Technology gives us a voice. It allows us to tell our individual story and stay connected to family and friends we don’t see or talk to every day. Although digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter are keeping us together, there is still a digital divide that exists. Find out what Latinos like Bernardette Pinetta from Los Angeles are doing to close that gap.
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For all the (let’s be absolutely honest here!) banal uses of social media out there, sometimes developers use the geolocative capabilities of smartphones to make the world a more inclusive place. This app looks at the history of a place and reveals how it was originally organized by the traditional owners of the land before processes of colonization and dispossession reshaped the maps of what is now known as the Americas. Digital media allows us to visualize things that are already there, so next time you step on indigenous land you can quietly acknowledge it.
Through location, the Native Land app lets you unearth the indigenous heritage of a place.
The app was developed in Canada, a country which was a complex network of indigenous groups before French and British colonial powers redrew the map. The app can be accessed both through mobile devices (it works on iOS and Android) and through a browser based map. It includes key information such as a group’s language, name and whether the land was ceded (most likely by force or through a deceptive deal) through a treaty. It is a work in progress, so bear with the developers please!
They state before you even start looking for the indigenous past of a territory based on your postcode: “This map does not represent or intend to represent official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations. To learn about definitive boundaries, contact the nations in question. Also, this map is not perfect — it is a work in progress with tons of contributions from the community. Please send us fixes if you find errors”. So if you have information that the developers could use to make the app more precise, they are more than open to new findings that could make this collaborative tool a more accurate representation of the indigenous imprint on a place. Ready to find out more about the place that you call home? Click here.
Remember: maps are only political and not set on stone, so the map you know was drawn by colonial powers.
Contrary to what we might believe, maps are hardly set on stone. In fact, how a territory is named and where boundaries sit is evidence of historical processes through which lands are taken. Just look at this map of North America and think about all the blood that has been shed by the original owners of the land just so we can identify just three countries today. There were hundreds of discreet ethnic groups in Canada, Mexico and the United States before the European superpowers of Britain, France and Spain landed and created havoc.
But the past is past, right? So why should we care? Well, we should care, a lot, particularly in today’s political climate. Let’s take this map of the California area as an example.
So why is becoming familiar with the indigenous past of place important? Because it tells us that the borders that exist today are practically a human invention rather than something set on stone, and that unless you have indigenous heritage we are all guests. California, for example, was populated by a wide variety of peoples who were conquered by the Spanish or assimilated into mestizo culture through religion and language. So when white supremacists get all “America for the Americans” on Brown folk, they should be reminded that the land is and has always been indigenous.
And this map of Australia is just nuts! Can you believe that colonial settlers have tried to make this country fully white and monolingual in the past?
Australia is a young country that nevertheless has faced racism due to the aires de grandeza of some colonial settlers. Even though there has been a formal apology from the government towards aboriginal Australians, and there are constant acknowledgements to the fact that the land was never ceded, there remain great challenges to make the country truly inclusive for those who owned and thrived in the land in the first place. Just looking at this map makes you think of the wide variety of languages and traditions that existed in the island before the Dutch and English arrived
It must not be easy to carry the last name Escobar in Colombia, as some people will immediately ask you if you are related to perhaps one of the most famous Colombians of all time: the drug lord Pablo Escobar, hated my many and loved by some, and who reshaped not only the global trafficking of illegal substances, but also the geopolitical map of the continent. After his death at the hands of the DEA and the Colombian authorities Escobar’s family has lived a perilous life. His son, for example, changed his name and wrote a memoir.
We haven’t heard much of Escobar’s family in recent years, but his brother has made the headlines for releasing a super resistant smartphone that is being promoted as a masculine commodity… so yeah, with scantly clad women…
So who is Roberto Escobar?
Roberto Escobar was the accountant of his brother’s Medellin Cartel and he went to jail for it. Since his release from prison he has tried to become a tech entrepreneur and even engaged Elon Musk in a legal battle over the intellectual property of a propane flamethrower. He also sued Netflix for one billion dollars over the TV show Narcos, alleging that they use unauthorized content.
By the way, while he was in prison he lost hearing on one side after he received an exploding letter. He described his role in the Medellin Cartel in an interview with The Mirror UK: “My role was overseeing the books, managing the business and making the illegitimate money legit. On my advice, Pablo began investing in real estate, buying land and building and investing in construction”.
Roberto Escobar, also known as El Osito, has released the Escobar Fold 1 foldable smartphone… and it all has a very 1980s Miami Vice look and feel
Roberto Escobar is now entering the fiercely competitive smartphone market with a device that comes with a price tag of $349 and is foldable. The phone is also allegedly unbreakable and comes with extra security features (and he knows about those things, right?). He will sell directly to customers and thus cut the costs associated with intermediaries. But can he really compete with the big players in the market? He is promoting his invention with women in bikinis and lingerie taking selfies in a very unnatural way… it is like a 1980s character from Miami Vice (or a 1980s version of Donald Trump!) designed and approved this marketing campaign that just doesn’t speak to our times.
He claims that he will beat Apple in the smartphone war, and that his product is better than Samsung’s
But Roberto Escobar, El Osito para los cuates, is dead serious in his quest to become a main stakeholder in the mobile media economy. He recently told Digital Trends in an interview: “I have told many people that I would beat Apple and I will. I cut the networks and retailers, to sell to customers phones that can fold for only $349, phones which in stores cost thousands of dollars by Samsung and others. This is my goal, to beat Apple, and by doing it myself like I always have.”
We might laugh off this claim, which might sound totally outlandish, but we must remember that Escobar helped build a global cocaine empire that produced billions of dollars (and caused countless deaths and considerable emotional trauma, so we are not justifying his actions in any way), so he knows his way around money and, yes, innovation (even if he is infamous for the most awful kind of out-of-the-box thinking).
So is this phone special? Mmm.. we will wait and see
Digital Trends just published the specs on the phone, and from the technical point of view they are not impressive. In fact, the phone is very similar to Samsung’s: “The Escobar Fold 1 comes running Android 9.0 and has an Octa-Core 2.8Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 CPU, dual cameras at 16 and 20 megapixels, and a 7.8-inch AMOLED FHD+ screen when folded. The phone is capable of holding two SIM cards, and ships unlocked, so it can be used on your carrier of choice.”
So it is OK, but nothing to write home about. The selling point will surely be how resistant to falls and hits the phone allegedly is. Escobar told Digital Trends: “My phone cannot break, because I did not have to make a glass screen like Samsung. Our screen is made of a special type of plastic, and we still have the best resolution. Our special plastic is very difficult to break.”
We cannot wait for those unboxing and testing videos on YouTube trying to figure out how hardy the phone really is.
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