Sarah Stuteville (left) hitchhiking with friends in Spain in 2000. (Photo by Eroyn Franklin).
Sarah Stuteville (left) hitchhiking with friends in Spain in 2000. (Photo by Eroyn Franklin).

A week ago a young woman from Whidbey Island, Alec Zimmerman, went missing somewhere between Buenos Aires and Peru. When I read the news release, sent by one of my former students who is close friends with Zimmerman, my heart sank.

Zimmerman, 27, had been intending to hitchhike the almost 2,000 miles alone and was last seen, the release said, by the man she was staying with in Buenos Aires. She’d met him through couchsurfing.org, an online service that helps travelers stay with locals. He said she was headed out to catch a ride with a trucker named Angel.

It was Saturday and Zimmerman had last been seen on Tuesday. The trip was only supposed to have taken about two days.

“Many things that shouldn’t have happened, happened because of money,” says Wang Youliang.

“The situation [in Wenzhou] is a secret everybody knows, but you can’t talk about it in public.”

He is a young entrepreneur and shoe manufacturer working in Wenzhou, China. Among his friends, five failed factory owners fled and one killed himself.

The country that is predicted to be the next big super power on the world economic stage has its own hidden crisis.

While you're toasting the end of the world tonight in Seattle, a man in China is hiding out in a giant yellow ball. (Screenshot via youtube.com)
While you’re toasting the end of the world tonight in Seattle, a man in China is hiding out in a giant yellow ball. (Screenshot via youtube.com)

The end is near! And for Seattleites that means going out with a bang.

It’s almost December 21st, the day the Ancient Mayans predicted (sort of) that the world would end.

Or maybe John Cusack just starred in a movie about it and we’ve officially lost touch with reality.

Either way, Elysian Brewery is serving up Rapture Heather Ale, KUOW is spinning REM’s “It’s The End of the World as We Know It, and SIFF is helping our imaginations run wild with an apocalypse film festival.

My personal favorite end of the world activity is The Snoqualmie Family Nudists invitation to “Go out the way you came in… naked” at their End of the World Party.

Which leaves me wondering, how is the rest of the world living out their final days?

Scotland launches breakup campaign after 300-year relationship with England

Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond holds the agreement on a referendum on independence for Scotland, which will usher forth the most dramatic public breakup in modern history. REUTERS/David Moir

There’s nothing worse than ending a long-term relationship.

You have to tell your friends and family and decide who’s going to keep that TV you went halfsies on.

But that’s just what the Scottish National Party wants after successfully initiating a referendum for Scottish Independence.

However, in this episode of “Sally Jessy Raphael,” the family is the undecided voters of Scotland, the friends are the rest of the world, and the TV equates to transitioning an economy into financial independence during a worldwide crisis. No big whoop.

The official breakup won’t even be decided until 2014. That means two years of public marriage counseling and duking it out over who said what and who cheated on who drama that is sure to rival the Tom-Cat breakup.

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Härnu founder Jason Gowans at the Seattle Globalist launch party in April. (Photo by Sara Stogner)

We coined the term “hyperglobal” here at the Globalist to describe the combination of “local” and “global” in our content – bridging gaps between communities, from neighborhoods to nations, across the planet.

Now, a fellow Seattlelite has taken the same approach to social networking.

His name is Jason Gowans, and like us, he’s been all over the map. And he’s made a crucial insight during his travels: it’s true that the biggest online social networks like Facebook and Twitter have made the world more inter-connected. But much of that networking centers around reinforcing existing connections – for example your friends, family, and co-workers.

As Gowans explained to me, true global social networking should encourage us to initiate friendships with new people in new places. It should mean that a mom in California can link up with, say, a mom in Kazakhstan and ping her with questions and ideas. Or vice versa.

So Gowans and his team have built and just released Härnu (an amalgam of “here” and “now” in Swedish). One tech writer called it “brilliant” “map-based social networking.” After signing up, you’ll be greeted with a world map marked with lots of pushpins. Each pin is a question that someone has tagged to a particular place.

Singapore mixes Asia’s most expensive drink 

The “Jewel of Pangea” is a $26,000 cocktail from a Singapore club and Asia’s most expensive drink.

When a club dangles a one-karat diamond as a “garnish” on a drink, you know they’re taking lavish excess to a whole new level.

And that’s just the tip of the decadent iceberg for this $26,000 cocktail made with Hennessy, champagne and edible gold flecks served by a gloved mixologist…from a steel suitcase.

It’s a very small comfort to know that somewhere in this world you can have your gold and drink it too.

This week in drunk news: Man kills 70,000 chickens in Maryland and a North Korean man floats south

A drunk man in Maryland killed 70,000 chickens after accidentally cutting a farm’s power. (Photo by Chesapeake Bay Program via Flickr)

Drunk men all over the world are making headlines this week in bizarre events that rival the “Hangover” films.

For starters, 21-year-old Joshua D. Shelton accidentally killed 70,000 chickens after flicking a switch and shutting down power for a chicken farm in Maryland.

Shelton stumbled to the farm after a night of heavy drinking at a nearby concert, making history as the single greatest mistake made while intoxicated.

Across the globe, a night of drinking turned out differently for a North Korean man who woke up with brand new citizenship.

The absurdly drunk man floated on a piece of wood to South Korea and was picked up by police wearing nothing but his underwear. The South Korean government has offered him citizenship since they rarely force people back over the border.

Read the full story on the Global Post.

Sixty-one developed countries are ranked by how well they use the Internet. (Image via World Wide Web Foundation)

Sweden beats out the U.S. at using the internet 

Sure, the U.S. is home to tech giants, media moguls and weird internet memes, but we come in second to Sweden in using the Internet to improve people’s lives.

The World Wide Web Foundation ranked 61 developed countries by criteria like number of broadband connections, political and social impact of the internet and web content available.

The study also points out that the web is a highly underutilized resources with only one in three people with access globally and less than one in six in Africa. See the full report here.

In related news, Sweden made headlines this week for arresting Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, the torrent king and co-founder of The Pirate Bay. Warg was detained in Cambodia on request of the Swedish government.

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The Seattle Globalist is proud to announce our first ever apprenticeship program in partnership with the Seattle Digital Literacy Initiative.

In this year-long journalism training program for young adults ages 17-20, participants will be mentored by a journalist from The Seattle Globalist and receive training in writing, photography, video and design. Their work will also be published on The Seattle Globalist.

Ready to start working as a journalist? Take the first step and APPLY HERE>>>

Tacoma man awaits verdict for 22-year sentence in Nicaragua

Jason Puracal, of Tacoma, WA, awaits a possible 23-year sentencing in Nicaraguan courts. (Photo via FreeJasonP.com)

Jason Puracal, from Tacoma, WA, is awaiting a sentencing from Nicaraguan judges that could lead to a 22-year prison term.

Purcal, a realtor and former Peace Corps volunteer, has spent the last 23 months on trial for drug trafficking and money laundering.

A UN working group reviewing the case found that Purcal had been arrested without a warrant, held for 6 six months without charges and was refused the right to provide evidence in his defense, all of which are illegal under Nicaraguan law.

The Global Post reports on the full story here. 

Chinese man builds own prosthetics after fishing accident

Sun Jifa is the new face of DIY disability adaptation after making his own prosthetic arms from steel and scrap metal. The arms took eight years to construct, but were the alternative to the expensive models recommended by the hospital. (Via Daily Mail

A backwards baseball hat will get you pulled aside by TSA in Boston airports

The Transportation Security Administration is under investigation for using racial profiling techniques that not only targeted Middle Easterners (as Globalist reporter Alma Khasawnih writes), but also Hispanics traveling to Miami and black people wearing backwards baseball hats or expensive jewelry. (Via the New York Times.

Amda Wiredua Kwapong, a research intern from Ashesi University, conducts an interview with locals in Ghana about Burro products. (Photo courtesy of Carol Brown)

When it comes to international charities, Seattle is home to some of the biggest names in aid that cater to developing countries across the world. But a new model has arrived that is not about handouts, but about making a profit.

The idea behind Burro, founded in 2008 by Cranium co-founder Whit Alexander, is to provide high-quality and meaningful products to the Ghanaian people. Today this for-profit company has 200 resellers (locals who sell Burro products at their village), 5,000 clients, eight employees and a full catalogue of merchandise.

Do you know a globally-minded youth between the ages of 15 to 19? There’s a brand new journalism camp this summer at the University of Washington.

The Seattle Digital Literacy Initiative, a youth journalism program of the Common Language Project and UW Department of Communication, is excited to announce a 5-day Multimedia Journalism Camp from July 23-27.

Youth who attend this exciting week of media training will:

  • Create media with professional video, photo, and sound equipment and editing software.
  • Publish their work online and receive blogging/social media training.
  • Work side-by-side with professional journalist mentors on the University of Washington campus.
  • Have the chance to have their story published on the Seattle Globalist.

The camp is Pay-What-You-Can and full scholarships are open for any student!

Enroll here and help us get out the word by sharing the page on Facebook.