Animal Abuse

This was posted on my facebook and I wanted to share it.  I did not write it, it is not mine at all, and I claim no credit for it.

I DIED TODAY. You got tired of me and took me to the shelter. They were overcrowded and I drew an unlucky number. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now. Some other puppy will get the barely used leash you left. My collar was dirty and too small, but the lady took it off before she sent me to the Rainbow Bridge . Would I still be at home if I hadn’t chewed your shoe? I didn’t know what it was, but it was leather, and it was on the floor. I was just playing. You forgot to get puppy toys. Would I still be at home if I had been housebroken? Rubbing my nose in what I did only made me ashamed that I had to go at all. There are books and obedience teachers that would have taught you how to teach me to go to the door. Would I still be at home if I hadn’t brought fleas into the house? Without anti-flea medicine, I couldn’t get them off of me after you left me in the yard for days. Would I still be at home if I hadn’t barked? I was only saying, “I’m scared, I’m lonely, I’m here, I’m here! I want to be your best friend.” Would I still be at home if I had made you happy? Hitting me didn’t make me learn how. Would I still be at home if you had taken the time to care for me and to teach manners to me? You didn’t pay attention to me after the first week or so, but I spent all my time waiting for you to love me. ... I died today.

Love, Your Puppy or Kitty

Updated: The Palestinian Authority Applied for Full Membership

Today, Friday 23 September 2011, Palestine applied for full membership with the United Nations.  I have already blogged about it a bit, and right now my life is incredibly stressful (mostly family related) so I am just going to share the link tweeted by the UN today.

Yes, the UN is on Tumblr; so is the WFP and many others.  They are also on Flikr, Youtube, etc.  It is rather amazing how information is shared these days.  Anyways, they say it best. :)

May they one day rest in peace

Today there were two executions I strongly oppose - opposed, I suppose, is the appropriate word now - one was in Georgia, the other in China.  The one in China I did blog about a couple days ago; I do not think countries should have the right to try and execute foreign nationals.  The case in Georgia, well that was one of those ones that makes the death penalty seem ridiculous.  Troy Davis (if I have the name spelt wrong my most sincere apologies; I am currently blogging via mobile) was denied clemency at every level and killed for a crime he claims he did not commit.  There is no physical evidence implicating him, several eyewitnesses recanted, and the entire case was shoddy at its best.

Even if he is found innocent in the future, he will still be dead.  In Canada, the death penalty was abolished over 50 years ago.  Still, cases of wrongful imprisonment have been major issues when convictions were overturned many years later.  These people were still alive, but the Canadian government was forced to address a very serious issue when it came to restoration - how much was the innocent person's life worth during or for the many years spent in prison?  Here, at least, they can be faced with this incredibly awkward question and even if they spend centuries arguing over the proper monetary amount, they still can do that.  Troy, no.  He will never have that opportunity.  His life is gone, forever.  No amount of money or anything else can buy back or make up for time spent wrongly imprisoned, or equate a part of a life.  In comparison, though, at least they have a life to consider.  Dead men are just that - dead.  It is quite a permanent condition, and one that can never be rectified.

Find the man innocent after his execution, he is still dead.  To say it is a step for justice would first require justice to fall down a mountain, then roll ever so slightly towards the other direction.  Yes, it is a good thing, but it has no real depth.  Had they not executed him then they could go through the awkward public apology and release, and applaud the staying of the sentence.  Instead, he is dead and the likelihood anything will ever be done about his case is incredibly slim.  Hopefully lobbyists will push it through and have it seen to; do not let him die in vain.  What concerns me most is not the clout needed to make it happen, rather I am very worried there is not enough evidence for a proper case.  I would really hate to see this die a slow death in bureaucratic red tape and never receive any resolution at all.  This is not me saying he was innocent or in any way passing judgement over the case; all I say here is there is not enough proof to warrant execution.  I would have liked to see it go back to court, to be assessed once again, and hopefully with less emphasis on witness testimony.

People make mistakes all the time; this one may have cost an innocent man his life.  Or, it may have sent a killer to his grave, but is it worth that risk?

Hello, is there anybody out there for me?

In general I try to keep unrelated personal bits out of this blog, but seeing as how this one (in a sense) gave birth to a relevant post, I shall include it and hope it somehow follows the example set forth by my mate whose blog is to the right (hint hint!).

One of my Filofaxes has a space at the bottom of every week in which to write the most memorable moment.  This week, there were two very memorable ones to record when I was updating my diary (schedule, dayplanner) on Wednesday night.  The week starts on Monday; both events came from Tuesday.  One was my birthday, the other throat cancer.

Needless to say, my life has been very stressful lately.  Friday night I had a mini meltdown and decided I was not going to have a birthday this year.  In the end I did - at 23 I cannot continue to act like a brat for no good reason, I have to be an adult now.  The night did not go as I had hoped, but it was fun at times and I sure as hell have had worse.  And to be fair, I had cancelled everything, was ill for a while and did not feel up for anything, and there really was no time to plan anything.  But my bezzie got me a card and a cake and an Oilers cup foam holder things and it was great.

What really kills me is I don't really have anyone to talk to about the other, major issues.  Lots of people say they care and are always there to listen - and I appreciate this greatly, don't get me wrong - but I cannot just talk to anyone about it.  I can, but I would really like to talk to someone who at least understands a part of it.  So I don't bring it up or mention it, except to my one mate who is awesome and also understands a lot of it.  As much as I hate constantly taking up her time with my problems, I really do feel a lot better afterwards.  I wish I could openly talk to my best friend about these things, or be able to discuss them with other people I talk to a lot, but I simply can't.  First there is the huge issue of bringing it up, then there's the talking part and no one knows what to say.

As ridiculous and juvenile as it is, I do sometimes wish someone would push me to open up about things.  I have learned that I cannot expect anyone to do anything remotely like that, and that I have to learn to be strong enough to do that on my own ... but still, it would be nice.  Yes, it would be letting me take the easy way out and avoid responsibility, but I think the part that I like most - perhaps I am just deluding myself - is the feeling that someone actually cares.  Fairy tales and movie romances do not happen in the real world, I know, but on occasion I give in for a moment and imagine someone doing that for me.  Perhaps I am just incredibly insecure and want someone to overcome the challenges to prove it is not a joke or something of the sort.  Or perhaps I am just an overly-emotional female.

I wish I could say there was more of a point to this post, but sadly, there is not.  Originally this was where I stated there were two executions today, but that turned into its own post .

How many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free?

As you are most likely aware, Palestine has begun the lengthy process of asking the UN to recognise it as an independent sovereign state, separate from Israel.  The reaction to this has ranged from favourable and encouraging to direct opposition.  Given the state of global politics and international relations at the present time, one would expect Palestine to garner support from other Islamic and Middle Eastern nations, perhaps some mild recognition from Western nations, and for Israel to be the primary opposition.  This seems to be mostly true, though Palestine is gathering a lot more support than I would have anticipated (good for them, I am pleasantly surprised); the most disturbing difference is the reaction of nations like Canada.

When I was in Scotland, I came across several pro-Palestine, anti-Israeli domination* protests.  In Canada, however, I never encountered one pro-Palestine demonstration of any sort, anywhere.  Before, I thought this was done out of respect for the parties involved and possibly for the best not to directly choose a side; now, I know better.  Yes, Canada has always been very pro-Israel throughout this long conflict but I was willing to live with the naive (or just plain silly) idea that it was a matter of supporting the “official” state as recognised by the UN so matters could be resolved peacefully.

For a moment I will quickly diverge onto a tangent to add some background clarification; I will be quick, please bear with me.  Throughout my academic studies the concept of “nationalism” has been rather prevalent, not just in regards to Canada or medieval Scotland but many other groups and times as well.  So in today’s world, the modern and contemporary life I live, I abide by a simple definition as to whether or not a nation (defined as a group of people sharing similar characteristics, background, etc.) is a country or sovereign state – does the United Nations recognise and regard them as an independent, sovereign state?  To me, this is what makes a country a real country.  Until the UN recognises them as such, I do not regard them as an independent state, and I expect all others – governments especially – to do the same.

Now, back to Palestine.  Like I said, Palestine has quite a bit of support from other countries, whether it be a limited “go for an upgraded status” like the EU offers, or full support from countries like Egypt where the Israeli embassy was stormed and attacked (there were other factors involved as well, it was an attack on the state of Israel by Egyptians and not entirely related to Palestine).  Personally, I am quite glad to see this happening; it is definitely time for someone to step up and bring this conflict to an end.  Obviously, Palestine gaining UN recognition will not end the Israeli-Palestinian fighting, but it certainly will help by placing them on equal footing, at the very least.  And if Palestine was to take a bold step towards establishing freedom, going to the UN like this certainly is the way to do it.  I applaud them for this, and for understanding that violence is not always the answer to asserting oneself on the world stage.

What I cannot applaud is Canada’s reaction.  Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, has clearly stated this is not the right course of action.  “I think there’s no likelihood of this initiative by the Palestinian Authority doing anything to further the peace process.  I think it’s possible that it could be counter-productive.” (Harper to reporters at the UN headquarters, quoted in and taken from the Globe and Mail’s article “Palestinian UN Statehood Gambit ‘Counter-productive’ Harper says”)  He believes Israel and Palestine should go back to their negotiations if Palestine wants to be recognised as a separate country.

Right, because that has done brilliantly well over the past, oh I’m sorry, how many years now?  Sorry, Harper, but no.  Negotiations, peace talks, treaties, and whathaveyou between Israel and Palestine have been going on for decade – and thus far have only resulted in more violence, more human rights violations, more innocent lives lost.  There is a song by Bob Dylan, “Blowing in the Wind”, that I think aptly describes this situation - “How many times must the cannonballs fly, before they’re forever banned?  How many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free?  How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?  How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry?  How many deaths will it take ‘til he knows, that too many people have died?”  How long must we sit by and pretend negotiations and talks are going to bring about a resolution to this problem?  How many generations must live with no hope, no future?

In general, I specifically remain neutral on the Israel-Palestine debate because I do not feel it is possible for me to fully and completely understand both sides of the argument.  That being said, I fully oppose any and all human rights violations by either side, and do think they both should be able to appeal to a neutral, higher power if necessary.  Right now, this is what Palestine is doing, and I support that action.  I support them going to the UN instead of waiting for the rest of the world to get their act together and do something.  Given the events that have happened during my lifetime, I do question the level of power Israel has in that part of the world and I do not have any faith in other countries keeping it in check.  It is a very delicate subject and incredibly influential on international relations, so I do understand why other governments may not be willing to intervene.  But if they will not do it, then who will?  The burden of solving this tremendous issue has been left to Israel and Palestine; now that one of them is stepping up to progress it further, with international and unbiased assistance, I think we should be applauding the effort and certainly not instructing them to go back to methods that clearly are not working and only make matters worse.

 *the purpose of these protests was to promote an independent Palestine, free from Israeli occupation, rule, attacks, etc.  This is a very touchy subject so I am trying to be very tactful in my wording; please understand the goal of these protests was to remove Israeli control from Palestine and was not meant to be a direct attack against the nation or people of Israel itself.

St. Andrew's Square, Edinburgh, July 2011

A picture I took at St. Andrew’s Square (Princes Street) in Edinburgh, July 2011.  I did not want to photograph the people.

“Blowin’ in the Wind” was originally written and recorded by Bob Dylan, but I grew up listening to the Peter, Paul, and Mary version.  I strongly suggest listening to the lyrics, or at least looking them up.

Here are some relevant links:

I follow the UN and related organisations on Twitter, so I do apologise for the lack of articles to list here.  With the number of tweets I get each day it would be near impossible for me to properly reference and cite them all here.

Equality of Opportunity means the Freedom to Fail

On Twitter the World Bank has been tweeting about women and equality, with the hashtag #thinkEQUAL.  There have been many responses; I suggest reading some of them.  It is interesting to see what other people think equality means and how to go about achieving it.  I have responded a time or two, but Twitter has this annoying habit of limiting me to 140 characters - not even words.  So, I am going go take this opportunity to expand on this topic and write a little post about it.

Equality for everyone means having the same opportunities, regardless of any factors.  It gives the individual the ability to choose what to do next, and lets everyone pursue their own dreams without being fenced in at all.  Equality of opportunity - this is how I define an equal existence.  A lot of people see equal opportunities as meaning everyone has the same right to succeed.  True, they do have that same levelling point.  But what I feel is all too often ignored in discussions about equality, opportunity, and chances to succeed is the very important opportunity to fail.

Having the resources and opportunities necessary to succeed is certainly something I have had my entire life, growing up in a developed Western nation a part of a white collar middle class family.  My entire life I have been aware of how lucky I am to have these chances, that I can not only go on to study higher education but I can also decide how I want to use my life.  Not everyone can, and I know that.  It pains me to think of the people who cannot choose their own paths, and while they seem to be mostly women (I would assume the statistics are still just rough guesses based on crude amounts of evidence) I do not categorize this as a woman's issue alone.

The first reason for this is simple - if we, as a species, are ever going to overcome gender or sex based discrimination, then we must learn to see past these lines.  While we talk about equality for women, are we not forcing them into a state of inequality by categorizing them?  Men, too, by pitching them against women in this sort of battle.  I am in no way saying men and women are treated equally everywhere - anywhere, even - but instead am trying to point out the biggest flaw in this campaign.  So long as lines are used to divide people, no matter how or why, or even what the intentions, the groups will exist as separate from each other by the very nature of the whole thing.

Promoting equality is good, but what are you really promoting?  Is it what you want to promote?

Now, for the second part of this post on equality, and back to the idea of equality of opportunity to succeed.  Success is marvellous and certainly should be the goal, but as we all know, life does not always go that way.  Even with opportunities and resources, sometime success just does not happen.  Then what?  Most people would say to try again, to learn from the experience and apply it to the future.  Sounds good, certainly advisable - but what if you cannot?

Equality is more than just having the same opportunities to succeed - it also means having the freedom to fail.  Not long ago the UN posted an article about a Somali refugee who was fleeing the famine.  Like most, her story was one of incredible survival; it nearly brought forth tears.  But what really got to me was not how inspiring the tale was; the part that has continued to haunt  me since I read it is her response to her ordeal.  She kept going because she had no alternative; she survived because she had to.

This refugee, a brave and inspiring Somali woman, did not have the same opportunities as I did at that same time.  While I was trying to finish my dissertation so I would not fail it, she saw only one option in her life - survive.  Me, I had many opportunities at that exact same time, including the chance to succeed.  More importantly, I had the opportunity to fail.  I could do wrong, mess everything up, and I would still be aliveand relatively okay.  But her?  She could not fail; it simply was not an option.  And that hit me the hardest out of everything - having the opportunity to succeed is wonderful, it lets you overcome difficulties and challenges that stand in your way.  The opportunity to fail, however, is what makes the attempt possible.  Surviving failure is what gives that leap of faith a chance.  Without it, risks come with costs far too high - mostly, life.

When you think about equality and what it means to you, please remember these points too.  Dividing lines cannot exist alongside equality, and it is the opportunity to fail that truly defines the freedom to succeed, which is the aim of equality.

Does social media help increase impact and effect?

Recently there has been a lot of talk about social media, and amongst the many discussions I came across this very interesting question - does it increase the impact of humanitarian organisations? Obviously this question is applicable to any cause or broadcast, but this is where my focus lies.

My answer - yes and no.  Social media gives a greater voice to the causes and campaigns; it allows them to reach an audience that they otherwise would be forced to ignore.  For the people, they can stay informed and continue to spread the message.  On the internet, all voices are equal; one does not shout louder for attention, one must shout more.  So in a way, social media does help increase the power, reach, and influence of campaigns and causes.  It is an amazing way to spread the message across former boundaries and eliminates physical limitations.  (On this note, I would like to quickly broadcast and shamelessly promote the UN Foundation iPhone app, free at the itunes store.  I have it, I love it; it is wonderful for staying updated with what is happening.)

The negative effect social media has on the aforementioned sector - there is a lot of "rambled" to overpower.  When everyone has a place to broadcast whatever they want and on the same level as everyone else, then the truly important global issues end up next to useless social updates and unwanted spam.  The sheer amount of information an individual has thrown at them on a daily basis has made them cynical and wary when it comes to all new messages.  Now the cause not only has to reach the person, it also has to break in - which is no.easy feat.  Only then can one start to work on convincing that person to care.

So while social media has increased the power of all causes and campaigns, the same effect has also increased the amount of resistance to overcome once the message arrives.  The good news is those who care, care.  They will take the time to promote the issue to their people, and they will continue to broadcast the message.

In the end, it is still up to the individual receiving the message to do something.  Social media helps the campaigns reach more individuals, but it in itself cannot force them to care or to act.  To take this back to the initial question, once again, yes and no.  The causes can reach more people, which is absolutely wonderful; but then there is more resistance to being deemed worth an actual look.  But the biggest concern facing humanitarian organisations remains unaffected - you still need to convince the person to care.

Travel Abroad and be Executed

Have you ever travelled to a foreign country?  For a lot of people, the answer is yes.  When you do travel, are you always aware of the delicate intricacies of the local laws?  Probably not; usually the basics are the same everywhere and so long as you exercise good judgement and err on the side of caution you should be fine.  Should something go wrong, your embassy is there to help you.  Even in the worst of circumstances, you would not be executed in another country - right?  After all, you are not a citizen, and that is why extradition exists - right?  Ask Syed Zahid Hussain Shah - but make sure it is before 21 September 2011, because after that you will not be able to (at least through conventional means; I make no claims about psychics either way).
Syed Zahid Hussain Shah is a Pakistani national who, in five days, will be executed in China.  Pakistan, China - not the same country.  Perhaps I am over-reacting to this, but I find it appalling that someone can be arrested, imprisoned for years, and then executed in a country they are not a citizen of!  Foreign governments offer no benefits to others; what gives them the right to prosecute and execute then?  If someone breaks the law, by all means, arrest them.  But then talk to their government (embassy) and extradite them.

If a nation refuses to offer the same benefits and social services its nationals have to foreign visitors, then it should not be able to punish them the same way.  Make up your mind - are foreigners to be treated the same or differently?  And be consistent throughout all policies and procedures.

There are five days left in this man's life, and as sad as it is, I am not optimistic that will change.  Even worse, I do not expect a global outcry over this matter either.  China is a very powerful country and most Western nations want to ensure good relations.  Canada, sadly, demonstrated this was more important to the government than human rights when they extradited a Chinese national despite the outcry and public knowledge he would be tortured and likely killed.  So what do I hope will come from this case?  Optimistically, I hope the execution will be halted and he will be sent back go Pakistan to face his own judicial system; I hope the world will not stand by and let this happen, and that world leaders will see the threat they have allowed - and are continuing to encourage - China to become.  Realistically, however, I do not think anything much will happen and this will simply become another human rights violation that goes unchecked because of global politics.  It would be nice if this could at least impact tourism, but I know it will not and even if it did then it would be the people who need help the most who suffer, not the government.  A "sticky wicket" I believe this sort of situation was called in the second Bridgit Jones Diary film.  My personal terms for it are far less decent and therefore will not be shared.  The sentiment I feel ought to be quite clear.

Amnesty International Article

PS - China, could you do this as a birthday present to me?  You have the execution set for the day after and I really would appreciate being able to celebrate it carefree.  Thank you very much!

For Better or for Worse

Ever since the PC was invented it seems more and more of our lives have become digital, then when the Internet took off the technological takeover began to border on hostile.  In today's world, just into the second decade of the 2000s, the concept of being online has managed to reach all generations - particularly through social networks.  It is amazing how many people who five years ago did not use email are now on Facebook or YouTube - technologically impaired grandmothers are updating, posting, sharing, and so on like never before.  For the younger generation - I write this as a 23 year old - they essentially live online.  From mobiles to laptops to smartphones, they are always connected and always attached.  No longer do they spend hours on the telephone talking to get the latest social updates; now it comes to them instantly.  This new generation may seem disoriented and separated from the real world, and while many are quick to oppose their dependence on technology, it seems to have become a solid part of the global reality.  For better or for worse, it needs to be accepted.

I depend on technology to organize and run my life; anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that.  I am always connected, always available, always online.  What makes me different from the younger generation I mentioned?  Well, I have not always been on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or MySpace.  Yes, I have spent the majority of my life with Internet access (computer science professor parent, sent my first email at four, first code at seven) but it was not until my preteen - teen years that communications moved online.  Facebook did not come into my life until I started university, when it was designed to help students network with each other.  Compared to now, it seems so simple.  But me, I grew up without Google, without instant updates, constant connections; and although I am always connected now, I remember when newspapers were the primary source of information about important events.

Social networks are both good and bad.  Their primary function is to help people stay connected, which they do rather well.  A direct consequence of this, however, is the ideology of "instant.". Now everything can be shared instantly, so why would anyone wait?  Recently the Metropolitan Museum of Art asked people about letter writing in today's digital age, and from the responses it is clear that people simply do not have the patience for the traditional methods of sharing.  On all levels, the obligation to always be updated, always available, always connected, always always always has become a disastrous, sadly accepted, part of life.  To not do so can - and sometimes does - have disastrous consequences.  I do not just mean in regards to one's social life, I am thinking of current events and actually important happenings in the world.  So while they help people stay in touch and connected, social networks have also created the necessity to do so.

Today, the Internet is where people to to stay connected and informed about what they care about, what matters to them.  In some cases this is just friends and family, but for others it extends far past that and into the more intellectual side of matters.  Like I said before, I am always online and always connected.  My twitter feed has managed to crash every extension, app, and even the browser because it is so hard to handle at times.  Most people only have one Internet browser; I have four or five.  There are many more examples I could continue on with, but I think you get the idea.  Rather surprisingly, though, I have found that with all this technology and connections I am the most aware of the important "news" events and issues that I have ever been, and at the same time the least social.  Both effects come from social networks, I might add.  While I could read the news online (I have always disliked the newspaper and would listen to the radio instead) I now check my twitter feed.  The Globe and Mail still is one of my homepages and I see it all the time, but I get the important news from elsewhere.  Why?  Because it is so much more relevant and useful.  I have full control over what topics I see - and I can interact and share.  It opens up a whole new level of possibilities.

My goal is to get people to care about humanitarian issues and human suffering.  This is not easy at all, even with the Internet and the ease of sharing information on a global stage.  To care, people need to know and understand.  And they need to connect or feel connected.  For me to do this I need to reach them where they go for this - social networks and the Internet.  I have to find a way to meet people's expectations, which, quite frankly, are becoming a bit ridiculous.  There are wonderful advantages to instant updates online, but people sometimes forget there is still a person at the other end who has to create the updates and a well thought out, detailed post or piece simply cannot be an instant creation!  They can reach their audiences much faster, no doubt, but first they have to be created.  This post, for instance, took me about an hour to write and it will only take seconds to upload to my blog.  Then, a couple minutes to share it with my networks, and if someone reads it and likes it hopefully they will pass it on to their networks.  Internet, social networks - good.  You get a gold star.  But after this post goes up, I need to write a new one for people to read, which most certainly is not an instant project.  The demand for updates comes with a single, solitary timeline of now.  Anything new must be available immediately; people not only want to be constantly connected but also constantly being updated.  What if there are no updates all the time?  Then that particular being falls out of view.  Goodbye influence.

For all the negative I say about this topic, I have made it my life.  I am always connected - by choice, not obligation.  It is very important to stay up to date with what matters, and to me that is primarily related to humanity.  I find traditional news venues do a rather shoddy job of providing me with certain relevant perspectives, so I get my information elsewhere - twitter.  Social updates, sharing, discussions, etc happen on my Facebook; while I still use it as a platform for sharing topics, issues, causes, campaigns, and whatever else it is just me presenting to my mates.  This is my setup, then, one platform reaches my mates directly and another provides the news and connects to a very different network.  Not everyone does it this way, but I quite like my setup.  The people who really do use twitter are the people who are serious and care about whatever.  Facebook has a much more lax, social feel to it.  While it still is a great place to present ideas to others, it lacks the same seriousness and is more akin to "Hey check this out!" than I find twitter to be.  Of course, this is rather heavily influenced by who I connect to on either, but I still believe the fundamental nature of the two differs greatly.  They both have uses, just different.

Finally, a quick word on why this is needed for the future of humanitarian causes.  People do not care and will continue to not care until they feel there is a reason to change that.  Human suffering will garner verbal or superficial support, but to really get people to feel that humanitarian desire they need to feel directly connected.  Pictures and words are no longer enough; people are desensitized.  How to break through that then?  Hit them where it still hurts, approach them on the same level, make the cause the equivalent of a peer.  In a few words - get online and socialize it.  Then, use the instant to your advantage and keep updating, keep posting, keep sharing.  The more space one takes up the more influence one has, and from there the more likely the message is going to be passed on to others.  With networks, it is necessary keep in mind the chain of connections that can result; this is how the message gets spread.  Online this is has become quick and easy, and therefore more likely to happen.  Once again, social networks, good for you.

A Live Global Conversation with the UN Secretary-General on Social Media

Looks like it is time for me to start pulling together all my notes, ramblings, and recordings about social media!  Am I excited?  Was the sixteenth president of the United States renowned for being tall?  Was Canada founded by drunk Scots (and some English)?


The sixteenth president of the United States was Abraham Lincoln.  Yes, he was known for being tall.

Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, was a Scot and a drunk.  He was reputed to have stepped up to the podium for a debate, after his opponent had finished speaking, and vomited everywhere.  His response: "My opponent makes me sick."  Do we [Canadians] hold it against him?  No, not at all.  Our founding fathers were real men, with real flaws and products of their times.  Instead of focusing on the less positive aspects, we prefer to look at the good that they did and argue over the impact their decisions had on the different people of Canada.  Sure, they were drunk Scots, but it was the nineteenth century!  The ones with political power were all from Great Britain, and quite largely Scottish.  Alcoholism was common at the time.  So yes, Canada was founded by drunk Scots.