Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for April 18th, 2010

All tweets given to US government, archived and searchable, forever.

Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2010

“Twitter, based in San Francisco, is a free Web service with 58 million users that lets people send 140- character messages, called “tweets,” to multiple followers.” – bloomberg

Twitter Donates Entire Tweet Archive to Library of Congress

Twitter is donating its digital archive of public tweets to the Library of Congress. Twitter is a leading social networking service that enables users to send and receive tweets, which consist of web messages of up to 140 characters.

Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets per day from people around the world. The Library will receive all public tweets-which number in the billions-from the 2006 inception of the service to the present.

“The Twitter digital archive has extraordinary potential for research into our contemporary way of life,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “This information provides detailed evidence about how technology based social networks form and evolve over time. The collection also documents a remarkable range of social trends. Anyone who wants to understand how an ever-broadening public is using social media to engage in an ongoing debate regarding social and cultural issues will have need of this material.”

Billington added: “The Library looks at this as an opportunity to add new kinds of information without subtracting from our responsibility to manage our overall collection. Working with the Twitter archive will also help the Library extend its capability to provide stewardship for very large sets of born-digital materials.”

In making the donation, Greg Pass, Twitter’s vice president of engineering, said: “We are pleased and proud to make this collection available for the benefit of the American people. I am very grateful that Dr. Billington and the Library recognize the value of this information. It is something new, but it tells an amazing story that needs to be remembered.” Twitter’s own take on the donation is posted on their blog http://blog.twitter.com/2010/04/tweet-preservation.html

… The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. Today the Library holds more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office and websites of Members of Congress. In addition, the Library leads the congressionally mandated National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program www.digitalpreservation.gov, which is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations. …

via Twitter Archive to Library of Congress – The Library Today (Library of Congress).

Nice to know my blog post titles will be preserved for all time. Everything I post goes out on Twitter with a link back to this blog for the full article. Sounds to me like Twitter also gave away the “tiny percentage” of private stuff?

… Since Twitter began, billions of tweets have been created. Today, fifty-five million tweets a day are sent to Twitter and that number is climbing sharply. A tiny percentage of accounts are protected but most of these tweets are created with the intent that they will be publicly available. Over the years, tweets have become part of significant global events around the world—from historic elections to devastating disasters.

It is our pleasure to donate access to the entire archive of public Tweets to the Library of Congress for preservation and research. It’s very exciting that tweets are becoming part of history. It should be noted that there are some specifics regarding this arrangement. Only after a six-month delay can the Tweets be used for internal library use, for non-commercial research, public display by the library itself, and preservation. … – link

You’d think Evan would have learned from  being hacked that people value privacy.  Don’t people use Twitter to transmit bank account information–see http://twitter.com/bofa_help, they say no account numbers, but people don’t read. Some WILL transmit bank account numbers–, drivers licenses, addresses, phone numbers, and other data which can be used for identity theft? There will also be security codes and proprietary company data.

I think someone will sue.  Perhaps a transgendered mayoral candidate, or Newt Gingrich, or Britney Spears, or Tony La Russa, or TechRadium,  or Oneok.

Some comments I’ve read suggest that people think powerful government forces made Twitter “an offer they could not refuse” and this was the best way Williams and Pass could see to make it clear to everyone that they are not able to prevent government access to the entire database.

They may have thought, “fine, if our data is not private, then by god it is really going to not be private.” That way, on into the future Twitter data won’t be exploitable by just a power minority.

Is Twitter selling you out or “sticking it to the Man”?  If neither, then why not have the Library of Congress hold the data for 50 to 100 years before ANYONE could have access to it?

U.S. Sued by Privacy Group Over Use of Facebook, Twitter Data

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said it sued the Justice Department and other U.S. agencies to get information about their policies for using social networks including Facebook and Twitter in investigations, data collection and surveillance.

The civil rights group said in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in San Francisco that the government has used social-networking sites in conducting investigations and hasn’t clarified the scope of that use or whether there are any restrictions or oversight to prevent abuses.

The EFF said in its complaint that it is seeking the information to “help inform Congress and the public about the effect of such uses and purposes on citizens’ privacy rights and associated legal protections.”

It cited news articles that reported police searching Facebook photos for evidence of underage drinking and an FBI search of an individual’s home after the person sent messages on Twitter during the G-20 Summit notifying protesters of police movements. – bloomberg

You can search the Library of Congress here. (A search for “Xenophilius” currently yields zero results.)

Posted in Technology | Leave a Comment »

Anti-Cancer Agent Stops Metastasis In Its Tracks

Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2010

http://www.vhl.org/images/MemorialSloan-Kettering.jpgLike microscopic inchworms, cancer cells slink away from tumors to travel and settle elsewhere in the body. Now, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College report in today’s online edition of the journal Nature that new anti-cancer agents break down the looping gait these cells use to migrate, stopping them in their tracks.

Mice implanted with cancer cells and treated with the small molecule macroketone lived a full life without any cancer spread, compared with control animals, which all died of metastasis. When macroketone was given a week after cancer cells were introduced, it still blocked greater than 80 percent of cancer metastasis in mice.

These findings provide a very encouraging direction for development of a new class of anti-cancer agents, the first to specifically stop cancer metastasis, says the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Xin-Yun Huang, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medical College.

“More than 90 percent of cancer patients die because their cancer has spread, so we desperately need a way to stop this metastasis,” Dr. Huang says. “This study offers a paradigm shift in thinking and, potentially, a new direction in treatment.”

Dr. Huang and his research team have been working on macroketone since 2003. Their work started after researchers in Japan isolated a natural substance, dubbed migrastatin, secreted by Streptomyces bacteria, that is the basis of many antibiotic drugs. The Japanese researchers noted that migrastatin had a weak inhibitory effect on tumor cell migration.

Dr. Huang and collaborators at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center then proceeded to build analogues of migrastatin — synthetic and molecularly simpler versions. “After a lot of modifications, we made several versions that were a thousand-fold more potent than the original,” Dr. Huang says. In 2005, they published a study showing that several of the new versions, including macroketone, stopped cancer cell metastasis in laboratory animals, but they didn’t know how the agent worked.

In the current study, the researchers revealed the mechanism. They found that macroketone targets an actin cytoskeletal protein known as fascin that is critical to Fig. 1.cell movement. In order for a cancer cell to leave a primary tumor, fascin bundles actin filaments together like a thick finger. The front edge of this finger creeps forward and pulls along the rear of the cell. Cells crawl away in the same way that an inchworm moves.

Macroketone latches on to individual fascin, preventing the actin fibers from adhering to each other and forming the pushing leading edge, Dr. Huang says. Because individual actin fibers are too soft when they are not bundled together, the cell cannot move. …

via Anti-Cancer Agent Stops Metastasis In Its Tracks.

“Also pleasing was the finding that the mice suffered few side effects from the treatment, according to Dr. Huang. “The beauty of this approach is that fascin is over-expressed in metastatic tumor cells but is only expressed at a very low level in normal epithelial cells, so a treatment that attacks fascin will have comparatively little effect on normal cells — unlike traditional chemotherapy which attacks all dividing cells,” he says. “

via physorg

Macroketone is a synthetic substance potentiated and modeled after migrastatin from antibiotics, which stops cancer cell metastasis.[1] Macroketone targets an actin cytoskeletal protein known as fascin that is critical to cell movement. The effect in one study has been 80% of all metastasis blocked.[1][2]

via wikipedia

Posted in Health | Leave a Comment »

Did UFO hacker McKinnon find evidence of a secret US UFO fleet?

Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2010

Having just finished the Star Trek Enterprise series (all four seasons start to finish) I really love the premise behind this. Which, of course, should raise some alarm bells right there. Sometimes stories are tailor made for people who want to believe. Now we have a tie in between Gary and the Disclosure Project.

I bet some countries are getting pretty nervous about the speed, payload, cloaking devices and crew compliment of our secret UFO space fleet. We’ve been very restrained since Roswell, not risking any leaks of our “Ace in the Hole” alien technology. But there have been plenty of sightings all over the world. ;-)

Gary McKinnon (credit: Associated Press)left: Gary McKinnon (credit: Associated Press) left below: Admiral Hillenkoetter (credit: USN), right below: General Curtis LeMay (credit: USAF)

In what US prosecutors have called the biggest military hack of all time, Scottish hacker, Gary McKinnon says it was all done in an effort to end secrecy regarding UFOs and Free Energy technology. McKinnon has been accused of hacking into computer systems belonging to NASA, the US Army, US Navy, Department of Defense, and the US Air Force. He is fighting extradition to the United States to be held on trial, and if extradited faces spending the rest of his life in prison, but where his efforts in vain, or did he really find something.

In all of his interviews, McKinnon talks about two UFO related finds. He told the Guardian newspaper that he thought what he found was so important that he tried to barter with the government. When first caught he was offered the chance to take a plea bargain and get a three to four year sentence. He turned the offer down to get a lesser sentence, threatening to release everything he found if they didn’t give him a better deal. Unfortunately for Gary, the US government wasn’t too worried about his revelations. Now he faces spending a 70 year sentence in a US prison, where they don’t serve tea and crumpets.

McKinnon was inspired by physician Dr. Steven Greer’ Disclosure project. Greer had brought together a number of very credible witnesses to testify in front of the Washington National Press Club that they had knowledge of the existence of Extraterrestrial visitation and that it was being hidden from the public. One of the witnesses said they knew that pictures from space were being altered at NASA’s Johnson’s space center; UFOs were allegedly being taken out of pictures.

Admiral Hillenkoetter (credit: USN)General Curtis LeMay (credit: USAF)McKinnon hacked into Johnson’s systems and said he found a high definition picture of a large cigar shaped object over the northern hemisphere. He said that he was so shocked by the picture that he didn’t think to immediately save it. He also said that the file size was so large that is was difficult to view it on his computer. Eventually his connection was lost, and so was the picture.

The most shocking find to McKinnon, the one he thought would be his ace in the hole negotiating with the US government, was what he found hacking into the systems of US Space Command. McKinnon says he found a log that listed non-terrestrial officers. He doesn’t believe that these were aliens, but he believes this to be evidence that the US military has a secret battalion in space. Some of these logs were ship to ship transfers, but he says he was usually smoking pot when he hacked, so that prevented him from remembering the names of the ships. McKinnon told the Gaurdian: “I was smoking a lot of dope at the time. Not good for the intellect.”

There are rumors that he has talked about the names of two of the ships he saw on the transfer logs, the names of the ships being the USSS LeMay and the USSS Hillenkoetter. Typically Navy ship names just have two S’, an acronym for United States Ship, however there are three S’ here, presumably standing for United States Space Ship. The names of the ships are also significant.

General Curtis LeMay was friends with retired Air Force Reserve Major General and former U.S. Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater. Goldwater believed there was a UFO cover-up deep within the government, and suspected that his friend LeMay knew about it. There were rumors that there was UFO evidence being held in a secret room at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base called the blue room. Goldwater told the media several times that when he asked LeMay about this room, LeMay got upset and told him, “Not only can’t you get into it but don’t you ever mention it to me again.” Open Minds magazine will have an article going more into depth on Goldwater in the second issue.

The second ship’s namesake, Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, was the first director of the CIA, and was also a member of a UFO research organization, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). In 1960 the New York Times reported that Hillenkoetter had sent a letter to Congress that included this statement: “Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.” ….

via What did the UFO hacker really find? | Gary Mckinnon | Open Minds UFO News | Openminds.tv.

I was listening in live to the Disclosure Project broadcast from Washington years ago. It was quite a freaky thing. I’m not sure how much I saw since it was blocked at some point by someone very sophisticated.

Here is a sample from that event.  This is my second try… when I tried to post this the first time, I got a rapid series of three errors on my iPhone which I have never seen, and then the entire post was deleted. Is someone very sophisticated jamming my transmission? If so, you should just take this YouTube clip down:

This next video says the base on the moon mentioned above belongs to the US, not to aliens:

Related: Do you know about USOs?

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUt6qtgJaVY]

Posted in Aliens, UFOs | 5 Comments »

Tiktaalik: Real extinct animal & evidence of evolution. No hoax. Not “discredited”

Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2010

File:Tiktaalik BW.jpg

Based on the dismal consensus reality score it is getting on Xeno’s “What’s Real?” Quiz, I’ve decided I absolutely must stand up for the Tiktaalik.  The Tik has something which should put him way above “Dragons” and the “Loch Ness Monster”: real physical evidence.

Tiktaalik lived approximately 375 million years ago. … [It] is representative of the transition between fish such as Panderichthys, known from fossils 380 million years old, and early tetrapods such as Acanthostega and Ichthyostega, known from fossils about 365 million years old. – wiki

Tiktaalik is one of many fossil transitional species, and is clear evidence of evolution because it not only had features of both fish and tetrapods, but it existed during the transition from fish to tetrapods.

Thus, as you might expect, the poor Tiktaalik has been heartily attacked by Creationists.

Evolution deniers usually fail to understand one or more of these three important things:

1) The conditions to make a fossil are very rare. Most species that ever lived had all traces wiped out.

2) Evolution did not happen along ONE line. Evolution is a tree with many failed attempts. Most of the branches didn’t make it.

3) The 3.8 billion years during which life evolved is such long time that the human mind can’t begin to grasp it.

Here are some of the attacks on Tiktaalik:

  • http://www.darwinistsdefeated.com/“this creature is obviously a “mosaic” combining a great many features. …The platypus found in modern-day Australia is also a mosaic creature that shares mammalian, reptilian and bird characteristics at one and the same time. Yet nothing about it can be depicted as proof of evolution.”

Tiktaalik was a real transitional form in a branching cloud of species that emerged out of the Devonian period.

Tiktaalik is not a “missing link” because evolution is not a simple chain.  Evolution is a tree with many different branches.

a reconstruction of Tiktaalik and a cast of its fossil


The platypus is one more modern example that evolution took many different paths during those 3.8 billion years.  The oldest fossil of a modern Platypus dates to about 100,000 years ago. As evolution would predict, there are earlier fossil ancestors of the Platypus. For example,  Monotrematum sudamericanum, lived 167 million years ago.  Since there is evidence of platypus evolution, you can’t use a platypus to disprove Tiktaalik as an example of evolution.

tree showing the relationship between Tiktaalik, other fish, and four-legged vertebrates

The evidence for evolution is clear. We have witnessed the formation of new species, but there is even better evidence:

All over the planet, layers of earth can be dated. The deeper you dig, the farther back in time you reach. (Still with me?) As you dig down you find simpler and simpler animals. Always. There were no elephants 475 million years ago! No reptiles, no mammals, no birds, no flowers! But there were fish and proto-amphibians.

How do you explain the fact that we find fossils of ancient fish, but no mammals, birds or reptiles at 475 million years ago?

Go back further, and one billion years ago, there were no fish! No proto-amphibians, no arthopods … as well as no elephants, reptiles, birds, flowers and so on. But there was multicellular life a billion years ago.   There was photosynthesis.

How do you explain that fish did not exist on earth until 1.5 billion years after we find the first complex cells?

Somehow, and this baffles me, somehow, creationists are able to put these mountains of evidence aside and say, well, what about the Coelacanth, believed to have been extinct since the end of the Cretaceous period, but which was captured off the east coast of South Africa, near the Chalumna River in 1938?

A fair question. This is not a Darwinian embarrassment. Natural selection can also cause a species to remain relatively unchanged over 100 million years … as long as the strategy for survival and reproduction remains effective.  (Even today, no one is going to eat a Coelacanth because they emit disgusting oils.) Squids, sharks, and sea turtles are also similar in appearance to their Cretaceous period ancestors.

But, yes, the coelacanth did evolve. It isn’t a “living fossil” after all.

The modern coelacanths, Latimeria spp., are members of the relict taxon of Sarcopterygian fishes, but are distinguishable from species known from the fossil record. This is important. A species that is distinguishable on its morphological characters can be told from related species. The last known fossil species in the clade that includes Latimeria spp. is placed in a different genus [1]. Genus-level differences in morphology indicate that it would be difficult to mistake specimens of each species for the other.  – antievolution.org

“In fact, living coelacanths are adapted for deep-water habitats off the Indian Ocean coasts of Africa and Indonesia, where they use a specialized organ in their noses to detect weak electrical signals from prey hidden in the mud along the seafloor. Unlike fins on living coelacanths and lungfishes, the fossil fin has an asymmetrical pattern in which there are more bones on the front of the central shaft than the back. It has more in common with the anatomy of four-limbed vertebrates, called tetrapods, and even humans than it does with the anatomy of living coelacanths. The discovery of the new fossil means scientists can no longer make inferences about the evolution of limbs based on living coelacanths and lungfishes.” – Foxnews: ‘Living Fossil’ Not So Primitive After All

So, there you have it. And now, for something completely goofy:

Posted in Archaeology, Biology | 2 Comments »

 
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