Hong Kong Fights Litter Pandemic With Hi-Tech Public Shaming

Hong Kong’s new eco-ad campaign utilizes DNA analysis to create digital portraits of litterbugs.

Each city seems to tackle trash in its own, unique way. In New York City, that way seems to be almost non-existent, as this coffin left in the street and used-mattress mountain will attest. Hong Kong, however, has decided to go hi-tech in its approach to trash reduction. Recently, in honor of Earth Day, Hong Kong Cleanup, Ecozine, The Nature Conservancy, and Ogilvy teamed up to create a new eco-friendly campaign to fight the city’s ongoing litter issues with serious creativity. The Face of Litter utilizes DNA traces from street rubbish to construct life-like digital portraits of litterbugs. Scientists can determine a litterer's eye, hair, and skin color, even their ancestry, from DNA left on the smallest piece of trash. The technology is now so advanced it can even assess the shape of the trash person’s face, as well as a relatively accurate portrait.

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7 Places Where Citizens Got Loud in 2014

Here’s why this was the year of the protest.

In recent years, amid the rise of social media and online petitions, it’s been easy to feel like the transformative and successful movements of the past century—the civil rights movement, anti-apartheid protests, and anti-Vietnam War protests—were destined to become relics of history. However, if there was ever a year to debunk the claims of “slacktivism” and “armchair activism” that have proliferated during the internet era, 2014 was it.

In many ways, the anti-government protests in Turkey and the anti-sexual harassment protests in India in 2013 hinted at the groundswell of protests that would follow from West Africa to Eastern Europe to Central America. Protesters boldly challenged entire governments, hegemonies, and systemic injustices in discrete ways that somehow felt greater than the sum of their grievances. Though not all were nonviolent, most of the protests demonstrated an impassioned form of civic engagement that will leave indelible imprints upon the history books of the future.

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Hello Hong Kong: Here Comes GOOD Local

When one thinks of Hong Kong, what comes to mind? Perhaps the crowded streets teeming with skyscrapers, the thousands of billboards that light...

When one thinks of Hong Kong, what comes to mind?

Perhaps the crowded streets teeming with skyscrapers, the thousands of billboards that light up the city every night, and ships of all shapes and sizes criss-crossing Victoria Harbor. But behind the veil of sanitized modernity is a city that has integrated the best of both Chinese and Western culture. Hybridity—old and new, East and West, extravagant and modest—is a fundamental concept that underlies Hong Kong society. For example, practicing both Christianity and folk religions do not conflict one another, Christmas and the Lunar New Year are both national holidays and certain English vocabulary such as “bye” and “taxi” is often used interchangeably with Cantonese.

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Facebook Might Actually Be Good for Your Grades

A new study suggests that Facebook "directly influences social learning and can positively influence academic learning." Who knew?

We already know college students are addicted to Facebook, but a new study by a team of researchers in China and Hong Kong claims that all those hours spent checking status updates and tagging photos isn't necessarily bad for their grades. In fact, the study's findings surprisingly suggest that although Facebook seems like a massive time-suck, it actually "directly influences social learning and can positively influence academic learning."

The researchers found that 90 percent of the students they interviewed regularly use Facebook, and the time they spend on the networking site can be divided into two categories, social and educational. The social time is spent, as you might guess, connecting with other students. Colleges are already recognizing the role Facebook can play in ensuring students don't drop out. It makes sense that students that build relationships with their college peers and network with campus organizations on the site have a greater sense of belonging and will do better academically over the long run.

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The 3-D Porno That's Beating Avatar in China (Totally SFW)

A centuries-old romance novel turned film is a breakaway hit in Hong Kong's 3-D theaters. Check out the trailer.

Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is the new craze in Hong Kong that's being billed as "the world's first 3-D erotic film." Far from your typical smut, however, the movie is actually based on a Chinese novel from 1657 called The Carnal Prayer Mat, a story about "a brilliant young student who devotes himself to a life of pure eroticism."

Perhaps owing to its history, Sex and Zen is a hit in Hong Kong, showing on 73 screens and earning the equivalent of $2.2 million since its debut last week. According to the BBC, the skin flick even had a bigger first day than the city's last 3-D blockbuster, Avatar, by about $20,000.

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As we've mentioned before, Hong Kong tenement apartments are often tiny. See how this architect rigged his space with sliding walls and hidden appliances so it can transform into "24 rooms."


It looks very comfortable to me, not to mention stylish. I wonder how much this all cost.

UPDATE: And rightful credit for this video goes to our friends at Planet Green.

Via @wired