Sunday, December 10, 2006

What kind of media consumer am I now?

Hopefully a smarter one. =)

This blog was just supposed to be a (forgive me) stupid, tedious homework assignment that was to take up my precious time twice a week. I didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone know how to compose a blog consisting of interesting facts about the ever pervasive global media.

Lilly said that at the end of the assignment/semester, we would be able to go back and look at our very first blog and see a difference in the way we blog as well as how we view media and its various facets. She was right.

Through this blog assignment, I’ve become a smarter media consumer:

- I am no longer the average audience, blind to all the hype. I’m aware that propaganda is EVERYWHERE. Hidden messages luring me to buy, buy, buy is laced on every ad I encounter.

- I have been introduced to numerous media programs/outlets from perusing through different blogs. Thanks to James’ blog I’ve been introduced to Al Jazeera. Never before did I consider looking up Al Jazeera to get the “other side.”

- I have also been able to see and analyze some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. Try looking at my photo blog roll to the right, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

- Last but not least, now I know how to BLOG! I never even heard about a blog before. I suppose I was living under a rock or something. My introduction to the blogging world has introduced me to all kinds of personalities from the keen Jeff Jarvis to the comical Dave Barry. And although I’m not quite in love with Miss DOOCE herself, Heather B, her quirky-ness is growing on me. (I like her rants about pooh better than her rants about her dog, but that’s just me.)

So I think I will keep on truckin’, I mean bloggin’ Lilly. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

God Bless the Weird

Weird news--you gotta love it! I'd like to thank all the "journalists" who publish the bizarre, unruly stories of the world. Without them, my work day would feel like a never-ending blow to the head by a tiny little metal bat that doesn't necessarily kill you but can keep your head throbbing until you want to pass out.

I came across today. Ananova is a web-oriented news service that provides breaking international news, entertainment news, business news, as well as its "quality" stories of the bizzare labeled "Quirkies".

The curious of the curious can find Ananova's quirky stories labeled under various titles from "Sex Life" to "Strange Crime" to the even more obscene sounding "Animal Tales."

Today I spent a good half hour wasting time reading the quirkies. I know I could have been more productive but hey, like I said earlier, weird news--you gotta LOVE it!

What did I "learn" today you ask? LOTS!

Stories of Note:
- A top female politician in Holland is requesting for Dutch prostitutes to be sent abroad to "relax" tense troops. "The army must think about how their soldiers can let off some steam."

- A man is suing for missing foreskin.

- Panda porn is the new rave of China.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fighting the Technology Divide

The Grameen Foundation is another group narrowing the technology divide between the rich and the poor. Inspired by the work of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the global network aims to empower the world’s poorest people through access to information and financial services.

One Grameen project making economic and social impacts is the “Village Phone”. Based on the success of the original Grameen village phone in Bangladesh, the Grameen Foundation lends villagers money to buy village phones. The concept of a village phone is to work as a small business. The Village Phone Operators (VPOs) make money by renting out their phones to other villagers on a one-call basis. The VPOs charge their customers with reasonable rates that allow VPOs to make enough money to repay their loans while making additional profit for a better lifestyle.

The original village phone program started in Bangladesh with the help of the Grameen Bank, Bangladesh’s largest non-government organization. Focusing on introducing technology to the poor, the bank provided village women low-cost loans to set up a mobile phone exchange in areas where no or little telecommunications technology existed. Grameen phone ladies were estimated to make more than US$1000 a year, compared to the average income of US$380.

With the help of organizations like the Grameen Foundation and Negroponte’s OLPC, it is hopeful that the world’s unfair intellectual playing field will even out. The lack of modern communications technology makes a divide between the rich and the poor. Societies who have it…prosper, those who do not…stray far behind. We should not let anyone stray far behind.

(Note: Click on the Title for more about the Grameen Foundation)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Closing the Gap through Modern Technology

In an age where survival of the smartest is more of a reality than survival of the fittest, it is no wonder why various governments and private sectors are investing millions on modern communication technologies in hopes to close the intellectual gap.
One such project bringing modern communication technology into the rural homes of children across the globe is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project.

Negroponte who is leading the non-profit OLPC group plans to produce millions of “green machines”, $100 foldable lime-green laptops, and distribute them to children in various developing nations. The laptops will not be sold commercially, but will be sold in bulk to governments and then issued to children by schools on a basis of one laptop per child. Nations already interested in the project are China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria and Thailand.

The laptop can be used as a conventional computer, an electronic book, a handheld game, and can even function as a TV. The computers are expected to be simpler than most consumer laptops; but will have the capability of doing almost everything a regular consumer laptop does, with the exception of being able to store massive amounts of data. It will only come with one gigabyte of memory. The green machines will come encased in strong rubber covers, making them durable for rough and tough situations. It will use a 500 megahertz processor with flash memory, instead of the conventional computer hard drive that has delicate movable parts. The computer will have four USB ports for peripheral devices, an adapter cable doubling as a carrying strap, and a wind-up crank to recharge the batteries. A minute’s worth of winding is estimated to equal enough power for 40 minutes of use. The machines will also have basic LED displays that consume only one-tenth of the power compared to conventional LCD laptops. The green machines will run on free software, like the Linux operating system and be able to share a net connection through “mesh networking”.

Negroponte’s ambitious OLPC project can help narrow the divide between core nations and all the others. With more projects such as this, focusing on closing the intellectual gap between the rich and the poor, the world’s unfair intellectual playing field may be leveled off to give children in developing countries a fair chance at the game of life.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kramer is a Racist? Say it Isn't So...

Apparently...I'm Not the Only One...

In an older blog, I was blabbering about how I would schedule in time to watch a movie on TV that I already have on DVD, or rush to the radio to listen to one of my favorite songs when I already have the CD album. I concluded that I do that because I want to take advantage of it. It’s being provided to me so I want to use it if I can.

I was talking to my sister about the same issue (not really important enough to call it an issue really, but bare with me) and she does the same damn thing. But her reasoning is different. She would rather watch a movie on the tube or listen to a song on the radio because she feels like she's doing it with someone, as if there are millions of others watching and listening with her. It comforts her she says. And I thought I was a butt. What a loser! Haha, JK sis. (She can really kick my ass)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

So you do have a heart...

I am delightfully surprised to find out that Rupert Murdoch
DOES HAVE A HEART. Money and ratings don't seem to be the only thing Murdoch and his minions think about.

FOX was scheduled to air a two-night special to introduce O.J. Simpson’s new book—If I Did It. The book allegedly details how he would have committed the two murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman if he had the chance to murder them. (Yeah right, IF he had the chance?)


How can they be so cold-hearted to relive such a terrible event? Do they not have hearts? Do they not have feelings? Do they not have consciences?

The good news—Murdoch does have a heart. The intense uproar from communities and (I'm seriously hoping) a conscience has led him to pull the plug on the FOX TV special and the book publishing. Good work Murdoch. You’re sleezy, but I guess not that sleezy. BRAVA!


That's the Spirit

Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen makes an unlikely fan—Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan pokes fun of Nazarbayev’s country, making it look like a nation full of racist, sexist, violent, impoverished gypsies.

Cohen plays a Kazakh reporter chosen by the Kazakh government to travel to America and make a documentary in hopes to bring home Western enlightenment. Through his travels, he engages in homosexual acts, gets hammered with sexist frat guys, shares racist remarks with cowboys and has a vicious wrestling match butt-bare-naked with his assistant over the picture of his new love, Pamela Anderson.

But does Cohen’s depiction of Kazakhstan and its people ring in any anger from Nazarbayev?
--------------- Not one bit. -----------
The movie has created an uproar in other countries. Officials banned the movie in Russia, fearing it may offend some ethnic groups. But Nazarbayev has yet to say anything negative about the movie that mocks his country.

It is unclear if Nazarbayev has seen the movie, but he sure does know a lot about it. He says that Cohen has never set foot on Kazakhstan soil and that Cohen actually filmed the movie in impoverished parts of Romania. He also said that the Kazakh gypsies seen in the movie are actually impoverished gypsies from that part of the world.

Nazarbayev laughs at Cohen’s character and the movie Borat. He says he would very much like to speak to him. I’m guessing it is to tell him “thank you” for the ridicule. Like Nazarbayev said, “any publicity is good publicity.”

That’s the spirit Nazarbayev, look at the bright side chum-p!

Monday, November 20, 2006

One-Sided News

Al Jazeera's new English channel was launched last week. Many Americans did not get the feed.

Oh wait a minute...nevermind, this just in--major U.S. cable and satellite providers aren't providing Al Jazeera English to Americans at all. Should have known. This just backs up the notion that Americans are not getting the REAL news (especially foreign news).

Real news = EVERYONE'S PERSPECTIVE (not just our biased ones)

Click here to read more.