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



Latest update : 2014-01-02

Crowdfunding campaign for Italian heritage site

In this edition: an Italian NGO launches an online fundraising campaign to protect an archeological site; an student suffering from several rare genetic disorders sparks debate on animal testing; and some classic video games back online.


The ancient Greek city of Paestum, also known as Poseidonia and thought to be founded in the 7th century BC is located in Campania in southern Italy, it was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1998.

But just part of this archeological site is open to the public, the rest is in private hands and damaged by mechanical equipment used for agriculture. Environmental organization Legambiante has launched an online campaign to protect these lands and is looking to raise money to buy them. The project, called “Paestumanita” is deemed urgent because numerous structures have yet to be excavated and are in danger of being ruined by tractors and other farming vehicles.

So a campaign was started on crowdfunding site Indiegogo at the beginning of December to raise funds to buy the privately owned land. The organization is offering web users the world over the opportunity to become a shareholder for 65 dollars and also have their say in the running of the site. And to entice some of the more generous donors, artist Riccardo Dalisi will give away one of his original works for every donation over 1,000 dollars.

The campaign is essentially social media based, and web users are asked to promote the initiative under the #SavePaestum hashtag.


“I am Caterina S… I’m 25 years old thanks to genuine research that includes experiments on animals. Without research I would have been dead at nine”. When Italian student Caterina Simonsen who suffers from several rare genetic disorders posted this message to Facebook, little did she think it would have been met with such strong reaction. She has been insulted, received death threats, and her comments have revived debate on medical research on animals.

The verbal and virulent attacks have prompted a wave of support for the young woman. The #IoStoConCaterina, meaning « I am with Caterina » Twitter hashtag has been trending heavily in Italy, and has seen a lot of social networkers speaking out in favour of animal testing. This web user for example says ethical and monitored testing is absolutely essential in research for the treatment of rare medical disorders.

Blogger Marco Valtriani has expressed a similar view point. He applauds Caterina for her brave stance and reminds readers of the importance of animal testing. He says people let their emotions cloud debate and hopes the controversy will help raise awareness of the need for using animals in scientific research.

Italy’s anti-vivisection league soon joined the debate. Although Susanna Penco, a researcher at Genoa University condemns the verbal abuse unleashed on the student, she does say animal testing could be dangerous for patients and slow down scientific progress. She claims there are more effective research alternatives, such as using donor organs.


"Excuse me", "When I say I love you I truly mean it" … this is how tracks by rappers Ludacris and 50 Cent would go if they were polite and romantic. On their “Respectful rappers” Tumblr blog, Bob Vulfov and Eli Grober rewrite the lyrics by taking out all the insults and vulgarity. It’s one way of denouncing the violence, sexism and homophobia conveyed in countless hip hop tracks. 


Pacman, Space Invaders and also Donkey Kong, these classic video games are now available, free of charge, on “Internet Archives”. The site has recently produced a virtual games library containing a hundred or so games created in the 70s and 80s, when the first home video games consoles started emerging. This project will give web users the opportunity to discover or rediscover these old favourites from the video gaming world. 


“Spend more time with the family” “quit smoking”, ”spend less money” and also “lose weight”; these are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. And they’re often difficult to keep; only 75 % of people manage to last more than a week. According to the Abby Ryan Design agency, which has produced an infographic based on research from Scranton University in the United States, this figure goes down to 64 % after the first month and 46 % after six months. 


To get the year off to a good start, Luc Bergeron has put together a review, in video, of the past twelve months. The Quebec-based film maker has taken 253 of the best offerings on YouTube to produce this compilation of stunning displays, emotional moments and astonishing scenes : so here’s hoping 2014 will be just as inspirational as 2013.

By Electron Libre



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