Archive | April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombings an Evolving Story

Picture by Twitter user Boston_to_a_T

Like probably a lot of you, I’ve been horrified and saddened by the round of bombings that occurred today at the Boston Marathon.

I’ve struggled with how we’d cover it at Disinfo, and have reached the conclusion that perhaps letting the story evolve before launching into an analysis of the event is the best thing we can do. I only wish that the mainstream media had reached the same decision.

For now, I strongly recommend monitoring social media for citizen’s eye reportage of the event (Twitter) as well as whatever media organizations you trust – if any. Additionally, Reddit.com is a great source for evolving news regarding the event.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Kansas City Police Uncover A Subterranean Suburb Inhabited By Homeless

subterranean suburb homeless campIn the coming years, expect living in the tunnel cities with the outlaws, rejects, and copper bandits to become an increasingly popular lifestyle option. From Kansas City’s KMBC:

Kansas City police uncovered an underground suburb used by the homeless on the city’s northeast side. KMBC’s Haley Harrison reported that a homeless outreach group said it was unlike anything they’ve ever seen. The subterranean refuge has caves and tunnels.

Police were evicting the homeless because of the squalid conditions. “We’re working to find out if in fact they’ve got kids down here because this is not a safe environment for that,” Cooley said.

Cooley told Harrison that he first went to the area because of a rash of crime. Police said copper thieves have repeatedly struck a nearby grain mill, most recently swiping a valuable piece of equipment and now millions of dollars worth of grain is in danger of going bad.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

A Sense Of Being Watched Is Hardwired Into Our Brains, Say Researchers

brain sense of being watchedIf when in doubt, we tend to feel that eyes must be upon us, could this help explain much of our behavior? From belief in a god staring down at us, to paranoid fantasies, to reluctance to break social norms even when no one is actually paying attention? Via the Telegraph:

The feeling that others are watching us is an evolutionary mechanism designed to keep us alert, experts said.

Prof. Colin Clifford, a University of Sydney psychologist who led the research, explained: “A direct gaze can signal dominance or a threat, and if you perceive something as a threat you would not want to miss it. Simply assuming another person is looking at you may be the safest strategy.”

The researchers asked volunteers to determine in which direction a series of faces were looking. Even without being able to clearly see where the eyes were focused, the participants felt as if they were being watched.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

ExxonMobil Gets TV Stations To Pull “Exxon Hates Your Children” Ads

Corporations seem to be all about irreverent ads, yet get surprisingly sensitive when the joke is on them. Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

In the wake of a major pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, Exxon has launched a campaign to prevent Little Rock television stations from running a political ad titled, “Exxon Hates Your Children.” To try to keep it off the air, Exxon is circulating a memo to television stations claiming that the commercial is “defamatory toward ExxonMobil’s employees.”

The ads, which were paid for through crowdfunding, were scheduled to run on local ABC, NBC, and Fox stations this week, but were taken off the schedule when the stations got the memo. In February, Exxon pulled the same stunt when Comcast was set to air the ad during the president’s State of the Union address.

Continue Reading

Guantanamo Hunger Striker Tells His Story

SamirThis may be the most important report out of Gitmo ever. If it doesn’t cause Americans to seriously question the indefinite detention of prisoners without trial, what will? (Not to mention the brutal “medical” treatment at the hands of American doctors.) Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call (in Arabic, translated to English):

One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Hacker Demonstrates Android Smartphone App To Hijack A Plane Midair

hijack a planeOn your next flight, you may want to look over your shoulder at what the person next to you is doing. Help Net Security reports:

An extremely well attended talk by Hugo Teso, a security consultant at n.runs AG in Germany, galvanized the crowd attending the Hack In The Box Conference in Amsterdam. Teso showcased an Andorid app, PlaneSploit, that remotely controls airplanes on the move.

Teso has been working in IT for the last eleven years and has been a trained commercial pilot for a year longer than that. By creating an exploit framework (SIMON) and an Android app (PlaneSploit) that delivers attack messages to the airplanes’ Flight Management Systems (computer unit + control display unit), he demonstrated the terrifying ability to take complete control of aircraft.

His testing laboratory consists of a series of software and hardware products. But the connection and communication methods, as well as ways of exploitation, are absolutely the same as they would be in an actual real-world scenario.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

10 things Coke, Pepsi and the Soda Industry Won’t Tell You

high-fructose-corn-syrup-soda-bottlesIn New York City you can’t avoid ads encouraging people to fight for their right to drink enormous amounts of carbonated high fructose corn syrup-laden beverages–no matter the cost to their health. The fact that these drinks are a major cause of obesity is just one of the many things the fizzy pop purveyors don’t want to admit. MarketWatch picks ten:

1. “The hottest new beverage is water.”

People aren’t losing their thirst, but they are going back to basics. Water is one of the fastest-growing segments of the beverage industry, studies suggest, while sales for traditional fizzy drinks are on the decline. From 2009 to 2011, sales of regular soft drinks declined by 1.9% to $27 billion, according to a 2012 report from market research group Mintel. “It would seem that the category has seen its peak and is now retreating,” the study reported. (Consumers are choosing more low- and no-calorie beverages, says a spokesman for the American Beverage Association.)

The decline is part of a shift in consumer tastes.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Twelve Most Awful Products Made By Monsanto

saccharinVia GMO Awareness, it may seem cartoonish to brand one company as an evil empire reaping misery over the course of a century, but it’s hard not to when they have created artificial sugar substitutes, DDT, Agent Orange, nuclear weapons, PCBs, and Bovine Growth Hormone:

When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market:

1. Saccharin. John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works with the goal of producing saccharin for Coca-Cola. Studies performed during the early 1970s showed that saccharin caused cancer in test rats and mice.

2. PCBs. During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers and motors. Fifty years later, the EPA published a report citing PCBs as the cause of cancer in animals, with additional evidence that they can cause cancer in humans.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Is The Loch Ness Monster Just A Conspiracy To Boost Scottish Tourism?

Loch Ness RocksEvery kid in Britain grows up with the Loch Ness Monster as part of their cryptozoological cultural heritage, but could it just be a conspiracy to boost tourism in Scotland? Emma Ailes reports for BBC News:

It is 80 years since hotel manageress Mrs Aldie Mackay first reported seeing a “whale-like fish” in the waters of Loch Ness.

Now an academic at St Andrew’s University is trawling through 1,000 eye-witness accounts since to see what they can tell us.

He wryly notes more than a few hotel proprietors among typical spotters. So is “Nessie” just a conspiracy to boost tourism?

It was 14 April 1933 and Mrs Mackay, manageress of the Drumnadrochit Hotel, was driving with her husband along the road to Inverness.

As they drove, she glanced out across the still calm waters of Loch Ness towards Aldourie Castle. There, in the water, she saw something.

In a rare interview years later, she described the moment to marine biologist and founder of The Loch Ness Project, Adrian Shine.

Read the rest

Continue Reading