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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 : 2014-05-07

Crowdsourcing Ukraine's rebellion

In this edition: crowdsourcing Ukraine`s rebellion; campaigning for diversity in comic books and children`s literature; and Buddhist monks breakdancing.


“Attention, Ukraine`s Ministry of Defense asks Internet users to remain silent about the movement of Ukrainian army troops”. Euromaidan activists have posted this message to their Twitter page as pro-Russia separatists are turning increasingly towards social networks for information on the location and movements of regular troops in the south east of the country.

Information that is provided by sympathizers of the rebel movement using applications like this one available on the “Military Maps” group created on Russian site Vkontakte. Web users can use the tool to mark the location of soldiers and military equipment on maps of Ukraine, thus handing over precious tactical indications to separatist troops.

Although some have chosen to help pro-Russia rebels via the web, there are many Ukrainian web users supporting their army. The person who created the “Euro Army Maydan” Facebook page for example is organizing a clothes and food drive to send on to soldiers on the front line.

Web users can also make donations to the Ukrainian army via the Ministry of Defense website or by SMS. The money raised will be used to buy equipment for soldiers, like weapons and bullet proof vests to protect them as they continue what the authorities describe as their “anti-terrorist operation” in the south east of the country.


The “We are comics” Tumblr blog launched on April 26, by American author, editor, journalist and fan of comic books Rachel Edidin, intends to send the message that the comic book industry and comic strip fans are a lot more diverse than people think, and hopes to promote the visibility of marginalized members of the population and challenge harassment and bigotry within the culture.

Dozens of readers, men and women, from many different backgrounds, have joined the campaign, posing with a sign reading “I am Comics” and posting the photo online. They have also added short explanations of their involvement in comics so the diversity of comic readers can be seen and shared. To say that comics are for everyone regardless of their ethnic origin, their religion or their sexuality.

And there`s also a campaign to address the lack of diversity in children’s literature now underway. It`s called “We need diverse books” and was kicked off by a group of authors, editors and bloggers in the United States.

So web users are busy on Twitter and on Tumblr calling for a greater diversity in fictional characters. Parents are saying it will help their children learn empathy and tolerance. A lot of children are also contributing to the campaign, saying they would like to see themselves in the hero or heroine of the story.


On Monday the NSA posted an unintelligible tweet, made up of a series of apparently random letters and spaces, to the Twitter thread it uses to hire new agents… and while some web users suggested the feed had been hacked, or it was a prank, it turns out the tweet in question was in fact coded. The National Security Agency is recruiting and those who are able to crack the complex codes are likely to be of interest to them.


For the unofficial holiday, the May the Fourth World Star Wars Day, the online community manager for Windows Phone UK posted a tweet to Star Wars fans… they would have loved it, had it not been for a rather big slip up… he called them “Trekkies”, the nickname for fans of Star Trek. The tweet was met with a lot of teasing, with web users finding this blunder very funny indeed.


The mayor of New York City has launched this interactive map, called “Vision Zero” in a bid to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the Big Apple. Residents of the city that never sleeps are asked to report any issues that could be hazardous for pedestrians and also any traffic violations by motorists. The map will be used as a tool to help make the streets safer and send out warnings to everyone, whether walking, biking or driving.


People on the streets of New York City this weekend probably weren`t expecting these men dressed as Buddhist monks to launch into a breakdancing routine… The performance was organized by the agency KNARF to honour late Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch who died in 2012. He was a devout Buddhist who fought for Tibetan independence.

By Electron Libre



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