By Lindsey Wiebe - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada will be watching closely to…
OTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada will be watching closely to see if a massive scheduled budget cut in the U.S. this week will affect the Beyond the Border pact between the two countries.
About $85 billion in cuts are set to hit U.S. federal programs starting on Friday.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said earlier this week that her department would have to furlough 5,000 border patrol agents if the cuts go through.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama signed the much vaunted border deal 14 months ago.
It is designed to speed trade across the 49th parallel while protecting the security of the North American continent from terrorist threats.
Baird says the scheduled March 1 cut is not the way Canada would prefer to make budgetary decisions.
By Lindsey Wiebe - Friday, February 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM - 0 Comments
“The main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor,” Carter says
Former American president Jimmy Carter has weighed in on Oscar-nominated film Argo, saying he believes the movie deserves an Academy Award, but isn’t entirely accurate.
In an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Carter said he believes the film was a “great drama” and deserved to win an Oscar for best film. However, Carter noted that although “90 per cent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian,” the film “gives almost full credit to the American CIA.”
“With that exception, the movie’s very good,” Carter said, going on to praise former Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor’s role in resolving the Iran hostage crisis.
“The main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process,” he said.
- What you won’t see in Argo: A retired U.S. diplomat rescued from Iran writes about the real heroes of 1979
Taylor hasn’t been shy about voicing his opinion on how the film measured up to reality. “My concern is that we’re portrayed as innkeepers who are waiting to be saved by the CIA,” the 77-year-old former ambassador said in an interview with Maclean’s following the film’s premiere.
Director Ben Affleck did manage to smooth things over: Taylor and his wife were later flown to Los Angeles to meet Affleck, see the film and share a commentary for the DVD, and in the process Taylor revised the film’s postscript. The former ambassador was also in attendance at a special reception at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, where Affleck spoke glowingly about Canada’s role.
By Lindsey Wiebe - Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
The hacks just keep on coming. Donald Trump’s Twitter stream briefly included a snippet…
The hacks just keep on coming. Donald Trump’s Twitter stream briefly included a snippet of Lil Wayne lyrics Thursday, a sign not of the business mogul and Twitter enthusiast’s appreciation for the tune, but of a hacker gaining control of his account, according to Trump.
The tweet, immortalized in screen captures: “These hoes think they classy, well that’s the class I’m skippen”
The lyrics were taken down a short time later and were followed up by a stern rebuttal from @realDonaldTrump, who claimed his account had been “seriously hacked.”
“We are looking for the perpetrators,” he wrote. No word on who “we” entails, or how the search will be conducted.
By Lindsey Wiebe - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 5:42 PM - 0 Comments
Hot on the heels of Burger King, another Twitter account compromised
The Twitter hacks continued Tuesday, and the latest target appears to be Jeep.
The automotive brand’s profile page appeared to have been hacked early Tuesday afternoon, with the official avatar and background images swapped to those of Cadillac. “Just Empty Every Pocket, Sold To Cadillac,” read the revised text in the bio of Jeep’s official Twitter account.
Tweets from the compromised account — sometimes confusing and often profane — flew fast and furious early Tuesday afternoon.
The Cadillac images were taken down less than an hour after the apparent hacking, and within a few hours the text and offending tweets had also been removed. Jeep also posted a tweet acknowledging the hack.
The messages and profile changes were similar in tone to those that emerged from fast food giant Burger King after the chain fell victim to a hack on Monday, one that saw its official branding swapped to that of McDonald’s.
In another echo of Monday’s hack, Cadillac — the real one — distanced itself from the incident via Twitter. “Just to clarify, Cadillac is not connected to the hack of the @Jeep Twitter account,” the account tweeted.
So how do accounts get hacked in the first place? We can’t speak for Burger King or Jeep, but generally speaking, Twitter says accounts “may become compromised if you’ve entrusted your username and password to a malicious third-party application or website, if your Twitter account is vulnerable due to a weak password, if viruses or malware on your computer are collecting passwords, or if you’re on a compromised network.”
By Lindsey Wiebe - Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM - 0 Comments
Account suspended after profile hacked
Burger King fell victim to a Twitter hack Monday, one that saw the fast food chain’s avatar and name changed to that of competitor McDonald’s.
“Just got sold to McDonalds because the whopper flopped,” read the new text on the profile page Monday afternoon, over the backdrop of an array of McDonald’s Fish McBites — mirroring the images currently shown on the real McDonald’s Twitter profile.
By Lindsey Wiebe - Friday, February 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
In a climate of police mistrust, dash-cams mean justice
Should a meteor streak across the skies over North America in the near future, the best we could likely expect for video documentation might be the handiwork of some speedy smartphone users, or footage from security cameras in nearby buildings.
So how did Russia end up with so much video evidence of the meteor? The answer, as we’ve seen, is the country’s proliferation of dashboard cameras. And it turns out Russia’s enthusiasm for dash-cams is well-documented.
“Dash-cam footage is the only real way to substantiate your claims in the court of law,” writes Marina Galperina in a report in Animal New York. “Forget witnesses. Hit and runs are very common and insurance companies notoriously specialize in denying claims.” (Warning: link contains a dash-cam thesaurus, which contains the sort of salty language you might expect in reactions to horrific collisions.)
Roughly a million Russians have them, reports Al Jazeera: “The main reason they’re so popular in Russia is because of a deep distrust of police, and a widespread belief of corruption in the legal system,” says host Charles Stratford.
For those considering a dash-cam of their own, Amazon has them by the dozen, at a range of price points. “Lots of idiots on the road, gets down to He said She Said deal, so basically this is insurance for your insurance, and piece of mind,” writes one satisfied customer.
And for the very brave, here’s a compilation from Jalopnik of the craziest Russian dash-cam videos of 2012.
By Lindsey Wiebe - Monday, February 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM - 0 Comments
If you’re an active LinkedIn user, the odds are good that in recent days…
If you’re an active LinkedIn user, the odds are good that in recent days you’ve received an email congratulating you on what seems, on the surface, like a flattering bit of news: Your profile is among the top five per cent (or one per cent, or 10 per cent) most-viewed profiles on the site.
The email includes a link back to a personalized letter of congratulations. It’s decked out officiously — blue ribbon, wax seal and all — with the tagline “A stat this delightful deserves to be shared” above a pre-written message and social media sharing buttons. (Notice of the email blast went out on the company blog late last week: “Starting today, we’re sending personal emails to many who have been instrumental in helping us reach this milestone to recognize their part in our journey,” wrote Ada Chen Rekhi, a product marketer for the company.)
There’s no reason to doubt LinkedIn’s stats, but the achievement loses its lustre when you consider the basic math. Total membership is now 200 million, which means that elite five per cent works out to a rather deflating 10 million people. (Seven million of LinkedIn’s users are in Canada, which makes our top five per cent ranks a slightly-more-exclusive 350,000).
But those numbers haven’t seemed to faze the legions of people who’ve heeded LinkedIn’s encouragement and shared their accomplishment: hundreds of new tweets trumpeting the news had popped up in the span of an hour Monday afternoon.
By Lindsey Wiebe - Friday, February 8, 2013 at 5:52 PM - 0 Comments
The unofficial moniker has picked up steam, much to the chagrin of weather experts
It’s short, sweet, and — let’s face it — eminently tweetable. And it’s certainly catchier than the alternatives: “major winter storm” doesn’t have quite the same ring.
But unlike, say, Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, the winter storm many are calling Nemo isn’t officially sanctioned as such. The former two come to us via the United States’ National Weather Service. Nemo is a creation of the Weather Channel, part of a bid by the U.S.-based weather behemoth to, in their own words, “better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events.”
“The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation,” the channel said last fall, when they announced plans for winter storm naming. (Still to come: winter storms Orko, Q, Rocky and Yogi. Yes, yogi, like the yoga practitioner.)
The move has rubbed plenty of weather experts and watchers the wrong way. “We’re not using that arbitrary name for the storm. It’s meaningless,” Washington Post weather editor Jason Samenow told Poynter, while the idea prompted an LOL from Boston Globe weather blogger David Epstein. ”We don’t name winter storms,” U.S. National Weather Service agency spokeswoman Susan Buchanan told Bloomberg Businessweek. The outlet said the weather service had “actively fought” the naming effort.Some speculated on less pure motivations for winter storm naming: “Giving a name to a blizzard encourages a certain level of hysteria, which in turn could help bump up The Weather Channel’s ratings,” wrote Jared Newman at TIME‘s Techland blog.
Those who’ve abstained from Nemo include the New York Times — sticking with ‘big storm’, as of Friday afternoon — and the Wall Street Journal and CNN, both of which opted for a straightforward ‘blizzard.’ Most major Canadian outlets seemed to be following the same trajectory, mentioning Nemo mainly to scrutinize the naming convention.
Canada’s own Weather Network is another holdout: “We don’t support that private media or weather players assume the responsibility of naming winter storms,” Pierre Morrissette, chief executive officer of Weather Network owner Pelmorex Media Inc., told the Globe and Mail. “It’s really government domain – it has decided to name hurricanes with very clear standards and criteria. If every player decided to name storms or issue their own alerts it would lead to confusion.”
But the naming battle may already be lost online. The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed showed no qualms over embracing the moniker, the former opting for an all-caps ‘BLINDING NEMO’ headline. And the #nemo hashtag soared in popularity Friday, trending in Canada and the United States, and getting plugged in tweets by New York and New Jersey governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie.
The Weather Channel’s own meteorologist Bryan Norcross summed things up succinctly: “The fact is that Twitter needs a hashtag,” he told the New York Times.
And in perhaps the best — or worst — sign of widespread adoption, the Nemo parody accounts have already emerged. Who doesn’t love a good fish-meets-weather-map mash-up?