US celebrities join the gun control campaign. China’s new leader Xi Jinping and his online fan club. And the Dead Sea scrolls now available to view on the web
US celebrities join anti-gun campaign
The singer Beyoncé, actress Jennifer Aniston, and also TV host Conan O’Brien … this video features of host of US celebrities demanding tighter gun control in America. The clip has gone viral as the nation continues to mourn the shooting tragedy at a Newtown elementary school in Connecticut two weeks ago.
The video was produced as part of the « Demand a Plan » campaign launched by a coalition of mayors across the US, calling for tougher legislation on fire arms, suggesting amongst other things criminal background checks for every gun sold in America.
This organization shares stories on its website from loved ones of victims of gun crime, and reports that every day 34 people are killed with guns in the US. Tracey Lane lost her son in the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and says every effort should be made to ensure no other family has to endure what she has endured.
Hundreds of thousands of web users agree, and have signed these online petitions launched shortly after the Newtown tragedy, urging Barack Obama to address the problem. The US president issued a video response posted online last Friday, assuring citizens he would be taking action and implementing measures to fight gun violence.
China : Xi Jinping’s online “fan club”
When he was elected head of the Communist Party of China last month, the future president Xi Jinping who is due to take office next March, was given his very own fan club on the Internet. The account on China’s Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo has over 50 000 followers commenting on his every move, and here the country’s new strong man is referred to by an affectionate nickname “Ping Ping”.
The micro blog devoted to Hu Jintao’s successor also hosts numerous photos from his early days. Some document his rise to power; others are more intimate and show him alongside his family. Rare shots, particularly so in a country where the private lives of officials remain shrouded in secrecy.
And the founder of the site, who wishes to remain anonymous, appears to be pretty well informed. During Xi Jinping’s official visit to southern China this month, every stage of the trip was related on the micro blog, and always ahead of official media. Some are wondering if this fan club is in fact a well-oiled propaganda operation, as the future president is keen on portraying himself as a leader who is close to the people.
Indeed, no longer satisfied with simply censoring the Internet to block information that makes it feel uncomfortable, the Chinese government is now using cyberspace to try and guide public opinion. According to a recent study, there are now over 60 000 government affiliated accounts on Sina Weibo, a platform which reportedly has over 400 million users.
Dead sea scrolls go online
Thousands of fragments of parchment from the Dead Sea Scrolls are now available to search and read online. The Israel Museum has teamed up with Google and scanned these ancient texts that were written over 2 000 years ago, and contain biblical manuscripts including the Ten Commandments scroll. Discovered in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century. And because they available to view online, the museum will no longer have to exhibit them, and so will be able to preserve these fragile pieces of parchment for future generations.
If superheroes had fought war
Indonesian photographer Agan Harahap came up with the novel idea of incorporating superheroes or famous villains into historical photos. You can check out his work on the site Behance, amongst others, which is displaying his “Super History” collection of digitally altered shots that give an offbeat twist to modern history.
Video of the day
Ivory and Jonathan were in love and together for five years. But they wanted different things out of life and so decided to break up. They also decided to write a song explaining their split and post it to YouTube! Here we see the now ex couple performing “we’ve gotta break up”, and it’s proving pretty popular as it’s already racked up over one million hits.