World Economic Forum on Latin America 2015 | The SecDev Foundation

World Economic Forum on Latin America 2015


The SecDev Foundation’s Director of Research & Public Policy, Robert Muggah, is participating in the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2015.

“In its 10th year, the World Economic Forum on Latin America returns to Mexico to collaborate in Latin America’s transition to long-term economic growth and social development. Mexico, one of the leading economies in Latin America and current holder of the pro-tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance, has made advances on a variety of critical reforms – including important changes to education, energy, fiscal and telecommunications legislation – which are already opening new opportunities. The meeting will provide an ideal platform for committed decision-makers to set a bold renovation agenda and take the initiative on the new generation of Latin American investments and transformational projects.”

Robert will be participating in the following events at the World Economic Forum on Latin America:

  • The Changing Security Landscape in Latin America: exploring the changing security landscape and the impact of new geopolitical dynamics and security risks on society
  • Technology: Debates of Tomorrow: engaging participants to think together about the future they want when it comes to technology and regional challenges (what kind of technology-enabled future do we want to live in? what do we want to avoid? which questions remain?)
  • Societies that Thrive: Promoting Stability in Latin America: a multi-stakeholder discussion on some of the most pressing challenges in the region, in order to identify areas of common ground, ensure civic participation in policy planning and reform and enable more effective and courageous action on critical issues
  • Building Secure Societies: Discussing what can be done to break the cycle of organized crime and public insecurity?

vía World Economic Forum on Latin America 2015 | The SecDev Foundation.

Hanoians use Social Media Tools to Help Save Their Trees

By Michael L. Gray •

  • Hanoi citizens display social media savvy in response to an unpopular municipal government plan to cut down 6,700 trees.

When trees along several main streets were cut beginning on 15 March, both the mainstream and social media reacted with surprise. The next day, social media pages appeared lamenting the loss of the trees. Editorials were written demanding a halt to the cutting in order for people to learn more about the city’s intentions.
Among the Facebook Pages established on 16 March was ‘6,700 people for 6,700 trees’ (6,700 nguoi vi 6,700 cay), which soon became central to the citizen’s movement to halt the cutting.
In general, social media has been instrumental in the response to the municipal government’s unpopular decision to cull trees. The official reasons given for the project were that some trees were old and in danger of falling, while others were the ‘wrong type’ for urban areas.

vía Hanoians use Social Media Tools to Help Save Their Trees | The SecDev Foundation.

Hanoi activists launch viral campaign

For the first time ever in Vietnam, political activists are using viral social media marketing techniques to express dissent online. A brazen campaign has seen dozens of people in Vietnam post selfie photos to their personal Facebook pages holding signs reading “I don’t like the Communist Party of Vietnam.” A Facebook fan page for the campaign was set up on 7 January 2015 and drew thousands of likes and shares.
Social media in Vietnam continues to challenge the state’s dominance of the mainstream press and its ability to shape public opinion. On 4 January 2015, this took a new form with what appears to be Vietnam’s first-ever ‘viral’ social media protest campaign. Activist La Viet Dung posted a simple self-portrait holding a printed page that read “I don’t like the Communist Party of Vietnam.” Another activist, Nguyen Lan Thang, soon followed this example, and also posted photos of a street demonstration held on 7 January 2015 in Hanoi, with several dozen people all holding signs that included the “I don’t like” phrase.

vía Hanoi activists launch viral campaign | The SecDev Foundation.

VN Minister launches Facebook Page

Regardless of the confusion caused by unofficial pages, the official Page attracted a respectable audience over its first week of operation. With the first post appearing on 26 February, the page had 125,000 likes as of 5 March. Most posts had 100-500 likes, and 10-100 comments (numbers that are changing as comments are deleted by the Ministry and/or removed by the people posting them).
To date, most of the comments have a polite or respectful tone. The criticism on display is muted or mild. For example, in response to a 26 February post stating that “The Ministry will continue to renovate, expand and gradually modernize clinics and hospitals given the current over-crowding,” one comment from a Facebook user located in Melbourne said: “What does ‘gradually’ mean? Is there a specific time frame? If you don’t have a specific objective what will happen? Who will take responsibility?” There was no reply to this post, and by 6 March it was removed or deleted.

vía VN Minister launches Facebook Page | The SecDev Foundation.

Control and Dissent in Vietnam’s Online World

The landscape of politics appears to be changing in Vietnam. Social media is narrowing the gap between the ‘everyday politics’ of daily life and the more focused political discourse of dissidents and activists. The state’s long-standing attempt to shape pubic opinion is crumbling under the reality of a relatively open online environment. While the state actively arrests and harasses blogger activists, dissidents have been using social media to launch increasingly public and brazen protests. As the country prepares for a 2016 leadership change, online spaces will be the place to watch.

vía Control and Dissent in Vietnam’s Online World | The SecDev Foundation.

SalamaTech Trains Syrians on Facebook Security

SalamaTech Facebook training encourages peer-based learning aimed at engaging participants through activities and hands-on material. As one participant remarked, “I now realise how easy it is to protect myself on Facebook, by enhancing its built in security features.”
Many of the activities addressed privacy and security issues relevant to the daily lives of participants. Students were able to identify phishing attacks, familiarize themselves with Facebook’s privacy settings and create effective passwords.
The session was part of a week long training event hosted by PILPG in Turkey, which focused on building civil society capacities related to transitional issues, such as peace negotiations, transition planning, constitution drafting, and peace negotiations.

vía SalamaTech Trains Syrians on Facebook Security | The SecDev Foundation.

Dangerous Cities: Urban Violence and the Militarization of Law Enforcement

More than half of the world’s population is concentrated in urban areas. According to UNFPA, this number is expected to rise to 5 billions by 2030, reaching 2/3 of the world population, with the largest cities emerging in Africa and Asia. Regrettably, along with this mass urbanization has come an unprecedented level of violence and crime in densely populated slums and shantytowns. Cities like Baghdad, Kingston, Rio de Janeiro, Guatemala, Ciudad Juarez and Mogadishu have become the battlegrounds of contemporary conflicts.
Our Director of Research and Public Policy, Robert Muggah joins a panel at the Harvard School of Public Health to discuss Dangerous Cities: Urban Violence and the Militarization of Law and Enforcement.

vía Dangerous Cities: Urban Violence and the Militarization of Law Enforcement | The SecDev Foundation.

Capturing the Networked Society

The SecDev Foundation’s Director of Research & Policy, Robert Muggah, has been featured in Ericsson’s project on Capturing the Networked Society. Through our partner organization, Igrapé Institute, Robert was featured for his work in violence reduction through the use of digital technology.
Capturing a Networked Society is a new interactive, video-based celebration of innovative international individuals and organizations – both large and small – shaping our connected world.

vía Capturing the Networked Society | The SecDev Foundation.


Buran: The Russian Space Shuttle

Buran: The Russian Space Shuttle

YouTube | Blookiev123

Buran reusable shuttle – Russian Space Web


During 1970s and 1980s, the USSR developed a winged spacecraft known as Buran (Snowstorm) designed to serve as a “parallel” response to the perceived military threat from the US Space Shuttle. The Buran development was conducted within the Reusable Space System program, or MKS, which included the winged orbiter itself and the Energia heavy-lift vehicle.

Russian Space Web | Buran reusable shuttle

Russia starts ambitious super-heavy space rocket project

Published time: November 17, 2013 03:26

The Buran orbiter landing at the Baikonur space center.(RIA Novosti / Alexander Mokletsov)

On the 25th anniversary of the historic flight of the Soviet space shuttle Buran, Russia’s Roscosmos space agency has formed a working group to prepare “within weeks” a roadmap for the revival of the Energia super-heavy booster rocket.

The group led by Oleg Ostapenko, the new head of Roscosmos Federal Space Agency, is set to draw up proposals on the design of a super-heavy launch vehicle capable of delivering up to 100 tonnes of payload to the baseline orbit, former Soviet minister of general machine building, Oleg Baklanov, said on Friday.

The Soviet Union’s Energia/Buran exceeded the American space shuttle program by practically all capabilities, according to a report prepared by experts of the All-Russian Research Institute of Aviation Materials. The analysis is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Buran’s only performed launch into space.

Buran could stay in orbit for 30 days, while the American shuttle had a 15-day time limit. It could deliver into orbit 30 tonnes of cargo, compared to the US shuttle’s 24 tonnes of cargo. It could carry a crew of 10 cosmonauts, while the American shuttle could carry seven astronauts. Preparation for the Energia/Buran launch at Baikonur Cosmodrome only took 15 days. However, it took one month of preparations before the US shuttle was launched from Cape Canaveral.

RT | Russia starts ambitious super-heavy space rocket project

Monument to Soviet Space Program Put Out to Pasture in Moscow’s VDNKh

By Alexey Eremenko Jul. 07 2014 10:40 Last edited 20:07

The life-sized model of the Soviet-made Buran space orbiter was transported early Sunday through the streets of Moscow from Gorky Park to VDNKh.

The life-sized model of the Soviet-made Buran space orbiter was transported early Sunday through the streets of Moscow from Gorky Park to VDNKh.

The life-sized prototype of the Buran spaceship — a relic of the Soviet space industry’s final breakthrough — was retired to its final resting place this weekend in Moscow’s outdoor exhibition center, VDNKh.

On Saturday, the 50-ton space shuttle was relocated from the city center’s Gorky Park, a prime hipster haunt, in what the city authorities described as an “unprecedented transportation operation.”

The 36-meter-long Buran had to be dismantled for the nightly cruise across Moscow, which evoked images of a beached whale being carted away to its burial site, judging by photos from the operation.

Photos: Soviet Buran Spaceship Moved From Gorky to VDNKh

The fantastic, albeit flawed, shuttle is expected to spend the rest of its days at VDNKh.

The Moscow Times | Monument to Soviet Space Program Put Out to Pasture in Moscow’s VDNKh

Photos Show Once-Beautiful Soviet Space Shuttles In Apparently Abandoned Kazakhstan Hangar

By Hunter Stuart
Posted: 06/17/2015 4:44 pm EDT Updated: 06/17/2015 4:59 pm EDT

These rockets should be in a museum.

Russian photographer Ralph Mirebs was exploring a massive space launch facility in the deserts of southern Kazakhstan when he came upon an old Soviet spacecraft (and a full-size model) in one of the facility’s giant hangars, Gizmodo reports.

Mirebs snapped the stunning photos of the apparently abandoned spacecraft in the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch facility and uploaded them to the social network Live Journal on June 3. While the facility is still in use, the two vessels appear to have been gathering dust for years.

The two spaceships are reportedly products of the Soviet Union’s Buran program, which ran from 1974 to 1993. In 1988, the program succeeded in sending an unmanned Buran shuttle in two orbits around the earth in under four hours. That shuttle, called the OK-1K1, was destroyed in 2002 when the roof of the Baikonur Cosmodrome hangar where it was being stored collapsed.

Following the disaster, the OK-1K1’s sister space shuttle (officially called OK-1K2 but nicknamed “Little Bird”) was moved to a different hangar at the launch facility, where it still sits today, according to Ars Technica.

Ralph Mirebs

The Huffington Post | Photos Show Once-Beautiful Soviet Space Shuttles In Apparently Abandoned Kazakhstan Hangar


Chances are you already know whether you’re a morning person or a night person (and if you don’t, just ask your significant other). What you might not know is that social scientists use pretty specific—and, by academic standards, pretty casual—names for these two chronotypes. “Larks” are up and at it early in the morning, and tend to hit the sack at a respectable evening hour; “owls” are most alert at night, and typically turn in long after dark.

These labels are less an either-or than a spectrum; chronotype can shift over a person’s lifetime, and recent work suggests adding two more subsets to the list: early to wake and late to bed, and late to wake but early bed. But generally speaking the larks-or-owls construct has stood the rigors of research, with evidence really growing since the development of a 19-part Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire in the late 1970s that sorts folks into chronotypes based on things like when they’d ideally get up, how alert they feel in the morning, when they normally get tired, and so on. More involved than asking a spouse, but effective.

An exhaustive list of lessons to emerge from this line of study isn’t possible (or, frankly, something that sounds fun). But we gathered some of our favorite lark-versus-owl studies from recent years and identified nine general insights worth passing along—for your late night, or early morning, pleasure.

Flickr user Kristina Servant

Flickr user Kristina Servant

Morning People Vs. Night Owls: 9 Insights Backed By Science