In this edition: Thai anti-government protesters campaign in the streets and on the web ; Senegalese web users criticize the inauguration of a monumental statue ; and you can now take a virtual visit of the Sistine Chapel.
The Thai opposition is stepping up the pressure. For over three weeks now tens of thousands of “red shirts” have protesting in Bangkok. The government is seeking a court order to evict the demonstrators gathered in the capital’s tourist hub. The movement is being largely replayed online.
In this video posted by a site supporting the movement, protestors share their determination to continue rallying until they get what they want. These supporters of the exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra want parliament to be dissolved and fresh elections called. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx--NuNQFjs
And as these photos taken by bloggers on Monday show, the protesters also took over, for several hours, the offices of Thailand’s Election Commission. They accuse election officials of delaying an investigation into alleged irregularities involving the democratic ruling party.
Part of the population however is saying it has had enough of being taken hostage by this political crisis. In just several days around 200 000 web users joined this Facebook group, all opposing the dissolution of parliament as they do not think it represents a long term solution.
Meanwhile, the authorities are also concerned about the country’s tourism industry. In order to reassure foreign visitors, Thailand’s Tourism Office is regularly posting videos like this one online. Objective: show them that the current situation will have no effect on their trip.
SENEGAL: A STATUE UNDER CRITICISM
On Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of independence, the Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade unveiled a 50 meter high bronze statue in Dakar. It’s called The African Renaissance Statue and had provoked a lot of reaction online.
Many local web users have mixed feelings about the statue. This blogger for example criticizes the monument’s Stalin aspect and says it is an architectural monstrosity. He thinks the sculpture makes Senegal the most artistically challenged African country.
But as this web user stresses, the controversy surrounding this statue is not only linked to what it looks like. He says that some Senegalese people are criticizing President Wade, not only for the exorbitant amount of money spent on the statue, but also the fact that he will personally make money from the monument, as he claims he is entitled to a percentage of the profits it generates due to intellectual property rights.
Some are already wondering about the possibility of destroying the statue. Here, this blogger explains it is unlikely to disappear any time soon for financial reasons. But he says he hopes the statue will be got rid of one day, as he sees it as a symbol of the country’s bad governing.
And opinions in the streets appear to be more divided than on the web. As these images taken from the streets of Dakar on Saturday show, many Senegalese wanted to show the president their support at the inauguration of the monument. And these street interviews show that some citizens, like this man, are overwhelmingly in favour of this initiative.
« I think today it’s vital to have a monument for the African Renaissance, especially in a Democratic country like Senegal. »
In 2009, the team from Villanova University created virtual visits of the Basilica of St. John Lateran and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and posted them online. They have now done the same thing for the Sistine Chapel. The American University has been working with the Vatican for two years on a virtual reality project aimed at digitizing the Catholic Church’s best landmarks and frescos and making them available online.
Do you dream of creating your own Chatroulette? On this site which enjoyed huge success several weeks ago, you can chat with random strangers from all over the world using a web cam. Now, thanks to the site camchat, anyone can create their private Chatroulette. For 29 dollars, web users can download the script from the original site and install it on their computer, and then chat via web cam with other members.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
If you have had enough of housework then do not worry because robots will soon be available to help you. This robot created by a student from the University of Berkeley with the help of his professor, can fold towels. But he’s still a little slow; the video has been accelerated to 50 times its original speed.