We Are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists is documentary about Anonymous.

Summary by FilmBuff:

“In recent years, the radical online community known as Anonymous has been associated with attacks or “raids” on hundreds of targets. Angered by issues as diverse as copyright abuse and police brutality, they’ve taken on child pornographers, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system and even forced a standoff with Mexican drug cartels. They are a legion of loud but largely masked geeks, hackers, pranksters and outraged citizens who have unwittingly redefined civil disobedience for the digital age, and found themselves in the middle of one of the most important battles of our time.”

Anonymous is a leaderless group made up of young individuals that hack into many accounts to protest. They have hacked into the mail server of the Syrian Ministry of Presidential Affairs and sent over 2.4 million e-mails to Wikileaks. On February 10th, they took responsibility of taking down the CIA’s website for more than 5 hours. They are known to have hacked into Sarah Palin’s email, as well. These are only a few of the attacks they have done.

This group is working on building a citizen journalism website. They believe the work they are accomplishing will be beneficial to the cyber-world, but will this be the start of cyber wars? China and Iran are already hacking into United States Twitter accounts and other websites. Will World War III be an online based battle?



Associated Press Twitter Was Hacked

130423135400-ap-twitter-account-hacked-620xaUSA Today made a timeline of the Associated Press Hacking that happened on April 23rd, 2012 and it’s awesome! It is vivid, engaging, and organized. The link is attached below.

The Associated Press, with over 1.9 million followers, was hacked a few weeks ago stating “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured,” by the Syrian Electronic Army.

It caused The Dow Jones Industrial Average drops more than 150 points. Although it only lasted for five minutes, it shocked the nation that Twitter could have such a big affect on the economy. It makes the public question whether companies should still state official business on Twitter. This also suggests that Twitter has very little security, due to the number of cyber attacks on numerous accounts.

Nonetheless, AP employee, Sam Hananel quickly tweeted that “Please Ignore AP Tweet on explosions, we’ve been hacked.” Other AP accounts tweet stating that the official AP Twitter account had been hacked. The Dow bounces back to its original standing. A few hours later the AP posts a story that there were phishing attempts, stealing money through cyber attacks, on AP’s corporate network.

Anti-Abuse Ads

A unique way of advertising is being displayed on billboards. Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk (ANAR) Foundation, a Mexican awareness campaign, placed ads that are seen differently by adults and children. It uses lenticular printing, which depending on the angle sends a different message. The ad is directed towards children under the age of 10, in other words under 4’5″ and it states “if somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you,” with a hotline number to the right. Anyone over that height, sees “sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.” Image

RIT Stairwell Illusion

Three days ago, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) posted a fake video, hoping to spread a myth about an Escherian Stairwell based on the Penrose Stairs illusion. This video, slowly going viral, is  completely false. Firstly, a stairwell that ascends down and descends up in impossible. The university’s intentions for posting the video are not yet identified, but it sure is a great way to get some attention.

MC Escher created a lithograph called “Ascending, Descending” in 1960 and it derived mathematician, Roger Penrose’s impossible triangles.

This video was uploaded to Kickstarter as a initiative to raise $12,000, but only raised $940.

Leaked Video

Kickstarter (click the link)

Two ways of thinking about social media: digital tattoos and virtual shadows

We don’t realize it now, but everything we do online will stay online.

TED Blog

Digital-livesAt concerts, lighters once swayed in the air during poignant moments, the audience belting out lyrics together in a moment of catharsis. Today, the group sing-alongs still happen, but the air shines with a different glow: the light of cell phones.

Last week, while seeing a favorite band, I couldn’t help but notice the sea of undulating phones around me. With my view partially obstructed by shoulders, I found my eyes constantly settling onto the glowing screen of the guy in front of me, who was recording each and every song. The screen allowed me to see clearly, and yet it seemed a strange mediation of a moment that is all about the present. Yes, by recording the full show, you get to watch it later. But what did you really experience in the first place?

[ted_talkteaser id=1730]Meanwhile, the group standing beside me at this concert had faces flushed from…

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Birth Control FOR MEN

0816-male-bc-pill_vgFinally a way to prevent men from laying their seeds in women. Contraceptives, specifically designed, for men are soon to be a reality, wrote John Schieszer, a MSNBC contributor.

According to the article, Male birth control pill soon a reality, “Men may soon have the options of a daily pill to be taken orally, a patch or gel to be applied to the skin, an injection given every three months or an implant placed under the skin every 12 months, according to Seattle researchers.”

Larry Setlow, 39-year old computer programmer, participated in clinical trials at the University of Washington and watch his sperm count drop to zero. He said he didn’t notice any side effects, besides for a little bit of weight gain. Although, Quentin Brown, 45-year old, volunteer in a study of MHCs at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif, said he got a few headaches and woke up sweating at night, but no weight gain.

Male birth control pills use testosterone to inhibit sperm production, similar to the way female birth control use estrogen to stop the release of the egg.

Almost Every College Student Has ADHD?

Students from all around the nation are claiming to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), in order to get Adderall or Ritalin, a stimulant drug. These drugs are highly addictive and are  illegal to distribute. They enhance alertness in the brain by releasing amphetamines. Researchers say it does not increase the number of brain cells one has, therefore has different effects on different people.

It is called the “study drug” and college students are doing anything to get their hands on it. With the workload and competition increasing, students seek an opportunity to better themselves. The drug’s most common side effects are insomnia and loss of appetite.

Why is there such an exponential growth in ADHD prescriptions?  Could there be a link between ADHD, social media, internet and television?

People are getting used to instant gratification, instant information, and instant everything! One thing that isn’t instant is learning. It takes time to cultivate knowledge.

Flash Sales Sites: A New Way of Shopping


Click. A bold “BECOME A MEMBER” box appears on the screen. The online shopping world has adopted a new method of exclusivity.

Flash sales sites, like Hautelook, Rue La La, Gilt Groupe, One Kings Lane, Ideeli, and My Habit are becoming increasingly popular. If you’re a woman, you know what I am talking about. Unless you live under a rock, you have been bound come across one of two of these sites via email.

These websites rely on their user base to make profits and draw in people with designer brands, like Versace and Marc Jacobs. They offer heavily discounted deals on designer items. Their business model is to offer a 50 to 70 percent sale over span of days on a variety of brands.

According to an article in TechCrunch by Leena Rao, Nordstrom bought HauteLook for $270 million and GSI Commerce bought Rue La La for $$350 million. These sites are getting popular and big corporations are jumping at the chance to purchase them.

Some clothing sites like Tobi offer deals if you Like their page on Facebook or join their mailing list. NastyGal uses similar methods. This new trend is slowly conquering the world of online shopping.

…what Is happening?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Jenna Marbles. She’s hilarious, but why is the New York Times asking her questions? It just seems like a way to get more viewers and I think that’s just pathetic. The New York Times just sold themselves out. If the only information I’m gaining from this interview is that Jenna Marbles has “Sexual Wednesdays”, two dogs, and is proud of her drunk tutorial video, then they just threw their academic integrity out the window. I am a Jenna Marbles fan, love her videos… but Dear New York Times, that was the worst interview I’ve ever seen in my life.

Is The Future Of Journalism Dead?

Micheal Rosenblum, television producer and video journalist, said the future of journalism is in “user generated content” at Stony Brook University.

User generated content is selling content made by users. This brings in high profits, because little money is spent on creating material. Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter uses this method to money, unlike the newspaper business which uses the archaic advertising model to bring in revenues.Image

People spend an average of 6.4 hours a day using social media and 2.4 billion people are online everyday.  If .000001% of that population spend 10 cents on content, it adds up to $1 million.

“Journalism teaches ‘Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted,'” said Rosenblum. “But there is no crime in making money, having ownership, and creating equity.”

Creative destruction is the destruction of old technology as new technology emerges. Rosenblum believes that the internet, social media, and individual reporting will wipe out the newspaper business.

Journalistic integrity relies on being factual and providing evidence. Individual reporting may risk losing accurate information. Photoshop and video editing softwares have created a way to alter media. Without someone verifying the information found online, it is going to be difficult to completely veer away from old ways of reporting.

Rosenblum sees a future in the transaction of content, where journalists will get media from users and users will get information from journalists. Although this business model may seem equitable, somewhere along the way the true meaning of journalism will get lost.

Personally, I think Rosenblum is correct. The New York Times is a costly business that requires extensive labor and has very very little money. If you want to make money, Rosenblum’s business model is the way to go about it. And god knows the newspaper business is in a dire need of money. For the rest who believe that journalism is about “comforting the afflicted”, it may seem daunting, but the world is bound to shift in that direction. On the other hand, I think in the future we may return to the original reporting methods, because the truth will get lost amidst all the information.