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Osama bin Laden

  1. Naturally, Some Are Not Happy That the Obama Administration Shared Info About Bin Laden With Kathryn Bigelow

    Of Course!

    When it was revealed that the Obama administration provided information about the raid on and death of Osama bin Laden to director Kathryn Bigelow for the movie she was making about the event, some people found that a little weird to hear, even after the fact. Because, um, isn't that information kind of on the extremely classified side? And doesn't it look bad for a president to appear so "tight" with Hollywood during an election year? (I'll continue laughing about that second one after writing this post.) Well, conservatives -- who don't believe anything Barack Obama does can ever be good to begin with -- are up in arms over this seemingly "oversharey" exchange between the president and a Hollywood type. But make no mistake -- they don't care about Kathryn Bigelow. This is all about Obama. (WARNING: There are some politics in this post. All of you are entitled to your opinions about everything.)

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  2. Software Uses Supercomputer to Predict Revolutions

    A new piece of software, with the aid of a supercomputer for processing, seems to have the ability to predict revolutions with stunning accuracy by analyzing news stories pertaining to the region in question. The software, developed by Kalev Leetaru of University of Illinois’ Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science, was able to retroactively predict the recent unrest in Egypt. By collecting and analyzing news stories from the U.S. Open Source Center, Britain's BBC Monitoring, Times articles archived all the way back to 1945 and a variety of other sources, the software was able to detect a souring in tone matched only by the bombing of Iraqi troops in Kuwait in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. While this spike didn't necessarily predict a revolution, such a strong drop in sentiment devoid from any extreme outside influences certainly suggests it.

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  3. How bin Laden Used Email from an Internet-Free Hideout

    Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad lacked telephone and Internet connectivity, yet bin Laden managed to maintain email contact with his operatives worldwide. How did he do it?

    Holed up in his walled compound in northeast Pakistan with no phone or Internet capabilities, bin Laden would type a message on his computer without an Internet connection, then save it using a thumb-sized flash drive. He then passed the flash drive to a trusted courier, who would head for a distant Internet cafe. At that location, the courier would plug the memory drive into a computer, copy bin Laden's message into an email and send it. Reversing the process, the courier would copy any incoming email to the flash drive and return to the compound, where bin Laden would read his messages offline.
    While this meticulous system was good for keeping bin Laden's dispatches out of the hands of counterterrorism officials while he was on the lam, it means that since his compound was discovered, the U.S. now has a treasure trove of correspondences stored on roughly 100 flash drives, the contents of which it hopes to use to stop and apprehend other terrorists. (via MSNBC)

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  4. Breaking in Germany: bin Laden was Killed by Star Trek Rebels

    Just Go With It

    Yes, it's true. A German newscast, scrambling to find something, anything, on the still undisclosed, un described Navy SEAL Team Six, the group of soldiers who raided Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound and ultimately killed the al-Qaeda leader... and they turned up the fan-made logo of a group of rebellious Federation citizens featured most prominently in Star Trek: Deep Space 9. And used it. Even though it's got, to name only one feature, bat'leths on it.

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  5. Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad Hideout Now Has a Playable Counter-Strike Map

    The line between video games and reality continues to blur: A week after President Obama told Americans in an emergency broadcast that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed by Navy SEALs in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, there's now a playable map in first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Source modeled after that very compound. The map is available for download at GameBanana, and "may be used as a base for a bomb or hostage map at a later stage," according to its description. The map's creator writes:

    What alot of people don't seem to understand is that the only thing this map has in common with Osama is location. I can see how people would think it is in bad taste, but honestly if that's your opinion you may as well protest the whole game (as well as many others).
    (GameBanana via GamePron via Slashdot, Kotaku)

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  6. Visualizing the Spread of bin Laden Death News on Twitter

    There has been a lively back-and-forth among journos over the course of this past week as to whether the dissemination of the news of Osama bin Laden's death via Twitter and other social media does or does not constitute journalism. Tabling that murky question for now (the answer to which is probably an unsatisfying 'yes and no'), looking at the spread of that information is in itself fascinating. Social media optimization company SocialFlow analyzed 14.8 million Tweets sent in the hours after bin Laden's death and found, among other fascinating data, that the Tweet by Rumsfeld chief of staff Keith Urbahn that got the ball rolling was retweeted more than 80 times within one minute after it was sent, and that by the 3-minute mark, it had led to more than 300 reactions:

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  7. How Fast the News About Osama Bin Laden Spread Through Social Media

    For those who were paying attention either last night or throughout the day today, President Obama delivered a speech declaring Osama Bin Laden dead. This news would have been even harder to avoid if venturing into the cat-filled depths of the Internet today, as -- probably rightfully so -- that is all anyone is talking about. Just how much is the news taking over the Internet, though, in this age of social media and phones that can write blog posts while the owner is getting in some cardio on the elliptical?

    Social media monitoring firm Sysomos -- true to their namesake -- monitored the spread of the news throughout social media and found some interesting tidbits. The above picture shows the regional density of people who tweeted about the news. Obviously, the largest density of tweets came from the United States, though the map shows that the rest of the world also participated in the social media storm. Only twelve hours after the news first broke, Sysomos found that there were over 40,000 blog posts and news articles about Bin Laden's death, as well as over 2.2 million tweets delivering the news in the limited-character arena. Twelve hours may seem like a long time to allow the world of social media to do its thing, but at midnight last night, not even an hour after the President delivered his speech, there were already over half a million tweets and nearly 2,000 blog posts and news articles released into the wild regarding the subject.

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  8. Google Maps Reviews of Osama Bin Laden’s Compound

    The Internet is a breeding ground for comedy, the subjects of which knows no bounds. Whether it be silly memes about drinking urine, or going so far as to create comedy within a maps and directions service, the Internet shall not be stopped. Momentous occasions in United States history are obviously not safe from Internet comedians, and less than 24 hours after President Obama went on live television to announce that Osama Bin Laden was killed and the U.S. had his body, Internet comedians began reviewing Osama Bin Laden's compound on Google Maps, currently leaving the destination with four stars. Head on past the break for a few choice excerpts.

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  9. Sword-Wielding Vigilante’s Quest to Kill bin Laden Cut Short by Pakistani Authorities

    While Americans love rooting for the John Marston-style vigilante who crosses over the border to cut down his enemies, it appears that method may have its limits: Gary Brooks Faulkner, a 52-year-old construction worker from California allegedly armed with "a handgun, a sword, a dagger and night vision equipment," was arrested by police in Pakistan after he snuck out of his hotel to track down and kill Osama bin Laden. This case has the dubious distinction of being the first time a U.S. citizen has been arrested on Pakistani soil not for attempting to aid insurgents, but for trying to fight against them.

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  10. Osama Bin Laden Flies First Class on British Airways?

    Apparently someone at British Airways doesn't know where to draw the line with pranks. Or someone's just really angry. Either way, an employee for British Airways decided, for whatever reason, that it would be funny to put a picture featuring a boarding pass assigned to Osama Bin Laden in an internal company-run magazine. The article it accompanied covered the airline's new service allowing travelers to download boarding passes to their iphones instead of printing them out, ABC News reports. Not only has British Airways given a boarding pass to the world's most infamous terrorist leader, they 've also apparently done it before. He has a frequent flyer number, after all, and you have to be a preferred customer to get a prime first class seat. Let's all agree not to have any flights depart from any gate A10 at any airport on October 26. Just in case the bar code's legit and Osama gets any crazy ideas.

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