Tag Archives: problems

Did Self-Driving Cars Hit a “Pothole?”

While a lot of us want to see the revolution of self-driving vehicles, there is still a lot of work to be done, especially after what happened a couple weeks ago.

This could be the future of driving but Uber may not have a part in it; photo from techgenez.com
This could be the future of driving but Uber may not have a part in it; photo from techgenez.com

A woman in Arizona was killed when a self-driving car from Uber hit her while she was crossing the street at night. She “could have” been to blame for suddenly walking off a median or jaywalking in front of the car in the night. However, the street was well-lit and the woman was making an attempt to get across the street before the car hit her.  This shows that there is work to be done by Uber and state governments.

Self-driving cars would save many lives in the future but as of now, at least 30,000 to 40,000 people every year in the U.S. die in auto accidents (human-driven cars).

The provider of Uber’s laser technology, Velodyne, said that their technology was “more than capable” of identifying her before the collision which would have stopped the car.  Police in Arizona stated that the car didn’t slow down until after she was hit.

Velodyne is blaming Uber and its test driver for the incident and they have a point. Uber’s driver, who is supposed to take the car over if the autonomous system fails, didn’t even have their hands on the steering wheel. Uber’s cars have had a hard time lasting 13 miles before a driver has to take over. In comparison, Waymo’s cars (Google) can last over 5,600 miles.

Uber has also cut down its Lidar system from seven units to only one. The remaining one does have a blind spot according to employees who have worked on the car. So in other words, Uber is cutting corners to lay claim as the first company to sell a self-driving car.

States across the U.S. have taken action and have made regulations for the self-driving cars which is why Uber is in Arizona (they don’t have many regulations for the self-driving car business). Arizona could have a problem on their hands if this becomes a common theme.

While self-driving cars are touted as the future of driving and they would cut down on many deaths, there is more work to be done before they become a common feature in someone’s driveway. States have to be tough on regulation so we get the best product, and don’t end up with a product that has been cutting corners like Uber has.



More Trouble From Apple iPhone

The new Apple iPhone X – photo from Apple.com

Apple has just recently announced their latest and “greatest” iPhone, the iPhone X. Why they called it the iPhone X and not just the iPhone 10 (be consistent, at the very least) is the first and the least of many baffling decisions that the Apple Company has made with their newest product.

With the iPhone X, you do get their latest and most impressive technology, including a bigger screen with better resolution, improved camera functions, and the A11 bionic chip. You also get a price tag that is well over a thousand dollars. And in terms of function, you could get the same thing from the iPhone 8 for half the price (literally). The iPhone 8 has the same A11 bionic chip as the iPhone X does. So really all you are paying for is a prettier screen. Not to mention, with the glass screen extending all the way to the very edge of the iPhone X, and with the phone’s glass back, it is much easier to break or damage the screen. And with the Apple insurance plan jumping roughly seventy dollars, that’s even more money out of your pocket.

The iPhone X is also seeing the loss of the home button and thumbprint identification in favor of new finger swipes to navigate the device and face identification to unlock the phone. Needless to say, this is going to make using the phone much more difficult and it will require some practice and memorization to actually use (aren’t upgrades supposed to make things easier to use?). With the face ID software, there has already been a number of problems for people with darker skin (i.e. not white), which makes using the phone more difficult than it already is. There could also be issues if you try to unlock your phone in low lighting (a lot of people play on their phone in bed at night) or if you make any major changes to your appearance. What if you grow a beard or have to start wearing glasses or get a scar? And if it all does work properly, what if you get arrested and the police take your phone and simply use the face ID software to unlock it and look through it? You aren’t legally required to unlock your phone for the police and they aren’t allowed to look through your phone. There seem to be a number of issues and potential issues that go along with the iPhone X, including its price tag. Instead, you could get the cheaper, more reliable iPhone 8. Or switch over to a different type of phone entirely and leave Apple behind.

Prove yourself

When it comes to transgender issues, the number one “problem” a transgender person shouldn’t have to deal with is proving themselves to other people. My little brother is going through these experiences right now, having to prove and explain himself to every other person and their brother because in order to get what you want as a transgender person, you have to prove that the transition is really what you want.

“What person would lie about being transgender? What benefits does that type of person receive? “

A couple weeks ago, my family and I went to an endocrinologist, a doctor who deals with hormones, and is the doctor that approves or denies the distribution of HRT, or hormone replacement therapy. It’s a drug that, depending on one’s situation, will lower the rate at which testosterone or estrogen is expelled throughout the body. In order to begin this processes, my little brother has to prove himself to the doctor, has to explain and make her believe that he is truly transgender, that he isn’t mentally unstable or lying about what he wants. What person would lie about being transgender? What benefits does that type of person receive? Obviously, it’s a serious worry that doctors have but I find it hard to believe that it occurs regularly.

I understand that doctors and specialists want to be cautious about moving forward with a treatment that is potentially irreversible; however, at some point, it gets condescending and inappropriate when continuously questioning someone’s authentic self.

I’m sure it makes it harder to come out because you’re immediately hit with questions implying that you don’t know what you want, that “you have to be extremely sure about this” before moving forward. Don’t you think that a transgender person would be sure about themselves before even telling anyone in the first place?

Having to prove yourself to random strangers is unfair and condescending, but necessary to get what a transgender person wants, which is to be able to be their authentic self, to be who they’ve always known they’ve been inside. In the end, all of the formalities are irrelevant as long as their happiness is retrieved after all of the struggling and heartache. Let people be who they want to be without the hassle.

5 Common Problems with College Apartments

Every college student has at least once lived in an apartment, and if not, at the very least been inside of one. At first, it’s great and you’re more than happy to be out of the dorms and living with your friends while still having your own room and personal space. However, the longer you’re there the more you start to notice persistent problems with your once seemingly perfect apartment. Then, you start to hear this from everyone you know and realize it isn’t just your apartment, it’s everyone’s. Here are five common problems with college apartments I’m sure you can relate to.

  1. When you’re taking a shower, if someone else turns on the sink, dishwasher, or washer you are doomed.

The water will either be scalding hot or ice cold in five seconds giving you no warning or time to have a plan of action ready. It can be brutal.

“It takes three hours just to get one load of laundry completely dry.”
  1. The dryer is barely that.

It takes three hours just to get one load of laundry completely dry and with three other roommates it can be a pain waiting around for that to actually happen when you’re used to your dryer at home taking a sixth of that time to dry twice as many clothes.

  1. The wifi constantly has something wrong with it.

Either it’s too slow, won’t turn on at all or says it isn’t on when it actually is. It can be rather frustrating dealing with this especially when you’re trying to get schoolwork done.

  1. The draining isn’t the best either.

If you take a ten minute shower, be prepared to be standing in water up to your ankles. It’s disgusting and will only go away by using Drain-o…every few weeks.

  1. This one is for the apartment complex in general…the parking lots.

The parking lot is so small you have to make a five point turn when trying to back out. It can be frustrating especially when the majority of your parking lot and neighbors all drive big SUV’s.

Just breathe

Insomnia is the dark cloud that looms over your head late at night, taunting you, laughing at you as you toss and turn, as you beg for sleep to overtake you. It’s the endless thoughts that consume your mind, creating false insecurities and exaggerated life dreams that keep you thinking and contemplating everything that has ever happened in your life.

You obsess over every little thing that happened during the day, from a small conversation you had with you professor to deciding what you want to do with your life after college. Insomnia has zero mercy.

Don't be this guy. Just breathe through it. Photo from theawkwardyeti.com
Don’t be this guy. Just breathe through it. Photo from theawkwardyeti.com

No one can help the intensity or frequency that insomnia has on their life. People always say “Just relax! Stop thinking and go to sleep.” If it were that easy, insomnia wouldn’t be an issue, but unfortunately, no one can physically turn off their thoughts, their hopes, their chronic dark thoughts that enter the mind no matter the time of day.

Insomnia doesn’t care how physically and emotionally tired you are. The constant, unwavering thoughts that burn holes through your brain don’t care about how badly your eyes burn, how your head feels too heavy to even lift off your pillow, how your legs ache from the exhausting day, consisting of walking across campus multiple times in order to get to your classes on time.

The only way I can treat my insomnia is to let my brain do its thinking, let it work out all the anxieties, all the problems and insecurities that course through your mind all day everyday, and after an hour, if those thought fail to cease, try to focus on your breathing, in and out. Focus on the rise and fall of your chest, the feeling of the oxygen entering your lungs, then exiting. Breath in positive thoughts, exhale negative ones. It’s the only way I can gently and calmly fall asleep without the constant dread of excessive thoughts failing to let me sleep.

All you can do with insomnia is try your best to breathe, to let your brain do its thinking, and don’t stress about the lack of sleep you’re getting. Focus on the good and let go of the bad.

Five of the biggest problems that all writers face

When you think of “writing problems” everyone jumps straight to writer’s block. While writer’s block is a huge problem, it’s certainly not the only one that writers face when trying to complete a project. Here are some serious struggles that writers have to deal with.

1) Character names.

Coming up with unique and catchy character names is nearly impossible. Names are either too common or you know someone in your life with a name you like. You can’t name the love interest of your story after the guy you sit next to in math class. What if he takes that to mean you have a crush on him? At the same time, you want to set your character apart from the rest. That’s why names like “Hermione”, “Katniss”, and “Tris” work perfectly. It takes hours of scrolling through names on babynames.com to find the perfect fit.

2) Knowing only one part of the story.

This is especially prevalent with novelists. You figure out the characters and the background and the PERFECT plot twist….but the rest of the story is a complete mystery to you. It’s the world’s biggest frustration.

Photo By: Danielle Johnson. Student: Destini Newman

3) Distractions.

You finally get a chance to sit down and be alone and write and then…your roommates walks in, your significant other comes home and wants to talk about their day, your phone starts blowing up with phone calls and texts from friends. You can never have enough love in your life, but for the LOVE OF GOD LET ME HAVE MY WRITING TIME.

4) Emotional attachments.

You knew you wanted to kill that one character before you even started writing the story. But now you’ve written them a rich backstory and an epic romance and you have feel like this character is your kid so when it comes time to do them in….it’ll leave you in almost as much emotional turmoil as you would have if you had been the reader.

5) It doesn’t make sense.

Don’t lie, we’ve all had that one idea that sounded totally awesome in our heads, but didn’t translate to paper, leaving our readers confused. Having that seemingly great idea crumble is even more heartbreaking than killing off a beloved character.

Writing takes a lot of time and focus and energy. Luckily, the finished product is almost always worth it.

Four things you learn after working in a restaurant

At the beginning of my sophomore year of college, I got my first job at a restaurant. Although I was reluctant, I needed money, so I had to get a job. This first restaurant job was in Blacksburg, right off Virginia Tech’s campus. After working there for 7 months, I was fed up.

You see, for those who have never worked in a restaurant, there seem to be a lot of things that people just don’t understand. Although I’ve never been a server (I’ve always been a hostess) there are a lot of things I observe servers battling with. As a hostess, there are quite a few things I’ve experienced firsthand that need to be addressed.

  1. There is a set system for seating

In both restaurants I’ve worked at, the seating chart is fairly simple. Servers each have their own sections. Each server has a “turn,” in other words, servers usually get seated based on what order they came into work. At my current place of employment, a few servers will come in at 4 p.m., a few at 5 and a few at 6. This way we’re not over-staffed when it’s slow early on in the afternoon. But the one minor flaw with this system is that the sections of the servers who come in later cannot be used.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried my best to keep servers in their prescribed sections, but it never fails, something has to go wrong. For example, a few days ago I came into work at 5, before the closing (6 p.m.) servers had arrived. A couple came in, and the server whose turn it was only had one table that needed to be wiped down. I told the couple to wait just a moment as I cleaned off the table. They both started looking around confusedly, as there were a few tables nearby that were perfectly clean. The woman asked why I needed to seat them at the table that needed to be cleaned when there were already clean tables. As I cleaned off the table, I tried to explain how the system works but the woman just scoffed.

In a situation like this, where it will only take a moment to clean off the table, I cannot comprehend why it matters so much. Sure, if the table had to be completely bused and wiped down I probably wouldn’t have made them wait so I can clean the table. But it takes about 15 seconds to clean a table. If you want your service to be good, don’t mess with the system.

  1. We have limited space
Working at a restaurant can be irritating. Graphic by Jilletta Becker
Serving at a restaurant can be irritating. Graphic by Jilletta Becker

It never fails that on Friday nights the restaurant gets busy. Families are winding down for the weekend and want to be able to relax and be served. During the school year, a lot of times big groups and teams will come to eat after a big game. But the thing that always seems to be hard to comprehend is that sometimes there’s no physically possible way to seat a large group together.

One night, at about 10:30 p.m. a woman came in and said she was going to be having a group of 12. Both of our big tables that can usually accommodate large groups were taken. I explained this to the woman and she said, “Do you not have anything we can put together?” I explained that the only tables that could be put together to fit them were taken as well. She looked around the store and said, “well it doesn’t look like you’re busy.”

The thing is, just because we’re not busy doesn’t mean we can still accommodate a group that big immediately. Especially a night such as where high school football games are being let out and several families decided to go out to eat right after.

Not only is timing for these bigger groups complicated, but sometimes we simply can’t fit a large group completely together. During the summer, a basketball team came in and asked to be seated together. There were going to be 25 people, so in the limited space we had, this was going to be impossible. You can’t always get your way.

  1. Small requests can be difficult to fulfill.

On a busy Saturday night, sometimes the smallest request can throw you off. As a hostess, sometimes there is a line going out the door of people who need to be sat. When I’m running back and forth, seating tables, grabbing menus and telling servers they have a table, it can be difficult for me to fulfill any extra requests.

Several times, I’ve been running through the store and a customer will flag me down. Even if I’m in the middle of something, I can’t ignore them. I’ll often be in the middle of a seating crisis and be asked for another cup of ketchup, or extra napkins. At my old job, it was very often that customers would ask me to put in an extra order of fries or a drink order. But as a hostess, I can’t even do those things.

As far as seating goes, picky seating is really difficult. I can completely understand when someone needs a table because getting in and out of a booth is difficult. But I’ve had customers say, “I don’t want to sit in the front,” or “I want to be somewhere quiet/cooler.” When it’s slow, these little requests aren’t hard to fulfill. But on a busy night, these little things can throw the whole restaurant off.

This goes back to the seating system. When someone asks for a booth and it’s a certain server’s turn, yet all they have is a table, I’m going to have to skip them. Sometimes this means someone else will get double-sat, if they’re the only one with a booth open. This can ruin no only your night, as the customer, but cause the server to not be able to tend to their tables at top efficiency. Therefore, you get bad service.

  1. There are rules

At both restaurants I worked at, there’s a rule that after 9 p.m. no one under 21 is allowed to sit in the bar area. When I say “bar area” I mean the area around the bar, including the bar. At my old restaurant, there was a rule that no child under the age of five was allowed in the bar area.

One night at my old job, a couple came in with their baby and asked if they could sit at the bar. When I explained the rule, they grinned at each other and walked into the bar area anyways. My manager had to go find them and explain the severity of the rule, especially because they were sitting at the actual bar with a baby carrier, which is a huge no-no.

The reasoning behind this rule is first, because they don’t want underage kids drinking. But second of all, especially with a little infant in a carrier, there is a risk that a glass could fall off the bar and onto their little head. There isn’t a bar stool made for baby carriers so obviously the glass catches a lot of momentum as it falls off the bar.

At my new job, a regular came in with his four kids. He asked to sit in the bar area, but because it was after nine and one of his children was only 18, I couldn’t let them sit there. As I sat them elsewhere, he grumbled, “I’ve been coming here for 25 years and not once have I ever had to sit away from the bar area.” I apologized, explaining that it was a rule at a lot of bars. He rudely scoffed, although his kids didn’t seem the least bit bothered by it.

Although I feel bad having to deny people of their one simple request, the rules are there for a reason. Some might seem egregious, but incidents have happened that have put these rules into place.


After working in the restaurant business for just over a year, I have a new appreciation for those who work in restaurants. I notice I’m a lot more friendly and understanding to servers when I go out to eat. I hope that those of you who haven’t had to work in a restaurant, reading this gives you a new appreciation for those who handle your food.

Highlanders Anonymous: Men are confusing, and so are women

This guy I’m currently talking to is really confusing. He and I have been talking for about a month now, and he’s showing quite a bit of interest in me; however, I’m a little afraid he’s only doing it because I put out! What’s worse is that I really like him and could get really hurt if things progress. Help me?

Step one: calm your crazy.

This means you should quiet the voice in your head telling you this is too good to be true. It’s not. Sometimes you meet really nice guys who turn you on. Relationship progression isn’t set in stone; perhaps some guys will view you as being worthless than you are because you “put out,” but if he were like that, he would have probably stopped talking to you. Continue reading Highlanders Anonymous: Men are confusing, and so are women

Highlanders Anonymous is back!

Have any questions you’re embarrassed about or make you feel uncomfortable when you ask aloud? Are you having relationship problems? Do you have any pent up sexual anxiety that you want to get off your chest but are too shy to voice aloud?

What secrets do you have to share? Image from Creative Commons.
What secrets do you have to share? Image from Creative Commons.

You’re in luck. The Whim staff is pleased to announce Highlanders Anonymous is back and will begin this week, under the Life section.

Highlanders Anonymous is a place where Radford University students can turn with all of their unanswered questions. Continue reading Highlanders Anonymous is back!

A new partner for a new year

College in itself is already a frightening experience for upcoming freshman and adding class, work, clubs and a social life can push some over the edge. But what about your roommate? You will spend roughly nine months with a complete stranger, with the exception of those lucky enough to room with someone they already know.

Having a college roommate is equivalent to being in a relationship and the biggest component is communication. Communication is the key ingredient to all the problems you will have and the sooner students realize that the better their new situation will be.

A relationship requires effective communication between the two parties. We can hope you two will become friends, or at least two people sharing a room for nine months and not killing each other; the choice is yours.

It can’t be said enough times: talking will solve a lot more than remaining silent or sulking like a child. We’re all adults here and are fully capable of communicating our feelings, so don’t sit back and allow your RA to take care of it for you.

The RA will always be there when you need help, but instead of running to them first, try sitting down with your roommate and talking about the issues you have. You would be surprised how efficient this little task can be.

Experience has taught me that ignoring the problem won’t always solve it, and sometimes your roommate will have no idea that there was even a problem. Complaining about your roommate to your friends or residence hall won’t get anything done and can cause more problems to arise. Your best bet is to man up and talk!

You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but wouldn’t it be better if you got along?