Entries in Online (4)


Dead Sea Scrolls Now Available Online

File photo. Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It took 2,000 years, but the Dead Sea Scrolls have finally entered the digital age. Monday, for the first time, some of the scrolls are available online thanks to a partnership between Google and Israel’s national museum.

Five of the most important scrolls can now be seen in high-resolution on the Internet. Users can zoom in and out, translate passages to English and access supplemental material.

The scrolls were written from about 200 B.C. to 70 A.D. and, according to Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at New York University, they offer an unrivaled look at the time after the biblical books were penned and before the Christian texts and documents of rabbinic Judaism were written.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls help us fill in this two- to three-century gap to help us understand what religious developments took place,” said Rubenstein. “We see changes among different groups as they wrestle with powerful cultural and political forces....These changes help us understand where monotheistic traditions in the west came from.”

Custodians of the scrolls had been criticized for only allowing select groups of scholars access to them.

The original scrolls are located in a specially designed vault in Jerusalem that requires multiple keys, a magnetic card and a secret code to open.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chinese Couple Sells All Three Kids to Play Online Games

Comstock/Thinkstock(DONGGUAN, China) -- A young Chinese couple has sold all three of their children in exchange for money to play online games at Internet cafes, reports a southern Chinese newspaper.

According to Sanxiang City News, the couple met in an Internet cafe back in 2007 and bonded over their obsession with online video games.  A year later, the parents -- who are both under 21 -- welcomed their first child, a son.  Days after his birth, they left him home alone while they went to play online games at an Internet cafe 30 km away.

In 2009, Li Lin and Li Juan welcomed their second child, a baby girl, and came up with the idea to sell her for money to fund their online game obsession.  They did so, receiving RMB 3,000 (less than $500), which they spent entirely shortly after.  The couple then proceeded to sell their first child and got 10 times as much for him -- RMB 30,000, or about $4600.

Upon having their third child -- another boy -- the parents followed in their previous footsteps and also got RMB 30,000 for him.

They were finally turned into authorities when Li Lin’s mother found out what her son and his girlfriend had done.

When asked if they missed their children, the parents answered, "We don’t want to raise them, we just want to sell them for some money.”

Sanxiang City News reports the couple didn't know they were breaking the law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Iranian Spy Chief: We Can Beat America's 'Internet in a Suitcase'

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran has developed counter-measures to take on the "Internet in a suitcase" program supposedly developed by the U.S. to bring online access to dissidents living under autocratic regimes, the country's spy chief said.

"We had predicted these [U.S. devised] actions, for example the Internet in suitcase, and devised proper ways to combat them," Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said Wednesday, according to Iran's Fars News Agency.

Funded in part by the U.S. State Department, the "Internet in a suitcase" is part of a classified multi-platform telecommunications program led by the United States to provide dissidents around the world the ability to "undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks," according to a report earlier this month by The New York Times.

But according to the Iranian report, the purpose of the program is actually to connect those dissidents directly with the CIA and is only a small front in the U.S. cyber confrontation mostly directed at Iran. The CIA declined to comment both on the existence of the "Internet in a suitcase" program and Iran's ability to stop it.

Richard Clarke, former White House advisor on counter-terrorism and ABC News consultant, said he believes the U.S. does have the capability to deploy "Internet in a suitcase" devices, but Iran is also probably capable of combating that particular tactic right now.

In order to be of any use to Internet users in the country, Clarke said, the devices would have to broadcast on a common frequency -- a frequency the government would be able to scan for and jam if necessary. Also, it's likely the devices could be geo-located and physically shut down by government-loyal security forces.

"The plain old 'Internet in a suitcase' I think is easily defeated," Clarke, author of Cyber War, said. However, Clarke said the technology could be indispensible in countries that are already in crisis and "stupid enough" to shut down the whole Internet.

The first such instance of such drastic tactics -- which The Times said helped invigorate the "Internet in a suitcase" initiative -- occurred in Egypt the midst of its popular uprising in January when the government became the first to almost completely shut off the Internet connection to the country in an effort to silence protesters. Earlier this month Syria followed suit, reportedly managing to knock out two-thirds of all Syrian networks.

Iran also has a history of strict cyber censorship. Following its 2009 elections, the Iranian government attempted to crackdown on the proliferation of online protests, despite the support for dissidents from around the world.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: Social Media Spreads News, Raises Relief Funds

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The record-setting 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan Friday sent millions around the globe to social media websites to spread news, share videos and donate to help victims of the quake and the tsunami in the Pacific.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Japan's mobile phones were largely silenced because of a spike in demand. For many, including American travelers and expats, Facebook and Twitter became the best link to worried family members.

Dan Schallau, an American who has lived in Japan for nearly a decade, was driving in his car when the quake struck. While he and his wife are fine, he said that he was "overwhelmed" by e-mails from concerned friends and family in the U.S.  A blast message on Facebook allowed him to spread the news quickly.

Google even set up a "Person Finder" web app to link victims with family. More than 7,000 records were entered on the site as of Friday afternoon.

Before the earth even stopped shaking in Japan, plenty of people had the presence of mind to pull out video cameras and share the scenes around them with the world.

As of Friday afternoon, more than 9,000 earthquake-related videos and 7,000 tsunami-related videos had been uploaded to YouTube in the hours since the disaster began, the video sharing site told ABC News. Many of the YouTube clips showed gripping first-person accounts of homes shaking, grocery store shelves rocking, and scared crowds standing in the streets.

On Twitter, hashtags such as #prayforjapan, Fukushima and Sundai rose to the top of the site's "trending topics" index as people spread news and images of the quake.

Even Tokyo Disneyland jumped to the top of the list, fueled in part by a photo posted on TwitPic showing crowds of Japanese tourists seated on the ground during the quake in the middle of the Disney theme park.

Aid organizations also rushed to leverage social media to collect funds for disaster victims.

"Text REDCROSS" surged as a trending topic on Twitter as the organization began to collect $10 donations to assist victims in Japan and tsunami victims around the Pacific Rim. The Red Cross said this afternoon that it's still too early to tell how much money has been received through the text system, which was used to great success to raise money after last year's earthquake in Haiti.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio