The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest winner has now been crowned (previously), but the real stars of the contest were the fabulous and entertaining International Sign interpreters. [more inside]
Today, October 14, 2014, is World Standards Day! Except in the USA, where it's celebrated October 23, 2014. (Canada splits the difference by celebrating it on October 15).
Joanna Goddard has been interviewing American women raising their children in other countries, to hear how motherhood around the world compared and contrasted with motherhood in America. She's talked to parents in Norway, Japan, Congo, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Abu Dhabi, India, England, China, Germany, Australia, Turkey, and Chile. [more inside]
Translating technological terms throws up some peculiar challenges
Ibrahima Sarr, a Senegalese coder, led the translation of Firefox into Fulah, which is spoken by 20m people from Senegal to Nigeria. “Crash” became hookii (a cow falling over but not dying); “timeout” became a honaama (your fish has got away). “Aspect ratio” became jeendondiral, a rebuke from elders when a fishing net is wrongly woven. In Malawi’s Chichewa language, which has 10m speakers, “cached pages” became mfutso wa tsamba, or bits of leftover food. The windowless houses of the 440,000 speakers of Zapotec, a family of indigenous languages in Mexico, meant that computer “windows” became “eyes”.
Dancehall in Japan. A short mini documentary from the Scene Unseen project at #ListenForYourself. [more inside]
When can I spot the Space Station? The International Space Station can easily be spotted with the naked eye. Because of its size (110m x 100m x 30m) it reflects very much sunlight. This simple tool will tell you all of the opportunities you can view the ISS over the next ten days, along with a brightness index and a map tracing its transit across your local sky. The red line shows where the ISS is sunlit and visible. On the blue line the ISS is in the Earth's shadow and invisible or it is less than 10° above the horizon. [more inside]
Tired of being constantly asked "Where are you from?", Shing Yin Kor looks to the Yellow Ranger for advice.
Channel C WISC is a YouTube channel where UW-Madison undergrads from China talk about the experience of being Chinese at a big public American university, with the aim of both helping newly arrived international students understand what's going on around them, and helping American students have some sense of what's going on with their Chinese classmates. Videos include "Why Chinese Students Don't Party,", "Chinese Names,", "Pretty Chinese Women", "Who are the Chinese Second Generation Rich?", "Why Chinese Students Don't Speak English," and many more.
"Cuthbert Ottaway lifted the FA Cup as skipper of Oxford University, represented them at five different sports ranging from athletics to real tennis, and once shared a 150-run partnership with WG Grace in the highest level of cricket. His most notable achievement was captaining England in the first ever international football match though. About 4,000 spectators, including a "large number of ladies", gathered to watch the historic game against Scotland at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick on 30 November 1872."
Sound Opinions, the ever-excellent radio show / podcast based out of Chicago, have embarked on a 'world tour'. With the aid of a local musician or journalist, each episode covers the history of modern music in a certain country. They look at what's new and exciting in both the mainstream and underground as well as what foreign music is cracking the market. So far the tour has touched down in Mexico, Japan and Sweden, and Greg & Jim are encouraging feedback on where they should go next. [more inside]
Photographer Gideon Mendel's stunning portraits of flood victims in the UK, India, Haiti, Pakistan, Australia, and Thailand. (via)
"I started the World SF Blog in February of 2009 – a century in Internet time! – partly as an excuse to promote my then-forthcoming anthology of international speculative fiction, The Apex Book of World SF – but mostly out of what can only be described as an ideological drive, a desire to highlight and promote voices seldom heard in genre fiction... The change I have seen in the four years of the blog is heartening. In a way, I have decided to stop now because the blog has fulfilled everything I ever wanted it to, and so much more." - Lavie Tidhar. The World SF Blog leaves behind 61 short stories and a serialized novella by authors from 33 countries, plus exclusive interviews, articles, guest posts and round tables (on WP.com where it's likely to stay up for a while)
Avogadro Project - The International Avogadro project relates the kilogram to the mass of a fixed number of atoms by measuring the number of atoms in a sphere of silicon. I'll leave this here.
Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
International aid projects come under the microscope Clinical-research techniques deployed to assess effectiveness of aid initiatives.
291 diseases and injuries + 67 risk factors + 1,160 non-fatal complications = 650 million estimates of how we age, sicken, and die
As humans live longer, what ails us isn't necessarily what kills us: five data visualizations of how we age, sicken, and die. Causes of death by age, sex, region, and year. Heat map of leading causes and risks by region. Changes in leading causes and risks between 1990 and 2010. Healthy years lost to disability vs. life expectancy in 1990 and 2010. Uncertainties of causes and risks. From the team for the massive Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010. [more inside]
As the European Union receives its Nobel Peace Prize with an ensuing celebratory concert, let us revisit 2001, when Paul McCartney and an all star line-up offered their live cover version of Let It Be.
Where are you on the global fat scale? The BBC investigates.
Amnesty International’s 'Security with Human Rights' campaign has just released a short film called Hooded. It is a powerful reminder that torture is barbaric and never justifiable. Just two minutes long, this film uses a unique approach by marrying abstract images with intense sound design to convey the auditory and visual experiences associated with torture. It's a disturbing but gripping film that demonstrates the shocking effects of torture techniques such as water boarding and "hooding".
"Euphoria", which won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest (previously), is a #1 in several countries, including Ireland, Austria, and Switzerland Of course, it's not the only song charting internationally that you might never hear on US radio. It should come as no surprise that one can readily find international hits online. For instance - Sweden, #4: Panetoz - Dansa Pausa Sweden, #9: Mange Makers - Drick Den This doesn't purport to be an exhaustive list, but rather a jumping-off point. [more inside]
The quizzical smell... once described as a "fecund overload of fish heads and wet mops," permeates the air.
Your Dekalb Farmer's Market is a favorite MeFi recommendation to Atlanta tourists. If you've ever been curious about the backstory to this local institution, Creative Loafing recently published a fascinating history of the store, with a photo slideshow covering 24 hours in the life of the market. This comes as a new phase of expansion is proposed.
What Pizza Hut's Crown Crust Pizza Says About Global Fast Food Marketing. [Food Porn] [Pizza Hut-blue?] Perhaps you've heard by now of the Crown Crust pizza, the pizza-cheeseburger hybrid recently unveiled by some of Pizza Hut's international franchisees. Available only at Pizza Hut Middle East, this fast food chimera features a vaguely crown-shaped crust studded with "cheeseburger gems," topped with lettuce and tomato, and drizzled with "special sauce." Many foodies have decried it as a "culinary abomination," "a sign of the apocalypse," or proof that America is finally losing its monopoly on gluttony. A reviewer at Serious Eats, who tried the Crown Crust in Dubai, wrote: "There seems to be no rational explanation as to why this pizza was created." [Via: NPR.org]
Sure, the follies of art-speak are easy to laugh at, but often criticism of it begins and ends with a dismissive chuckle – which ignores profounder problems. Why should academic terminology be the default vehicle for discussing art? Why is there such an emphasis on newness, schism and radicality? Even when the art itself may be enjoyably throwaway, language pins it to deathlessly auratic registers of exchange. This suggests a subliminal fear that, if the subject in question is not talked up as Big and Culturally Significant, then the point of fussing over it in the first place might be called into question, bringing the whole house of cards tumbling down - Dan Fox, the associate editor of frieze magazine, discusses the contemporary art scene in detail.
Thinking of donating clothes to Africa? Buying shoes so that someone else can have a pair (or just go a day without shoes)? How about buying charity products or visiting impoverished nations to volunteer? Please reconsider. Your good intentions are likely just paving the path to Hell (or economic danger) with Stuff We Don't Want.
The International Man: "My mission is very simple: To find the 'Rolls-Royces' of every category listed on this website on the Internet to help you avoid wasting your time and make it your useful and indispensable lifestyle and luxury resource." [more inside]
The world's first flavoured potato chips were produced in the late 1950s by the Irish company Tayto Crisps. The flavour: Cheese and Onion. Salt and Vinegar, which is now perhaps the the worldwide archetype flavour, followed shortly thereafter. In one place or another and at one time or another, almost every flavour has been set to sliced and fried potato: In Canada, Ketchup and Dill Pickle are common varieties; In Bali, people snack on Blueberry or Lemon Tea chips; the Soy Sauce-flavoured Pringles in Japan are funky; In South Africa, Fruit Chutney and Flame-Grilled Steak are among the standards; and in the UK, Walkers crisps apparently had a go at finding the worst possible crisp flavour.
Following a months-long investigation, the Department of Justice has announced the existence of a well-funded plot "conceived, sponsored and directed" by "high-ranking members of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir on U.S. soil in conjunction with informants in Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The "Hollywood" plot, revealed in an afternoon press conference and described in a detailed 21-page complaint [PDF], is alleged to have involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. One suspect, naturalized American citizen Arbab Arbabsiar, has been arrested, while co-conspirator and Quds Force member Gholam Shakuri remains at large. Iranian officials were quick to label the charges a "fabrication" intended to distract from America's economic troubles.
In 1989, invited to an open air theatre, late at night, I first experienced the 6 hour long screening of Peter Brook's Mahabharata, a much revered Hindu epic which includes the complete Bhagavad Gita as a central part of its narrative. Brook's multiracial casting and innovative treatment received criticism yet its impact has been acknowledged anyone who sat through the 9 hour play, the 6 hour TV serialization or only the 3 hour DVD. [more inside]
Given Sesame Street's popularity over the past four decades, it's not surprising that the show has been broadcast all over the world. But it might be surprising to know the international extent of Sesame Street: the show has been localized with co-production of more than 40 programs in 30 countries, plus another 20+ dubbed versions. For the 40th anniversary in 2009, the Canadian National Post had a gallery of 101 Sesame Street characters (prev) and included a few international faces, Smithsonian had a spotlight on 18 local characters, and The Sesame Workshop had a list of Sesame Street Milestones, including some international Sesame events. But the Muppet Wiki trumps them all, with a a collection of international Sesame Street crossovers and a complete list of all international Sesame Street editions. Hop on inside for video clips from most of the 37 international editions of Sesame Street. [more inside]
'These children don’t recognize the flags of their home countries, but they can all sing "Jesus Loves Me."'
Interactive map of international adoptions, from the superlative Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. The site contains an amazing amount of information about corruption in international adoption in countries like Nepal and Vietnam.
Raw Music International is a prospective television series about music from around the world that would usually escape the attention of folk not living in the middle of it. The first episode has already been shot in Kenya, and the folk behind it are currently trying to get it funded. But until it gets broadcast, we can read their accounts of going out and recording the hip-hop, reggae and more trad-ish music of Kisumu. If you're interested in THE MUSIC AND NOTHING BUT THE MUSIC, head over to their Soundcloud page.
Linguistics Challenge Puzzles! (Difficulty ranging from green circles to double black diamonds...Friday fun for all!) [more inside]
Do not be alarmed if South Africans announce that they were held up by robots.Aimed at warming the welcome for the 2012 Olympics tourist explosion, VisitBritain, has released a number of helpful tips on being social, internationally. Prepping for Serious Business? You can visit Executive Planet and learn all about being courteous across the world. And here are some reasonable solutions for your 112 gripes about the French (Previously). [more inside]
""You can't forget there are people listening when you say you are going to do things, and I try not to overpromise."
This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January. Will his influence be enough? Reports from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow. [more inside]
Her Majesty's Ambassador to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Timothy Torlot survived a suicide bomb attack earlier this morning. The explosions which occurred approximately 800m from the British Embassy on Thaher Himiyar Street occurred at around 08.10 local time. Tim Torlot has been in the media in recent months due to his somewhat surprising personal affairs – namely moving his pregnant mistress into the official residence. To add flames to the fire Jennifer Steil - an American journalist has done what journalists do and written a memoir covering her time in Yemen and the affair. This in a deeply conservative country where adultery is punishable with death by stoning and the human rights record is poor. Yemen is deemed a high risk country and it is known the ambassador travels with an armed British Protection officer and an armed Yemeni Protection officer whenever he leaves the residence. Yemen recently namechecked in the second Live leaders debate by the Prime Minister as another territory of concern will come under the spotlight once again.
Baltasar Garzón is a Spanish judge known for his cases on human right abuses by south american dictatorships under international law, specially the case against Augusto Pinochet. Now, after admitting a case against abuses during Franco's Era, he is facing accusations by extreme right groups of deliberately ignoring the Amnesty Law of 1977, possibly questionable under the same universal jurisdiction that gained him international renown. In a controversial decision, the case has been admitted by the Spanish Supreme Court, and so Garzón is facing the possibility of up to 20 years of suspension. [more inside]
"Whybin TBWA Australia and The Sydney International Food Festival cooked up a clever way to promote last year’s fest — they used iconic foods from the participating countries to recreate their flags. From the green-white-red of basil-spaghetti-tomatoes to the orange-white-green of tikka masala-rice-saag, the results are both appetizing and a little reminiscent of middle-school geography class. Which brings us to our challenge: Can you correctly identify these 12 culinary flags?" [more inside]
The Special Relationship between the US and the UK is over... Perhaps it never really existed outside of the UK anyway.
Reports coming through that a South Korean Navy Ship with 104 crew is currently sinking off Baengnyeong island in the Yellow Sea near the North Korean Border. No reports of casualties and causation yet to be determined. No word from the North Korean Korean Central News Agency.
Blood and Milk is the blog of international development worker and writer Alanna Shaikh, who consults on global health development and writes for publications such as the UN Dispatch. Her views, based both on her work in the field and her study & understanding of sociology, international relations, and other such subjects, tend to be contrary to most other opinions on international development: voluntourism isn't helpful, development work is mired in a culture of nice, don't bother starting an NGO (or, if you will anyway, here's how to succeed), global health doesn't need innovation, and microfinance is a disappointment. Also, here's how to tell if your health project is doomed, and Haiti doesn't need your shoes (some people vehemently disagree). Educated well-researched iconoclast, or pessimistic Mary Contrary?
Haitian-born Edwidge Danticat writes a devastatingly personal account of the Haiti earthquake and its victims. From The New Yorker.
All you need is love - from 156 countries, all at the same time. Join in the chorus; each video leads to a 5-cent donation from Starbucks to the RED Global Fund for AIDS in Africa.
The Images of Eyes Gallery exhibits images and paintings of eyes by international artists, featuring work from about 200 artists from Algeria to Zimbabwe. Gallery I contains figurative paintings, oil and watercolor paintings, portraits, charcoal and ink drawings, lithographs, sculpture, digital, and other fine art content. Gallery II exhibits nude paintings, so may be NSFW.