Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California’s winter was as well.
As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.
In what is becoming an increasingly more confusing conflict – is it truly an ideological war, or merely an extended attempt to generate empathy via social networking, together with a full-blown conflict on twitter – Israel continued its pinpoint strikes in Gaza overnight, taking out the house of a high-ranking Hamas operative, together with the release of commemorative video showing the explosion moments after the event. The clip is below. What is more curious is that the global hacker group Anonymous has already picked its side, and yesterday launched a massive attack named #OpIsrael, which has so far hacked 700 Israeli websites. From RT: “The hackers reportedly took down websites ranging from high-profile governmental structures such as the Foreign Ministry to local tourism companies’ pages. The biggest attack as of now has been the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s international development program, titled Mashav. Anonymous announced on Twitter they’ve hacked into the program’s database, with the website remaining inaccessible at the moment.” And most notably, Anonymous also took down the primary nexus used by Israel’s to boast about its military exploits: the blog of the Israel Defense Forces, which has been down for half a day now.While Israel has demonstrated superiority in sheer physical military strength, the reality, as the StuxNet stories over the past 2 years have shown, that the real war will be fought on line and in various mainframes. The problem is that when dealing with a massive decentralized, cloud of hacker attacks originating from everywhere in the globe, just whom will Israel retaliate against in this 21st century equivalent of guerrilla warfare?
An undercover team of computer scientists reveals the practices of people who are paid to post on websites.
In China, paid posters are known as the Internet Water Army because they are ready and willing to ‘flood’ the internet for whoever is willing to pay. The flood can consist of comments, gossip and information (or disinformation) and there seems to be plenty of demand for this army’s services.
This is an insidious tide. Positive recommendations can make a huge difference to a product’s sales but can equally drive a competitor out of the market. When companies spend millions launching new goods and services, it’s easy to understand why they might want to use every tool at their disposal to achieve success.
The loser in all this is the consumer who is conned into making a purchase decision based on false premises. And for the moment, consumers have little legal redress or even ways to spot the practice.
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