“I’m alive.” I’ve made that call, maybe you have too. That surreal statement instantly erases panic in whomever’s on the other end of the line. It reconstructs a momentarily unglued world.
When I made that call, mobile phones were in their infancy, and landlines were choked by overloaded phone networks. Now a Lebanese woman has developed an app to let you get that most urgent message out loud and clear, “Hey, I am alive!”
Bombings are a frequent reality in Lebanon, and Syria, and Egypt, and Iraq. Sandra Hassan, a Lebanese-born graduate student studying abroad in Paris heard about a car bomb in a Beirut suburb; and the idea was hatched.
“It was a little bit frustrating that, in Lebanon at least, we’re living in a situation that makes such an application necessary or useful,” Hassan told National Public Radio in a recent interview. “My way to express that frustration was to publish this app, kind of as a statement against what was happening, a statement of discontent if you will.”
Lebanon was bombed several times in January, and Hassan said it was stressful trying to contact family and friends to check on their safety. So this student of public health decided to develop an app that allows users to quickly get the message out. With one click, using the internet and avoiding potentially disrupted phone networks, they can instantly tweet the message: “I am still alive!” using with the hashtags #Lebanon and #LatestBombing.
The app is based on Twitter, but Hassan plans updates so that it is compatible with Facebook and could work like an instant messaging independent of social media; a single click to update everyone who wants proof that you are okay.
via Lebanese inventor makes “alive” app for war-torn regions | Green Prophet.
The sound of space discovery.
From space data to beautiful music
To compose the spacecraft duet, 320,000 measurements were first selected from each spacecraft, at one hour intervals. Then that data was converted into two very long melodies, each comprising 320,000 notes using different sampling frequencies, from a few KHz to 44.1 kHz.
The result of the conversion into waveform, using such a big dataset, created a wide collection of audible sounds, lasting just a few seconds (slightly more than 7 seconds at 44.1kHz) to a few hours (more than 5hours using 1024Hz as a sampling frequency). A certain number of data points, from a few thousand to 44,100 were each “converted” into 1 second of sound.
Right-wing Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel visited the the al-Aqsa mosque compound o
n Tuesday under armed guard, a mosque official said.
Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director of Jerusalem endowments and al-Aqsa affairs, told Ma’an that Ariel and 27 rightist settlers entered the mosque compound through the Moroccan Gate.
The group toured the area and then left via the Chain Gate.
Muslim worshipers and students shouted “Allahu Akbar” at the minister, and Israeli police officers collected the identity cards of Palestinians in the the area.
Separately, Israeli police officers prevented the entry of equipment to fix a water pipe in the compound.
Last year, Ariel said that Israel should have full sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa compound and that the site must be open “at any hour to every Jew.”
via Israeli minister visits Aqsa compound under guard | Maan News Agency.
Guimarães uses buildings as a means to hide his characters in. They are crouched or hanging from a wall, often popping out of nowhere to say hello. They cover various settings they are in, adding waves of light to Amsterdam and faces for walls in Porto Alegre. Like the artist, they are youthful and full of energy (which you can really see from the multiple photos of him jumping along with the characters in his work).
Guimarães does seem to just be getting started and has only shown his work in somewhat limited locations. His work has popped up a few times for us out in the annals of Tumblr so obviously the guy must be doing it right if people are drooling about him on that site. It’s easy to see why he is becoming popular: he makes big, happy work using wild colors. What isn’t there to like about that?
via Rimon Guimarães’ Colorful Building Sized Murals – The Fox Is Black.
Preferential treatment of Israel has, sadly, come to be expected in the United States. Too often, the United States turns a blind eye as Israel discriminates against American citizens, then rewards Israel for this unacceptable behavior.
The so-called visa waiver bill would reward Israel by allowing Israelis to travel to the United States without a visa — a privilege that is supposed to hinge on Israel reciprocating the gesture.
The bill’s main co-sponsor, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, has defended a key provision of the bill that would allow Israel to continue discriminating against U.S. citizens. The provision, absent from the agreements that the United States has with all 37 other countries participating in the visa waiver system, gives Israel a green light to deny entry — on its own terms and for its own reasons — to any Americans whom it deems as “jeopardizing the security of the state of Israel.” No need to justify why. No need to explain. Just blanket U.S. capitulation to Israel’s discriminatory policies.
In other words, being American will count for nothing at Israel’s borders, and Israel will be free to continue discriminating against Americans it unilaterally deems unacceptable.
Mostly Arab-Americans are affected, many of them born in the United States and tracing their roots to historic Palestine. But when they try to visit the land of their ancestors, these American citizens are humiliated at Israel’s ports of entry, and many are turned away (or given abbreviated visas) by Israel, our “closest ally” in the Middle East.
via Israel’s waiver to discriminate: Sam Bahour | cleveland.com.
China backs Sri Lanka as U.S. mulls resolution – Xinhua | English.news.cn.
Forget Tibet. Forget killing of thousands in 2-3 of the final days in Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka, China will be happy with exploiting your minerals and low labor costs.
“China opposes some countries’ interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka under the pretext of human rights issues,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday during talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Gamini Lakshman Peiris, in Beijing.
China backs the Sri Lankan government in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Wang said. “We believe in the Sri Lankan people’s wisdom and capacity to handle their own affairs.”