The hacktivist group Anonymous is ramping up its war on ISIS with the release of information how to take down social media accounts associated with the terrorist organization.
“This system coordinates all of the efforts so that they are all working together and sharing to ensure a highly effective fighting force. Its results are staggering. When people work together, they are unstoppable,” the group said in explaining their tactics.
The guides provided by Anonymous detail such things as DDoS-ing, cracking passwords, and how to take down an account. In response, members of ISIS have sent around information on how to not get hacked, recalling details such as not talking to strangers or changing one’s IP repeatedly.
The group has also received recognition from official antiterrorism groups. Retired American General David Petraeus said in an recent interview that what he has seen so far of Anonymous’ work “would be of considerable value to those engaged in counter-terrorism initiatives.”
But could this form of vigilantism actually be of any help? Computer security blogger Olivier Laurelli told AFP that it could harm police operations to find members of ISIS.
“To close those accounts is to leave police deaf and blind around some matters,” Laurelli the French news service. “It is important to know that one account is in France, another in Syria or in Iraq.”
Furthermore, the wrong person could be accused or attacked.
Sunil Tripathi was identified by members of Reddit as the man who had coordinated the Boston Marathon bombing. News outlets such as the BBC reported him as the prime suspect by the FBI, but Tripathi was found dead shortly after the brothers Tsarnev were arrested.
Not only did the Reddit users’ actions take away from the actual perpetrators of the crime, it applied guilt onto a person who wasn’t guilty and may have led to their deaths.
It is unclear whether Anonymous will have a similar record in combating ISIS.
Cover Photo Credit: Pierre (Rennes)/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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By John Massey
The Japanese population is rapidly declining.
The population has lost almost one million people over the past five years.
This decline has been long predicted by demographers but the world’s third largest economy has been unable to find a solution.
The situation is dire and hard to overstate.
If Japan can’t start having many more babies then the country will face great challenges later on in the century. These challenges could undermine the very core of the country’s social order.
Japan has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, 1.41 children per woman in 2012.
As a result, the number of people 65 and over has increased from 12.1% in 1990 to 26% in 2014.
Furthermore, estimates put Japan’s retirement age population at 40% of the total national population by 2060.
This would likely put a tremendous burden on Japan’s social safety net, state pensions alone being ¥792,100 per year ($6,960.76). This accounts for nearly 33% of Japan’s national budget in 2015 and it will only continue to balloon as the years roll on.
Having to cope with close to half of your population being in need of geriatric care is not a problem exclusive to Japan.
China recently revoked and replaced its One Child Policy, with the Two Child Policy.
In part this is to combat China’s low fertility rates, 1.66 births per woman, and in part to counter act the imbalance between the number of men and women, a 30 million person disparity.
Other low fertility countries include, but are not limited to: Singapore (0.81), South Korea (1.18), Germany (1.44), Russia (1.61), The United States (1.87), and the United Kingdom (1.89). All of these nations have fertility rates incapable of sustaining their current populations without immigration helping to offset the disparity.
Elderly populations then are not only a threat to the economic growth of Japan, but to advanced economies in general.
It would then seem that in order to combat global population decline, and with a greater number of developing nations creating advanced economies, nations may need to compete for immigrants in order to sustain their populations.
This may be particularly difficult for Japan, due to the relative difficulty in learning its national language, and a culture that is not as used to welcoming immigrants as many of its potential competitors.
Of course the other way for Japan to get back to an equilibrium in terms of old and young is to have young people have more children- lots more children. The government has tried many different methods, including offering to pay parents to have kids, but it has had little impact.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
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By Daniel Mirolli (originally published on Medium)
Before people begin lobbing thermal detonators my way I’ve actually thought long and hard about this and tonight’s trailer release simply confirms my suspicions. Yes, much of this is speculation. Duh! None of us have seen the film and I’m not privy to any information that isn’t available to everyone.
So if you’re reading this before the release and I turn out to be right then, SERIOUS MIDICHLORIAN-SHATTERING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
If not then the odds you’ve wasted a few minutes listening to a member of your fandom unsuccessfully navigate a trailer release are approximately 3,720 to 1.
So, here’s 10 reasons why Luke is to Kylo as Finkle is to Einhorn.
1. The Poster
You know, this poster. The poster everyone flipped their Force about because Luke isn’t in it.
But he IS in it. I know that’s a “he said, she said” game but let’s do a head count.
Rey, Finn, and Poe? Check.
Han & Leia? Check.
C-3PO & Chewie? Check.
R2 & BB8? *beep* *boop* *whir*
Luke? …Luke? ….Beuler?
Be honest, does it make any sense to not have Mark Hamill in your poster for a movie that will cause box office records to pull an Alderaan (too soon)? Abrams and the rest of the Disney / Lucas Film studio aren’t thinking, well…
I would love it if there is someone at Lucasfilm right now going: “Oh Shi**. We forgot Luke Skywalker.”
— Christopher Dring (@Chris_Dring) October 19, 2015
There’s more to this but for now let’s move on to —
2. The Cowl
We’re dealing with two ancient and opposing, albeit evidenced, religions in the Star Wars universe; Jedi vs Sith. Mysticism, symbolism, and color are very important. There’s a “reason” Jedi fight in bathrobes instead of a more combat ready, blaster repelling, MJOLNIR Mark VI armour (sweet Cortana, someone please create that side fiction) and it’s, “our Jedi Order says so”. Everything is to align itself with the ideas and mythos of their side of the force.
Taken from the second trailer released for the upcoming film there’s little doubt that this is Luke and his trusty companion R2-D2 — the mechanical right hand is a dead giveaway for that. But look at the cowl the character is wearing.
Remember in Episode VI when Luke faced off against Vader in the final fight? He wore an all black outfit (actually throughout the entire film). Why this shouldn’t give us pause, let’s go back to Episode III.
As Anakin progress in his use of the Force and his eventual awakening to the dark side his outfit begins to incorporate more black. I’m sure another fan will correct me on this but none of the Jedi Counsel, with the exception of Shaak Ti (and sometimes Kit Fisto) who is a certifiable badass, wear black.
The Jedi gravitate towards browns, tans, and whites; unassuming colors to help combat the pride that leads to comparison, anger, hate, suffering, and Yoda-speak. In The Return of The Jedi we see Luke wearing all black, facing off against his father, and being told to give into his hatred. Despite Luke’s dismissal of the Emperor’s offer there is a part of him intrigued by the dark side of the force — at the very least the desire to get shit done on his own (see: leaving the Ewok enclave to confront Vader mano y mano). Which leads us to
3. The Timeline
We know from the trailer that many years have passed between VI and VII. Luke changing sides is not something that would happen over night. Like his father, he needs time to strike out on his own and attempt to establish real change in the galaxy by defeating the Empire and establishing the Alliance (like Anakin initially did in the Clone Wars). But the Alliance is just that, an alliance! It requires the independent choice of a multitude of people, a change that takes much longer to realize than the bending of galactic will to a particular vision.
But that is a more effective route and it provides Luke more control. Remember when Luke was training on Degoba what Yoda says to him?
Luke is Anakin’s son. He has the same rebellious, assertive, Type-A tendencies. Now imagine, you’ve just defeated the Empire. The Rebel Alliance is in shambles but victorious. The Empire still has the more fire power. Coruscant is a distant legend. There is sudden peace and no clear leader. Chaos ensues with the Outer Rim warlords seizing the power vacuum left by the Empire. You have to try to remake the galaxy into the prosperous and functioning system it was before there was war, all without using the Force for attack, or a clone army and armada that you quite literally just inherited.
How long before you’d convince yourself you’d get more good done by using this once evil force to unite every world under a single banner? How long before you then had to rely on the Force for attack? How long before Yoda’s admonition for control became validation for your desire to control whole worlds?
4. Mark’s Age
Back to practicality, Mark Hamill is old. Yes, Harrison Ford is older but that’s like comparing Achilles and Hector. We know from Abrams’ behind the scenes videos that he’s a fan of analog and puppetry over CGI. We also know that the force affords its practitioners sustained mobility in old age. To me, that means that while we know Mark did suffer an injury on set, it would behove Abrams to have a stunt double option for Mark readily available for all action scenes and that’s much easier if your old actor chooses to wear a mask.
5. Kylo Ren
So what do we actually know about this guy? According to the Star Wars Wiki, Kylo Ren was born sometime after the Battle of Endor. And while initial assumptions are that he was physically born after the Battle of Endor we also know one very important thing:
Kylo Ren is a title.
We also know that, while serving under Snoke in the Knights of Ren he was obsessed with Vader and is believed to have modeled his look and behavior after him. It is not a stretch to imagine Luke recognizing the frustration his father saw in establishing a new order and following in his footsteps.
6. Yin and Yang Film Cycle
If you haven’t caught on to this yet, the Star Wars franchise oscillates between a Sith and Jedi dominated story line, influenced by the Yin and Yang culture which the originally story was likely plagiarized from (The Hidden Fortress).
Odd Episodes = Sith Wins
Even Episodes = Jedi Wins
Episode VII will be a win for the Sith. And while there’s no guarantee that the new Disney/Lucas Films mashup will stop printing money at Episode IX the franchise does operate on a trilogy cycle. Which means that either Episode IX has to end with the Sith winning or something really interesting has to happen. But how does this all come together?
Queue Star Wars Magic:
7. The Pledge
Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary but of course… it probably isn’t.
Despite how new the 3rd trailer looked, we’ve been here before. New characters are introduced (Rey, Poe, BB8), someone discovers they can use the force (Finn), a baddie is revealed (Kylo), and we “rediscover” a wise mentor (He-Who-Shoots-First Han). This is identical to Episode I and IV.
From what I can gather, Force Awakens begins with the First Order beginning to fill the power vacuum left by the fighting through a unified assault (using Empire weapons and armada). The Jedi are viewed as a myth as evidenced by Han needing to affirm that all the stories actually took place. It’s true. The Dark Side. The Jedi.
In Force Awakens, Han plays the role of Yoda in Episode V — he knows about the past and a crucial detail to the present (one that he doesn’t reveal). And that’s fine, because we’re still meeting the new characters and learning how the world works. We’re establishing assumptions based on what we can glean from the plot until —
8. The Turn
The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled.
Episode II, V, VIII. Anakin turns, Vader is Luke’s father, Kylo is Luke. This is a far more compelling story line that simply a new bad guy is bad and Luke is absently being a hermit because Obi Wan.
Imagine walking out of the theatre on December 18th. You’ve just witnessed the First Order run train on the free world(s). Poe is a funny pilot. Finn is the most relatable and powerful character you’ve seen in a while. And Rey is a badass testament to Feminism (and ultimately Humanism) everywhere.
And while Han has been able to provide great intel on Kylo Ren and the First Order no one seems to be asking where this guy came from or what really happened to Luke.
But Han remembers. He remembers how he and Luke had initially set off to rebuild the galaxy together. How they had become frustrated after years of seeing little progress, already exhausted from their fight against the Empire. He remembers how Luke would disappear on missions, dressed in all black, saying that because he could use the Force he was better suited for single stealth missions. He remembers the unease Leia felt whenever she was around Luke. He remembers the first time he found the mask, in the floorboards of Luke’s X-Wing, and wondered who it belonged to.
Han knows who Kylo Ren is. He’s the sacrifice of principles for ambition. He’s the abandonment of freedom for control. He’s a friend turned an enemy — born out of the Battle of Endor. He’s Luke Skywalker.
9. The Prestige
But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”
Episode I, III, VI, IX. The birth of a chosen one, the hope of new life, the redemption of a father, the redemption of a son. Luke being Kylo affords the franchise an incredible opportunity; conversion. Remember the pattern of film victors? We’re set up to have the Sith win in XI. While that might make sense to usher in another three films, it’s entirely possible it ends with IX.
Episode IX allows for Luke to look himself in the mirror. Who knows what traumatic event this will be? Perhaps Leia will die? Or another pivotal character? The point here is that we get to see why Luke is like his father and, hopefully, better than Vader. Anakin died as Vader but Luke could still die as Luke. Remember, the battle of Jedi vs Sith is at base a religious conflict over the use of the Force. This is a battle won with ideas more than brute strength. If Luke destroys the idea of Kylo and the Sith, the Jedi (and by extension the Alliance it established and protected) win.
Because let’s be honest, this battle looks like it’s only going to go one way…
10. Abrams — The Easter Egg King
Let’s face it, the guy loves leaving gotcha clues throughout his movies. As a fan I enjoy this. But, remember that poster from the beginning? The masked Kylo Ren ominously looming over everyone makes me wonder if Abrams didn’t purposefully request that poster to be able to point fans back to at the end of Episode VIII. Just a thought.
Alternative Theory — Clones!!!
I have to give my roommate credit for this one as he’s actually read the Timothy Zahn series of VII-IX. He pointed out that the final installment of that series, The Last Command, sees Luke encounter a clone of himself.
“Yes, Jedi Skywalker,” C’baoth said quietly from behind him. “He is you. Luuke Skywalker, created from the hand you left behind in the Cloud City on Bespin. Wielding the lightsaber you lost there.”
And what did we see in the released trailer tonight? Luke’s original lightsaber — lost on Cloud City during his battle with its former master.This story was originally published on Medium.
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Baron Capizzi is nearly 96, but he still works at his barbershop in North Miami Beach.
A World War II vet who has a wound on his right hand from a Japanese bayonet, Baron doesn’t brag about his time in the service. “We had a job to do and we did it,” Baron said after our reporter peppered him with questions about his time in the Pacific Theater.
He said that he learned to never worry in life and his daughter confirmed that she’s never seen him stressed or too busy to talk to someone.
He’s been a barber for 60 years and still cuts the hair of Kenny DeFillipo, a man in his 70s who got his first hair cut from Baron at age 10.
His life is testament to how much history really is in our community.
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