Today on the net, a virtual candidate is running in Iran’s presidential election; the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch is under fire; and Google launches a new service tracking the planet’s changing surface.
Iran: a virtual candidate for the presidential election
The people of Iran will be electing their new president on the 14th June. And one of the candidates, Zahra, does stand out from the crowd, because she is a fictional character: a 52 year old woman who says she’s running for president to challenge the Mullah regime and campaign for democratic change in Iran.
The resident of Tehran is in fact the heroine from a comic strip called "Zahra’s Paradise", created by Amir Zoltani, an Iranian journalist living in exile in the US. The graphic novel began online as a blog, and tells the story of a mother desperately searching for her son who disappeared during the demonstrations against the highly disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
The serial has since been edited and translated into some fifteen different languages and now the story continues as Zahra runs for president. A number of panels are published online each week, recounting the campaign developments for this virtual candidate who is not afraid to speak her mind.
Other illustrations denounce Iran’s poor human rights record, looking, for example, at the treatment of political prisoners held in the country’s jails.
And although they won’t actually be able to vote for Zahra on election day, countless web users have been voicing their support for the virtual candidate via social networks, and calling for a free and fair election next month.
Abercrombie & Fitch under fire for not making plus-size clothes
A storm’s been brewing in the fashion world following last week’s online revelations that Abercrombie & Fitch did not want plus size women in its stores. The fashion retailer’s CEO Mike Jeffries has said he doesn’t want their customers to see ‘overweight’ people wearing their brand. So the company won’t be carrying XL or XXL, even if that means incurring the wrath of potential clients.
Jeffries has never tried to hide this position. In an interview to the website Salon.com back in 2006 he explained the brand was geared towards the cool and popular kids at school. And of course the sales assistants or ‘models’ in the stores fit this image of their target audience. The CEO says he only hires ‘good looking’ people in order to attract similar looking customers.
A stance that has stirred up controversy. An online petition has been started condemning the company for being exclusionary and demanding it starts offering plus sizes. The document has gathered over 8,500 signatures so far.
The wave of indignation has spread to Twitter. Regular customers are calling for an immediate boycott of the brand and many are addressing Mike Jeffries directly, comparing him to a dictator, or taking a swipe at his physical appearance, saying he’s not as good looking as he thinks he is.
And although debate continues to rage on the web, Abercrombie and Fitch looks set on carrying out its policy of no plus sizes. The decision only applies to womenswear, because as the company reminds us, many of its male customers are indeed American football players or sporty athletes of some description and so they need to cater for their bulging muscles…
Google Timelapse tracks the planet’s changing surface
Google has teamed up with NASA, the US Geological Survey and Time magazine to launch Timelapse. The new service tracks the planet’s changing surface from data going back to 1984, so you can visualize the expansion of Las Vegas in the Nevada desert, the gradual deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon and the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier. Almost 30 years of satellite imagery of our planet’s surface have been compiled, with particularly informative results.
Now trending on social networks
American wrestler Jay Briscoe was recently forced to close down his Twitter account and make a public apology, after posting a series of controversial tweets after the U.S. state of Delaware passed a new law allowing same sex marriage. Many outraged social networkers denounced his shocking and homophobic remarks, whilst independent professional wrestling federation the Ring of Honour distanced itself from the comments saying they did not represent the beliefs of the company. It also said it regretted the incident and the impact it could have on his younger fans.
Video of the day
Coccosnowball, is a fan of the world’s most famous secret agent, James Bond, and has recreated the first three minutes of Casino Royale, frame by frame, in Lego! Carefully and painstakingly remade, this is a carbon copy of the opening scene of the feature film that hit our cinema screens back in 2006, and will no doubt prove extremely popular with Lego enthusiasts and film lovers everywhere.