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Afghanistan

  1. Afghanistan’s First Co-ed Skateboarding School [VIDEO]

    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

    Skateistan was created by Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich a few years ago after children on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan saw him using his board. And with that, skateboarding hit Afghanistan. But it didn't end there. "Skateistan's development aid programs work with growing numbers of marginalized youth through skateboarding, and provide them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment programs," explains their website. "In Kabul, Skateistan's participants come from all of Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and include 40% female students, hundreds of streetworking children, and youth with disabilities. In our skatepark and classrooms they develop skills in skateboarding, leadership, civic responsibility, multimedia, and creative arts, exploring topics such as environmental health, culture/traditions, natural resources, and peace." Take a look at this short video they put together then watch this short film for more information. (Upworthy via Kate Kotler) Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

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  2. Leaked Taliban Mailing List Reveals Media Contacts, but No Cat GIFs

    Sending an inappropriately revealing email to the wrong person is the working adult equivalent of that high school nightmare where you show up to school naked: It's something you're pretty sure you'll never do, but thinking about the idea just stresses you out. Unfortunately for some of us, making a mistake while writing an email is much easier to do than leaving the house without figuring that you're naked. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmedi learned that the hard way yesterday when he sent a press release that accidentally outed his entire mailing list.

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  3. Welcome to Afghanistan’s Women-Only Internet Café!

    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

    Not known for having the freedoms that most of us enjoy, Afghan women are often "supervised" by men, whether they are brothers, husbands, fathers, or other relatives. However, the group Young Afghan Women for Change have rallied to create a brock-and-mortar hangout for women who want to freely surf the internet. The Sahar Gul Internet Café opened in Afghanistan's capitol last week, providing one more place where women can do their web thing without worrying about being watched or harassed by men.

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  4. The First All-Female U.S. Navy Construction Team Breaks Building Records in Afghanistan

    We Have Done the Impossible and That Makes Us Mighty

    It was an ordinary task that was taken on by an extraordinary group -- in Helmand province in Afghanistan, a project to build four 20-by-30-foot barracks in the mountains was handed over to the U.S. Navy's construction forces, the Seabees. Not an unusual request. However, for the first time ever, the Seabees team tasked with building the barracks consisted of all women. Not only did they complete the project, but they completed it way ahead of scheduled, breaking Navy records. Not too shabby, ladies!

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  5. Afghans Make DIY Wi-Fi With Trash

    Where there's a will, there's a way. Residents of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, supported by the National Science Foundation, have managed to rig up some gigantic Wi-Fi transmitters using only what they could finding hanging around. The FabFi network, as it's called, is staggeringly efficient considering it's transmitters are constructed of boards, bottles, plastic tubs, the occasional wire and some off the shelf electronics. To put things in perspective, your average wireless router will operate at about 22Mbps real throughput for an area of a few feet on a good day. The longest connection in the FabFi network is a whopping 2.41 miles with a real throughput of 11.5 Mbps, an amazing feat considering the operative distance is several orders of magnitude larger. Surprisingly enough, these transmitter nodes are also relatively inexpensive. Fast Company says that one of these nodes, which can serve an entire community, can be made for approximately $60 dollars worth of everyday materials. Needless to say (I'll say it anyway) this technology could have a revolutionary effect on overall access to broadband internet. While this naturally has a practical application in war-torn or third world countries, for good or for evil, it could also be put to use in rural portions of the U.S. or Canada, where conventional broadband is prohibitive. Maybe someday, everyone will finally have a connection suitable for playing Team Fortress 2.

    (Insteading via Shareable)

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  6. Things We Saw Today: The Rock is Having a Blast at Splash Mountain

    Things We Saw Today

    We choose to believe this is real and not Photoshopped. Do not ruin this for us. (At Buzzfeed)

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  7. Robots Helping the Troops in Afghanistan Are Almost Completely Autonomous

    We Have Done the Impossible and That Makes Us Mighty

    It's no secret that unmanned robots are a big part of fighting wars. But what's interesting about them is how little they rely on humans to tell them what to do. The machine above is called an X-47B and not only does it fly on its own, but it can land and take off from aircraft carriers with little to no human guidance. It also carries bombs, but that is where the humans come in -- while it flies on its own, the bombs are only released when an actual person gives it the cue to do so. So, is the next step a human-like fighter, like the T-1000? Probably not. Many of these robots exist only to be shot and detect other bombs (and be blown up before a soldier does). But the idea of some of these robots progressing towards being programmed to detonate on their own? ... You know they're thinking about it, and that's the tiniest bit creepy. Think about how many times a day your computer takes too long to load ... or crashes. Video of Fareed Zakaria discussing this on his CNN show Fareed Zakaria GPS is after the jump.

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  8. Army Places $517 Million Order on Football Field-Sized Airships to Gather Intel in Afghanistan

    The U.S. Army has previously expressed interest in LEMVs, giant, optionally unmanned airships with formidable intelligence-gathering capabilities and the ability to hover at 20,000 feet for up to 3 weeks; now, they've signed a $517 million contract with defense industry manufacturer Northrop Grumman to build as many as three of them, to be deployed over Afghanistan by the end of 2011.

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  9. Trillion-Dollar Mineral Deposits in Afghanistan Could Lead to Lithium Rush, Mining Chaos

    The recent findings of a geological team in Afghanistan could lead the country into one of its most economically tumultuous yet fruitful eras. A team of American geologists and Pentagon officials who were surveying the country in search of some sort of mineral deposit found something greater than they'd imagined could be out there: Almost $1 trillion dollars in untapped minerals including iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and great quantities of lithium, an essential metal for making batteries and other tech devices. A trillion dollars worth of untapped metal is just as important as it sounds, if not more, and the speculation is that this will be the biggest industrial and economical breakthrough in the nation's history. It could completely transform how the country is viewed and how it interacts internationally.

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