Jennifer Levin

Jennifer Levin

When confronted with mysteries in life we are all too quick to head over to Google in order to try and find out the answer. Google itself is an invention borne by the work of scientists years and years before our usage. In that same way we have grown to assume that science can answer every question that is lobbed at us, or at least go a long way toward giving us an adequate answer. Yet, science isn’t a perfect art and the very nature of our reality means that we will always be hunting for answers. So we decided to discuss the most amazing mysteries that science hasn’t been able to explain.

Cows will face directly north or south while eating, always.

Let’s face it: nobody is sitting around trying to figure out the what direction most animals face while they are eating. For instance, our cat would sit on its head if it meant that it could get a few extra treats. Fortunately there are scientists out there much smarter than us. Utilizing satellite images pulled from Google Earth, a team of researchers found that cows always stood facing the magnetic poles within the Earth while eating or resting. Always. Spooky, right?

Cows will face directly north or south while eating, always

Source :  http://www.dailyforest.com/popular/10-amazing-mysteries-science-cant-explain

Saturday, 18 March 2017 18:10

How to access the Deep Web and the Dark Web

Shrouded online websites, black markets and hidden content are often referred to as the “deep web” or the “dark net.” There’s naturally a lot of mystery and curiosity surrounding these portions of the Internet, hidden as they are from the average user.

Because hidden web content is so mysterious, a lot of people want to know exactly how to access the deep web. But first, we’re going to need to define what the deep web and dark net actually are, as well as what they are not.

Though many people may think it’s cool to access secretive and clandestine content that average users don’t even know exists, you may want to rethink your intentions because some of the content on the dark net is pretty awful stuff.

Think things like drugs and weapon dealing, but also child pornography and other services catering to some very deviant tastes; the dark net is not for the faint of heart and even visiting it may land you on a government watchlist or two.

On the other hand, a lot of content hosted on the deep web is incredibly mundane, as we’ll discuss in a bit. However, before we define the difference between the dark net and the deep web, let’s first discuss what you’ll need to access it.

What You Will Need to Access the Deep Web

You don’t need a secret password, an invitation from an inside member or hacking tools to access the dark net; all you need is a computer and an Internet connection. That may sound a little anticlimactic, but, as long as the proper tools are downloaded, the deep web is only seconds away to anyone who can access the regular web.

Besides this, you may want to have a few Bitcoins handy if you plan to buy anything, but be warned: even just being on the dark net may raise a few governmental eyebrows, buying something there is very likely very illegal.

Differences Between the Deep Web, the Dark Net and the Rest of the Internet

First off, let’s set one thing straight: the deep web and the dark net are not the same thing. While the two terms are often used synonymously, the dark net is where illegal things happen, while the deep web is simply all the hidden content that isn’t picked up by Google.

© abc.com

The best way to picture it, is by thinking of the entire Internet as an iceberg. As average users, we can only see the top of the iceberg, which represents the public Internet. Under the surface, there’s a massive amount of data that we can’t see.

The majority of Internet users seem to have the idea that Google is the entire Internet, while in fact it only indexes a very small part of it. To understand how this works, we first need to see how exactly Google does what it does.

How Google Indexes Websites

Before search engine technologies became what they are now, it was nearly impossible to discover a cool new website without a link (perhaps via email) or a friend who was in the know.

Today, however, we simply type a few keywords into Google and within seconds millions of links to websites pop up. Google finds all these websites by using code called bots, spiders or crawlers.

Essentially, crawlers start combing through an individual webpage. It takes notes and assigns various ranking metrics to the page to determine which keywords it should rank for.

When the crawlers are finished with the first page, they then follow every link on that page, and begin crawling the new pages as well. This process is recursive and because websites are linked with one another, Google can crawl through most of the web pages that were intended for public viewing.

© shoutmeloud.com

Crawlers are not perfect, and there is a lot of content that they simply don’t have access to. If a crawler can’t access pages or data, it can’t index the page in Google.

Then there’s a massive amount of data that crawlers can’t access. For instance, any website with gated content that first requires a user to enter login credentials isn’t going to be easily indexed by crawlers. This means that most content on social media is behind lock and key, as it should be. In addition, a lot of website data is created dynamically by using back-end databases.

The crawlers don’t have access to this content, either. Furthermore, crawlers lack access to certain pages, content, and services because of security factors. For instance, corporate networks frequently host web pages on their intranet, but they wouldn’t want the public to see those web pages.

To draw an analogy, pretend that the Google search algorithm is like an old telephone book, however, instead of serving as a directory of names, addresses and telephone numbers, Google serves as a directory for URL addresses.

Plenty of websites want to be listed in this phone book, but a fair few do not — some folks just want to keep themselves to themselves. In this analogy, those people make up the deep web.

Generally speaking, the deep web is any website, content, or service that cannot be crawled by Google, and as such, cannot be accessed via a search engine.

So if you’re school, university or place of business hosts an internal website that can’t be crawled through by Google’s spiders, that technically qualifies as one sliver of the deep web. The dark net, however, is much less pedestrian.

The Dark Net Explained

Websites and services on the dark net are a little more secretive, and often intentionally clandestine. They typically use secure browsers like Tor (the Onion Router) and entire networks of VPN tunnels to hide their presence.

Doing so helps them stay anonymous, secret and safe from the prying eyes of the general public. Services like Tor don’t only allow users to surf the web anonymously; they also allow people to host content anonymously.

One example of such a website is Silk Road: this infamous site is really nothing more than a black market in the form of an ecommerce site. People buy, sell and trade all kinds of illicit and illegal items like drugs, weapons and other unsavory services.

This type of website is probably what you were thinking of when thinking of the deep web, as it’s fairly easy on a site like Silk Road to buy and sell whatever you want, far away from the government’s eye.

Interestingly enough, Tor, was originally created as a project by the U.S. Navy. Later, the FBI infiltrated the network to crack down on illegal black market trading, child pornography and other illegal activities.

Morality and Ethics

Many times in life, it’s not whether a question whether something can be done, but whether it should be done. Such is the case with visiting the deep web and dark net.

The ugly truth is that these back alleys of the Internet are filled with some pretty disgusting content.: black markets, child pornography, sex trafficking and plenty of more run-of-the-mill seedy or sordid sites make their home there.

The first thing we need to ask ourselves is whether or not it’s appropriate to view such content. Also consider that if you don’t use the correct tools when visiting these sites, your computer might raise some red flags to the government, and consequently end up on a government’s watch list.

How to Access the Deep Web and the Dark Net

So, if all of these hidden websites are so secretive it’s impossible to find them with a search engine, how do you find them?

One of the best ways to find them is by word of mouth. Some of them are mentioned on forums and directories like Reddit and Tor threads.

Despite past infiltration by the FBI, the Tor anonymity network and the Tor browser are still fantastic tools — especially if they’re combined with a VPN tunnel for increased security.

If you don’t want to use the Tor browser, there are Tor plugins for just about every major web browser, too. The Tor network hosts a ton of hidden services that can’t be accessed using other browsers.

Final Thoughts

Before you go snooping around through the back alleys of the Internet, we’d like to repeat that you do so with caution as not only is the content itself of a dubious nature, some of it is illegal enough that you may be on the receiving end of a police visit if you’re found out.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest on new releases and more.

It’s best not to venture into the dark net out of idle curiosity. That said, there are some interesting news sites and other topical content that you won’t find anywhere else. Just make sure you don’t accidentally visit a site that may make you uncomfortable.

If you exercise some common sense and stay well away from anything that looks overly suspicious, you should be fine. If you have any personal experience with visiting the dark net, let us know in the comments below, thank you for reading.

Author : Joel Tope

Source : https://www.cloudwards.net/how-to-access-the-deep-web-and-the-dark-net/

The internet doesn't have an off switch. While it's interesting to imagine pressing a big red button and -- poof! -- the internet goes out around the world, it's actually much more complicated than that.

It is possible, however, for people, companies and governments to turn off certain parts of the internet. There are countrywide blocks in places like Egypt and Gabon during political unrest, and temporary outages in India when the government turns off the internet while students take exams.

Facebook (FBTech30) tracks these kinds of outages. Both internal monitoring and people on the ground contribute to this effort.

Matt Perault, global head of policy development at Facebook, started there in January 2011 -- around the time Egypt conducted widespread internet outages to quell protests. Over the next few years, he noticed that internet blocks were still happening with some frequency, just on a smaller scale.

"We felt they weren't getting the attention they deserved," Perault said during a panel at the SXSW Interactive festival on Friday. "So we work with a bunch of organizations to try and bring attention to this issue."

It's not just about losing access to Facebook. For instance, he referenced a recent Brookings report that found that temporary internet shutdowns cost $2.4 billion in 2015.

You can think about the internet in three different layers: There's the actual infrastructure that powers the internet -- think cables and satellites. There's the protocol, which includes things like web hosts and providers, and then there are applications, like Facebook.

Each of these layers have different responsibilities, as Perault and his fellow panelists explained, and countries or governments can target them differently. An internet service provider could stop serving a country, or a government could block specific services like Facebook or WhatsApp.

In China, the "great firewall" blocks all kinds of content, including Facebook, Twitter, and the New York Times. In Gabon last year, nightly outages prevented people from connecting to any website.

"The problem is not the technology from a 'turn off the entire internet perspective,'" Perault said. "But the technology has gotten more advanced in creating methods to impose a less costly block."

Facebook's internal group works with organizations like the Global Network Initiative to track these outages, and communicate them to a wider audience. Four out of five Facebook users are outside of the U.S., so many of them could be impacted by these blocks. For Facebook, figuring out where blocks happen is just good for business.

Facebook said it is "aware of at least 48 times in 2016 when access to Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram was disrupted. This includes both targeted disruptions, as well those impacting the entire Internet."

The company said one of the most significant outages that it's tracking right now is in certain regions of Cameroon, where it said internet connectivity has been down for 50 days.

"My main concern right now is moving to a world where there's increasingly sophisticated small-scale blocks," Perault said.

Author : Selena Larson

Source : http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/12/technology/facebook-internet-blocks-kill-switch/

Got something you want to sell? Google Home can help.

The smart home hub can help you appraise certain items, through a partnership with eBay. The two companies on Wednesday demoed a new eBay shopping assistant called Shopbot. They showed off the service during Google's Next Conference, which focuses on cloud computing, in San Francisco.

In the onstage demo, RJ Pittman, eBay's chief product officer, asked a Google Home if he could talk to eBay, and the device sprung to life.

"Hi, I'm eBay. I'm the world's price guide. You can ask me what something is worth," the eBay chatbot said from the device's speaker.

Pitman asked how much his camera was worth. The device then asked for more specifics, including brand, model and if the camera was new or used. The chatbot then told him the price value of the camera.

"In the spirit of going to where our customers are, we've taken it to Google Home because we want to get inside the home," Pittman said.

The Shopbot is supposed to be like a digital "concierge" for shopping, he said. The goal is for it to understand natural language and get to know your shopping habits.

Ebay also said Wednesday that it has brought some of its business operations to Google's cloud services.

Cloud computing has become a very important business for Google as it looks for ways to make money outside advertising for its iconic search engine. Google's cloud service competes against rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, which provide storage and networkingservices for other companies.

In November, the company formed the Cloud Machine Learning group, which focuses on bringing its AI technology to other businesses. The group is headed by Fei-Fei Li, an AI professor at Stanford, and Jia Li, former head of research at Snap, the parent company of Snapchat.

Author : Richard Nieva

Source : https://www.airsassociation.org/administrator/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item

If you find an item you like online — an article of clothing or a piece of furniture, for example — you’ll now be able to find that item, or similar items, on Pinterest without ever visiting Pinterest’s website.

The new feature is part of an update the company launched Tuesday to its Chrome extension, the browser tool that lets you save images you see online back to Pinterest as you surf the web.

The new tool lets you select an item in any photograph online, and ask Pinterest to surface similar items using its image recognition software.

For example: If you see an image of sunglasses you like on Nordstrom.com, you could use the extension to browse similar glasses from Pinterest without ever leaving Nordstrom’s website.

If you click on one of the search results, you’ll then be taken to Pinterest

The idea here is that Pinterest wants to be the search engine for images, and that includes images you see on other websites or even images you come across in the real world. As co-founder Evan Sharp explained it at a press event last month: “You shouldn’t have to put your thoughts into words to find great ideas.”

The “visual search” technology is not new — you could already use it, but only on Pinterest’s website. Eventually, Pinterest would love to help users buy the products they find see online but don’t know where to buy them.

But that won’t be the main priority for the new browser tool, at least not right away. While it’s possible Pinterest’s recommended images may include similar-looking items that are for sale through the service, called “buyable pins,” the company is “not prioritizing” those kinds of pins, according to a company spokesperson.

It also won’t show promoted pins in search results, which means the new browser extension won’t bring in ad dollars.

But it will get people searching Pinterest more often. At least that’s the hope.

The new extension is the latest in a line of Pinterest features that could rival Google’s image search functionality. The challenge for Pinterest, though, will be getting people to actually use them, especially this new extension. The new feature not only requires that people use Chrome, but they must then download a browser extension, two obvious barriers.

It could also rub some retailers the wrong way. Nordstrom may not want users browsing sunglasses on Pinterest instead of its own online store. Brands can opt out of the extension if they want to, but Pinterest hopes they won’t.

“This is early days for online visual discovery tools,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email to Recode. “As we go, we'll incorporate partner and Pinner feedback and continue improving these products to ensure value for everyone.”

The extension is launching globally on Chrome on Tuesday and is “coming to other Pinterest browser extensions in the future,” according to the company’s blog.


Source : http://www.recode.net/2017/3/7/14837702/pinterest-chrome-extension-image-search

Social media has revolutionised how we communicate. In this series, we look at how it has changed the media, politics, health, education and the law.

Borrowing Malcolm Turnbull’s election slogan, optimists would say there has never been a more exciting time to be a journalist. Why? Part of the answer lies with social media and the digital age.

A recent trip to Nepal for the second Asian investigative journalism conference revealed something exciting is changing journalism. In a digital era that promotes sharing through tweets, likes and follows, reporters are sharing too – not just their own stories, but also their skills.

They no longer view each other as simply rivals competing for a scoop, but collaborators who can share knowledge to expose wrongdoing for the public good.

Take, for example, the Panama Papers that broke in April this year. It involved almost 400 journalists together trawling through 11.5 million leaked documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca to expose the shady global industry of secret tax havens.

Wealthy individuals were exposed of corruption and wrongdoing. FlickrCC BY-NC-ND




Another version of this type of collaboration occurred in Kathmandu last month. Eighty of the world’s best investigative journalists from The New York Times, The Guardian and other quality outlets met to train hundreds of reporters from across the globe in digital journalism. Classes included data reporting, mapping and visualisations, online searching, tracking dirty money, co-ordinating cross-border reporting teams and effective use of social media.

The Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) chose Nepal as the host country so that journalists from less-developed economies – many with limited political and civil freedoms – could attend to learn how to strengthen watchdog reporting in their home countries.

Reporting in these nations can be difficult, and some stories told were horrific. Umar Cheema, a Panama Papers reporter and investigative journalist for Pakistan’s The News International, described how he was abducted by unknown assailants in 2010, stripped, shaved and beaten. His “crime” was to report critically on the Pakistani government, intelligence services and military.

His captors have not been caught. But rather than remain silent, he shared his story with the world and was awarded the Daniel Pearl Fellowship to work at The New York Times in 2008.

Umar Cheema established the Center for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan. East-West Center/FlickrCC BY-NC-ND

Despite diverse backgrounds with varying levels of press freedom, journalists came to Kathmandu with the same motive: to give voice to the powerless against those who abuse power; whether it be corrupt governments, corporations or individuals.

Unique to the digital age, this can be achieved with tools as simple as a mobile phone and internet connection. Social media platforms are useful too, to distribute stories beyond the territories that oppress them.

Among the watchdog journalism educators were Pulitzer Prize winners, including Walter “Robbie” Robinson. Now editor-at-large at the Boston Globe, Robinson is the reporter played by Michael Keaton in this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Spotlight.

The film tells how Robinson in 2001 led the Spotlight team’s investigation that uncovered widespread sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. That investigation inspired other journalists around the world to probe and eventually expose the church’s widespread abuses of power. Robinson’s message was simple:

To me you are all Spotlight reporters. For the great journalism you have done and will do. For your energy, for your passion, for your courage, for your tenacity, for your commitment to righting wrong and for knowing with a certainty, that there is no injustice however grave that cannot be eradicated by those who unearth the truth.

To unearth truths, trainers profiled free digital search tools like Picodash for trawling Instagram, and Amnesty International’s YouTube DataViewer, as well as reverse image searching programs like TinEye.

Thomson Reuters’ Data editor Irene Liu showed reporters how to search for people using Pipl, ways to navigate blog content using Kinja, and creative techniques to search social media. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be trawled using Rapportive and Chrome extension Storyful Multisearch to find public interest information quickly and cheaply.

Here are five ways that social media is changing journalism in the digital age:

  1. Reach: social media offers journalism a potential global playing field. It is used for sharing stories but also crowdsourcing information and enabling local stories of significance to spread beyond geographical boundaries. Whether it is the Arab Spring uprising or the recent hurricane in Haiti, journalists can source contacts and share stories with the rest of the world.

  2. Participation: social media provides a many-to-many network that allows for audience participation and interaction. It provides for audience comment, and these interactions can take the story forward.

  3. Hyperlocal reporting: social media is filling a gap in hyperlocal reporting. In a recent study we found community groups, including the local police at Broadmeadows, used social media to provide local news. This helped fill a reporting hole left by the shrinking newsrooms of local newspapers.

  4. Low cost: social media is a fast and cheap way to find, produce and share news. It lowers the barriers to entry for start-up news outlets and freelance journalists.

  5. Independence: journalists can bypass state-controlled media and other limits on publishing their stories. They can report independently without editorial interference, and broadcast their own movements, using publicity for self-protection.

The benefits social media can offer journalism, particularly in developing economies, is not to deny the challenges established media outlets face in developed countries in the digital age.

Certainly, the rise of digital media technologies has fractured the business model of traditional media as advertising has migrated online, causing revenue losses. In turn, these have sparked masses of newsroom job losses cutbacks, and masthead closures.

But for all the pervasive pessimism about the future of established news outlets, and the negative aspects of social media such as trolling, the Nepal conference demonstrated the positives as well.

Digital tools are changing the ways in which journalists find, tell and share their stories with audiences beyond the control of state borders. Yet, at the same time, new technologies enable journalists to do what they have always done: to uncover stories in the public interest.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote in The Leopard:

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

So it is with journalism in the digital age.

Source  : http://theconversation.com/how-investigative-journalists-are-using-social-media-to-uncover-the-truth-66393


Today the internet world has become very sensitive and with the growth of technology and more particularly digitization, the entire community has recognized the need for a Digital Copyright Law. While this may be the case, in recent times the awareness for copyright has increased dramatically.

Moreover, the copyright for images has become an important thing today. Images are practically being used for building a website, creating a flyer, refining presentations or for just sprucing up a project. While this may require some great photography, you might have questions like how can I avoid copyright infringement or where can I get free photos or royalty free stock photos?

Well, to answer that, there are in fact a lot of websites which offer great images for free. In fact, the internet is flooded with sites where you can download images for free. You might have to go through a lot of sites until you find the right one.

So in order to help you save some time and the trouble of going through junk, here's our roundup of the very best places to find free and legal stock photos online.

Stay tuned to GizBot for more updates!

Author : Samden Sherpa

Source : http://www.gizbot.com/internet/features/the-very-best-websites-find-free-legal-stock-photos/slider-pf70888-038516.html


Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:00

Global Internet to Keep Us Connected Everywhere

All due respect to NASCAR fans, but this is the sort of race we’d rather watch: Companies competing to be the first to unleash the world’s first global internet. Because, hey, we need to be able to surf porn check our fantasy baseball team from anywhere on the planet. It would also be useful to work from any place on Earth, whether zipping across the steppes of Mongolia on a motor bike or posting content from a flop house in the Philippines or snowshoeing across the Rocky Mountains.

We’re talking the ultimate life-work balance.

You’ve probably heard something about using drones, balloons, satellites, even homing pigeons (well, not yet) to make the worldwide web truly worldly. Somewhere around four billion people on the planet are missing out on cute cat videos, not to mention the economic benefits that come with an internet connection. The company that can first plug those billions into a global internet system would not only be a humanitarian hero but make a more-than-modest profit along the way.

A Project Loon balloon in Christchurch, New Zealand.

To paraphrase an interview on The Verge with Mike Cassidy, lead on Google’s Project Loon, which is launching high-altitude balloons into the stratosphere as one technological riff on global internet:

Think about it: 4.5 billion people without internet access. Take five percent and you’re talking 250 million people. If those people pay just a small portion of their monthly income, say $5 a piece, you’re going to be in a billion dollars a month in revenue, tens of billions a year in revenue. So it’s good business, too.

Cassidy should know a good deal when he sees it: He ended up at Google after starting and selling four startups, including the search engine DirectHit to AskJeeves for $532 million in 2000—less than two years after he founded it. And Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize and co-founder of Singularity University, recently listed what he called hyper-connecting the world as the No. 1 trend that made the world better in 2016. Let’s take a closer look at the global internet race.

Project Loon

The craziest-sounding effort to bring global internet to billions of people around the world may actually be the one closest to reality. Project Loon is backed by Google. To be more precise, it’s funded by Google’s newly created parent company Alphabet Inc. in the conglomerate’s Bond-esque, semi-secret R&D lab called X.

The idea behind Project Loon sounds, well, a little loony. It would create a floating global internet by launching balloons with solar-powered electronics that connect a ground-based telecommunications network on the ground with mobile devices through local wireless providers. The concept has already been tested with partners in places like New Zealand and Brazil. A network of 300 balloons is planned around the Southern Hemisphere, according to a story in Singularity Hub.

Sound complex? It is. Sound impossible? Definitely not. Launching balloons into the stratosphere, the layer of atmosphere that starts about 20 kilometers (12 miles, for those of you still on ye olde imperial system) above the Earth, is a well-practiced trick. Scientists do it with much larger balloons, expanding to the size of a football field, above Antarctica to launch telescopes. They’re sort of the poor man’s version of satellites.

Project Loon has the logistics down to a precise science. Custom-built “autolaunchers” are capable of sending balloons into near-space every 30 minutes. They’re basically specialized cranes that work like slow-motion catapults. Operators choreograph the airborne balloons, which can stay aloft for several months at a time, using wind models of the stratosphere and algorithms to provide maximum coverage. Project Loon claims it has demonstrated “transmission between balloons over 100 kilometers apart in the stratosphere and back down to people on the ground with connection speeds of up to 10 Mbps, directly to their LTE phones.”

Check out this video to learn more about the technical bits:


Droning Out the Competition

Google doubled-down on global internet in 2014 when it bought Titan Aerospace, a company that developed low-cost, low-flying satellites. The tech giant had wrested the startup away from Facebook. Google had planned to launch a swarm of Titan’s solar-powered drones to beam the internet far and wide.

It appears that plan crashed sometime last year, though the news only came out this past January. Alphabet decided to end its bid to provide global internet via unmanned aerial vehicles, aka UAVs or drones. In a widely circulated statement, X lab said, “By comparison, at this stage the economics and technical feasibility of Project Loon present a much more promising way to connect rural and remote parts of the world.” (On a somewhat related note, Alphabet just announced this week that it’s further pulling out of the space biz with the sale of its satellite-imaging business, Terra Bella, to Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based private satellite company. Google had acquired the company, formerly known as Skybox Imaging, for $500 million the same year it bought Titan Aerospace.)

drone aircraft

Facebook’s Aquila drone has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737.

Facebook is still betting UAVs are a feasible way to provide global internet to the world’s unconnected (and unfriended) billions. The effort is led by the company’s Connectivity Lab as part of its Internet.org initiative. Facebook’s futuristic vision is a fleet of solar-powered aircraft with a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737. The drones will beam the internet and Facebook posts via lasers. According to Facebook, the technology is so good that it can send data at fiber-optic speeds using very little power.

The Aquila prototype took flight and stayed aloft for more than 90 minutes but was apparently damaged during its first test flight. Internet.org suffered an even bigger setback in September when another global internet initiative went up in flames after a SpaceX rocket exploded on the launch pad. The Falcon 9 rocket was to carry a $200 million internet satellite into space. Facebook had bought bandwidth to provide internet to sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with French satellite company Eutelsat.

Global Internet from Space

Of course, SpaceX has its own plans for global domination, er, global internet, which apparently has nothing to do with drilling a giant tunnel under Los Angeles. Company CEO Elon Musk just needs about 4,425 satellites in low-Earth orbit to bathe the world with broadband internet. That’s about equal to all the satellites currently in orbit around Mother Earth. Admittedly, both plans do sound a bit Bond villain in concept.

Singularity Hub’s Vanessa Bates Ramirez wrote that the satellite constellation would orbit between 715 and 790 miles above the Earth, providing speeds of one gigabit per second. SpaceX filed documents with the Federal Communications Commission, so at least the paperwork is out of the way. There’s no timeline on deployment, though TechCrunch reported late last year that Musk estimated the project would take at least five years and cost around $10 billion. We have to ask where even someone like Musk is going to find that sort of cash. SpaceX is backlogged and losing money, while Tesla is feeling (at least temporarily) some consumer backlash from Musk’s seeming coziness with the president of the United States.

A mock-up of the OneWeb facility to be built in Florida.

Another ambitious satellite system, OneWeb, appears to be on firmer financial ground after raising $1.7 billion since 2015, including $1.2 billion in December 2016 from the telecommunications and internet giant SoftBank. OneWeb’s 900-satellite system would offer global internet as soon as 2019, according to Diamandis. Among the leaders of that venture is Richard Branson, a sort of Elon Musk, but with a cooler accent and better hair.

Yet another player is U.S.-based ViaSat (NASDAQ: VSAT), which is working with Boeing to launch three satellites that will provide 1 terabit per second internet connections to remote corners of the world, according to Futurism.com. ViaSat claimed on its website that the first two of three new satellites could offer more than twice the total network capacity of the 400 or so commercial communications satellites currently orbiting the Earth combined.

And if all that—balloons, drones and satellites—fails, there’s still hope for global internet. Several companies, including Facebook and $63 million startup Starry (founded in 2014 by founder of defunct startup Aereo, Chaitanya “Chet” Kanojia) are working on a whole different solution. They propose delivering wicked fast internet anywhere literally out of thin air by using millimeter waves. Check out the specs of this project on The Verge. We’ve got sunset over the Mekong River to catch. We’ll post some pictures as soon as we’re back in Wi-Fi range.

Looking to buy shares in companies before they IPO? A company called Motif Investing lets you buy pre-IPO shares in companies that are led by JP Morgan. You can open an account with Motif with no deposit required so that you are ready to buy pre-IPO shares when they are offered.


Source : http://www.nanalyze.com/2017/02/global-internet-everywhere/

Saturday, 11 February 2017 14:40

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research

A variety of techniques from online chats to video logs can reveal how people feel about your product or service and how you can improve it to make more money.

Visualize. Just as you head off to work you get a text message asking if you've had a cup of coffee. You reply "no." About 20 minutes later you receive another text asking "did you have your coffee yet?" You reply "yes" this time. Now you receive a series of texts about when and where did you buy the coffee—a corner store Starbucks or company cafeteria. What brand or flavor did you choose—regular or Hazelnut? Why did you choose it? How do you feel now that you've had that first cup? Will you have had a second or third cup come lunchtime? Later in the week when you're at the local grocer, you take out your cell phone to take a picture of the one pound of ground French Roast coffee you just purchased so you can post it online. 

Welcome to the brave new world of qualitative research where companies can catch or capture their customers' behaviors in the moment using modern technology. It could be a single person doing online journaling or a video log about a product or issue, a moderator directing conversations in an online chat room, or webcam gathering of people in Hollywood Squares game show-like fashion. 

It's a different spin on the traditional focus group. Social media is playing a bigger role. "We are even monitoring whole online communities; we have a targeted representative find out what selected individuals are saying in their social networks," says Peg Moulton-Abbott, a certified professional research consultant and principal of Newfound Insights, a Virginia Beach-based market research firm. Such tech-oriented research is generally skewed towards a younger twenty-something demographic. But more importantly it speaks to how market researchers are sprouting new methods of qualitative study as an outgrowth of old techniques. 

Comparatively speaking, fifty years ago qualitative research was done in a big city like New York or Washington, DC with focus groups conducted inside women's homes, notes Moulton-Abbott. A one-way mirror was installed and adverting guys would be on the receiving end, she explains. The homemaker would host the meeting with a group of women who would talk about soap or some other consumer product. 

According to the Qualitative Research Consultants Association, qualitative research can help business owners identify customer needs, clarify marketing messages, generate ideas for improvements of a product, extend a line or brand, and/or gain perspective on how a product fits into a customer's lifestyle. 

Any size and type of business can benefit from qualitative market research, says Moulton-Abbott. However, "my job is not to make a sales pitch for your product; my job is to find out how people feel about your product and what you can do to improve it so that you wind up making more money selling it," she adds. 

Qualitative research can help entrepreneurs to understand their customers' or clients' feelings, values, and perceptions of a particular product or service. Once you know the reason "why" people react a certain way or make certain decisions, you can use that feedback to help build your sales and marketing plan, says Moulton-Abbott.

The design and implementation of qualitative research will depend on your particular situation, says Robert E. Stake, PhD, author of Qualitative Research: Studying How Things Work and director for the center of instructional research as the University of Illinois. "The means are different in different situations. It's what you are interested in that defines qualitative research," he adds. "It isn't the style of data gathering, it is whether or not you are interested in the experiences of your customers or clients." 

Business owners won't have to wrack their brains over how to conduct the nitty-gritty aspects of market research if a professional is hired. But here are some general guidelines and what to expect on how qualitative research is handled.

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Determine What You Want to Study

Do you want to investigate a current or potential product, service or brand positioning? Do your want to identify strengths and weaknesses in products? Understand purchasing decisions? Study reactions to advertising or marketing campaigns? Assess the usability of a website or other interactive services? Understand perceptions about the company, brand and product? Explore reactions to packaging and design? 

Qualitative (qual) research is usually contrasted against Quantitative (quant) research. Quant asks closed-ended questions that can be answered finitely by either "yes" or "no," true or false or multiple choice with an option for "other." It is used to collect numerical data, employing such techniques as surveys. Whereas, qual asks open-ended questions that are phrased in such a way that invite people to tell their stories in their own words. Methods used to collect data include field observations, personal interviews and group discussions.

The job of a qual researcher is to design and deliver data that drives results

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Understand What Methodology will be Used

Typically qual researchers don't use experimental methods such as field trials or test markets, Stake maintains. "Not many use really highly-developed psychometric (e.g., personality or psychological tests) or econometric (e.g., economic statistics) indicators." Qual researchers generally rely on methodologies rooted in ethnography (e.g. field or participant observation) and phenomenology (e.g., understanding life experiences using written or recorded narratives). Market researchers partner with professional recruiters to identify and screen qualifying customers or consumers who in turn receive an honorarium for their participation in the study.

You should rely on a market research firm to choose the best fit for you based on: what is it that you need to learn and who is your target audience demographically, where they are geographically, and what are their lifestyle behaviors or time constraints, says Kristin Schwitzer, president of Beacon Research, a qual firm that specializes in innovative online methods, based in Annapolis, Maryland. 

Conducting qualitative research is about asking the right people the right questions in the right format, says Hannah Baker Hitzhusen, vice president of qualitative research at CMI, a market research firm in Atlanta. What qual researchers do is very much on the front end, it is discovery or exploratory work. "For a qual study, we generally do a discussion guide to make sure we cover certain topics or issues," says Hitzhusen. Qual is generally used for small sample groups, because, "you want to spend a lot of time with the participants, maybe 90 to 120 minutes. Quant usually uses a larger sample size of people and a smaller amount of time, 15 to 30 minutes (for someone to fill out a questionnaire)," she explains. 

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Explore Various Means to Collect Data 


  • Observation - Direct observation can involve a researcher watching subjects and taking notes in the background which could be from behind a one-way mirror or video camera recording the happenings. With participant observation, the researcher is actually part of the situation being studied as with a moderated focus group or one-on-one interviews. 
  • Focus Groups - This technique is good if you need a range of opinions, says Hitzhusen. In general, you want to get reactions from eight to 10 people. But you don't have to have the traditional group of people closed in a room. You can do a webcam or online bulletin board focus group, in which consumers participate in an asynchronous group discussion over the duration of three to four days. Participants answer questions from the moderator and respond to images or video on their computer screen.
  • Subject Interviews - There are times when you want to talk with subjects or participants either over the telephone or face- to-face, says Moulton-Abbott. Such as if you want them to sample a product or if it is an emotional or sensitive issue, such as taking care of elderly parents with dementia or using personal hygiene products. 
  • Hybrid Studies - This is a blend of qual and quant market research. So, you get some important metrics as well as the why's behind the numbers through narrative, photo collection, and other exercises, says Schwitzer.
  • Moulton-Abbott says for example, you may have a couple hundred people come into a big meeting hall. Using a handheld dialer participants respond to a survey that is projected on a screen. Afterwards, you host a town hall session to debrief the group and to find out what they think. From there, you separate the respondents into smaller focus groups based on demographics, their responses and other parameters. At the end of day you can say we spoke to 700 people today and this is what they said they like or don't like and this is how they feel about your product or service. 
  • Online tools - The online piece is an outgrowth of in-person observation. "We can use tools such as their cell phones, iphone video cameras, digital cameras, and we can have them in the moment record what is happening in their world," says Schwitzer. Whether it is how they use a product or interact from a service standpoint."  

For example, Schwitzer conducted a study on how teenage boys were spending their money over a course of a week. They took pictures of everything that they bought and texted it in. They then created an online blog to be probed as the second phase of the study. "Online tools allow us to get even deeper into the subjects' lives and to see what is happening to them from an experiential level. We can be with them at crazy hours of the day now or during more private moments."

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Analyze the Collected Data

A qualitative study may take one day or three weeks for the data collection and up to six weeks in total for the final report generation and turnaround solutions. Researchers will look at the collected data to come up with theories and answers to your questions or concerns. Generally, researchers will use coding to identify themes, patterns and ideas. They may also incorporate some statistics that describe what the data is showing along with narrative analysis that focuses on grammar, word usage, and underlying messages.

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Review Report and Recommendations 

Finally, a researcher will generate a report featuring actionable recommendations. It doesn't have to be just a written document; it may be a video report or slideshow. As the saying goes a picture paints a thousand words; visual reports are more effective than simply words on a paper. Of course, you need to be aware upfront what the cash outlay will be for such extensive feedback. 

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: A Heads Up

Don't expect to pay under $10,000 for basic qualitative research, cautions experts. There are cost associate with the recruiters, facilities, moderators and reporting. It you have a small or tight budget consider working with a university such as Chicago's Northwestern, Atlanta's Emory Goizueta, or the University of Maryland, suggests Moulton-Abbott. Many of the top business schools have marketing research programs. 

To find a reputable market research firm, check out trade associations, including directories from The Marketing Research Association, which publishes the Blue Book, and the New York American Marketing Association, which puts out the Green Book. Also, the QRCA has a search tool for locating market research firms geographically.  
Choose a firm that is knowledgeable about your industry and be sure to get a couple of proposals and competitive price offers.

Author : Carolyn M. Brown


The internet is much more than just the publicly available, Google-able web services most online users frequent—and that’s good for free expression. Companies frequently create private networks to enable employees to use secure corporate servers, for example. And free software allows individuals to create what are called “peer-to-peer” networks, connecting directly from one machine to another.

Unable to be indexed by current search engines, and therefore less visible to the general public, subnetworks like these are often called “darknets,” or collective as the singular “darknet.” These networks typically use software, such as Tor, that anonymizes the machines connecting to them, and encrypts the data traveling through their connections.

Some of what’s on the darknet is alarming. A 2015 story from Fox News reads:

“Perusing the darknet offers a jarring jaunt through jaw-dropping depravity: Galleries of child pornography, videos of humans having sex with animals, offers for sale of illegal drugs, weapons, stolen credit card numbers and fake identifications for sale. Even human organs reportedly from Chinese execution victims are up for sale on the darknet.”

But that’s not the whole story—nor the whole content and context of the darknet. Portraying the darknet as primarily, or even solely, for criminals ignores the societal forces that push people toward these anonymous networks. Our research into the content and activity of one major darknet, called Freenet, indicates that darknets should be understood not as a crime-ridden “Wild West,” but rather as “wilderness,” spaces that by design are meant to remain unsullied by the civilizing institutions—law enforcement, governments and corporations—that have come to dominate the internet.

There is definitely illegal activity on the darknet, as there is on the open internet. However, many of the people using the darknet have a diverse range of motives and activities, linked by a common desire to reclaim what they see as major benefits of technology: privacy and free speech.

01_30_freenet_01A pie chart shows the share of Freenet sites devoted to particular types of content.RODERICK S. GRAHAM AND BRIAN PITMAN

Describing Freenet

Our research explored Freenet, an anonymous peer-to-peer network accessed via a freely downloadable application. In this type of network, there are no centralized servers storing information or transferring data. Rather, each computer that joins the network takes on some of the tasks of sharing information.

When a user installs Freenet, her computer establishes a connection to a small group of existing Freenet users. Each of these is connected in turn to other Freenet users’ computers. Through these connections, the entire contents of the network are available to any user. This design allows Freenet to be decentralized, anonymous and resistant to surveillance and censorship.

Freenet’s software requires users to donate a portion of their local hard drive space to store Freenet material. That information is automatically encrypted, so the computer’s owner does not know what files are stored or the contents of those files. Files shared on the network are stored on numerous computers, ensuring they will be accessible even if some people turn off their machines.

Joining the network

As researchers, we played the role of a novice Freenet user. The network allows many different types of interaction, including social networking sites and even the ability to build direct relationships with other users. But our goal was to understand what the network had to offer to a new user just beginning to explore the system.

There are several Freenet sites that have used web crawlers to index the network, offering a sort of directory of what is available. We visited one of these sites to download their list. From the 4,286 total sites in the index we chose, we selected a random sample of 427 sites to visit and study more closely. The sites with these indexes are a part of the Freenet network, and therefore can be accessed only by users who have downloaded the software. Standard search engines cannot be used to find sites on Freenet.

Finding a ‘hacker ethic’

What we found indicated that Freenet is dominated by what scholars call a “hacker ethic.” This term encompasses a group of progressive and libertarian beliefs often espoused by hackers, which are primarily concerned with these ideals:

  • Access to information should be free;
  • Technology can, and should, improve people’s lives;
  • Bureaucracy and authority are not to be trusted;
  • A resistance to conventional and mainstream lifestyles.

Some of that may be because using darknet technology often requires additional technical understanding. In addition, people with technical skills may be more likely to want to find, use and even create services that have technological protections against surveillance.

Our reading of hacking literature suggests to us that the philosophical and ideological beliefs driving darknet users are not well-known. But without this context, what we observed on Freenet would be hard to make sense of.

There were Freenet sites for sharing music, e-books and video. Many sites were focused around personal self-expression, like regular internet blogs. Others were dedicated to promoting a particular ideology. For example, socialist and libertarian content was common. Still other sites shared information from whistle-blowers or government documents, including a copy of the Wikileaks website’s data, complete with its “Afghan War Diary” of classified documents about the United States military invasion of Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

With the hacker ethic as a guide, we can understand that most of this content is from individuals who have a deep mistrust of authority, reject gross materialism and conformity, and wish to live their digital lives free of surveillance.

What about crime?

There is criminal activity on Freenet. About a quarter of the sites we observed either delivered or linked to child pornography. This is alarming, but must be seen in the proper context. Legal and ethical limits on researchers make it very hard to measure the magnitude of pornographic activity online, and specifically child pornography.

Once we came upon a site that purported to have child pornography, we left the site immediately without investigating further. For example, we did not seek to determine whether there was just one image or an entire library or marketplace selling pornographic content. This was a good idea from the perspectives of both law and ethics, but did not allow us to gather any real data about how much pornography was actually present.

Other research suggests that the presence of child pornography is not a darknet or Freenet problem, but an internet problem. Work from the the Association for Sites Advocating Child Protection points to pervasive sharing of child pornography well beyond just Freenet or even the wider set of darknets. Evaluating the darknet should not stop just at the presence of illegal material, but should extend to its full content and context.

With this new information, we can look more accurately at the darknet. It contains many distinct spaces catering to a wide range of activities, from meritorious to abhorrent. In this sense, the darknet is no more dangerous than the rest of the internet. And darknet services do provide anonymity, privacy, freedom of expression and security, even in the face of a growing surveillance state.

Roderick S. Graham is assistant professor of Sociology, Old Dominion University. Brian Pitman is instructor in Criminology and Sociology, Old Dominion University.

Source : http://europe.newsweek.com/darknet-resembles-internet-itself-anonymity-550324?rm=eu

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media

Book Your Seat for Webinar - GET 70% OFF FOR MEMBERS ONLY      Register Now