IN A NUTSHELL 6/2019

IN A NUTSHELL 6/2019

16 MILLION ZLOTIES IN THE LAST COLLECTION CAN

Following the murder of mayor Adamowicz one volunteer who helped to raise funds for the Grand Orchestra of Christmas Charity, Patrycja Krzemińska, had an idea: to honour his memory and help the organization let us collect a thousand zlotys for the can he was supposed to fill with money. She started the collection on Facebook but, as she later admitted, did not hope she would manage to raise the full sum. Her initiative quickly spread among her friends and later went viral across the whole country. As a result instead of getting PLN 1,000 for GOCC she raised exactly PLN 15,990,562, a record in any Facebook money collection in this part of Europe. Over 260,000 people decided to support her initiative financially. The event generated a lot of positive energy, proved the power of Internet is great, showed Poles can get together if they really want to. Mayor Adamowicz regularly took part in collecting money for GOCC and during this year’s final he actually broke his own record with PLN 5,600 in his can.

ZALANDO STRUGGLES WITH MASSIVE RETURNS OF CLOTHES

While some would never consider buying any item of clothing online because they need to see it and touch it first, others take advantage of the Internet offer and order loads of clothes just to try them at home. Take Zalando. They offer free shipment, free return and 100 days to think if you like your purchase. It is such a great offer that the shop is slowly becoming a victim of their own policy. Given how much time you have to return the product, some people wear clothes on a few occasions and send them back after three months without having to pay for it. To fight with the problem the company plans to send clients clothes with huge labels (10 x 15 cm) saying ”Please do not remove this label”. The customer is still encouraged to try the item on but they will not have the opportunity to return it once the label is removed. Zalando has not announced officially yet if the solution will be introduced, but it is being tested right now and it sounds like a simple and efficient tool which will stop people from ”borrowing” clothes from shops.

GAP BETWEEN THE POOR AND THE RICH BIGGER THAN EVER

Despite much discussion about social inequality the rich continue getting richer and the poor continue getting poorer, a report of a British organization Oxfam finds. Over the last year the rich increased their fortunes at the pace of $2.5 billion a day and the poor lost $500 million over the same period. In 2018 nearly 3000 billionaires accumulated another $900 billion while the less advantaged half of the population lost 11% of what they (barely) possessed. Experts point out that this is not a temporary trend, it is a constant situation. However shocking it may sound just 26 richest businessmen on the planet own more than what 4 billion least wealthy people on the planet have. Experts from Oxfam suggest introducing a 1% tax on the richest, a rule thanks to which some half a billion dollars would be generated. This money could be used to pay for healthcare of about 3 million people whose life is in danger because fo various illnesses.

DEEPFAKES THREATENING MEDIA CREDIBILITY

Or perhaps: what is left of it. Deepfakes, or deepfake videos, are fake videos that are extremely believable. While photoshopping, superimposing faces and/or tinkering with audio have been known to film industry for decades, they have never been perfected and made cheaply available through simple software to all of us, including those whose intentions aren’t noble or peaceful – to put it mildly. Imagine you could put any words into your enemy’s mouth, publish it in form of a nearly-perfect video to social media sites and make it spread like actual news. The Pentagon recently came to recognise the enormous threat of such development and is working with several of US biggest research institutions to tackle the issue. Specialists from University of Denver are now working on creating the best possible deepfakes, while a team at SRI International in Menlo Park, California is developing technology to spot them. What is Pentagon hoping to achieve? Eventually they want to arm all major media outlets and social media platforms with automated software that would detect and block a deepfake as you (if you ever wanted to do such thing) try to upload it. Naturally, it all happens while somewhere else in the world someone is working on creating a deepfake good (evil?) enough to make it  pass through any blocking software. It certainly appears to be one of the most critical arms races of our time.

FOR&AGAINST

Nowadays Internet collections are the best way to raise money for charity organizations.

(What are the advantages of raising money this way? Do people trust collections organized this way? )

Buying clothes online is much better than buying them in shops.

(What makes shopping online more comfortable? Can you actually buy clothes that you like on the Internet? Do you really save time if you have to wait for the item to be delivered?)

We should not try to stop the rich from becoming richer.

(Do the rich get richer because they take from the poor? Do the rich share their wealth with others somehow? How much money can one need?)

Deepfakes won’t be a threat if we introduce government censorship of the internet.

(Who’s we? Maybe people already stopped believing everything they see online and it won’t be necessary?)

VOCABULARY:

to raise funds – zbierać pieniądze

collection – zbiórka

to take advantage of sth – korzystać z czegoś

shipment – dostawa

label – metka, etykieta

inequality – nierówność

at the pace of – w tempie

credibility – wiarygodność

to superimpose – nakładać (warstwami)

to tinker – majstrować

to put it mildly – delikatnie mówiąc

to tackle – zmierzyć się

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