Friday, January 10, 2014


I use the World Wide Web.  I didn't know there was a Deep Web.

Apparently it's existed for more than a decade.

It was, all of a sudden, big news, about two months ago, after police shut down "Silk Road," an online marketplace that was the eBay for drugs, and arrested its creator.

I perused the NY Times, Daily Mail, UK, and aTime Magazine cover story, and learned that it's called the Deepnet, Invisible Web, Undernet, or Hidden Web.  And its content can't be accessed by Google, Bing or other search engines. 

What is it?  It's dirty sex, porno, drugs, criminal activities, illegal money-making ventures, government secrets, stuff about explosives, over-throwing governments, and nasty gossip about famous folks. Time said if you want info, it's like dragging a net through the ocean, and gathering tons of debris.

Huge, it is! The hidden Web beneath is about eight petabytes. One "peta" is a quadrillion gigabytes -- the numbers are beyond comprehension. The flotsam and jetsam you can gather is called "dynamic content" that could be accessed though a domain, but you can't get to it if you don't know the name of the domain.

So why do we need to know about all this hidden stuff? Because on the Hidden/Invisible Web, deadly crimes are brewing.

Ross Ulbricht, 28-years-old, was arrested and jailed because, aside from drugs, Silk road is selling fake ID's, fireworks, hacking software, names of guys (contractors) who do anything if you pay them.

On Silk Road, anonymous clients -- politicians, rulers, celebrities, criminals -- could do whatever they want and not get arrested, jailed, or fined. The FBI set up a sting operation and learned that Silk Road has helped a million customers, and sold more than two billion dollars worth of contraband. Even though Ross Ulbricht used "onion routing" (layers of encryption), the FBI discovered that Ross had collected more than $80 million in fees.

Encryption -- referred to as Tor, has actually been funded by the US. Government. Tor is used by police and FBI to trace anonymous tips, and investigate "The Farmer's Market," (not the market that is a few blocks from my house, where New Yorkers come from all the five boroughs to buy organic food). This market is the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet -- its clients come from all over the world, including Jihadists.

The jailed Ross wasn't into porn. He made money, using "Bitcoins," money with no physical form that could be transferred without banks, brokers, or fees. You use bitcoins to buy information. (I read that the Howard Johnson Website, a dating service called OKCupid, and a New York City bar, use bitcoins; whatever you buy arrives by regular mail, looking like junk mail -- be it drugs, stocks and bonds, or the services of a someone who will kill your enemy.)

That's how Ross got caught. He wanted to have an employee who was stealing bitcoins, killed. He found a hit man on the Deep Web, who just happened to be undercover FBI agent. This hit man was also blackmailing someone. Ross offered $150,000 in bitcoins to another hit man to kill the blackmailer-hit man, who had proved, with fake photos, that he'd killed someone whom he hadn't killed.

Furthermore, the FBI, policing the Internet, has enabled criminal messaging -- BlackBerry, Apple, iPhones, iPads, are using encrypted message. (Our monthly financial statements that are loaded with private information about us, are sent to us encrypted, but even onion=skinned encryption isn't safe.)

Hey, THIS IS SCARY. What should we do about this invisible, hidden, deep, dark stuff?

I don't know, but I want to know more.

Here's a link -- How to Access the Deep Net  Click "working links" (the third reference). Take a look at what's out there, and view the video below.

Confucius said: “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Do I know him face to face, person to person?  No. 

I've gotten to know Robert Redford through my husband, John Cullum's experiences with him.

John played Judge Riley in Redford's film, "The Conspiratators."  As the producer and director, Redford and John had long conversations. The film, shot in 2010, wasn't a big hit, but for John it was a hit experience.

Director Redford talked at length, quite passionately, about how and why he got involved with the subject of the film -- the assassination of President Lincoln. After Redford explained why he needed strong energy from the Judge, he dug into John's background, and though the Judge was not a major leading role, Redford patiently, persistently, searched with John for ways for John to achieve what Redford wanted.

That's rare. Quite often, a director gets what he wants by encouraging the actor to do more or less what the actor does at the first group "reading" of the script; sometimes, with just  a few words, a director expresses his own thoughts; sometimes, what a director says is confusing, and even annoying.

Anyhow, though I don't know Redford, John's comments fit and expanded my impression.

The look of Robert Redford speaks to me -- it's based on what I've absorbed from the many films in which Redford has starred, and the choices actor Redford has made about what roles, which scripts, what subjects were important to him

Many film titles come to mind -- "The Candidate," and of course "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," but gee, there are so many favorite films -- images. What I've rustled up  from my years of seeing this actor, is a sense of a quiet, inner man, who feels what he feels, uses his feelings and is always himself, but never himself.

Always himself but never himself? Yes.

Aside from the fact that I can't point out a Robert Redford style, tone, typical bearing, manner, or facial expressions, in each film (it's not the makeup or hair, or the outfit) -- the man is different.

Can you say who his wife, or wives were? Does he have children? Do you know where his mansions are, or if they are mansions? Does he have homes in Hollywood, New York City, as well as near where his project -- the Sundance Institute and Festival -- takes place?  Oh yes, I certainly know there is a major festival every year, near Park City Utah.

It showcases new work from American and international independent filmmakers -- feature-length films, short films, and  miscellaneous other types of films. The Sundance Institute has uniquely affected the art of making and producing films. He created it, maintains it, and has built the festival, the institute in something that sustains itself.

At present, he's doing this for the Sundance Channel on television. In occasional brief appearances, he mentions a film and tells us be sure and watch it. Redford is not selling tickets, asking for donations, not promoting the success of the title he's mentioned, just letting us know that the film coming up is special.

On TV, he's an older man, a movie-going movie-maker, who has given me (and maybe you) experiences -- visions of relationships, stories, and quite often a sense of family loyalties -- perhaps beyond what we have personally experienced.

 I knew personally, face-to face -- Richard Burton, John Gielgud, Richard Harris, Julie Andrews, Elizabeth Taylor -- and yes, quite a few other stars --  dined, chatted, played after dinner games with them, when their professional lives intermingled with my husband's professional life.

Take what I'm saying with a few grains of salt. (A grain of salt gives flavor to the ingredients. My eye, my experiences as an artisan, director, promoter, creator, have made my eye sharp. )
When John was on Broadway in the musical, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" -- one night as we were leaving the theater's stage entrance, we noticed a huge limo parked across the street. Even though he was more than a hundred away, Redford was instantly recognizable, as he was pacing near the limo, waiting for his daughter-in-law, who was also in the show.

She emerged from the stage door, said goodnight to us, and crossed to him. That's all. Redford called to us, "Good show," and waved to us.

What a guy! After all that he's done and been to the world -- yes to the whole world -- he waved.

He said once, during an interview, "All my life I've been dogged by guilt because I feel there is this difference between the way I look and the way I feel inside."  He also said on more than one occasion, "I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security."

Golly, if you were to pick a career, mention a man who's hugely successful, who is still giving, sharing, teaching, offering what he is and what he knows to us  -- that's Robert Redford.

Monday, January 6, 2014


What about a CARDBOARD BIKE? It is made from recycled packaging, bottles and car parts, and costs about $30.  

Or, GOOGLE GLASS -- we heard about it more than a year ago; the price is $1500, but you can't buy them yet. They enable you to take pictures without anyone knowing that’s what you’re doing -- there's no hand movement, clicking -- nothing that tells the subject that he's being photographed.

Time Magazine's list of the 27 best inventions of 2013. includes 5 other inventions that I find sort of interesting:
ANKI DRIVE -- game, driverless toy cars you program with a remote.
+ POOL -- portable pool you plunk down anywhere, to swim in bacteria free water.
ARGUS 11 -- glasses that give sight to the partially blind.
INFINITY TOWER -- invisible skyscraper; you see what's behind it, not the skyscraper.
GASTRIC BROODING FROG -- re-created extinct species.

The portable pool looks rather amazing. As for the Frog, the Invisible Tower, that toy car game ... well ... I think ARGUS spectacles that help the partially blind are an important invention.

Popular Science Magazine list includes:    
BOUNCING CAMERA -- ball to throw into area; warns of impending dangers. 
SPACE SUIT -- for use on a trip to outer space. ($50,000.)
PROSTHETIC LIMB -- for athletic amputees.
HOME USE PLANE -- affordable, fuel efficient.  

This baseball-sized camera ball that warns you of dangers could be very helpful.

Other inventions on various lists include:
powered by rocks in a bag.
you can program it to do what you need it to do.
pen that doodles in 3 dimensions, like a glue gun. ($99.)
recipe, using fermented dried beans.
cream-filled, glazed croissant-like donut, $40. (Gee, for  just one?)
stand straight suit for quadriplegics.
take once a day; it utilizes stomach acids to emit a EKG signal your phone can detect.

Hmm -- Robotic arm is very interesting -- though I wouldn't bend over backwards to obtain one, but maybe, just maybe I'd like to taste a Cro nut.

Maybe I'm just not in the mood for NEW stuff.  I'm focused on lots of old stuff that needs fixing. Which one of these inventions would you try or buy?