Cherry Blossoms: Mapping the City of Bombs

Discovered via the post "You Don't Understand Our Audience" by Dateline reporter John Hockenberry on
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Cherry Blossoms is a backpack that uses a small microcontroller and a GPS unit. Recent news of bombings in Iraq are downloaded to the unit every night, and their relative location to the center of the city are superimposed on a map of Boston. If the wearer walks in a space in Boston that correlates to a site of violence in Baghdad, the backpack detonates and releases a compressed air cloud of confetti, looking for all the world like smoke and shrapnel. Each piece of confetti is inscribed with the name of a civilian who died in the war, and the circumstances of their death.

Alyssa Wright began working on Cherry Blossoms last semester, wondering how to think about — and feel about — the civilian war deaths in Baghdad. Alyssa’s genius was in sacrificing herself. After all, it’s not an easy piece to perform. You don’t know when it’s going to blow. It’s shocking and loud, and one has no sense of how others will react. Of course, she won’t get hurt by the compressed air, but she might well be confused for a suicide bomber (or, more appropriately, a mooninite) and arrested.

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Facebook's role in helping Myanmar protesters

Internet a battleground in protests against Myanmar's repressive regime

If you are a member of Facebook, you can read about the protests at the public group: Myanmar (Burma) Uprising: Worldwide support

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LONDON - An Internet group backing the monk-led protests in Myanmar has attracted more than 100,000 members in less than 10 days as Internet users around the world try to harness the power of the Web to support the protest movement.

The Internet has been a key battleground in the wave of protests that erupted a month ago against Myanmar's repressive regime. Authorities have cut off the country's two Internet service providers in a bid to stop accounts and images of the protests, and the military crackdown, reaching the outside world.

The Myanmar government's tight media restrictions mean "citizen journalist" accounts have been vital for journalists trying to track the events of recent days. Reporters have relied on social networking sites like Facebook and blogs like that of London-based Burmese blogger Ko Htike for firsthand accounts and images.

The Art of War

Art Collection, National Museum of the Marine Corps
Art Collection, National Museum of the Marine Corps

From On the Media, an online interview with an artist who re-enlisted in order to capture accurate, artistic images of American soldiers in Iraq. The mission of a Marine combat artist, dating back to World War I, is “Go to war, do art.” Combat artist Sergeant Kristopher Battles talks about the challenge of drawing a picture while escaping sniper fire. The artist describes his experience creating drawings and paintings in a war zone at