Shiho Fukada has been photographing the effects of the economic crisis in Japan, where notions of personal prosperity and lifetime employment have eroded.
Today marks the start of the five-day festival of Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs around the world. During Diwali, originally a harvest festival, lamps are lit to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, fireworks are set off to drive away evil spirits, and prayers for prosperity are offered to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Collected here are images of this year's festival, as celebrants color their world, give prayers, and wish each other a happy Diwali. [33 photos]
A girl lights earthen lamps in a formation to form the shape of Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, on the eve of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, on November 12, 2012. (Reuters/Ajay Verma)
The Forest of Advocacy is a series of animations that explores the political contribution patterns among eight organizations, such as Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs, and Harvard Business School.
These visualizations provide a dynamic look at the partisan tilt of giving within organizations. For each organization, individuals are characterized as points sketching out a line over time. The X axis is time, and the Y axis represents the net partisan tilt of contributions over the preceding 6 months. Over the decades, one sees lines sketched out, reflecting the partisanship of individuals over time. For each organization, we also provide the net contributions of the entire organization, and the names of biggest Democratic, Republican, and "bipartisan" contributors (the individual with the highest product of Democratic and Republican contributions).
At the core, each animation is a time series chart, but the aesthetic and animation, which is narrated, provides for a more organic feel. In particular, the movements of people, represented by squares shifting straight across or up and down, makes it easy to see consistent and not so consistent contributions. [Thanks, Mauro]
If you haven’t heard of AnchorFree, then there’s a pretty good chance you’re just not the type of person who worries about using open Wi-Fi hotspots and the security implications that tend to arise from that.
Today, AnchorFree announced that Goldman Sachs has made a $52 million Series C investment. Prior investors include RENN Capital. The investment brings its total capital raised to $63 million.
AnchorFree makes Hotspot Shield, a simple VPN tool that’s in use by some 60 million people around the world. It’s the creation of David Gorodyansky and Eugene Malobrodsky, who started the company in 2005 just after finishing college.
During the Tahrir Square uprising in Egypt, the company recorded more than a million downloads of the product in a single night. It’s now in use in 190 countries. The point of the capital raise is simple: Push the number of users higher still. There are, after all, some 1.6 billion people using the Internet.
In this week’s photos from around New York, teams of 12 pull planes at JFK airport, Goldman Sachs hires military veterans as interns, making croissants at a local bakery and more.
The growth of hacktivism, inspired by global social movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, is helping distributed denial of service attacks make a comeback. The attacks, which use thousands of hijacked computers to overload servers, increased 25% in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the final three month of 2011, according to a new report released by Prolexic, a security firm that helps companies fend-off DDoS attacks.
But the real surge was in financial companies, which have been hard hit by hacktivists. Financial firms monitored by the company saw a 3000% increase in malicious traffic this quarter, as hacker groups, such as Anonymous, went after banks such as Goldman Sachs again and again in pre-announced raids. In a different survey by Arbor Networks, another security firm, political or ideological causes were behind 35% of DDoS attacks, between October 2010 and September 2011.
Hacker groups, with social and political goals are helping bring about a “renaissance” in DDoS, a form of attack security experts had thought was fading. Before mid-2010, more sophisticated hacker exploits, such as cracking passwords, had taken the place of the DDoS assaults that security personnel view as a blunt instrument, said Gunter Ollmann, vice president of research for the security firm Damballa. And the operators of Botnets—the armies of zombie computers used for the attacks—had become more profit minded, using their hordes to run online scams, such as getting people to click on bogus ads.
But the aims of the new attacks are more grandiose, targeting governments and giant companies. Anonymous had promised a “global blackout” on March 31st, when it planned to launch attacks against the world’s root servers, which direct Internet users. The attacks generated almost no stoppage, though.
Neal Quinn, chief operating officer at Prolexic, said the key to dealing with such attacks is to conduct “fire drills” that prepare an organization for the assaults. “How’re the events going to play out? You need to be able to figure out, if this is a two hour event or a two minute problem,” Quinn said.
Thomas Hughes, director of Media Frontiers, a web hosting company, says an attack in 2011 against one customer– a Southeast Asian news service– lasted six weeks of increasingly large waves of malicious traffic.
Tech staffs should have extra bandwidth available so that when the attacks come, the waves of traffic can be rerouted. Quinn said companies should have a continual dialogue with web-hosting providers to discuss preparedness, emergency contact information and the threat environment in their industry..
Ollmann took a dimmer view–organizations can’t fully prevent
attacks from succeeding and need to be prepared for the worst. ”Even the largest organization in the world can fall,” he said. “You need to have contingency plans in place so you can still carry out business.”
Gina Bianchini is best known, of course, as the co-founder and former CEO of Ning, the social community aggregator which Glam Media bought for $150 million last year. And now (ding dong), Bianchini is back with a new start-up, a social software company called Mightybell, which she says is trying to reinvent groups online. “It’s Github for groups,” she told me when I saw her last week at The Economist’s Innovation event in Berkeley. It may be “super early days,” for Mightybell, Bianchini explained, but she is nonetheless hopeful that the start-up, which has a “vast” team of six people, has raised $3.6 million and is still in private beta, will unlock the potential of real life experiences.
My conversation with Bianchini is one of a series of interviews about innovation that I recorded last week at The Economist‘s event. Check out previous interviews with the always controversial Vivek Wadhwa about racism and sexism in Silicon Valley and with Clay Christensen about trying to escape the innovator’s dilemma.