Facebook Monitors Your Posts and Chats To Catch Sexual Predators

Facebook Monitors Your Posts and Chats To Catch Sexual Predators

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Ever wonder if Facebook is reading your posts? Well, it is—or, its computers are, at least. And if you say the wrong thing, you could be locked up.

That’s the takeaway from a recent Reuters article, which recounted a case in which Facebook’s software detected a man in his thirties allegedly trying to set up a meeting with a 13-year-old Florida girl for sex. From Reuters:

Facebook’s extensive but little-discussed technology for scanning postings and chats for criminal activity automatically flagged the conversation for employees, who read it and quickly called police.

Officers took control of the teenager’s computer and arrested the man the next day, said Special Agent Supervisor Jeffrey Duncan of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The alleged predator has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of soliciting a minor.

Facebook’s chief security officer told Reuters that the company’s monitoring software uses actual chats that led to sexual assaults to predict when another might occur. This is eerily similar to the hypothetical software I discussed in an article last month on whether police could arrest people based on suspicious-looking Google searches. I noted in the piece that while the idea might sound far-fetched, the technology already exists, and it might even be legal.

In Facebook’s case, the scanning hasn’t stirred outrage—probably because it seems to be focused on catching sexual predators. There are two reasons why online predators make sense as an initial target for automatic-monitoring algorithms. First, soliciting sex with a minor on the Internet is a crime in itself, not just a prelude to a crime (like, say, searching Google for ways to murder someone in their sleep). And second, sexual predators are unlikely to elicit much sympathy, so the public is more likely to tolerate intrusive means of nabbing them. Facebook is fighting creepy with creepy.

The key to the technology’s success—from a public-opinion standpoint, and possibly from a legal standpoint—is avoiding false positives. Arresting an innocent person based on a Facebook chat would surely cause controversy. So according to the Reuters piece, Facebook dials down the algorithm’s sensitivity, to minimize the chances of this happening.

It seems clear that this technology has the potential to do some good. But that shouldn’t blind us to the fact that it represents a further erosion of our online privacy, one more serious than selling our personal information to advertisers.

Dog-gone Doggies of the Day for Feb. 13

Holly, the Dog of the Day
Name: Holly
Age: Three year old
Gender: Female Breed: Shetland Sheep Dog
Home: South Florida, USA
I‘m Holly Brown, a three year old Shetland Sheep Dog. In the second picture, I am way up in the mountains at our home in North Carolina, but most of the time I live in South Florida. I am the alpha dog with two other lovely Shelties and we have a wonderful time with our family. They have never had more than one dog at a time and we really keep them going. What fun!

In the pictures below you see me (Blue Merle) with Rosie (Tri-color), who is my age, and Bambi (Sable) who is only one. We have a great time exploring, running, and barking (a lot). Shelties do not like to swim, however our family is teaching us in case one of us might accidentally fall in our pool.

In November, while staying in the mountains, Bambi and I took off exploring the 180 acres adjoining our property. We got lost and everyone on the mountain helped search for us in the rain as night fell. What luck when we were found standing drenched and bewildered. After we had a warm bath, Rosie gave us a lecture on going off on our own. I don’t think we will do that again!

My days are very busy as I am a very friendly dog. My sisters and I go to my dad’s law office and greet the clients. They love all three of us and are disappointed when we are not there. We have a nice pen behind the office with a tree where we love to take a break and Dad sits in a chair and relaxes with us. Then back inside to nap until our next visitor.

My coat is very thick and Mom enjoys brushing me. I am very well behaved and sit still as she carefully grooms me. I especially like to lick people. Oh, and yes, I like to chase the cats that are in our neighborhood. They tease me from the other side of the fence and I run up and down, but never seem to catch one. They are very tricky.

Taking a walk with us is very challenging. My sisters and I like to get tangled up and Mom has to step over our leashes. I wish I had a movie as it would make you laugh. I also like to bark at the vacuum cleaner and the hair dryer when someone is drying their hair.

I have a wonderful life! I am very gentle and little children love to pet and hug me. I like that, too!

We want to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Celebrations Around The World, Feb. 9th

Diabetes Sundays
Man Day
National “DAV” Day
World Marriage Day

Feast of Apollo
Toothache Day
St. Apollonia’s Day (patron of dentists; against toothaches)
Hobert Regatta Day (Tasmania)
National Inventor’s Day
St. Maron’s Day (patron of Maronites)
National Bagels and Lox Day
St. Teilo’s Day
National Hooky Day
Tales of Kelp-Koli begin (Fairy)
Feast of La’Ala’A (Upolu God of Wrestling; Polynesia)

A Bad Day For Priests, according to Mayan chronological estimation.

Gasparilla Day, Tampa, Florida -Spanish pirate defeated by US Navy in 1821.Beginning of week long festival.
Someone playing Gasparilla is crowned Pirate King, given keys to city, etc.

GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast

 

 

Blessed Full Moon

Blessed Full Moon

Author: Lady Wolfwind

Almost every full moon we celebrate. My children and I. My husband sometimes stands on the periphery as if he’s afraid to join in. It makes me sad to watch him. He’s always seemed a bit reluctant to allow himself to show what he truly believes. Afraid of what others may think of him, even in his private moments. So, he watches. He did participate in our Blue Moon Ritual. Almost as if he felt the significance of the moment, like we were on the cusp of something and it was too important to let pass. I feel that one day he may openly participate and feel comfortable in doing so.

This is really not a story about my husband and his beliefs. It is a story I would like to share with everyone about one witch’s experiences and how they happened. I must admit that we do not celebrate every full moon. I particularly do not like the oppressive summer heat of Florida and, I might add, the mosquitoes. Sometimes I am just too tired or overwhelmed by my mundane life to pay respect to the Goddess who is responsible for bringing it all to me.

Over time in my life, I have changed a great deal, as I’m sure we all have. A few years ago I had a very deep emotional wound that left me changed forever. This wound is what put me on this path with both feet, never to look back. I have found within me a deep peace. I watch people all around me and they try to fill the silent moments with whatever they can. I find that the silence speaks to me. It’s when I recharge my own batteries and feel the vibrations of the world around me.

I deal with people in my job 50 hours per week. Not only do I deal with our customers but my employees as well. It’s strange the way they talk to me. I sense their vibrations as soon as they enter the room. For one example, I was taking a lady’s order the other morning. She seemed to have a sense of sadness about her. I asked her if she was okay and she replied that “Yes, I am good. How are you?” I proceeded to tell her that all was well when she blurted out to me that her son had committed suicide a few years back. I instantly was thrown into a tailspin. I had felt the sadness but didn’t expect this woman to open up to me about something so personal. I told her that I was sorry for her loss and her pain. She told me that it was okay and that she had learned to move on. I felt that the sadness had never gone away.

So, the silence is very important to me. I am an empath. That is another story altogether. It’s not what I really want to write about. When I am not at work I shield myself from the world’s crazy vibrations. I surround myself with nature and animals. I feel their energy as well but it is a kinder, more natural vibration and it soothes me. There is not a day that goes by that I am not being followed by cats, dogs or chickens.

I very rarely invite people to my home. They leave their imprint behind. It interferes with the flow of energy that I feel here. It feels as if it is an intrusion. I know that I can banish this energy but I don’t want to be bothered with the disruption. It is like a momentum, I want it to keep its pace.

So, the night of the last full moon. This night had significant meaning. My husband was working so it was just the children and I. Goddess forbid if my son thinks I’ve forgotten the full moon. He reminds me all night. His excitement is palpable.

We were in the yard. We had set down our blanket. We had all of our necessary tools. Maybe not necessary tools by some people’s standards but enough for us. After all, the Goddess does not look down on us for not spending loads of money on fancy ritual tools. The witch of yesteryear made do with what she had on hand and we shall do the same.

We had our candle for fire, we had our salt for the earth, we had our incense for the air and we had our blessed water. My son cast the circle. We set the incense in the middle, my son carries fire, my daughter sprinkles water and I sprinkle the salt. We set the items at the appropriate directions and my daughter politely asks the Quarters to join us and I ask reverently for the Goddess to join us as well.

Once the circle is cast we sit in a circle and hold hands. We take turns thanking the Goddess for everything she has blessed us with the previous month. We speak of all that we are thankful for. The good and the bad. Then we silently sit and say our own silent thanks. After this we speak of all of the ills we would like to see changed and people we would like to see helped. We ask that She show us a path in which we may help her to do her work in the following month. We say thank you. My daughter asks the Quarters to return to where they came and my son returns the energy back to the earth.

It is a deeply healing time. It makes us aware of all we have to be thankful for while others suffer, sometimes by their own choosing without even knowing it. It helps my children learn to be ambassadors for peace in their world and that different is not always wrong.

I understand that all of this is a great story in and of itself but it is still not what I wish to speak of. At every Esbat the animals join us. The cats always join us in circle. They lie in the middle and look at us all with great love and respect. Sometimes we are joined by others as well. We have a fox that lives nearby and if you look out at the edge of the field, he stands there watching. We also have a family of raccoons and at times they will stand at the edge of the grass and curiously look on. On occasion, the owl provides his two cents as well.

I must add, that the first few times I witnessed this amazing audience, I was unnerved. After all, it was just my children and I. These were wild creatures and I have always been taught that they can be dangerous. The first few times we finished early and moved inside.

Lately I have been more at peace with these visitors. I have found peace with them and they are welcome. Maybe they just want to hear the words and in their own way they want to say thanks as well. They have never created any danger. They just sit and watch. I feel them there. They have something to say. I feel privileged to be trusted enough to have them witness the beauty of it all.

So there, you have the story. This is how it is here. This is our life. Not the life I have chosen but the one that I was called to. It is filled with pain and confusion at times but at others it is filled with beauty and wonder. I have found that the more I am aware of these things the more is revealed to me. Sometimes I feel afraid of what may be next. I know the Goddess will only give me what I can withstand and I place my full trust in Her. I am in awe of all She has to teach and I am envious of how gently she teaches it. I only wish that I had her gentle way with which to bring wisdom to others.

This is what I strive for. I feel that this is what she wishes from me. To just gently teach. To share small glimpses of what the world could be like if one would only stop and listen.

Blessed Be My Fellow Witches.

Herb of the Day for 4/6 is Aloe Vera

Herb of the Day 

 

Aloe Vera

 

 

Aloe vera, Aloe spp.
MEDICINAL: The gel of the inner part of an aloe leaf is used to treat burns, skin rashes, and insect bites, as well as chafed nipples from breastfeeding, when applied to the affected area externally. Internally it can be used to keep the bowels functioning smoothly, or when there is an impaction, although it can cause intestinal cramping when taken internally, and there are other herbs that do this job better. It aids in healing wounds by drawing out infection, and preventing infection from starting. The fresh gel is best to use, rather than “stabilized” gels found in the stores. The fresh gel was used by Cleopatra to keep her skin soft and young.

RELIGIOUS: Growing an aloe vera plant in the kitchen will help prevent burns and mishaps while cooking. It will also prevent household accidents, and guard against evil. It is reported that aloe was used to embalm the body of Christ.

GROWING: Best grown indoors in pots. Those living in the deep South, as in southern Texas or southern Florida, can grow aloe outdoors. Remember that Aloe is a succulent, not a cactus, so it needs water to keep the leaves fleshy and juicy.

Gemstone of the Day for 3/29 is Tiger’s Eye

Tiger eye – offers courage, energy, and luck.

Stone’s names: Tiger eye, also spelled tiger’s-eye and tigereye.
Tiger eye is also called crocidolite cat’s-eye or African cat’s-eye. Color: Tiger eye has a rich yellow and golden brown stripes, with a fine golden lustre when polished.

Description: Tiger eye is quartz that contains oriented fibres of crocidolite that have been replaced by silica.
Tiger eye is displaying chatoyancy (a vertical luminescent band like that of a cat’s eye) . Tiger eye typically has lustrous alternating yellow or brown bands.

The name’s origin: Tiger eye with its bands resembles an eye of tiger, so it is received its name due to this similarity.
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Birthstone:
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Wedding anniversary: Tiger Eye is the anniversary gemstone for the 9th year of marriage.

Varieties: Hawk’s-eye is similar to tiger eye, except that the crocidolite was replaced by quartz before altering to iron oxide. It therefore retains the gray-blue or green of the asbestos.

Care and treatment: As with all gems, protect tiger eye from scratches and sharp blows. Also avoid large temperature changes.

From the stone history: Roman soldiers wore tiger’s-eye for protection in battle. Tiger Eye was thought to be all seeing due to its appearance.

Shopping guide: Tiger Eye is widely used in pendant and beads where it’s lovely tiger-like peculiarity displays out best.

Healing ability: Tiger eye relieves high blood pressure. Tiger eye wear is very helpful in the presence of following diseases: bronchial asthmakidney, rheumatic heart disease, otitis and psoriasis.

Mystical power: Tiger Eye is used for focusing the mind. It is said that Tiger Eye offers protection during travel, strengthens convictions and confidence. This very warm stone is beneficial for the weak and sick.