Tag Archives: facebook

The strange case of captain Lior Besalu

I received the following text and video from several sources over both WhatsApp and Facebook:

Filmación de rescatistas israelíes en Tailandia al mando del capitán Lior Besalu !! Aprecien la dificultadad paea ingresar y después salir con estos niños !! De los ochos israelíes tres son los que ingresaron en la cueva !!
La prensa no menciona nada de israelíes!! Hubo un protocolo de silencio en Tailandia para no revelar nacionalidades ya que lo más importante es rescatar a los niños!!

Which roughly translates to:

Film of the Israeli rescuers in Thailand under the command of Captain Lior Besalu! Appreciate the difficulty to enter and the exit with the kids!
The press does not mention anything about Israelis! There was a protocol of silence in Thailand in order to not reveal the nationalities size the most important is to rescue the children.

The original text in Spanish contains typos, poor grammar, and poor punctuation. It is of course about the recent ordeal in Thailand.  It is written as if someone had carelessly typed it on a phone.

Like the people who sent this to me, I would love for this beautiful tale of Israeli heroism to be true. But the whole thing smelled strongly of BS.

  • No sources, no credits
  • Clothing doesn’t match that from videos coming from trustworthy sources
  • The video is silent
  • It has a watermark “The Dudley”… what is that?
  • If you watch closely, you will see a partially credit at the end: “A Caver Keith Pr…” which is cut short by shoddy editing.

If the information is true, surely it can easily be found somewhere on  the Internet. A quick Google search for “Lior Besalu” reveals…

… a bunch of websites regurgitating the same exact snippet. Coincidence? No. Google is actually indexing the same tweet attached to all these articles through some automatic keyword based search.

This is, I believe, the original tweet:

And surprise… the first reply by the author apologizes for the video being unrelated.

Don’t keep reading replies unless you want to see stomach-turning antisemitism at its best!

It took me ten minutes to find the source of the video.

The people who sent me this are educated and trustworthy people that I respect. Yet the information is shared as-is without regard to its veracity. It takes one minute and a bit of common sense to verify things like this and stop the spread of misinformation, yet people don’t do it because they liked or agreed with the content in the first place so it must be true, right?

The tweet is less than 12 hours old and has already spread like wildfire. It’s all over Facebook too.

We know the video is completely bogus. We don’t know if the information is true but it probably isn’t. Does “Lior Besalu” even exist?

This flaw in human nature is easily exploitable, and has in fact been exploited in recent past. I won’t go into that. Just please confirm shit you see on Facebook, Tweeter, or WhatsApp before you share it, ok?

Update July 11, 2018: Fixed wording. Here’s a video from CNN talking about technology from an Israeli company used in the rescue. Thanks Elias! CNN, believe it or now, is a trustworthy source.

Valentine’s

I thought this screen capture of my Facebook wall today was worth sharing. Identities covered by red blobs. Facebook friends, you know who you are.

Post 1: My wife is the best. I love you. Feliz Día de San Valentín.

Post 2: And then people are surprised that I dislike this day. How is it romantic to spend tons on paper and glue without writing a single word?

valentines

Visualizing friendships

An intern at a website called Facebook (some sort of up and coming social network, whatever that is) took data from millions of friendships and drew a map using that information. He drew the cities where users were from and lines between cities depicting friendships. More details on how he drew this here.

The result: A pretty picture, not unlike the ones you see taken from the ISS at night… except these aren’t lights, they are Facebook users.

It also shows to an extent the level of internet penetration in the world: not many users in Siberia nor the Sahara – or the level of internet censorship – can anyone see China?

High resolution image here.

Speedo

I often go swimming for exercise and I love it. With local treasures like Deep Eddy and Barton Springs, how wouldn’t I? So it was natural for me to buy a decent, appropriate, comfortable swimsuit. My choice of a new Speedo swimming suit has caused all sorts of unexpected controversy among my acquaintances. On one hand, some people want me to never show myself in public while wearing it. On the other hand, some people want my photo wearing it to grace my Facebook profile.

With all important matters such as Presidential elections, it is always better to let the uneducated and apathetic public decide. So cast your vote now…

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Should Marcos wear Speedo?
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Operation Chokehold

Mike_FnT_choke_hold

Fake Steve Jobs is angry at AT&T‘s poor network performance and all their excuses. Dropped calls, falling back to EDGE, slow data rates, poor voice quality, etc. So he called for Operation Chokehold through his blog:

Subject: Operation Chokehold
On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. THe idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!

Since this post, there has been a lot of discussion about it: on the blog, on the web in general, even on Twitter. Everyone is all over it.

This all started as a joke and now sort of took a life on its own. The Facebook page has about 2000 fans. The Facebook page against it only 22 as of this writing.

According to latest estimates by The MKX® Department of Cyber-Risk Assessment, nothing will come out of this. But following all the commotion is kind of fun. Will you join Operation Chokehold?

Protest

It was bound to happen.

This guy Alejandro “Richie” Corona has started a Facebook group protesting the new design of The MKX®. He even created a logo, showcasing his MS Paintbrush skills (yes, Paintbrush, not Paint… he never upgraded):

Join if you want me to go back.
Join if you want me to go back.

Some people just seem to always go against change. These are the same people who are still playing Pong on little black and white TVs. They IM each other using ICQ. They browse the internet on 14.4 kbaud/s modems using Netscape Navigator. They still fax jokes to each other and carry a boombox around.

And they can’t accept a new layout for The MKX®.

To join their group and stay behind in the dark ages, go here. If the group reaches a membership of five (5), then I will go back to the old layout. And if you send this email to all your friends, then Bill Gates and AOL will deposit $5 to your bank account for each of them.