Scholars and researchers of the Russian Internet can rejoice this week, for Russia's leading search engine, Yandex.ru, is now the second website in the world, after Bing in the United States, to gain access to Facebook firehose data [ru]. This means that Yandex can now search Facebook's streaming API and provide live results for all public posts. The new deal with Facebook is limited to users based in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. Currently, only Yandex's blogs-specific search feature is capable of returning Facebook results, but the company's spokesperson told TechCrunch on January 13, 2014, that Yandex hopes to incorporate Facebook links in its general Internet search results soon.
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How could we make Global Voices complex, ongoing stories more beautiful, accessible and useful? MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media invited a diverse group of technology and storytelling mavens to a full day of hacking, using the example of our recent special coverage of the #Shahbag protests in Bangladesh as a way to explore online storytelling techniques. Ivan Sigal shares learnings from the day. Other notes from Matthew Battles on Metalab and Heather Craig on Center for Civic Media's blog.
Honor The Treaties, a film by director Eric Becker, documents photographer Aaron Huey‘s mission to portray poverty and the struggles of the Native Lakota people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the United States. Huey's original photographs are collected in the book Mitakuye Okasin, which was described by Mother Jones as “page after page of visual poetry,” and a “work [that] makes you care about the people and the place.”
Honor the Treaties is also the name of an organization – of which Huey is a member – that supports Native Indian art and rights.
To mark the end of the “official” Christmas season in Puerto Rico, we share some links to the online magazine La Respuesta, which focuses on gathering the experience of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States, about some thoughts regarding Puerto Rican Christmas traditions by two authors living in the diaspora.
Yessenia Flores Díaz, in her post “Preparando para las Navidades en la Casa de Abuela,” remembers her Christmastime experiences during her childhood while growing up in Brooklyn, New York, when visiting her grandmother's apartment:
You can only imagine the energy inside my abuelita’s tiny two-bedroom apartment during this time of year, the beginning of Advent, when she received her offspring and their offspring and their offspring’s offspring. My family is huge and to give you an idea, my dad is number 17 of 19 children born to Felix and Regina Flores (en paz descanse) in rural Puerto Rico [...]. Yes, you read that correctly. It is not a typo. I come from a large, loving family.
Dorian Ortega, in her post “My Acculturatd Chrismas: An Introduction to Acculturated Stress and Cultural Buffers,” explains the ways that Puerto Rican immigrants have dealt with acculturated stress provoked by suddenly having to live in a culture quite different from theirs. One of thos ways is by holing on to their Christmas traditions:
Puerto Ricans have immigrated to the U.S. for over 60 years and for the first time in this century, outnumber the population in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans continue to rank highest among Latina/os for mental illnesses and have experienced their share of acculturative stressors. However, studies show that a strong cultural identity and adaptability serve as great protective buffers. My family, like many others, have found ways to hold on to our traditions brought by our ancestors and adapted them for the generations raised in a country with both similar and conflicting values. The holidays have served as a way to relate to one another and bring peace, which helps in times of distress.
Chinese food culture constitutes a significant part in the Chinese language. Below is a part of an online fictional story on a conversation between Obama and Xi Jinping on Sino American relation explained and translated by Mary Ann O'Donnell:
With respect to the importance of Sino-American relations, we will eat deeply and throughly, because we haven’t any principle to eat. The way of the world is that big fish eat little fish, but Cold War thinking is no longer appetizing, and cooperating for mutual benefit is the only way to eat with gusto. Only if China and the United States join hands will the benefits be eaten together. There are those who eat at our table and secretly help others; they eat from the rice bowl of harming Sino-American relations.
A map created by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto – 橋本公 – shows all the 2,053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998.
According to the CTBTO website that hosts the time-lapse video, the artist created it with the goal of showing “the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.”
Hashimoto has also created a video that simply lists the names of all the atomic bombs launched in the past century.
Sociologist, poet, and blogger Guillermo Rebollo-Gil wrote an open letter on his blog to U.S. President Barack Obama in which he calls for the release of Oscar López Rivera, one of the longest-held political prisoners ever. The letter has quickly gone viral over the past two days.
Oscar López Rivera has been in prison for 32 years already, convicted of “seditious conspiracy”, even though it was never proven that he was involved in any violent activity, nor was he convicted of crimes that resulted in death or injury to anyone. After expressing great disillusionment with President Obama's administration, Rebollo-Gil writes:
Over the last three plus decades, five different Presidents have been sworn into office. I wonder if it would be possible for you to consider standing out amongst them. I wonder if you would be interested in imbuing your presidency with historical significance in the form of a direct action to assuage this injustice perpetrated by the American government. I wonder if you would be interested in affirming the fundamental American principle of freedom and grant a pardon to Mr. López Rivera. I really hope so. At all times.
Guillermo Rebollo-Gil's letter has been widely shared on social media and was republished on the online journal 80 grados [es].
The blog Repeating Islands republished two letters to the editor of the New York Times that paint two very different pictures on the situation regarding the recent decision of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Dominican Republic to strip citizenship from all descendants of immigrants who entered the country extralegally, retroactive to 1929. The first letter is from Aníbal de Castro, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Washington, who considers the Dominican Republic unduly pressured by the international community:
The Dominican Republic has a legitimate interest in regulating immigration and having clear rules for acquisition of citizenship. It should not be pressured by outside actors and other countries to implement measures contrary to its own Constitution and that would be unacceptable to most other nations facing similar immigration pressures.
The second letter is signed jointly by authors Mark Kurlansky, Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat, and Julia Álvarez, who dispel the assurances of the ambassador that no one will be negatively affected by the Constitutional Tribunal's ruling:
The ruling will make it challenging for them to study; to work in the formal sector of the economy; to get insurance; to pay into their pension fund; to get married legally; to open bank accounts; and even to leave the country that now rejects them if they cannot obtain or renew their passport. It is an instantly created underclass set up for abuse.
Andrew Chubb from South Sea Conversation highlighted a “leaked” documentary video produced for China's People Liberation Army on U.S foreign politics and its role in the disintegration of former USSR and its threat to the one party regime of China.