Do You Know Who Your Facebook Friends Are?

How creepy is this?

Army of fake social media friends to promote propaganda

It’s recently been revealed that the U.S. government contracted HBGary Federal for the development of software which could create multiple fake social media profiles to manipulate and sway public opinion on controversial issues by promoting propaganda. It could also be used as surveillance to find public opinions with points of view the powers-that-be didn’t like. It could then potentially have their “fake” people run smear campaigns against those “real” people. As disturbing as this is, it’s not really new for U.S. intelligence or private intelligence firms to do the dirty work behind closed doors.

See also:
Persona Management Software
Gaming Social Networks for Influence and Propaganda
U.S. Gov‘t Software Creates ’Fake People’ to Spread Message via Social Networking
US Gov. Software Creates ‘Fake People’ on Social Networks to Promote Propaganda
So, Why Does the Air Force Want Hundreds of Fake Online Identities on Social Media? [Update]
Revealed: Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people
More HBGary Federal Fallout: The Government Wants To Buy Software To Fake Online Grassroots Social Media Campaigns
Why Is the Military Creating an Army of Fake People on the Internet?
HBGary :: Detect. Diagnose. Respond
hbgaryfederal.com is offline

Well, at least now we know where all the “supposed” support for the malignant travesty that is Obamacare is coming from, fake people with fake opinions.

/seriously, do you trust the Obama administration and Democrats in general with software like this?

Weekly Watch List

NFLX
CXO
BIDU
ARUN
SINA
FFIV
ILMN
INFA
EW
CTSH
AAPL
JNPR
ORCL
MELI
ENDP

Additions:
None

Subtractions:
CVLT
VIT

Last week, all the major indices gained ground yet again. The NYSE added 1.6%, the Dow and S&P 500 each rose 1%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.9%. The IBD outlook remains at “confirmed uptrend”. Keep riding the bull until it rolls over .

This week, there are four watch list stocks at or near proper buy points, ILMN, EW, CTSH, and ORCL.

ILMN, trading at $72.27, is still within 5% of a $71.46 buy point. EW, trading at $89.50, cleared a five week flat base and is still barely within 5% of a $85.57 buy point. CTSH, trading at $72.27, found support at its ten week line and is in buy range up to $77.73. ORCL, trading at $33.68, is still within 5% of a $32.37 buy point.

/as usual, your mileage may vary, always do your own homework

It’s A Bird, It’s Not A Plane, It’s A Spy Drone!

This would make an awesome cat toy!

Hummingbird spy drone developed for DARPA

Under a contract from DARPA, AeroVironment Unmanned Aircraft Systems has created a hummingbird spy drone, the first two-wing, flapping-wing aircraft that carries its own energy source and can hover as well as move forwards.

The Nano Hummingbird can climb and descend vertically and fly sideways, forwards and backwards, as well as rotating clockwise and counter-clockwise, under remote control and carrying a video camera payload.

During a demonstration, the Nano Hummingbird flew in and out of a building through a normal-size doorway.

The hand-made prototype has a wingspan of 6.5 inches tip-to-tip and weighs less than an AA battery. It can be fitted with a removable body fairing, shaped like a real hummingbird and about the same size.

See also:
It’s a bird! It’s a spy! It’s both
Robot Hummingbird Spy Drone Flies for Eight Minutes, Spies on Bad Guys
US robot ornithopter spy-hummingbird in flight test triumph
Spy tech: DARPA demonstrates Nano Hummingbird spy drone
DARPA Backs Hummingbird Like Spy Robot
Small hummingbird aircraft flaps like a bird, weighs less than a Duracell
Next post Video: Hummingbird Drone Does Loop-de-Loop
Tiny ‘Hummingbird’ May Someday Fly Spy Missions For The Military
Robotic hummingbird is right out of a James Bond film
Technology: James Bond’s hummingbird
Bird Bond: ‘Nano Hummingbird’ Drone Takes Spying to the Sky
Tiny robotic bird is latest in gov’t spy gear
AV’s ‘hummingbird’ aircraft displays maneuverability
Watch a hummingbird-shaped spy drone flutter around, steal your secrets
AeroVironment, Inc.: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Although this is a prodigious display of technological achievement, there’s a major drawback to developing a hummingbird spy drone, hummingbirds are only found in North, South, and Central America. So, besides Venezuela, it’s pretty much worthless for covert spying against almost all the global enemies of the United States.

/now, if they could reduce it down to insect size . . .

Somali Pirates Collect Four More Americans

Judging by recent events, it’s pretty obvious that Operation Ocean Shield isn’t working very well.

Somali pirates seize American yacht crew off Oman

Four Americans sailing on a yacht off the coast of Oman have been taken hostage by Somali pirates, an international maritime watchdog says.

The S/V Quest, owned by a retired couple, was hijacked 240 nautical miles (275 miles) off Oman on Friday afternoon, Ecoterra told BBC News.

It is believed the yacht was en route from India to Oman.

While pirates usually attack cargo ships, they have hijacked a number of yachts in recent years.

Ecoterra said the capture of the S/V Quest had been reported by both its sources and by Nato’s anti-piracy operation, Ocean Shield. Nato could not be reached immediately for comment.

Jean and Scott Adam, the yacht’s owners, have been sailing it around the world since 2002, according to their website.

See also:
Somali pirates seize yacht with four Americans onboard, military says
Pirates hijack yacht with Americans on board
Yachting race organizers name Americans aboard yacht hijacked by Somali pirates
Pirates hijack 4 Americans; US mulls responses
Somali Pirates Seize a Yacht, the Quest, with Four Americans on Board
Somali pirates hijack yacht and capture Americans sailing in the Indian Ocean
Somali pirates seize American yacht crew off Oman
Yacht with 4 Americans Seized by Pirates in Somalia
Pirates seize four Americans from yacht off Oman
American sailors kidnapped by Somali pirates
Local Couple Taken Hostage by Somali Pirates: Reports
US assessing options in hijacking of couple by Somali pirates
US considers yacht hijack response
Pirates bringing hijacked US yacht to Somali lair
Pirates: Yacht to make landfall in Somalia

When are we going to get serious about this pirate threat? It’s not enough to react after they strike. In fact, in most cases, a ransom is paid, which only encourages more pirate activity. We need to strike at these pirates preemptively, lay waste to their home port bases and scuttle their entire pirate fleet. In other words, we need to change the pirates’ risk calculus so that the thought of engaging in pirate activity is equivalent to the thought of touching a hot stove.

/and if the combined naval resources of the civilized world aren’t able or willing to eliminate this piracy scourge, Western governments should start issuing letters of marque and let the private sector take a shot at the problem

The Sun Is Pissed Off

Run for your lives!

Massive solar flare hits Earth tonight

The biggest solar flare in four years has blasted out from the sun, and is expected to reach Earth late tonight.

The flare, or coronal mass ejection (CME), was emitted on Monday at 8:56pm EST. It’s been categorized as a Class X2.2 flare, the most severe type. It follows one Class M – medium-sized – flare the day before, and several low-grade Class C flares over the preceding week.

The coronal mass ejection associated with the flare is currently traveling about 900 Km/second and is expected to reach Earth’s orbit tonight at about 10pm EST. It’s the biggest flare yet in the current solar cycle.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 193 Angstroms – although the SDO imager was for a moment overwhelmed by the bright flash.

It emanated from Active Region 1158, in the southern hemisphere; this has in the past trailed behind the north in activity but now leads in big flares.

A flare of this size could have noticeable effects on Earth when the cloud of charged particles reaches us. It’s possible that radio transmissions and GPS systems could be knocked out, and power grids could be affected.

See also:
Sun Erupts with Enormous X2 Solar Flare
Solar flare 2011: How a dazzling display can wreak electrical havoc
Here comes the sun: Solar flares make way to Earth
Biggest Solar Flares in 4 Years Heading Toward Earth
Scientists await arrival of solar flares
Planet awaits largest solar flare effects today
Giant Solar Blast Headed for Earth
Solar flares due to hit Earth
Sun has biggest solar flare of the year
Solar flare could light up night sky
Solar flare could cause Northern Lights over New England
Is Class X flash first warning of 2012 solar storm?

So, if your power goes out or your electronics go haywire, you’ll know why, the Earth is getting a solar spanking. And if a solar flare can disrupt the power grid, it kind of makes you wonder what kind of radiation dose humans are taking.

/in any case, don’t forget to duck

Libya Circling The Drain

The anti-government fever that has so far infected Pakistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, and Bahrain, has now spread to Libya.

Protesters die in Libya unrest

At least two people have been killed in clashes between Libyan security forces and demonstrators in the town of Bayda, east of Benghazi, the second largest city, as activists plan major anti-government protests throughout the country on Thursday.

The victims’ names were: Khaled ElNaji Khanfar and Ahmad Shoushaniya.

Wednesday’s deaths come as hundreds of protesters have reportedly torched police outposts in the eastern city of Beyida, while chanting: “People want the end of the regime.”

At least 38 people were also injured in the clashes, including ten security officials.

“All the people of Beyida are out on the streets,” said 25-year-old Rabie al-Messrati, who said he had been arrested after spreading a call for protests on Facebook.

Inspired by popular and successful uprisings in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, Libyan protesters are seeking an end to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s 41-year-old rule, one of the longest and most repressive leaders in the world.

Online calls of dissent have been growing rapidly over the past few days, with Facebook groups calling for “Uprising on February 17” doubling in popularity.

See also:
Protests flare as Libya arrests activists
Protests Spread To Libya
Anti-government protests spread to Gaddafi’s Libya
Gadhafi next? Anti-government protests spread to Libya
Rioting hits Libyan city of Benghazi
Libyan police stations torched
‘Day of rage’ to confront Libya’s Gadhafi
Libyan online protesters prepare for “day of rage”
Gaddafi sweats as protest fever reaches Libya
As ‘day of rage’ tests Gadhafi, Libya’s future rests in military’s hands
Gadhafi’s regime is braced for a day of anger
Libyans Plan Rallies After One Is Quashed
Libyan dictator warns against use of Facebook, 40 protesters injured
Libyan forces take action against demonstrators
Protesters, Police Clash In Libya
Riots spread across Libya overnight
SNAP ANALYSIS-Riots break out in Libyan city of Benghazi
Unrest continues to sweep Arab world

So, now the street chaos has come to Libya. Well, here’s one country where I can, in good conscience, heartily root for the rioters. If anyone in this world deserves to be dragged through the streets, it’s Muammar Gaddafi. We still owe him big time for Lockerbie.

/of course, the rioters will first have to fight their way past Gaddafi’s infamous Amazonian Guard

Bahrain Circling The Drain

So far, we’ve had anti-government unrest in Pakistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Algeria. Add Bahrain to the ever growing list.

Protesters take over square in U.S. ally Bahrain

Thousands of demonstrators poured into the symbolic center of this key U.S. ally late Tuesday in a raucous rally that again demonstrated the power of popular movements that are transforming the political landscape of the Middle East.

. . .

In Bahrain, the small but strategically important monarchy experienced the now familiar sequence of events that has rocked the Arab world. What started as an online call for a “Day of Rage” progressed within 24 hours to an exuberant group of demonstrators waving flags, setting up tents and taking over a square in the heart of the capital city.

Tuesday began in sorrow and violence, when mourners who gathered to bury a young man, killed the night before by police, clashed again with the security forces. In Tuesday’s melee, a second young man was killed by police.

But as momentum built up behind the protests Tuesday, 18 members of parliament from the opposition Islamic National Accord Association announced they were suspending participation in the parliament.

See also:
Thousands of protesters march to Bahrain capital
In Bahrain, protesters bridge Sunni-Shiite divide to challenge monarchy
Bahrain’s Shiite Protesters Gather as Unrest Spreads
Bahrain Protests Update [VIDEOS]
Bahrain Demonstrators Gather Despite Crackdown
Antigovernment Protesters Seize Main Square In Bahrain
Protesters take control of main square in Bahrain
Pearl Roundabout, Bahrain
Angry protest follows second death in Bahrain
Another killed in Bahrain as funeral for fallen protester devolves into clashes
Bahrain mourner killed in funeral march clash
Bahrain Protests Swell With Second Death, Tear Gas at Funeral
Bahrain protest deaths point to excessive force
Bahrain protests: King announces probe into two deaths
US expresses concern over Bahrain unrest
UPDATE 2-US concerned by violence in Bahrain protests
US ‘very concerned’ by violence in Bahrain protests

Country to country it spreads, where it will stop, all the regional despots dread. The fact that Bahrain’s now in play is somewhat unnerving for at least two reasons. First, the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain. The Fifth Fleet strategically controls the entire region and somehow having the command displaced from Bahrain would be a humiliating military disaster. Also, the unrest is now sweeping into countries that border Saudi Arabia. If Saudi Arabia were to descend into political chaos, Western oil supplies would be threatened and oil prices would skyrocket.

/although, I must admit, after all their years of financing worldwide terrorism, I wouldn’t shed many tears if the Saudi royal oil ticks were being dragged through the streets of Riyadh