The new battleground

Published February 17, 2011 · Estimated reading time: 4 minutes · Share your thoughts
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The new battleground
How the internet shapes social movement in the face of regulation
By Marzieh Ghiasi
February 17, 2011

Image by Olivia Messer / The McGill Daily

It has become commonplace to describe the web as the Wild West – a place where there are no rules, no regulations, and not much protection. It is therefore no surprise that the web has become a battleground for governments, commercial entities, and users, each fighting to preserve their own interests for the future.

Derek Ruths, an assistant professor of Computer Science at McGill who teaches COMP 189, a course on Computers and Society, explains that forecasting the future of the internet is difficult because these changes will be accompanied by society’s changing ideas and expectations about privacy and regulation.

“Ten years ago people would have thought Facebook, the idea of putting all that information online, was ridiculous. But somehow society has changed,” he said in an interview with The Daily.

The rise of networking sites like Twitter and information warehouses such as Wikileaks has been attributed to civil uprisings that have occurred across the world. The 2009 protests in Moldova were dubbed by the media as that country’s “Twitter Revolution.”
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Kiosk’s Triple Distilled

Published February 11, 2011 · Estimated reading time: 1 minute · Share your thoughts
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In the post-revolution void created in popular music, most Iranians (by which I mean myself) have had to endure years of terrible, terrible electropop music coming out of underground Iran and the Iranian/Persian diaspora. Fortunately, the past couple of years, new social trends are bringing good sounds our way. I found out about Kiosk, a Persian rock/blues jazz band in 2007, from the incredible music video for their song “Eshgh e Sorat” (Love for Speed) which portrays average Iranians running daily affairs in stark contrast to the shiny polished images in other music videos.

Their fourth album Se Taghtireh (Triple Distilled) came out in 2010… but sadly I missed the Montreal leg of their tour! The band’s rich use of instrumentation in this album makes each song a pleasure to hear. While the music is inspired by Western jazz and blues and the vocals are similar to the lyric-driven French chanson, the bands lyricism in Persian is wonderful and clever and the music retains a uniquely Persian sound in parts. Although to my knowledge they don’t use classic instruments like the santoor, after listening to the album I swore I could hear its brassy sound in some parts– perhaps that was wishful thinking. Kiosk’s music is a departure from classic Persian music and contemporary Persian pop and that is certainly a good thing. They are forgoing nostalgia and reverence in favour of creating innovative fresh music and setting the way for new sounds coming out of the country. Have a listen to their song “Love and Death in the Time of Facebook“. Additionally, the group’s lead singer Arash Sobhani was interviewed by the show Parazit earlier this year (view here at 16:00min).

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Donating blood

Published February 10, 2011 · Estimated reading time: 1 minute · Share your thoughts
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I donated blood for the first time today in a blood drive by Héma-Québec. I know several people who’ve received blood transfusions that helped save their lives– so I don’t really know why I hadn’t done it before. No wait, I actually know. I wasn’t compelled before but now– its all the vampire shows. Emotionally-tortured trying-to-be-ethical vampires really put a face to blood drives… blood drive PR people should totally jump on that. (Addendum: nevermind, they already have. “Starve a vampire. Donate blood.” Really Red Cross? Really?)

Anyway, the whole process was really straightforward. I had to fill a rather long questionnaire about my health and also time outside the country. They also took my blood pressure and hemoglobin level (apparently if its below <12 g/dl you can't donate blood). All in all it took 30-45 minutes. I donated about 500ml of blood. While doing so, I was speaking to a guy who was also donating blood and he was like “If you’re super strong you can donate up to 2 liters.” I mustered an uncertain “Uhhh, I don’t know about that…” since the normal adult body contains about 5 liters of blood based on what I could remember from physiology, and even if you’re he-man, I’m pretty sure losing 40% of that can’t be healthy.

Afterwards, I felt slightly dizzy but cookies and some juice which made everything better as they always do. That, in brief, was my adventure for the day. Super-exciting. I know.

Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi