Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

This is my response to this week’s photo challenge: up, which can be found at: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/weekly-photo-challenge-up-2/.

I have got a variety of responses and they can be found below.

This was a very tall building in Barca and I had to tilt my neck back and look up to take this pic.

This is a very tall building in Barca and I had to tilt my neck back and look up to take this pic.

This is a picture of the landscape of Prague, which was taken high up from a beautiful vantage point.

This is a picture of the landscape of Prague, which was taken high up from a beautiful vantage point.

The Best for Last: My best response for this challenge is the picture of me parasailing over the Indian ocean. Flying above the sea.

The Best for Last: My best response for this challenge is the picture of me parasailing over the Indian ocean. Flying above the sea.

Check out other great posts at:

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. शुक्रबार – म नेपालि सिक्दै छु । | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity
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  10. 1 UPmanship | The Palladian Traveler
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  12. Up the winding staircase of life…. | Multifarious meanderings
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  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: UP in the Cayman Sky | My Caymanian Life
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  19. Weekly Photo Challenge: Up | Sonel’s Corner
  20. Way higher than the moon… Two pics needed | A Happy and Beautiful World
  21. Hope Floats | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  22. From the Heart | Views From My World
  23. Weekly Photo Challenge – Up | Just Sara
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  37. The Home Of The Humongous photo challenge post | Linda Long Writes!
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  59. Weekly Photo Challenge: Up « Sasieology
  60. The suffering of my dog’s dog | Belly Up |
  61. Weekly Photo Challenge: Up | onesmallpot
  62. Up in L’Oceanografic – The Fried Eggs Blog
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Posted in Challenges, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Chinese Internet-‘A Giant Cage’

I can pretty much gaurantee that this post will be blocked by the Chinese authorities.

In this post I talk about the Chinese internet and censorship in China and the reason why I am writing this post is due to my newly acquired knowledge on censorship in China, a topic that I was curious and clueless about.

I started this blog as part of my school’s global blog challenge. (Visit: A Blogger’s Journey and Source of Inspiration and Kegsblogs to find out more about that). One of the aims of the global blog challenge is to try to get traffic from as many countries as you can, so every now and again I check which countries I have got views from. Every time one thing stands out to me on the choropleth map. That thing that stands out is a large mass of land dominating Asia. I have got hits from various nations, all the big nations, but I have never clocked a single hit from China and neither have my friends! I was curious and was suspicious that this was due to censorship, so I asked another blogger who attracts a lot of traffic (Frizztext) whether he gets traffic from China. He replied that he had a few loyal followers in China. This led me to conclude that WordPress must not be blocked from the Chinese, however certain posts like this are. (If anyone has any better knowledge or would like to correct me then please leave a comment.) Last Friday I was curious about China and the Internet, however on Saturday I read the Economist, in which there was a 14 page special report on the internet in China, which answered all my questions. I then did a little further research and I am now here producing this post. Now I think it’s time to stop talking about me and start talking about China.

China has used the internet for its benefit with online sales rocketing, however it has also managed to keep the internet tied down. The internet is censored in China to ensure that “hostile foreign forces” that are online do not corrupt the mind of the Chinese. That is the Chinese way of putting it, but in short, the government wants to stay in control and the Communist Party needs to filter out content from the internet to stop foreign ideas uprooting the communist ideology and to stop there being local unrest through usage of social media. 13 years ago Bill Clinton said that trying to control the internet in China would be like trying to “nail Jell-O to the wall,” yet Chinese authorities have managed to effectively control the web through the Giant Firewall and cyber-hacking.

China’s party state has deployed an army of cyber-police, hardware engineers, software developers, web monitors and paid online propagandists to watch, filter, sensor and guide Chinese internet users. Writing politically sensitive stuff on the internet in China can be like shooting yourself in the foot as Mr Liu Xiaobo found out. In 2009 he co-wrote a manifesto calling for the end to authoritarian rule. In response the Chinese government sent him to prison for 11 years, yet he still won the Noble Peace Prize in 2010. Many people in China has no clue who Liu Xiaobo is since his name is under the category of sensitive keywords, which are blocked online. Lots of things are hidden from the Chinese eye via using sensitive keywords that are blocked from people’s reach.

The Internet has been constantly manipulated in China and the censorship started in 1996 when multiple sites were blocked. Then in September 2002 Google’s search engine was temporily blocked. After that YouTube was the next victim, being blocked in 2008 following unrest in Tibet. 2009 was a huge milestone for Chinese censorship with Facebook and Twitter being temporarily blocked during the 20th anniversary of Tinammen Square crackdown. Twitter and Facebook was allowed back onto the Chinese web after the anniversary, however it was later shut down in the same year after the riots in Xinjiang. People in China do not have access to Facebook, Youtube, Google or Twitter, however the Chinese have set up replacement sites.

  • Baidu replaces Google
  • Yukou Tuduo replaces YouTube
  • Sina Weibo (Weibo meaning microblog) replaces Twitter
  • Renren replaces Facebook
I have already included one cartoon, here is my go at producing another using an app on my mac. Unfortunately it didn't turn on great, but I hope it is getting across the message.

I have already included one cartoon, I thought it was my turn to make one myself. I made this using a app on my mac, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out great. 😦 I hope it gets the message across!

China has these replacement sites, but even thousands of posts are deleted on these sites every day! Some Chinese people celebrate not having deleted posts because it is such a rare thing!

This censorship has been a very expensive affair for the Chinese government, but I don’t think the government isn’t bothered about that much, it just wants to stay in firm control. Many people believed the internet would democratise China but due to making the internet abide by its rules China has somehow enabled itself to get a firmer grip on things using the internet. Nowadays there are nearly as many Chinese internet users as there are internet users from the European Union and America combined!

The process of censorship requires a lot of manual labour and it is believed that 100,000 people are employed in censorship. That includes cyber police, propaganda workers and ‘in-house monitors’ of thousands of websites. The Chinese government is very paranoid and whenever it sees anything that could be a social threat to the Communist Party, it orders for there to be an immediate response and there is a sudden wave/surge of censorship.

The Economist beautifully describes the internet in China as a giant cage and I believe this cage won’t be opened until the cage’s key-holder changes (the government changes). What that means for me is: I won’t get a hit from China. 😦

Hope you found this post insightful and enjoyed reading it. Please leave some feedback if you have any.

Posted in China, Multinational Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Eight Causes of Poverty

The eight causes of poverty are:

  1. Environmental Problems-e.g. Natural disasters, which mean whole communities, are seriously weakened and there is a large financial strain, which LEDCs don’t have the resources to overcome.
  2. Healthcare-poor healthcare leads to high infant mortality rates, women becoming more likely to die from childbirth, and preventable diseases becoming fatal. This all leads to unnecessary deaths and this makes it very difficult for families and communities to develop economically.
  3. Conflict-Warfare and civil strife within and between countries take resources and workers away into conflict, while services such as health and education, and agriculture suffer. Conflict often drives people away from their homes and destroys their way of earning a living leaving them unable to live safe and productive lives.
  4. Bad Government-Corruption and mismanagement waste resources and lead to bad decisions by leaders.
  5. HIV/Aids-Younger adults are the ones most affected and aids kill these adults that have HIV or seriously weaken them. This is an especially serious problem as the younger population make up the larger part of the workforce in LEDCs (where aids is a big problem and if the workforce is limited in size then the country cannot develop properly.
  6. Trade Barriers-Unfair trade rules keep MEDCs rich and LEDCs poor. The trade cycle is very unfair on MEDCs
  7. Greed in MEDCs-MEDCs use their power and influence to take and consume far more of the world’s wealth than is fair.
  8. Debt-LEDCs have borrowed large sums of money from MEDCs in the past and find it very difficult to pay these loans back.
Posted in Inequality, Money, Multinational Issues | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Do we wish for China to prosper?

China has done great in the past decade, however it is coming to a point where its industry has peaked and its growth rate is slowly falling. What we need to decide in the Western World is whether we want China to succeed?

Your first thoughts as an American may be, “No way, America is the greatest nation the world has ever seen, and we don’t want China overtaking us.” Many Americans (and to some extent Europeans) don’t want to see China overtake the rest of the world, although the large majority are convinced it will. Some people, especially Americans, want to see China fail so that there country remains “wealthier and better.”

However I warn these people that the failure of China could lead to the failure of the Western World, since so the Western World, especially America relies heavily on Chinese loans and without these loans the Western world could falter.

Personally I want China to prosper, enough so that the Western world keeps getting its funds, but I also want to see other developing nations rise up and become industrial superpowers.

I know the below question is very general, but I would like to see what you think about the issue I have briefly presented, so please answer the below question. I acknowledge the below question is very narrow, so feel free to comment your reasons behind your vote and any other opinions you may have.

Posted in Money, Multinational Issues | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

I know it’s a bit late but I want to respond to the weekly photo challenge: lunchtime, which can be found at: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/photo-challenge-lunchtime/ 

At the time I had nothing worthwhile and meaningful to post, however I think I now do.

My mum was feeling lazy today and made me make lunch. I was meant to bake some jacket potatoes. It was rather simple, but I had never done it before, so I was just hoping for the best. Thankfully it tasted great.

At this point I had just put the jackets into the oven. I covered the potatoes with oil and salt to make the potato skin crispy and tasty!

At this point I had just put the jackets into the oven. I covered the potatoes with oil and salt to make the potato skin crispy and tasty!

This is 50 minutes later when the jackets are ready to be served with cottage cheese.

This is 50 minutes later when the jackets are ready to be served with cottage cheese.

I have a sweet tooth and unfortunately am a chocoholic, therefore I had to end the meal with…..

Chocolate

I went to the dentist immediately after lunch, I am not so sure that he was pleased with me eating the chocolate slab!

Posted in Challenges, Other | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Colour

Some of you may have seen these pics before in my 25 photos of flowers post, however I thought these pics needed to be posted again as they fit perfectly with the challenge and are probably some of the best pics I have to offer. Enjoy.

I have posted this in response to this week’s weekly photo challenge about colour. Check out: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/weekly-photo-challenge-color/#more-17311 and give the challenge a go.

I have to say this week’s entries seem really good. I do like the theme. Check out other awesome entries at:

  1. THE BABOON HOUSE, MALACCA | beyond toxicity
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | Charles Ray’s Ramblings
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | Flickr Comments
  4. Colores en la esquina | La Mandraka
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | Ese’s Voice
  6. The Eager Traveller
  7. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | The Eager Traveller
  8. Color | Galang Pusa
  9. Weekly Photo Challenge – Color (Colour) | Chittle Chattle
  10. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | patriciaddrury
  11. Weekly Photo Challenge – Color (Colour) | Just Snaps
  12. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | Fotoreparatøren
  13. Colorful Tattoo Parlor | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  14. Weekly Photo Challenge: Colour | AC’s Sharing Spree
  15. Weekly Photo Challenge: Colour | AC’s Sharing Spree
  16. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | belgradestreets
  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: Colour | « The Great Escape » Life from behind a lens
  18. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | बंजारा
  19. Color « Thoughts of a Lunatic
  20. Photoworld 5-4-13 | ~~~ nur ein “Klick” ~~~ ein Kompendium
  21. Culuhz | wingrish
  22. Weekly Photo Challenge: (Color) | NYBOD Photography
  23. Weekly Photo Challenge: Festival of Colors – Holi | My.Vivid.Visions
  24. Absence Of Color | Eclipse
  25. Weekly Photo Challenge: Color | In Love With The Lord Poetry and Prose
  26. Color? Me? Color? Yes! | Zeebra Designs & Destinations
Posted in Challenges, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Colour

This is a picture of a colourful statue I walked across in Barcelona.

This is a picture of a colourful statue I walked across in Barcelona.

This is the land of seven colours in Mauritius. Take a look at the pic, it's not hard to get lost in the seven different naturally occurring colours in this marvellous landform.

This is the land of seven colours in Mauritius. Take a look at the pic, it’s not hard to get lost in the seven different naturally occurring colours in this marvellous landform.

Mauritus has some of the best beeches and some of the clearest waters you'll ever see. It's amazing!

Mauritus has some of the best beeches and some of the clearest waters you’ll ever see. It’s amazing! I love the colour of the water.

Peacocks are wonderful creatures and I love the colour of their feathers.

Peacocks are wonderful creatures and I love the colour of their feathers.

Peacocks are wonderful creatures and I love the colour of their feathers.

Peacocks are wonderful creatures and I love the colour of their feathers.

LakeLake

I have posted this in response to this week’s photo challenge about colour. Check out: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/weekly-photo-challenge-color/#more-17311 and give the challenge a go.

Posted in Challenges, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Nuclear warfare-an imagination or possibility?

The Korean Crisis reminds many of the Cold War Era. Some say it is more threatening than the Cold War Era, but all I have to say is that it is very unlikely for this increasing tension to transform into nuclear warfare, although there are mixed views on this issue.

One teacher in South Korea commented, “I teach at a university in Gwangju, South Korea. Last week, I asked my students if they were concerned with the escalating border tensions. Their answers were no different than normal: indifferent, unconcerned and even disinterested. I asked the same question today and their faces were quite serious. This is actually the first time I’ve witnessed a sense of fear since I arrived here in 2004.”

Check out the hyperlinked BBC article about the Korean Crisis for some more factual content.

North Korean Crisis

There is a theory called the MAD theory, which stands for Mutually Assured Destruction. The theory states that as long as both sides are convinced that using nuclear weapons would cause the complete destruction of both countries, neither would ever use their weapons. This is why the Cold War never became a Hot War (real war). I know that if I hit you with a nuclear warhead, you are most certainly going to hit me back, therefore I will not take the risk. Even though Kim Jong Un is crazy, he will be aware of the threat of starting a nuclear war and I think he is calling bluffs, not real threats, because he is insecure and trying to prove something to his people. Let us hope so anyway.

coldwar

According to me nuclear proliferation isn’t a bad thing, however going overboard like the Soviet Union did is crazy. Every state having a few nuclear warheads is a good thing as the nuclear weapons act as a defence mechanism rather than an aggressive mechanism because of the MAD theory. If certain states don’t have nuclear weapons then they’re susceptible to attack, since the attacker knows they won’t be able to retaliate, although it is high likely in our globalised world that bigger nations such as United States will protect the smaller states. This is seen with the Korean crisis, as Obama is sending his troops to surround the Korean peninsula. All this talk of defence is reminding me of the Triple Entente and Triple Alliances that were made pre-WW1. These alliances were also made in the interest of protection, however when the war between Austria Hungary vs. Serbia (who asked for Russia’s help) started, all the alliances did was drag more nations into the war and cause more destruction. A pact for peace turned out to be a pact for destruction. Let us pray the same doesn’t turn out with the MAD theory.

I’ve explained why I think nuclear proliferation is good, but an excessive build up of nuclear weapons is unnecessary because you could probably blow the whole world up with 200 nukes ( btw. this is a guess); therefore there is no point in one country building 1000s of nuclear missiles like Soviet Russia did, especially during a time of austerity.

The leader of SNP was arguing that Scotland won’t keep nuclear missiles or defence systems in Scotland if they become independent and I think this would be a grave mistake. I agree with David Cameron, who says that the UK needs to keep its nuclear defence system running at full speed to avert danger. Even though I agree with David Cameron I do think that the leader of the SNP made a very good point, which was we can’t afford to build nukes when we’re making savage cuts everywhere else in our industries. The middle path is usually the best and in this situation I think the best option is to build up a minimum stock of nuclear weapons and defence systems and stop there. I am not asking nations to go mad and make a stock large enough to blow the world up, just the minimum number of weapons needed to discourage the aggressor from attacking you. (I have no idea how many weapons that is and how expensive that would be. Any help with figures would be appreciated. Leave a comment if you think you know.)

I don’t see much of a threat of nuclear warfare from the Korean crisis. I think the real threat lies in terrorist organisations buying or stealing nuclear weapons. A nuke in the hand of a group like the Taliban certainly spells THE END OF THE WORLD. The largest threat of the launch of a nuclear missile comes from neutral organisations, which don’t have much to lose; therefore I think it is of utmost importance that we carefully guard our nation’s weapons and make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

What do you think of the issues I have presented?:

If you have any other answers/opinions please leave a comment in the comments box below. Thanks.

Posted in Multinational Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Give a man a fish and he can feed himself for a day, give him a fishing rod and he can feed himself for a lifetime.”

 

There is a saying, “Give a man a fish and he can feed himself for a day, give him a fishing rod and he can feed himself for a lifetime.”

The issue I wish to discuss today is aid and charity. Why I hear you say? This week is charities week in my school and I want to raise some awareness.

The quote above refers to short-term/emergency aid vs. development/long-term aid. The main difference between these two types of aid is their sustainability and this is highlighted in the cliche above.

Development/ long-term aid is helping people to help themselves by providing the tools, education and funding for projects, whereas short term aid is is help given to communities in a time of disaster or crisis, e.g. food during a famine, shelter after an earthquake.

Provides both short and long-term aid

Provides both short and long-term aid

Short term aid is unsustainable and long-term aid is a sustainable, therefore long term aid can be much more beneficial, although it doesn’t seem this way to many people. In the above quote, giving the man a fish refers to giving him short-term aid and giving him a fishing rod refers to long term aid. The fishing rod is a lot more useful as it will keep the man fed for life, rather than one day. In exactly the same way development aid is a lot more helpful than short term aid.

Long-term aid is a lot more beneficial and I want to encourage people to donate to long-term projects because this is where the real difference is made. The unfortunate thing with long-term aid is that people are a lot less willing to support it. People are a lot more willing to support short-term projects and give humanitarian aid in situations like the aftermath of an earthquake because the donator finds it a lot easier to empathise with the victim of the earthquake then he does with the victim of an everyday poverty problem in the world. Yes, we empathise with the poor, but rarely do we take action unless there is an emergency like a famine. What we need to realise is that if we provide enough development aid the nation will be able to break free of the poverty cycle and will eventually be able to deal with its own emergencies and there will be no need for short-term aid; therefore I would like to encourage more donations to long-term aid charities/projects to make your donations go further, although short-term aid can also be very necessary for immediate relief, hence don’t stop giving this either.

I have written about this as I am always pondering about global concerns like poverty and feel very close to charity as my grandfather was a founding member of Sahayog Pratishtan, which runs a long-term project in the form of a school. Sahayog is currently building a school in a backward region of Maharashtra and needs your help to succeed!

Please check out: https://internationaleconomicmatters.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/16th-of-the-money-spent-on-christmas-in-britain-would-solve-the-worlds-water-problems/ The link takes you to a Christmas themed post that will certainly shock you. It may be about Christmas, but it is in relation to the world’s water crisis and some of the facts will amaze you. I guarantee it!

Posted in Inequality, Money, Multinational Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Writing Challenge: The State of the State

Some governments get involved in nearly every aspect of our life and this is how it should stay. The matter in question is freedom. I agree it would be nice to have freedom but when you mix together freedom with our human nature you brew up unrest.We may like to think of our human nature as good but this is generally only due to social pressures. Our real human nature at its core is one of a nasty nature and we would rip our society apart if we had the ability to do whatever we wished. Many of the positive aspects of our human nature are due to nurture not nature and this is why without a strong government control our society would not prosper. We as individuals all have different goals and these will almost certainly conflict; therefore we need a government to intervene, for us to move forward.

When we try to do things as individuals it is much harder to get things done, whereas if there is a collective action in the form of government policy things proceed much more efficiently and therefore we need government support in more than just the big-issues. After all, “Every penny counts.” Every small step will count towards a big one for our society and we should embrace the government trying to help us along the way.

I agree that government isn’t great as it restricts our freedom, however I believe we need a democratic government. I believe a democratic government is bad but it is not as bad as the other types of government out there. When we are born we automatically sign a social contract, which means we give to the state and they are supposed to give back. There is a symbiotic relationship between the government and us and we need this for a prosperous world, therefore I think it is right for the government to get involved in the nitty gritty aspects of our life (e.g ban soda to tackle obesity).

I agree that government may not always make the right decisions, however I often realise that we can be very critical of our politicians. In some cases that is okay, but there are also quite a few circumstances where we couldn’t do a better job ourselves, so we shouldn’t be moaning. After all we do get to vote for the party in power and we should use this vote effectively to get what we want through indirect democracy. Direct democracy also comes into play with things like the Scotland referendum and I think there should be more direct democracy for the more specific aspects of government policy.

Just to end this off I would like to share with you something my uncle said. He said, “India has law, China has order; but neither has law or order.” I found this rather amusing even though that it was the sad truth of life. I believe we need government in our life for law and order, even though this can infringe heavily on our freedom. After all government is for the greater good. The only major problem with government is corruption. Corruption is the thing that is unearthing our society. Take India for example. Its government is very corrupt and this is why India isn’t moving at the pace it should be.

I’ve written this piece in response to this week’s weekly writing challenge, which can be found at: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/writing-challenge-government/ 

I encourage you to check the link out and vote in the poll. The more votes the merrier! You too can expand your thoughts in a blog post like me or simply vote what you think. That is a great example of direct democracy and that is rather ironic in the context of my post. I’ve gone off at a bit of a tangent, but that is because I wanted to also add my own personal flavour to the challenge. 🙂 Please leave a comment, especially if you strongly agree or have a very different viewpoint.

Posted in Challenges, Multinational Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments