A revised version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.
With thanks to Emm Gryner, Joe Corcoran, Andrew Tidby and Evan Hadfield for all their hard work.
Find out more:
Imagine you forget to watch a new episode of Game of Thrones the night it airs. Even if coworkers stay mum about important plot points, Twitter is abuzz with spoilers. Fortunately, there’s Twivo, a new program that allows Twitter users to censor their feeds from mentioning a certain TV show (and its characters) for a set time period. Jennie Lamere, a 17-year-old girl, invented the software last month—and won the grand prize at a national coding competition where Lamere was the only female who presented a project, and the only developer to work alone. Internet: Meet the reason we need more women in tech.
Lamere is a high school senior from Nashua, New Hampshire, who likes building robots, hiking, and entering “hackathon” competitions. At her all-girls school, the Academy of Notre Dame in Massachusetts, she’s the only student participating in these sorts of events.
In reality everyone should be using the latest secure socket protocols found in TLS 1.2, but SSL is a start, and SSL 3.0 is really a subset of the newer TLS standards.
This spring, with millions of kids across the United States participating in sports leagues and other activities, coaches and harried parents are turning to social sharing websites to keep everything running smoothly. The most popular option is Shutterfly, which boasted around 5 million visitors per month as of March 2012. Shutterfly’s free “Team” service allows users (which includes anyone over 13) to upload photos of kids, home addresses, emails, gender information, phone numbers, school names, jersey numbers, and game schedules—all in one place. The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) has a partnership with Shutterfly, and coaches actively encourage parents and coaches from over 50,000 soccer teams to utilize the service.
Emails from representatives for Shutterfly, obtained by Mother Jones, show that the photo-sharing company has been aware of the problem for at least six months, but hasn’t taken action to fix it, nor asked users to remove their kids’ information from the site. That means that sensitive information about children can be easily obtained by anyone with basic tech skills, a quick download of a program called “Cookie Cadger,” and a computer with the right equipment.
A shady group that claims to represent the interests of Syrian al-Assad supporters is raising havoc on the Internet, going so far as to (momentarily) crash the stock market. So who is this Syrian Electronic Army, and what do they want?
On Tuesday, the Syrian Electronic Army claimed credit for hacking the Associated Press’ verified Twitter account, which it used to issue a short-lived but potentially disastrous tweet, falsely reporting two explosions at the White House and injury to the president. Though the fraud quickly exposed, the tweet caused a sudden 140-point dip in the Dow Industrial Average.
The financial losses were immediately recovered, but the impact showed the power of a group that has, up until now, operated on the fringe. The Syrian Electronic Army’s stated mission is to attack and deface websites in a fight against anti-Syria media coverage. But its actions cause observers to wonder increasingly aloud whether this is a gang of activists, pranksters or operatives from Syria’s al-Assad government itself.
RELATED: Fake AP tweet reveals nation on edge over terror
The Syrian Electronic Army describes itself on its website — launched in May 2011, as the Syrian civil war escalated — as “a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths who could not stay passive towards the massive distortion of facts about the recent uprising in Syria.” Its targets are not only the websites of media, but social network accounts as well, which it says “deliberately work to spread hatred and sectarian intolerance between the peoples of Syria to fuel the uprising.”
As you probably know, on Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, better known as CISPA. The bill, which aims to help the government react to cybersecurity threats by making it easier to share information between itself and private companies, saw bipartisan support. Opponents of CISPA have argued that the bill is a a massive invasion of privacy, and will be used to justify wholesale spying on the American public by making companies who give up private user info immune from suits or prosecution.
Although CISPA as a whole saw bipartisan support, one last-minute amendement that looked to curtail a worrisome practice by employers was shot down on party lines.
Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter attempted to tack on a provision to CISPA that would make it illegal for employers to require prospective employees to hand over their social media passwords as a condition of acquiring or keeping a job.
The proposal was voted down 224-189, with Republicans in the majority.
“People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter. They have an expectation that their right to free speech and religion will be respected when they use social media outlets. No American should have to provide their confidential personal passwords as a condition of employment. Both users of social media and those who correspond share the expectation of privacy in their personal communications. Employers essentially can act as imposters and assume the identity of an employee and continually access, monitor and even manipulate an employee’s personal social activities and opinions. That’s simply a step too far,” said Perlmutter.
Thankfully this kind of ban has had success at the state level, particularly California and Illinois.
(CNN) — In the aftermath of dramatic events like Monday’s bombing attack at the Boston Marathon, it’s a truth of our times that millions of people will get early bits of news via social media.
To be sure, sites like Twitter and Facebook were used extensively by police, relief groups and governments to share important information about the bombings. But there’s also a more unfortunate side to how the Web responds to sudden bad news.
Sometimes accidentally and sometimes maliciously, false information gets loose. And in the rapid-fire digital echo chamber, it doesn’t take long to spread.
“On days like this, Twitter shows its best & worst: loads of info at huge speed, but often false & sometimes deliberately so,” said Mark Blank-Settle, of the BBC College of Journalism, in a post on the site.
As always, news discovered online (or anywhere else, really) should be double-checked before it’s passed along — especially in times of tragedy.
Here are some of the most widely shared untrue news items we’ve found on social media in the past 24 hours.
Man planned to propose, girlfriend killedReal photo, fake story
Among the many gripping images to emerge from the bombing’s aftermath was one of a man in a red shirt, kneeling on the ground cradling a woman in his arms. It went viral — with a heartbreaking, but fake, story attached.
“The man in the red shirt planned to propose to his girlfriend as he crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon, but she passed away” it reads. “Most of us will never experience this amount of emotional pain.”
The image is, in fact, real. It comes from the Boston Globe and was shared through Getty Images. But the agency’s caption merely describes the scene as a man comforting an injured woman at the finish line.
That didn’t stop it from making the rounds in a big way. A somewhat misleading Facebook account pretending to represent actor Will Ferrell (it calls itself a “parody” but has 385,000 likes) shared the post. By Tuesday morning, the picture had more than 448,000 “likes” and had been shared over 92,000 times.
The researchers also discovered some peculiar data about how extremists on both the far right and left use Twitter and how online extremist networks are organized. In a new report, terrorism analyst J.M. Berger his co-author Bill Strathearn found that traditional leaders on the far right are losing influence to new forms of extremist media, spread online by a small group of influential activists who are relative unknowns, but can communicate to a much larger audience of potential recruits. These activists are even attempting to make inroads into mainstream politics.
The team began by collecting 12 Twitter accounts owned by prominent self-identified white supremacists with a combined total of 3,542 Twitter followers. These accounts were for groups and individuals such as the white supremacist ideologue David Duke, various Ku Klux Klan factions, and neo-Nazi clubs like the Aryan Nations, American Nazi Party and the American Freedom Party. Next, the team narrowed in on the followers, of which 44 percent espoused what the team considered explicitly white supremacist views.
The team looked at which of those followers were interacting with others the most and who had the most influence (meaning their tweets were retweeted by others the most). And finally, which websites were they linking to? And which hashtags were most popular?
The team concluded: The most influential ideologues were highly influential among the group, and most were dabblers in a kind of 90-9-1 rule for internet skinheads: 90 percent are lurkers and rarely contribute, 9 percent contribute some of the time, and 1 percent do most of the talking and effectively control the conversation. A full list of the most influential are included in the authors’ report (.pdf), published by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, a London think tank.
It might sound obvious, but that’s good news. “In short, the vast majority of people taking part in extremist talk online are unimportant,” the authors write in the report. “They are casually involved, dabbling in extremism, and their rhetoric has a relatively minimal relationship to the spread of pernicious ideologies and their eventual metastasization into real-world violence.”
The most prominent white supremacist leaders also suck at promoting themselves. Instead, their followers preferred to link to other websites like WhiteResister, Infowars and the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. This suggests the old guard of American organized racism is “not generating daily buzz, on Twitter at least,” and that “these well-known leaders of white nationalism in the United States may be losing touch with their constituents.”
Various quotations, attributed to famous people, are frequently cited on The Internet in support of this or that popular cause. This in itself is a logical fallacy, the “Appeal to Authority.” The argument is, “This famous person supports our cause! So how can you not support our cause? Do you know more than this famous person?” The argument fails if the famous person being quoted is not an acknowledged authority on the subject, or if there is disagreement among authorities, or if the famous person’s quotation is taken out of context. The argument certainly fails is the famous person never even said what is attributed to him.
Here is a sample of some of the bogus quotations that are being circulated, mostly on Twitter and Facebook, attributed to various of the United States “founding fathers” on the subject of gun control.
1. “Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.” Attributed to Thomas Jefferson (spoofed above in LOLCat.)
Monticello.org has this to say:
Earliest known appearance in print: No appearances in print found.
Earliest known appearance in print, attributed to Thomas Jefferson: See above.
Other attributions: None known.
Status: We have not found any evidence that Thomas Jefferson said or wrote, “Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.”
The pro-gun website SAF.org sourly has this to say about the fake Jefferson quotes:
“Thomas Jefferson has many confirmed quotes on our website. Why anyone felt it necessary to make up a quote is ludicrous. Maybe an anti-gunner did it to discredit all the real quotes.”
2. “A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”—George Washington.
This is the Zombie Fake Quote that can’t be killed! What makes it so pernicious is that Washington did say something very similar, but the Fake Quote has been manipulated in order to give it a meaning that is quite different from the original context. Here is the authentic Washington quote:
“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”
The original quotation shows that Washington clearly intended a country to have industrial independence. The bogus, manipulated quotation attempts to insinuate that people need to have weapons in order to resist their own government, a sentiment that Washington clearly did not share when he forcibly put down the Whisky Rebellion and Shay’s Rebellion.
3. “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen’s firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable.”
—another bogus George Washington quote.
Guncite.com, a pro-2nd Amendment website, warned its supporters to avoid using this fake quote. Of course nobody listens to them, this bogus quotation is all over the Internet.
This quotation, sometimes called the “liberty teeth” quote, appears nowhere in Washington’s papers or speeches, and contains several historical anachronisms: the reference to “prairie wagon” in an America which had yet to even begin settling the Great Plains (which were owned by France at the time), the reference to “the Pilgrims” which implies a modern historical perspective, and particularly the attempt by “Washington” to defend the utility of firearms (by use of statistics!) to an audience which would have used firearms in their daily lives to obtain food, defend against hostile Indians, and which had only recently won a war for independence.
The “99 99/100 percent” is also an odd phrase for 18th century America, which tended not to use fractional percentages. It’s clear that “Washington” is addressing “gun control” arguments which wouldn’t exist for another couple of centuries, not to mention doing so in a style that is uncharacteristic of the period, and uncharacteristic of Washington’s addresses to Congress, both of which exhibited a high degree of formality.
4. “1935 will go down in History! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient and the world will follow our lead to the future!”—Attributed to Adolf Hitler IM”S.
From our friends at SAF.org:
This passage sometimes features different punctuation and slight wording changes including a beginning of, ‘For the first time in history, a….’ Various citations include: Adolf Hitler, April 15, 1935, in address to the Reichstag; Adolf Hitler 1935 ‘Berlin Daily’ (Loose English Translation) April 15th, 1935 Page 3 Article 2 by Einleitung Von Eberhard Beckmann -“Abschied vom Hessenland!”. “Adolf” is sometimes misspelled as ‘Adolph’ on the Internet.
While the above ‘quote’ makes a nice T-shirt, there are numerous problems with this alleged statement. (1) It violates the rule of not beginning a sentence with a number. (2) It isn’t phrased in Hitler’s style. (3) Major changes to the German gun laws occurred in 1928 and 1931 (under the Weimar Republic) and in 1938 (under the Nazi’s). No significant changes happened in the gun registration laws in 1935. Furthermore, the changes in 1928 and 1931 were designed to disarm the Nazis and Communists and therefore it is doubtful that Hitler would trumpet the success of any law aimed at his goon squads.
Until then, please click here for some proven Nazi Quotes. (Coming soon)
[Link never provided!—VB]
5. “It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s the people who count the vote!”—attributed to Josef Stalin.
This one is obviously bogus for a number of reasons. First, Stalin did not speak English, and would not have made a pun in English, but which makes no sense in Russian. Second, votes were not counted in Stalin’s Soviet Union. All votes were for the Party, Stalin always received 100% of the vote.
A similar quote was actually said by William M. “Boss” Tweed, a corrupt 19th-century New York political lord. “As long as I count the vote, what are you going to do about it?” Why don’t right-wingers quote “Boss” Tweed? Maybe they don’t even know who he was.
6. “You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”—attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Frequently quoted by those who would deny government benefits such as food stamps to poor people.
These silly little aphorisms were actually composed by William John Henry Boetcker, some dude that nobody ever heard of. He seems to have been a 19th-Century Bryan J. Fischer. One of those to mistakenly attribute this collection to Lincoln was none other than everybody’s affable granddaddy Ronald Reagan. Snopes has the whole story. Other conservative politicians and pundits (Rush Limbaugh, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Sean Hannity) have also done so.
The Master Forger of Fake Quotes is revisionist fantasist David Barton, who has created many bogus quotations which he pulled right out of his lower orifice and attributed to the “Founding Fathers” in order to create the myth that they were evangelical Christians instead of rationalists. The David Barton Fake Quotes that Refuse to Die!
How can you tell if a quote attributed to a famous person is fake?
Generally speaking the rule to identifying Fake Quotes is:
1. If it’s on The Internet it is probably fake. (however real quotes have occasionally, although rarely, been found on The Internet)
2. Fake Quotes show up frequently on Quote Aggregate sites which do nothing but collect “Quotes from famous people” but never check them for accuracy or authenticity. Sites to stay away from: BrainyQuote, ThinkExist, Wikiquote, TheQuoteFactory.
3. If it’s in a book, it is probably authentic. However fake quotes have also appeared in print before there was The Internet.
Here is a page complaining about Fake Quotes attributed to Mark Twain.
If you come across any quotes that you think might be bogus, please share them!
Feel free to Tweet this page to anyone on Twitter you think is spreading Fake Quotes.
The project may feel like a creepfest—and to some extent, maybe it is. Because data visualization guru Santiago Ortiz mapped the relationships between every Twitter employee by mere eavesdropping, and he rendered the results in a stunningly detailed interactive graph.
But it’s notable that Ortiz was only working with public information. He had no inside information or access to special accounts. In fact, he worked without Twitter’s knowledge at all. Using Twitter’s API, Ortiz requested all the tweets authored by Twitter’s list of employees. Then he filtered that content, keeping only the tweets made between colleagues. With the rules in place, every step of the analysis is automated.
In a statement on its blog today, Bitly has announced that CEO Peter Stern has stepped down as CEO. The reason is that Stern is to “pursue other interests” further details aren’t known at this time.
The NYC-based company has raised $28.5 close to $23 million to date, with the last round being a monster $15 million one by O’Reilly, RRE and Khosla last July.
Stern was the CEO for a little over a year, after founding Zenbe, a mobile collaboration company with mail, shareflow and list services.
Bitly was in the driver’s seat for link-tracking analytics with its popular short-URL service, and the definition of a hot startup. Once the social web took off, marketers and advertisers everywhere clamored for ways to see how their campaigns were doing in real-time. Bitly has since cooled off since services like Twitter have started handling their own short URLs. In January, the company announced a new set of social-tracking APIs for developers in the hopes that its service would be included in other hot metric products.
Regardless, this definitely seems like an odd time for a CEO to get bored and move on, so we’re digging for more details