This week's stories ranged from Google Goggles to the new Kony 2012 Part II video. Here are the top five stories people were reading, sharing, Tweeting, Facebooking, and commenting on this week:
Google Glasses would would allow technology to interact with a person's seen reality and integrate capabilities like voice recognition, Google maps, GPS location, and more, in order to help you interpret and react to what is being seen. But what will a product like Project Glass mean for our ability to connect and stay in the moment? Liz Alton explores this question, saying: "I think it’s safe to say that we’ve arrived at a moment where full-on augmented reality is at most a few years away, rather than a science fiction construct or geek’s wet dream."
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has generated widespread media attention this year, but little has been reported on the ways in which fracking may have unique impacts on women. Chemicals used in fracking have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive health problems, and there have been reports of rises in crimes against women in some fracking "boom" towns, which have attracted itinerant workers with few ties to the community. Sara Jerving explores the implications of fracking on women.
The military recently punished an Army reservist for openly supporting Ron Paul, but has knowingly allowed a neo-Nazi to serve in the Missouri National Guard. Matthew Rozsa writes how as a 12-year-old boy, he nearly lost his life in an anti-Semitic hate crime, one in which his peers tried to drown him in a lake while chanting "Drown the Jew!" He says the military simply cannot allow neo-Nazis to serve.
This week, Invisible Children released a second video, KONY 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous, which is partly a response to criticisms of the first film, an explanation of the motivations behind it, and a call to participate in Invisible Children’s April 20 Cover the Night event. Overall, Kony 2012 Part II is a tremendous improvement over the first video. But it still leaves a few questions unanswered. Kwaku Osei says "The video also fails to deal with complicated issues of sensitivity and justice for LRA victims. One survivor of the conflict states in this video, “If people in those countries care about us, they will not wear t-shirts of Joseph Kony for any reason. That will celebrate our suffering.” This raises questions about the effects that making Kony’s name and image "famous" will have on those who are trying to forget.
The deaths of Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi should have been teachable moments. Instead, in their respective aftermaths, the opportunity for engagement and discourse has turned to experiential warfare. There are sides against sides, fears against fears, oppression against suppression, and ignorance against everyday realities. Trayvon Martin’s death brought accusatory finger pointing, anger, and indignation — both justified and not. The death of Shaima Alawadi met with such relative indifference that it has become incredibly apparent the extent to which we have dehumanized a racial and religious minority. Felicia Reid asks why Americans can't have a more open coversation about race.