Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dateline: "Diabolical": framing a rival for computer crime, and the ultimate catfish


An episode of Dateline, aired Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, “Diabolical”, is important because it shows a someone being framed for a computer crime.  The link for watching is here


In Los Angeles, the wife of a US marshall sent emails to herself and made them look like they came from a romantic rival with spoofing software.  The rivalry was complicated by condo mortgage problems, The rival was arrested in kept in jail for three months (with bad food) before a good lawyer figured this out.  The Los Angeles Times has the story.

This has been called the “ultimate identity theft” or “reflexive catfish”.

The incident was also connected to bizarre video games involving fake rapes. 

The Los Angeles Times has an explanatory story here

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

PBS previews Ken Burns's "The Vietnam War"


Monday night, at 10 PM, PBS previewed Ken Burn’s film “The Vietnam War”, with the preview video here. The video was often interrupted with lengthy requests for donations.

The main link for the series is this and it starts September 17,. The most interesting part from my perspective is likely to be the issue around the draft, deferments, Basic Training, people trying to “get out of things” by enlisting NG, and so on.



YouTube offers a 53-minute interview with Ken Burns from the LBJ Library in Texas. 

Monday, August 07, 2017

"Why Trump Won": CNN, Zakaria


Why Trump Won”, Fareed Zakaria’s documentary film (one hour) just aired tonight, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017 on CNN (it had been originally scheduled for July 31), best link here

Zakaria had predicted on Oct. 16, “let me be clear, Trump will lose.”  And he was wrong.
  
But in hindsight it is easy to understand that white working class Americans who had been displaced by elitist shareholder capitalism, which was gradually moving toward the “elitist” Democratic Party with its new rainbow concept of diversity.  The epicenter of the base was perhaps Trumbull County Ohio, SE of Cleveland, among the hardest hit by the plant closings.  The job implosion led to a gradual decline in the social fabric rather parallel to the inner cities, but to a whiter population.

  

Yet Trump, by ignoring all the rules of the game, beat out 16 candidates in the Republican Party and survived gaffes, including a display of his heterosexual fantasies to Access Hollywood;  his base voted only for their own immediate interest, not for the good of the “country” or especially the “world”.  So we had America First. Even science was elitist.  Projections about what could happen to future generations were elitist. 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Dateline "Infatuation" depicts bizarre love triangle in Dallas with a closeted gay crush


NBC Dateline “Infatuation”  (link )   presented the mystery of the stabbing of Samantha Nance  in a bizarre love triangle (or rectangle).  The Dallas News has the fact history

Daniel Willyam would be convicted largely by circumstantial evidence for a stabbing that took place in a typical Dallas garden apartment complex.  Samantha had a slender boyfriend who also was a student at the Dallas Institute for the Arts. The other boyfriend had an unusual collection of trophy weapons, but turned out to have a firm alibi at the school despite the convicted suspect’s attempt to frame him.  Willyam apparent had a gay crush on the other boyfriend and felt “left out” socially.


The suspect had shown anger management and jealousy problems in the Navy, and perhaps “upward affiliation”.  The case is very much an aberration in the history of former gay servicemembers and “don’t ask don’t tell”. 


You need your own track in life to avoid these kinds of emotional traps. 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

ABC 20-20 and CBS 48 Hours both air "Death by Text" of a suicide of a Mass. teen, who seemed gifted


ABC 20-20 aired a report “Can Words Kill: Death by Text” Friday night, about the suicide of Conrad Roy by carbon monoxide in his car, as he was receiving text messages from a former girl friend Michele Carter.

She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a bench trial by a Massachusetts Judge.

The case breaks through legal boundaries of whether encouraging someone to commit suicide by texts or social media is actually a crime.

It could one day have some implications in the downstream liability issues, where Section 230 is already under threat of erosion over the Backpage scandal. ‘


But the case is also disturbing because Conrad seemed to develop mental illness in his late teens, despite being a good athlete and student (July 16).

CBS 48 Hours  aired a similar show with Katie Couric called “Death by Text”. 

Friday, August 04, 2017

"Salvation" on CBS: a teen "superhero" find competing with the Russians matters more than saving the Earth from an asteroid


“Salvation”, on CBS, is a somewhat hyped series about how the US deals with an asteroid threatening Earth.

Liam Cole is the 20-year-old MIT student played by British actor Charlie Rowe, who discovers the asteroid shortly after the government does. Clean cut and charismatic, Charlies finds himself in a bizarre political struggle where his own professor wants him to cross over to the Russians, who seem to be competing for the solution.  The story become a reflection about today’s ideas of power and oligarchy and money as becoming more important than survival.


Erica Luttrell is girl friend Claire.

There are eight episodes, packed into six Wednesday evenings July 12 through August 16. 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Al Gore town hall on CNN: "Climate Change Crisis: Town to Act"


Tuesday night, August 1, 2017, CNN hosted a town hall “Climate Change Crisis: Time to Act” with Al Gore, whose second film “An Inconvenient D=Sequel: Truth to Power” opened recently, after his groundbreaking “An Inconvenient Truth” opened in 2005.


Gore answered several people who had lost homes to floods in Louisiana, after unprecedented rains, or to wildfires.  People did not have flood insurance because massive events like these had not happened in the area before.

Gore said that big storms may not be more frequent, but when they come they will be more destructive because they have more heat and moisture to work with.

Gore also said that on all social issues, there is always denial and popular resistance, until a new generation wakes up to the idea that you just have to recognize right and wrong and to the right thing. He said the same thinking had applied to civil rights and gay rights, including marriage equality. 

Picture: Ski lift thru burned area in Gatlinburg, TN, my recent trip 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Hack of HBO's "Game of Thrones" shows the skew in Hollywood for big $$


I have to express some snark at the stories of hackers stealing HBO’s “Game of Thrones” content and threatening to release it, as Grant Rinder reports on Vox. Apparent the threat includes leaking screenplay scripts.

Previously there had been an incident with Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black”.


Right now, I discuss my own screenplays and novel plots on a Wordpress blog, because no one perceives any “ratings” value.  It all seems rather silly.  In fact, there is a “third party” rule in Hollywood that doesn’t even allow studios to look at a logline, let alone a script, without an agent,, out of fear of accidental copyright infringement, given the obsession with audience volume with bean counters for the more popular shows and movies. 

Indie media is a different matter, I hope.