An enormous sunspot group has taken shape on the surface of the sun, hinting that our star may soon start spouting off some powerful storms.
The huge sunspot complex, known as AR 1476, rotated into Earth’s view over the weekend. It measures more than 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) across, researchers said. Scientists with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory mission, a space-based telescope watching the sun, dubbed the solar structure a “monster sunspot” in a Twitter announcement.
AR 1476 is big enough for amateur astronomers with decent equipment to spot from their backyards, weather permitting. (Warning: Never look at the sun directly with telescopes or the unaided eye. Special filters are required for safe solar viewing to avoid serious eye damage.)
“With at least four dark cores larger than Earth, AR 1476 sprawls more than 100,000 km from end to end, and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes,” the website Spaceweather.com reported Monday (May 7).
Sunspots are temporary dark patches on the surface of the sun that are caused by intense magnetic activity. These structures sometimes erupt into solar flares, which send high-energy radiation streaming into space.
Solar physicists classify flares into three main categories: C, M and X, with C being the least powerful and X the strongest. X-class flares can cause long-lasting radiation storms in Earth’s upper atmosphere and trigger radio blackouts. M-class flares can cause brief radio blackouts in the polar regions and occasional minor radiation storms, while C flares have few noticeable consequences.
AR 1476 has already proven quite active, firing off a number of C flares over the past few days. And another sunspot group, AR 1471, erupted Monday evening with one that seems to be an M1, one of the least powerful M flares, according to Spaceweather.com.
The spring air in the small,sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.
Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978—and the number of plural marriages has tripled—so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.
But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive, a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.
Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. And instead of listening for words flowing down from heaven, these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks. In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors.
~Too funny…if you only knew…loll~This comes on the heel of an old FB account of mine from 2005 somehow being re-acticated with an iphone?…I had taken that account down piece by piece deleting everything one by one…so somehow 6 yrs later it reappears…so I had to go back in there again…isn’t funny~My account now is what my friends call my bot-account although I will occassionaly answer or post…I will not give any account access to my cell [which I rarely use] and no pertinent info..However the new google is trying despertly to tie in all the pieces on the net about everyone…I’m watching it happen and spent a night discussing it on twitter…so be careful with google + and beware of what *the new policy* is about…because once in…there are things you canNOT opt out of…including Picasso pictures…amongst other things~Also I will not let FB sign me into anything else…
EXCLUSIVE: For the last eight months, the self-styled “hacktivists” who make up LulzSec and the international hacker community beyond have been led by a turncoat.
Like a Mafia don who wears a wire to ensnare his own soldiers, Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka “Sabu,” has been helping the FBI track down and gather evidence against his associates, tweeting out misinformation and even protecting the CIA among other government and financial institutions from hacks, according to sources close to the LulzSec leader and law enforcement officials in charge of the months-long international hacking probe capped by international arrests of the remaining LulzSec leaders on Tuesday morning.
Flipping Monsegur wasn’t easy. But with a charge of aggravated identity theft and a two-year prison sentence to hang over his head, the FBI forced Monsegur to weigh the political beliefs that drove him and his allegiance to cohorts around the world against his desire to be with his kids—he is the guardian of two children—and his extended family.
“He didn’t go easy,” a law enforcement official involved in flipping Sabu told FoxNews.com. “It was because of his kids. He didn’t want to go away to prison and leave them. That’s how we got him.”
A new study by the Mediterranean Council for Intelligence Studies’ (MCIS) 2012 Intelligence Studies Yearbook points to the use of social media as “the new cutting edge in open-source tactical intelligence collection”. IntelNews.org’s Joseph Fitsanakis, who co-authored the study, reports:
We explain that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a host of other social networking platforms are increasingly viewed by intelligence agencies as invaluable channels of information acquisition. We base our findings on three recent case studies, which we believe highlight the intelligence function of social networking. (Joseph Fitsanakis, Research: Spies increasingly using Facebook, Twitter to gather data, intelNews.org, February 13, 2012)[below is article]
This past week saw the publication of a new research paper(.pdf), which I co-authored with Micah-Sage Bolden, entitled “Social Networking as a Paradigm Shift in Tactical Intelligence Collection”. In it, we argue that recent case studies point to social networking as the new cutting edge in open-source tactical intelligence collection. We explain that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a host of other social networking platforms are increasingly viewed by intelligence agencies as invaluable channels of information acquisition. We base our findings on three recent case studies, which we believe highlight the intelligence function of social networking.
The first case study comes out of the Arab Spring, which, according to one report, “prompted the US government to begin developing guidelines for culling intelligence from social media networks”. We also examine NATO’s operations during the 2011 Libyan civil war (Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR), when Western military forces systematically resorted to social networking media to gather actionable intelligence, by utilizing open sources like Twitter to pinpoint targets for attack.
Finally, we examine the sabotage by Israeli security services of the 2011 “Welcome to Palestine Air Flotilla” initiative, a campaign organized by several European groups aiming to draw worldwide attention to the travel restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities on the Occupied Territories. Israeli authorities were able to disrupt the “air flotilla” by systematically monitoring the participants’ online activities on social networks. In conclusion, we argue that, examined collectively, these case studies underscore the ability of social networking to do three things: (a) reflect opinion trends and channel mass political action; (b) provide actionable tactical intelligence; and (c) enable highly effective —and highly controversial— security operations against targeted groups. The paper, which is published in the 2012 Intelligence Studies Yearbook (pages 28-40), is available in .pdf format here.
Was reading Fred Wilson’s blog on Twitter and started scrolling through the comments. It was pretty interesting to see people’s reactions to the video he posted and their thoughts on Twitter in general.
I have been called the “oldest man in social media” by some of my Stocktwits friends. Quite frankly, I am almost fifty but looking at the revolution I am witnessing in media I feel eighteen. Old media is going to be disintermediated and you can see the panic in their eyes. They know it, the market is starting to realize it and while the sharks aren’t swimming in circles yet, there is enough blood in the water for them to know sooner or later they will feast on some old whale carcasses.
In my home, we usually are pretty early adopters of certain technological things. We had iPods before anyone we knew. My kids had cell phones. They have 2.5 years in age difference, and when they were in high school we noticed there was already a generational gap in communication. With the older it was possible to call or text her. With the younger, only text.
About this talk :
As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.
About Eli Pariser
Pioneering online organizer Eli Pariser is the author of “The Filter Bubble,” about how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview.
Full biography :
“When confronted with a list of results from Google, the average user (including myself until I read this article) tends to assume that the list is exhaustive. Not knowing that it isn’t … is equivalent to not having a choice. Depending on the quality of the search results, it can be said that I am being fed junk — because I don’t know I have other choices that Google filtered out.”
Aubrey Pek, commenting on Kim Zetter’s “Junk Food Algorithms”: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/eli-pariser-at-ted
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – After a much-heralded End of the World failed to materialize on the appointed day, May 21, Almighty God held a rare press conference in New York to discuss the matter.
Dressed in His trademark flowing white robe and carrying a thunderbolt, God seemed visibly irked by the predictions calling for the world to end this Saturday.
“I’ll end the world when I’m good and ready, Me damn it,” He snapped in response to a question from a USA Today reporter.
When asked if He had a message for the faithful who had expected the world to end today, the Almighty cracked, “They should be grateful for the eleven years they’ve had since the world ended on Y2K.”
God was cagey about setting an exact date for the end of the world, saying only, “When I decide to end the world I’ll let you know the way I always do – on Twitter.”
After the press conference, a publicist for God confirmed that the Heavenly Father was annoyed at having to talk to reporters to address the end of the world rumors: “Honestly, I haven’t seen Him this pissed since Pat Robertson blamed a tsunami on the gays.”
Elsewhere, Harold Camping, the preacher who predicted that the world would end on May 21, issued the following brief statement: “”The world doesn’t end this week. Oprah does. My bad, sry.”