Author Archive | Disinformation

When Online Life Becomes Real Life

Have you ever considered going offline? It’s a terrifying thought isn’t it. Being online is something most of us take for granted. But what happens when something goes wrong? This is the theme of a new short film “Life on Trial” by one of the Internet’s largest carriers.

“We used to connect to the Internet – now we’re just online”, says Brendan Ives, CEO of TeliaSonera International Carrier. “People growing up today know nothing else. It’s just part of life.

The film, takes a light-hearted look at the extreme consequences of our online dependency – a murder trial. “It’s a humorous film, but a serious issue”, says Brendan Ives. “The more people rely on the Internet, the more is at stake. What happens when things go wrong?”

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The film was directed by award winning director Tim Hamilton. “I thought the premise was funny, smart and timely”, says Hamilton. “All of us can relate to the blurring of the lines between online life and real life and I thought this was a funny way to comment on it.”

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Sony Action Cam’s ‘Never Before Seen’ Movies

Sony Action Cam has teamed up with a diverse range of filmmakers, artists and influencers to create a series of new films celebrating the “never before seen”. Ranging from crafty experiments and audacious stunts to short documentaries, sports adventures and scripted short stories, the films celebrate creativity in all its forms and use Action Cams to provide unique new perspectives on the production process and the stories themselves.

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The Creature Foetus

 

The campaign launched with the debut of three films: “Picture Machine”, “Paperports” and “Creature”. Directed by Studio Nos, Charles Young and Ryan Dzierzek respectively, the variation between the three films is a good indicator of the campaign’s overall breadth. “Picture Machine” documents the construction of a reverse zoetrope, “Paperports” lets us peek into the work and process of Young’s intricate miniature paper architecture practice, and “Creature” tells the tale of a mutant reptile on the loose.

The campaign’s remaining films will be released gradually on Sony’s YouTube channel as well as the accompanying site.… Read the rest

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Open Source Virtual Reality

Razer's OSVR

Razer’s OSVR

I was just surfing the electronic category of VoucherBin. I could see the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is now in full swing and already there are some weird and wonderful gadgets being presented.

One of the most impressive and exciting pieces of news comes from the tech development company “Razer,” which has been demonstrating that after decades of hard work, the technology may finally be good enough for a commercially released Virtual Reality system. The product entitled “OSVR” which stands for “open source virtual reality”. What is exciting about this is that Razer has made it very open to users. Because various markets that would otherwise be heavily invested in this technology have not gotten around to creating products that could be used with virtual reality, Razer have instead made it very easy for people to utilise its technology.

Razer have truly made their product “open source” by making all of the schematics available for viewing online, which is a bold move for a smaller company.… Read the rest

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Are There Toxins On Your Pole?

Maëlick (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Maëlick (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Long Island residents and community leaders are calling on PSEG Long Island to discontinue using pentachlorophenol (“penta”) on wooden utility poles. Penta has been used as a pesticide and disinfectant in the US in the past. However, since the 1980s, it has been primarily used as a wood preservative for utility poles and railroad ties. There are concerns that penta has been contaminating the groundwater.

Via CBS New York:

Sen. Charles Schumer has added his voice to a growing chorus of elected officials and residents expressing concern about the use of a pesticide on wooden utility poles.

Schumer said at a press conference on Long Island Monday that he’s concerned that pentachlorophenol may be seeping into the groundwater. The pesticide, which is known as penta, also preserves wood.

Schumer wants the federal Environmental Protection Agency to immediately investigate its use on utility poles. He estimates that at least 95,000 wood poles on Long Island have been treated with the chemical.

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Google Is Considering Ranking Websites Based on Truthfulness

One of the questions we are asked all the time is “why should I trust a site called ‘disinformation’?” Once we’ve explained that one shouldn’t necessarily trust any news source and should always question the inherent biases of the writers and editors, whether mainstream (e.g. New York Times) or fringe (e.g InfoWars) and that we try to expose our visitors to as many, often conflicting, views as possible, the questioner usually feels fortified for a round of news consumption via disinformation and many other sites/sources.

all the news

One wonders, however, if Google’s purported new search algorithm will divine “truthfulness” in our approach, or will instead just act as a mirror of the mainstream media’s mantra of “all the news that’s fit to print” (to quote the Gray Lady). New Scientist reports on Google’s worrisome new approach:

The internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free “news” stories spread like wildfire.

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Go to Prison for Sharing Files? That’s What Hollywood Wants in the Secret TPP Deal

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Photo by Neil Ballantyne (CC)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other TPP signatories to accept the United States’ excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains extreme DRM anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users, likely leading to more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.… Read the rest

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God’s Slave

Based on the actual events of a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires still making headlines today, “God’s Slave” follows Ahmed, trained since childhood as an Islamic terrorist now assigned to execute a suicide bombing at a synagogue, and David, the cold-blooded Israeli special agent who will stop at nothing to prevent the attack. But neither man is defined solely by their extremist views. Ahmed, posing as a doctor, lives happily with his wife and young son; though David’s marriage is on the rocks, he remains devoted to his wife and daughter. With time running out before the attack, David zeros in on Ahmed as a suspect, his investigation culminating in violent, if unexpected, consequences.

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Strange Attractors: A Tale from Science’s Outer Edge

41lk-B0DyPLThis is an excerpt from Disinformation’s “Far Out: 101 Strange Tales From Science’s Outer Edge” plus a bonus video at the end!

Since 1987, one year after the Chernobyl disaster, 76-year-old Russian factory worker Leonid Tenkaev, his wife Galina, their daughter Tanya and grandson Kolya have all been able to make metal objects stick to their bodies. Leonid himself can hold individual objects weighing up to 50 pounds (23 kg) on his chest.

Doctors in Russia and Japan appear convinced that the Tenkaev’s abilities are genuine, describing, for example, how difficult it is to pull ferrous objects away from their bodies. “There is absolutely no doubt that the objects stick as if their bodies were magnetic,” an impressed Dr. Atusi Kono told reporters in 1991.

Remarkably, the Tenkaevs are not alone. In 1990, the Superfields conference in Sofia, Bulgaria attracted 300 such “human magnets” after a young woman, Marinela Brankova, demonstrated her powers on television by supporting a 15 lb (7 kg) weight from her vertically held palms.… Read the rest

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When Chocolate Was Medicine

Chocolate has not always been the common confectionary we experience today. When it first arrived from the Americas into Europe in the 17th century it was a rare and mysterious substance, thought more of as a drug than as a food. Christine Jones traces the history and literature of its reception.

Poseidon taking chocolate from Mexico to Europe, a detail from the frontispiece to Chocolata Inda by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, 1644.

Poseidon taking chocolate from Mexico to Europe, a detail from the frontispiece to Chocolata Inda by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, 1644.

 

In the seventeenth century, Europeans who had not traveled overseas tasted coffee, hot chocolate, and tea for the very first time. For this brand new clientele, the brews of foreign beans and leaves carried within them the wonder and danger of far-away lands. They were classified at first not as food, but as drugs — pleasant-tasting, with recommended dosages prescribed by pharmacists and physicians, and dangerous when self-administered. As they warmed to the use and abuse of hot beverages, Europeans frequently experienced moral and physical confusion brought on by frothy pungency, unpredictable effects, and even (rumor had it) fatality.… Read the rest

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“War on Whistleblowers”: Another Whistleblower Sentenced

In 2013, just weeks before revelations by Edward Snowden and PFC Chelsea Manning, we released War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State.

Two years later, the aggressive war on whistleblowers is still being waged. This Monday, Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer, was found guilty of 9 criminal counts and is likely on his way to a lengthy prison sentence for telling the truth.

Now, War on Whistleblowers is more relevant than ever. Watch the trailer below and go here for more information.

Four renowned cases of whistle-blowing serve as the backdrop to a much larger story of what happens to people who resort to the media to expose fraud and abuse:

  • Franz Gayl (Deputy Branch Head for the Space and Information Operations Integration Branch) — a lifelong Marine Gayl blew the whistle to stop unnecessary death and dismemberment of soldiers by replacing Humvees with MRAP’s (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles) in Iraq.
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