Today on the net: online mobilization to help victims of typhoon Haiyan; web users comment on the Maldives’ political crisis; and a time lapse video of a hot air balloon festival.
Online mobilization to help typhoon Haiyan victims
Roofs ripped off, houses barely standing and streets strewn with all kinds of debris… Scenes of utter devastation posted online by web users in the Philippines attesting to the scale and violence of Typhoon Haiyan which tore through the archipelago on Friday leaving death and destruction in its path. Web users are now doing what they can to help the masses of people affected.
There has been a massive show of solidarity online, with growing calls to help those who have lost everything in the super storm: netizens can donate money or basic food supplies to various humanitarian organizations. The most vulnerable will be prioritized as aid is distributed, children being among the worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
Social networks have been widely used to alert emergency relief services. Web users have been posting under the #rescuePH hashtag to inform rescue teams where they are needed and volunteers can offer their help under the #reliefPH hashtag: keywords serving specific purposes so people in the Philippines can assist the rescue and relief operations in the most effective and appropriate fashion.
And finally Google has set up this interactive map providing precious information for those in need: like where to locate emergency shelters for example. The tool is updated on a regular basis with information sent in by local web users.
Political crisis in Maldives
Voters in the Maldives headed to the polls this weekend to elect a new president. But the Supreme Court suspended the election run off scheduled for Sunday: the first round was dominated by ex-leader Mohamed Nasheed, the first president to be democratically elected, who was forced from office last year.
It’s the Maldives’ third attempt in a year at electing a head of state. Online activists have been singling out Qasim Ibrahim for his role in the political crisis. The wealthy businessman, who came third in the first round of voting, is behind the court decision to delay the second round.
Many have taken to Twitter to condemn the tycoon, who made his money from luxury tourist resorts, for contributing to the ouster of former president Mohamed Nasheed and doing everything in his power to stop him returning to office. Netizens have been using the hashtag intended for the “World Travel Market”, a tourism industry convention held in London last week, to share calls to boycott the influential businessman’s hotel chain and denounce human rights abuses in the archipelago.
It echoes another campaign, started in the summer of 2012, in which activists hijacked an online charm offensive launched by the authorities to show the hidden side to this dream destination by exposing the police brutality.
A real-time map of births and deaths
This is an interactive simulation map of births and deaths around the world. It was created by Brad Lyon from the US, who has a doctoral degree in mathematics and is also a software developer. The tool provides a running count of births and deaths by country and gives a very interesting visualization of the changes in world population.
Photographer creates perspective bending scenes
American photographer Michael Paul Smith takes miniature cars and shoots them against natural backdrops to give the impression they are actually life size. He uses a technique called forced perspective, a photographic illusion used to make objects seem bigger or smaller than their actual size. The astonishing collection is available to view on the artist’s Flickr page.
Video of the day
Every October, the city of Albuquerque in New Mexico organizes a massive nine day festival for hot air balloon enthusiasts. Over 700 balloons lifted off at this year’s annual event, and you can see them in action in the time lapse video which is currently doing the rounds on sharing sites.