The Civic Beat Sundae: Oct 20 Edition


Happy Sunday! We don’t have any new articles this week as we’ve been busy preparing for a few projects, but we do have some great news. Ben Valentine, our strategist and regular contributor, will be speaking at SXSW alongside Andres Monroy-Hernandez of Microsoft Research, Elena Agapie at Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA, and J. Nathan Matias of the MIT Media Lab. Together they’ll be covering memes from Mexico, East Africa, Romania and the U.S. Read more on Ben’s post in our Reader.

And our co-founder Jason Li is writing an article on Hong Kong’s free TV protests.  Here’s a preview of what he’s been seeing:

World Scoop


Culture Swirl
  • [United Kingdom] Tech and conceptual artist Wafaa Bilal turned a UK internet meme, the Technoviking, into a blow-up sculpture: “Viral videos and memes exemplify the rapid spread of ideas,  grand and minimal alike, often playing toward humor and entertainment value. To create a temporal iconic sculpture of a “YouTube” sensation is to monumentalize this shift in fame and public influence, with a light tone and interactive manner. The sculpture’s rate of inflation directly correlates to its popularity on Twitter– notice of tweets containing “#technoviking” are sent to the pump system, which subsequently inflates the piece.”.  What is the Technoviking? Well, you’ll just have to watch his high-tech heroics here:
  • [Taiwan] Users of Line, the popular messaging app, are turning stickers into mini soap operas. What’s next? Given some of Taiwan’s recent electoral battles, we won’t be surprised if we start to see political narration in the near future.
  • [Vietnam] The Ubox social network is giving users a way to chat with memetic language, like image macros. We’ve been learning more about meme culture in Vietnam thanks to @vietmeme and Tech In Asia, and we’ll be curious to learn more about how Ubox grows.
  • [USA] In the wake of the government shutdown, bugs have been filed at the White House’s Github account (Github is a popular platform for programmers working together on projects). The issue was opened by user davatron5000, and be sure to scroll around to see some of the responses:

    I noticed a bug over the past week or so and it seems reproducible:

    1. Go to U.S. Government.
    2. U.S. Government is shut down.

    Expected results: Government should be working.

  • [USA] In other government shutdown news, Washington Post writer Anne Midgette reflects on knowing the child in a photo that’s gone viral: “There is, it’s true, something scary, or sad, about this picture. But it’s not the shutdown. It’s that a father took his son out for a walk in the neighborhood and sent a funny snapshot to his wife, and she put it up on Instagram, and someone else put it up on Facebook, and someone else put it up on Reddit, and within a matter of hours, bam, there was the toddler on the NBC Nightly News, fair game for commenters around the nation.”


Cone Of Censorship