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News seen on the web and about the web. From Monday to Friday at 8.20 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2013-04-22

China: web mobilises to help Sichuan earthquake victims

Chinese web users mobilise support for victims of the earthquake in Sichuan province. Also, Dove’s latest viral campaign gets a mixed reaction. And a Spanish artist comes up with an astonishing instrument.

China: web mobilizes to help Sichuan earthquake victims

"Over 500 people with no water, food or shelter", this appeal for help was posted to social networks by a web user who went to visit the epicenter of the deadly earthquake that hit Sichuan province in south western China on Saturday.

Chinese web users started mobilizing support for victims just moments after the disaster struck, with many netizens relaying accounts published by people living in the region’s remotest areas, to ensure the emergency services could reach them as soon as possible.

And to avoid any delays, many netizens have been urging motorists not to use the motorway that connects the provincial capital Chengdu to the town of Ya’an, near to the epicenter of the earthquake. Web users have dubbed this route “the road to life”.

Others have volunteered their services to relief operations. Prominent blogger Li Chengpeng, who had offered his help back in 2008 when another powerful quake hit the region, has put together a response team with financial and logistical help from web users.

A lot of people in China have already said they will not be donating money to the Red Cross Society of China. Over the past few years, the government linked organization has in fact been implicated in several corruption scandals. This blogger says if it wants to regain people’s trust then it must now be exemplary in how it deploys its resources.

Praise and criticism for Dove's latest viral campaign

Personal care brand Dove has launched a new online ad campaign promising women "You’re more beautiful than you think"; the campaign centers around this video which shows a forensic artist drawing pictures of women based solely on how they describe themselves; he cannot see them. He then draws a second portrait based on a description provided by a perfect stranger they met for a short period of time a few moments prior. The results are striking because every time the self-described portraits are uglier, sadder, than the ones described by strangers, showing women are too often their own worst critics.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage women not to be so hard on themselves, and it has definitely stirred up reactions from the online community. The video has now been viewed by over 13 million web users and many have taken to social networks to applaud the message conveyed by Dove and what they deem to be a caring, compassionate campaign.

But not everyone has reacted so positively. Some web users feel it’s full of stereotypes and focusses too much on the perception of beauty, when there’s so much more to a woman than her physical appearance. Others have slammed the choice of women used in the clip: saying it lacks diversity as the majority of women featured appear to be white, slim and under 40 years old.

And finally some have also been criticizing the fact the campaign is geared solely towards women, without a second thought for men. And so the makers of this video have voiced their criticism in a parody of the original Dove ad; this one features men, who appear to think they are way better looking than women do… 

Seven billion people visualized on a single web page

This graphic makes it easier for us to visualize 7 billion people, with a stick figure representing every single person in the whole world, colour coded according to which continent they come from, and it’s all on the same web page… you can check out the chart on the site 7billionworld, if printed out the page would be 1,6 km long by 250 meters wide... 

Prankster swaps UK commuters’ heads with newspaper pics

One web user in the UK has been playing pranks on commuters in the capital, by carefully folding British dailies, so the faces line up with their bodies. The resulting pics are then posted online. The hilarious head swapping photos have become an Internet sensation, and are a definite must-see. 

Video of the day

Spanish artist Xavi Lozano makes musical instruments from everyday objects, and as we can see here turned a metal security fence into a flute. It’s not the easiest instrument to carry around by it’s pretty astonishing, and pleasant sounding, and you can get a better look in this video which is currently doing the rounds on sharing sites.

By Electron Libre

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