Five Things Friday: from missile threats to spies


Photo by Jasperdo , published on January 11, 2011 , link to original work: , link to license: , Residents and tourists in Hawaii received a mass text message on Saturday for a ballistic missile threat.

01/13/18: False ballistic missile threat for Hawaii

On Saturday afternoon, an emergency alert notification was sent as a mass text message to the residents of Hawaii stating: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” This message also showed up on television and radio broadcasts. It caused concern on social media, as scared and confused residents asked for further detail. Hawaii Gov. David Ige soon after tweeted that the message was just a drill and that there was no missile threat to Hawaii. Governor Ige also tweeted that he will be meeting with top defense and emergency management officials from the state “to determine what caused this morning’s false alarm and to prevent it from happening again.” It took 38 minutes after the initial message was sent to send a second mass text message to the public assuring that the first was a false alert.


01/14/18: 13 captive children found in California house

On Sunday, authorities arrested Louise Anna Turpin and David Allen Turpin after a 17-year old called 911 and stated that 12 of her siblings were held against their will in their family’s home. The 17 year old who appeared malnourished and dirty “appeared to be about 10″ and was slightly incapacitated. When authorities went into the Turpin home, they found siblings ranging from ages 2 to 29, some shackled to furniture, in the “dirty and foul smelling home.” Their kids were taken to Corona Medical Center and Riverside University Health System Medical center to be treated. The couple were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment. They were given a $9 million bail each and they are expected to show up to Riverside Hearing County Court for a hearing on Thursday.


01/16/18: Computers are getting better at reading

A statement released on Monday by Alibaba’s founder revealed that for the first time, a machine has outperformed humans at a reading comprehension test. The test was created by artificial intelligence experts of Stanford University to measure the computer’s intelligence by getting the subjects – both human and computer – to read Wikipedia articles and answer questions regarding said Wikipedia articles. In the given test, humans scored 82.304, while Alibaba’s neural network model narrowly beat the human participant with a score of 82.440; shortly after, Microsoft’s AI software also prevailed with a score of 82.650. This type of technology, if advanced further,can be gradually applied to numerous jobs, such as customer service and museum tours. Some, such as chief scientist of natural language processing Luo Si, state that while this is a great development in machine learning, it will also lead to a significant number of workers losing their job to machines.


01/16/18: Larry Nassar’s victim hearing start

Starting Tuesday, Larry Nassar’s victims and victims’ parents will be reading their personal testimony and experiences against Nassar. In this civil lawsuit, Attorney John Manly- who is representing over 100 victims- state that it was institutions such as USA Gymnastics that allowed this abuse to continue until 1998 to tens of victims. Currently, it is not clear who will be present at the hearing to give their testimony. Gymnastic athlete Aly Raisman has already said on Twitter that she will not be present at the hearing because it is “too traumatic” but her impact will be read. His victims range from gymnasts, to soccer players, to Olympians; some were younger than 13 years old at the time of the abuse.


01/17/18: Former CIA agent is arrested

On Wednesday, a former CIA agent Jerry Chun Shin Lee was accused of stashing top secret information to help the Chinese spies to dismantle a US spy network in China and was arrested at JFK Airport. Investigators discovered within his possessions a small book containing the numbers of CIA assets as well as the location of top-secret facilities and list of undercover officers. The government wrote that “the disclosure of which could cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States.” Concerns began to rise in 2012 when an increasing number of informants were killed or imprisoned by the Chinese government, causing a setback for the agency. Lee, a 13-year veteran of the CIA agency, was not charged with espionage, but his arrest did cap an investigation that had been occurring since 2012. He is expected to make a court appearance in Brooklyn with a public defender.