Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stuff We Don't Need

Today we went to a thriving center of consumerism: Franklin Mills Mall. The bus ride was only about an hour. When we got to the mall, we walked down to the end. It has 1.6 million square feet of retail area. It embodies all that I hate about consumerism. It was filled with things nobody really needs. "We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like" - Dave Ramsey (though one source attributes this quote to Tyler Durden in fight club). I don't understand people who like to shop. I can understand wanting to own something for some purpose, or even being happy about an acquisition, but enjoying shopping itself seems alien to me. It was an interesting look into propaganda of  consumerism. If something is thrust in somebody's face enough, eventually they will go out and buy it (a humorous video about this subject). This is known in psychology as the mere exposure effect. There was a store named "As Seen On TV." A large quantity of things are sold, not because they are necessarily inherently useful, but because they have been advertised. After walking nearly a mile down to the end, we turned back. We sat down and talked a bit about our schools. The two people I was talking to both go to expensive private schools. Their schools are proud of their 100% matriculation rate. Only 40% of students at my school go on into a four year college.

We next went to Dave & Buster's. It is an arcade. We received unlimited passes, which means that there was just one limit. We were not able to use those cards to play any games that would give tickets, about 60% of the games. I did not mind at all, since none of the games looked particularly mentally challenging. The one game I played for a significant amount of time was air-hockey. I played it on and off for a couple hours. There was also a four-way version that was interesting. Each player had a certain number of "lives". A life was removed each time someone scored on you. The last player standing won. I also read a book for quite a while. I talked to some people as well. 

Soon, we were hungry. We had some pizza, then sat around. Eventually, the bus came. The arcade had been somewhat fun, as air-hockey is a good game. The mall itself I disliked, though talking to other smart people and sticking to the hallways outside the nests of consumerism made it bearable. After we got back, there was just enough time to make it to the tail end of dinner in the 1920 commons. I then returned to my dorm. Before I had left, my hashing algorithm was sort of working; it created a hash successfully, without throwing any errors. However, this hash did not look the same as other SHA1 hashes (of the same string, of course). 

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