Tag Archives: nation: North Korea

North Korea: An Ad-Free Utopia?

This post is an updated version of one originally published in 2010.

Skipping through a set of images of North Korea by photographers David Guttenfelder and Vincent Yu, I was reminded that the city is almost entirely devoid of advertising.  There is political propaganda everywhere, of course, but there is an overwhelming absence of the marketing for products characteristic of capitalist societies.  All of the print and electronic media is under state control, and the state administers and controls the economy as well.  Accordingly… there is almost no advertising.  The images in the slide show give us a peak into this world without ads:

Images from a 2010 LIFE slide show after the jump:

(more…)

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Geopolitics in First-Person Shooter Video Games

Katrin sent us a link to a image at GOOD that illustrates the geopolitics of first-person shooter video games. The image was created by a group at Complex to illustrate the way that the changing actual political landscape can be seen in the nationality of villains in video games. Peter Rubin, of Complex, explains, “Gone are the days of all FPSes being either World War II or sci-fi; in the new milennium, developers are on the hunt for enemies that are speculative but still plausible.”

They looked at 20 FPS games from the past decade (unfortunately, they give no details about how those 20 games were chosen

The selected titles:

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001): Germany
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Desert Siege (2002): Ethiopia
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (2003): Cuba
Delta Force: Black Hawk Down (2003): Somalia
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (2004): Colombia
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 (2004): North Korea
Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising (2004): Indonesia
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike (2005): Afghanistan
Delta Force Xtreme (2005): Chad
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (2006): Mexico
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007): Russia/Afghanistan
Army of Two (2008): Somalia/Afghanistan/China/Iraq
Frontlines: Fuel of War (2008): Russia/China
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009): Russia/Afghanistan/Brazil
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (2009): China/Russia
Singularity (2010): Russia
MAG (2010): Russia/China/India
Army of Two: The 40th Day (2010): China
Homefront (2011): Korea (They don’t specify if it’s North or South Korea)
Operation Flashpoint: Red River (2011): China

Anyway, it provides a nice little illustration of the way that global politics seeps into this element of pop culture, as well as a snapshot of nations currently perceived as rivals or even enemies of the U.S. — a mixture of old tensions (Russia, Germany), ongoing anxiety about China, and emerging focal points.

History of Nuclear Testing, 1945-1998

Dimitriy T.M. and Keith Marszalek sent in a video by Isao Hashimoto, posted at Wired. The video, titled 1945-1998, shows the location of all known nuclear tests during that period, as well as the nation conducting the tests. It starts off slowly (with the U.S. test during World War II and the two bombs dropped on Japan), and the U.S. has a monopoly on nuclear weapons for several years. By the early 1950s the number of tests starts to increase and the U.K. and Soviet Union start testing. By the late 1’50s and through the ’80s, the flashes indicating tests (with different sound effects to indicate different nation) are pretty much constant, and then drop off quite a lot by the ’90s.

The Wired article points out that there have been two more nuclear tests since 1998 (when the video ends), both by North Korea.

I found this graph over at the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization website:

Broken down by type of test; since 1963 almost all testing has been underground:

They also have an interactive map that includes information such as who has signed the test-ban treaty, where tests have occurred, and locations of facilities under the international monitoring system. Here’s a map showing the status of the test-ban treaty; green nations have ratified it, light blue ones have signed but not ratified it, and red ones haven’t signed it (sorry I couldn’t quite fit the whole map on my screen at once, so the screenshot cuts off some areas):

The Effervesence Of Industrialization

This image, found at International Networks, depicts the globe at night.  The areas bathed in electricity reveal “the global spread of industrialization, as evidenced by the lights of human civilization”:

lights_earth

I think it’s interesting to compare this image with a world population map (link):

g-gpw-population-map

At first the two maps seem to overlap pretty nicely, but if you look closely there are plenty of interesting discrepancies, especially in Africa.

Thanks to Toban B. for the link that got me to the graphic that inspired this post.

NEW (Apr. ’10)!  In the comments, Brendon linked to this great image of the Korean peninsula at night that reveals an amazing difference between North and South Korea:

—————————

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.