The Upside—and Downsides—of QR Codes

Why advertise your site when you can send someone directly there?

You probably recognize the weird box of pixels at the top of this article. It’s called a QR Code—quick response—and it’s a way to box up some information, often a link to online content, and put it on the printed page. You scan it with your mobile phone, and suddenly you’ve got a wealth of information.

The codes do double duty: They make some things easier (like let you put your airline’s boarding pass on your smartphone rather than scramble to find a printer), but they are becoming ubiquitous in advertising. QR codes are billed as a way for advertisers to increase engagement and gain useful metrics—the codes can indicate exactly how many people thought an ad merited further investigation.

Anyone can make a simple QR code that links to a website or relays information. In a world where we’re using cellphones to make plans and track our schedules, it only makes sense to stick a QR code on the flier for your band’s next show: Potential fans will not only be taken in by the compelling visuals (nice dragon, man) but can snap the code and save the venue and date automatically.

We’re still figuring out QR codes. They’re not quite as ubiquitous as their proponents would like them to be, and educating people to take advantage of them will take time. But as our augmented-reality future draws ever closer and we use technology to gather and sort more and more pertinent information from the world around us, QR codes are another way of lowering the barrier between the analog world and the digital one.

Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less