Tech Meets History & Totalitarianism

Kristallnacht on Twitter post - interior of burnt synagogue in Berlin

Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive

This weekend was the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Night of the Broken Glass, when thousands of Jewish homes and businesses were ransacked and destroyed across Germany. Ninety-one Jews died that night. That was the night of November 9/10, 1938. (Awkward anniversary tie-in – on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.) Media …

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An Instagram worthy of royalty and madmen (with video!)

Following up on last week’s post, some related notes on the dictators of the interwebs. Because once you’re done Photoshopping those propaglamour shots, where else do you turn but to Instagram? Slate posted a round-up video of Assad & his cohort are getting up to on Instagram a few months ago. Yes, dictators on Instagram is …

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Kim Jong-Un Photoshop contest - Statues of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il

Can you Photoshop that? Our tone-deaf response to the Kim Jong-Uns of the world

One of my favourite Soviet-era jokes goes something like this: Three Russians are in the gulag. The first one says, “What are you in for?” The second one replies, “I called Zbarsky a revolutionary.” “That’s funny,” the first one says. “I called Zbarsky a counterrevolutionary.” “That’s funny,” the third one says. “I am Zbarsky.” (I may have …

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Fotopedia North Korea iPad App - image collage

People of North Korea (and the world), we are looking at you

It’s North Korea week here on the blog (and, apparently, everywhere). Fotopedia has a fantastic series of photo apps, including this one on North Korea. It’s neatly divided into categories – Pyongyang, propaganda, women of North Korea, men of North Korea…you get the picture. I popped it open in bed a few nights ago (something …

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The social media revolution, World War II, Syria, and oh, Walmart

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media – mostly Twitter – and whether the increased speed and availability of global communicating is really going to make the world a better place (see: every Twitter revolution, everywhere). But Twitter just reflects ourselves back to us – the good and the bad. It’s not going to …

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Soviet citizens listen in Moscow as Molotov announces German invasion of USSR on June 22, 1941. Photo taken by Soviet-Jewish photograher, Yevgeny Khaldei.

Public and private during war: YouTube vs Soviet street announcements

Found: Surprise soldier homecoming videos, an entire YouTube phenomenon I never knew existed. Basically, American soldiers who plan to surprise their families with an unexpected homecoming. Usually in public, with a videographer in tow, often from a local TV station. There is an endless reel of these videos, and you can watch them for hours without …

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Old colour photos from Russia - Moscow street

The Potemkin effect: Colour photos from Russia in the black-and-white days

There is a fantastic collection of old colour photos from Russia – Tsarist Russia, to be exact – taken between 1902 and 1912 on the Boston Globe site. Strictly speaking, they’re not colour photos – the photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) – shot each image three times, using a red, green and then blue filter. He …

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Outsourcing iPhone Rumours

iPhone rumours, or outsourcing the rumour mill

Consider this post more of a thought-in-progress than anything. Two things I read this week that triggered the “Bingo, it’s a connection!” neurons in my brain. I can’t quite pinpoint how, but here they are: 1. Outsourcing Education: Does It Matter If Someone in India Corrected Your College Paper? Apparently some US colleges are outsourcing …

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