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A March in Solidarity with Migrants Who Perished Trying to Reach Europe

Human Chain in Strasbourg (Photo Suzanne Lehn)

Signs at the March in defense of migrants in Strasbourg (Photo Suzanne Lehn)

“Europe is fighting its own make-believe enemy”: This is the message that a dozen of associations in defense of migrants wanted to convey when they organized a human chain between the tramway station “Droits de l'Homme (Human Rights)” and the EU Parliament station in Strasbourg on November 26. In order to put Human Rights back at the core of Europe” and oppose the policy adopted by the European Agency of Border Control Frontex, protesters held signs that narrate the tragic plight of migrants trying to reach Europe. For the past 20 years, more than 20,000 migrants have died or disappeared trying to make the journey from their hometowns into Europe.   

Here are a few photos of the event :

chaîne humaine migrants

The Human chain in front of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg (photo Suzanne Lehn)

Les participants attendent leur tour de parole avant de se diriger vers le Parlement européen (photo Suzanne Lehn)

Protesters are taking turn speaking up as they move toward the parliament (photo Suzanne Lehn)

Dans le fond, la Cour Européenne des Droits de l'Homme (photo Suzanne Lehn)

In the background, the European Comission of Human Rights (photo Suzanne Lehn)

The Internet of Things and Smart Crops

Today it's not enought to just talk about Internet. This concept has broaden up and it's a good challenge for those who want to become electronic engineers. César Viloria Núñez, professor at Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia, explains what is the Internet of things:

Consiste en que las cosas en general estén conectadas y que no solo las personas ingresemos información a la red, sino que las cosas mismas generen información, la compartan entre ellas y tomen decisiones con el fin de automatizar distintos procesos.

It's about things in general be connected and not that only the people feed data to the web, but that things themselves generate information, that they share it and make decisions aiming to automatize different processes.

And although engineer Viloria Núñez tries to explain the concept with the example of a ‘smart refrigerator', he also mentions smart crops. He wonders:

¿Qué tal una red de sensores en el terreno cultivado que identifique qué tan húmedo o seco está el suelo para activar automáticamente el sistema de riego? Tal vez dependiendo de qué tan maduro esté el producto cultivado se requiera más o menos agua, o más o menos fertilizantes, o los sensores pueden identificar si el cultivo está siendo atacado por alguna plaga para activar el suministro automático de insecticida.

What about a network of sensors in a cultivated land that identifies how irrigated or dry a soil is to automatically activate the irrigation system? Maybe relying on how madure the cultivated product is, it will need more or less water, or more or less fertilizers, or the sensors might be able to identify if the crop has been attacked by some plague to activate automatic supply of insecticide.

Welcome to the Internet of things.

If you are interested in science, don't forget to follow César Viloria Núñez on his accounts on LinkedIn or Twitter.

This post was part of the twenty-eighth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

Iranian Facebook User Sentenced to Death

Soheil Arabi was sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Mohammad on the Facebook.The Revolutionary Guards arrested Soheil Arabi on November 2013. Iranian Twitter user Velgard tweeted about this, explaining that Arabi is only a 30 year old Iranian who is not a political activist, but merely “one of us.” Several bloggers and Facebook users were arrested in last twelve months.

Three Cases that Show Social Networks Are Helping Hold Mozambique's Government Accountable

PicsArt_1415720335303Some renowned journalists in Mozambique have accounts on various social networks, but they do not believe in their potential to influence decision-making, government action or social participation among others. However, the government itself has recognised their utility by creating accounts on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. Here are three recent examples where social networks have knocked on the door of accountability and governance in Mozambique. 

1. In November 2013, a letter by Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco circulated on Facebook criticising the method of government used by Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique. As a result, the author of the letter was summoned to testify before the Attorney General on May 26, 2014.

2. When the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA) offered a Mercedes Benz S350 to the President of the Republic, José Jaime Macuane, a university lecturer at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, immediately wrote a post on Facebook explaining that the act violated the Public Probity Law. The issue made the headlines of various newspapers and was discussed all over the country for over a week, even once the Mercedes had been returned three days later.

3. To promote citizenship, transparency and active participation by citizens, Olho do Cidadão (Citizen's Eye), which is led by Fernanda Lobato and Tomás Queface, developed digital platform Txeka to allow citizens to participate directly in observing elections on October 15 via SMS, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and email. This culminated in the creation of a situation room, comprising various civil society institutions and academicians, as well as a partnership with STV – an independent television channel – which hosted the broadest real-time coverage of the event, using the information sent by citizens via the Txeka channels.

In spite of the fact that in Mozambique, just 4.3% of the population has access to the Internet, the citizen reporter's perspective is valid and useful. Debates on social networks can influence government actions to a certain extent.

The author of this post, Uric Raul Mandiquisse, is a volunteer for Txeka and Olho do Cidadão. 
 

Using Your Reflex Camera From Your Cellphone? Lumera!

Yes, now it's possible! Thanks to Lumera, after two years of hard work as a result of a project by Open Hardware, from Hackbo, Bogota's hackerspace. It's all about a small device that gets integrated into your reflex photographic camera, transforming it into a “smart camera”. Using Lumera, you can handle your camera from your cell phone, save your photos in the cloud, share them on social networks or edit, among other possibilities.

Fotografía extraída del sitio web Kickstarter, utilizada con autorización

Photo from the website Kickstarter, used with permission

Sergio Fabara explains how it works:

Lumera cuenta con conectividad Wi-Fi y Bluetooth LE, un display LED, doble puerto USB, batería integrada y varios botones para compartir y transferir archivos de manera rápida y sencilla. El accesorio se ancla a la cámara mediante la entrada de tornillo universal y por el puerto USB se conecta al de la cámara. Y se vinculará con su celular mediante una app que estará disponible para Android y iOS. Con esta app, podrán configurar la antena para conectarla directo a las cuentas de Dropbox y Google Drive, haciendo el respaldo digital mucho más sencillo.

Lumera has Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth LE, a LED display, double USB port, integrated battery and several buttons for quickly and easily file sharing and transfering. The accessory is fixed to the camera through the universal bolt input and through the USB port gets connected to the camera. And it will be linked to your cell phone through an app that will be available for Android and iOS. With this app, you will be able to set up he antenna to connect it directly to your Dropbox and Google Drive accounts, thus making digital backup way much simpler.

LumeraLabs is a Colombian-origin hardware, software and application firm that participates in a campaign by Kickstarter to raise funds to launch Lumera. So far, the project has raised $41,903 out of the $90,000 they have set as a goal. There is still time until December 12 for those photographs or amateurs that want Lumera to reach its goal.

Updates on the 18th SAARC Summit On Social Media

The ongoing summit of the The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was covered by international media with different perspectives. However non-official initiatives such as 18th SAARC Summit blog, Facebook account, Twitter and Google+ account are aggregating updates on the summit for easy archiving.

Here are some examples:

Ecuador: National Encounter of Internet Governance

The International Center of Research in Communication for Latin America (CIESPAL, by its name in Spanish), the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), Association of Free Software of Ecuador (ASLE), Infodesarrollo Network, the organization Free Libre Open Knowledge Society (FLOK) and the Latinoamerican Agency of Information (ALAI) are hosting the National Encounter of Internet Governance with the purpose of discussing the situation of Internet governance in Ecuador, regionally as well as globally. A number of national and international experts are part of the encounter:

National Encounter of Internet Governance – Ecuador > November 27, 2014.

According to the schedule, during the event there will be discussions about Internet access, regarding infrastructure and contents with the participation of experts such as Pilar Sáenz (Fundación Karisma) and Carlos Correa (Creative Commons Ecuador and Technical Private University of Loja), among others. The moderator will be Pablo Escandón (CIESPAL). On the other hand, the second session, moderated by Valeria Betancourt (APC), will be about surveilance, privacy and security in Internet, with experts such as Renata Ávila (Web We Want) and Pilar Sáenz. Marcelo Branco (Free Software Association, Brazil) will open the event and Julián Assange will close it with a reflection about the implications about governance on Internet for Latin America.

The event is free and will take place on November 27, 2014 at Av. Diego de Almagro N32-133 Andrade Marín, Quito. You can sign up here.

Experiences After Working at a Youth Hostel

Queralt Castillo Cerezuela describes herself as a ‘wanderer', natural born nomadic and, of course, journalist. That's possibly the origin of her blog's name, Errabundus. On one of her posts, this globetrotter tries to report about her time working at a youth hostel in the Southern Alps and lists six things that would make life easier to those people who work at hostels:

- Cuando haya un cartelito en el que pone: “por favor, lava tus platos”, no es una opción: debes lavarlos sí o sí.
- El fregadero de tu casa no hace desaparecer la comida, ¿verdad? El de los hostels tampoco
- Solo tú eres responsable de tus objetos.
- ¿Tanto te cuesta abrir las ventanas antes de salir de la habitación?
- Los pelos que dejas en las duchas no desaparecen por arte de magia
- Sabes que debes retirar las sábanas cuando te vayas, ¿verdad?

- When you find a sign saying: “please, wash your dishes”, it's not an option, you must wash them no matter what.
- The sink at home doesn't make food disappear, right? Neither does at hostels.
- You are the only responsible of your belongings.
- Is it that difficult to open the windows before leaving the room?
- The hair you leave in the shower won't disappear as if by magic.
- You do know you have to remove the sheets when you leave, right?

It may seem no big deal, but there are thousands of backpakers around the world and reading about these experiences might help them behave differently next time they decide to stay at a place like the one where Castillo Cerezuela worked at, for the sake of her traveler spirit.

Please, follow the journey of this traveler on her Facebook page or on her account on Twitter.

This post was part of the twenty-eighth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

11-Year-Old Girl Starts Petition Calling for Mexican President's Resignation

Captura de pantalla de la campaña Personas que quieren la renuncia de Peña Nieto en la plataforma Change.org

Screenshot of the people who want the resignation of Peña Nieto campaign on the Change.org platform.

Political activism is not exclusively reserved for young people and adults. This was demonstrated by Sofia, an 11-year-old Mexican girl who decided to collect signatures calling for the resignation of the president of her country, Enrique Peña Nieto. These are her reasons.

Peña Nieto no le ha respondido como se debe a los familiares de los estudiantes desaparecidos, se fue a China y tiene una casa de 80 millones de pesos.

Peña Nieto has not responded as he should have to the families of the missing students, he went to China and he has a house costing 80 million pesos (approximately 5.88 million dollars).

This initiative caused many positive reactions. For example, some decided to sign in order to demonstrate to Sofia and other Mexican children (as well as adults) that having a better country is possible, and to remind those who govern that people placed them there and that the people can remove them. Sofia's mother said:

Yo no tengo idea de cómo se destituye a un presidente. Pero ojalá pueda de verdad llevar esas hojas a alguna parte que ayude a Sofía a sentir que su esfuerzo vale la pena, que lo intentamos a toda costa. Fui incapaz de decirle que no lo hiciera, que era casi imposible. No puedo cortarle las alas. Esta generación viene con fuerza, con fe y determinación, y con un concepto de lo que es decente y justo que ya quisieran muchos para un fin de semana.

I don't know how to dismiss a president. But, hopefully one can take those papers somewhere so that Sofia can feel that her efforts were worth it, that we tried at all costs. I was unable to tell her not to do it because it was almost impossible. I couldn't cut her wings. This generation is full of strength with faith and determination, and with a concept of what is decent, something that many want for a weekend.

The petition was placed on the Change.org platform and already has 10,500 signatures at the time of this post.

Communicators Profession: Reinventing Itself Day by Day

After talking with a colleague, Cintia Oliva reflects on a reality known by many communicators:

[Mi colega] me decía que con esto de las tecnologías, el periodismo como carrera estaba en decadencia. Ella, una excelente reportera y entrevistadora, contaba que cada vez le costaba más meter su pauta o que sus publicaciones sean tenidas en cuenta por los medios, o por el público, debido a la gran cantidad de información y contenidos que a diario se comparten por todos los medios.

[My colleague] told me that with technologies, journalism as a career was in decline. She, an excellent reporter and interviewer, told me she find harder to get her guideline done or her publications to be considered by tue media or the audience, due to the huge amount of information and content that are shared on a daily basis by all the media.

On the contrary, Cintia remarks the good time this is for journalism, precisely thanks to the opportunities new technologies offer, and sugggest five guidleiines for a renovation as communicators:

El concepto
Si hay un tema que te apasiona y quieres posicionarte como una experta en un tema, por ejemplo comunicación ambiental, entonces lee, investiga y escribe sobre ello.
La forma
Aprende a contar historias. Una tendencia que vino para quedarse es el marketing de contenidos y con él, la técnica de contar buenas historias, el storytelling.
Los medios 2.0
Sí, está bien, todos tenemos Facebook, Twitter, algunos hasta un blog de Blogger, pero cuánto sabemos de herramientas de gestión de contenidos?
La eficacia
Medir, corregir, medir, evaluar: Medir, ¿para qué medir? Eso es lo que me decían algunos colegas en el pasado.
El acceso
Aprende a gestionar la información en internet y en tu entorno, y a buscar lo que realmente vale la pena.

Concept
If you are passionated about a topic and want to be an expert, such as environmental communication, you should read, investigate and write about it.
Form
Learn how to tell stories. A trend that is here to stay is content marketing and with it, the technic of telling good stories, storytelling.
2.0 media
OK, we all have Facebook, Twitter, some of us even a blog on Blogger, but how much do we know about content management tools?
Efficenciy
Measure, correct, evaluate. Measure, why measure? This is what some colleagues used to tell me in the past.
Access
Learn how to manage information on Internet and around you, and to look for what's really worth it.

You can follow Cintia on Twitter.

This post was part of the twenty ninth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 17, 2014.

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