enthralling and captivating. That’s why religion teaches morality through stories. That’s the reason children’s books have an overt message behind them. This is the exact reason many novels have messages to them. People like stories and that’s what literary journalism delivers.

This style of journalism began with the adoption of literary devices into journalistic articles, the advancement of professionalism within journalism, and the connection between the journalistic craft and the craft or art of literature. It didn’t change the craft of journalism, but merely added a new opportunity for stylistic choice among already diverse writers. It has a feeling of art to it, which wasn’t how journalism was originally defined. When literary journalism came along, it was contrasted to objective reporting and, for a lack of better phrasing, traditional hard-hitting writing. It wasn’t respected because of that direct comparison.

Literary journalism has been seen as less respectable than ‘typical news’ because it’s stylish. Art isn’t credible. Art is subjective; news is objective, the news is credible. There’s a fine line and many people argue about where literacy journalism sits. That debate creates a shadow of a doubt on literary journalists and their writing.

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What’s the difference between a fiction novel and a news article?

A fiction novel or even a nonfiction novel mainly creates its content in the mind, from research, life experience and emotions of its writer. The second deals with verifiable facts gathered with precision, fully researched, with sources. Journalists write them to share about the world, to provide information and context for the world around their audience.

Now, what’s the difference between literary journalism and fiction?

The answer is the same as the one above. Wolfe writes, “really stylish reporting was something no one knew how to deal with, since no one was used to thinking of reporting as having an esthetic dimension.”

Silence or Shouting or Singing: Canadian Censorship as Contrasted by The Moral Philosophies of Kantian And Utilitarian Ethics

Canadian Censorship

Censorship is the act of limiting expression in any media for reasons from individual safety, and corruption, to national security, and propaganda. Typically, and ideally, censorship is a way to protect people from other’s expressions. For example, there are reasonable limits to expression, “incitement to violence is never protected, there must be legal redress available for libel and slander, and governments may take certain legally prescribed measures to limit speech to safeguard national security” (Simon, 2015). Canada’s censorship laws are a legal balance between citizen’s rights and security. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures citizens the right to express themselves (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982).

Canadians can share what they think, believe, or feel in nearly any form of expression while being subjected to reasonable limits “prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982). Canadian censorship emphasizes a balance among liberties of individuals as well the society. Censorship is a complex moral issue since it has legitimate arguments on either end.

Context of Censorship in The Canadian Music Industry

Censorship does impact the music industry in terms of content, and lyrics. However, it’s a lot more subjective as an art form. Censoring music stems from a range of motivations including moral, political, and religious reasons. Within Canada, musical censorship is largely self-regulated with an overarching organization dealing with substantial cases and complaints from the public. Canadian music content is self-regulated by each creator, organization, or station as they follow the code of ethics of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters which limits the content of the music. These guidelines prohibit the radio broadcast of excessive profanity, sexually explicit material, and glorifying violence. In more substantial cases, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) can get involved (CRTC, 2020).

One case was brought to the Atlantic panel of the CBSC where CHOZ-FM aired the original version of “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits (Derek, 2017). In it, the homophobic slur “Faggot” was used. Although it is a homophobic slur typically used as a hateful insult, a national panel of the CBSC ruled that its use was intended to be satirical and not hateful (Derek, 2017).

Another case through the CBSC involved “The Bad Touch” by Bloodhound Gang in 2001, due to its sexual innuendo (Purse, 2011). There is a lot of subtle sexual connotations in its lyrics including the lines, “Love, the kind you clean up with a mop and bucket / Like the lost catacombs of Egypt. Only God knows where we stuck it / Hieroglyphics? Let me be Pacific, I wanna be down in your South Seas” (Bloodhound Gang, 1999). As with many of their songs, the subtle sexual innuendo is very prevalent. The council found that although “the song makes several references to sexuality; the Council is of the view that such references consist mainly of innuendo. The song playfully alludes to the sexual fantasies of the songwriter without explicitly describing them” (CBSC, 2000).

The main aspect of Canadian music censorship is self-regulation. Radio stations are often the most common avenue when people consider music censorship as the name coined for a ‘clean’ version of a song is a radio version. Radio versions and clean versions are a version of an original song without any profane words or topics. For example, Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” often has the ‘Fuck’ muted or the song itself is replaced with the version of “Forget You”.  These versions exist because of the range of audiences that those stations have. Censoring the content of their music provides the positive consequence of having more opportunities to be aired or played because they’re family-friendly.

Photo by Skylar Kang on

Record labels and production companies each have their own guidelines beyond the national guidelines. Warner Bros. Records have withheld albums because of their content. Both Ice – T and Paris had gangster rap albums withheld due to content concerns (Complex, 1992). However, after moving their acts to a different record label, there were no concerns over the content.

Those past cases show that censorship can and is rather subjective within music as many of those topics that are typically censored are used as satire or an explanation. In many cases, the issues resulting from a lack of censorship are also self-regulated. The CBSC held that “most questions of potentially unpalatable material, amount to questions of taste, and, in such cases, should be left to the listener’s discretion to listen to or turn off” (CBSC, 2000).

Kant And Censorship

What is Kantian Ethics?

Kant aims to seek out and establish the supreme principle of morality, one that’s absolute and universal (Kant, 2012). According to Kant, Rationality, autonomy and dignity make humans different and thus should be the basis for moral actions. Kant separates actions into the morally worthy from morally correct, as he doesn’t want morality to happen by mere circumstance. “An action done from duty has its moral worth, not in the purpose to be attained by it, but in the maxim, according to with which it is decided upon” (Kant, & Paton, 2009). A Morally correct action is simply considered moral. Morally worthy deeds are unconditional, intrinsic, and driven by duty as opposed to reward or bias.

What are Morally Worthy Actions?

To determine if an action is morally worthy, Kant provides a categorical imperative consisting of three rules in which pure reason develops morality. Kant’s foremost rule is to “act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction” (Kant, & Paton, 2009).

The first part requires for any moral action should be done consistently by everyone by universalizing the action. Hypothetically, if everyone in the world did it, logically could one still commit the act? When it’s not possible to commit the act, there is a logical contradiction. When there is a logical contradiction, the action proves to be immoral and thus the opposite of it provides a perfect duty. If there is no logical contradiction, and no contradiction of the will, the action is considered moral and provides a perfect duty.

The next part is to question whether there is a contradiction of will, by asking whether people would want to live in this world or not. His results are one of two things a perfect duty in which there is no contradiction of will or an imperfect duty where the world isn’t ideal to live in. An imperfect duty is one that is moral but not applicable all the time.

Kant’s second rule is “act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end” (Kant, & Paton, 2009). Humans are intrinsically valuable and are means within themselves. Thus, they shouldn’t be used as an instrument without informed consent. Kant’s third rule is “every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends” (Kant, & Paton, 2009). This rule is similar to the first rule, but it expands the maxim to the entirety of the moral community. It says people should only act on maxims that the entire community can agree with.

Kant’s Thoughts on Censorship

In terms of Kantian ethics, consider the action of censoring an expression to protect society from negative, hateful, and dangerous ideas. If it were to be universalized, then everything that was discussed would become docile, beneficial and thus not require censorship. Thus, censoring everything is not logical because of the action’s inconsistency. When reversed to test it, the action becomes censoring nothing at all. When that is universalized everyone would be able to freely speak and it has no logical contradiction. Thus, a lack of censorship is a perfect duty. There isn’t a contradiction of will, as this would provide a liberal society. Individuals would have the autonomy of their thoughts and opinions. The second imperative applies if and how the action is using people as means.

Limiting individual expression halts people from being means unto and for themselves. While censored, they’d be unable to express their opinions and ideas. These expressions are extensions of the self. To limit them is to limit the individual. The third imperative brings up the idea of the rest of society. Censoring nothing allows for complete individual autonomy of thoughts, ideas and opinions. Regarding Kantian ethics, censorship is deemed immoral as the lack of it is a perfect duty.

Utilitarianism and Censorship

Utilitarianism’s goal is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. As pleasure is a human’s natural inclination, it is the only thing that is intrinsically good. Thus, reason implores the morally right act is that which maximizes human happiness for everyone involved even to the detriment of individual autonomy.

What is Utilitarianism?

Utilitarianism was accused of being the morality of pigs because it’s based on pleasures. However, pleasure is defined as not mere physical pleasure but happiness. Bentham is open and claims that different people and cultures have different pleasures. Mill argues that there is a hierarchy of pleasure resulting in two types of pleasure – higher and lower pleasures. Higher pleasures are active, ennobling, satisfying, and enduring, while lower pleasures are passive, fleeting, basic, momentarily satisfying, and simple. To decide if something is moral, utilitarianism measure and compare pleasure and pain, by applying the principle of unity. The principle of unity is to seek the greatest good for the greatest number of people by factoring any relevant impartial aspect into the equation.

Utilitarianism‘s thoughts on Censorship

In terms of censorship, utilitarianism aims to benefit as many people as is possible. Mill’s states that generally censorship doesn’t benefit the whole group (Doyle, 2001). The lack of it allows a benefit to society, “If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error” (Mill, 2010, p. 142). This means that the information that is expressed has some inherent worth even it’s originally misinformation. It is used to further educate the masses.

Furthermore, Mill writes in his book On Liberty, “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind” (Mill, 2010, p. 18). Mill believes there is no justification in silencing an opinion because robs people of another viewpoint especially those that disagree with the silenced ideas.

However, Mill does understand that there can be some issues with a lack of censorship. There are some problems with the initial idea for censorship as its absence can cause harm to members of society in the current world (Doyle, 2001). Thus, Mill suggests that the harm principle is applied instead of overarching government legislation.

Mill’s harm principle is described as. “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others” (Mill, 2010, p. 193). The first aspect is that the only harm to be considered relevant are social harms. This makes harm to the opinion holder irrelevant. Second, everyone should aim to have a maximum tolerance for opinions that differ from theirs, or from that of the majority.

Mill urges that the censorship shouldn’t be too imposing, as there is a “peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion, that it is robbing the human race.” (Mill, 2010, p. 142). According to the utilitarian views of Mill, Censorship is useful if only to limit harmful opinions.

Comparison of Moral Ethics and Censorship

Kantian and utilitarian ethics typically disagree within their theories. The two theorists agree in terms of the benefit of free speech but differ in their ideas of when free speech should be limited. Kant’s categorical imperative showed a lack of censorship is moral as it doesn’t have a logical contradiction or a contradiction of will. Mill’s principle of unity seemed to agree with Kant on this example initially. Mill states that censoring opinions limits the freedom and benefit to the public. Though, Mill admits, that self-regulation is required. Utilitarian report that censorship does have a use although limited. Mill provides the harm principle a guide to self-regulation.

Overall, although their perspectives are very similar, utilitarianism provides a better analysis of the use of censorship. It’s more realistic for the times. The era of instant and mass communication requires a sort of safety net against expressive crimes such as hate speech, stereotyping, discrimination, and exploiting dangerous secrets. Moreover, the harm principle is simple and accessible in its application since it meant for the public to regulate themselves instead of an institute telling the public what is inappropriate. This approach is also more holistic. It provides for subtle differences such as culture, or age. As well, it’s varied enough to be used through various cases in varying degrees of consequence and circumstance. Censorship is controversial because it requires a balance between individual autonomy and the benefit of the entire group.

Photo by cottonbro on


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Mill, J. (2010). On Liberty (1st Ed.). Boston:

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Rolling Stones (2015) “Violent J Gives the Twisted Stories Behind ICP’s Best LPs”. Rolling Stone. February 13, 2015.

Rolling Stone. “Canada Lifts Ban on Dire Straits’ ‘Money for Nothing'”. Rolling Stone.

Simon, J. (2015). The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom (1st ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.

Stanbury, R., Fockler, P., Hogarth, M., Whiting, S. and Ziniak, M., 2000. CIGL-FM Re A Song Entitled “The Bad Touch”. [online] CBSC. Available at: <>


Galaxy of Covers; A Deeper Look with the Creators

Galaxy of Covers is an innovative digital visualization project looking at a list of 50 songs and their covers. A team from Interactive Things worked on this project bringing their ideas and visions to life.

The Team

Here are all of the people that combined their skills and talents to create the Galaxy of Covers data visualization project.

Benjamin Wiederkehr

Benjamin is a Swiss interaction designer based in Brooklyn. He fulfills a lot of roles within the field of design and data visualization; He’s the co-founder and director of Interactive Things as well as an editor at Data Visualization.

Combining design and technology he brings information to people in a way that is creative and simplified for his audience.

Though his work doesn’t stop there. He has a large and collective resume. He’s written several published works relating to data visualization, and creative innovation, as well as lectured at the Zurich University for the arts and the Bern University of the arts, and organized hacker meetups.

Jan Wächter

Jan is a designer that specializes in interfaces and interactive data.

“As with cooking, great products are the result of carefully choosing the best ingredients, skillfully preparing them and fusing it all together with a lot of care and empathy”, he explains in his employee bio on Interactive Things.

Many of his projects showcase his ability to create complex and interactive data visualizations in a way that people will understand and engage with. As a senior for interactive and interface designer at Interactive Things, he takes the information and transforms them into a user friendly and dynamic experience. His portfolio include projects for Ava, Biovotion, Swisscom, the Swiss Government and UNESCO.

Mark Hintz

Mark’s expertise in software engineering allows him to bring forth the ideas and designs beautifully and logistically. His creation of stunning visuals, interactive applications and installations means every project is beautifully put together in both aesthetics and logistics.

Currently, he is the Engineering Team Lead at Datadog while taking his Master of Arts in Design at Zurich University of the Arts, with specialty in Interactive Design. While working on Galaxy of covers, his role at Interactive Things was an interaction engineer.

Using his talent and techniques he’s able to utilize software to get the end result that the project requires. Then by implementing interesting visual designs and interface helps users explore the brilliant stories found in the data.

Tania Boa

Tania is a visual and interaction designer based in Italy working for Interactive Things.

Using her background in Visual and Multimedia Communication Design, Tania is able to transform the mundane and the confusing into something altogether spectacular.

With skills and a passion for infographic design, typography, and visual aesthetics, she brings the look and feel of the project together. She provides forward creativity and inspiration to her projects that in turn inspire their clients and viewers.

Ilya Boyandin

Ilya Boyandin is a data visualization engineer that develops interactive data visualizations and maps for a range of clientele and organizations. Currently, he is working at Teralytics, a startup in Zurich, that focuses on mobility data analysis.

With a passion for data visuals, he’s shared his experience and expertise at several talks including the Urban Computing Foundation, The AGIT Symposium Talk, the ClickHouse Talk at Data Council and Flow Maps Talk at the DataVis Meetup. And all of those were just this past summer in 2020.

His recent projects include Flow Map Blue, an OD-Matrix analyst app, and a Covid-19 lung ultrasound study.

Introducing The Galaxy of Covers

Now to get into the main point of the article. What was the inspiration for Galaxy of Covers?

This project was sparked out of the want to do something creative purely because they can. Galaxy of Covers is a self-driven and self-initiated Project through Interactive Things’ team members. This provided the team with an outlet other than client-driven work to utilize their skills and talents. Galaxy of Covers provided a platform to use techniques, designs elements, and aesthetics that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to do usually.

It’s different from most of their other projects that are centered around giving their clients what they need.

“What we wanted to do design-wise was we wanted to create something that’s a little bit out of the ordinary for us. Interactive Things is known for having a fairly clean, fairly straightforward, simple and minimal design aesthetic. As this was a sort of non-client project, we wanted to be a little bit bolder, be a little more vibrant, explore,” explains Benjamin in an interview with Switching Styles.

It started with the opportunity to work on something entirely new. They all discussed the various options and topics that they wanted to do. In taking a vote, the topic of covers won.

“It was mainly driven by this idea that we can somehow make it more tangible and talk about music in a different way and giving physical form to it, to a certain degree,” Jan continues his thoughts..

Compiling the data proved to be a daunting task. Simply because of the sheer amount of covers that exist throughout the world. Working in a group of six adults all with their own music tastes and many with musical backgrounds make it hard to narrow down a list of music to look at.

Both Benjamin and Jan have a history of creating music. Ilya has created music for Interactive Things and has a thriving music career where he creates electronic music as Ibananti.

Thus, they needed a way to narrow down the list of songs. This is where BBC’s top 50 list comes in. Not only did it make the data simple, but it ensured that these songs already have a high degree of relevance in pop culture at the time.

The data process started with gaining information about cover songs, about their specific elements of tempo, valence, energy, and speechiness. The API data was collected from The Echo Nest, Spotify for the song’s popularity, Secondhand songs for the song’s metadata, and Who Sampled for the music genre.

It was out of the ordinary for both the team and for the company. It was something new and exciting to utilize this information. Taking something out of its typical context to describe something else entirely, is innovative and exactly what they set out to do. And it worked.

Space and Music

Using space as a metaphor to explain the interactions between cover songs and their originals is fascinating and creative. Galaxy of Covers takes the concepts of a solar system and applies it to the elements of a cover song.

“Since it’s such a strong visual metaphor, it helps to kind of transport the core of the idea and make it interesting and fun to actually engage with it, even though there’s not even music, and it’s about music.” describes Jan, “I think combining like the idea of galaxies and space to music is kind of fun when you just think about, it in a way. Because there’s probably not even sound in space, right? I think it’s a very successful pairing of the two and I think sometimes can actually help form a different understanding of a topic, just by looking at it from a different point of view.”

The visualization used for this project is created with standard web technologies which include HTML, CSS, JavaScript and open source software (D3, React, Web pack among others). Check out the GitHub repository for more details.

The obstacles they faced were no more than usual, the team said.

In terms of design, they needed to figure out what was the best way to showcase the information. What variables to include, does it make sense to show it like this and does it look good. In terms of data, the data gathering, and animations were tricky as it was something different and unique. It was the usual amount of complexity.

The team wanted to bring more of an interactive style to the data by using clips from the song as you hovered over the orbiting ‘planet’. However, it caused some struggles in terms of post-licensing and copyright. Add to that, there were extra steps that would make the data frustrating to use for their viewers as each time required the viewer to log in to their Spotify account.

The Team’s Favorite Covers

During this, they listened to quite a few covers and of course, some members of the team had their own favourites.

Jan’s favourite from the project is “Hurt” by Johnny cash, originally by Nine Inch Nails.

Ilya’s favourite was “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, originally by Leonard Cohen. His second favourite was “All Along the Watch Tower” by Jimi Hendrix, originally by Bob Dylan.


All in all, the team had fun with the project. It showed the viewers and the team themselves what can be accomplished when you set your mind to a task.

“If you have some cool idea, then try to work towards implementing it. Something comes out of it, Ilya explains.

“It’s a good example of what can happen if you try to apply a completely outfield metaphor to a different chart or a topic. I’m quite happy with how it turned out. And it’s not always as successful, I would say, but in this case, it worked out very nicely,” concludes Jan.


STEM Parody Songs

STEM stands for Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This is an academic discipline focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. November 8th is STEM day which brings awareness to the industry that brings revolution to our world.

Fun Fact: Of all peer countries, Finland ranks highest with the greatest amount of STEM graduates. Over 30% of university graduates come from related programs. Canada is sitting at 12th out of 16 with 21.2%.

In recent years, there has been a push for increasing women and youth within STEM industries. When looking at gender within STEM, it’s important to differentiate between Persistence in STEM and representation in STEM. Representation is the number of each within the field. Persistence, however, is when those people are within the field for a number of years.

Below are quick statistics from The Pew Research Center, and Statistics Canada.
  • Women are less likely to go into STEM. First year STEM students are 44% women while BHASE or non-stem programs like business, humanities, health, and so on are 64% women.
  • American employment has seen an increase of 79% since 1990. This has raised from 9.7 million to 17.3 million.
  • Among American workers with at least a bachelors degree older than 25, one third (33%) have an undergraduate degree within STEM. However, of those only half are employed in STEM.
  • Regardless of the specific field, Canadian women on average graduated faster than men from STEM programs. A quarter (27% ) of women and 16% of men who began in computer and information sciences finished a STEM degree within four years.
The Push for STEM

Although there’s a general disagreement on if the field of STEM needs the push. Throughout the world, there’s been some criticism.

“No one has been able to find any evidence indicating current widespread labour market shortages or hiring difficulties in science and engineering occupations that require bachelor’s degrees or higher…Most studies report that real wages in many—but not all—science and engineering occupations have been flat or slow-growing, and unemployment as high or higher than in many comparably-skilled occupations,” explained Micheal S. Teitelbaum, demographer and the former Vice President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation within the 2014 article “The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage” in The Atlantic

Regardless of the criticisms of STEM’s push for involvement, STEM is an important field to bring about the best of humanity. With the world changing as rapidly as it does, this discipline is vital as a front line for human society to evolve and adapt to new challenges.

Celebrating Stem day on November 8th, Switching Styles is giving 8 STEM-themed covers to bring the science and math sector to life.

STEM Themed Parody Songs

“Lab Rules” by Greg and Mitch of AsapSCIENCE, Originally “New Rules” by Dua Lipa

Fun Fact From The Song: Don’t smell chemicals by sniffing them. It can cause damage to the inside of your nose, the mucus membranes or even your lungs. Instead, hold it away from your face and waft the scent toward your nose.

“CRISPR ” by 8th graders from The Nueva School, Originally “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande

Fun Fact From The Song: CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. These are sequences derived from DNA fragments of bacteriophages previously infected with the prokaryote.

Dear Future Onion” by Everyday Science, Originally “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor

Fun Fact From The Song: Plants use the process of photosynthesis to convert CO2 into O2 by using this chemical formula

“We Found Life” by Rockin’ Science Videos, Originally “We Found Love” by Rihanna and Calvin Harris

Fun Fact From The Song directly from its description: Tardigrades are only an average of 0.02 inches long, but can withstand seemingly inhospitable environments such as vacuums, X-rays, temperatures from -328o F to +300o F, and pressure well over 85,000 psi.

“Energy’s Why” by Shameless Science, Originally “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish

Fun Fact From The Song: Energy is the basis of why matter changes form between gas, liquid, water as well as plasma.

“What Makes You Frightening” by Rockin’ Science Videos, Originally “What Makes You Beautiful” by One direction

Fun Fact From The Song: Adult Great White Sharks have a bite force of over 4,000 psi, ten times that of a lion.

“The DNA Song” by Jam Campus, Originally “Fetty Wap” by Trap Queen

Fun Fact From The Song: DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid and is comprised of 1. phosphate 2. nitrogen base, and 3. deoxyribose.

“Part Of Your Lab” by Florence Schechter, Originally “Part of Your World” from “Little Mermaid”

Fun Fact From The Song: Laboratories such as the one in this video research the science of our world. Specifically, the GDSC researches how cells respond to damage to their DNA and then researching how those specific responses can be implemented in diseases and genetic disorders.

Tag Switching Styles on Twitter with your favorite fun facts @styleswitching