Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gorilla Tweets and Space Clowns

It might be called the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and National Park, but the digital world has penetrated it as part of an effort to raise awareness for the fading population of mountain gorillas in Uganda.

Launched Saturday, the "Friend A Gorilla" campaign is using Twitter and Facebook and blogs to provide constant daily information about the gorillas. Using GPS tracking, users can follow the movements of as many gorillas as they would like -- all for a fee of course.

Wild animal Twitter and wild animal Facebook updates are sure to rise now. (In a world of 24-hour possum and raccoon cam websites, why not gorillas?)

In other odd tech/science news, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, is headed to the International Space Station for an unusual mission he says is meant to blend art and science and environmental issues. Dubbed the "space clown" by the press, Laliberte says he's very serious ... mostly.

This [nose] is a symbol of my mission, but it is also what reminds me that I should never forget that once I was a kid," Laliberte said. "I'm not a professional cosmonaut, an astronaut, so what I'm bringing up there is what I am. And what I am is an artist, a creative.

We're doing a multimedia event - the first one from space to Earth - including artists from all over the world talking about the situation of water."

In addition to his passion for the arts, Laliberte has nurtured a passion for social issues. In 2007, he founded the non-profit ONE DROP Foundation to fight poverty by advocating for sustainable access to safe water. Laliberte donated $100 million of his own money to the organization, which uses dance, art, music and acrobatics to communicate water issues.

"Water is a vital resource for a human being and unfortunately it is put in danger," Laliberte said. "In the near future there is a real problem in front of us in regards of access to clean water."

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