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Japanese teen girls with superpowers

Jenny Uechi
Mar 30th, 2013

Why study when you can Makkankousappou?  Photo sourced from Girls Forum

Unlike the bagel head "trend" awhile back, this one's the real deal: Japanese high school girls (and guys) have an online trend of performing "Makankousappou"  often tweeted as 「マカンコウサッポウ」!). And they're just as surprised as anyone that international readers are paying attention. 

Finger pointing in Richmond Chinese signage debate not constructive

Wanyee Li
Mar 26th, 2013

Photo by Arnold C (Wikimedia Commons)

Last week, Richmond City Council chose to ignore a petition that highlighted the growing number of Chinese-only signs in Richmond as a problem.

While the public’s response to this decision has been generally positive, the tensions that pushed the petition into the council’s hands remain unresolved.

Ann Merdinyan and Kerry Starchuk collected 1,000 signatures for their petition, hoping that the council would take action on an issue that others have been reluctant to address. I’ve read comment forums on this topic that are full of sweeping generalizations: supporters of the petition have been called 'racist' while skeptics of language regulation have been accused of being unpatriotic.

This finger-pointing is not at all constructive, and most crucially, it discourages stakeholders from discussing the topic at hand. Politicians are worried that they will lose the Chinese vote, while new Chinese immigrants are intimidated by the possibility of being obliged to post signs in a language they can't yet navigate.

Two years after Japan's tsunami, time stands still

Jenny Uechi
Mar 10th, 2013

Tsunami footage from YouTube

"Two years after the tsunami: families lost, time stands still," reads the headline on Japan's Asahi newspaper this morning, as the country marks the anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the northeastern region in 2011. 

The toll of the earthquake was terrifying. As of March 8, 2013, the official statistics are:

  • 15,881 people dead
  • 2,668 people missing
  • 31,5196 people displaced

All this, of course, doesn't even count the damage of the Fukushima nuclear fallout, the full impact of which remains yet to be seen.

The moment that news of the earthquake came in two years ago on this day, I didn't think very much of it: earthquakes happen all the time in Japan and people are well prepared for it.

Interview with Ethel Rosenberg's son on Bradley Manning trial makes waves on twitter

Jenny Uechi
Mar 9th, 2013

Photo of Bradley Manning from Wikipedia


BC youth use their skills to promote social and environmental change around the world

Kareen Wong
Feb 6th, 2013

BC youth’s leadership and creativity in creating social, economic, and environmental change globally is highlighted by the BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) as part of International Development Week (IDW), February 3rd to 9th.  IDW is a national initiative of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) that celebrates Canadians making a difference on global issues.   

China and US have the same problem: inequality

Kurtis Lockhart
Jan 27th, 2013

As inequality rises in China many ask quizzically, "Wait, aren't they Communist?" (Mao Yanzheng / China Daily)

A recent memorandum entitled China in Revolution and War, sent to a re-inaugurated President Barack Obama by Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution, discusses the increasing number of protests in the country that could ultimately lead to domestic revolution. In the memorandum, Li points to China's growing income gap as a root cause of the protests, and one of the most dangerous threats to China’s social and political stability: "Economic inequality is increasing substantially," it warns.

The threat of inequality in China

French soldier's "Call of Duty" look in Mali draws fire on social media

Jenny Uechi
Jan 22nd, 2013

Photo by Issouf Sanogo

The image of a French soldier in Mali wearing a bandanna resembling a character named "Ghost" from the video game Call of Duty is causing a stir on social media.

"This kind of behavior is unacceptable," commented Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesperson, in Le Monde.

"This image is not representative of the actions that France is undertaking in Mali at the request of the Malian state." 

Comments on twitter ranged from people criticizing the unnamed soldier for 'believing himself to be in a video game' to those defending him for "risking his life" in combat. 

On rage and evil

Andrew Feldmár
Dec 18th, 2012

 Photo: Jeremy Pollack/Creative Commons 


In 1996, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) arranged for me to spend two weeks in Bosnia and Croatia to consult about the needs of children who survived the three-and-a-half year siege of Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serbs. Between April 1992 and August 1995 more than 10,000 people were killed, many of them children. Walking around in Sarajevo, I saw makeshift cemeteries in parks where children were buried that the snipers from the hills wounded and killed.

Michael Eigen, starts his book, Rage, pointedly and dramatically:

“Rage is trauma.

Rage is traumatizing. 

Rage is fusion.

Rage tears fusion.

Rage tries to undo separation.

Rage is separation.

Rage is not-fusion, not-separation.

Rage affirms.

Rage obliterates.

Rage moves from self to self in terror, freezing, fiery, fury.”

Apocalypse 2012: how will the world end?

Jenny Uechi
Dec 17th, 2012

Image sourced from End of the World 2012 website.

Mayan calendar, planetary collisions, Antichrist, web-bot: apocalypse theorists say that the world is going to end in December 2012, but no one seems to be sure how exactly it will happen. For some, the apocalypse is an excuse to quit work and party like there's no tomorrow, but for others, it's a very real and frightening possibility. 

The VO has the short run-down on a few of the more prominent doomsday theories.

The Mayan Calendar theory 

The most popular apocalypse theory is based on the Mayan calendar, which predicts that the world will end on December 21, 2012, which would be Mayan date The Mayans, based mostly in Mexico and central America, had an impressive understanding of time and space, which is why many people believe that the world will end on the last recorded day of the Long Count calendar.

Hacktivists to the rescue: Random Hacks of Kindness

Renee Black
Nov 21st, 2012

photo by Scott Nelson 

“You’re organizing a what?”

That is perhaps the most common question I get when I tell friends and family that I am running a 'hackathon' in the first weekend of December.

I get looks of curious bemusement when I tell them the event is called Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), and aims to bring together about 80 local technology developers and designers.

These volunteers will contribute their skills for two days to solve technology challenges for local and global non-profit organizations.

And when I then tell them it’s going to be happening simultaneously in at least 30 cities around the world, the answer is always the same: Cool! 

Inevitably, other questions arise: So what exactly is a hackathon? Is it a marathon? Is it only for tech people? Aren’t hackers all evil? Who does it help exactly? And how? And why do hackers do it?

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