Monday, October 10, 2016

Chatbot AI Powered Malware

We all know about the progress being made in chatbots. And the platforms to create them are becoming more available by the month. This will make it possible to leverage this for negative purposes.

Business Insider ran a story: "As artificial intelligence becomes more and more sophisticated, Palmer told Business Insider in an interview at the FT Cybersecurity Summit in London in September, it will inevitably find its way into malware — with potentially disastrous results for the businesses and individuals that hackers target."

Ghostwatch - early powerful perceptor

Mentalfloss carried the story which begins, "After more than 20,000 phone calls, one induced labor, and thousands of angry letters, the UK's Broadcasting Standards Council convened for a hearing. On June 27, 1995, they ruled that the producers of Ghostwatch, a BBC program that aired on Halloween night less than three years earlier, had deliberately set out to “cultivate a sense of menace.

The Telegraph reports, "Ghostwatch, first screened on 31 October 1992, was a mockumentary about an ordinary household in Northolt, north London, haunted by Pipes, a malevolent ghost that caused plumbing pipes to bang. "The drama was given an air of authenticity by using real BBC personalities of the time. Sarah Greene and Craig Charles played reporters who decamped to the haunted house, while Michael Parkinson and the late Mike Smith provided studio links in a mock-up of the BBC’s Crimewatch studio. On tickertape at the bottom of the screen, a phone number was displayed through which viewers could report supernatural sightings. The number (081 811 8181) was the standard phone-in for BBC shows of the time."

It even caused the death of a young lad after he saw it and the pipes in his house started to bang. The Independent says, "An inquest yesterday in Nottingham recorded a verdict that Martin Denham, 18, killed himself, but his mother, April Denham, said: 'I blame the BBC - it is all their fault. They said it was based on a true story but it was all a hoax."

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Trump and Clinton

October 11, 2016
Hillary Clinton coattails 121K
Donald Trump coattails 139k
Hillary Clinton house 157M NOTE: invalid results too many links refer to houses/white house
Donald Trump house 188M
Hillary Clinton women 127M
Donald Trump women 160M
Hillary Clinton hate 57.2M
Donald Trump hate 68.2M

Just for fun on April 18, 2016, using Firefox, I Googled:
Donald Trump: 333M results.
Hillary Clinton: 156M results.
May 9, 2016:
Donald Trump: 367M results.
Hillary Clinton: 162M results.
May 25, 2016
Donald Trump: 362M results.
Hillary Clinton: 168M results.
June 7, 2016
Donald Trump 263M results
Hillary Clinton 183M results
June 11, 2016 using Bing after reading about SEME
Donald Trump 24M results
Hillary Clinton 11.2M results
August 12, 2016
Donald Trump 440M results
Hillary Clinton 252M results
September 23, 2016
Donald Trump 354M
Hillary Clinton 262M
** After the Trump "abusive women" reports **
Oct 8, 2016
Donald Trump 432M
Hillary Clinton 266M

April 18, 2016
Is Donald Trump Electable 431k results
Is Hillary Clinton Electable 246k results
May 9, 2016:
Is Donald Trump Electable 432k results
s Hillary Clinton Electable 265k results
Sep 23, 2016
Is Donald Trump Electable 267k results
Is Hillary Clinton Electable 189k results

April 18, 2016
Donald Trump Win 147M results
Hillary Clinton Win 103M results
May 9, 2016:
Donald Trump Win 144M results, (how can it go down?)
Hillary Clinton Win 95.8M, (ditto)
June 7, 2016
Donald Trump Win 81.5M
Hillary Clinton Win 66.6M
September 23, 2016
Donald Trump Win 116M
Hillary Clinton Win 99.7M
October 11, 2016
Donald Trump Win 136M
Hillary Clinton Win 106M

April 18, 2016
Donald Trump: 7.66M followers.
Hillary Clinton: 5.97M followers.
May 9, 2016:
Donald Trump: 8.04M followers.
Hillary Clinton: 6.18M followers.
June 7, 2016
Donald Trump: 8.72M
Hillary Clinton: 6.59M
April 18, 2016

August 17, 2016
Crooked Hillary 12.5M
October 11, 2016
Crooked Hillary 15.7M

Campaign funding total raised:
Donald Trump:    36.5M
Hillary Clinton: 224.5M
May 9, 2016
Donald Trump:    50.6M
Hillary Clinton: 256.2M
June 7, 2016
Donald Trump: 59.9M 4% Super PAC
Hillary Clinton: 288.9M 29% Super PAC

September 23, 2016
Shitpost Trump 890k
Shitpost Clinton 514k
The post that caused this search:
“Shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real”.

May 9, 2016
NOTE: I am not political. But if the Donald Trump funding escalates massively and Hillary Clinton's other numbers do not...
NOTE: the source of the funding may matter as well, Donald Trump is 4% from Super PACs and other groups, Hillary Clinton is 30% Super PACs and other groups
NOTE: The Democratic National Convention is likely to be an event to draw the party together, Hillary is being careful with Bernie Saunders supporters, the Republican National Convention is more of a showdown. Let's test a new long tail search.
NOTE: I do not think this election will be decided by TV ads. 2016 could be the year of email and social media. Hmm, let's test a new long tail search.

May 9, 2016
Donald Trump Campaign Funding 39.8M results
Hillary Clinton Campaign Funding 12.3M results

May 9, 2016
Republican National Convention 4.14M results
Democratic National Convention 9.46M results
June 7, 2016
Republican National Convention 2.9M results
Democratic National Convention 9.84M results

June 10, 2016
trump republican party racism 2.03M results
clinton democratic party racism 2.09M results
NOTE: my search is flawed. The results that come up are radically different. With the trump search there is a growing number of stories that he is racist. With the clinton search there is a growing number of stories that trump is racist. Stopping this search. Let's try.

June 10, 2016
trump racist 65.7M
clinton racist 60.1M
NOTE: this is still a flawed search, apples to oranges in the results. This could be a major perceptor, need to find the right measurement.

Google Trends May 9, 2016 (Past 12 months)

The parking lot, (developing ideas)

Found on slashdot, "And then there are the politicians (and their superpacs). They use our service to figure out exactly what people's hot button issues are so their campaign and best push those buttons to make them vote for their candidate. [] Or if there is little chance of getting them to vote for their guy, they do their best to make the voter disgusted with "the other guy" so that they just stay home and don't vote at all. All the big ticket campaigns - presidential and congress do this now and some of the in-state races for important districts are doing it too because it is getting cheaper and cheaper every day."

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Memes in Indonesia

Today Slashdot had a post about restrictions to free speech in Indonesia. The source document appears to be the Jakarta Post, "While the government and the House of Representative have failed to comply with the public’s call to revoke the controversial defamation article from the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, they have introduced further threats to freedom of expression by including a punishment for people posting texts, pictures, videos and memes deemed to incite fear or cause embarrassment in the law revision."

The Library of Congress reports, "It was reported on February 1, 2016, that the Indonesian House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat) will soon begin considering revisions to the 2008 Law on Electronic Information and Transactions. (Muhamad Al Azhari, Reduced Jail Time Sought in Revision of Controversial ITE Law, JAKARTA GLOBE (Feb. 1, 2016).) The Law has been controversial for its harsh punishments, which may now be revised. The current penalties for any acts covered in the Law are specified as up to 12 years of imprisonment, sometimes with large fines, and penalties in some cases can be increased by a third or by two-thirds."

Gbindonesia has everything you could ever want to know about Article 27 and related Indonesian law. ASEAN published an article on the top 10 Indonesian bloggers.

Here is a Google image snapshot of what Indonesian political cartoons looked like 10/6/16

Monday, September 26, 2016

Truthfulness and Presidential Debates

Tonight is the first debate between Clinton and Trump. This is generally considered one of the most important moments in modern politics. This blog will try not to get political, but since both candidates have been accused of failure to be truthful, it seems fair and reasonable to explore this.

CNN Money magazine has a story that several prominent publications are flatly calling Trump a liar, "The New York Times story — "A Week of Whoppers" — came out first on Saturday. PoliticoThe Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times all followed within hours."

But to be fair, Clinton's truthfulness has also been called into question, Politico magazine reports, "Though Clinton is far more practiced at sticking to defensible policy positions and recollections of history, she’s significantly more lax when addressing her own transgressions — the potential Achilles’ heel of a candidacy marred by questions of her truthfulness."

When you think of truthfulness in a campaign debate, you often recall Al Gore in 2000. The NY Times reported, "But in the last few weeks and the first debate, Mr. Gore gave the Republicans new openings. At one point in the debate he tried to one-up Mr. Bush by saying he had visited Texas fire victims along with James Lee Witt, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He later said he had made a mistake and had traveled to Texas but not with Mr. Witt.

''The grass has always been very dry under Al Gore when it comes to his habit of embellishing and exaggerating,'' said Ari Fleischer, a spokesman for Mr. Bush. ''He himself lit the fire when he did it before 35 million Americans.''"

You can't mention Al Gore without the famous gaffe attributed to him that he invented the Internet. Sorry folks, that is a perceptor, he never actually said that. But he did leave himself open. The Washington Post tells the story with his Blitzer intervew, "But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth, environmental protection, improvements in our educational system."

Of course truthfulness doesn't seem to have to apply to everyone, remember Bill Clinton saying, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman..." on TV.  And Ronald Reagan The Teflon President, could say just about anything. The term was coined by Patricia Schroeder, "As a young congresswoman, I got the idea of calling President Reagan the "Teflon president" while fixing eggs for my kids. He had a Teflon coat like the pan.

Why was Reagan so blame-free? The answer can be found in the label that did stick to him — "The Great Communicator."

Reagan's ability to connect with Americans was coveted by every politician. He could deliver a speech with such sincerity. And his staff was brilliant in playing up his strengths. They made sure the setting for any speech perfectly captured, re-emphasized and embraced the theme of that speech. And, let's be honest, Reagan told people what they wanted to hear.""

In just a few hours history will be made and clearly there will be lessons to learn about perception management.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Anna Nicole married for love

You remember the dialog from the movie, The Shooter:

Bob Lee Swagger: Suppose I was looking for man who could make a 2200 yard cold bore shot, who's alive that could do that?

Mr. Rate: Seems I heard about a shot like that being made not too long ago, said the guy's name was Bob Lee Swagger. Never met the man, so I wouldn't know.

Bob Lee Swagger: Ya, they said that alright.

Mr. Rate: They also said that artificial sweeteners were safe, WMDs were in Iraq and Anna Nicole married for love.

Rule the Meme - Rule the World

I got a kick out of the Bureau of Memetic Warfare. Reminds me of the hacker manifesto J  Let me take you back:
This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the
beauty of the baud.  We make use of a service already existing without paying
for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and
you call us criminals.  We explore... and you call us criminals.  We seek
after knowledge... and you call us criminals.  We exist without skin color,
without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us

and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

One to the idea of Meme as intentional perceptorPalmer Luckey, founder of Occulus Rift funded a political site called Nimble America. Google cache had its original content.

"We’ve proven that shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real." 

BMW stands of Bureau of Memetic Warfare. WARNING 8Chan may not be safe for work (NSFW):

The purpose of this board is to weaponize truth and, thereby, to take the fight to the enemy. We are poor, we are weak, and we are few in number - but this does not matter. There is power in truth.

It is not the gun, or the soldier, or the general, the president, or money that decides the course of events - it is the directing cause. 

The idea that lies at the root of action and gives it purpose

Now as never before we have the ability to reach out, learn, and spread the truth as we know it to be - not as it is presented by the moneyed  few.We are presented with a state of affairs unique to history, an age of ideological memetic warfare in which the controlling principles of mankind are loosed to spread with no physical barriers.

All of the weapons of our enemy lay before us at our disposal, but in this fight we have the advantage - truth, which is anathema to the enemy; this we  have and this only we can use. We need not invent twisted new worlds to fit lies, we need only make what is necessary and evident palatable and polished
With only our wits and the reach of our computers we can and will change the world;
strike down the memes that direct degeneracy and you will strike down degeneracy itself

Fight for Truth, fight for Virtue, fight for Beauty!

It was a prank 8.35M Youtube videos drilling hole in iPhone 7 for headphone jack

As reported on Slashdot:

TechRax -- a popular YouTuber who destroys technology for fame and riches -- has uploaded a video where he drills a hole into an iPhone 7, claiming it to be a "secret hack" to reinstall a headphone jack in the device. The only problem is that he didn't tell people it was a joke, and of course, some people fell for it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Conde Nast and Watson

Adweek reports, "Through a new partnership announced today with IBM and the influencer platform Influential, brands advertising with the media company's properties—publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker—will be able to use big data to better know which social media celebrities might make for a good match for any given campaign." seems a bit basic to me, the default platform is twitter.  If it included Linkedin, I would give it a go.

Adweek continues, "For example, if a brand wants to find somebody who's adventurous, Watson—which can analyze the last 20,000 words and emojis an influencer has published—helps weed out those that are more prone to doing vlogs from their couch. If a brand wants to pitch an action film, they might input key words like "action" and "explosion" to see which influencers have used them the most. Once the data analysis is complete, Watson then picks out five, 10 or a few dozen candidates for humans to choose from. (A competitive analysis by Watson also looks at whether an influencer is already pitching products for related brands or if a person has ever been arrested.)"

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


I had always wondered what the reason for these was. Dan, who did the reverse image lookup, thinks it is OPSEC. They will connect and then ask for information.

Credit “Dan Waddell, (ISC)²”.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Coining the term perceptor

When we talk about information warfare and perception management we see there is an intentional act of trying to influence someone. Robert Cialdini called this act "weapons of influence".

I am not a big fan of inventing new words, but we do need a word to call out the act of attempting to sway or influence someone’s thinking. I suggest "perceptor", (with apologies to the Transformers).

Usage as a verb.
Well, they really percepted him.
I am in the process of percepting her. I figure keep the process going for a month or so and see if it worked.

Usage as a deverbal noun denoting a specific action.
Yesterday, I came across a powerful perceptor. [singular]
That's going to require a comprehensive perceptor campaign.[presumed plural]

Usage as a deverbal noun denoting a result (e,g,, dent)
It is hard to say how percepted the Clinton campaign is, but as of 8/17/2026, the perceptor, "Crooked Hillary", shows 12.5M hits on Google.

Taking the sting out of SPAM

I unsubcribed anyway, but I thought: "You are receiving this email because you are awesome." was brilliant. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

5G is just a marketing term and it is years away from reality

According to Backchannel: "5G" is a marketing term. There is no 5G standard -- yet. The International Telecommunications Union plans to have standards ready by 2020. So for the moment "5G" refers to a handful of different kinds of technologies that are predicted, but not guaranteed, to emerge at some point in the next 3 to 7 years. (3GPP, a carrier consortium that will be contributing to the ITU process, said last year that until an actual standard exists, '"5G' will remain a marketing & industry term that companies will use as they see fit." At least they're candid.) At the moment, advertising something as "5G" carries no greater significance than saying it's "blazing fast" or "next generation" -- nut because "5G" sounds technical, it's good for sales. We are a long way away from actual deployment. [...] Second, this "wireless fiber" will never happen unless we have... more fiber. Real fiber, in the form of fiber optic cables reaching businesses and homes. (This is the "last mile" problem; fiber already runs between cities.) It's just plain physics. In order to work, 99% of any "5G" wireless deployment will have to be fiber running very close to every home and business. The high-frequency spectrum the carriers are planning to use wobbles billions of times a second but travels incredibly short distances and gets interfered with easily. So it's great at carrying loads of information -- every wobble can be imprinted with data -- but can't go very far at all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

United Games

Most security people rank United Games somewhere between digital Multi Level Marketing and a Ponzi scheme. Doesn't look like you could lose too much money. The security implications of tying a Ponzi scheme to a phone app that could potentially access location and other information are kind of interesting.

Oh, and most of the domains on page one and two of Google seem to be fabricated "reviews" of United Games that turn into sales pitches. Really good SEO.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

American Red Cross Cool - Not Cool Pool Poster

Note the majority of the not cool tags are focused darker skinned people. Whoops for the Red Cross.

FBI Spy Planes

I understand, agree, and am even thankful for the fact that the FBI needs/uses aerial surveillance.

But why does the FBI and DEA register the planes to fake companies?

And possibly fake people?
"Included on most aircraft registrations is a mysterious name, Robert Lindley. He is listed as chief executive and has at least three distinct signatures among the companies. Two documents include a signature for Robert Taylor, which is strikingly similar to one of Lindley's three handwriting patterns."

This AP link has a list of the fake companies:
OTV Leasing
OBR Leasing
PXW Services
KQM Aviation
LCB Leasing
NBR Aviation
FVX Research
RKT Productions
NBY Productions
PSL Surveys
NG Research 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

This shirt is for Northcutt

I go to Facebook about once a week to see "Where's Waldo". Saw this ad:

I don't particularly need a sweatshirt with my last name on it, but it is a great reminder of targeted advertising.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Guns used in homicide, is the rate increasing or decreasing?

16 One of the hot button items in the upcoming election is gun control. Post Orlando, people are swarming gun shops trying to purchase guns, the media is discussing assault rifles. Most, (over half), Americans have been percepted to believe that gun violence is increasing. It is not. However, the use of guns in suicide is rising.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The "secret" intel chip

Chip on chip is hardly new. But, we generally know what they are. Blogger Damien Zammit writes, "Recent Intel x86 processors implement a secret, powerful control mechanism that runs on a separate chip that no one is allowed to audit or examine. When these are eventually compromised, they'll expose all affected systems to nearly unkillable, undetectable rootkit attacks."

If what Damien is percepting is true, this could be a huge problem and would be a clear cyberwar target.

In Network World, Andy Patrizo poo poo's the alarming statement, "The impending doom comes from the Intel Management Engine (ME), a subsystem that uses a 32-bit Argonaut RISC Core (ARC) microprocessor that's physically located inside the x86 chipset. It's described as "an extra general purpose computer running a firmware blob that is sold as a management system for big enterprise deployments." 

The ME engine runs completely out-of-band with the x86 CPU, so it runs independent of the PC, even when your main CPU is in a low power state like suspend. On some chipsets, the firmware running on the ME implements a system called Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT). AMT is used for remote management of the PC for things like upgrades and installations, which can be done even when a laptop is powered off. ME was introduced on the Core 2 series introduced in 2006 and is in every CPU since then."

Where is truth? Computers have had this basic capability for at least a decade, it is called Wake on LAN. Howtogeek says, "Wake-on-LAN is an industry standard protocol for waking computers up from a very low power mode remotely. The definition of “low power mode” has changed a bit over time, but we can take it to mean while the computer is “off” and has access to a power source. The protocol also allows for a supplementary Wake-on-Wireless-LAN ability as well."

The key point is that Wake on LAN is industry standard, the new Intel management chip is proprietary. We will have to watch and see.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Google search: Three black teenagers

Slashdot reported: On June 6, Kabir Alli, an 18-year old in Virginia, posted a brief video of himself running a couple of quick Google image searches. First he searched for "three black teenagers" and was met with several rows of decontextualized mugshots. Then he searched for "three white teenagers" and was served up stock photos of relaxed teens hanging out in front of various plain white backgrounds. The tweet has stirred controversy, with many people accusing Google of being racist. But is that the case? 

Screenshot for search three black teenagers june 11, 2016

Alli says that while it's Google's fault in some sense as they should have better control over the things people see, he also believes that at the end of the day, what Google shows us is a reflection of what people think. 

A Google spokesperson had similar things to say.

"Our image search results are a reflection of content from across the web, including the frequency with which types of images appear and the way they're described online. This means that sometimes unpleasant portrayals of sensitive subject matter online can affect what image search results appear for a given query. These results don't reflect Google's own opinions or beliefs -- as a company, we strongly value a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures."

Rape is becoming the norm in Europe - Nobody is talking about it

For this blogpost we define rape as: a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person's consent. Wikipedia has a very well balanced and researched description of what is called the Cologne rapes, but it was more involved than than just Cologne.

"During the 2016 New Year's Eve celebrations, hundreds of sexual assaults (including groping), numerous thefts, and at least five rapes were reported in Germany, mainly in Cologne city centre.

Similar incidents were reported in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, and Bielefeld. All of the incidents involved women being surrounded and assaulted by groups of men on the street. There are more than 1,900 victims and it is reported that up to 1,000 men may have been involved in Cologne, acting in groups of several dozen. Police reported that the perpetrators were men of "Arab or North African appearance" and said that Germany had never experienced such mass sexual assaults before. The attacks sparked an international outcry, a debate about women's rights, the sustainability of Germany's asylum policy, and social differences between European societies and those of North Africa and the Middle East. Taking place during the European migrant crisis (see timeline), the attacks also led to a hardening of attitudes against mass immigration."

Did the assaults end after New Years? No.

This is a graphic from the Gatestone Institute of the reported rapes in Germany and surrounding countries since then. The red ones are assaults against children.  In the United States, according to the Department of Justice, The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that the majority of rapes and sexual assaults perpetrated against women and girls in the United States between 1992 and 2000 were not reported to the police. Only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes, and 26 percent of sexual assaults were reported.

In Germany, the percent is believed to be lower. Much lower. When most Americans heard about the events in Cologne, they wondered why the police did not do more. According to buzzfeed:

"This is the irony women’s activists are struggling with in the wake of attacks in Cologne. A quick squeeze of the breasts, a hand on the ass, an unwanted kiss — when it happens in a public space, none of these are against the law in Germany.

“The German law accepts that a man generally has the right to touch a woman, to have sexual intercourse with a woman. It’s his right, unless the woman shows her resistance very, very strongly,” said Chantal Louis, an editor at Emma, Germany’s oldest feminist magazine. “We have a situation where … even touching the breasts or vagina can’t be punished in the logic of that law, because if the perpetrator does it very quickly, you don’t have time to resist. It seems weird and crazy, but that’s German law.

There are several perceptors in play here. We could talk about the muslim perceptor that women must dress differently. Or the backlash against muslim immigrants. But I would like to drill down on the fear and pain women and children feel right now in Germany. And from January till now, it has been cool in Germany, winter to spring, June 20, the start of summer, is just around the corner. This is when people tend to wear looser and lighter clothes.

Or swimming pools, according to the daily mail, "The Arriba water park (picture) in Norderstedt, Germany, says it has been forced to segregate men and women after a string of girls were sexually assaulted by migrants over the last year 

The girls aged 14 and 18 had been using the water slides but their attackers, both from Afghanistan aged 14 and 34, had been waiting for them at the bottom and had then sexually assaulted them.

The accused are being kept in custody as prosecutors said that the degree of the sexual assault was so severe that it justified rape charges.

Before that, the fun park was at the centre of similar problems last summer when four teenagers aged 15 and the fifth aged 17 had also been molested on the slides by a group of asylum seekers.

And it is not just Germany, according to the Swedish Expressen, (translated from Swedish): "The popular Eriksdal in Stockholm introduced gender-segregated whirlpools earlier this year after extensive problems with boys and young men groping women.

Last year, there were 14 police reports concerning sexual molestation of the bath where girls as young as eleven years were victims , reported the Daily News earlier this year. On Monday, police announced that they will now expand its coverage of the bath and uniformed police regularly patrol in the bathhouse . The reason is that sexual assaults continued to increase."

One thing the German government is trying are posters depicting correct behavior. I have my doubts that they will serve as a powerful perceptor. Poster versus Bikini, you make the call.

SEME - Search Engine Manipulation Effect

WARNING: Don't Google the term SEME without the context shown below; I did and it was gross.

This blogpost is about a potentially huge perceptor if in fact true. From Fortune, "Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, and colleague Ronald E. Robertson recently conducted an experiment in which they conclude that Google GOOG has the power to rig the 2016 presidential election. They call it the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME).

Through five experiments in two countries, they found that biased rankings in search results can shift the opinions of undecided voters by 20% or more, sometimes even reaching as high as 80% in some demographic groups. If Google tweaks its algorithm to show more positive search results for a candidate, the researchers say, the searcher may form a more positive opinion of him or her.

Considering the fact that most presidential elections are won by small margins, Epstein believes that biased Google search rankings could potentially decide the outcome of an election."

I have been doing research on search engine rankings for the words Trump and Clinton and other related terms. There is something happening that is hard to explain. Though the news about Trump is consistently being published, the number of results in a Google search for that name are decreasing. If I wasn't tracking this for myself, I would tend to dismiss Epstein as a kook.

Science magazine has a pretty good article on the topic and reports the results of an experiment run in the USA, "The large sample size—and additional details provided by users—allowed the researchers to pinpoint which demographics were most vulnerable to search engine manipulation: Divorcees, Republicans, and subjects who reported low familiarity with the candidates were among the easiest groups to influence, whereas participants who were better informed, married, or reported an annual household income between $40,000 and $50,000 were harder to sway. Moderate Republicans were the most susceptible of any group: The manipulated search results increased the number of undecided voters who said they would choose the favored candidate by 80%."

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Triangle of life - fact or fiction

Interesting when you get two conflicting pieces of information in the same day. I was reading my email in the morning and it talked about the Triangle of life from rescue expert Doug Copps. The idea is that you have a better chance of survival by "simply rolling off a bed onto the floor if you are in bed or taking refuge next to a large sofa or chair when the earth starts moving."

Later, I was standing in the Sumner WA Parks and Rec center and I saw this poster.

Big difference. The poster advocates UNDER instead of BESIDE and is the Red Cross take on the subject. This has come up with Truth or Fiction. And keep in mind this really matters, we are talking about staying alive.

Ducking next to a refrigerator seems like a bad idea, most of them are not attached to the wall and it would really hurt if it fell on you.

I am leaning towards snopes summary: "We'd recommend sticking with safety information prepared by established earthquake safety experts, such as the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Earthquake Country Alliance."

Neighborhood roads - no longer

This was posted on Slashdot, June 8: "For many drivers, the app Waze is a godsend, providing real-time, crowdsourced traffic tips to motorists desperate for alternatives to congested thoroughfares but to some residents of the formerly quiet neighborhoods through which Waze has rerouted countless commuters, the app has destroyed their quality of life. Steve Hendrix writes at the Washington Post that when traffic on Timothy Connor's quiet Maryland street in Tamoka Park, MD suddenly jumped by several hundred cars an hour, he knew that Waze was to blame for routing cars around a months-long road repair through his neighborhood. "I could see them looking down at their phones," says Connor. "We had traffic jams, people were honking. It was pretty harrowing." So Connor became a Waze Warrior. Every rush hour, he went on the Google-owned social-media app and posted false reports of a wreck, speed trap or other blockage on his street, hoping to deflect some of the flow. Neighbors filed false reports of blockages, sometimes with multiple users reporting the same issue to boost their credibility. "It used to be that only locals knew all the cut-through routes, but Google Maps and Waze are letting everyone know," says Bates Mattison. "In some extreme cases, we have to address it to preserve the sanctity of a residential neighborhood." But Waze was way ahead of them. It's not possible to fool the system for long, according to Waze officials. For one thing, the system knows if you're not actually in motion. More importantly, it constantly self-corrects, based on data from other drivers. "The nature of crowdsourcing is that if you put in a fake accident, the next 10 people are going to report that it's not there," says Julie Mossler, Waze's head of communications. The company will suspend users they suspect of "tampering with the map."

We spend our winters on Kauai and live on a road that is the width of a one lane road. But it parallels the highway and when the highway gets congested people start turning out road into a highway trying to get ahead of the traffic. In the past it was locals, but lately it has included what are clearly rental cars. Now I know why. I hope that Google/Waze is balancing the cost of running over a child riding a bicycle, (hey, it is a neighborhood road), with the profits they are making.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The pen is mightier than the sword

In May 2016, an odd ad went viral on social media including Linkedin. See below:
Ad as making the rounds on social media

Snopes does not have this researched yet, but I did find a post on Mybroadband (warning they use canvas fingerprinting)"

"When asked about the photos, Samsung provided the following statement:
The alleged typo on a Galaxy Note 10.1 billboard, of course, is fake. Attached is the actual photo from Cromford Road, London as well as the link on Google maps of the actual site below."

Ad provided by Samsung

Channel 24 and Sowetan are adding to the buzz. I guess we will know in a few weeks. Observations:
1) Pen is mightier than the finger just sounds odd.
2) Samsung is going to need to do an after action review to figure out how this went viral without their product line Note 10.1 showing up in the penis version of the picture. Even if this was spoofed they should have caught it, added their product, and re-introduced it.

Movie sound tracks - Dan Wallin

( I had a hard time deciding whether this post should be in Leadership or Perception)

How did the movie Jaws percept the people that watched it? Sorry for the 14 second ad, but here is a Youtube clip of the famous sound. Two notes. Two notes and really bad props.

And it is a movie that changed the world, maybe not set it upside down, but if you are a shark it made a perceptible difference.

Livescience says. "Now, 35 years later, the slogan "Don't go in the water" from the movie has turned out to be a lousy PR campaign for sharks, whose numbers worldwide have been decimated due partly to the frightening and false ideas the film helped spread about them."

Here is a google search. Take a close look at the fill ins, (fill ins are the result of thousands and thousands of previous searches).

Last night I had dinner with Dan Wallin. You may have never heard of him, but he had a very illustrious career as a sound engineer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, after he got out of the Navy he made his way into broadcast radio and eventually the movies.

His focus is more on the symphonies. Should we double the brass. Are the drums coming through. And the technical issues, is there a standing wave, are two speakers out of phase. He delivers the sound. As the LATIMES reports. "The white-haired man behind the sound console is Dan Wallin, or Danny as he is widely known. At 84, he is the oldest working sound engineer in the film industry, yet his ears still rank among the sharpest around, according to his colleagues. He recognizes, often before anyone else, if the trombones should be doubled, if the saxophone is too brassy, or whether the timpani need to be taken down a notch."

The sound carries you through the movie. The music lets you know a stressful moment it about to happen. The music helps you celebrate victory. For the rest of your life, (for the rest of my life), be attentive to the music when you watch a movie and aware of how it percepts you.

Take a couple minutes to appreciate the work of John Williams and the music of Star Wars.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Twitter - She must be really popular - help grow your follower network for "free"

For some reason, I put "free" in the search box on twitter. There are a number of chatbots, (I picked this one because it has multi-lingual exposure)? offering free "followers" if you retweet their offers. des @vaporlove is also a bot. bots begetting bots.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Boy, he sure looks familiar

So I did a reverse image search.

Why did Linkedin serve it up? I don't follow Toby Dodd. Ah, one of my connections commented on the post. Was Toby percepting or pranking? Don't know. Didn't want to invest much time in this, on the surface his other posts seem legit. It is near the 30th birthday of Top Gun.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Half Human - What could possibly go wrong?

UC Davis researchers are injecting human stem cells into pigs. The goal is to create farm animals with human organs. The question of the hour is what if they create a pig, (or sheep), with human consciousness?

According to Boise State Public Radio: "The first step involves using new gene-editing techniques to remove the gene that pig embryos need to make a pancreas.

Working under an elaborate microscope, Ross makes a small hole in the embryo's outer membrane with a laser. Next, he injects a molecule synthesized in the laboratory to home in on and delete the pancreas gene inside. (In separate experiments, he has done this to sheep embryos, too.)
After the embryos have had their DNA edited this way, Ross creates another hole in the membrane so he can inject human induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS for short, into the pig embryos.
Like human embryonic stem cells, iPS cells can turn into any kind of cell or tissue in the body. The researchers' hope is that the human stem cells will take advantage of the void in the embryo to start forming a human pancreas.

Because iPS cells can be made from any adult's skin cells, any organs they form would match the patient who needs the transplant, vastly reducing the risk that the body would reject the new organ."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Self checkout - Safeway Kapaa

5/24/16 Went to the Safeway in Kapaa. The lines were pretty long, but one of the self checkouts was open, since I only had five items I decided to do it.

I had my own bag. It could not register its weight. Five times the override clerk had to say it was OK. And a bottle of Cinnamon whiskey so they had to do the age thing. The red cabbage didn't have a bar code and was not on the list of fruits and vegetables. The override clerk was gone, so we were stuck until a new clerk showed up.

Seven overrides to buy five items. My perception is that anyone with a lot of items is going to steer clear.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Short termism

The long view is in danger of extinction. More and more we focus on the new, new thing. David Armitage and Jo Guldi writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education said, "We live in a moment of accelerating crisis that is characterized by a shortage of long-term thinking. Rising sea levels and other threats to our environment; mounting inequality; rotting infrastructure. Our culture lacks a long-term perspective."

I am not sure it is a crisis, but it is something to be aware of. I am an academic, an educator. We generally believe the three pillars of this life are:

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Service
But, I once read an alternate theory that suggested the three pillars are:
  • Gather knowledge
  • Chronicle the events of our time
  • Mentoring
Similar, but different. I write a lot about the events of our time. Most commonly, it is about security, (which is about as short term as it gets), but also cultural events.

One hundred years from now will anyone remember Ashley Madison?  Will it be considered important that some number that hovers around 32 million users signed up for an infidelity web site. The institution of marriage, generally for life 100 years ago, is now transient for many people. (Don't worry I am not getting preachy, I am simply recording an event of our time).

So, what can we do? We can interview real people and document real events. For instance, just yesterday, I interviewed the founder of a small business startup that endured daily adversity for three years, because it is a real event of our time. 

According to the Smithsonian, "In every community — in families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools — there are people who have knowledge and skills to share — ways of knowing and doing that often come from years of experience and have been preserved and passed down across generations. As active participants in community life, these bearers of tradition are primary sources of culture and history. They are, as folklorist Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett writes, "living links in the historical chain, eye witnesses to history, shapers of a vital and indigenous way of life. They are unparalleled in the vividness and authenticity they can bring to the study of local history and culture."

Through documenting their memories and stories, the past comes to life in the present, filled with vivid images of people, places, and events. And it is not only the past that we discover: we learn about the living traditions — the foodways, celebrations, customs, music, occupations, and skills — that are a vital part of daily experience. These stories, memories, and traditions are powerful expressions of community life and values. They anchor us in a larger whole, connecting us to the past, grounding us firmly in the present, giving us a sense of identity and roots, belonging and purpose."

And there is guidance on how to go about this type of knowledge gathering. They go on explain the process of the interview. And it really matters in a world of perception management. For various reasons, people are fabricating and publishing stories that are completely false, there are digital identities that don't really exist and very soon, if not now, they will be AI sentient

In a well received keynote I gave several years ago called 12 Laws of IT Security Power, I suggested looking at Google Trends at least once a week. But we want to balance that input to our thinking with something long term and solid. I am an occasional Wikipedia editor, but I bought a set of the last printed edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, (revise that :).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Facebook - suppressing conservative news stories

Gizmodo ran this story, "Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users."

True or false, unknown, but it certainly got people's attention:

ABCnews reports, "A senior adviser to Donald Trump will attend a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday with prominent conservative leaders in response to a recent report of Facebook’s handling of conservative news stories, a campaign official said today. "

According to The Verge, "Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is meeting with Glenn Beck and other leading conservatives this week to discuss allegations of political bias in the social network's Trending Topics section. In a Facebook post on Sunday, Beck said Zuckerberg's office had called him about the meeting, and that he wanted to "look [Zuckerberg] in the eye as he explains."

Whatever the truth actually is, one blogger scored serious buzz, ""We removed this from Facebook because it violates our Community Standards," Facebook wrote me. "So you're temporarily blocked from using this feature."

Here is what Facebook has to say, "The Trending Topics team is governed by a set of guidelines meant to ensure a high-quality product, consistent with Facebook’s deep commitment to being a platform for people of all viewpoints. Our goal has always been to deliver a valuable experience for the people who use our service. The guidelines demonstrate that we have a series of checks and balances in place to help surface the most important popular stories, regardless of where they fall on the ideological spectrum. Facebook does not allow or advise our reviewers to discriminate against sources of any political origin, period."

The questions of the hour are:
1) Will this be forgotten by next week, or will it grow into a significant issue?
2) Will this have any impact on people's perception of facebook?
I will set a calendar entry to check up on this in about ten days.

5/25/16 Recode runs an update story:
"Facebook said at the time that this was not true. It reiterated that Monday in an open letter to Thune, in which it highlighted an internal Facebook investigation. "Our investigation has revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature," the letter reads."

Facebook is making some changes as a result of the investigation. My opinion is this is a tempest in a teacup and the story will sink from the public consciousness.