As you’ve probably heard by now, Osama Bin Laden got shot in the face and dumped in the ocean by American forces, something we’re sure Free Republic is overjoyed about even as they’re trying to pretend it wasn’t done by a guy they hate, or are formulating conspiracy theories about how “OSAMA is ALIVE AND IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT!!!!”
What you may not know is that it was live-tweeted. No, we’re not kidding.
Tweet This, Al Qaeda
So, if this “kill Bin Laden” operation happened with utter secrecy and only the most elite inner circle of the U.S. government even heard about it, let alone knew it was going to happen, how were there a bunch of live tweets? By accident.
The live tweets came courtesy of a Twitter user known as @ReallyVirtually, aka Sohaib Athar. Athar is an IT consultant, and he happened to be in Abbottabad the night the raid on Bin Laden’s compound occurred.
It started innocently enough: Athar tweeted that he was being annoyed by a bunch of helicopters, and that they should go away. Then in fairly short order, all hell broke loose and he began tweeting about it…which, of course, people began retweeting all over as it flipped a few switches and people realized something major was going down in Pakistan.
Athar, when he heard the announcement, had this to say: “there goes the neighborhood.” But, on the bright side, he got 15,000 followers out of the deal, so there’s that.
Finally, I Can Play Crysis In Court
Speaking of live-tweeting somebody being sent down the river, a court in Quincy, Massachusetts is experimenting with actually letting people who have technology from after 1985 report on court proceedings.
Called the OpenCourt Project, the concept is to allow citizen journalists and bloggers access to the courtroom to blog on those portable computing machines the court has heard so much about. For bloggers who actually put on pants and show up to things, the court has an area set aside for a WiFi hot spot and seating so that they can access the Web and update. For bloggers who hate and fear pants, i.e. most of them, the court will be providing live, unedited streaming of the proceedings.
Yeah, we’re teasing the court a little, but this is a good thing. While part of the problem is bureaucratic slowness and fear of new technology, a bigger part has been the difficulty of protecting attorney-client privilege and the identity of certain witnesses, such as domestic violence survivors and criminal informants. But somebody’s got to do the work to keep the courts open and the people informed, so good for Quincy for trying it out. The more reporting we have in the courts, the better and more accountable our most dignified and important of legal institutions will be.
Now, how to rickroll the proceedings…
- Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts and Mountain Dew have joined together to leverage the power of social media. Translated from the marketroid, that means they’ve put together a contest to promote a Mountain Dew “Coollata” (it’s just Mountain Dew syrup and ice chips, guys) by holding a contest to let you play a Facebook game, wherein you preprogram a robot to blast water at a Coollata frozen in ice and try to win a prize if you melt it.
You know, we’ve got to wonder what all the people working on robotics projects to do things like save lives and advance our understanding of various sciences feel when they see this and realize some jerk put it together in his garage for twenty bucks and got twice their annual salary for a week’s work. Just sayin’. (Mashable)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- By the time we wrapped up the operations in Afghanistan that trained a whole bunch of guys we’d later have to wind up spend years trying to kill to fight the Soviet Union, we were spending $630 million per year. In 1987 dollars. (InfoBrunch)
- $630 million is what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated to wipe out polio in 2009. Just for contrast… (Nature)