How the Internet can help you understand the financial crisis

Understand the financial crisis thanks to the good people of the Internet : this 10 minute long video will tell you everything you need to understand about the credit crisis and all its consequences ! But will you be brave enough to watch it all the way through?

If the video is too complicated for you, check out this very useful infography (click on it to make it bigger !)

The future of the Internet

Can you really predict the future of something like the Internet ? 50 years ago, I doubt many people could tell this kind of technology would develop, and yet here we are, in a world definitely influenced by it.Techs become smaller and lighter, just look at the netbooks and smartphones ! Though the race to technology has slown down for a few years now, it’s still very exciting to think of what other things people could create.

Check out this commercial showing what the Internet will be…in 1969 !

It really helps you realize how far we’ve been. And I think in the future, we’ll have far less main technological advances, but better version of what we have now: internet connections avalaible for free and for everybody, wi-fi that actually works everywhere, all the time (even in a deep cave, or in the cafeteria of the CELSA),  computers that weighs absolutely nothing and don’t run out of batteries after 4 hours…Also, I would like transparent screen on my computer, as in the movie Brazil, because it’s awesome.

But to be honest, I don’t need to think about technology in the future to be amazed. It’s actually kind of scaring me because I still can’t get over the technology what we already have! I think we’re spoiled by all the technology that we take for granted, maybe we should stop and consider how amazing it already is. The comedian Louis C.K says it better than me.

A new man and a new world in 2050

What will the world look like in 2050 ? The last decade was full of exciting new technologies like what Steve Jobs brought us – Ipod, Ipad and so on. We have developed a lot in matter of surgery, and ecology. So, what the next step mankind could take ? The transhumanist project is a great example. This scientific movement aims at making the human condition better thanks to technology, by enhancing intelligence, physical abilities and so on. They have a very interesting site.

The emotiv system is part of the transhumanism project, and is based on neurotechnology and allows to interact with your computer, applications and games with your mind ! How cool is that ?

Transhumanists also want a world where humans have an optimum health, promote the use of prosthetics to enhance the human body and cure any kind of disabilities for equality between people.

So, will technology take mankind to the next step of evolution ? Only if we do it carefully (let’s not become robots, shall we ? ) and of course, take care of the Earth as well because we can’t become better on a dying planet.

Sound and vision with David Bowie

David Bowie is an artist whose work has marked the music world, he’s still very influential and I think he’s written some of the most beautiful and strongest texts.

The electism of this work is one of the reason I consider him as one of my favourite artist, frompsychedelic folk to glam rock, soul and electro, he has done it all and brillantly !

He’s also very famous for his different personas and characters he played in his songs. They’re perfectly explained in this Wired article “David Bowie, Earth’s Perpetual Persona Machine“. They may seem quite ridiculous, with insane costumes and make-ups, but I think it’s part of what makes him so fascinating: he should be ridiculous, but instead he’s just mesmerizing.

His most famous persona is Ziggy Stardust, a mix of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, to create the “ultimate pop idol”, with some amazing tunes, like Rock and Roll Suicide

He quickly got a very strong fanbase and gained critical fame for both his music and his wild personality in the rock world. For example, in 75, he broke into a psychiatric ward with Dennis Hopper to deliver drugs to Iggy Pop.

david bowie and iggy pop, the most explosive friendship of all

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The new cyberwar

The way people fight war has definitely been changed by technology: the Iraq war began in 2003 and it became the first war covered by the internet. The Vietnam War was heavily covered by the media, especially Network TV and it played a huge role in how the americans perceived the war, because there were a lot of picture depicting the atrocities.This article from The American Veteran Center shows how important this fact is.

During the Iraq war, the internet became the most credible medium to use to get news about what was happening. The traditional media are now seen as biased, especially since it’s known that there was in fact no massive destruction weapons in Iraq.

Thanks to the internet, even the soldiers can give their opinion to the world, by creating blogs. That’s what the article “Iraq war is fought on the Internet” on MSNBC explains. Soldiers can create their own blogs and write about their daily lives, with details that sometimes go against the image of the war the media conveys.

At the same time, when terrorist acts occur, many websites can get hacked by political activists proclaiming their ideas on the homepage, as a way to show how easy it is to infiltrate those they consider as enemies.

But the Internet is also used for political activism against the war and the government. That’s what Wikileaks tried to do by leaking private documents. The website, founded by Julian Assange pictured above leaked  400,000 U.S. Army reports. The Guardian did an extensive coverage of the war logs in Afghanistan and found that many reports of torture on prisoners were hidden.

We are the 99 %

Have you heard of Occupy Wall Street? They’ve been making the headlines for several weeks now. These people are protesting against the social and economical inequalities, and are attacking big corporations and the Wall Street traders. According to the protesters, they are responsible for the financial crisis because they have speculated too much and have abused the system.

The movement began on September 17, 2011 and was launched by the activist group Adbusters : they describe themselves as “a global network of people who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age.

Their slogan is “we are the 99%“. It’s a reference to the difference in wealth between the top 1% and all the remaining people of the USA.

So far, the movement has been quite effective: the protesters are numerous and get more and more creative. The protests have spread far beyond New York or even the USA (you can find a timeline of Occupy Wall Street on Wikipedia ) but the big question now is to see if the protests can last during the harsh american winter.

Check out this video introducing the movement.

Can you believe the Internet ?

The Internet didn’t invent unreliable information, there’s always been scam and false infos around. When students only used books to do their research, they coud read obsolete informations in outdated books, and it would be as bad as quoting a wikipedia article showing wrong informations.

The Internet obviously made it far easier to have wrong or unreliable informations spread between people, simply because of the shear amount of informations passing around the Internet.

Some people take advantages of this fact and put fake informations on the Internet, just to be annoying ! They edit Wikipedia with nonsense, but most times these problems are quickly solved. Wikipedia tends to be very careful and try to be as reliable as possible, as seen in this article from Wikipedia itself, showing how important reliability is to the online encyclopedia : they are also very reactive, editing articles as soon as someone notices false use.

However, many people are still victims of scams on the internet, especially because they are not careful and don’t check twice some informations. The website Snopes is great because it lists may hoaxes and scams you can find on the Internet and it helps you not believing everything you read on websites. They explain that “computers are not only now an integral part of our daily lives, they’ve also become the primary means by which urban legends and other pieces of misinformation are now spread “

But even if the Internet can mislead you, do’nt forget that it’s still very useful to check some basic facts instead of bothering everyone with easy questions. A site like Wolfram Alpha is definitely reliable and it’s a great way to learn.