The Civic Beat Sundae: Sept 29 Edition


In this week’s edition of The Civic Beat Sundae, Ben Valentine looked at memes around #TransferDeadlineDay, the highly anticipated football/soccer event that seems to get the whole world paying attention.  And our correspondent from Uganda, Daniel Mwesigwa, teamed up with An Xiao to look at the creative imagery Kenyans posted online in response to the tragic attacks in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall.

We’re pleased to roll out images headlines for this week’s Sundae, designed by our very own Jason Li. What do you think?

World Scoop

Culture Swirl

  • [Global] Whooly, an app for Twitter that helps neighbors connect with each other. It’s still in beta stage but if you live in Seattle sign up to try it out: “When a person signs into Whooly from a Twitter account, the site surfaces and summarizes content, trending keywords, people, and events that are relevant to his or her neighborhood. The tool scans Twitter profile information and the content of tweets themselves to determine who actually lives in the neighborhood, as opposed to tourists or visitors that would pop-up if Whooly looked at only, say, GPS coordinates. It marks a cute-looking owl on the profile of Twitter users who it identifies as “hubs” in their communities.” (h/t Andrés Monroy)
  • [Hong Kong] The Hong Kong Marathon wants to ban selfies.  Why?  Here’s the word from The Atlantic Wire: “At this year’s Hong Kong Marathon in February, a competitor reportedly dropped her phone as she was trying to snap a selfie. In the process of picking it up, she caused some of the runners behind her to trip and fall.”
  • [USA] Here’s a great look at the Silicon Valley Bubble. Given the Valley’s global impact on technology, it’s important to remember that those who design technology are far removed from many of those who use it, or use it in different ways: “Even though I knew it shouldn’t be shocking, I was still shocked that people didn’t know what Meetup is, what MOOCs are, what an IPO is, what the difference between front-end and back-end development is and what the sharing economy is.”
  • [Uganda] The Uganda Internet Governance Forum, held at Hive Colab, released details. Some highlights: 17% of Ugandans are online (up from 9.6%) as of two years ago, and the Freedom House considers Uganda’s internet “partly free”.
  • [English] Get a lot of hatemail? Just download this Glitterific Hate Mail translator, a new extension for Chrome, and all that hate turns to… well, glitter.
  • [USA] Guggenheim digital marketing manager Jiajia Fei argues that the internet is the new Lower East Side, and she notes the role of the artist and the arts community as more of us come online: “I believe fundamentally that the job of an artist is to make work that asks questions and creates problems, and that the job of curators is to interpret these questions and problems for the public—to make them meaningful. So the question now is: As members of the public become ever more sophisticated digital content consumers whose online interactions are as important as real life, how can we curators and arts professionals use new technologies to do our jobs better and reach more people? “
  • [USA] For the United States’s Banned Book Week, Author Judy Blume reflects on her writing being banned: “Censorship grows out of fear and, because fear is contagious, some parents are easily swayed. Book banning satisfies their need to feel in control of their children’s lives. This fear is often disguised as moral outrage. They want to believe that if their children do not read about it, their children will not know about it. And if they do not know about it, it will not happen.” (h/t Josh Stearns)
  • [USA] “One thing I’ve learned in the past week is that most Americans really hate book banning,” says writer  Laura Miller on the experience of giving away banned copies of the Invisible Man.
  • [USA] A federal appeals court in the U.S. has ruled that Facebook likes are a form of protected speech.  This from the WSJ: “On the most basic level, clicking on the ‘like’ button literally causes to be published the statement that the User ‘likes’ something, which is itself a substantive statement,” wrote Judge Traxler for the court, which ruled unanimously on the Facebook issue.”
  • [USA] Grumpy Cat calls for a GNU internet. (h/t Boing Boing)  What’s GNU? A friendly beast representing a free operating system.
  • [Iran] Small Media analyzes the role of internet censorship in Iran: “However, Internet censorship is not necessarily enacted for the purpose of blocking a sophisticated individual from obtaining restricted information; to be effective, it simply has to make access difficult for the majority of the population, whom are often neither technologically-adept nor highly-motivated. As such, the legendary Filternet is ultimately a far simpler collection of standard network equipment than it is often made out to be.’
  • [India] Government officials at the National Integration Council call for stricter control of social media: “Summing up their mood, the Prime Minister said the recent communal violence in some cases have brought to notice circulation of fake videos aimed at inciting the feeling of hatred in one community towards the other.”
  • [China] China to open up the Great Firewall in their special free trade zone in Shanghai.  Or… not, says The Guardian: “Foreign companies will also be allowed to provide some internet services, though the official Xinhua news agency reported before the launch that internet restrictions would not be lifted, following a report by a Hong Kong newspaper that banned websites such as Facebook would be unblocked inside the zone.”
Sprinkles! (just for fun)