You don’t need special programs and projects to help free the Internet in the Middle East," wrote Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah. "Just keep it free, accessible and affordable on your side and we’ll figure out how to use it.
Valentine’s Day in the Sham, where kitsch is king. Wish I’d been able to snag of shot of the 6-ft stuffed teddy bears, but alas, no go.
Also, the term for teddy bear in Arabic is “dub doob.” Try listening to someone say it out loud without giggling. Just try.
Even if The Huffington Post were to lose most or all of its unpaid bloggers, this would have a fairly negligible impact on its bottom line. Those posts make up only about 4 percent of the traffic in their politics section, according to our estimate.
Nate Silver does HuffPo: The Economics of Blogging and The Huffington Post - NYTimes.com (via nickdouglas)
Power law distributions can be so cruel.
Source: The New York Times
In which dinner conversation ends up on the website of a Syrian women’s rights organization
You know, shit happens. Excerpt:
شكل وضع المرأة في المجتمع وطريقة النظر إليها، مقياسا لمعرفة مدى تقدم مجتمع ما، لأن الاعتراف بالمرأة كإنسان بعيدا عن الجنس يشكل أس الاساس لتقدم أي مجتمع وسيره في ركاب الحضارة والتطور المستمر.
حول وضع المرأة في المجتمع وكيفية التعامل معها، التقينا في شرق وغرب الصحفية السورية كاتي الحايك والصحفية الأمريكية كيتي بول التي تدرس اللغة العربية وتحضر لماجستير، لمعرفة آرائهما
حول هذا الامر تقول كاتي الحايك جمالية الحياة في الاختلافات التي تحتويها، أرفض تقسيم المجتمع إلى فئتين فقط رجال ونساء، فالمجتمع الإنساني يتضمن عدة فئات الأطفال والنساء والرجال والمسنين والمعوقين..، الاستمرار في التركيز على حالة صراع وعدائية بين فئتي الرجال والنساء، يعطل تنمية وتقدم أي مجتمع.
Jam of the day, round two. This one is hot off the presses from Mashrou3 Leila, dedicated to the “revolution generation.” Seriously مزبوت.
Syria’s web opening, visualized
The Syrian government’s internet mavens decided to smile upon Sham today. For the first time in
five over three years, Syrians can now access Facebook, Youtube and Blogspot without a proxy, opening up three sites of the hundreds currently blocked by the country’s various censorship tools. I initially had my doubts about how much of an impact this would have, since web access here is expensive and inconvenient, and since the opening happened to occur on the same day as a country-wide boycott of the two monopolizing crooks that provide 3G access. But Google traffic reports are showing pretty significant spikes in traffic.
Here’s what usage looks like for Blogspot this month:
And, even more dramatically, for Youtube this week:
My theory about the Blogspot traffic is that is has nothing to do with the unblocking and everything to do with people jumping the wall to access Egypt news. Blogspot is still blocked for me. Since Youtube and Facebook have both opened up at this point, I’m skeptical about whether that one is actually going to come through.
Also, the Times story on the opening says Facebook saw no change in traffic patterns whatsoever coming out of Syria, which strikes me as pretty strange, considering the clear trend on the Youtube numbers. But I suppose it’s a different game for a service utilized by only about 200,000 Syrians, out of a total population of about 21 million people. That teeny tiny percentage is the main reason we should be skeptical of any movement (ahem) we see that utilizes Facebook as its primary mechanism for organizing Syrians.
Jam of the day: Ramy Essam in Tahrir Square, remixed by UC Irvine prof Mark Levine and hip-hop producer Anton P. There really is quite a nice ring to “yesqut, yesqut, Hosni Mubarak!” Enjoy.
I told myself I’d lay low on the social media while I’m in Damascus, but I’m too filled with pride to let this one pass without a big, fat re-blog. Mabrouk, you guys.
It’s always nice to wake up and find out in the Times that your job is doomed. As they put it on Saturday morning, quoting the new CEO of the so-called Newsweek Daily Beast Company, Stephen Colvin: Newsweek.com will cease to exist after the merger, and anyone who types the URL into their browser will be redirected to TheDailyBeast.com.
This, of course, was news to Newsweek.com. So rather than going out and celebrating our merger after six months of uncertainty—and hopefully some stability after a year that saw four Newsweek.com editors-in-chief come and go—we’re spending our weekend bombarded by a flurry of emails, wondering how this could have happened. And writing this.
The thing you have to understand about Newsweek is that it would only be fitting that its Website would be the first to go. Like most print publications, Newsweek magazine has been led by people who deep down don’t understand the Web, and because they don’t understand it, they fear it and don’t value it.
While high-level print editors were taking sleek black towncars to and from the office (and everywhere in between, including, on at least one instance, from DC to New York), this was a staff who slept on grimy couches while reporting on the road; forking out their own funds, at times, just to produce good work. The disparity in work hours, in pay, in resources—it was comical. And it was only telling that not so long ago—let’s say five years—one high-level company executive had to be corrected about the Website’s URL: no, Newsweek.com wasn’t the same thing as the internal Newsweek intranet.
Newsweek.com may have always remained an ugly stepchild to its print grandparents, who were too busy burning money to notice. But it was a team who—despite top-level management turmoil that resulted in a whopping seven editors over the past four years; in the face of wildly-inconsistent business priorities, three redesigns and three different content management systems—consistently produced high quality journalism and multimedia, drawing in audiences far larger than its print counterpart, and double that of the Daily Beast. Over the last five years, Newsweek.com has received dozens of honors for its enterprise reporting, including several ASME nominations. It earned the first Emmy nomination of any U.S. magazine, in 2008. And over the past year, with a staff that’s now just just 18 (read it again: eighteen) editorial employees—that means writers, editors, photo and video—Newsweek.com has managed to bring in at least a dozen awards.
If Newsweek.com should cease to exist, here’s what we wonder: What will be the ramifications for Newsweek’s Web presence in terms of SEO? For branding? For our partnerships with MSNBC and MSN? What happens to Newsweek’s (still-unleveraged) archives? How do you preserve a “national treasure” (as Harman has called it) without a Web presence bearing its name?
By rolling Newsweek.com into The Daily Beast, the hope—at least according to the Times—would be to absorb the some of the 5 million unique visitors Newsweek clocks each month. But at least 60 percent of those visitors come in through the back door, through Newsweek’s partnership with MSNBC, links on MSN, Newsweek’s Twitterfeed, itsTumblr, and elsewhere. If less than half of Newsweek readers log onto Newsweek.com’s actual homepage, how much traffic will really be gained? Certainly not five million uniques.
Tina Brown is a legend, and we’re excited for her, and the future of Newsweek. But if she does make the decision to fold Newsweek.com, here’s what we hope everyone remembers.
In the face of indifference, condescension and even outright hostility from its print counterpart; with little to no resources; with more high-level hires and fires over the past couple of years than anybody could possibly count;and a revolving door of editors—the small but tireless staff at Newsweek.com consistently created editorial work that made waves: via a Website, on video platforms, through multimedia, photoand social media. Whatever happens to Newsweek, we are all proud to have played a part in that.
“I firmly believe that China’s political progress will never stop, and I’m full of optimistic expectations of freedom coming to China in the future, because no force can block the human desire for freedom. China will eventually become a country of rule of law in which human rights are supreme. I’m also looking forward to such progress being reflected in the trial of this case, and look forward to the full court’s just verdict – one that can stand the test of history.”
It takes a Nobel Peace Prize-worthy amount of grace to deliver this statement to the court that’s about to lock you up for 11 years as a prisoner of conscience. Worth a read in full.
“This 2009 photo provided by Joann Biondi and taken in Miami shows her 2-year-old Maine coon cat, Lorenzo, in an image named South Beach. Lorenzo happens to like fashionable shirts and having his picture taken, Biondi says.” - msnbc.com
This cat has a cool attitude.
That cat is actually named Lola. She has a violent past.
Mark Coatney, I think Tumblr needs a feature that pings me whenever you tag a post with the word “cat.” Can that be arranged?
This is going to be dangerous.
taking coatney’s bait! because it was soaked in whiskey.
In a culinary landscape teeming with art-directed burger joints and endless fancied-up takes on mac and cheese, maybe it’s time to welcome a new kind of “fusion” cuisine: childhood fusion. Where the original fusion boom of the 1980s had chefs ransacking Asia, now the place to find inspiration is over on the kids’ menu. Ice cream. Plus liquor. Together. In a big glass. Could there be a better emblem of the sort of juvenilia-with-a-wink that defines the current food aesthetic? (Read more…)
Reblogged for Braiker, who knows who.