BYU grad and former NASA engineer goes viral for creating a glitter bomb to catch Amazon package thieves

SALT LAKE CITY — A former NASA engineer and BYU grad had his video go viral this week for creating a glitter bomb trap that tricks thieves trying to steal Christmas gifts.

What happened: In an 11-minute YouTube video, Mark Rober explains how he puts the device, which is hidden inside an Apple Homepod Box, on the porch to attract thieves to his Amazon packages. But when they go to steal the package, the device explodes with glitter, freaking the burglars out and sending them packing.

He said he created the bomb to explode when thieves tried to take packages off his porch. When someone tries to steal a package, the GPS in the device measures if it has been moved significantly. If so, then it will explode.
The device shoots glitter and triggers a “fart spray,” according to USA Today.

You can see the video below.

Why?: Rober, who has gone viral on YouTube before, said he caught thieves on his home security camera but the police said they couldn’t investigate the case, BBC News reports.

He worked with friend Sean Hodgins to design the device, which took about six months, USA Today reported.
“It was stolen on several occasions and re-set to explode and capture the footage every time. On every occasion, the thieves abandoned the package once it had been triggered and they or their property had been doused in glitter,” BBC News reports.

Viral: The video has more than 6 million views.

“If anyone was going to make a revenge bait package and over-engineer the crap out of it, it was going to be me,” Rober said, according to BBC News.
He said in the video, “The moral of the story is, just don’t take other peoples’ stuff. Not only is it not cool, but on the plus side, you’ll never find yourself in this situation.”

BYU: According to KSL-TV’s Heather Kelly, Rober is a BYU graduate.

Why it matters: Salt Lake City is one of the top cities in the country where you’re more likely to get a package stolen during the holidays, according to a new report from, which identifies crime stats for cities across the world.

Salt Lake City has a year-round theft rate of 32.60 per 1,000 people.
Austin, Texas, was ranked as the No. 1 city where you’ll get your package taken. The rate there was 18.34 per 1,000 people.
Interesting facts: Salt Lake City ranked as No. 1 in …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


10 flying objects people have mistaken for alien spaceships

B 2 Spirit Stealth Bomber

Many things that are reported as UFOs turn out not to be extraterrestrial at all.
The Lockheed F-117 and the SR-71 Blackbird jets both had designs that looked otherworldly.
A natural phenomenon called ball lightning has also led witnesses to think they’d seen something alien.
Mundane objects such as paper lanterns and party balloons have been reported as UFOs.

It’s a familiar and intriguing story: A strange craft appears in the sky, performs seemingly otherworldly aerobatics, baffles onlookers, and then is gone as quickly as it appeared, leaving us to question our eyesight and sanity.

But the reality is, many foreign things seen in the sky — also known as unidentified flying objects, or UFOs — are revealed to be anything but extra-terrestrial. Most of these sightings turn out to be experimental planes, atmospheric phenomena, or merely everyday objects that slip from our hands and head skyward.

By definition, UFOs are enigmatic, which is why people love to speculate about what strange sights in the sky could be. But just because an airborne object’s origin is mysterious does not mean that it comes from another planet. An airliner that doesn’t announce itself to a control tower qualifies as a UFO, for example.

Here are 10 “UFOs” that turned out to be very much from this world.

SEE ALSO: 3 compelling reasons why we haven’t found aliens yet

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The Lockheed F-117 was created in secrecy.

The first operational aircraft built around stealth technology, the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk doesn’t look conventional, and for good reason. The F-117’s design is characterized by sharp angles and a low aspect ratio (small wings in relation to the plane’s body). This strange shape allowed the craft to deflect and absorb radar signals, essentially becoming invisible to the high-tech systems used to detect enemy aircraft.

Because the F-117 was meant to fly undetected, its development was cloaked in secrecy. So after one of the aircraft crashed in a remote, mountainous area outside of Bakersfield, California in 1986, the Air Force closed the crash site and surrounding airspace to the press and public. They deemed it a “national security area,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

This led to public speculation about what the government was hiding, eventually forcing the Air Force to go public in 1988 about its long-rumored but never confirmed F-117, according to the New York Times.

The Northrop Grumman …read more

Source:: Business Insider


When Does a Meme Count As an Influence Operation?

In their efforts to influence the 2016 election, Russian operatives targeted every major social platform, but one demographic group got special treatment—black Americans— according to two reports made public by the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday.

The reports, one published by New Knowledge, a new disinformation advocacy group, and the other by the Computational Propaganda Project at the University of Oxford, both tally large numbers of posts across social media that generated millions of interactions with unsuspecting Americans. New Knowledge counted up 77 million engagements on Facebook, 187 million on Instagram, and 73 million on Twitter. The thinktank divvied up the activity into three buckets: content that targeted the left, the right, and … African Americans.

Partially in response to the reports, the NAACP has called for a one-day boycott of Facebook and Instagram. The organization’s NAACP president, Derrick Johnson, hit the company for allowing “the utilization of Facebook for propaganda promoting disingenuous portrayals of the African-American community.”

The way the politicians and journalists usually describe these Russian posts is to say they sought to “heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another” or “exploit racial divides” by “exploiting existing political and racial divisions in American society.”

While right-leaning political posts were often explicitly racist, and both types of political posts surely tried to stoke polarization, the posts that targeted black people were different. They promoted a generally Afrocentric worldview, celebrated the freedom of black people, and called for equality. Take the following image post, which New Knowledge said generated the most likes of any Instagram post in their dataset. While it was posted by a Russian-linked account, it was originally created by a black-owned leather goods company, Kahmune.

From New Knowledge’s The Tactics and Tropes of the Internet Research Agency

Is this really “exploiting” racial divides or “heightening tensions”? At most, this post points out something obvious about the nature of American popular culture (calling a certain shade of beige “nude” is dumb) that makes white people mildly uncomfortable.

In another case, an IRA-controlled Facebook page reposted video footage of police brutality, garnering more than half a million shares. If that heightens racial tensions in America, it seems hard to blame the Russians for that.

The IRA operatives were able to deeply interpenetrate real black media. They became part of the meme soup of online black life, sharing and being reshared by real people, as seen below. …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Best of