On the evening of April 9, 2017, a revenue passenger was forcibly removed by law enforcement from United Airlines flight 3411 at Chicago-O’Hare, bound for Louisville. United announced that it needed four seats for airline staff on the sold-out flight. When no passengers volunteered after being offered vouchers worth $800, United staff selected four passengers to leave. Three of them did so, but the fourth, a doctor named David Dao, declined as he said that he had patients to treat the following morning. He was pulled from his seat by Chicago Department of Aviation security officers and dragged by his arms down the aisle. Dao sustained a concussion, broken teeth, a broken nose, and other injuries. The incident was captured on smartphone cameras and posted on social media, triggering an angry public backlash. Afterwards, United’s chief executive officer, Oscar Munoz, described Dao as “disruptive and belligerent”, apologized for “re-accommodating” the paying customers, and defended and praised staff for “following established procedures”. He was widely criticized as “tone-deaf”. Munoz later issued a second statement calling what happened a “truly horrific event” and accepting “full responsibility” for it. After a lawsuit, Dao reached an undisclosed settlement with United and airport police. In the aftermath, United’s board of directors decided that Munoz would not become its chairman and that executive compensation would be tied to customer satisfaction. Following this incident, passenger complaints increased by 70 percent.
If you just bought a smart TV on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the FBI wants you to know a few things.
Smart TVs are like regular television sets but with an internet connection. With the advent and growth of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, most saw internet-connected televisions as a cord-cutter’s dream. But like anything that connects to the internet, it opens up smart TVs to security vulnerabilities and hackers. Not only that, many smart TVs come with a camera and a microphone. But as is the case with most other internet-connected devices, manufacturers often don’t put security as a priority.
That’s the key takeaway from the FBI’s Portland field office which posted a warning on its website about the risks that smart TVs pose.
“Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, that television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home. A bad cyber actor may not be able to access your locked-down computer directly, but it is possible that your unsecured TV can give him or her an easy way in the backdoor through your router,” wrote the FBI.
The FBI warned that hackers can take control of your unsecured smart TV and in worst cases, take control of the camera and microphone to watch and listen in.
Active attacks and exploits against smart TVs are rare, but not unheard of. Because every smart TV comes with their manufacturer’s own software and are at the mercy of their often unreliable and irregular security patching schedule, some devices are more vulnerable than others. Earlier this year, hackers showed it was possible to hijack Google’s Chromecast streaming stick and broadcast random videos to thousands of victims.
In fact, some of the biggest exploits targeting smart TVs in recent years were developed by the Central Intelligence Agency, but were stolen. The files were later published online by WikiLeaks.
But as much as the FBI’s warning is responding to genuine fears, arguably one of the bigger issues that should cause as much if not greater concerns are how much tracking data is collected on smart TV owners.
The Washington Post earlier this year found that some of the most popular smart TV makers — including Samsung and LG — collect tons of information about what users are watching in order to help advertisers better target ads against their viewers and to suggest what to watch next, for example. The TV tracking problem became so problematic a few years ago that smart TV maker Vizio had to pay $2.2 million in fines after it was caught secretly collecting customer viewing data. Earlier this year, a separate class action suit related to the tracking again Vizio was allowed to go ahead.
As convenient as it might be, the most secure smart TV might be one that isn’t connected to the internet at all.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) finally won the Grey Cup. The Grey Cup is the CFLs Super Bowl. The Blue Bombers hadn’t won the cup in 29 years. In a league with only 9 teams that is quite a drought. The Bombers beat Hamilton 33-12 ten days ago.
Three Bombers, Chris Streveler, Nick Demsky and Grey Cup most valuable player Andrew Harris were at the Jets NHL game last night.
When forestry worker Robert Taylor reported seeing an alien spaceship in woods near Livingston 40 years ago it made headlines around the world.
The Dechmont Woods incident is unusual among reported UFO sightings in that it was investigated by the police.
They treated the rips to Mr Taylor’s trousers as evidence of an assault but could never quite work out what had happened to him.
In his testimony to the police, the 61-year-old described how he saw a 30ft-high “dome-shaped” object in a clearing in the forest near the West Lothian new town on 9 November 1979.
He told how two-spiked spheres then rolled out towards him and, as he passed out, he was aware of being grabbed on either side of his legs. Mr Taylor woke up in a dishevelled state 20 minutes later.
Mr Taylor, who died in 2007, was a respected war hero and teetotal churchgoer. No-one doubted that he was sincere in what he believed he had seen and throughout the rest of his life he never deviated from his story.
He told the police he had been working alone checking fences and gates at Dechmont Woods at 10:30 when he came across the spaceship in a clearing.
After the spiked objects rushed out and tried to grab hold of him, all he could remember was a strong smell of burning.
When he came to, the clearing was empty, apart from a pattern of deep regular marks on the ground. He went to his van but was so shaken he drove it into a ditch and had to stagger home in “a dazed condition”.
When he got to his house he told his wife Mary he had been attacked by a “spaceship thing”. Because Mr Taylor was in such a state, the police were called and officers found themselves inquiring into an assault on a forester by alien beings.
Det Con Ian Wark, the scene of crime investigator, arrived at the clearing to find a large gathering of police officers were already there.
He told the BBC he saw strange marks on the ground. There were about 32 holes, which were about 3.5 inches in diameter, as well as marks similar to those made by the type of caterpillar tracks often fitted on bulldozers.
The officer went to Mr Taylor’s employer, Livingston Development Corporation, to see if the machinery they had could solve the mystery.
“After examining every piece of machinery they had up there, we did not find anything to match,” he said.
The police officer said that the unusual marks on the ground were only to be found in the clearing where Mr Taylor had experienced his reported close encounter.
“These marks just arrived,” Det Con Wark said. “They did not come from anywhere or go anywhere. They just arrived as though a helicopter or something had landed from the sky.”
The police report from the time said the marks on the ground indicated an “object of several tons had stood there but there was nothing to show that it had been driven or towed away”.
PC William Douglas wrote: “There appeared to be no rational explanation for these marks.”
As part of the police investigation, Mr Taylor’s ripped trousers were sent for forensic examination but this was many years before modern DNA techniques so analysis concentrated on how the damage had been done.
Police forensics said the trousers seemed to have been damaged by something hooking them and moving up.
The trousers are now in the possession of Malcolm Robinson, a Ufologist who has been investigating such cases since the Dechmont incident.
He said they were police-issue blue serge trousers and the type of rips in them did not happen by getting snagged as Mr Taylor crawled away on the ground.
Mr Robinson, who has given lectures on the incident across the UK, Holland, France and the USA and written a book on the subject, said it was one of the most incredible cases in the world.
He said it was one of very few hardcore cases that defied any explanation.
There are many theories about what actually happened to Mr Taylor. These include everything from hallucinatory berries to blackball lightning and a mirage of the planet Venus.
A medical explanation could lie in an epileptic seizure being suffered by Mr Taylor but there was no evidence of this gathered at the time.
In her police statement, his wife Mary said Mr Taylor had no history of mental illness but had contracted meningitis 14 years earlier.
She said the treatment was successful although in July of that year he had suffered a series of headaches and was admitted to the City Hospital in Edinburgh.
In his statement, Mr Taylor said that after the UFO incident he was examined by the local doctor who called at his house. The doctor suggested he should go to nearby Bangour Hospital for a check-up and x-ray.
After waiting for two hours at the hospital he got fed up and left without being examined.
Det Con Wark said he could go along with the theory about the epileptic fit. “But what about the marks on the ground?” he said.
The former police officer cannot bring himself to say he believes Mr Taylor saw an alien spaceship.
“I’d have to see it myself to believe it,” he said.
But he said he interviewed Mr Taylor three times and he never changed his story.
“He believed what he saw and there was no way he would make that up,” Det Con Wark said.
Forty years on the Dechmont incident has passed into legend.
Last year a UFO trail opened which takes people to the spot where a new town forestry foreman claims he saw an alien spaceship.
Billy Meier is a Swiss national who in the 1970s claimed he had been in contact with aliens from the Pleiades star cluster – and had photographs to prove it.
Published in a 1979 book by former United States Air Force pilot Wendelle C Stevens, they later appeared in publicity material for US science-fiction programme The X-Files.
Now, they are up for auction at Sotheby’s in the US, as part of a sale dedicated to space photography.
Eduard Albert “Billy” Meier claims he was first contacted by alien figures at the age of five, in 1942, and maintained regular contact throughout his life.
This series of images were taken in Switzerland in the spring of 1976.
This photo was used as the background of the “I want to believe” UFO poster that featured prominently in the office of FBI special agent Fox Mulder, played by David Duchovny, in The X-Files.
Inexpertly taken and faded, the images show blurry metallic blobs hovering or floating above the mountainous Swiss countryside.
Though Stevens said the images had not been doctored, other ufologists are highly sceptical about the images.
Eduard Albert Meier (born February 3, 1937), commonly nicknamed “Billy” is the founder of a UFO religion called the “Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschaften und Ufologiestudien” (Free Community of Interests for the Border and Spiritual Sciences and Ufological Studies) and alleged contactee whose UFO photographs are claimed to show alien spacecraft. Meier claims to be in regular contact with extraterrestrial beings he calls the Plejaren. He also presented other material during the 1970s such as metal samples, sound recordings and film footage. Meier claims to be the seventh reincarnation after six prophets common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Enoch, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Immanuel (Jesus), and Mohammed.
Meier has been widely characterized as a fraud by skeptics and ufologists, who suggest that he used models to hoax photos claimed to show alien spacecraft.
Meier claims his extraterrestrial encounters began in 1942, at the age of five, when he met an elderly Plejaren man named “Sfath”. After Sfath’s death in 1953, Meier said, he began communicating with an extraterrestrial woman (though not a Plejaren) called “Asket”. All contacts ceased in 1964, he said, then resumed on January 28, 1975, when he met “Semjase”, the granddaughter of Sfath, and shortly thereafter another Plejaren man called “Ptaah”. Other Plejarens, including a woman named “Nera”, have since allegedly joined the dialog as well. Photographs of these two women were later proved to have been faked.
Meier founded a non-profit, tax-paying organization based on his alleged contacts with Semjase, called the “Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschaften und Ufologiestudien” (Free Community of Interests for the Border and Spiritual Sciences and Ufological Studies) in the late 1970s and established his “Semjase Silver Star Center”. The organization’s headquarters is in Switzerland.
Meier’s photographs and films are claimed by him to show alien spacecraft floating above the Swiss countryside. He calls the alleged spaceships “beamships” from Plejaren. According to Meier, the Plejaren gave him permission to photograph and film their beamships so that he could produce evidence of their extraterrestrial visitations. Some of Meier’s photos are claimed by him to show prehistoric Earth scenes, extraterrestrials, and celestial objects from an alleged non-Earthly vantage point. Meier’s claims are widely characterized as fraudulent by scientists, skeptics, and most ufologists, who say that his photographs and films are hoaxes.
In 1997, Meier’s ex-wife, Kalliope, told interviewers that his photos were of spaceship models he crafted with items like trash can lids, carpet tacks and other household objects, and that the stories he told of his adventures with the aliens were similarly fictitious. She also said that photos of purported extraterrestrial women “Asket” and “Nera” were really photos of Michelle DellaFave and Susan Lund, members of the singing and dancing troupe The Golddiggers. It was later confirmed that the women in the photographs were members of The Golddiggers performing on The Dean Martin Show.
An Indian farmer fed up with monkeys feasting on his crops came up with a rather clever solution to the problem by painting stripes on his dog so that it looked like a tiger. The weird dye job was reportedly the brainchild of Srikanta Gowda, who resides in the city of Shivamogga. Residents of the region have been struggling in recent weeks with a spate of incidents in which voracious wild monkeys have decimated a number of farms.
Hoping to avoid having his coffee and areca crops fall victim to the hungry primates, Gowda initially placed a stuffed tiger in his field and that seemed to do the trick. However, when the doll’s color faded due to the sun, the monkeys were no longer afraid of the ‘creature’ and descended upon the property once again. Realizing that he needed to take drastic measures to prevent losing his crops, the beleaguered farmer found an answer by way of his dog Bulbul.
Gowda proceeded to use some hair dye to paint stripes on Bulbul’s body, which resulted in the dog resembling a tiger. The ingenious idea proved to be a success as he says that he walks the animal through his fields twice a day and has witnessed frightened monkeys flee the property at the sight of the ‘ferocious’ creature. According to Gowda’s daughter, other farmers in the area have been so impressed with Gowda’s guard dog that they have begun copying the concept with their own pets. Let’s just hope that the sudden increase in ‘tigers’ in the area doesn’t result in an influx of big cats coming to the region looking for friends.