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India adds approximately 15 million new cell phone users to its networks every month.

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Often you’re the only one who believes in what you’re doing.

– Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder of Skype –

Oh, History, you are a wry, ironic beast. Skype (you may have heard of it) was shot down more than a few dozen times by venture capitalists in its efforts to launch it’s brand of internet-phone. It was later sold to eBay for $3.1 billion.  Read the whole history here and glean what you can from Mr Zennstroms story of bringing a dream to life.

What do you believe in that no one else does?

Never work with kids or animals.

The environmental crisis, which includes the acidification of oceans, extinction of named and yet unnamed species,  extensive logging in old-growth and rain forests, and so on, has the ultimate spokespersons – cute, fluffy, adorable animals. Though perhaps those species that exist on the precipice between life and history aren’t so cute (bugs and sea crawlies and the like), the rumbling polar bear, the ubiquitous mannerisms of a Bengal tiger that mimic that of your beloved housecat, and the seemingly timid and adorable panda all up the ante when it comes to social justice and communication.

There’s something inimitable about the potency of a human-child’s face or the innocence of a cute animal’s visage to convey a sense of urgency within the scope of a crisis warranting attention. What are some good examples of the use of children and animals in social justice or Christian based communication circles? Have you examples that you think cross a line? What does your editorial brain say about these kind of images?

Counter Clockwise

So, this blog author may or may not have accidentally broiled a pizza on Friday night. But fear not, it was ultimately edible and yielded inspiration for a communications blog post.  Among the good natured ribbing proffered in the aftermath of this culinary catastrophe was an incredulous, “Why would anyone turn a knob counter clockwise??!” Hmm. Why would anyone do that? Isn’t it fascinating that in that one crummy dial (that now bears the corrective ink of a loosely held Sharpie pen) conveys an enormous amount of culturally hued communication? If you want to do this you have to first do this. Turning a knob left or right is an arbitrary thing, but it ends up being really influential if you want to add tension to your spinning bike, bake pizza, turn up the heat, make the fan run stronger in your car, flip really fast through iPod songs, turn on a faucet . . . we really do live in a clockwise world.

Doesn’t it make you wonder what other social codes are just simply convention rather than of any great significance? Doesn’t it impress you how much one can access simply by understanding that we live in a clockwise world? Doesn’t it frighten you a touch to think about how ideas can become utterly pervasive without anyone noticing or caring?

NB: This is a Canadian stove (French & English), are there English-Spanish stoves in the States?

This is disastrous.

Haiti got slammed again with Hurricane Tomas, the Merapi volcano has displaced 300,000 Indonesians, and (in the words of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon) Pakistan is not anywhere near recovering from the ‘heart-wrenching’ destruction brought about by unprecedented flooding in that central-Asian country.

What kind of story can do justice to these events? What do you crave to know? What should the consumers of Christian media hear in response to Tomas, Merapi, and the floods?  Is it the death or displacement toll? Details about relief efforts and organizations? Do you think it’s important to tell people how they can contribute to relief efforts? What kind of adjectives do you feel comfortable using? Starting from scratch, right now, today, what history of Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan would you include in a news item?

the midnight sun shines bright

For about a decade now, Reporters Without Borders declares Norway & Iceland joint #1 holders of the Press Freedom Index. Northern Europe scores high, with Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and the Netherlands all in the top ten. The United States and Canada? Numbers 20 & 21 respectively.  North Korea & Eritrea . . . not so good at the bottom of the 175 strong heap.

Read the full survey & methodology here.

What do you think?