Recent events have shown how social networks can help world unrest get witnessed globally. YouTube was a major player in sending videos of Arab Spring protestors out to masses across the world, but it had its drawbacks: the person protesting in a video was seen everywhere, but they were also seen back at home, where losing anonymity to a despotic government could become dangerous.
It's been nearly a year since the beginning of a bloody uprising in Syria that has taken thousands of lives, both military and civilian. Just how many? Depends on whom you ask.
A trustworthy death toll is needed, to place the conflict in context, and document the crisis for present and future reckoning. But accounting for the dead has been difficult, due to a lock-tight government crackdown, ongoing violence and even political ideology. A collection of volunteer groups is trying to bring clarity to the conflict, however. By combining social media and crowdsourced data with automation and algorithms, Syrian casualty trackers are moving toward the realm of activist data mining.
By Lucas PollockPosted 07.30.2011 at 3:04 pm 0 Comments
When Jacob Appelbaum spoke at a workshop for Arab bloggers in Beirut in 2009, he knew his audience would pay special attention. The 26-year-old American programmer had spent the previous year in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia and Hong Kong training communities and activists how to use an increasingly popular program called Tor to evade government attempts to track their movements online.
For over two centuries we have struggled to understand the scope of Afghanistan's mineral wealth. Now geologists, if they can determine what lies beneath the nation's ground, might also help bring stability to the surface
By Matthieu AikinsPosted 09.14.2010 at 10:26 am 21 Comments
Early one morning in June, just a week after the New York Times reported claims by U.S. officials that Afghanistan was perched atop enough copper, gold, iron, lithium, and assorted rare minerals and gemstones "to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself," I made my way with a local guide to the illegal mines of the Safit Chir, an emerald-rich line of ridges 100 miles northeast of Kabul.
As soccer fans prepare for next month's World Cup, 11 nations around the world are already vying for the one that starts 12 years from now. Qatar's plans, unveiled Friday, won't bring 3-D images of soccer action to your doorstep, but the stadiums will probably be worth visiting in person.
With 884 million people lacking a reliable source of clean drinking water, droughts throughout Africa and the Middle East exacerbating already tense situations, and global warming only making those problems worse, finding water for the world's most arid regions is more important than ever. Luckily, the same technology used to look for life-supporting water on Mars may be able to find similar sources of underground water here on Earth.