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Tiananmen Square Rubber Duck Redux

Posted by Spiral staircase , 09 June 2013 · 485 views

Tiananmen Square Rubber Duck Redux "Big yellow duck" banned by China after twitter photoshop

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Twitter image mocking Chinese censorship of Tiananmen Square, adapted from AP's 1989 photograph (the search term 'Big Yellow Duck' is banned). Photograph: Twitter/weibo.com/weibolg

It takes a very significant date for the word "today" to be deemed too sensitive to mention. But 24 years after the Chinese government's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, "today" is part of a long list of search terms that have been censored on Sina Weibo, the country's most popular microblog.

Other banned words include "tomorrow," "that year," "special day," and many number combinations that could refer to 4 June 1989, such as 6-4, 64, 63+1, 65-1, and 35 (shorthand for May 35th).

Tiananmen Square online searches censored by Chinese authorities



This was also inspired by, "The original inflatable duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman floats in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour."

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Perhaps it was inevitable. Given the huge popularity of the six-story, yellow rubber ducky that's been bobbing around in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, companies in a number of mainland Chinese cities have decided to copy it.


New ducks have popped up in the central city of Wuhan, the ancient city of Xi'an, the northern port city of Tianjin and Hengdian, a town in Zhejiang province that is home to a massive movie studio.

The duck doubles have raised questions over copyright issues, according to China Daily.

When contacted by China Daily, the companies that set up the ducks in Tianjin and Wuhan "declined to reveal their motives, or say if they had the authorization to do so."

Rubber Ducky, You're (Not) The One. Hong Kong Quacker Spawns Others



And while we are on the topic let us not forget about the rogue armada of yellow rubber duckies that began floating the Seven Seas since 1992. The following is from a 2011 article...

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They were toys destined only to bob up and down in nothing bigger than a child’s bath – but so far they have floated halfway around the world.

The armada of 29,000 plastic yellow ducks, blue turtles and green frogs broke free from a cargo ship 15 years ago.

Since then they have travelled 17,000 miles, floating over the site where the Titanic sank, landing in Hawaii and even spending years frozen in an Arctic ice pack.

And now they are heading straight for Britain. At some point this summer they are expected to be spotted on beaches in South-West England.


While the ducks are undoubtedly a loss to the bath-time fun of thousands of children, their adventures at sea have proved an innvaluable aid to science.

The toys have helped researchers to chart the great ocean currents because when they are spotted bobbing on the waves they are much more likely to be reported to the authorities than the floats which scientists normally use.

And because the toys are made of durable plastic and are sealed watertight, they have been able to survive years adrift at the mercy of the elements.

Boxes of the bathtime toys – made in China for the U.S. firm The First Years Inc – were washed overboard in the eastern Pacific Ocean one stormy January night in 1992 and broke open.
In the intervening time an oceanographer, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, has devoted his retirement to tracking the little yellow ducks and their friends over 17,000 miles, and it is he who has predicted that this summer they will land in the

West of England. Mr Ebbesmeyer said: ‘We’re getting reports of ducks being washed up on America’s eastern seaboard.

“It is now inevitable that they will get caught up in the Atlantic currents and will turn up on English beaches.

“Cornwall and the South-West will probably get the first wave of them.”

Thousands of rubber ducks to land on British shores after 15 year journey




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