Socrates once said he was not a Greek or an Athenian but a citizen of the world. The Internet, social networking and YouTube have done so much to make the world a much smaller place than it was in Socrates' day. Awhile back this blog featured a story about how one girl in America saved the life of one of her Facebook friends who lived in England when she received a suicide note from him. People all over the world are much more connected these days than ever before. Personally I think that is a good thing; isolationism is an obsolete political practice, and in order to be able to function as an interconnected global community, we need to understand how the rest of the world's citizens live.
Our first piece of good news today comes from Afghanistan and livescience.com. Yes, that war-torn country that has been ripped apart since at least 1979. The government is taking steps to start putting it back together again. The nation's first environmental protection agency has recently designated the country's first national park, Band-e-Amir. It is designed to protect a chain of naturally occurring lakes as well as several species of animals, including one type of bird that is the only bird found exclusively in Afghanistan.
I came across this next story on heraldnet.com from the state of Washington after following a link for another article. Some people are reluctant to admit it, but they can be uncomfortable or annoyed around developmentally disabled people. They don't know what to say or how to act and often get impatient because simple tasks can take longer. Greg Bading, developmentally disabled and living on his own, used his bike to get around. When it was stolen, his co-workers at a Red Robin pitched in to get him a new one.
I've never really been a big YouTube fan. For awhile my Internet was too slow to make perusing the site feasible. Then, after being sent so many banal videos by friends via chain email, I decided it wasn't worth wading through the crap to find good videos. However, this morning I came across a mention of the first YouTube Symphony Orchestra. CNN reports the company decided to create a global symphony and held auditions via its website. Amateur and professional musicians were invited to submit auditions via video clips to YouTube, and 300 orchestra members were selected and asked to come to New York for a three-day workshop that culminated in a performance at classical music mecca Carnegie Hall. Not only is this a refreshingly democratic approach to classical music, it facilitated people from around the world, with a common interest, meeting and learning about each other. If you click here, you can see the performance.
(Photo credit: www.heraldnet.com)