Political Changes and Social Networks

From smoke signals of the past to online “twits,” technology played important roles in politics. In the past few months, political unrests toppled leaders and dictator across the Middle East and North Africa. We have seen video footage, read blogs, and responded on facebook statuses online. A lot of noises are happening in different areas of the world and many attributed congregations of people’s power to social networking sites such as facebook, twitter, and youtube.  What is the role of social media in politics?


Below are some resources that you can read, watch, and hear:

Library Resources:

New Media

Internet Politics: states, citizens, and new communication technologies

Online Video:

How Social Media Makes Life Harder for Dictators

Watch Video:


Social Media Revolution Hits Saudi Arabia

Online Articles:

The Debate on Social Media and Revolutions: Reality Steps In

The Cyberactivists Who Helped Topple a Dictator

This post was written by Paolo P. Gujilde


Workers’ Rights in Wisconsin

Madison is witnessing a level of protests that it has not seen since the 1960s as the Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has put forward a plan to remove the right to form a public union in Wisconsin. This despite the fact that the unions have already agreed to do their fair share to help the state’s budget situation and despite the fact that public union members are paid much less the public believes. This piece from WBEZ sheds some light on public unions: Q&A on Public vs Private Sector Unions. Here is a video from the PBS News Hour that is interesting:

Wisconsin Public Workers Union Rights Go Head-to-Head with State Budget Woes
A push to reduce state workers’ benefits and eliminate collective bargaining caused a furor this week as protesters descended on Wisconsin’s Capitol. Judy Woodruff examines the predicament with Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers.

2010 Illinois Census Data to be Release this Week

The U.S. Census Bureau will be releasing the Local 2010 Illinois Census data this Valentine’s week. These much anticipated results will affect numerous legislative, social, and economic lines across the State of Illinois as well as the nation for the next decade. As many of you know, every ten years, the Census Bureau takes a population snapshot of the country by polling all households from rural areas to urban cities. These snapshots are used in various ways and one of them is “redistricting.” Redistricting is “when state officials realign congressional and state legislative districts in their states, taking into account population shifts since the last census and assuring equal representation for their constituents….”

This post written by Paolo Gujilde

Ever Want to Disappear Completely? Here Are Some Tips

I listened to this To The Best of Our Knowledge episode, HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY (http://www.wpr.org/BOOK/110213b.cfm) from Wisconsin Public Radio. Here’s the description from their Web site:

Have you ever thought about disappearing? Wiping out your old identity and starting fresh, with a new name, a new life… a new self? In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, how to disappear completely. Join us for a crash course! You too can vanish without a trace. And, the founder of the Federal Witness Protection Program on how the professionals do it.

  • SEGMENT 1:Frank Ahearn author of “How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave Fale Trails, and Vanish Without a Trace.”
  • SEGMENT 2:If you really want to know how to disappear, you might want to talk to the U.S. Marshall Service’s Gerald Shur founder of the Federal Witness Protection Program and author of “WITSEC: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program.”
  • SEGMENT 3:film maker David Bond who tried to disappear and documented his efforts in his film “Erasing David”

Malcolm X Family Feud

In 2008, our campus read The Autobiography of Malcolm X for our One Book, One College program. I know that there are many fans and students of Malcom X here at Moraine Valley. Yesterday, I came across this article from the New York Times, Malcolm X Trove Hidden During Feud by By John Eligon Published: February 8, 2011, about the disagreement between Malcolm X’s daughters over the unpublished works of Malcolm and his wife Betty Shabazz. This family feud has implications for research and scholarship, but it is also a story of strain and difficulty of being in the public eye for so many generations.

Thundersnow is real. Did you hear it?

Did you hear the thundersnow during the big blizzard? Many people have asked whether or not it is real, and, in fact, yes, it is. It is very rare, but it does happen. This National Geographic Article, “Thundersnow” Facts: Mysterious Storms Explained, provides a quick summary of this phenomena. Here’s a quote:

  • Thundersnow starts out like a summer thunderstorm… The sun heats the ground and pushes masses of warm, moist air upward, creating unstable air columns.As it rises, the moisture condenses to form clouds, which are jostled by internal turbulence.The “tricky part” for making thundersnow, Market said, is creating that atmospheric instability in the wintertime.For thundersnow to occur, the air layer closer to the ground has to be warmer than the layers above, but still cold enough to create snow—a very precise circumstance.

Snowfall? Can We Break the Record?

The meteorologists are predicting that a record snowfall is on the way (see this article if you haven’t heard:Major Winter Storm Heading Towards Chicago). The question is if we actually believe them or not. As we watch the snow fall, I thought it would be cool to know about past record snow falls, so I visited the National Weather Service: History of 10 inch or greater Snow storms in Chicago and came up with these records:

  1. 23.0 inches Jan 26-27, 1967
  2. 21.6 inches Jan 1-3, 1999
  3. 19.2 inches Mar 25-26, 1930
  4. 18.8 inches Jan 13-14, 1979
  5. 16.2 inches Mar 7-8, 1931
  6. 15.0 inches Dec 17-20, 1929
  7. 14.9 inches Jan 30, 1939
  8. 14.9 inches Jan 6-7, 1918
  9. 14.3 inches Mar 25-26, 1970
  10. 14.0 inches Jan 18-20, 1886

Now, get our the rulers and let’s see how the snow falls.