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Physical location of live stream found using flights patterns and astronomy (heatst.com)
200 points by tomerv 314 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 118 comments



Setting aside the pretty debatable morality of this whole thing (lots of other good comments here to debate that), I think the real story, the interesting one, is that this is even possible.

The tools used all exist and are basically free and easily accessible (gmaps+streetview, flight data maps, the live stream itself, etc). The people behind this are just random strangers on the internet who agreed on a cause (as strange as the cause may be). This used to be something only the CIA could do and they took longer to do it. 15 years ago, 'The Bourne Identity' was nearly science fiction!

What's this look like in 10 more years, when facial/vocal recog software is just as easy, when drones are somehow even cheaper and smarter, when 5 new technologies we hadn't considered exist, when there's even more people reaching out to each other to find common causes?

I'm excited/terrified to see what that looks like.


The best free tool here by far is the weaponized autism, as they call it.

Hundreds or thousands of bored, reasonably intelligent people united toward a common cause. And they're the sort of people who wind up on /pol/, so generally they're of a sort that develops an obsessive interest in some (or many) esoteric topic(s).

To your speculation here: > What's this look like in 10 more years, when facial/vocal recog software is just as easy, when drones are somehow even cheaper and smarter, when 5 new technologies we hadn't considered exist, when there's even more people reaching out to each other to find common causes?

I would state that the singularity has already reached us. The next steps will simply be better organization and better interconnects between computing nodes. (people)


Should also state that the relatively democratic, even anarchic nature of 4chan posting is the single best mirror of my own thought processes I've encountered in my time on the internet. (Maybe a little less porn gets posted in my brain, but you get the picture.) While it has its flaws, I think it's really a great way to mimic some sort of collective consciousness.


For some values of "intelligent".

"Capable" would possibly be a better term.


I've watched these techniques develop over the last several years over on /r/syriancivilwar. The good talent has left (often scooped up by intelligence services or private companies), but at its height the forum users were mapping the rates of offensives by geolocating propagandistic combat footage, falsifying Russian claims of fighting ISIS by pinpointing rebel positions hit on airstrikes, and assembling shockingly detailed summaries of the flow of weapons between factions.


I remember reading of another example like this on reddit where they referred to this kind of thing as "weaponized autism". In that example they had looked at training videos of a terrorist training camp and managed to get the physical coordinates which were passed to the military for an airstrike.


Reddit used to do stuff like this until the Boston Bombing. A bunch of volunteers created a big effort to try to identify the bombers from photos and videos of the event. The media reported on some suspects they came up with before it had any confirmation from authorities or anything. And ended up falsely accusing innocent people of being terrorists. Then there was a big backlash against reddit for even trying to do what they did.

Now the community really frowns on stuff like that. The admins created much stricter site wide rules on posting personal information.


You're probably thinking of /sg/ (the Syria general broad) on 4chan last year: http://i.imgur.com/5P1N1GI.jpg

Turnaround time (from initial post to bombs dropping) was about 36 hours. Most of the delay was in relaying the info to the Russian Ministry of Defense.


Does this operation have a wikipedia page?


Sounds like "Focus" from A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge.


Say what you will but this shows how much dedication random people on the internet can bring up if they want to do something... even if it's as destructive as this... Amazing and terrifying.


If only it could be harnessed for the power of good. 4chan as a service.


Do “for the power of good” and “as a service”, uh, align? It would be the favourite tool of terrible people.


"4Chan As a Service" and "8Chan As a Service"

2$ for simple shitstorm

10$ for advanced shitstorm


"Mob Rule" is terrifying. It seems many people are willing to embrace a good witch hunt... for a good cause, of course. I'm sure Sunil[falsely accused Boston Bomber] would agree, you know, if he wasn't dead.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunil_Tripathi


It's kind of relevant, for anyone not familiar with with the details, that his death (likely suicide) had nothing to do with the witch hunt.


I do not know what his state of mind was before his name & picture were splashed across every media outlet in the world, but I would presume that stress had an affect.


He went missing before the bombing.

> Tripathi had been missing for a month prior to the April 15, 2013 bombings.


I noted the downvotes and went investigating.

"[His] body was found... April 23, 2013."

He was identified by dental records, so body was decomposed &/or carrion, is there any information that suggests he was dead prior to 4/15?

So the two middle eastern fellas in running attire w/ backpacks didn`t turn out to be Tripathi, as I assumed. I am assuming again, but I bet they felt some consternation at being accused. Wasn`t another person falsely identified, as well? My point stands.


His suicide was before the bombings/witchhunt even happened.


For my edification, could you point me to pertinent forensics that determined he was dead prior to the bombing? I have not located any postmortem details.


I'm not sure we should be celebrating what's basically an intimidation campaign to shutdown free speech. What they did was trespassing and theft in the service of shutting down political speech they disagreed with. It's pretty disgusting.


That's a bit much. People who go and yell shit in front of a camera, yeah, that's nothing to celebrate. However, random individuals coming together, learning new things, and working towards a common goal that harms pretty much nobody at all except the ego of an actor is something that should be celebrated. Plus, the techniques used are kind of neat. Think to yourself, if this was a nazi flag, would you feel the same way?

Furthermore, it's a bit ironic that you bring up an attempt to shut down free speech, when that's exactly what shia did when people started supporting trump on his opposition feed. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech from the government, not individuals, so he's perfectly in his right to do that, but still. And yes, stealing the flag is theft. I can't support or argue for that, but again, would you feel the same if it was a nazi flag?

I don't support trump, but calling this endeavor disgusting is disheartening.


You can choose to regulate speech on your own property or site (just like HN does).

You cannot vandalize someone else's property and infringe on their rights because you don't like what they say.

There's no equivalence between the two.


I don't think this stems from not liking what they had to say, rather doing it just because it's something that can be done.


That's giving them the benefit of the doubt, to say the least.


It's the insanity defense for lacking human decency. Pretty hilarious, in a morbid kind of way.


98 people have upvoted this story at this point. Part of an "intimidation campaign to silence free speech" or some people just think it was an interesting activity?

Is it possible some/many/most of the people who actually participated in the activity also just found it interesting to do?


Oh good grief. These are the same people that were up in arms a few years ago when the use of the confederate flag was in the news. It's hypocritical to say the least.

And yes, I would feel the same way if someone did it to a Nazi flag or a confederate flag. I don't actually care that much about the specific political ideologies. But the increased tribalism and decreased tolerance for freedom of opinion is terrifying. It is disgusting and we shouldn't be celebrating it.


> These are the same people

Not sure you're understanding completely how an anonymous internet community works.


>random individuals coming together, learning new things, and working >towards a common goal

You gotta be kidding me


Think to yourself, if this was a nazi flag, would you feel the same way?

That's basically what the Pepe flag stands for at this point, as I suspect you are already aware.


Why is Pepe a nazi symbol?


Because it became /r/The_Donald's de facto mascot and /r/The_Donald are all alt-right neo-nazis of course and the ADL classified it as antisemitic. Ignoring the very disclaimer they add that "not all Pepe images are symbols of hate speech".

Nevermind that outside of political circles and people who take The Internet way too seriously, Pepe is just a stupid meme that has transformed from "Sad Frog" to "Woznak's friend" to "Betrayer of Woznak" to "Smug Frog/Pepe" to "Rare Pepe". And due to its prevalence in Chan Culture became a stupid meme to tell Channers from Normies (REEEEEEE) with the red Pepe with the wavy tongue. Honestly that meme has transformed quite a bit over the years.

I'm convinced anyone who thinks Pepe is a symbol of the alt-right has no idea that The Internet has its own cultures and subcultures. It just so happens that 4chan and /r/The_Donald have a huge cross-section of users. No surprise that many 4chan memes are prominent there.

The worst defense I've seen are images of Pepe shopped to be Hitler/a Nazi. FFS, you can find the same for Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty - or nearly anything actually. Shopping something into Hitler is common.

Makes me think if /r/The_Donald chose a Gay Pride or LGBT Flag as their "official flag" if it would cause people to second guess if someone supports LGBT or is an alt-right neo-nazi sympathizer. Talk about extremism.

E:

Just noticed your name and I feel you weren't asking your question seriously, but have a serious answer anyway, Mr. Jimmy Rustles


My nickname suggests that I am a 4chinner (which is true), but the question above was legitimate and was with the best intention.

The moment that Hillary went nuclear with the stupid, harmless frog was the moment that I questioned the things "progressive" people label people who don't agree with them. As silly as it was, it was truly the turning point of me re-examining what I read and listen to with a more skeptical approach.

Thanks for the answer - it really unrustled my jimmies.


I'm not so sure this particular example of collective aggression for the sake of silencing someone's project is harmless or inspirational. It's just black hat trolling. It is the opposite of the civility of social order you're trying to espouse.


You seem to have missed the fact that it wasn't a Nazi flag.


This is the most mind-bendingly deluded post I've seen on HN in a while.

> individuals coming together, learning new things, and working towards a common goal

the common goal here is being an asshole

> if this was a nazi flag, would you feel the same way?

Shia's flag said "he will not divide us" it was a message of unity that someone took down to replace with the representation of an administration with actual white nationalists as advisors.

> it's a bit ironic that you bring up an attempt to shut down free speech, when that's exactly what shia did

Yelling into someone's livefeed is free speech in a public place, but continuing to follow them and ultimately trespassing onto private property is harassment. Free speech isn't yelling whatever you want whenever you want. It's freedom from the government oppressing your speech.

>would you feel the same if it was a nazi flag?

This again? Seriously. Here's a challenge for you in the future: try to make a sound argument without simply throwing the word "nazi" in.


>Shia's flag said "he will not divide us" it was a message of unity

Unity that excludes almost half of the US population. I'm glad that people reacted against the passive-aggresiveness of this message when the stream was hosted in a public space. I don't condone stealing on a private property but let's not fool ourselves here, the message of this art project is reinforcing the US vs THEM mentality that is currently tearing Americans apart rather than truly trying to unify people.


> excludes almost half of the US population

It does not. They are free and encouraged to join in (AFAIK).

Those who embrace racial and religious discrimination, of course, might not choose the join, as the message contradicts their beliefs. But that is an old issue and red herring, the paradox of tolerance. Tolerate everyone but the intolerant, who are parasites on the social contract of tolerance.


"he will not divide us" means that you're saying he's trying to divide you. So, you're making a claim about someone without backing it, and when people actually show up in support of him, you switch off the camera to preserve the narrative?


It literally says "will not divide" and you're here making a comment that specifically divides.

I guess the flag really is wrong.


but it also says "he". it is obviously against trump/republicans. Its a political statement He can make it, but others can disagree, that is the beauty of free speech.

I think trump is an imbecile, but denying his supporters free speech as you are doing, is exactly why he is popular.


but it also says "he". it is obviously against trump/republicans. Its a political statement He can make it, but others can disagree, thats beauty of free speech.

I think trump is an imbecile, but denying his supporters free speech as you are doing, is exactly why he is popular.


What half? 19% of people in the US voted for Trump.


What? How did he get elected then?


Only about half of eligible voters voted. Of those, slightly more voted Democrat than Republican, and a distant few voted for someone else.

Despite getting the second-most votes nationally, the geographic distribution of the Republican votes gained them quite a few more "electoral college votes" (i.e. winning points) than the Democrats. The electoral college system gives more power to the countryside than the cities, proportional to the population.


Lots of people don't vote.


US population: 324,420,000 Number who voted for Trump: 62,985,106

Trump won 57% of the Electoral College, 46% of those who voted, 25% of the voting age population and 19% of the population as a whole.

That's not half the US population.


I don't think anywhere near half the country wants to be lumped into a generalization with the people yelling into that camera. Check out some of the footage on youtube.. I'm pretty sure Shia was arrested for assaulting someone who was 'memeing' the camera as well; setting the maturity bar high... It's those same people on that camera who are the ones terrorizing the streets, tearing down/burning free speech signs and assaulting those with differing views. Anyone who actually thinks that those folks are the ones denying free speech are entirely deluded. Commence down-voting.


are you suggesting it's /pol/-type Trump supporters burning free speech signs, or am I misreading your comment? Because it's antifa members and black-bloc anarchists that are doing that.


No, should've made it more clear apparently. I'm referring to the 'antifa' members (who are massively overrepresented) by msm; same misrepresentation/oversampling and 'echo chamber' that led to the massive Trump 'suprise.' I'm only suggesting the comment I responded to, which I agree with ignored even more then just half the population not almost half.


ah gotcha. Yeah I don't think the majority of non-Trump-supporters would have anything positive to say about the rioters. It's horseshoe theory in action - there are 2 kinds of fascist; fascists and anti-fascists.


GP condemned the channers' game by calling it "an intimidation campaign to shutdown free speech" and "shutting down political speech they disagreed with." You are allowed to fly a nazi flag in the US. Are you actually saying you're OK with the suppression of completely legal, non-violence inciting speech you disagree with? That is the entire crux of GP's point.


Free speech is more complex than simply taking the term "free speech" literally.


That's only trivially (in the formal meaning) true, because "free speech" has no unambiguous literal meaning. The context you are referring to has repeatedly born out that American law allows private citizens to say or express anything, no matter how hateful, as long as it's not an incitement to violence nor slanders a specific party.

The reasoning is pretty straight-forward. Tomorrow (or apparently literally today given the craziness of the current socio-political discourse), you and I will be considered the Nazis.

Stop dodging, actually respond to what you're replying to. Do you consider capturing the hypothetical Nazi flag differently than the HSNDU flag?


>The context you are referring to has repeatedly born out that American law allows private citizens to say or express anything, no matter how hateful, as long as it's not an incitement to violence nor slanders a specific party.

This is still very ambiguous. There are MANY situations where the above statement is not true.

>you and I will be considered the Nazis.

That's absurd. If you look back 100 years ago there are many people I would not consider a "nazi" so why would it hold true 100 years from now? Your rhetoric has very little substance. It's Godwin all the way down.

>Stop dodging, actually respond to what you're replying to. Do you consider capturing the hypothetical Nazi flag differently than the HSNDU flag?

I'm not dodging anything, I'm sick of people throwing around the freedom of speech like it justifies everything anyone wants to say.

To answer your question: As an individual I view it very differently.

BUT I don't think the government should snatch either flag, and if you're on someone else's private property doing so it should definitely be considered theft.


http://www.salon.com/2017/01/23/the-new-national-debate-is-i...

Spencer is a white-supremacist shitbag, yes. His ideology, however, is very different from Hitler's, and he has never publicly advocated violence.

Again, my scenario is not hypothetical. See http://www.wnd.com/2017/02/oppose-terror-youre-a-nazi/

">The context you are referring to has repeatedly born out that American law allows private citizens to say or express anything, no matter how hateful, as long as it's not an incitement to violence nor slanders a specific party.

This is still very ambiguous. There are MANY situations where the above statement is not true."

Show me one.


• You couldn't go to a public school and shout "smoke weed everyday"

• you couldn't make a sign with a pornographic image and use it as a protest

• you can't advertise tobacco in public spaces

that's just off the top of my head, I could dig up some more if you want


Perhaps the point you're trying to make is that explicitly illegal activity is not free speech? I thought that was obvious, but maybe not. Also, your third point isn't about private citizens.

Though yes, one of my posts was wrong - "incitement to violence" should have been "incitement to illegal activity."


>an administration with actual white nationalists as advisors

Citation needed. You're probably talking about Bannon - can you explain in your own words why you think this?


>This is the most mind-bendingly deluded post I've seen on HN in a while.

Then you should check out your own before you decide to act high and mighty.


>random individuals coming together, learning new things, and working towards a common goal

Oh yes, it's like the enlightenment in a bottle.


Rationally, entities have choice. Any time an entity or an aggregate removes choice from an entity, by way of disrupting that entities communications, it is removal of choice for entity to speak freely.

You remove choice from Shia when you attempt to indicate the irony in him "shutting down free speech" on his feed. In fact, given it is his communications channel, his right to limit anything disrupting that channel is well within his right, as entities have rational choice to speak their mind.

Irrational choice is where logical arguments paralyze trusted communication.

Your post, for example, does this here, by saying "but still", indicating disapproval of his actions. Further, you remove choice from the parent's post about their emotion of disgust.

I find it disgusting people will continue to rationalize altering communication's trust in an effort to win an argument.


>I'm not sure we should be celebrating what's basically an intimidation campaign to shutdown free speech

An actor set up a camera and told people to chant a mantra into it. When people started saying political things he didn't like, he flipped his shit, got pushy and ended up getting arrested. When people started saying racist things (which is protected by the constitution) that he didn't like, he moved locations. That sounds a lot like trying to shutdown free speech.


>When people started saying racist things (which is protected by the constitution) that he didn't like, he moved locations. That sounds a lot like trying to shutdown free speech.

The Constitution doesn't compel private persons to provide a platform for speech they disagree with.


It's amazing how many people attempt to take the term "free speech" literally and avoid reading the few sentences in the actual amendment that provide context. Free speech is absolutely not the ability to say anything to anyone at any time.


Freedom of speech is a general principle and most consider it a bedrock principle of western / modern society. The US constitution provides that it won't be abridged by the government because the constitution is a document that is binding on the government of the United States. Just because it is legal to abridge someone's free speech does not necessarily make it a good idea - people are usually quite wary of platforms who place content-dependent restrictions on the type of speech that is allowed (with some notable exceptions for particularly unpopular opinions).

Note that I am not really taking a side on whether the actual theft of the flag was admirable or not here, I just want to make clear that just because it's constitutional for private individuals to do most anything (given that the constitution places almost no restrictions on individuals), that does not mean that the broader concept of freedom of speech only applies to governments.


Yeah, I know. This is brought up whenever someone mentions the concept of free speech as it relates to two private entities that aren't the government.

The point is that the comment I was responding to was painting this as a side A trying to limit the speech of side B. I was trying to say (quite poorly it seems) that this could just as easily be construed as side B trying to limit the speech of side A.


> What they did was trespassing and theft in the service of shutting down political speech they disagreed with

The most fun thing about this is that the whole thing could very possibly not be really politically motivated. Speculating, they would have not been disagreeing with the (message of the) speech but instead just stirring some shit up for "fun". These are not people who support Trump because they think he is a good leader. Instead they enjoy the drama and chaos he creates. Saying that "some people just want to see the world burn" might be bit extreme, but that is essentially the mentality there.

Of course that might be also completely bullshit and this was done by actual pro-Trump people. I haven't frequented 4chan lately (thank god), so I don't know what the scene there is these days.


Likewise, I haven't been to that hive of scum and villainy for a while, but as I understand them, this kind of thing is literally for the lulz.


Shia LaBeouf is an performance artist. To call this political speech is pushing it.

4Chans actions is a form of art.

And I think there's a form of implied consent going on here.

Shia was interacting with the world and it interacted with him. In many ways this is what I see as his aim.


I wonder if it's legal in that location to shoot someone committing theft under cover of darkness...


Tennessee appears to have the concept of "Castle Doctrine" which says that "your home is your castle" and gives you a lot of latitude in what you can do to protect yourself and others but it doesn't extend to property. More the specific requirement is usually the belief that you (or they) are in immediate physical danger.

Attacking someone for stealing a flag from your property will probably land you in jail or worse.

Ref: http://nashvilleattorneynow.com/criminal-defense/nashville-c...


Former Tn resident: yiu can shoot them if 1. They are in your house 2. They are threating your life, 3. You can ask them to get off your lawn 3 times then start blasting. I recall a deaf kid got shot for not getting off a lawn once and the guy was found not guilty.


This is on Heat Street which is kind of like Brietbart-light so it shouldn't be surprising that it takes this spin on things. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_Street


While this was certainly illegal, I think it's hard to say that it was malicious. This has essentially become a (somewhat one-sided) prank war. If they intended to deplatform or suppress Shia, they could have done something much more mean-spirited than photobomb his video streams and snatch his flag.


> This has essentially become a (somewhat one-sided) prank war.

Isn't there another term for a one-sided prank war? I think it's called harassment or something? Combined with theft and vandalism... I can see why they prefer to be anonymous.

It's hard to meme from jail.


I bet you were fun in college. Good-spirited pranks don't warrant jail time.


This irreverent spirit is exactly why trump won.

Compare his campaign messaging with some of the messaging out of the clinton machine and you will see how deep it goes.

Consider Trump's 1) Make America Great Again (subtext: we've been letting the establishment make america not-great) 2) Build a wall (subtext: I'm going to do something audacious and unpopular and there's not a damn thing they can do to stop me)

Clinton came back with several messages beyond the core "I'm with her" and none of them stuck, because they were the sort of thing you'd hear the teacher's pet say. Nobody likes a teacher's pet--they're no fun at parties.


> Good-spirited pranks don't warrant jail time.

Who determines what is "good-spirited"?

I've been a part of many prank wars. You know when they stopped being fun and ended up getting people in trouble? When one side stopped enjoying it. I don't think the receiving team in this case is enjoying the prank. Which just makes it mean-spirited and low class.

Anon is just being a bag of dicks in this case, which means they either stop, or should get in legal trouble.


Yeah, yeah. Tell it to the judge.


When deciding whether or not something is malicious, I don't think "they could have done something even worse" is the standard you judge it by. I think you're definitely right that they could have done worse but I'd argue it's already pretty malicious as it is.


It's the very definition of malicious.

You can't just doxx, trespass and then steal from someone.


It's funny how anti-doxxing the chan people are when it's directed at them, but they cheerfully do it against their enemies.

And let's not forget that along with relatively minor stuff like this, they'll be getting death threats and swatting attempts for the foreseeable future.


Humans working in teams to solve a problem. imagine the amazing things children could do if our education system motivated them like 4chan motivated random people on the internet


This one was 8chan, not 4chan. While I'm nothing more than an occasional passive observer of the chan communities, it seems that most of the "talent", so to speak, has left 4chan amidst increasingly strict rules against various forms of tomfoolery.


As far as I understand most of the work was done on 8chan because the 4chan moderators banned discussions of the live stream from /pol/, but most users of the /hwndu/ board on 8chan originally came from 4chan's /pol/.

>it seems that most of the "talent", so to speak, has left 4chan amidst increasingly strict rules against various forms of tomfoolery.

I don't have any number to prove this but to me it seems that the overlap between 8 and 4chan is huge. There's very few 8chan users that absolutely never visit 4chan anymore. 8chan is tiny in comparison to 4chan so the signal-to-noise ratio may seem better there. (according to their front page they get roughly 2k posts/hour, if it was a 4chan board it would be medium-sized and 3 times slower than big boards like /b/, /v/ or /pol/)


> trolling Labeouf so hard that he lashed out and got arrested

Uh, a better word might be harassing?


So for anyone else intending to do an anonymous live stream, doing the shoot indoors (insulated from outside noises such as a 4channer driving around in a truck honking their horn) would probably allow for an uninterrupted stream.


I don't think it would. I think what this actually shows is the opposite may be true even when it seems absurd to think that way. Crazy things might be used to locate you:

- Picture surfaces of person planning to do the live stream hopping off a plane. People track where they came from back to Malaysia.

- Person sees the dimensions of the rooms via the live stream. Runs over Google maps and finds all buildings with those dimensions.

- Half the area gets ruled out, because of the limitations of running a live stream means there is no connectivity in some of the areas.

- Rent a car service records hacked for only car dealer in that area. GPS logs of cars acquired. One of the cars went to one of the possible locations.

Burglar heads out breaks in and captures the flag.

It's completely absurd. Utterly absurd. Not much more absurd than what happened here though.


All of those things are way more effort than what they did here. It's like computer security, where you can never have a system that is 100% guaranteed to be perfectly secure. But you can do some simple things to vastly increase the work required by an attacker.


Yeah. I get that.

I just don't think the take-away of this was as long as you sound-proof a room, you are probably golden. It would be reasonable to have thought that an undisclosed location with no visible landmarks was fine. It wasn't.

As far as the using the geometry visible and google maps: this was done before in a video of a terrorist training camp. It resulted in Russia bombing the area, after they were alerted.


> Person sees the dimensions of the rooms via the live stream. Runs over Google maps and finds all buildings with those dimensions.

I don't follow. Google maps would only help if the entire building was like one room. The live stream could be inside some closet in a skyscraper with 57 floors. You'd need a searchable database of the blueprints of every building for this to work.


If you have a rough area, you can guestimate and T&E with fitting.

As long as the building had a congruent area, it would be one way to go about it.

Think about it like you just finished a jig-saw puzzle, but there's an extra piece and for fun you decide to try and find its twin.


I don't know if this is really all that impressive... Shia posted a photo from a diner in Tennessee, and then some dude drove around honking until the noise appeared on stream.


That was used as confirmation, they found the general area before.


Nope, they used flight radar data to triangulate the flag to within 2km, then had cars drive around.


Could someone please explain how you can triangulate a location by the presence of three contrails in the image. I simply don't understand how that's possible.


Shia posted something on twitter which made it clear he was in Tennessee, which they used to narrow their search down significantly.

this gif was at the top of r/4chan the other day (even though it seems like it's 8chan's work) http://i.imgur.com/BkkgY1g.gifv and it does a pretty good job of getting you up to speed.


They had projections of flight paths and a point in time. It wasn't just one image, it was a live feed. From gravity and/or the pole they may have had an estimate on the pitch angle of the camera.

Then you need live flight data. flightradar24 looks like a good bet, they even provide altitude information. The accuracy of that data can probably be massively improved with a Kalman filter.

It probably doesn't happen too often that there are three airplanes flying close to each other at a specific point in time. Even if there are, you might rule out all but one triplets of planes from the angles. You could also look at flights at different times (e.g. over the course of the last hour, how many flight paths have seen flights at 7, 20, 33 and 51 minutes apart?). That way they were able to identify which ray in the image corresponds to which plane and 3D flight path.

If you look at two intersecting lines, the angle will change depending on the view direction. They knew the angles of the 3D flight paths to each other, and the angles of the projections. To find the angle of the paths to the view direction you can use non-linear optimization. Or just do it manually in Blender (you only need two angles). You actually only need two rays.


They didn't. They ended up finding it because of Shia's tweet and having some local 4 channers drive around and honk.


Nope, they did use contrails. I happened to see the /hwndu/ board while it was happening. They only sent people out in cars after triangulating the flag using the sun (for camera direction) and flight data (for location).


Based upon what I've seen, none of the celestial navigation or contrail stuff was actually used. There was a picture of Shia LaBeouf at a diner in a town, so some people drove around honking their horns until it was audible on the livestream


> how you can triangulate a location by the presence of three contrails in the image

I think the English word 'triangulate' is nowadays used for all kinds of geolocating based on cues from geometry, not just for the original method that actually involves triangles.


Any method to determine a point, needs 2 refrence points. Literally a triangle. While it may be used loosely, it is often correct by proxy.



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This is why we can't have nice things


What was the nice thing here though?


The internet, freedom of speech. I know, we do actually have those things, its a facetious comment, but with a kernel of truth. Our freedoms rests more on personal respect and responsibility than the government and military. Once we pass a certain percentage of people who celebrate antisocial behavior, things just break down. Cities only exist because less than 1% of people think its ok to randomly throw bricks through windows or punch strangers. If that number creeps up to some other larger, but still very small percentage of people, cities just wouldn't be livable anymore. These guys just decided to troll this project, and went to extraordinary lengths to break the law and ruin someone else's dream. If more people did this type of thing, no one would feel safe expressing themselves or sharing information of any kind.


I think there is more to this story than just random vandalism, or say a personal feud.

What is different here is this was a political issue. I don't think they would go and throw bricks at storefronts, or rob people on the street and so on. This was done as a political taunt. But I may be wrong, I don't go to 4 chan, this is the impression I got from reading about it.

> These guys just decided to troll this project, and went to extraordinary lengths to break the law and ruin someone else's dream

It seems they didn't go to extraordinary lengths just to break the law. They would have done this even if it was on public property and there was no reason to break the law. The goal was to prove a point.

There is another disturbing and interesting process happening and that is of disarming of slogans and political speech by appropriation. This random group of participants basically showed that indeed "He Will Not Divide Us" by coming together and solving a technical problem to prove a political point. So in a way they appropriated the slogan and applied to themselves. That makes the slogan less effective. The exact same thing happened with "Fake News" it was used for a while but it was appropriated by Trump's supporters and it ended up backfiring. Now major mass media channels are openly taunted and are defending themselves against the charge of being "Fake News" and so on.


> I don't think they would go and throw bricks at storefronts, or rob people on the street and so on.

Sure. Trump supporters just deny people healthcare and burn mosques. Apart from that, they are exemplary citizens.

> basically showed that indeed "He Will Not Divide Us" by coming together and solving a technical problem to prove a political point.

By taking down a flag with "He Will Not Divide Us" and replacing it with a MAGA hat and a Pepe. That really helps...


> just deny people healthcare

didn't ACA prices go up 100% in some places with a majority of insurance companies withdrawing from the markets in some states? How did Trump supporters do that?

> and burn mosques

Incident of mosque arson is up? Interesting, do have links to any statistics on that? Seems rather implausible

Did you mean case http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Houston-man-... where Gary Nathaniel Moore burned his own mosque?

Or another one from Bellevue Washington were a person related to the mosque burned it down: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/15/us/washington-mosque-arson/ ?

It seems there is a rise if congregants burning their own mosques down lately, wonder what prompted that...

Apparently also Trump supporters are going around slashing Muslim women's faces with knives. Oh wait, no there is a rise in Muslim women slashing their own faces and then filing fake police reports http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/EMS-Possible-Slashing-L...


About ACA premium increases, you may want to check https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/09/us/politics/w...

"previously been arrested for making a disturbance at the mosque" is not exactly "related".

Apart from that, you have two cases.


> Apart from that, you have two cases.

And you have zero cases and some handwaving.


Let's see... The guy who made disturbances around the mosque he then burned exists and pretty much burned a mosque.

There are a couple cemeteries that were vandalized.

And the Republicans are about to deny healthcare to 24 million people.

I think you are waving hands trying to dismiss reality.


It's extremely worrisome that this part of human psychology exists. In this particular case, the white supremacists exerted maximum effort, and showed tremendous cleverness, simply to advance their agenda. This same energy could be exerted for thousands of good causes: crowdsourcing research efforts to track climate change, or track bird migrations, or to track populations of endangered species, or this energy could be channeled into astronomy, or any other research effort where amateurs play an important role in helping advance knowledge. Or this energy could be channeled into local volunteer efforts, such as teaching low income children skills they might not learn in the schools. Or reading to the blind at retirement centers. But instead this all of this cleverness and effort was exerted on behalf of a white supremacist agenda. I find it incredibly sad that people are moved to exert so much effort for what is on the surface a trivial and useless act, and worse, which one that is ultimately in the service of a dark and evil impulse.




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