Tag Archives: impact

Wikileaks Scandal – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The publication of 250,000 US diplomatic cables last week by Wikileaks.com has caused quite a scandal in both the US and International community. While the legality/morality/goal of such action is dubious, the fact of the matter is that the information is out there and can’t be taken back. That being said, before taking sides on the issue (freedom of speech vs. Assange terrorist), lets analize the effects of such publication:

The Good

  • Like the Pentagon Papers (Vietnam) and the Watergate Scandal, some of the cables published reveal corrupt and inmoral US goverment operations. Operations that our democratic  govermentof should never have to endorse.

1. Hillary Clinton ordered a spy operation on UN leadership. The US diplomats were asked to obtain DNA samples, adresses, credit card numbers, phone numbers, tax and pager numbers and EVEN computer passwords from top UN members. Such operation is a blatant infringement of UN laws and individual privacy.

2. The oil company Shell admits to have infiltrated the Nigerian goverment at all levels. To such an extent that a Shell executive boasted that they know exactly everything that goes on within the Nigerian ministries. Such capitalistic, corrupt infiltration of a goverment is clearly anything but “democratic” or ethical.

  • The publication of the cables also brought to light the high level of corruption, bribery, criminal dealings of the current Russian goverment. Now its up to the russian population to take action (if they can) and try to reform such a obscure goverment procedures.

The Bad

  • Some of the cables published couldn’t have come at a worse time. A time where the economy is bad, the Middle East is unstable and North Korea is highely agressive.
  1. By revealing that China is progessively withdrawing its support to North Korea, the north koreans will feel threatened to lose its biggest patron and thus seek to further distabilize the Korean region.
  2. By revealing that US is backed by many Arab countries in its attempt to contain Iran’s influence/nuclear proliferation; expect the already-radical Iranian president to turn even more radical.
  3. By revealing the weakness or corruption of many African presidents, the publication has put the continent’s stability at test.
  • Also, USA’s political credibility has been weakened worldwide.

The Ugly

  • Several cables revealed that behind the deities of the Saudi Arabian royalty, there are parties that include alcohol, strippers and drugs. Have only two words to say on the matter – PARTY POOPER.
  • The US goverment’s response of prosecuting and shutting down Internet sites goes agaisnt the ideal of freedom of speech. Such action has only made the USA look undemocratic, like China.
  • If people of the likes of Julian Assange can hack into Pentagon archives and shutdown Visa.com; imagine how easily they could steal our passwords and other personal digital information.

Conclusion

While unmasking corruption and inmoral actions is always justified (Vietnam, Watergate, in this case the corruption of Nigeria and American espionage in the United Nations) I believe the problem lies not in the action, but in the indiscriminate manner such information was made public. A responsible person would have taken the time to actually skim through the cables and publish that which is useful for society. The data which helps foment human relations.

What is Julian Assange seeking to gain by publishing “provoking” personal correspondence of US diplomats? (such as the one Hillay Clinton states that the Argetinian president seems “mentally unstable” or another that describes Nicolas Sarkozy as “impatient and undiplomatic”) Does this type of personal correspondence help the international community in any way? Or does it merely seek to obtain notoriety and spark bitterness between world leaders?

Just like you wouldn’t inform a patient in intensive care that his parents have just suffered a horrible death; when revealing secrets one has to take the timing and possible consequences into account. In this case, some of the cables published about Iran and North Korea seem more likely to trigger violence than “enlightment” or “transparency”. So while I wouldn´t call Julian Assange a criminal, I would definitely label some of his actions as unthoughtful.

And as for the US goverment, instead of trying to control the release of information (which is impossible), your efforts would be better spent in figuring out ways to better protect secrets so they doesn’t get “stolen” in the first place.

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For more information, The Guardian has developed a detailed interface/map of the 250,000 cables

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10 Small Things made Big Impact… Finale

This is the final entry to a remarkable list of 10 innovations, laws and inventions that changed everyday living forever.

These are the two most important.

2nd place: The Fountain of Remedies

Eternally open all year long

21 bottles…

That is the number of medicine bottles I counted at my parent’s house last summer. And they prefer natural remedies over synthetic ones

Which led me to wonder, how many bottles of medicine does an average civilized family have?

Tylenol, Panadol, Bayer, Aleve, allergy medicines, prescription medicines… that just naming the basic ones. Now try to imagine how many medicine bottles a 19th century family had: none? two? if rich perhaps six?

Man… times do change. Now a days there is pill for every mental and physical distress.

Why recommend several days of rest, when a sleeping pill can do the job?

Why recommend eating salad, when a laxative can work just fine?

Why recommend vacations, when a stimulant can serve you right?

Chicken soup, no way, I need Robytusin

Take for example the surge in the number of school kids diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in the last decade.

Time magazine says:

Two studies suggest some symptoms may be due simply to immaturity… One of these studies found that young-for-their grade kids were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as those who were old for their grade. (pg. 16, 08/30/10)

Misunderstood case like the following are quite abundant… I’m not saying that medicine is bad. Heck no, medicine has improved our lifestyle in many, many ways.

But like everything else, abusing medical consumption is harmful.

Sure, taking a pill is the easy way

Just not always the right way

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1st place: The Mouth and Ears of your life


You guessed it… that thing in your pocket made it to the top of the list.

I mean, who doesn’t have a phone these days? Who doesn’t get a bit “jumpy” when the battery’s dead? What more reliable lifeline in times of awkward silence?

The telephone

Allows the transfer of thoughts anywhere, anytime.

Took down the barriers of time and space in human interactions.

Revolutionized the work space.

Changed human behavior.

Also, the telephone shows no sign of slowing down it’s technological progress. From the bulky phones of the past to the sleek, camera, GPS, Mp3, Internet, digital cellphones of the future. Now a days the possibilities are almost endless – from surfing the web, finding the nearest exit to your destination,  to identifying a song that´s playing on the radio – the modern cellphone does it all.

Just stop and think….

Is there phone close to you now? Does it accompany you wherever you go? Do you use it to avoid people? To get to know people? To stay in touch with people? Are all of the above true?

More useful tool in the social life of an average person: none.

Telephone

Portable phone

Cellphone

Iphone

Lunch break at Verizon

Thanks for all those that have followed the countdown till the end, hope you had as good time reading it as I had making it.

Till the next post… keep it real

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10 Small Things that made Big Impact… Part 3

This is the third entry to a remarkable list of 10 innovations, laws and inventions that changed everyday living forever.

They appear in order of importance, with 1 being the most influential.

4th Place: Obesity as a Luxury

Thee who cometh, shall multiplieth

Or so it used to be… if we remount back to biblical times we can observe how starvation was quite common in most Middle East and European cities. Back then only the most rich and powerful men could afford enough food to actually become obese. Obesity was the by-product of endless banquets and excessive gluttony partaken by the ruling classes. This meant that the great majority of the world population in that era was either lean or unhealthily underfed.

Then came the late Renaissance (1700’s), and with it the expansion of the middle class and an increment in the amount of food available in Europe. It was during this period that a particular bizarre trend started to gain popularity in the wealthy class. Being obese became fashionable for the rich women since it was a sign of economic prosperity and abundance. Thus… obesity became sexy, as demonstrated by the countless nude paintings drawn at the time.

Fast forward a couple hundred years into the new millennium and the panorama has taken a 180 degree turn. Obesity is no longer a luxury, it’s no longer sexy, it is a health care problem. And a growing one that is, especially in the United States and the rest of the Western civilization. What once was attractive, is now unappealing. What used to be respected by all, is now a shunned by most. Its seem like the overweight/obesity rate in the USA (35%) is matched only by the starvation rate in Africa (28.2%).

Two completely different worlds.

One where people die because of excessive calories.
The other where they die due to the of lack them.

One where people fight eating.
The other where people fight to eat.

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3rd Place: Pandora’s Web

Lets see which monster is the strongest...

In Greek mythology when the mistress Pandora peeked into the forbidden box all the evils spirits contained within escaped and spread across the whole earth. Thus disease, evil acts, and monsters were born.

In the modern age, when the World Wide Web was launched in 1991, all information contained inside became available to everyone and spread like a wild fire across the whole face of the Earth. And with it a new strain of viruses and monsters was born.

The World Wide Web, now more commonly referred to as the Internet, is quickly becoming the most powerful tool of communication humankind has ever known. It allows users to literally do everything they need with the simple click of a button. What started as a simple information service has evolved into a giant web of possibilities: messages, business transactions, online shopping,  movies, chatting, webcam, socializing… if you can dream it, its probably possible.

Besides being an all powerful service tool, the Internet is also an increasingly powerful social tool in today’s modern society. The Internet is without a doubt the most influential innovation social life has experienced in the last couple decades.

Want to date but don’t got time: go to EHarmony

Want stay keep in contact with friends all over the world: Skype is the tool for you

Want to buy something: place your bid in Ebay

Want to find anything: Google it

The list simply goes on and on and on and on… and so does the the amount of hours new generations spend fulfilling their every desire online. Unfortunately the Internet has also dark side to it… it can serves as a portal where one can get away with extremely undignified transactions and propaganda… and worst of all, an excuse for a girl to give you her Facebook account instead of her number.

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Don’t miss the countdown finale next week Friday, Semptember 3.

Till then… have a good night!!

Pame
pambaez11@gmail.com
70.45.12.10

It is sad how unbalanced the world we live in is. Where there are only extremes, no in-between. Isnt it crazy how people can fight hunger for two completly different reasons. looks and poverty.

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10 Small Things that made Big Impact… Part 2

This is the second entry to a remarkable list of 10 innovations, laws and inventions that changed everyday living forever.

They appear in order of importance, with 1 being the most influential.

7th Place: All of King Solomon’s riches in your wallet

No wonder Casanova always got what he wanted

Forget long journeys, forget armored caravans and fleets. With the invention of the credit card in 1920’s man made business transactions a whole lot faster and easier. Long ago, being rich almost always meant that you had to protect your own gold (using a vault) and transporting was always a “heavy problem” since gold weights alot. Transporting money was always a delicate process that usually involved some losses due to variety of factors (pirates, raiders, incompentence)

Then came paper money, cash checks – these new innovations helped lighten the load of one’s money, but each had their own flaws. Large quantities of paper money still take up some space (suitcase, a trunk) and cash checks are not the most realiable form of payment due to fraud.

Thank God, then came the credit card. Which allows the user the ability to carry a fortune of money in their pocket and buy anything from anywhere through the internet. Then again, as far as safety is concerned, no paying method in history has ever been 100% burglar-proof.

Pirates stole gold.

Bandits stole money.

Identity thieves steal credit cards.

6th Place: Nature as a Commodity

Where did all the green go?

Yeah… were did all the green go?

Is the first question a New York citizen from 1700’s would ask. New York City stands on what used to be a forest area spanning the island of Manhattan and all it’s sorroundings, but now that forest is no more. Thankfully, Central Park stands as a monument of the importance Nature still has in our concrete society.

I guess you can say… human beings have always taken nature for granted. Our ancestors grew up around it, labored it and learned from it. They would spend countless afternoons marvelling at the horizon and wondering what life had in store for them. All that reflection, amusement and joy that nature brought them and still bring us.

It’s not until you lose something that you truly miss it. Well, we are losing nature. It’s happening all around us and sadly there isn’t much we can do to stop it. Just by sitting down and watching a sunset, the stars, or the beach one can’t stop marvelling at the beauty of it. We come from nature… so why are we parting ways? Why are we being unnatural?

Besides oxygen and food, Nature provides us mental tranquility and a mystical sense of wonder. Since nature used to be so abundant, all humans used to get these benefits and much more for free. But we are in the 21th century, now many of us live in cities or suburds. We live our own hectic civilized lives. Even if we have nature at our disposal, we don’t take the time to enjoy it.

Thus, nature has become a commodity that only those with money…. or time can enjoy.

5th Place: Windows of Past Times

Only takes one second with a Canon

What is a photograph if not a window of a past time. A moment in time and space visually recorded for future generation to observe.

Photographs have changed art. The “realistic” branch of art that once focused on making drawings as realistic as possible has greatly dwindled. Family portraits take a flash and couple seconds to create, not an artist and several months. Paintings used to be only accesible to those who were wealthy and could only be made by those who had artistics skills. Now everybody owns hundreds of pictures, and can take as many pictures as their 60GB camera allows them to.

Photographs have changed history, take Vietnam for example. A couple of raw photographs were powerful enough to turn a whole country agaisn’t the decision’s of its own goverment. Who could have expected that a couple glimpses into a foreign land could spark such massive protest and civil unrest.

Photographs have also changed human behavior. From those who always carry a camera and are constantly taking pictures, those who avoid “picture time”, those who need to be in every picture…. but most importantly those who are constantly looking at pictures. What else does one do on Facebook? Look at pictures.

The countdown continues next week Thursday, 26 of August.

Till then… have a pleasant evening!!

Manuel
baezfoto.com
mbaez15@gmail.com
70.45.12.10

I was blown away by the movie Avatar! Specially all the scenes in that took place in the forest. I was mesmerized by the scenery and all the creatures. It made me wish I could live there. The funny thing is we do! Our planet earth is not so different. Where do you think all the inspiration for that movie came from? We just take it for granted.
I love to go diving every time I get the chance. Last time I realized that live in the coral reefs beats by far what I saw on that movie. Our world is full of wonders, we just have to discover them!

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