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November 27th, 2014
02:24 PM ET

Ferguson puts focus on U.S. racial divide

The situation in Ferguson, Missouri is a reminder of the deep racial division in America.

Protesters in Ferguson and across the United States feel that Michael Brown was singled out by police because of his race.

CNN contributor L.Z. Granderson says there is a lack of trust between minorities and police, as well as a lack of empathy between blacks and whites in the country.

It's a problem he's experienced way too often.

"I've lost count the number of times I've been pulled over by a police officer," he tells me from Ferguson. "The first time that an officer pulled a gun out on me, I was 12 years old. He told me I looked like someone."

"We're talking about a 30 year gap in my life in which I continue to look like someone that police are interested in," Granderson says. "I have never committed a crime. I have never been prosecuted. But I keep feeling I am being persecuted."

Here's Granderson on the racial divide in America and the anger surrounding the Ferguson grand jury decision.

Take a listen. It's worth your time.

November 26th, 2014
02:31 PM ET

Jimmy Lai tells HK protesters to retreat

As Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement stretches into week nine, more barricades are coming down in the district of Mong Kok. So should pro-democracy protesters withdraw or wait it out?

One high-profile supporter is urging student leaders to stand down.

"It's about time we retreat," says Jimmy Lai, a fervent China critic and media mogul. He has been working from his protest camp in Admiralty since the start of the action.

Lai calls the Umbrella Movement a "war" that will extend far beyond the battle of the last two months.

He fears that growing public resentment to the protests, which has caused major traffic disruption throughout the city, will damage the pro-democracy movement.

According to a poll released by the University of Hong Kong last week, 8 out of 10 people surveyed think the demonstrators should leave the streets and go home.

"If we will lose the moral high ground, it will be very difficult for us to come back later," Lai tells me.

Click on to hear Lai's call for the protesters to retreat, regroup and return at a later time.

November 26th, 2014
09:55 AM ET

‘Bean’ me up, Scotty!

2014-09-29 14.42.07A jolt of energy has just hit the International Space Station.

In days that can feel like endless nights, what’s more welcoming than a burst of caffeine?

But with Italy’s first female astronaut now on board, regular old space coffee just won’t do.

Samantha Cristoforetti brought with her the very first zero-gravity espresso machine.

Designed by Italian coffee maker Lavazza and engineering firm Argotec – ISSpresso (International Space Station combined with espresso) can withstand the extreme conditions of space. FULL POST

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Filed under: General • Science • Space
November 20th, 2014
02:29 PM ET

Act like a spy to protect your digital privacy

In today’s social media driven world, people’s entire lives are often stored on their smartphones. Email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your photo roll, calendar and notes all provide clues to your location, contacts and personal details. It’s a veritable buffet for identity thieves.

Wickr CEO Nico Sell says, “I’ve been lucky enough to be educated by the very best hackers in the world.”

That’s how she learned how easy it is for people to tap into your mobile phone, eavesdrop on your calls and read your text messages.

Concerned about her own digital footprint and the security of her children, Sell created Wickr – a peer-to-peer encryption app. FULL POST

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Filed under: Cyber • Data • Technology
November 13th, 2014
05:25 PM ET

Bringing Comet67P down to Earth

The European Space Agency's successful landing on a speeding comet is captivating the world.

Now the Philae probe is sending back images of its new home on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

But it can be hard to wrap one’s mind around the scale of things in space.

So the ESA made some images showing the comet over cities in Europe.

ESA Attempts To Land Probe On Comet

This one places it in Paris. Spanning 4.1 kilometers, the comet would roughly cover a distance from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre.

That got Team News Stream wondering... what would it look like here in Hong Kong? FULL POST

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Filed under: Great graphics • Space
November 13th, 2014
05:44 AM ET

Hope and change in Myanmar?

When the U.S. President first visited Myanmar two years ago, the country seemed on the cusp of a major political transformation.

But the mood is different as Barack Obama returns for his second visit.

"The hope and optimism we had in 2012 is gone," Irrawaddy magazine editor Aung Zaw tells me.

Zaw says there is a general impression in Myanmar that the reform process has stopped, and Obama needs to convey the message to the government that reform must go on.

Beyond the disappointing state of political reform, Myanmar’s leaders have been criticized for their oppressive treatment of the Muslim minority group, the Rohingya.

The Rohingya have been denied citizenship by their own government.  Scores have been living in a displaced persons camp for more than two years.

"The plight of the Rohingya will be a big challenge for Obama," says Zaw. "That's the reason Obama made a phone call to (President) Thein Sein before flying in."

Click on to hear more from our conversation including Zaw's very direct criticism of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her inaction in regards to the Rohingya.

November 13th, 2014
03:48 AM ET

How deep is your data trail?

So I just cleared my Google search history.

I took a peek at my search log ahead of an interview with data privacy expert and Harvard Fellow Adam Tanner, and was simply stunned by the depth of my data trail.

Some companies say they collect user information to provide them with better services.

Tanner says, "They know where you live, work, go to university and they also know sensitive things like what religion you belong to - all with the goal of selling things to you."

As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. And in this networked age, we're paying with our personal data.

But Tanner says, "There should be choice and transparency. You should know what you're getting into, and what you're getting in exchange."

November 11th, 2014
07:04 AM ET

The wonder of Interstellar

Interstellar is a good movie. It's not a great movie. But I still found it an enjoyable ride.

It's an odd thing to say, because in some ways it's my least favorite film by director Christopher Nolan. Objectively speaking, it's flawed. It feels far too long, dragging on to make sure every last loose end is tied up. Dialogue sometimes feels less like normal people talking and more like scripted monologues. And even by a movie's standards, there are more than a few dramatic flourishes that are just too implausible to suspend your disbelief over.

Despite all that, Interstellar works for me.

FULL POST

November 9th, 2014
08:44 AM ET

Using art to save the Asian elephant

Call it the elephant in the room. It may be a cliché, but the fact that elephant populations are dwindling around the world is a growing problem that can’t be ignored.

Africa has seen its elephant population decline from 1.3 million several decades ago to an estimated 419,000 now. Poaching still goes unchecked in some parts of the continent.

The Environmental Investigation Agency’s latest report says the situation is especially grim in Tanzania.

Tanzania lost 10,000 elephants to poaching last year alone – more than any other country in Africa.

And the EIA makes damning allegations about China, the world's largest ivory market. It links some smuggling to Chinese officials who have accompanied the president to Africa. Beijing has denied the claims.

But it’s not just African elephants facing a perilous future. Their Asian cousins are also in a battle for survival. FULL POST

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Filed under: Art & Science • China • General
November 8th, 2014
12:14 PM ET

Hope After Haiyan: building back better and safer

When I think back to Super Typhoon Haiyan, I often think of this image. It was captured from space by American astronaut Karen Nyberg.

Haiyan was one of the world’s most powerful storms in history, and you can see its sheer strength in that snapshot from orbit.

The super typhoon generated a storm surge as high as five meters. It roared ashore and wiped entire communities away. In the end, more than 6,000 people were killed and almost 4 million people displaced.

But Haiyan's legacy is more than a death toll. It’s more than shocking pictures of the storm’s strength or the devastation it caused.

It’s about the fate of millions of already impoverished people who lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.

FULL POST

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