File-Sharing Fiasco

Music is a precious thing. A universal form of communication and a source of enjoyment for millions, music is a resource that all can love. However, what happens when someone intends to steal that resource? If you were born during the internet age, you’re familiar with the music industry’s battle against file-sharing and illegal downloading. After that last battle with Spotify recently came to a close, another contender for the crosshairs has announced their entrance to the file-sharing game.

Aurous, recently announced and already a target for lawsuits, has its work cut out if it hopes to survive. A $150,000 fine levied at the young company looks to stop the sharing before it can begin. Next in a long line of dubious downloading websites, Aurous is equal parts Popcorn Time and BitTorrent.

Aurous is still young in its development lifespan, but it may never get to spread its wings if these lawsuits are successful. Designed to be competition for the litany of music-based listening apps, questions abound if Aurous is necessary in a world flooded with listening programs.

Many of these questionable services stand on their options to pay, with commercials occasionally to offset the legality of their music library. Like Netflix,Ari Kellen many of these services offer their selection of music for little to nothing when compared to the price of acquiring all the necessary albums. However, Aurous lacks the influence to motivate advertisers into joining them, and their library of songs is gathered from pirated files on Russian websites.

Though still too early to tell, it’s something to see the boom of file-sharing services, and the impact they’ve had on the market. In a time where purchasing content has become a bygone tendency, the free-market has learned many lessons through Napster, Limewire and now Bittorrent. We may see the first preemptive strike in the history of this long and bloody media war, and the target is Aurous.

from Ari Kellen | Musical Minded


UberRush and New York City

New York is a city defined by its personality. Bustling streets are filled with people, each going about their busy lives amidst towering skyscrapers. Whether your New York is the beautiful parks, busy sidewalks or shouting hot-dog vendors, images are immediately conjured when thinking of The Big Apple. Among these images, a sea of yellow cabs is easily among the most common that leaps to mind. However, a company has single handedly started to shift that fact. Uber, an innovative transportation service, has loosened the grip yellow cabs have had on the roads for decades. But Uber has more in-store for the people of New York.

Ari KellenDubbed “UberRush,” this new service is looking to add yet another benefit to Uber’s ever-growing list of benefits. An on-demand delivery service, UberRush is being launched across the United States in all major cities for testing. Chicago, San Francisco and New York will each have access to UberRush, and the ability to order anything within their city and have it delivered same-day. Branching out to even more forms of transportation, bike messengers and hand-delivered packages will also be included in UberRush’s services.

Unlike similar services that deliver from select stores, UberRush is capable of fitting into any merchants’ business models. Opening a world of delivery for companies that otherwise would never have access, the ability to deliver products is beneficial for both business and consumer. Partnered with Shopify, e-commerce software has been developed that analyzes an order, and will list whether or not UberRush can deliver the package before the transaction is even completed.

As Uber made splashes in the transportation industry, so too will they impact the on-demand delivery business. Proving that they have the determination and drive to introduce real change where before none could be seen, what will this mean for New Yorkers? Will the days of yellow cabs and bike messengers be replaced with the Uber logo?


from Ari Kellen | New York City Exploration

Music and Health

Music is powerful. The urge to produce a beat, to communicate through song and dance is as old as primitive man. Whether with drum and bass or rock and sticks, music has an interesting power over us as listeners. Altering our mood, allowing us to relax or conjuring old memories, Music potential is limitless. A special bond between performer and listener ensures that no two people will feel a song the same way and that phenomenon is more far-reaching than you think. What are some of the ways music can be healthy for us?

Ari KellenIn recent studies, Neuroscientists have discovered that listening to music has a quantifiable reaction in the human brain. Activating the reward centers of the listener’s brain, music can and will heighten positive emotion, and release dopamine to elevate our emotional levels to that of near elation. Conducting scans of patients’ brains while listening to music also revealed that almost no centers of the brain are immune to music’s touch. It should come as no surprise that culturally, music has been used in tribal rituals as a gathering tool and for healing. The thrumming power of live music has an entrancing effect, connecting whole swaths of people in joy-fueled reverie. Modern medicine, adopting the tricks of ancient tribes, have begun flirting with using music to aid in the recovery of certain procedures.

Music has a scientifically proven ability to reduce anxiety-induced increases in stress hormone. Able to sooth a climbing heart rate or calm skyrocketing blood pressure, music literally combats stress. Another fascinating study has shown that patients receiving hernia surgery have demonstrated a drop on cortisol levels, but only after listening to music post-surgery. Music’s ability to reduce stress has shown to be more effective for some patients than orally-administered anxiolytic drugs.

The medical benefits of music continue even further when a study conducted with 272 premature babies revealed staggering results. While the children recovered in the neonatal ICU, parents or performers played music for their young and fragile audience, and the infants demonstrated not only increased activity but an affinity for lullabies sung by their parents. From fighting disease to managing pain, music has a very real power over much more than our feet.


from Ari Kellen | Musical Minded

A World of Wonder

Experience is often the best teacher. If that phrase holds true, then travel may be the best way to gain a varied collection of experiences. The world is as varied as it is massive, and new ways of life can be as close as the farm in Pennsylvania, or as far as the jungle tribes of the Amazon. Opening your eyes to new cultures, new modalities of living can motivate a growth of character and spirit that would otherwise go unmoved. It’s for precisely this reason that educational travel has grown to prominence.

Ari KellenBuilt on the idea of taking “non-tourist” trips around the world, educational travel is not about collecting souvenirs or visiting the next Disney, but rather the gathering of experiences. One of the many benefits of this process is that it usually costs less than your traditional vacations. Tourist traps, for lack of a better term, are aware that they are massive draws for crowds, and thusly raise their prices to make some extra money. When comparing educational travel to a vacation, it’s best to compare the cost of visiting Florida against a stay at Disneyland.

Children benefit greatly from this process, as well. The days of week-long family trips is all but a memory, and the modern family cannot escape the screens that follow us in our pockets, but they can take the family on a trip that can offer more than what can be seen through a tiny screen. Though most of the world can fit in the palm of their hands, children light up when shown the wondrous world in real life. Facebook and Instagram pale in comparison to the wild Sahara or the jungles of Asia. Bring them to the historical sites that have since become fodder for countless movies, and show them their heroes carved into living rock.

As said by the eternal Maya Angelou, “travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” The concept of the Global Citizen is far from fantasy.

from Ari Kellen| Travel Page