Today on the net: online reports on the wave of protests across Brazil; Hillary Clinton’s Twitter debut fuels speculation about her political future; and Google launches Internet beaming balloons aimed at bridging the digital divide.
Wave of protests across Brazil
As we can see from this amateur video footage, hundreds of Brazilians gathered in front of Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana football stadium on Sunday ahead of a Confederations Cup match. Some of Brazil’s principal cities have been rocked by protests in recent days, with demonstrators angry over high living costs and denouncing the vast sums of money being spent on hosting next year’s Football World Cup.
The protests were sparked by recent fare hikes for bus and subway tickets, and were launched by the “Free Fare movement” a group that campaigns for free public transport and used Facebook to urge the people of Brazil to protest against the measures; hundreds of thousands of web users responded to their rallying cry.
As we can see in this footage filmed in Sao Paulo last week, sometimes the protests have been violently repressed by riot police who have fired tear gas and rubber bullets.
Protesters say it’s an excessive use of force. The Anonymous Rio Facebook page is encouraging web users to upload any images bearing witness to police brutality, and offering advice on how to protect oneself during these police interventions.
Activists are advised to carry around vinegar for example as it is known for minimizing the effects of tear gas. It has even become one of the symbols of the protest movement after this video was posted online, filmed by a journalist who was arrested for having vinegar inside his backpack.
Hillary Clinton’s Twitter debut fuelling 2016 speculation
"Thanks for the inspiration… I’ll take it from here" these were the words used by Hillary Clinton to make her much talked about Twitter debut last week. According to The Daily Dot website, in just 11 hours, the former First Lady had drawn no less than 296,000 followers, that’s an average of 27 000 per hour. Her online popularity has yet to reach the levels of already very connected politicians, the likes of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin, but she has now racked up half a million followers.
The success of her Twitter account is largely down to its lighthearted tone. In her first tweet, she thanked Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe, the duo behind the “Texts from Hillary” blog, a satirical site, where the two New Yorkers used a photo taken by Diana Walker for Time Magazine and imagined what the former Secretary of State was texting and to who. In fact Hillary Clinton has taken that very photo to use as her profile pic. And her wit is also conveyed through her biography, where she describes herself as “dog owner” and also “hair icon”.
Many see Hillary Clinton’s presence on the micro blogging site as a further suggestion she may be planning to run in the 2016 presidential election. She appears to have been dropping hints since she stepped down as Secretary of State four months ago: she launched a new website the day after her resignation, called Hillaryclintonoffice.com, fueling speculation over a possible presidential run.
Now trending on social networks
@Policia : this is the name of the Spanish police force’s Twitter handle. With over 500 000 followers it’s the world’s second most popular police Twitter account, with first place going to the FBI. Its popularity is largely explained by the offbeat tone it uses to update citizens and run awareness campaigns about the dangers of drink driving for example or online fraud. It’s an extremely effective way of reporting on policy activity, and is a fantastic tool for relaying missing person’s reports or appeals for witnesses.
Google launches Internet-beaming balloons
Google has come up with a novel idea for bridging the digital divide: providing Internet access through helium balloons. The American web giant has launched some thirty Internet beaming balloons into the stratosphere above South New Zealand to test this new technology. The project is called “Loon” and has the long term goal of getting the entire planet, even the remotest regions, online.
Video of the day
Colin Furze, the plumber come stuntman, and world record holder for the Fastest Mobility Scooter at a speed of 115 km/h, is back! And he’s on a flame-shooting, jet-propelled bicycle, and nothing can get in his way, not even a stream, or a flat tire. This is truly something else and something we strongly recommend you don’t try at home…