Countering or disrupting ISIS (Daesh) recruitment efforts. As ISIS continues to suffer defeats on the battlefield (more than 45,000 of their fighters have been killed and over half the territory it once occupied and controlled has been reclaimed) its recruitment results have also declined. Still, its message to disaffected and vulnerable youth persists. It runs very sophisticated social media campaigns. Many governmental and non-governmental groups have gone beyond military responses to the terrorist group to working on the ideological appeal of the group. The non-profit Carter Center is one of them. Here’s an excerpt from an FAQ on what they are up to, including why they and others, like John Kerry, choose to refer to ISIS as Daesh (the group finds it insulting). For more, go to this page on the Carter Center site.
Every year, thousands of people leave their home countries and travel to Syria or Iraq to join Daesh, also known as ISIS.
Why? What compels these people — most of them young, most of them men — to leave their families and the relative comforts of their homes to fight and die in places where they have no ties? How can we stop others from following in their footsteps?
The Carter Center has launched a project that aims to help reduce the stream of foreign fighters joining Daesh. Dr. Houda Abadi, an associate director in the Center’s Conflict Resolution Program, spoke with us about how Daesh recruits and what we can do about it.
The group wants to be called the Islamic State. They are very savvy when it comes to propaganda. Calling them the Islamic State lends legitimacy to the idea that they are a state, and that they are following Islamic principles. Neither is true. “Daesh” is an acronym of the Arabic words “Islamic State in Iraq and Sham.” But “Daesh” in Arabic sounds similar to the Arabic words “Daes,” and “Dahes,” which mean, respectively, trampling or crushing something underfoot and “the sowers of discord.” The group hates to be called Daesh. They are a group that plays with words, and we should not fall into their trap.
The project has two components. The first involves trying to understand how Daesh recruits young people. To that end, we’ve analyzed more than 300 Daesh videos and all issues of its online magazine, Dabiq. And will continue to add to that research. The second component involves convening workshops with religious and community leaders to provide them with a more nuanced understanding of Daesh communication strategies, ways to counter Daesh narratives, and strategies to engage alienated youth.
Covers from the Daesh propaganda magazine Dabiq. (Left) Healthcare: Daesh propaganda includes selling the advantages of living in the so-called caliphate. In this ad, it claims to provide quality healthcare to residents. (Middle) Wala and Bara: Daesh created this image to suggest that its members don’t suffer from the effects of racism felt in the United States. (Right) Just Terror: The cover of Daesh’s magazine, Dabiq, after the terror attacks in Paris called the terror “just.”
For more information on the Center’s initiative to counter Daesh recruitment and outreach, read this item.
These cool new technologies will disrupt the smartphone market … again. You’ve seen it here before and here it is again, great stuff from the Kiplinger Letter Tech Alerts. This one has some amazing, and potentially disturbing forecasts. We know that 5G is coming (the even faster cell service) and probably before the 2020 promised rollout date. (Qualcomm is looking to be out with it in 2019.) Anyway, here’s some synopses and excerpts from what Kiplinger’s John Miley had to say on August 17th and my take on them. You really should check this article out!
- Smartphone sales have slowed and people have been reluctant to upgrade to expensive new phones with marginal improvements. That will change over the next few years as new chips and tech becomes available.
- Mobile Virtual Reality is coming. So if you think pedestrian deaths and injuries are troubling now as people have gone from simply texting while walking to playing Pokemon Go, imagine them walking around with a VR headset with an embedded smartphone! Drivers, bike couriers and fellow pedestrians beware! May be fine in waiting rooms, the airport or train station–until you miss the flight or the receptionist has to come out and tap you on the shoulder. OK, maybe I’m overstating the problem, but I don’t think so. See my poem on the subject from the May 2014 Quarterly.
- Advanced Walkie-Talkie tech—privacy alert, for those who care.
Your smartphone will be able to directly connect to everyone and everything around you without a wireless network. How does it work? The devices ping each other directly via wireless airwaves. The walkie-talkie feature will be useful in areas where cell service and Wi-Fi are unavailable or bogged down, such as a crowded music festival. One communication tool known as Wi-Fi Direct [sorry the link is no longer available] uses Wi-Fi airwaves to send messages, share photos or download content.
Direct connection will spell new ways to use social networks, sell stuff and find deals. A technology known as LTE Direct uses cellular airwaves to continuously ping the area around you, with a range of about 500 meters. Based on personal settings, you’ll get tailored alerts—deals on coffee, a list of tennis partners, tourist tips. You can also send out signals. If you’re carrying a bag you want to sell, you can set your phone to alert folks nearby. Cellular carriers will control the service and hope to cash in by taking a cut.
- But wait, there’s more!
- Faster broadband for movie downloads as quickly as 1 gigabit with 4K streaming
- Much improved voice calling (finally)—including HD voice (ATT has a version now, but both ends of the call have to be so equipped).
- Artificial Intelligence in your phone
- Sensors for motion, to detect disease and more.
Houzz–A shopping, design and advice site beyond what we usually feature here. Looking to remodel, design or furnish a home? You might want to check out this site. Since we moved into our custom-built home in 2012, I thought we had put all that behind us. Then we told our builder we were interested in a deck AND he was interested in a review on the site. So what is it? It’s Houzz. Funny name, but a one word website name is far easier for people to remember. It takes a weird spelling like this to get a domain registration. Houzz both sells products and showcases designers, vendors, etc. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a few pictures that will give you an idea of what they do.
Here’s a deck design for planning, a charging station for a laptop and phones, and a link (click on the photo of the cup of pencils) to a story about how much a remodel costs and how long it takes.