NO EXIT If you thought you could avoid reading about Iraq by escaping into Technobabble, you’d be wrong, at least this week. See, technology is playing a big role in the war-ravaged country, and it’s not just unmanned drone planes and night vision goggles. Technology you and I use everyday is being used by those wrapped up in these tragedies in many ways.
Call in Google Maps For those Iraqis caught up in the civil war (yes, even most Republicans are finally calling it this), Google Earth comes to the rescue (http://earth.google.com). Advice Web sites are being set-up displaying screen grabs of Google Maps illustrating routes considered safe and unsafe. Unfortunately, innocent civilians trying to avoid sectarian violence aren’t the only ones hip to Google Maps. Insurgents are also using the free service to attack British soldiers in Basra. Documents seized in raids in January showed Google satellite maps detailing sleeping quarters and Land Rover parking areas within British bases.
InsurgentTube YouTube is another tech front for the battles in Iraq. I’m not sure why I was so surprised to find insurgent videos on YouTube, but what really got me wondering was when I found a pro-U.S. soldier, anti-Bush video made by what I am guessing is an American, linked from an insurgent Web site. XnemisisX56’s three-minute, 45-second photo montage “Iraq War” has been viewed well over 50,000 times, received more than 230 comments (mostly of the “You f**kin’ %#&@$” kind) and has been “favorited” more than 170 times in the five months it has lived on YouTube (youtube.com/watch?v=Acn3fwwNH00). I found the video after a colleague sent me this Iraqi Resistance Web site www.albasrah.net (written in both Arabic and English). At least the voices of many can be heard on the worldwide Internet.
Geeks Care If you’re tired of the ludicrous “support our troops” rhetoric spewing from our elected officials, there is something you, the civilian geek, can actually do for some of our injured neighbors who risked their lives for this neocon endeavor: donate Xbox games or even a game console to injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The nonprofit Cause (Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services) not only provides CDs, DVDs, games and game consoles to recovering soldiers, but it also sponsors monthly tournaments with games such as Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Call of Duty 3 . More info: www.cause-usa.org.
Boston Mooninite Update Two hilarious follow-ups to Aqua-Gate (I love the Interwebs):