; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, September 05, 2014

Daily 2 Cents: Mystery Cell-Phone Towers Found Nationwide -- Huge Mantis Shrimp Caught -- On Bigfoot's Trail

Mystery Cell-Phone Towers Found Nationwide

There’s been an uproar this week following a Popular Science report that revealed the existence of more than a dozen cell phone-type towers across the United States for which no owner could be located or operator identified.

Business Insider reported the towers “appear to be connecting to nearby phones, bypassing their encryption, and either tapping calls or reading texts.”

The report said the “fake communication towers are undetectable” for most telephone users, but a new and pricey product, called a cryptophone, confirmed a number of “bogus cell phone towers.”

As for those who own and run the towers? Les Goldsmith, an expert in phone technology, said it just isn’t known.

“What we find suspicious is that a lot of these interceptors are right on top of U.S. military bases. So we begin to wonder – are some of them U.S. government interceptors? Or are some of them Chinese interceptors?” he asked in a Popular Science interview. “Whose interceptor is it? Who are they, that’s listening to calls around military bases? Is it just the U.S. military, or are they foreign governments doing it? The point is: we don’t really know whose they are.”

Whatever the source, America has an increasing privacy problem, according to experts in the field.

“The [National Security Agency] revelations of the past year show that we have no privacy,” said John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization.

Whitehead is also the author of “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State.”

Keep up with the threats to your privacy, get “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State,” and “Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming our Reality,” as soon as you can.

“All of our records and communications are being monitored, tracked, uploaded and stored,” he said.

Cheryl Chumley, author of “Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming our Reality,” agreed.

“Law enforcement is seeming to suggest that these phony towers are the brainchild of hackers and data thieves – and that means cell phone users around the nation need to realize their so-called private conversations are vulnerable,” she said.

“Privacy as we know it in America is dead. Drone technology is blossoming, the federal government’s already been tapping into private social media messaging, all in the name of security, the private sector is latching on to emerging technology that puts the likes of audio and video recording devices in store mannequins, and now comes a new – and unknown – entity that’s listening in on cell phone conversations.”

Whitehead said the government intelligence “agency would have to know about these towers and their existence, and they have not alerted the public.”

“If these are private interests, it could very well be tied into a government intelligence agency’s programs,” he said. “For example, it has been revealed that the NSA is working openly with Google, and Amazon just built a multi-million dollar intelligence cloud to be shared by all 17 intelligence agencies.”

Whitehead added, “What we once called privacy has clearly been extinguished, and once the drones blanket the skies beginning in 2015, even those who thought they could get off the grid will no longer be able to do so.”

Chumley said it’s “crucial for Americans to understand that putting the technology genie back in the bottle just isn’t going to happen.”

“The best course of action is assume all phone conversations, all social media messaging, and computerized correspondences are being tapped and hacked – because the truth is, they very well could be,” she said.

Radio talk-show host Katherine Albrecht, whose Spychips website tracks privacy invasions, told WND she differs from Whitehead and Chumley.

It’s very important to watch for such developments, she said.

“Is our government doing this? Or is a rogue government doing this to eavesdrop on sensitive communications?” she asked.

She said while neither is good, the idea that a foreign power, such as China or ISIS, setting up communications monitoring locations across the United States is scary.

However, it just confirms her opinion, she said, that if there is an opening for exploiting computer software, it will happen.

“This is not the time to thrown in the towel,” she said. “This is time to roll up the sleeves.”

She’s also been a key promoter of StartMail encrypted email and encrypted search functions on the Web.

According to Business Insider, there were 17 fake cell phone towers found across the U.S.

VentureBeat reported they don’t likely belong to the NSA, because “that agency can tap all it wants without the need for bogus towers.”

BI reported ComputerWorld revealed the fake towers knock the performance of a 4G phone down to that of a 2G, giving away their operations.

The Popular Science report focused on the specialized security telephones now becoming available. As part of that, it revealed that one of the phones had detected “interceptors” across the U.S., in Seattle, Denver, Los Angeles, Dallas, several points in Nevada and Arizona, Chicago, Ohio and other eastern points.

In the report, Goldsmith said: “Interceptor use in the U.S. is much higher than people had anticipated. One of our customers took a road trip from Florida to North Carolina and he found eight different interceptors on that trip. We even found one at South Point Casino in Las Vegas.”

The report said the towers are “radio-equipped computers with software that can use arcane cellular network protocols and defeat the onboard encryption. Whether your phone uses Android or iOS, it also has a second operating system that runs on a part of the phone called a baseband processor. The baseband processor functions as a communications middleman between the phone’s main O.S. and the cell towers. And because chip manufacturers jealously guard details about the baseband O.S., it has been too challenging a target for garden-variety hackers.”

But the report said for governments, such interception is simple.

BI reported: “Whenever he wants to test out his company’s ultra-secure smart phone against an interceptor, Goldsmith drives past a certain government facility in the Nevada desert. (To avoid the attention of the gun-toting counter-intelligence agents in black SUVs who patrol the surrounding roads, he won’t identify the facility to Popular Science). He knows that someone at the facility is running an interceptor …”

A new report from CBS in Chicago said there actually were 19 such “eavesdropping devices across the country, including at least one in Chicago.” - WND


Huge Mantis Shrimp Caught

NOTE: To those who are reef aquarium enthusiasts (like I am), the mantis shrimp is nicknamed 'thumb splitter'...they hide in coral or rock and use the appendage in front to stun it's prey. They also get into reef rock used for aquariums. They can use the appendage like a little hammer and actually break aquarium glass. As well, they can cause some serious damage on fingers if you happen to come across one. I had a mantis shrimp split my right index finger wide open, needing 6 stitches to close it. That particular mantis shrimp was less than 1 inch long...Lon

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water.

A massive, 18-inch crustacean was pulled from the water off a Florida dock leaving state wildlife officials not only shocked but initially scratching their heads.

The scaly creature featuring multiple legs and claws was described as "striking its own tail" when reeled in off a Fort Pierce dock.

The unfazed fisherman "grabbed it by its back like a lobster," said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in a Facebook post showcasing its photos Thursday.

It's believed to be some kind of mantis shrimp.

"These types of crustaceans have eyes on stalks that can move independently of one another," said the commission.

The jumbo shrimp was reeled in off a Fort Pierce dock by a fisherman. It's believed to be a type of mantis shrimp, but which species scientists said they aren't yet sure.

A fisherman reeled in the jumbo shrimp off a Fort Pierce dock. It's believed to be a type of mantis shrimp, but which species scientists said they aren't yet sure.

The fisherman told officials that he released the creature after taking several pictures of it from the end of a fishing line.

Reaction to the jumbo shrimp on the FWC's Facebook page proved to be a mix of watery mouths and pure disgust.

"Get Out the Garlic Butter !!!!!!!!" wrote Ed Karecki.

"I would probably put a few rounds in it before I drug it on [shore] (it's an alien)," wrote Aaron Pickern.

"Pretty sure that's from men in black.." wrote Lauren Ruff.

"We call those a roach up north...." wrote Dan Umstead. - NYDailyNews


Sir David Attenborough 'On the Hunt for the Yeti'

Sir David Attenborough has said he would like to find the Abominable Snowman during his lifetime.

The renowned naturalist and broadcaster was speaking at the launch of UKTV's Natural Curiosities on Watch when he made the comments about his ambition.

He said there are "one or two" mythical creatures he would like to discover: "I wouldn't mind finding the Abominable Snowman for a start.

"There is still a mystery about the Abominable Snowman, there are teeth that were found back in the 1920s, huge molar teeth about six times the size of ours, immense things, they were found in a Chinese druggist's store and undoubtedly are the teeth of a giant ape that must have lived relatively recently itself and that could have been the Abominable Snowman."

Last year, the 88-year-old said he believed the Abominable Snowman might be real, with previous fossil discoveries pointing at a great ape that stood over 10ft tall.

"It is not impossible that it might exist. If you have walked the Himalayas there are these immense forests that go on for hundreds of square miles which could hold the Yeti," he said.

"If there are some still alive and you walked near their habitat you can bet that these creatures may be aware of you, but you wouldn't be aware of them."

While Attenborough admitted that Yeti may no longer exist, he said there is always a chance: "I don't say I necessarily believe in it, I'm saying that there is evidence and of course one of the very difficult things ever to do is prove a negative, to prove that it doesn't exist."

Earlier this year, scientists Bryan Sykes analysed the DNA of "Yeti hair" samples to find out if the creature exists.

Published in the journal Proceedings of The Royal Society B, he found one sample matched with the DNA of a polar bear dating back to 40,000 years ago, leading him to suggest that the Abominable Snowman could be a hybrid species of polar bear and brown bear that might still exist today.

"If these bears are widely distributed in the Himalayas, they may well contribute to the biological foundation of the Yeti legend," he said. - Yahoo


On Bigfoot's Trail

You've probably seen her before. Captured in grainy 16mm Kodachrome color film, she walks upstream along a sandbar on the opposite edge of a creek. It's an easy gait, brisk yet casual. Her knees are bent; her elongated arms swing freely at her sides. In a moment suspended in time, she glances back. Large eyes. Flat nose. Well-muscled back, buttocks and thighs. A large pair of conspicuous breasts dangle from her chest like sandbags.

She's big — 7 feet and 3 inches tall, some say, and 700 or more pounds. She's also almost entirely covered in dark brown hair.

To skeptics, she's just a hoax, an imposter in an ape suit. But to any Bigfoot investigator worth his salt, she's "Patty."

This iconic footage, known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, is widely considered the gold standard by which every other piece of Bigfoot evidence is weighed. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, who runs the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, likens the footage to the Zapruder film of John F. Kennedy's assassination. It's the best and and most controversial proof there is that large and elusive apelike hominoids roam the North American backwoods, and have been since antiquity. For Bigfoot believers, the comparison couldn't be more apt.

No one appreciates this more than Bob Gimlin, an 82-year-old horse handler from Yakima, Washington — the surviving half of the film's namesake. When we meet at a diner in Union Gap, he says he's got "a little gift" for me out in his truck. After rummaging through his black Escalade pickup, he hands me a batteries-not-included "Sasqwatch" that he personally autographed the night before. Read more at Inlander



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