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Best of the Web

Best of the Web

‘Wasteland’

Produced by the Bombay Flying Club, “Wasteland” takes a six-minute journey into what appears to be the depths of hell.   The Jharia coalfield in eastern India is one of the largest coalfields in the region.  Coal has been extracted out of Jharia for more than a century and for almost a century the coalfields have been on fire.  With more than 60 ongoing coal fires that are almost impossible to extinguish, the living situation for the more than 400,000 people in and around the region continues to get worse.  Without proper health, education or simply that lack of options to earn a living, people are willing to endure severe breathing issues, lack of consistent infrastructure and the encroaching flames from the coal fields that are now merely a few hundred meters away.

‘Damian’s Ride’

New York Times photographer Almudena Toral tells the story of a man riding for his life.  Daniel Lopez Alfonso nearly died when he grabbed a runaway kite that had wrapped around a live power line.  Alfonso woke up three months later to discover the accident had taken both of his arms and left the rest of his body profoundly disfigured.  After 22 years,  with the aid of prosthetic arms and a team of supporters, Alfonso is world-class cyclist training to compete in the Paralympics.  Alfonso’s reflections, paired with beautiful imagery, tell the story of a man who is not only back on his feet but pushing forward, expecting to win.

‘They Were There’

June 16, 2011, marks the centennial of International Business Machines Corp., more commonly known as IBM.

In celebration of IBM’s centennial, Acclaimed documentaries and filmmaker Errol Morris were commissioned to film “They Were There.”  Set to a score by Phillip Glass, Morris’ film uses the voices of IBMers to tell the story of a company that started a century ago, making tabulation machines and punch-clocks, and has had a hand in man setting foot on the moon, mapping the human genome and making the world a bit smaller.

‘The Chance to Survive’

More than 13,000 children live in 153 orphanages throughout Vietnam.  Many of the orphans have been abandoned at birth.  Without socialization, a proper education and job training many of the orphans are likely to lead a life of poverty.  At the age of 18, the children are forced to leave the orphanages with little more than $50.   Dai Sugano’s film “The Chance to Survive” follows Orphan Impact, an organization that offers mentoring and technology training to give the children a chance out of poverty.

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