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BBC based its investigation on three points – where exactly did it happen, when did it happen, and who is responsible for the atrocities.

A video emerged earlier this year, showing some armed men in uniform brutally killing a group of women and children, and triggered uproar across the globe. It was alleged that the video, released by Channel 4, showed the killing of civilians by Cameroon’s army over alleged links with dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram.

The Cameroon government denied the claim, saying that the video was not shot in the country and that the Army was being wrongly blamed for killing civilians. A statement was released by Cameroon Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, to deny the claims.

“The video that is currently going around is nothing but an unfortunate attempt to distort actual facts and intoxicate the public. Its sincerity can be easily questioned,” Bakary had said in his statement. While the statement came in July 2018, the government a month later said that seven members of the military were facing investigation.

BBC, however, decided to carry out a fact check of the video and the claims and counterclaims around it. And the media group did so with the help of Google Earth. It based its investigation on three points – where exactly did it happen, when did it happen, and who is responsible for the atrocities. The BBC released its findings in a video titled ‘Cameroon: Anatomy of a killing’.


The first 40 seconds of the video captures a mountain range with a distinctive profile. BBC journalists spent hours to match the range with the topography of northern Cameroon, but it failed to give the desired result. After a tip-off from a source, they studied the topography of a particular region and discovered that the range was near a village named Krawa Mafa, few hundred meters away from the Nigerian border. Other details in the video, such as houses and dirt tracks, were matched with the topography of the village and found to be same.



This was the trickiest part of the investigation done by BBC journalists. Several bits and pieces were put together to identify the range of period when the civilians were killed. A building was visible on the satellite imagery but only till 2016, which suggested that the killings took place before that period. Another building was spotted to have come up in March 2015. Then, a path was traced which appeared only between January and July. The journalists also analyzed the shadow of walking assailants on the basis of the concept of the sundial. After the whole analysis, it was confirmed that the killings took place between March 20 and April 5, 2015.


The statement released by Cameroonian Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma Bakary was used for this purpose. For instance, the minister in his statement claimed that the weapons in the video were not the ones used by the Cameroonian Army, but BBC analysis showed that one of the guns used was Serbian made Zastava M21, which is used by some sections of the country’s military. The minister also claimed that the dress worn by the assailants was one used for operations in forests. Bakary claimed that the soldiers in the said area wore a desert-style uniform. But Cameroonian soldiers in the region in a Channel 4 video of 2015 were seen wearing forest-style camouflage, similar to those seen in the video.

The focus then shifted to a statement released by the government in August 2018, which named seven soldiers who were arrested and under investigation. The names mentioned in the video, such as Corporal Tchotcho, were matched with some Facebook profiles. A profile of Tchotcho Cyriaque Bityala, who was among the detainees named by the government. Two other soldiers, named in the government list, were identified in a similar manner.

The findings were shared by the BBC with the Cameroonian government. Responding to it, the Bakary said, “Seven soldiers were arrested, disarmed. They are under investigation right now. I can confirm that all seven of them are in prison.”

Categorized in Investigative Research

Earlier this week, Google unveiled a new version of Google Earth, an app that was considered amazing when it launched in 2001 but hadn’t really evolved in the same way that Google’s other technologies have. Now, thanks to this latest update, Google Earth is replete with 3D imagery, curated video content, and other features that will either make you want to book a trip to some far-flung part of the world or just appreciate the Earth right from your own latitude and longitude coordinates. Or maybe both.

Here are five things to try with the new Google Earth, which runs in Chrome on desktop and on Android for mobile users:


In earlier versions of Google Earth, certain buildings could be viewed in 3D, provided you checked off “3D Buildings” in the Layers portion of the app. But in the newest release of Google Earth, you can view, well, the whole world in 3D. When you search for a location, a clickable 2D/3D button appears on the lower right-hand corner of the screen, giving you a quick and easy way to look at your destination in another dimension.


If Planet Earth II wasn’t enough to satisfy your love of nature, or you just can’t get enough of David Attenborough’s remarkably dignified narration of a lizard getting chased by hundreds of terrifying snakes, check out “Epic Hunts Caught on Camera.” Thanks to a partnership with BBC Earth, Google Earth now offers a series of short video clips narrated by Attenborough, which play in YouTube along the righthand side of the usual Earth view. If chimpanzees or underwater expeditions are more your thing, there’s also content from primatologist Jane Goodall and marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle.


Ever want to see the places where Ernest Hemingway wrote his most important and influential works, ones that are second only to this blog post? Within the new “Voyage” tab in Google Earth, you can take a virtual tour of the Galapagos islands, the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, and other UNESCO World Heritage sites; as well as cultural imprints like Hemingway’s hangouts, architecture by Zaha Hadid, and global perspectives on the different structures we call “home.”


Did you know that before Europeans came to North America, so-called Mississippians “had built a great city surrounded by huge earthen pyramids and a Stonehenge-like structure made of wood to track the movements of the stars”? And that it’s still visible in Illinois? Me neither, but the new Google Earth highlights this structure, along with eight other architectural feats, forgotten lands, or relics of an ancient world. Go to Google Earth -> Voyage -> History -> Lost Civilizations from Above to find them.



Google has ported its “I’m feeling lucky” button from its search engine to the new Google Earth, and it’s a glorious way to distract yourself at work or plan your next spontaneous trip. That’s all for now; gotta go catch a flight to Kasprowy Wierch.

Source : theverge.com by Lauren Goode

Categorized in Search Engine

UFO hunters claim they've found an "alien ship" poking out a cave in Antarctica.

Conspiracy theorists that spotted the sight in Google Earth satellite images said it was “final proof of secret technology” on the freezing continent.

The latest 'find' comes weeks after bizarre satellite images appeared to show a huge staircase leading up the side of a snowy mountain in the South Pole.

The unusual sight sparked a fierce debate, with some suggesting it could be part of a

pyramid structure or UFO and others claiming it showed air vents for a huge underground colony.

UFO hunters claim they've found an "alien ship" poking out a cave in Antarctica

Conspiracy theorists that spotted the sight in Google Earth satellite images

Videos on both of the mystery sights were shared by alien hunter Tyler Glockner from SecureTeam 10


Videos on both of the mystery sights were shared by alien hunter Tyler Glockner from SecureTeam 10.

On the latest video, he said: "This is a bombshell discovery and one of the most obvious unnatural and anomalous structures we have found at the South Pole."

    Secure Team suggested the Nazis built secret bases in Antarctica during World War II, which were designed to be used by flying saucers.

    The giant staircase found on Antarctica

    The giant staircase found on Antarctica (Photo: Secureteam 10)

    Video thumbnail, Strangeness surrounding the South Pole continues as giant “staircase” found on Antarctica

    The UFO hunters added: “There is some evidence of this coming to light in recent years, which images purporting to show various entrances built into the side of mountains, with a saucer shape and at a very high altitude.

    “This begs the question: how would you enter these entrances without something that could fly and was the same shape as hole itself?”

    Many people even believe the strange sights show the City of Atlantis - which they believe is located in Antarctica.

    Author : RACHEL BISHOP

    Source : http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/mystery-over-bizarre-google-earth-9716363

    Categorized in Search Engine

    Why don’t you click on the tennis court?” Golan Levin, an associate professor of art at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested. I was looking at a satellite image of the school’s campus in Pittsburgh, embedded in the home page of Levin’s latest online project, Terrapattern. “What you should immediately see are all the most tennis-court-ish patches of Allegheny County,” he said. I clicked. With gratifying speed, the right-hand side of my screen filled with dozens and dozens of tennis courts—solo or in pairs or in clusters of six, white on green, purple on green, green on red. A confusingly painted parking lot ended up in the mix, too. “Now try the football field,” Levin said.

    Terrapattern is the first open-access search tool for satellite imagery. Choose something that catches your eye—a dish farm, a gravel pit, a traffic circle—and Terrapattern will find other things that look like dishes, pits, or circles, pinpoint them on a map, and serve them up as a downloadable set of G.P.S. coördinates. (One of Levin’s friends, a skateboarder, is already using the site to locate empty swimming pools.) Terrapattern was designed by a small team, including Levin, several of his students, the artist Kyle McDonald, and the developer David Newbury. It is intended as a prototype. “Our budget, in terms of the computing power we can afford, makes about twenty-five hundred square miles of the American landscape searchable,” Levin said. For the moment, Terrapattern is limited to Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and New York. According to Newbury, it seems to have a particular gift for finding marinas and bridges.

    National militaries and intelligence agencies have long had the capacity to read the global landscape from above. Since the beginning of the Cold War, the United States government has kept a close eye on naval deployments, missile movements, and meteorological phenomena from space. In the nineteen-seventies, nasa set up gigantic mainframe computers to help make sense of the data, using basic signal-matching algorithms. More recently, corporations have begun to extract their own information from satellite imagery, developing machine-learning models that can monitor, say, the number of cars in retail parking lots across the United States, or the level of oil in floating-lid storage tanks (based on the depth of shadow on their interiors).

    With Terrapattern, Levin and his colleagues hope to make this sort of information more accessible to the general public. He cited as an influence the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Signal Program on Human Security and Technology, which documented war crimes in Sudan by using artificial intelligence to identify and tally the visual signature of burned huts. Similar tools have been developed by non-governmental organizations and academic researchers to locate illegal gold mines, track Antarctic penguin populations, and reveal lost Egyptian monuments.

    Terrapattern works according to the same concept—A.I. applied to satellite imagery—but with a significant difference. Rather than designing a detector for specific features, like access roads or penguin guano, Levin and his team focussed on making their service open-ended and customizable. To build it, they started with the type of A.I. that is most commonly used for image-recognition tasks: a deep convolutional neural network. For such an algorithm to be effective, it needs to be trained on many examples.

    The neural net that reads your checks at the A.T.M., for example, learned to do so by being shown thousands of handwritten numerals alongside their typed-out iterations until it could reliably match certain configurations of curves and edges with a corresponding set of labels. At first, the Terrapattern team downloaded an open-source neural net that had been pre-trained on ImageNet, a database of more than a million images sorted into thousands of categories. But when they set the A.I. loose on satellite photos, McDonald told me, it identified a Quonset hut as toilet paper and a transformer station as a pirate ship.

    To familiarize Terrapattern’s net with landscape features rather than everyday objects, McDonald turned to OpenStreetMap, a kind of cartographer’s Wikipedia, in which hundreds of streets, rivers, and parks have been painstakingly labelled by human volunteers. After just four days’ practice, Terrapattern’s A.I. had developed a powerful method for reading satellite imagery, separating it into small tiles and decomposing each one into information about shape, color, contrast, and texture, then reassembling it into meaning through layers of probability and comparison, all in a matter of seconds. The Terrapattern team has uploaded their model to an open-source “model zoo,” making it the first A.I. trained on satellite imagery that is freely available to use and adapt.

    For something put together by a small group of artists and coders on a modest grant of thirty-five thousand dollars, Terrapattern works remarkably well. Levin seemed surprised himself. “It actually does the thing we wanted it to do,” he said. At the same time, he added, “we don’t exactly know what it’s good for.” Levin hopes that Terrapattern will make it easier for activists and citizen scientists to research the land-use issues that they care about, but he’s aware that a cynic might see the site as a solution in search of a problem—a toy rather than a tool. And someone more security-minded might well wonder about its potential for misuse. “Big things like nuclear-power plants, they’re already on maps,” Levin said. But Terrapattern “does make it a lot easier to spot soft infrastructure—things like oil tanks.”

    Levin is an artist as well as an engineer, and ultimately it is as artwork that Terrapattern is most successful. Perhaps the same satellites that gave us precision-guided munitions and long-range weather forecasting will now inspire more personal questions and insights, reconfiguring our understanding of the landscape. In the meantime, the opportunity to see how Terrapattern responds to human queries reveals something else—the biases and shortcomings of artificially intelligent analysis. “We built Terrapattern to allow people to search the world according to how they see it,” Levin said. “But it also puts them in dialogue with the landscape as seen by machines. And that’s just a very uncanny experience.”

    Source : http://www.newyorker.com/

    Author : Nicola Twilley

    Categorized in Search Engine

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