Maine Public Hosts Bake-Off at SMCC

By The Beacon Staff

Illustration by Vanessa Porier

Maine Public will host the second annual CREATE IT MAINE Recipe Contest on Saturday, April 28, in the Culinary Arts Building at SMCC. The contest, which is open to the public, invites entrants to submit a dessert recipe using as many local, Maine-centric ingredients as possible. Five finalists will participate in a live bake-off before a panel of judges, including SMCC’s own executive chef Jill Hannaford.
Entrants must submit their recipe in 500 words or less along with a final prepared-dish photo. Multiple submissions are allowed. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 13, at midnight. Submissions can be sent to


Email Viruses – How They Work and How to Avoid Them

By Brandon Walp

tech talkWhat exactly is an email virus? An email virus is defined as a virus that is sent with or attached to email communications. Email communications are a way of transmitting messages to someone else electronically, such as through Gmail. An email virus can be designed to cause problems with the computer being attacked and/or allow the attacker to steal personal data from the targeted computer. This form of virus may not be detected by the everyday ordinary eye that is not looking for it. I will discuss examples of email viruses, how they work, how to look for them and how to prevent them.

The Melissa virus was an email virus that was considered to be one of the greatest hacks of all time. It was a macro virus that was distributed as an email that when opened by the target, disabled safeguards in the program called Microsoft Word. On top of that, if the target had the email program called Microsoft Outlook, it would resend the virus to the first 50 contacts in the target’s address book.

The virus came attached to an email with the subject line “Important Message from [the name of someone]” and body text that read “Here is that document you asked for…don’t show anyone else ;-).” If the target clicked on and opened the attachment, the infecting file was read to computer storage.
The ILOVEYOU virus was a worm or script that was disguised as a text document attached to an email. This virus goes all the way back to the year 2000. How it worked was it was an email with the subject line “ILOVEYOU” and an attachment called “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.VBS,” and if the attachment was opened it executed a Visual Basic script that infected the computer. What it did was once the script ran, it emailed itself to the victim’s email contact list and even edited the Windows registry and caused data to be replaced, such as images and Word documents, with copies of itself.

Now that I have explained a couple of email viruses and how they worked, we now need to know how to detect and avoid them. Follow these six steps on how to properly look for a virus within your email.

Step 1: Look closely at the subject line. Don’t click on anything you don’t recognize. If the subject line says something like “CLICK HERE TO CLAIM MONEY,” then it is most likely a virus.

Step 2: Don’t click on any attached files you don’t recognize. A good rule of thumb is if the attached file ends with an extension like .exe or .vbs, DO NOT click it, it is a virus.

Step 3: Be aware of the person sending the email. If you don’t recognize the name or company, do not click it.

Step 4: If you recognize the sender, double-check it by reading it and seeing if there is anything that doesn’t look right.

Step 5: Read the email carefully. Some hackers have the capability of making the email seem like it is sent from a trusted source, but look for spelling and punctuation errors as a sign it might be a virus.

Step 6: Never click or follow a link that you do not recognize. Hackers also use a tactic that involves the virus on a website and will send an email with the link to the infected website. Now, if you’re still not sure you are safe, web antivirus software is out there to do the detecting and preventing for you. Some software may cost a monthly or yearly fee, but there are ones out there for free, too. It’s your cost and your responsibility to choose.


#MeToo – Taking a Stand Against Women’s Oppression

Courtesy Of International Socialist Organization

womensmarch2018 Philly Philadelphia -MeToo, 2018, February 25. Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved 15:33, April 8, 2018 from jpg&oldid=289140009

A new resistance is growing. Ever since the serial abuser Donald Trump assumed the presidency, millions of women and survivors of sexual violence have taken to the streets and lifted their voices in defiance of the status quo. in just over a year, popular consciousness has been transformed, and hundreds of powerful men have been struck down from Hollywood to Washington. There is hope again that sexism and misogyny can be challenged and fought. What will it take to build a movement that can end women’s oppression for good? Join us to discuss how socialists understand sexism, and how we can move forward together toward the liberation of women.

With Great (Photoshop) Skills Come Great Responsibility

By Daniele Amandolini

I joined SMCC less than a year ago, specifically the Communications and New Media program, with the intent of learning everything about graphic and visual design. Just like many others, I hope to leave this school with an expertise in how to use Photoshop and similar software, and the technical ability to convey emotions by manipulating and combining visual elements.

As a media scholar, though, I learned that this field offers much bigger challenges than mastering an image editing software: what we can do with a computer these days is almost limitless, and this ability comes with the need of keeping a moral compass open at all times.

Ajda-Pekkan_mayo-Twist_plaj_moda_yaz_2012- (1)
Ajda Pekkan (72) is a Turkish popstar known for her heavily
photoshopped images.

One key example of Photoshop misuse is the retouching of women’s bodies in magazine covers and photoshoots. Pushing impossible standards of beauty is nothing new, and a habit much older than digital photography. However, because we tend to trust images as a higher form of proof than written words, this practice has had subtle but devastating consequences. These span from eating disorders to bullying and marginalizing of women (and especially young girls) with different body types. Again, the visual medium carries so much power that the effects of its careless use can be unpredictable and spin out of control, fast.

This is often the price of the fast advancement of technology: the excitement of progress often comes with unforeseen consequences. As computers are taking over our lives, though, there are no excuses for such behavior. France has taken an important step in preventing Photoshop abuse.

close the use of photoshop or other editing software. Moreover, models may only be employed after a doctor has attested their health and well-being, which obviously include a BMI (body mass index) measurement.

Outside of France, Getty is the first big company to assume a similar stance. Since October 1st, 2017, the popular stock photo website doesn’t accept submissions depicting models whose body has been digitally edited to appear smaller or bigger.

Magazines are a primarily visual medium, one that holds a critical role in shaping women’s fashion and beauty standards. While these laws and rules represent a step in the right direction, it’s important to nurture photoshop ethics not just by enforcing punishments, but by educating responsible designers that focus on their honesty as much as on their technical ability.

The morality of altering photos goes beyond women’s image. Photography is an art form, but this definition doesn’t quite translate in the context of photojournalism. Photographs have a dramatic impact when it comes to reporting news, especially in creating empathy in a reader about events happening thousands of miles away. These photographs are not always simple snapshots taken on the fly, but rather require effort and preparation. In some cases, though, to achieve the desired psychological effect, photographers have slightly altered their photos.

This is often limited to removing a distracting trashcan in the background, but when it comes to journalism the morality of such practices gets murky very fast. It is generally more accepted that a writer describes a scene with the words he considers the most effective, but such leverage is not granted to photographers. Esteemed photographer Steve McCurry, whose “Afghan girl” portrait graced one of the most iconic National Geographic covers ever, had recently undergone intense scrutiny for editing many of his travel photos. While those edits aren’t dramatic, and mostly limited to background details, many have accused McCurry of some form of lying, so much so that he addressed the issue by calling himself a visual storyteller rather than a photographer.

Regardless of where one personally stands on specific issues, my point is that schools should be where these questions are raised, and these problems addressed early on with deep discussions. It is vital that the new generations of “visual storytellers” will understand the profound consequences of their conduct, and a program like Communications and New Media should absolutely provide this type of education. My experience at SMCC has been positive so far on this front, and “hot topics” like copyright and plagiarism were tackled within the first few weeks of my first semester. I hope that this continues to be the case and that designers and visual artists of the future will understand their role in shaping general discourse and their impact on society.

Imagine Your Teacher Naked for a Moment

By Gio DiFazio

Saul Levine, a film instructor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, was terminated after showing a film to his senior thesis class that included intimate shots of him with his partner. A professor that has been with the school for 25 years, Levine is well known within the realm of experimental cinema.

Fostering creativity and unique expression is something that American Universities will always strive for. I’ve never been to art school, but I imagine it feels slightly different than the rigid curriculum of say, my major. This creativity and inventive atmosphere is unique to art students.

Making your students watch you have sex, is at the least, creepy.
So, how does a 74-year-old dude come to the conclusion that it’s a great idea to show a film of his creation that just happens to include brief moments of sweet, sweet art instructor love-making?

“I thought I would show two of my own films that also deal a lot with editing structures and some of the issues I saw coming up in their films,” said Levine, who did not say whether he’d warned students of the film’s graphic contents. “It’s a complicated film that uses footage drawn from the life around me.”
A complicated film that uses the life around you?
How can he imagine a scenario, where in a room of college students, not one takes offense to watching you have sex. Regardless of your perspective, showing yourself having sex to people 50 years younger than you, no matter in what context, probably isn’t best choice of action. Using your sexual exploits as a method of education, also, in 2018 is a very brazen move.

Levine said he did not know how many students had complained. He said the school had previously defended him against claims he taught “gay pornography,” but administrators berated him during the February meeting “about the safety of students, and why I was harming them

Weird is funny (to me anyway). And I like funny, like most people. So if a teacher decided to show me a similar film, without warning I think that my reaction would different from most. I would find it very funny. And I probably wouldn’t see to have the instructor in trouble. It’s hard for me to think about this situation from the perspective of a parent since I’m not one. If my son or daughter was exposed to this, I would offer that they do what they feel is best, and it is nothing more than a perfect example of just how creepy some people are.