Voice in the Wire

December 16th, 2008

Late in the evening of December 6th, in the Exarcheia district of central Athens, 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was out with friends. Shortly after 9pm the group became part of a confrontation with members of the Greek Police. Alexandros was shot and killed.

In the days following the killing Alexandros became a symbol of a growing frustration among Greek youth over the country’s growing economic problems, rising unemployment, and a general perception of an inefficient and corrupt Greek government.

Riots in Athens over the death quickly spread like through out the country and then through out the whole of Europe.

The speed at which the riots spread has in part been attributed to organizers using text messaging and the internet as a means of spreading their message and setting up meeting locations. In an article to the Associated Press, Paul Have wrote…

At least some of the protests were organized over the Internet, showing how quickly the message of discontent can be spread, particularly among tech-savvy youth. One Web site Greek protesters used to update each other on the locations of clashes asserted there have been sympathy protests in nearly 20 countries.

This isn’t the first time we have seen the internet become a tool of the disenfranchised as a means of organizing protests.

When California passed Proposition 8 on November 4th, a wave of Anti-Prop 8 web sites such as Join the Impact, appeared on the web as a means of directing information to protesters and to organize events such as the Nationwide protest of November 15th and upcoming December 20th “Light Up The Night For Equality“.

Even in tightly controlled China, the internet has been used to organize people to effect change in government policies and stop construction of a chemical plant.

The internet is still basically in its infancy and the genie is out of the bottle. It’s difficult to imagine just how the civil rights movement of the 1960′s would have progressed had the internet been available. Imagine watching Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as a live web cast or if Rosa Parks could have texted all her friends to join her in sitting at the front of buses all over the country on the same day.

Often, as individuals, we feel somewhat powerless against those with power, whether it be government, or the vocal majority. We sit in our homes feeling sorry for ourselves and saying “I can’t do anything about my situation so I’ll just make the best of it.” What we don’t realize is that we are rarely if ever truly alone.

Cross posted at The Pajama Pundit

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Star Trek

Enterprise

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32 years ago today NASA unveiled the very first Space Shuttle OV-01. While originally slated to be named Constitution (It?s unveiling occurring on the anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution which in 2004 was named Constitution day) it was renamed to Enterprise after a massive write in campaign by fans of Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry and most of the cast of the Original Series were on hand.

After the break is a composite picture of all of the Ships named Enterprise.

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Star Trek Wins Big

image $76.5 million in it?s opening weekend. While it still has yet to make back it?s estimated $150 million dollar budget, it has been seen as a big success and huge boost to the 40 year old franchise. The movie ratings web site Rotten Tomatoes gave Star Trek a 95%.

The movie promises a fast pace, and lots of action and it solidly delivers on both. I saw the movie Thursday night at a special screening, as a large number of Iowa theaters were allowed to open it a day early. In an early screen where we see the Young James Kirk speeding down a dusty road in an old car, up in the corner of the screen the word ?Iowa? appears, letting everyone know the name of the place, and the entire theater broke out in cheers and applause.

From start to finish I loved the adventure. It was new and exciting and I think Abrams did a good job. While there are certainly bits and pieces of the story that interfere with the canon of 10 previous movies and 5 TV series, I have to admit I?m looking forward to where the story goes next. It?s rumored that Paramount has all ready given the green light for Star Trek XII and it is known that the cast originally signed on for the possibility of three movies. I wouldn?t mind seeing the Gorn on the big screen, but since it?s an alternate time line just about anything can happen.

Star Trek

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I?m heading out to a special screaming Thursday night for Star Trek. I?ve been a fan since probably before I could walk, thanks to my Mother and our nightly watching of Star Trek and MASH re-runs when I was a kid! I?m really looking forward to the movie, the 11th in the franchise.

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