Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Yes, I'm Starting To Feel It - And Hey, Read This Again Please, There's An Important Update - The US Military Does NOT Want Us To Quit!

As I sit here, a rather intense color (or colour, depending on where it came from) of hair dye on my head, my zoom at 250% 'cause I can't wear my glasses while I do this, I must admit I'm starting to feel the effects of not having Facebook almost constantly in front of me like I have for, uh, what was it... three years? Four? Surely it couldn't have been for longer than that...

No farm, no village with little babies crawling about, no news feed and no seeing what people on my friend's list were up to. Okay, so that's not so much to miss I guess.

Always the fantasy, never the reality...
Hmm? The hair color? Oh, I've dyed my hair since I was 15. As an adult I put away the blonde stuff and went for the red. I usually go for the demure shades, but once in a while I like to rev it up and yeah, I guess I like to shock people. One year I put a product in that turned my hair so bright, when I went outside, people stopped dead. 

They didn't die, duh, they just stopped. And stared. I'm used to that - my color has been, uh, unusual before. Like the time it was supposed to be a burgundy shade, but in the sunlight it looked deep purple. Meh, I liked it, the hubby - not so much. He can't understand why I wouldn't just want my hair to be natural. Men look great natural - so do women. But I like the brightness and to not have to watch a big swath of gray hair work its way across my scalp.

Whoops, this was supposed to be about Facebook. If you never have used it, don't start. You'll just get stuff (like what I've been babbling about) all day long from all these people you just sort of know. During my years on there I learned some interesting (okay, more irritating than interesting) things about people - most think they are really important and everything they say is fact, and if you don't believe it, you're a (insert personal bad symbol here).

It wasn't just the 'pray for the sick babies or you're going to Hell' kind of stuff - it was endless pictures of what they ate (I hate to tell you people, but the stew you made that was the best you've ever tasted looks to us like someone threw up on a plate), where they went (Do you really want people to know how many times a day you stop for coffee or a cheeseburger?), what they believe (and brother, you better believe it too or else...), and what they consider to be crap. 

I guess that really sunk in when people I'd known since I was a teenager were posting derogatory jokes and nasty pictures about my religion, but at the same time they demanded tolerance for 'everyone'. Five minutes later they'd post 'Love Jesus Or Die' statements on their walls. It just didn't seem to make much sense.

Some made their personal agendas an all-day project, sharing post after post ('cause none of these people had minds of their own apparently) of misspelled emphatic statements against one thing or another. Birth control, sexual preference, political views, 'lucky' coin or clover posts certain to bring you instant wealth... it was... exhausting. 

Toward the end, the only thing on my 'news feed' page (when FB graciously decided we could put people that bugged us out of sight) was the local news, my favorite horror pages, and ads. 

No, I didn't want the ads - that's a new Facebook thing. They're gonna need the money. You've probably heard and I've mentioned that they got caught manipulating people' emotions on their site. Now, at least in the UK, people are looking into whether that was legal and whether Facebook should be spanked.

There are two articles to consider, so I've made the print a bit smaller - hope it's still easy to read...

An article from a great site called 'Naked Security' (Hey, catches the attention, right?) printed the following today:

Did Facebook's emotion experiment break the law? ICO probes

by Lee Munson on July 2, 2014

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is investigating whether Facebook's emotional manipulation study broke data protection laws. The regulator told The Financial Times that it planned to probe the Facebook experiment, which manipulated the feeds of close to 700,000 users to determine how they reacted to positive or negative news, following widespread public outrage after a paper was published over the weekend.

A spokesperson for the ICO told the paper that it would liaise with the office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (Facebook has its European headquarters in Dublin), but it was "too early to tell exactly what part of the law Facebook may have infringed." The Information Commissioner's Office will likely look at how much user information was used and whether those affected had given permission for their data to be used in such a manner.

Yesterday, it was also reported that Facebook added a "research" clause to it terms and conditions four months after the experiment began. (Italics and bold added by Miss Murder)

That clause states that the company could use user data for "internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement."

However, a spokeswoman for Facebook told Forbes: When someone signs up for Facebook, we've always asked permission to use their information to provide and enhance the services we offer. To suggest we conducted any corporate research without permission is complete fiction...

Adam Kramer, a co-author of the research paper, offered up his own explanation for the study on his personal Facebook page: The reason we did this research is because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product... we were concerned that exposure to friends' negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook. We didn't clearly state our motivations in the paper.

Can you say bullshit??? Even Miss Murder knows that changing a contract AFTER it has been made without notifying the person signing it is like racketeering. The definition of racketeering is the illegal activity that is inherent to organized crime. These crimes are committed with the protection and advancement of the organized-crime "business" in mind. Facebook committed a crime in that it put business over people to advance their own agenda and, of course, put tons of money in their pockets.

...As we (Naked Security) reported yesterday, Facebook said there was "no unnecessary collection of people's data" and none of the gathered data could be associated with a specific account on the social network.

Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld said: We want to do better in the future and are improving our process based on this feedback. The study was done with appropriate protections for people's information and we are happy to answer any questions regulators may have.

End Of Article

So, let me get this straight: When we asked Facebook to fix things that weren't working right, stop the scams and the fake news reports, keep ads off our page and stop making things happen like videos automatically running when you scroll over them (which takes up a lot of memory, especially when you're on a tablet or your phone) they listened to us and answered all our questions? Pffft. There have been statements from PROGRAM DEVELOPERS who have been frustrated with constant Facebook code changes and not only they but we were ignored, there wasn't even a place we could go to for help. 

Facebook does NOT have customer service representatives, nor does it have a site or an email address to send questions to. So Facebook doing what they wanted while indiscriminately telling us what was right and what was wrong (which changed without notice to some but not for others), that was okay, but it wasn't enough for you? You had to mess with us deliberately by seeing if we could get even MORE depressed by what we were seeing on our pages? Wow. That takes some big, big balls Zuckerberg. And that is NOT a compliment.

Aaaaaand once again I got totally off topic. Sort of. See, I am kind of itching to go back 'to the farm' and to see what my 'friends' (whom I never see or talk to) are saying or posting - but I know if I do, I can easily spend HOURS per day just doing that. And there's a lot of good stuff I'm working on right now. 

Sheah I WISH I was this good...
I'm still learning circles
and ovals and how to
make my figures 'walk' and...
I'm learning how to computer draw manga as well as anime, I have a really neat animation program that I'd like to get a cartoon going on my horror site when that's ready, I'm trying to get better at my movie reviews (they are supposed to be funny after all, and I think my sense of humor has been kind of strangled this year) and the time I do NOT spend on Facebook will help a lot, considering that the window of time I can work on the computer is short - most of the time I'm flat in bed, unable to move. 

See, right now I'm boring YOU guys in the time I would usually be on Facebook and all its' artificial pursuits. I guess it comes down to moderation in all things. Too much of anything is never good for you. Even if it's something that keeps you alive. 

I've read of people who've died from drinking too much water. If you breathe too much oxygen, a switch flips in your system and it will make you stop breathing (if you're conscious that's no big deal, but if you're not...). Too much exercise can hurt you. Too much of ANYTHING is... too much. My 'too much' was trying to keep up with all my oh-so-important Facebook pursuits (those crops weren't going to plant themselves you know).

I think I just wanted to belong, to be popular, to be part of the group. But I wasn't. I've been completely off almost a week and not a single person has tried to contact me to see if I was okay. Not surprising. Not even disappointing really. After all, I wasn't checking up on them either.

Let's see... movies, movies... oh yes. Coming up is PMS Cop (yes that's an actual movie) plus some other incredibly awful movies that I will attempt to make fun to read, because they certainly weren't fun to watch.

Oh well, at least it won't be World War Z. I've been punished enough for one year I think.

July 4, 2014 - Check this out kiddies... The US Military Does NOT WANT US TO QUIT FACEBOOK!

This article appeared on MSN News...

Though Cornell University, home to at least one of the researchers, said the study received no external funding, it turns out that the university is currently receiving Defense Department money for some extremely similar-sounding research—the analysis of social network posts for “sentiment,” i.e. how people are feeling, in the hopes of identifying social “tipping points.” The tipping points in question include “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey,” according to the website of the Minerva Initiative, a Defense Department social science project.

It’s the sort of work that the U.S. military has been funding for years, most famously via the open-source indicators program, an Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity(IARPA) program that looked at Twitter to predict social unrest. If the idea of the government monitoring and even manipulating you on Facebook gives you a cold, creeping feeling, the bad news is that you can expect the intelligence community to spend a great deal more time and money researching sentiment and relationships via social networks like Facebook. In fact, defense contractors and high-level U.S.intelligence officials say that social network data has become one of the most important tools they use in the collecting intelligence.

Defense One recently caught up with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency who said the U.S. military has “completely revamped” the way it collects intelligence around the existence of large, openly available data sources and especially social media like Facebook. “The information that we’re able to extract form social media—it’s giving us insights that frankly we never had before,” he said. In other words, the head of one of the biggest U.S. military intelligence agencies needs you on Facebook.

“Just over a decade ago, when I was a senior intelligence officer, I spent most of my time in the world of ‘ints’—signals intelligence imagery, human intelligence—and used just a little bit of open-source information to enrich the assessments that we made. Fast forward to 2014 and the explosion of the information environment in just the last few years alone. Open-source now is a place I spend most of my time. The open world of information provides us most of what we need and the ‘ints’ of old, they enrich the assessments that we’re able to make from open-source information.”

Open-source intelligence can take a variety of forms, but among the most voluminous, personal and useful is Facebook and Twitter data. The availability of that sort of information is changing the way that DIA trains intelligence operatives. Long gone are the spooks of old who would fish through trash for clues on targets. Here to stay are the eyes looking through your vacation pictures.

“We train them differently even than we did a year ago because of the types of tools we have. There are adjustments to the trade craft, and that’s due to the amount of information we can now get our hands on,” Flynn said. The growth of social media has not just changed day-to-day life at agencies like DIA, it’s also given rise to a mini gold rush in defense contracting. The military will be spending an increasing amount of the $50 billion intelligence budget on private contractors to perform open-source intelligence gathering and analysis, according to Flynn. That’s evidenced by the rise in companies eager to provide those services.

Some of them are well known like Palantir, the Silicon Valley data visualization giant that’s been featured prominently in Bloomberg Businessweek and has graced the cover of Forbes. Collecting or analyzing social network data wasn’t something they originally wanted to get into according to Bryant Chung, a Palantir employee. Palantir doesn’t market itself as a data collection company. They provide a tool set to help agencies visualize and share data. The company worried that partnering with the intelligence community to do social network data collection could hurt their reputation among the tech community, increasingly wary of the government, according to Chung. When the company was approached by NATO and some U.S.intelligence groups, they decided to explore the marketplace for sentiment analysis of social network data.

“There are a lot of other commercial companies already in that space. Unless we know we’re going to crush it, we don’t want to get in,” Chung said. “I think we have a differentiated capability, especially at a macro level. For example, you are interested in monitoring an election somewhere in Africa and you want to know who are the people tweeting on one side of an election versus the other, or who are the most influential tweeters or you what if you have intelligence that an explosion is about to happen at a particular square, can you confirm that using Tweets?” That’s the sort of thing Palantir wants to help you with. Many of the groups doing this sort of work on behalf of the government are small outfits you probably have never heard of. And ideally, you never would.

One of them is a company out of Austin, Texas, called SnapTrends, founded in 2012. They provide a “social listening” service that analyzes posts to provide insights about the circumstances of the poster, one of the most important of which is the poster’s location. The company uses cell tower density, social network knowhow, and various other elements to figure out who is posting what and where. Are you someone who refuses to geo-tag your tweets out of concerns for privacy? Do you turn off your phone’s GPS receiving capability to stay under the proverbial radar? It doesn’t matter to SnapTrends. One tweet and they can find you.

“If it’s a dense environment. I can put you within a block. If it’s a [bad] environment I can put you within two or three blocks,” said Todd Robinson, director of operations for Defense Military Intelligence for the company General Dynamics Information Technology, GDIT, and SnapTrends president for Middle Eastern operations. GDIT partnered with SnapTrends to sell their services to the government. “Once I do have you, I click this button right here, I can go back five years [of social media posts.]” SnapTrends says that the tool was extremely helpful in the investigation following the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb attacks. Using social network analysis, “we found the college kids that had access to the computers [owned by the suspects]. We were able to get to them first,” said Robins.

The use of social network data for intelligence isn’t just fair, Robbins says, it’s a no-brainer. Scrawling Facebook for clues about human behavior doesn’t require breaking in via backdoors or other elaborate pieces of technological trickery. “When you join Twitter and Facebook, you sign an agreement saying you will post that to a public web page. We just pull data from that web page.” ”I’m a retired intelligence guy,” he said. “This is not that difficult, people.”

But while social data may be an important tool in intelligence collection, it’s hardly a permanent one. In the same way that observing the behavior of some subatomic particles changes the behavior of those particles (called the observer effect), watching the tweets and posts of targets can create an environment where people tweet less. You poison your own well by drawing from it. That happens on an individual level in terms of specific human targets but also on a larger, societal level.

“We’ve seen that already,” Robinson said. “There is always a risk that as people understand this, they’ll quit putting [posts] on there.” The view was seconded by SnapTrends co-founder and CEO, Eric Klasson. “The more the ‘bad guys’ know about what is possible, the less they will use social media. This undermines state, local, federal and international law enforcement efforts,” he told Defense One.

When asked if he was concerned that people might stop using Facebook, Twitter and other social networks as a result of U.S.intelligence activities, Flynn answered matter-of-factly: “Yes. We have to be agile enough to watch how those adaptations occur and we have to try to stay ahead of them for when we see them and adjust our capabilities to be able to understand them. People will constantly adapt to their environment in order to survive,” he said.

DIA has some time before the social network pool is spoiled. Today, Facebook remains the number one social network in the Middle East. More than 90 percent of all the Internet users of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates use the service. Should millions of people decide to abandon the network and seek out another one to connect to and communicate with the outside world, the U.S. intelligence community will likely already be there.