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Links Round-Up: Winter Olympics, Sochi-style

February 25, 2014 / Comments Off on Links Round-Up: Winter Olympics, Sochi-style
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A number of people have asked me in the last few weeks whether I have any national pride for Russia during these Sochi Olympics. Maybe it’s all the writing I’ve been doing the last few years, but I don’t think I’ve ever been asked before about cheering on another country. It’s never even occurred to…

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Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive

November 11, 2013 / Comments Off on Kristallnacht on Twitter seems hopelessly naive
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Kristallnacht on Twitter post - interior of burnt synagogue in Berlin

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!)

October 28, 2013 / Comments Off on An Instagram worthy of royalty and madmen (with video!)
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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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The social media revolution, World War II, Syria, and oh, Walmart

August 17, 2012 / Comments Off on The social media revolution, World War II, Syria, and oh, Walmart
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Wal-Mart Supercenter Parking Lot in Virginia

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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On Russian tchotchkes and Soviet design

June 6, 2011 /
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Unsung Icons of Soviet Design book cover

A very long time ago (in internet years), I had a Twitter conversation with blogger and general funny girl Vicki Boykis (@vboykis) about our attitudes towards Russian tchotchkes. The original link is dead, but it was probably something along these lines. Her response was an unequivocal “yea,” while I was firmly on the “ugh, why?”…

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Radio days of the revolution: Goodbye Soviet Russia, hello North Korea

March 25, 2011 / Comments Off on Radio days of the revolution: Goodbye Soviet Russia, hello North Korea
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Vintage radio representing BBC Russia

After 65 years, BBC Russia shut down its radio service this week, with all the attendant “end of an era” sighing. That era ended 20 years ago, but hey, who doesn’t appreciate an opportunity to wax nostalgic. If you read anything at all about dissidence in the Soviet days, tuning into illegal radio broadcasts is…

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The digital afterlife and the lies we’ll leave behind

February 24, 2011 / Comments Off on The digital afterlife and the lies we’ll leave behind
Salem Cemetery for digital afterlife post

Alison Garwood-Jones wrote a lovely piece a while ago on her blog about the wisps of life we leave behind on the internet. To add to the unmade bed, the book half-read, the phone call never returned and conversation never finished, is now the digital alter-ego, never finished. And, somehow lacking the poignancy of finding…

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Twitter revolution? Sorry, the revolution is not being tweeted

February 23, 2011 / Comments Off on Twitter revolution? Sorry, the revolution is not being tweeted
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Twitter Revolution: Gadhafi Tweet

Hanging out on Twitter makes for an odd perspective on world events. Like Revolution 2011 World Tour. There’s an expectation to comment on these major upheavals. And at the same time, an expectation that seeing lunch tweets interspersed with desperate pleas from protesters is meant to make us uncomfortable. It does. (But then, we’re also…

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Ok, so I don’t talk about current events so much…

February 3, 2011 / Comments Off on Ok, so I don’t talk about current events so much…

I sometimes forget why I’m doing this Soviet Jewry thing. Or, not so much forget, as get distracted. The present is just so very busy. It has heft, carries more weight. Egypt. Wikileaks. Obama’s State of the Union. Women in Magazines. CRTC Rulings. Mayoral Elections. G20. In other words, shouldn’t I be talking about something…

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On technology and activism, and the rest of the world

October 28, 2010 / Comments Off on On technology and activism, and the rest of the world
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On technology and activism - businessman on phone while waiting for train

There’s a funny blindness that sets in when you live in technology, where updates from the CEO of a computer company become as central to your news sense of the world as the fate of 33 miners in Chile. Are the release of a colour Nook, or the ups and downs of a white iPhone,…

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