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15/03/2011 / stjornmal

China’s wealthiest village

Huaxi is said to be China’s richest village. Every family in Huaxi has at least one car, a house and $250.000 in the bank.


15/03/2011 / stjornmal

Chrome and the NY Times

Do you use the Google Chrome browser? If the answer is yes I’d like to recommend to you, the reader of this post, the special version of the New York Times written especially for Chrome. If the answer is no I recommend that you download the browser and start using it.

When you visit the special edition of, right click on the tab and select ‘Pin Tab’. Then slide it all the way to the left and keep it there. Chrome will then let you know when breaking news stories happen. Great feature.

To browse through news stories or sections, you can either use the mouse or just use the arrows on your keyboard.


14/03/2011 / stjornmal

How is the internet changing the relationship between the media and politics?

With communication sites such as Facebook and Twitter becoming more and more popular, the media is forced to change. The way we read news articles has changed drastically and we are now able to share the ones that appeal to us, with our friends online. The same thing applies to political parties. Most of them have websites that are easily accessible and they have the people within the party updating the sites regularly with news of the parties’ activities or the parties stand on current events. In that way the political parties also reach more people in a more effective way.

But how is the internet changing the relationship between the media and politics?

The internet is a very large scene for political parties to plead their case and lure in young undecided voters. Of course every political party has a certain tie to a certain media but over the internet it is very different. Anyone can create an account for a Facebook page or a Twitter page. And we have seen political parties more visible on these social networking sites over the past few years.

Important members of the parties have also given in to this demand and created accounts for themselves and there they air their own personal view on current affairs. By doing so the public gets to know the candidates view on certain issues better than perhaps during an interview in the local newspaper. Also, this is a great chance for the candidate to gain more votes for himself from people who like what they see on his or hers social networking site.

Many newspapers have reduced the number of printed copies in the light of increased internet use. But how can you be sure that the information or even the news you get online are reliable? Anyone can post something on the internet.

I do hope we won´t see the end of printed newspapers anytime soon. There is nothing that compares with the smell of a newly printed paper telling you all about what happened in the world the day before.




14/03/2011 / stjornmal

Think before you speak (and post)

Everyone can voice their opinion on the Internet. This past weekend, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) posted a video blog on Youtube on noisy students at the UCLA library. I think we can all agree that people who talk loudly at the library should be kicked out and not allowed to return, especially during the last week before the final exams. But this girl especially targeted asian students at her school, made fun of how asians speak and even the tragic events in Japan.

She removed the video from Youtube but someone had copied it.

Now another student at UCLA has posted a satirical reply to the video. It may be the funniest video I’ve seen all year.

Someone even made a song out of her rant and dedicated a whole website to her:

It’s easy nowadays for people to voice their opinion and reach wide audiences with little hassle. Still people have to be aware of that everything they do online will probably stay online forever. Racism should not be tolerated online (or in “real life”). This girl will hopefully start thinking before she speaks.


14/03/2011 / stjornmal

The media plays a role

The internet has played a huge role in the recent protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya for example. The size of the internet usage varies from country to country though but access to the internet has given protesters a common place to organize their gatherings and protests. It is for a reason the authorities decided to shut down or limit the internet access and that shows clearly the massive role which the internet plays on politics.  The government, desperately trying to keep the situation under control and maintain the power, saw the internet as a thread to their political status.

The Egyptian government blocked various social media sites and mobile phone networks for a while before they blocked internet access entirely. Even though this act wasn’t successful, it shows what big of a role the internet has played and can play when used directly against a ruling government. Internet meetings are, in a way, “safer” than actual meetings, for protesters could discuss and plan their actions without having the danger of police braking up the meeting.

After the internet blockage, people turned to other media for information. Television stations covered the protests all day round and after the internet blockings, people started using other communication devices, such as their mobile phones, to communicate.

It is clear the internet plays a huge role in planning and organizing, but when the internet is no longer available, people turn to other media such as the broadcasting stations, mobile phones, etc. There was even talk of graffiti and writings on all kinds of things, such as coffee cups on the streets, after the internet was blocked in Egypt.

While all the other media formats are open, it is hardly enough to block the internet in order to monitor the citizens. At least the blocking came too late. People’s minds were already set when the government took measures.

In Libya, only about 6% of Libyans use the internet, compared to ¼ of the Egyptian people. Yet a massive protest has been taken place in Libya. The Libyan dictator has shut down the entire internet as well as banning all public broadcasting and media coverage of the events. When all the media is shut down, it first becomes difficult for people to maintain such protest. But given the history, it is possible to dethrone a ruling dictator or government without the mass media.

14/03/2011 / stjornmal

Natural disaster in HD

Japan is now fighting a battle on two fronts, trying to avoid a nuclear catastrophe and saving people from wrecked houses caused by the epic earthquake and the tsunami that followed. Day’s before the natural disaster, support rate for the Japanese government dropped from 26% to 20% and 49% of those asked wanted the Prime Minister Naoto Kan to resign as soon as possible. (source) It will be interesting to see if the Japanese people will now unite behind the Prime Minister and how the support rate will develop.

In the video below we see the mighty power of a tsunami. The video is from a Japanese television station and was put on Youtube on March 11th.

One could ask what the cars are doing there on the roads, why are they not driving at full speed away from the tsunami? Maybe the drivers are looking for loved ones and hysteria has taken over. I can’t imagine what I’d do if something like this would happen here in Iceland and I knew that members of my family or friends where stuck at home. For example, see the car at 6:55, going 180 degrees instead of just turning to the left. I guess no one will know what happened to the person driving that car or if it had any passengers other than the driver.

Absolutely horrible, there are really no words to describe this.

This shows how the media is rapidly changing. We have constant updates from all around the world, in form of videos, pictures and of course just plain text. This must be the first tsunami broadcasted live on television (and on the Internet) for all people to watch. More and more videos are being uploaded each day to sites like Youtube, Facebook, DailyMotion and Vimeo. First person view on natural disasters, protests and other breaking news stories.


Do you see the cat running at 2:05-2:26? Running for it’s life but loses the battle – swallowed by the sea.

14/03/2011 / stjornmal

The Ox Walk

Voters want ‘ox-walk’ damages
Friday, 10 July 1992

TOKYO (Reuter) – Three Japanese voters are suing the government for 1 yen (less than 1p) in damages for ‘mental injuries’ caused by media coverage of a recent parliamentary battle, the Japan Times said yesterday. The paper said the three suffered unbearable mental anguish from reports of the opposition’s ‘ox-walk’ tactics – a bizarre filibuster used to delay passage of a controversial troops bill.

Socialists and Communists used the ‘ox-walk’, in which each MP walks to vote at a snail’s pace, to keep parliament in permanent session for more than three days. But the government pushed through the measure, which will allow it to send troops abroad as peace-keepers. Michio Yano, a plaintiff, said the extra time parliament was in session would cost taxpayers Y100m ( pounds 420,000), adding: ‘I don’t want any more tax money to be wasted.’


And here we have a video demonstration of the ox walk. I’m waiting for the day this will be introduced in Iceland!