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Lore

In Lore, Aaron Mahnke tells true-life scary stories based on urban legends and supernatural folklore. This is an on-going series, with episodes being released bi-weekly — the most recent one came out on Monday. Mahnke is a writer of supernatural novels, which lends to his ability to flesh out these horrifically true stories into a narrative.

Release timing? Every two weeks

Length? 15 – 20 mins

Where? Spotify, iTunes, lorepodcast.com

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Serial

Each season of this podcast — hosted by Sarah Koenig — focuses on a different criminal case. The first season focused on Adnan Syed who had been found guilty on account of killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. We are now on the second season, which focuses on Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured and held by the Taliban for nearly five years.

Release timing? Weekly

Length? 30 mins – 1 hour

Where? iTunes, Stitcher, Pandora, serialpodcast.org

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Mystery Show

Starlee Kine solves every day mysteries. Listeners are able to submit personal mysteries that have plagued them for years, as long as the answer is not easily google-able. Thus far, there are only six episodes, but season two is in the works.

Release timing? TBA

Length? 30 mins – 1 hour

Where? iTunes, gimletmedia.com

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Revolutions

Mike Duncan is currently in his fourth season of this podcast series that examines political revolutions around the world. Duncan is rather serious in his delivery, but this is a strength, given that podcast’s content is focused on historical information and analysis.

Release timing?

Weekly

Length? 30 – 40 mins

Where? revolutionspodcast.com

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Criminal

As described on their website, Criminal consists of “Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” For those of us who are still reeling from the first season of Serial, Criminal is a good replacement. This series is in its third season now.

Release timing?

Every two weeks

Length? 20 mins

Where?  iTunes, Soundcloud, thisiscriminal.com

Photo Credit: Patrick Breitenbach

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The second year that I worked for The Silhouette, at least 50 percent of my job revolved around food. I ran the Lifestyle section, and I took restaurant reviews very seriously. I still love eating out now, so when the new MacEats app was released, I was quick to download it and give it a try.

The new app is the offspring of Hospitality Services and the Student Dining Committee, a group of students devoted to sampling and judging the foods on campus. The app allows students to search across the menu offerings at campus eateries and compare their options before swiping their meal card. With categories like Food Types, Open Late, Locations and more, with the tap of a screen, students can find out which campus restaurants are open and what they are selling.

While the app will surely be helpful for many students, there’s one category that seems to be missing — budget.

It checks all the boxes for showcasing food options and even highlights which locations cater to dietary restrictions, but it has no way for students to search meals based on price.

It’s no secret that food on campus is expensive. And for many students, it can be exceedingly difficult to find an affordable meal that isn’t going to take a huge chunk out of their weekly budget, especially if they didn’t factor in eating on campus.

The app is great for students who live on campus and have meal plan dollars to use up, but for those of us who do not have a large pool of funds attached to our student cards, budgeting is important. Especially now that most campus vendors accept credit and debit, the purchasing habits of the full student body should be considered.

If the app had a section where students could program in the amount they were willing to spend and view options based on that number, not only would it help those looking for a more reasonably priced meal, but it may even increase sales at campus vendors since students wouldn’t be so turned off by what appears to be exclusively high-priced cuisine.

Student finances should be a priority across campus, especially when it comes to making campus life something affordable or at least accessible for all financial backgrounds. Budgeting a student life shouldn’t be something hard to swallow.

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Earlier this month, six McMaster geography PhD students launched CherryPic, an app that, according to their press release, claims to be “a Netflix for your life, a localized Pinterest, and a Tinder for activities.”

In other terms, CherryPic is an account-free photo-sharing app that allows users to share images of local events with other users. Right now, the app is only functional in the Hamilton area, but the team is working on a new version that will show posts based on the user’s location.

“We want to take that format where you’re just browsing passively and turn that into some kind of information transfer. Facebook and Instagram are like the sitcoms and dramas of television. We want to be the Discovery Channel,” explained Charles Burke, one of the app’s creators.

He also highlighted the fact that none of the students involved in the project have any background in app creation. He said that while some see it as a “throwaway subject… geography is starting to ask all these big questions and get involved with technology.”

The group’s affiliation with the university has been beneficial throughout CherryPic’s yearlong development. Not only were they able to secure roughly $10,000 in funding through the Forward With Integrity and School of Graduate Studies grant programs, they were also able to connect with Ed Parsons, Google’s Chief Geospatial Technologist. Late last fall, Parsons gave a talk at McMaster through Geographers Without Borders.

“What he said was that at the core, what geography is meant to do is make it so you never feel like you’re lost,” Burke said.

Following Parsons’ talk, the CherryPic creators discussed some fundamental questions of geography, perhaps most notably how technology shapes our sense of place.

“What CherryPic does is give you a friend from the area, but because it’s account-free… your one friend in the area could be thousands of friends,” Burke said.

Users take a photo of an event around them, upload it to CherryPic and caption it with a description of the picture, similar to a Snapchat story. Users then have the option to link their upload to a website or video, a function made possible due to the app being powered by Google.

Burke believes that the CherryPic app enables people to search for something they don’t yet know exists.

Since its launch earlier this month, CherryPic already boasts over 300 users, many of whom have praised the app for its ability to share information about the events that might go unnoticed, such as small concerts or events being held by local or university-run clubs.

But CherryPic is not without its critics. One user approached the team with the concern that app is remarkably similar to Instagram in that it is used to share pictures of events. However, Burke and his team are not concerned by this criticism.

“Our app allows you to discover what is going on around you in the present or future and can in turn become the moments that end up on Instagram,” he said.

There is also the concern of groups using the app to advertise, as CherryPic provides the perfect platform to do so. Burke admitted the app is to an extent an advertising platform, but he compared it to the level of advertising one would see on a poster.

“If you are putting up posters… you are desperate to find the people interested in what you have,” he explained. Users are able to report anything that looks suspiciously like an advertisement—a skill Burke says we all possess, and the developers are able to remove anything from their end as well.

Burke is proud of how far CherryPic has come since it was conceived a year ago. “Obviously [the app] is not all the way there yet. We’ve created a Model T car for creating this sense of place,” he said. He hopes his passion for CherryPic will excite other young innovators.

“We’re building a Silicon Valley here at Mac, but we need more people.”

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