August 30, 2014

Abandoned by the World - Apocalypse Now Photo Series - Part 5

Apocalypse Now

Previous Segments of the Apocalypse Now Photo Series 

About a year ago I discovered Reddit and as any good Redditor will tell you- I've lost so much time because of it. So much time, gone. The wealth of information on reddit is incredible, and the daunting need to see it all is virtually insatiable.  I am constantly finding new favorites on the site, but my two favorites will always be r/ShowerThoughts and r/AbandonedPorn. Before I found r/AbandonedPorn I used to have to scour the interwebs for new pictures for this photo series, but now.. I'm drowning in them. Now Reddit has this thing about Buzzfeed always stealing their content for articles (I've seen the picture, Buzzfeed.) so I've decided to fully admit my 'borrowing'. These photos ( & the forum itself) are amazing, and need to be seen by the world. For those of you who haven't visited reddit yet.. I'm sorry. You'll understand later.

So once again let's look at some more abandoned places of the world, some near and some far but all equally as breathtaking. If you have an abandoned place in your area, or know of a cool location please feel free to submit via the contact tab above. Below are five more places that the world has forgotten but r/AbandonedPorn has found, some recent- some very old. You can look for Part 6 of the Apocalypse Now Photo Series in early fall of this year.

Abandoned Mine in the Ural Mountains, Russia

Deserted Movie Set in Alabama used to film 'Big Fish'
 Reddit Thread on r/AbandonedPorn

The skeletal remains of a sugar barrons grand mansion, torched during WWII in the Philippines.

Blue Spiral Staircase - Abandoned European Castle - Location Unknown

The Haunted Miranda Castle in Belgium

xoxo disaster girl

August 24, 2014

Atlantic Tropical Update - Post Tropical Cyclone Cristobal - 8/29 9PM

Post-Tropical Cyclone Cristobal

Hurricane Cristobal - Cat 1
Max Ssd.Winds:  75   MPH  ↓
Moving:   NE   at  44  MPH   ↓
Min  Pressure:   980   MB     ↑
Last Updated:  8/29/14   9 PM


xoxo disaster girl

August 10, 2014

The Digital Archaeologists of the Future


New technology is unveiled everyday and because of this old technology eventually becomes a thing of the past. With the release of Google Glass and smart watches it is becoming increasingly apparent that one day we will use the internet in a very different way than we do today.  What ever that internet is will likely be entirely different from its current form, and far beyond what we can currently dream. People born between the 1970's and 1990's (more notably the late 80's babies)  will eventually be known as the Children of the Internet, because they grew up while it grew up. Today's children, while completely able to use the internet in extraordinary ways, never grew up learning the framework behind at all- after all it was already here when they arrived. Eighties babies were forced to learn basic HTML coding skills to do much of the 'fun' things in the earlier days of the internet. AOL pages and profiles birthed html coded AIM designs, which eventually birthed the intense HTML coding of MySpace, Xanga, LiveJournal (or its alter-ego DeadJournal). If you told a ten year old in 2000 that their AOL page could be pink with white text, that their images could scroll and flash, that music could be playing in the background- they wouldn't click different features in an app to set it up, they would code it. Coding became a staple in growing up in the late 90's and early 21st century, but eventually it was lost to easier usage and a commercially wider user base. Nowadays the web does the work for you but the Children of the Internet will always have this ability embedded deep in them, and when the need is gone and human coding becomes obsolete- they will be the few that remember. 

If you would have said to me when I was 5 years old and got my first computer that in a couple of years I'd be writing jumbled text into a window and it would create my own personal work of web art- I probably would have asked if you meant drawing it in Paint. I was naive, but my foot was already in the door. I fell in love with code- it was simple yet complex, it was obvious but elusive. With the stroke of a key; text was here and then it was there- shining brilliantly in various interchangeable colors as it streaked across my screen. It was the first time I was introduced to idea of personal customization and it was fantastic. Eventually though all those things faded away and those features were replaced, but I never stopped. I still write code as often as I can nowadays even though it's viewed as "doing things the hard way, and for no good reason"- and it truly saddens me to think of a day when there is no more coding. Like when our TV's recently transitioned to all digital- a day will come when we aren't able to code anymore. A drop down list will replace my coding and customization freedom forever. 

The 80's babies watched the internet grow, watched it morph into something that dreams are made of. I once asked an older friend what they did before the internet came out in 1991, and she said they had door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. You can't change the color and font on that, and you certainly can't target search for relevant information either. I was lucky because when I grew up the internet grew up. Suddenly a computer wasn't just a machine anymore- it was a way of life. If I had a question, it had an answer. If I had a problem, there was always a solution. If I needed to find the unfindable, all I had to do was dig a little harder. Eventually though the internet would out grow me; changing into more than one person could ever have asked or hoped for. It would also become things that than none of us ever really wanted, but even in its darkest times the light of the magic behind it all shined bright.

Once you have a basic gist of coding you can understand and manipulate its usage, and I had been doing that since day one. There comes a time in each 'coders' life that you start to realize that every backdoor leads you to more information and more know-how; so the idea of stopping becomes unfathomable. The internet, at its base, is an open source of information available to everyone- to change, add, remove, control, and command. Nowadays, much like what coding has changed to, these abilities are a whole lot easier than they used to be. One day in the future though, it will all be a thing of the past. Much like a historian analyzes both old and new history, people will work in fields that document and analyze every aspect of the early internet and how it once worked. For that reason the Children of the Internet are likely already at the top of a career platform that doesn't even exist yet. Below are the Children of the Internet's tools, and what became the tools of the modern day Digital Archaeologist.

  • Targeted Searches:  The Digital Archaeologist can immediately recognize that you're not well-versed by watching your web searches. Typical people, ones without the understanding of the inner workings of the internet, simply type a word when they're searching for something. When you understand how the machine works you can use much narrower boundaries when on an internet hunt. The use of coding will allow you to find things lost long ago. There is nothing that Google can't answer, and in fact the search engine has only disappointed me on one occasion- after which I submitted the answer to the internet for further documentation. If you can't find something you know exists on the internet, I'm sorry to say you're not using it right. Here's an overview of what you can really do with Google.
  • The WayBack Machine:  Very few things actually disappear from the internet even when they are deleted by the owner/hoster. The WayBack Machine has been working tirelessly since 1996 to make sure of that, and their archive is quite extensive. Even The Disaster Caster hasn't escaped the endless archiving, and if you search for it you can see all the website changes over the last four years. Want to know what The Huffington Post looked like at its inception? Or how about Just type in the web address, and you are transported back in time to an older version of any website of your choosing. It really is that simple, and it has proved to be a truly irreplaceable tool in recent years. Click here for a look at the history of The Disaster Caster.
  • Digital Fingerprints:  The internet is stealing bits of information from you but you probably already knew that. The constant IP tracking can be traced back to you, the geolocation tools embedded throughout most websites can find where you are, and the bouncing of messages and calls off of your cellphone can determine your location within a few hundred feet. With newer technology like that deployed in Camden NJ in recent years- the police state of tomorrow has already arrived. It's just not "Out, loud & proud" yet. Governments aren't the only ones who have these types of technologies or know-hows to get information from you. Hackers can use viruses and back-end log ins to trace your every keystroke and location. Your personal information, bit by bit, travels to places you couldn't possibly even fathom. Open that email and a hacker in Western Europe can shadow your PC, granting them access to everything you'd probably thought you were keeping quiet. Click here to read more about your Digital Fingerprint.
  • Reverse Image Searching: The use of this always starts out with the most mundane of intentions, you find an image and you need it in another size so you click a simple link that says "Other sizes". Within a half a second Google has taken the direct image URL and has cross referenced it with millions of other images. If that image exists anywhere else on the internet you will find it. Worried about that picture you sent someone making its round on r/gonewild? Search it. Worried that the person you met online might be lying about who they are? Search it. Want to see if someone is stealing your pictures and using them for their own purposes? If it exists Google will find it, you just have to know how to look. For more information on this tool, please click here.
  • Social Networking:  The rise of social networking birthed a far worse habit in humanity; over sharing. Social networking at times can account for the majority of information available about you on the internet. It also accounts for everything you can find about everyone else. You would be surprised what information you can find when you really start digging. That petition you signed? Found. The old photo bucket album from your less than admirable high school days? Check. Any accounts associated with your telephone number? Cake. Mixed in with the incessant need to tell all your facebook friends every single detail of your life, as it plays out in real time, there is a recipe for situations you could not imagine. So if your security question on your accounts is your favorite football team, you probably shouldn't be tweeting about them every five minutes. *Ahem* Click here to find out how much information is too much.
  • Exif Data: This is the information buried inside each photo you've ever taken. This information can tell you what camera was used, when the photos were exactly taken, which settings were used, and whether the file has been changed or altered in anyway. While seldomly useful, it still proves handy to have in a various slew of situations. Click here to get better acquainted with this type of data.
  • Back-End Hacking: The majority of the internet you deal with on a daily basis is just the front end of it. When you start to think about the actual framework behind its operational functions, you reach the backend. Hackers exploit this often through coding, sliding their way through the public access wormhole. With the death of websites and the birth of Web Applications, this doorway becomes more and more apparent as developers and security professionals fail to forge an active partnership to stop it.  Click here to read: I Don't Speak Your Language: Frontend VS. Backend.
  • Freedom of Information / Public Records: The wealth of personal information available on pay per use websites is astronomical. From background checks and arrest records, to addresses and known associates- the information is endless. Any blanks left after scouring the list above usually are completed using this step. Whether by the use of companies that gather the individual information for you for a fee, or whether you're requesting and digging for the information yourself- if it ever exists in public records you will find it on the internet. Click here for one of the many Public Records tools available.

It is with with a 'heavy' heart that I give out this information, and in all honesty this took me several months to actually sit down and write. In the wrong hands, this information could be disastrous or it could be enlightening. Listed above are the tools to lift the veil, to find the truth, and to expose a more accurate but often times less picturesque reality. Its possibilities are endless. No where listed in there though is how you should deal with the knowledge you may find; as the age old saying goes "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis a folly to be wise."  I can not tell you how to deal with those feelings, and even though I can deal with them it's still a mystery to me as to exactly how I'm doing so.

Use Wisely.

xoxo disaster girl

P.F.S. Links for Curious
WIKI - Digital Archaeology
WIKI - The History of the Internet
WIKI - The First Websites of the Internet
The Way Way Back Machine - The Internet Archive
The Digital Archaeology Project
The Invention of the Internet

August 3, 2014

Hawaiian Tropical Update - Hurricane Iselle & Hurricane Julio- 8/9 11PM


Hurricane Julio

Hurricane Julio - Category 2
Max Ssd.Winds: 100  MPH   ↓
Moving: WNW  at  16  MPH  -
Overview:   LAST  UPDATE  -
Last Updated: 8/9/14  - 11 PM



Post Tropical Storm Iselle

Post   Tropical   Storm  Iselle
Max Ssd.Winds:    35  MPH   ↓
Moving: West    at  14  MPH  ↓
Overview:  LAST UPDATE - - -
Last Updated:  8/9/14 -  11 PM



Post Tropical Storm Bertha

Post Tropical Storm Bertha
Max Ssd.Winds:  50   MPH -
Moving:  NE   at   31  MPH ↑
Min Pressure:   1006   MB  ↓
Overview: Now Extratropical 
Last Updated:  8/6/14 - 2 PM

Hurricane Bertha is not currently forecasted to have any US land impacts. Rough waters off the Eastern US seaboard will be expected this week. Bertha strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane between 8/3 & 8/4 2014. As of 8/6 Bertha was categorized as a post tropical storm and was moving out to sea. 8/6 2PM will be the last update for this storm.

xoxo disaster girl