Thursday, June 14, 2007

Staying alert

I recently discovered a great feature of Google called "Google Alerts." The program allows you to closely monitor specific topics in the news without having to do a manual search. I have it set up so that any news or blog posts containing the words Ukraine, Chernobyl, or Duke will be consolidated and sent to my email account at the end of the day, every day.

Although I've only been receiving alerts for a few days, I've already learned so much about Ukrainian politics, economics, and culture. For example, I now know that:

1.
"People who live in Gvozdavka-1 [a village near Odessa] know that thousands of Jews were killed in the area during the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, but the evidence didn't surface until April, when workers laying gas pipes happened on the burial ground." (Read about it here.)
2.
"Ukraine is the next country to witness tremendous growth in mushroom production." I hope those mushrooms are being tested for radiation - they are one of the foods most susceptible to radioactive contamination! (Read about it here.)
3.
"Ukrainians who left their homeland back in the 1990s in search of a better life abroad are being drawn back to the country in growing numbers. Recruitment firms say that the reverse brain drain is a significant trend fueled by the country’s booming economy... Official state migration statistics show a larger inflow of migrants than outflow during the January-March 2007 period, with nearly 11,000 immigrants into the country compared with around 7,000 Ukrainians moving abroad." (Read about it here.)
4.
A common Russian – Ukrainian "station of the space exploration" is to be created in Pryelbrusje. (Read about it - in broken English - here.)
5.
And my favorite news alert of the week: "PepsiAmericas, Inc., the world’s second largest manufacturer, seller and distributor of PepsiCo beverages, and PepsiCo itself, announced a landmark agreement on June 7 to jointly acquire 80 percent of Sandora LLC, Ukraine’s number one juice maker... Home to some 46 million consumers, Ukraine is considered to be one of the fastest growing beverage markets in Europe." (Read about the acquisition - and Ukraine's fast-paced juice market - here!)

I definitely recommend Google's alert system to anyone who wants to track a topic in the news. But be warned - Google alerts are a big distraction. I really should be studying Ukrainian at the moment, but my mind can only handle so much in one day. My professor is a sweet lady, but her teaching methods are very European - memorize, memorize, memorize - and it's starting to wear on me.

Nevertheless, I'm definitely learning a lot! I am currently searching for an apartment in Kyiv, and I have found that I can read snippets of the housing descriptions in Ukrainian.

6 comments:

Dan said...

Hi Sarah:

My name is Dan Rosenberg and I was recently hired at Duke as the Asst Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. I saw this blog through a newslink at Duke and have been reading it religiously. I write for two reasons, one to tell you that you are doing a great job on this blog and that people, such as myself, are interested in reading it. Secondly, I also wanted to let you know about iGoogle, which allows you to set up your own customized homepages of RSS news feeds. I just looked up Ukraine and found at list 8 RSS feeds that you can place on the igoogle homepage. These feeds pull in news from various sources (sometimes thousands). Unfortunately it could serve as another distraction, but as a tool it is a great way to stay in touch with all the things you want to. Good luck in your adventures...I look forward to reading about them in the future!

Best regards,

Dan

Yan said...

Hi Sarah!

Found your blog via a comment you left on mine. I understand you are in Kiev so we are just several hundred miles away (I am in Krarkiv, a city to the east). Will be checking out your blog.

As for Google Alerts and other services, I recommend Google Reader Off-line feature which you can use after you install Google Gears. It allows you to download 2000 last blog entries from all blogs that you subscribe to and read them off line. Helps me a lot to stay up to the latest events since I don't have Internet where currently I live.

Works with IE only though (Firefox didn't support it when I tried).
Talk to you later.

SKWALLACE said...

Thanks Dan - it's wonderful to know that people are actually reading this. I appreciate your kind words, and thanks for the tip! I am now subscribed to two Ukraine RSS news feeds on iGoogle, one in English and one in Ukrainian (probably wishful thinking on my part).

Thanks also for the advice, Yan. My Ukrainian professor is actually from Kharkiv! I hope you are enjoying it.

Ashtonian said...

Nazi occupation of Ukraine?
My mother was there and taken by the Germans "Німці" as she called them.

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