The web bears witness to the environmental disaster in Hungary. A look at some of the initiatives run by cyber citizens’ during Brazil’s presidential campaign. And everyone in the world is invited to take part in the « One day on earth » documentary project
STATE OF EMERGENCY IN HUNGARY
These amateur images were filmed in Hungary. The country is facing its worst environmental disaster ever. On Monday, a sludge reservoir burst its banks at an aluminum plant in the town of Ajka following heavy rainfall. Over 1 million cubic meters of toxic red sludge has swept through neighbouring villages, causing the authorities to declare a state of emergency in the country.
Other videos are also circulating on the web. These spectacular images give an idea of the extent of the flooding in this western region of the country, and also the force of the sludge that left several people dead.
Some web users are circulating photos taken the day after the torrent of sludge swept through. The shots show that nothing was spared in the surrounding villages. Here, residents try to save their homes and possessions from the sludge. Whilst these photos show the emergency services, most of them protected by special overalls and masks.
And as this blogger says, the sludge contains toxic chemical products. 5
One Hungarian man gives a testimonial on the site Gizmodo. He explains that his wife works in the accident and emergency department of one of the region’s hospitals and describes how traumatic it was for her seeing the burns caused by these products.
Meanwhile, many Twitter users are expressing their alarm and messages of support for the victims are pouring in.
BRAZIL: ELECTIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
The elections are not yet over in Brazil, and web users are hailing a campaign where the web has played a prominent role. We get a fix on the 2.0 campaign.
Blogger Tiago Doria notes that activists knew how to make the most of the potential available on the web. He says it is the first time that voters produced their own material during a campaign, competing with mass media.
He notably welcomes the creation of web sites that were able to cover the election in a neutral fashion, like the blog Braziu that did not side with one of the candidates, contrary to several national newspapers.
The site 48 H democracy also provided alternative coverage by inviting web users to share their thoughts live on Twitter or Skype for example.
Cyber citizens also gave themselves the mission of fighting for transparency in the electoral process. Numerous sites have been inviting web users to denounce fly posting and placing posters and flyers in illegal places. Because this practice defiles urban spaces, the site invited people to deface the candidate posters in return.
And many Brazilians stepped forward to denounce fraudulent practices, as is demonstrated by the success of platform Eleitor2010 on which web users can report any irregularity, like vote buying, as we see in this video.
These initiatives should live on after the election. And according to this blogger, their development should encourage Brazilian press bodies to reevaluate and redefine their relationship with a proactive audience that no longer settles for passive learning.
MONITOR MY EMPLOYEE
A young entrepreneur has just launched a way for bosses to see what their employees get up to on their computers. Once the spying software is installed on the employee’s computer, it records the sites visited and the keys used on the keyboard, and sends warning messages as soon as a forbidden word is used in an email. Yet legislation on monitoring employees is very strict in France. They have to be informed and the employer must notify the CNIL – the independent French administrative authority for data privacy.
GOOGLE STREET VIEW IN ANTARCTICA
Google is watching over penguins. The online mapping software “Street View” now covers the Antarctic. This is an important step for Google as it now covers all seven continents. Initially, images from Antarctica will be limited to web users’ photos of penguins on the Southern Shetland Islands as well as panoramic views.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Here’s the trailer for the « One day on earth” project, where anyone in the world is invited to participate by filming the subject of their choice on the 10th October. A two hour long documentary will be made using the images sent in and will be released sometime in 2011. The aim is to illustrate the major social problems of our time and the cultural diversity of our planet during a 24 hour period. The project is backed by the United Nations Development Program as well as numerous NGOs.