Tag Archives | Pop Culture

The dark web: what it is, how it works, and why it’s not going away

via Vox:

2014 saw the continued growth of the dark web, a collection of underground websites that allow people to engage in often-illegal activities beyond the reach of law enforcement. Here’s what the dark web is, how it works, and why it’s not going away any time soon.

What is the dark web?

The dark web is a general term for the seedier corners of the web, where people can interact online without worrying about the watchful eye of the authorities. Usually, these sites are guarded by encryption mechanisms such as Tor that allow users to visit them anonymously. But there are also sites that don’t rely on Tor, such as password-protected forums where hackers trade secrets and stolen credit card numbers, that can also be considered part of the dark web.

People use the dark web for a variety of purposes: buying and selling drugs, discussing hacking techniques and selling hacking services, trading child pornography, and so forth.

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Mining the Hive Mind: Implications Of Facebook Indexing 1 Trillion Posts

Mike Beauchamp (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Mike Beauchamp (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via TechCrunch:

A whole wing of the Internet just got added to our collective conscience, like websites by Google or knowledge by Wikipedia before it.

 Yet the news cruised by with analysis focused simply on what Facebook’s new keyword post search does today. Yes, any post by you or any of your friends can now be dug up with a quick search from mobile. But I don’t think people realize how big a deal it is for tomorrow. Facebook just went from data rich to Scrooge-McDuck-swimming-in-a-tower-full-of data rich.

The ramifications for advertising, developers, and Facebook itself are tough to fathom. Our most vivid doppelgänger, our digital echoes can now be tracked. They don’t just say who we were, but where we’re headed, and what we’ll want next.

First, the trillion post index gives us group memory.Each person can only search stories from their friends and surrounding network, but Mark Zuckerberg recently said those all add up to over 1 trillion posts.

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Facebook’s callous “Year in Review” highlights the inhumanity of algorithms

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via PandoDaily:

Facebook has apologized for the insensitivity of a feature which relied on algorithms to collect a year’s worth of events, status updates, and photographs into a single presentation after it was criticized for showing images of deceased family members.

Eric Meyer, the user who first wrote about the “Year in Review” feature’s morbid callousness, has also apologized to Facebook for not making clear the company’s efforts to console him for the algorithmic fuck-up before he published his blog post.

But his original point — that companies should account for all their users instead of building products for an idealized version of the human condition — still stands. It might even be more relevant now that it’s clear Facebook didn’t know of the problem.

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Top 10 UFO Videos of 2014

The folks at OpenMinds compiled a nice list of the top 10 UFO Videos of 2014.

Via OpenMinds:

These are the best UFO videos of 2014, and most remain unidentified.

Top 10 lists are very subjective. I wonder if I am the first author to start a top 10 list admitting that. UFO video identification can often also be subjective. However, it is this author’s opinion that many of the following videos remain mysteries. Those that were identified either made a large impact, or were just cool lookin’.

This list is in no particular order. I do not necessarily feel that any are better than the other. But they are all very interesting. Every year I almost dread putting together the year in review story. I think, “Wow, not much happened that was that interesting. Am I going to be able to come up with a decent list?” Sure enough, every year I am pleasantly surprised by all of the great news that was covered over the last year.

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Future of love and sex: monogamy no longer the default, say experts

By LightvsRight via Deviant Art (CC BY 3.0)

By LightvsRight via Deviant Art (CC BY 3.0)

via IEET:

There’s a pervasive notion that monogamous relationships are the end-all-be-all – the default pact in human couplings that keep the fabric of society from being torn apart. But growing numbers of scientists believe monogamy is not our biological default; and may not even represent the best road to happiness.

Nearly all mammalian species demonstrate sexual promiscuity. Even mate-for-life prairie voles, the animal kingdom’s poster child of monogamous relationships produce pups from different fathers twenty percent of the time. Moreover, say historians, for humans, promiscuous behavior is not new at all.

    Anthropologists have uncovered clues to how our Paleolithic ancestors lived. Before the advent of agriculture, humans faced a short, brutal lifespan. Some survived to age 50, but most died young or at birth with average life expectancy in the 30-to-40 range.

With such a short lifespan, ancestral children were likely to experiment with sex by age six.

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Game of Thrones crowned as ‘most pirated’ show for third-year running

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Via Engadget:

Interactive apps, multiple theme-tune remixes, constant recommendations, memes or trans-Atlantic and server-collapsing debuts are but mild indicators of Game of Thrones‘ public success. What’s the real measure of a show’s popularity? It’s how many people pilfer it from the internet. In this regard, our friends in Westeros have no need for a drawbridge, an army or one single drop of wildfire — its crown as the “most pirated” program continues for the third year running. Torrentfreak estimates the show peaked at over 8 million downloads, nearly double that of the second place series: The Walking Dead.

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Anton LaVey Blackhouse Photographs 1998 by Nicholas Syracuse

 Nicholas Syracuse "LaVey Altar" 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

Nicholas Syracuse “LaVey Altar” 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

 

Anton LaVey Blackhouse Photographs 1998 by Nicholas Syracuse 2012.

The house and HQ for the Church of Satan in San Francisco.

The house was leveled to make way for some cheap condos.

The murals were designed and painted by Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, according to information provided to the photographer by LaVey’s daughter Karla.

Included in the exhibition “Abundatia Cornu Copiae” December 4 – February 28 2015

The photographs were taken in 1998 and printed in 2012.

at Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

http://www.shishigami.com/srfa/copiae/

 

 Nicholas Syracuse "Octo" 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

Nicholas Syracuse “Octo” 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

 

 Nicholas Syracuse "Fire" 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

Nicholas Syracuse “Fire” 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

 

 Nicholas Syracuse "Devil" 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

Nicholas Syracuse “Devil” 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

 

 Nicholas Syracuse "Merbeast" 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

Nicholas Syracuse “Merbeast” 2012 courtesy of Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn

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It’s Not Rape if He’s a God–Or Thinks He Is

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Via IEET:

Stories like the Virgin Birth lack freely given female consent. Why don’t they bother us more? Powerful gods and demi-gods impregnating human women—it’s a common theme in the history of religion, and it’s more than a little rapey.

Zeus comes to Danae in the form of a golden shower, cutting “the knot of intact virginity” and leaving her pregnant with the Greek hero, Perseus.

Jupiter forcibly overcomes Europa by transforming himself into a white bull and abducting her. He imprisons her on the Isle of Crete, over time fathering three children.

Pan copulates with a shepherdess to produce Hermes.

The legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus are conceived when the Roman god Mars impregnates Rea Silvia, a vestal virgin.

Helen of Troy, the rare female offspring of a god-human mating, is produced when Zeus takes the form of a swan to get access to Leda.

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TRYPOPHOBIA by Colin Christian

Colin Christian "Teeth" from "Trypophobia" at Stephen Romano Gallery

Colin Christian “Teeth” from “Trypophobia” at Stephen Romano Gallery

From the catalog foreword by Kris Kuksi:

“In his debut show at Stephen Romano gallery, Colin Christian’s work sets the audience up for confrontation. With either a reaction of instant repulsion or a desire to tend to gaping, teeth-filled sores, the exhibition seems as though for ‘freaks only’. Far from the pin-up gal or anime charged figures, but the influence of science fiction lingers and the perfection of flesh presents itself from yet another perspective.

“The viewer meets these works mid-cycle of injury where a sensation of the tightening, scabbing process is taking place as a result from coagulating fluid secretions. One could spar over the statement that these works relate to the process of healing. Yet, another twist holds the question: could this actually still be in the venue of a cyber erotic play that just digs a bit deeper, forgetting the superficiality perfection of skin and dives into what happens when the flesh is pierced and broken?”

 

Colin Christian "Insides", detail, from "Trypophobia" at Stephen Romano Gallery

Colin Christian “Insides”, detail, from “Trypophobia” at Stephen Romano Gallery

 

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Leaked CIA documents show how to beat airport security like a spy

Anne Worner (CC BY 2.0)

Anne Worner (CC BY 2.0)

Via The Verge

WikiLeaks has published a pair of internal CIA documents briefing undercover agents on how to dupe security at airports. The two documents — both classified as “Secret/NOFORN” meaning not to be shared with allied security agencies — give spies advice on how to maintain their cover. They also provide a detailed overview of the covert tactics airports use to vet travelers.

Although some of the information in the documents is public knowledge, advice on how to avoid being singled out for secondary screening could be useful to a variety of people. These include tourists and travelers trying to get home for the holidays, but also terrorists, drug traffickers, and common criminals. The first of the documents — titled Surviving Secondary — covers everything from common sense advice about not looking shifty to warnings about more nuanced pitfalls that might turn a random baggage check into a full-blow investigation.

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