On April 22, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2012 & help Mobilize the Earth™. People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection. Together we will stand united for a sustainable future and call upon individuals, organizations, and governments to do their part. Attend a local Earth Day event and join one of our Earth Day campaigns as we collect A Billion Acts of Green and elevate the importance of environmental issues around the world.
As the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day approaches, people are becoming frustrated with the failure of governments to take any steps toward protecting and preserving the environment. The Earth Day 2012 campaign is designed to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future and direct them toward quantifiable outcomes, using vehicles such as petitions, the Billion Acts of Green; campaign, and events.
Earth Day 2012 will act as a launch pad for growing the environmental movement and will put forth a bold declaration demanding immediate action to secure Renewable Energy for All and a sustainable future for our planet. The movement will be comprised of individuals of every age from all corners of the Earth, and will call upon local, national, and international leaders to put an end to fossil fuel subsidies, embrace renewable energy technology, improve energy efficiency, and make energy universally accessible.
Campaigns for Communities
Today, local leaders around the world are at the forefront of addressing the impacts of climate change and other environmental challenges facing their communities while at the same time struggling to balance budgets, create jobs, and produce energy savings. Campaign for Communities, previously known as Global Day of Conversation, is a platform for leaders around the world to engage their communities in discussions about the challenges and opportunities related to sustainability. Through organized dialogues, leaders will convey their ideas and opinions on environmental issues and share best practices, allowing citizens to learn about ongoing initiatives and provide input on current sustainability plans.
For 200 years we’ve been conquering Nature. Now we’re beating it to death. ~ Tom McMillan, quoted in Francesca Lyman, The Greenhouse Trap, 1990 ~
~Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22. Some cities start celebrating a week in advance, ending the recognition of Earth Week on April 22nd. Others host month long events to stress the importance of teaching about our environment.
~The United Nations celebrates Earth Day each year on the March equinox, which is often March 20, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969.
Instagram, with its 30 million users, the majority of which are young, (compared to Facebook’s ageing membership as its popularity grows amongst parents and grandparents) has been scooped up by Facebook for a mere one per cent of its market cap.
It is hard to knock a company looking set to debut in the public markets with a $100 billion valuation and 845 million friends, but if we did, Facebook’s mobile technology is an easy target. Put simply: Facebook’s app just doesn’t work very well. Apple iOS users and Google Android users both complain. It doesn’t load at worst. At best it is slow and jerky.
This would seem like an easy fix, and why wouldn’t Facebook just do it? They have the funds to invest.Mobile matters, of course, when you’re business is connecting people and content, real-time.
But then think of the underlying complexity. Facebook is relaying us a lot of information very quickly. Some these data spurts are trivial; some aren’t. Feeds of all sorts of shapes and sizes that are changing constantly. Elegant apps tend to be much more simple in what they actually deliver us. Facebook likely faces a real challenge here.
So perhaps a deep mobile understanding is one of the things Mark Zuckerberg sought out in spending what seems like a tremendous sum, $1 billion, on the photo sharing app Instagram.
Sure, the company didn’t have revenues, which on the surface makes the $1 billion valuation laughable and perhaps the surest sign yet techland is frothing. But talent is expensive in Silicon Valley these days and competition is fierce. Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, really knows mobile and specifically sharing on mobile. His big goal for Instagram as he put it to Digg founder Kevin Rose was to be the place where you could “tune into anything on Earth”. Instagram’s success so far has been thanks to a fine combination of technology know-how and the right attention product detail. Those are highly prized skills right now.
10 Reasons Why Facebook Bought Instagram
1. Because it could. It’s fairly unusual for a company to drop a cool billion heading into its IPO, but Facebook already has a ton of cash on hand & thanks to private share sales to Goldman Sachs, says University of Notre Dame biz prof Tim Loughran. “Facebook, with huge cash on hand, is already acting like a big, publicly-traded tech company,” says Loughran. “Facebook didn’t need to go public first to get the cash to make the major acquisition.”
2. Because it didn’t want a competitor to snap it up first. “It appears that Facebook really wanted to purchase Instagram before another bidder (maybe Google) made the deal.”
3. Because Facebook’s mobile app sucks. Instagram’s doesn’t. “Will this deal look cheap in two years? Probably, if Facebook works on your phone.”
4. Because Facebook is having a midlife crisis, and the acquisition of the beloved, hip photo-sharing app is its equivalent of buying a sportscar. The universal consensus is that Facebook isn’t cool anymore. It’s got wrinkles, or at least many more users with wrinkles. By buying Instagram, Facebook bought itself 30 million hipsters, and all of their wonderful hipster cool.
5. Because most people are on Facebook to look at other people’s photos, and Facebook wants to keep it that way. Now you’ll be able to add all kinds of cool filters to your Facebook photos, a feature that attracted over 30 million people to Instagram. “Providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Facebook was scared and knew that for first time in its life it arguably had a competitor that could not only eat its lunch, but also destroy its future prospects.”
6. More data. Which translates into better mobile ads. Instagram has a better idea of what its users are doing and what they like doing. “If you are a skiier, you take pictures of snow and skiing. If you are a foodie you take pictures of food at high-end restaurants. If you are into quilting, a lot of your photos will be of that,” writes Scoble at Quora. “Facebook’s databases need this info to optimize the media it will bring to you. Imagine you’re a ski resort and want to reach skiiers, Instagram will give them a new way to do that, all while being far more targeted than Facebook otherwise could be.”
7. Because it wanted to buy soul. Facebook has become a huge, money-making behemoth, which makes it very attractive to investors but makes it slightly harder to take Mark Zuckerberg seriously when he waxes poetic about the Hacker Way. The users of Instagram are still enamored of their little app, so much so that they feel outraged about it selling out. “Facebook bought the thing that is hardest to fake. It bought sincerity,” says Paul Ford at NYMag.
8. Because it’s cheaper than inventing a time machine. “Before Instagram, if I wanted my pictures to look like they were taken in the ‘60s, I’d have to invent a time machine and travel back 50 years,” said one of the Daily Show’s “youth” correspondents.
9. Because it wanted an upscale version of Facebook to keep the digital upper class happy. Just as Williams Sonoma created West Elm for those who turned up their noses at Pottery Barn, Facebook needs a place where its users can hang out where they won’t run into the “technological laggards.” “Facebook is not the preferred destination or permanent mailing address of the digital upper class,” writes Carles at Grantland. “While Facebook became one of the most valuable sites on the Internet by allowing mass-market audiences to participate in ‘life’ as we now know it, it is still under the threat of becoming an impersonal experience without constant innovation that is aimed at making users feel like they are building something meaningful as they upload their ‘lives’ to the social network. Being on Facebook just doesn’t make you feel like a VIP.”
But being on Instagram does, in part because it has been the exclusive provenance of iPhone users for so long. When it finally released a version for the Droid, I snapped it up immediately.
10. Because it’s scared. “Young hot technology companies are nothing if not aware of their mortality,” write Nick Bilton & Somini Snegupta at the New York Times. “Because so many started out by wounding an older tech giant, they know they can be killed, or at least severely injured, by that which lurks in the rented office space of Silicon Valley — an even hotter, younger technology company.”
The news might explain why Facebook paid such a high price for Instagram, which currently has just 13 employees and makes no money. That the price tag indicated an “anti-competitive element”. Instagram is an app that allows users to add vintage effects to smartphone photos. It also serves as a standalone social network, allowing users to share their photos with friends outside the boundaries of Facebook and Twitter. The app will be valuable to Facebook, not least because of its 30 million-strong user base.
The photo sharing application Instagram was becoming so popular so quickly that some feel Facebook saw it as a threat. John Blackstone reports this might be the reason why the social networking giant ‘Facebook’ bought the company for double its estimated value. It’s want to turn the competitors to the allies.
Will Instagram Ever Expand to More Social Networks?
According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook plans to preserve Instagram’s ability to post to other social networks. At the moment, however, the only other social networks Instagram supports are Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. What happens if more direct competitors such as Google+ or Path release the necessary tools to support photo uploads from Instagram? Somehow I doubt that a Facebook-owned Instagram will be enthusiastic about supporting those other networks.
What’s Facebook Planning, Anyway?
That’s the billion dollar question. So far, Zuckerberg has made vague promises to “learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products.” But Facebook already offers Instagram-like hipster filters, at least in its desktop software, and its social infrastructure for photo sharing was rock-solid long before Instagram showed up. Assuming Facebook didn’t simply acquire Instagram out of fear, we still don’t have a good explanation for what Facebook wants to get out of the service.
Copyright 2012 by Forbes.com, New York Times, CBS News & TIME Techland.com
The official Android version of the popular iOS imaging app Instagram has been released in the Google Play store. As expected, it brings majority of the iOS app features to its Android counterpart and more are expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks. The official Instagram Android app can now be downloaded to any Android smartphone running on Android 2.2 or above from the Play store.
The Android app release finally puts an end to a long wait by the Android users. For those of you not familiar with Instagram, it is basically a way to share your images to your friends and peers, Instagram also allows you to edit the images and apply several of the available filters to transform the image look and feel.
According to the company, it wanted to translate the exact iOS Instagram experience to its Android app thus the latter does not have any exclusive features, but contains most of existing ones.
There are still a few features that have not been included in this first version of the app but will be added in the future upgrades.
Urban performance currently depends not only on the city’s endowment of hard infrastructure ‘physical capital’, but also, and increasingly so, on the availability and quality of knowledge communication and social infrastructure (‘intellectual and social capital’). The latter form of capital is decisive for urban competitiveness. It is against this background that the concept of the “smart city” has been introduced as a strategic device to encompass modern urban production factors in a common framework and to highlight the growing importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), social and environmental capital in profiling the competitiveness of cities. The significance of these two assets – social and environmental capital – itself goes a long way to distinguish smart cities from their more technology-laden counterparts, drawing a clear line between them and what goes under the name of either digital or intelligent cities.
Smart cities has also been used as a marketing concept by companies and by cities.
Smart cities can be identified along six main axes or dimensions. These axes are: a smart economy; smart mobility; a smart environment; smart people; smart living; and, finally, smart governance. These six axes connect with traditional regional and neoclassical theories of urban growth and development. In particular, the axes are based – respectively – on theories of regional competitiveness, transport and ICT economics, natural resources, human and social capital, quality of life, and participation of citizens in the governance of cities.
A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when investments in human and social capital and traditional (transport) and modern (ICT) communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory governance.
The label smart city is still quite a fuzzy concept and is used in ways that are not always consistent. This section summarises the characteristics of a smart city that most frequently recur in discussions of the topic.
The basic idea is that “creative occupations are growing and firms now orient themselves to attract ‘the creative'”. While the presence of a creative and skilled workforce does not guarantee urban performance, in a knowledge-intensive and increasingly globalised economy, these factors will determine increasingly the success of cities.
The idea of neo-liberal urban spaces has been criticised for the potential risks associated with putting an excessive weight on economic values as the sole driver of urban development. Among these possible development patterns, policy makers would better consider those that depend not only on a business-led model.
As a globalized business model is based on capital mobility, following a business-oriented model may result in a losing long term strategy: “The ‘spatial fix’ inevitably means that mobile capital can often ‘write its own deals’ to come to town, only to move on when it receives a better deal elsewhere. This is no less true for the smart city than it was for the industrial or manufacturing city”.
Copyright 2012 by Wikipedia, digitalconcept/city.com & YouTube