Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Stories from and

The Internet of Things and Smart Crops

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

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 being connected, and it's not only people feeding data to the web, but the things themselves generate information that they share it amongst themselves and make decisions with the aim of automating different processes.

Viloria Núñez tries to explain the concept with the example of a ‘smart refrigerator', but 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 piece of land that identifies how irrigated or dry the soil is to automatically activate the irrigation system? Maybe relying on how mature the cultivated product is, it will need more or less water, or more or less fertilizer, or the sensors might be able to identify if the crop has been attacked by some plague to activate an 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 28th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

Colombian Economic Deceleration, Is the Government Aware of This Situation?

On a review of what is going on with Colombian economy, Daniel Bustos writes on his blog Trayectoria Económica an analysis of what he calls ‘skinny cows’ or lean times.

Although the economy is still standing thanks to public and private investment and the construction industry, the oil barrel price is lower and tax evasion hasn't stopped. Enough problems, as to wonder: ¿Is the government aware of this situation? Bustos answers:

Parece ser que no, o por lo menos quieren disimular la cuestión a cualquier precio, [...] ¿Que pasa en la economía colombiana si el precio del petróleo sigue cayendo? El país depende demasiado del petróleo, eso se puede observar claramente en las proyecciones de ingresos para los próximos años donde se situaba el precio del petróleo cercano a los 100 dólares para lo cual, con base en esto se realizaron las proyecciones de presupuesto para el mediano plazo pero con las recientes fluctuaciones del precio del crudo dichas proyecciones deben ser re-diseñadas, y los ingresos faltantes deben ser buscados de alguna parte; aunque por otro lado si el precio del dólar sigue subiendo como lo esta haciendo en este momento, sería interesante saber si este aumento de alguna forma ha amortiguado este déficit o incluso los lograra cubrir, desafortunadamente esto solo lo dirán los mercados.

Apparently, it isn't so, or at least they want to hide the issue, whatever the cost [...]. What will happen with Colombian economy if oil prices keep going down? The country relies too much on oil, as we can clearly observe on the income projections for coming years, where the oil price was close to 100 dollars, and over that base, budget mid-term projections were made, but with recent fluctuations in the crude oil, those projections should be redesigned and the income shortage should come from somewhere else. Although on the other hand, if the dollar keeps increasing as it's doing, it'd be interesting to know if this increase has somehow softened the deficit or will even cover it. Unfortunately, only market will tell.

You can follow Daniel Bustos on his account on Twitter or G+

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

Heavy Rains Affect Several Neighborhoods in Caucasia, Colombia

The Colombian municipality of Caucasia, located in the subregion of Bajo Cauca Antioquia department has been affected by heavy rains that have resulted in floodings in the urban area. As a consequence, there are several inundated neighborhoods in the city and thousands of people affeted.

Twitter users posted images of the ravaged streets and areas:

Heavy rains from the past hours have left 15 flooded neighborhoods in Caucasia. Entities are dealing with the emergency.

Emergency state due to downpour in the municipality of Caucasia.

Raning season causes 18 affected neighborhoods in Caucasia.

13.000 people affected by rains in Caucasia, Antioquia.

Unusual Uniform for Colombian Women's Cycling Team Sparks Social Media Chatter

The Bogotá Humana female cycling team's uniform has been the target of criticism and jokes because of its unfortunate color scheme that gives the illusion of a nude body. The red and yellow uniform, to be word at the road bicycle race Giro di Toscana, contains a beige strip that goes from the waist to the groin.

Twitter users have commented on the uniform:

Interesting Colombian female cyclist uniform.

For the uniforms of the female Colombian cyclists, did they take a picture for each one or a generic pussy was used?

The reaction to the uniform of Colombian cyclists is astonishing. The scandal is global. They are not naked, don't be that lurid.

Colombian Sentenced to Prision and Fined for Comments Online

On a judicial ruling that sets a dangerous precedent in Colombia, the Supreme Court of Justice refused to reconsider an appeal taken on the verdict that orders 18 months of imprisonment and a 9,5 milon pesos fine (about US$5,1000) for netizen Gonzalo López for comments published on El País newspaper website, in the Colombian city of Cali.

On 2008, López called Gloria Lucía Escalante, former officer at a public utilities company, a “rat”.

Newspaper El Espectador wonders if this is not a threat against the freedom of expression and shares opinions by lawyers who consider there is a confunsion between information and opinion.

One and a half years without cassation by Gonzalo López to dismiss verdict for slander.

What abot his right of free expression? Supreme Court condemns Gonzalo Hernán López for telling Gloria Escalante what he thinks. Wrong!

Some netizens have sarcastic opinions that the decision should be for former president Alvaro Uribe:

(Former president Alvaro) Uribe accused (former president Juan Manuel) Santos without producing evidence, he is free. Gonzalo Lopez accuses Gloria Escalante on the internet and he serves 18 months. Equality?

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.

Reasearch, Implementation and Impact, Is What Universities Investigate Useful?

A comment about whether the population values the researches carried out from the universities, triggers member of academic community César Viloria to shed a light about this on his blog.

About research, we have to know it's divided in two branches: basic research and applied research. The former increases or creates knowledge as well as develops and modificies what already exists. On the other hand, applied research focuses in the application and usefulness of these knowledges on the population. We can also find differences about times, the former has long term results and the latter shows medium term results.

You might be thinking now, what about all those formulas with impossible numbers? The blog has also an answer to this question:

Encontramos una gran cantidad de elementos en estos artículos que pueden dificultar la lectura si lo que queremos saber es “de qué trata” pero servirían de gran ayuda si somos investigadores relacionados con el tema y queremos saber el “cómo lo hicieron”. Sin embargo, generalmente en la introducción y las conclusiones de estos textos es posible comprender una idea general del “para qué sirve”.

We find several elements in these items that can make difficult its reading, if we want to know “what is it about”, but they will be very useful if we are researches involved with the topic and what we want to know is “how they did it”. Usually, however, on the introduction and conclusions of these texts, it's possible to understand a general idea of “what is this for”.

For further information, Uninorte has launched a program called Science within reach, to make us feel part of the scientific community.

You can folow César Viloria Núñez on Twitter.

This post was part of the twenty sixth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on October 27, 2014.

Colombia: No to Sex Tourism in Medellín

NoTurismoSexual

“No to sex tourist”. Screenshot from video posted on YouTube.

By mid July 2014, the Facebook page No to sex tourist was created, with the purpose of create awareness about sex tourism in Colombia. Wikipedia lo define como:

… una forma de turismo con el propósito de mantener relaciones sexuales, normalmente de varones con prostitutas hembras, pero también, aunque menos, hay mujeres turistas sexuales y turismo sexual homosexual masculino.

Sex tourism is travel to engage in sexual activity, particularly with prostitutes. The World Tourism Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, defines sex tourism as “trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residents at the destination”.

Recently, the fan page posted this video, as part of a campaign by Pazamanos Foundation with the intention to reject sex tourists who mainly visit the city of Medellín.

Indigenous Libraries As Social Venues

bib-mex

Library of National Autonomous University of Mexico. Image by Esparta on flickr (CC BY 2.0).

“One thing is that books satisfy users’ curiosity, and a very different one that is that it might represent the identity of the community them belong to”. Argentinian librarian Daniel Canosa questions the role and function of local libraries. On Infotecarios network he writes:

Las bibliotecas indígenas, [deberían] generar conocimiento desde la participación local y comunitaria, ofrecer un modo de entendimiento, que es a la vez una manera de construir identidad. El tema es si lo que ofrece la biblioteca representa lo que cada comunidad sabe y conoce, si lo que construye el bibliotecario con su comunidad permite una genuina afinidad con la memoria histórica del pueblo. No se tratan de ideas nuevas, pero es necesario avanzar interpelando las mismas.
[...]
Si las bibliotecas difunden la producción de la gente de su lugar de pertenencia, entonces no sólo las elites tendrán presencia en el mundo de la información.

Indigneous libraries [should] generate knowledge from local and community participation, provide a way of understanding, that in time is a way of building identity. The thing is if what libraries provide represent what each community knows, if what a librarian builds with their community allows a true affinity with people's historic memory. This is not about new ideas, but things should move forward questioning those ideas.
[...]
If libraries spread people's production from their own places, then not only the elites won't be then only ones in the world of information.

The author highlights the fact that burning libraries, as happened in the past, eliminates peoples’ memories and therefore their identity. He also highlights the works by Colombia Indigenous Peoples Basic Library, puts into question publications by Abya Yala Ecuadorian publishing house and presents an instance of “social inclusion” with Eloísa Cartonera Cooperative from Argentina.

Read more about this, visit Daniel Canosa's personal blog or contact him on LinkedIn.

This post was part of the fourteenth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on August 4, 2014.

Colombia: “What Do You Love About Medellin Downtown?”

Medellín

Medellin seen from the MetroCable. Image on Flickr by user szeke (CC BY-SA 2.0).

On his Facebook page, Colombian journalist Juan Mosquera reflects on the problems of downtown Medellin:

#‎AmamosElCentro‬
El centro de Medellín tiene problemas, cada día más palpables y agudos, que no sólo obedecen a la siniestra presencia de los intereses de la delincuencia. Lo lees, lo escuchas, lo ves, casi lo respiras. Por eso quiero preguntarles a los que pasan por aquí ¿Qué amas, a qué le tienes afecto en el centro?”

#‎AmamosElCentro‬ (We love downtown)
Medellin downtown has problems, more tangible and serious each day, due not only to the sinister presence of delinquency interests. You read, hear, see them, you almost breathe them. That's why I want to ask those who pass by: what do you love, what are you fond of about downtown?”

By the time this post was written, the question had 71 answers, and some users also expressed themselves on Twitter:

We love downtown for San Alejo and its cakes. Right, @bgarcial?

We love downtown for the hills, the 7th, the Planetarium, museums and many other things.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site