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Your face is not safe on Facebook

Battling the so called unsocial do-gooders on the biggest social networking site

Not that I know of any Luddites personally, technology to all of us is a delightful thing. What with all these cool gizmos and gadgets popping up almost every other month connecting to your best friend who happens to be 7000 miles away is just a mouse click away. Shiny new toys and an account on a social networking site is a must have for almost every Homo sapiens in this day and age. However, with good comes evil and sometimes having everything brilliant in life can come with a hefty cost.

The latest downside to innovation that took many Bangladeshis at home and away by utter shock and disgust happened to be the explicit content uploaded on some of the Facebook 'pages' run by a group of young men who are far off from complete brain development. These 'self righteous' admins of the said pages put up a collection of racy photos of Bengali teen girls for display in order to prevent girls from uploading overtly exposing photos in future! This group of self appointed moral police had one agenda; that being the restoration of our culture and society's norms, or so they seem to claim. Some perverse idea in their heads has come to the conclusion that humiliation is the key to fixing all that is wrong with the world and uploading semi nude pictures of adolescent girls without their consent is apparently the key.

Anyone with sense and sensibility can clearly spot the error in the ways of these page owners. Even though it is highly doubtful that the admins were really big on preventing girls from taking obscene photos, their approach can be deemed to be downright criminal. It has been argued by the many supporters of this recent phenomena that since girls these days are prone to taking sexually explicit photos and are keen on publishing them on their respective profiles for a free exhibition, then it is completely rational for anyone to just expose them on a public level regardless of the consequences it may hold for the owners of the photographs.

With such unpleasant, twisted thinking pulsating through out the population a glimmer of hope was seen when other Facebookers, regional or not, took it in their own hands (literally!) to stop such hypocritical 'well doers'. People got together through different groups and events on the site with the aim of having these vulgar pages shut down for good. Reports and complaints were made to bring this to the attention of the Facebook authorities. Many even tried pleading and reasoning with the administrators who certainly had a rock in place of a conscience.

After a couple of days of frustration thanks to the anti-page crusaders, the few pages that were hogging the spotlight finally got taken down. Now, it seems plausible for the reader to think this story is reaching towards a happy ending, the battle against evil was won and life can resume its love for technology. That, sadly, is not the case. Just within a few days new pages grew right back up like mushrooms with even more obscenity. Another season of war seems to wage on in the world of social networking.

The point of social networking is quite simple: you broadcast stories about your life via photos, videos and updates. You connect with new people or reconnect with old friends, but what is important to ask is how much of your personal life are you ready to share? How much invasion of privacy is just enough? What may seem to be a 'beautiful' photo to many will still manage to gain unwanted attention from others. There is no justified reason that makes it okay for anyone to abuse someone else's personal property such as photos, videos etc. Even if the photos are controversial and cause an eyesore for the 'good Samaritan', such actions are simply not considered laudable. However, harsh truth is if you leave something out in the open like that it is bound to attract flies. We do not have control over the craziness that is unleashed by these abusers, so in order to prevent such Internet crimes it's always reasonable to think twice before uploading a photo and notching up the privacy settings won't hurt in the least.

As a take home message, hopefully everyone now has a clear perception of how to avoid things that will make the world wide web an unpleasant experience, until then happy Facebooking everyone and stay scandal free!

By Fabliha Prima

The Travellers: The Great Barrier Reef

The world is filled with many exciting and beautiful things that range from tea in the morning to a huge rock in the middle of a desert/beach that can be seen from outer space. My family long decided to spend what precious time we have amongst the rare canopies of exquisiteness that inhabit our world. On this particular journey, we ended up at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Cairns is a small coastal town with around 150,000 people. But the city came alive with expressionism and vibrancy in the night. The casinos, bars and clubs had so many people in them that there was no chance of being able to close the doors. The stores were full of late night shoppers and the high street was flooding with people and had a surprising lack of foot space.

The heat of Cairns took us by surprise and we realised that we had overlooked the size of Australia. Australia, being a big country, has weather variation in each region. As the sun beamed at us, my brother and I had to be restrained from running off the dock as we raced down Marlin Warf to our ferry. The second we hit high seas it was a rough tumble inside the cabins and my brother and I enjoyed it a lot. The force of our ascent plus the swaying of the waves made us feel like we were on a rollercoaster while it made others including my mother fall into the hands of the notorious sea-sickness.

Our ferry stopped at a pontoon which is a kind of floating platform on the brink of Coral Sea. We got a chance to go snorkelling so we could look at the gaudy coral up close. Everyone changed into their swim suits and jumped in exuberantly. We were free to go as far as we could to sea while snorkelling as the life guards had a clear view of everything a mile outwards. It really wasn't my cup of tea. I am afraid of the water and am unable to swim. So instead of snorkelling like my dad and brother I explored the long pontoon with my mum. It really was a piece of genius. The pontoon had windows fixed into the walls so that we could watch fishes under the sea at eye level feeding on remains of dead coral.

After we finished eating lunch, the four of us boarded a submarine like ship which had a lower level made of glass so you could enjoy the view of the seabed as you travelled through the Coral Sea. The seabed was an island under the surface of sand ridges covered with vivid coral as far as the eye could see. The water's amazing blue hue mesmerised us all. The dim water was pierced by the hands of the coral. We saw lots of vibrant coral of different varieties. There were red and yellow ones and coral that looked like algae. The wiry shape of some of the coral resembled thin, bird like hands reaching up to us and this gave them a spooky impression. Not only is the sheer size of the reef mindboggling, the diversity of wildlife that the coral growth harbours is inconceivably incredible. We saw a lot of wildlife apart from the coral, like assorted starfish ranging in colours from blue and pink to purple and grey. We also caught glimpses of sea cucumbers, which are creatures actually shaped like a cucumber but extremely soft. They are black with pink blotches all over its body and when you squeeze them softly they shrivel up. Sea cucumbers excrete with their mouths or breathe through their bottoms because they only have one opening. Weird!

We also managed to see little baby sea turtle. The sea turtle was catalogued as a great sighting because this particular sea turtle found in the Coral Sea is on the long list of endangered species. The turtle population is depleting because of the rise in the temperature of the water due to global warming and climate change. It is also because of increased predation from other sea creatures and, as most lists like this end, because of human poaching.

The Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage site, is the only living thing that is distinguishably visible from space. But due to global warming and climate change the coral population is rapidly diminishing and so it stands that our activities are indirectly harming all aspects of nature. I realised that the people working here don't show so much passion just for the money. They actually care for the creatures and wildlife and they want to be able to preserve this rare, picturesque corner of the world, which is extremely admirable.

By Nubaira Forkan



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