Twitter is a good invention. It’s easy and fun. Much less demanding and intrusive than Facebook. So much so that many millions of people, from the famous to ordinary people like you and I, use it every day.
On the back of that success the Twitter company is doing very well. But recently it did even better when its shares jumped four per cent in a matter of minutes.
It all happened after a buyout story appeared on the internet that claimed that Twitter had received a significant offer. It started off, “Twitter is working closely with bankers after receiving an offer to be bought out for $31 billion…”
Investors piled in. And not just the amateurs, lots of the ‘professional’ Wall Street guys too.
The trouble was, however, that the internet story was on a bogus web site and was completely fake. The site was called “bloomberg.market”. It was not “Bloomberg.com” the official name of the web presence for the Bloomberg financial organization.
“Bloomberg.market” was what they call a ‘mirror’ of the genuine “Bloomberg.com” website. Whoever designed “bloomberg.market” set it up to look like “Bloomberg.com”. They copied real headlines and linked them back to the real dot-com website. With one exception: the fake Twitter story, which was dressed up to look like a legitimate webpage.
The spike in the Twitter share price only lasted about 15 minutes before Bloomberg denounced the story as fake and the share price dropped back to its previous level. But 15 minutes is a long time in the world of finance and plenty of time for someone to profit substantially from the scam.
No one yet knows who owns the dot-market domain – except the people who own it, of course – but it was registered just days before the scam message, using a proxy service called “WhoisGuard”, based in Panama, that protects registrant details by offering its own address and contact numbers. But the details of “WhoisGuard” on its own website at “WhoisGuard.com” also appear to be fake, listing a telephone number that is disconnected. Emails to their contact address have not received a response either.
The significance of this incident is not that some greedy and stupid people lost money rushing to buy Twitter shares on the back of this fake announcement.
The problem is that so many new dot word domains have recently been allowed – hundreds of them in fact – that the whole internet is becoming bloated and confusing. And expensive.
If you are a company that wants to protect your online identity and integrity it could now cost you tens of thousands of dollars to cover all the permutations. Not many companies, even huge affairs like Bloomberg, will choose to do that.
That leaves the way wide open for cyber criminals to take advantage of gullible internet users.
I am certain they will.
Like the Twitter announcement, it’s just too good a deal to refuse.
I was sounding off a bit in last week’s Sunday Sermon about the state of things in Iraq, a mess created by blundering American and British intervention in a situation they did not, and still do not understand.
Last week I concentrated on the fact that ISIS, the al Qaeda splinter group – big name, ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ – has now seized large parts of northern Iraq, with consequent freeing of prisoners, fleeing of frightened former residents of that area and even unconfirmed reports of ‘mass beheadings’. Other reports of mass executions of official Iraqi army personnel seem to have been confirmed.
Presumably there will be worse to come.
All in the name of an Islamic State?
Well, hold on, maybe not just that.
It turns out that as Iraq descends into what will probably be a bloody civil war, the ISIS-al Qaeda forces have taken time to raid Mosul’s central bank and relieve it of some 500 billion Iraqi dinars, worth approximately $425 million.
Mosul is not only the largest city in northern Iraq, it is an oil hub at the vital intersection of Syria, Iraq and Turkey, thus providing rich pickings for the terrorists.
They also reportedly stole additional $ millions from a number of other banks across Mosul and what has only been quantified as a “large quantity of gold bullion.”
Others towns and cities, like Saddam Hussein’s old home town Tikrit, have suffered a similar fate.
As a result of all this George Bush / Tony Bliar created disaster, the ISIS/al Qaeda chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a previously relatively unknown figure, is now the leader of perhaps the ‘world’s richest terror force’.
(Quick side note to President Obama – I’m sure he reads this blog 🙂
– Hi Barrack, you can stop using American taxpayers’ money
to fund these ISIS terrorists in Syria, they have enough money now.)
In fact, to put the latest cash haul in perspective, at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the US, Al-Qaeda had been working with an operating budget of around $30 million (source ‘Council on Foreign Relations’), so even allowing for inflation they are substantially richer today, and by definition have it in their power to do much more damage not just in the Middle East region, but worldwide.
As regional analyst Brown Moses succinctly put it on Twitter, this recent haul of ill gotten gains will “buy a whole lot of Jihad……For example, with $425 million, ISIS could pay 60,000 fighters around $600 a month for a year.”
It might even do a lot more. ISIS has already attracted 12,000 militants from abroad, 3,000 of whom are from the West. With bought mercenaries on board things can only get worse.
When Bush and Blair used Words of Mass Deception about Saddam Hussein having Weapons of Mass destruction as a bogus excuse to attack Iraq there were no terrorists and no terrorist threat from that country. Thanks to their lies, deceit and incompetence, there are now.
If this is an ‘improvement’ I can’t see it – can you?
The World Wide Web, created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, turned 25 years old this year, 2014.
There has never been anything like it before, certainly not as regards the impact it has made on society and the way we live our lives. Many of those changes are good, many are not so good and a few are downright annoying.
Here’s my take on some of them.
To concentrate on the good parts first, the one thing the www has done, for those who can use it effectively, is to give access to information that was previously only available to the elite few who managed to claw their way into the lofty heights of academia, or who worked in places where information was readily available. Now the same information is accessible at the touch of a button to anyone and everyone with a smart phone, tablet or computer.
Another benefit, in my view anyway, is that is has sent a massive wake-up call to telephone providers world wide, many of whom were fast asleep, content to rake in healthy profits from antiquated systems. No longer do we have to settle for slow and temperamental data transfer lines. Nowadays, particularly in the last few years, people are demanding systems that can cope with download streams in the gigabyte range. If you are old enough to remember the first modems you will know you wasted too much of your life trying to download at 12Kb/sec., sometimes less.
Freedom is also a welcome by-product of the World Wide Web.
The freedom to work in any country in the world, from virtually any country in the world is one big plus – it is for me anyhow. Another one I particularly like is the freedom to watch TV programs that I like, when I like, no longer tied to the schedules of some brainless bean-counter working for a broadcasting company. And the freedom to have your say on things as and when the mood takes you – they call that blogging don’t you know! – is also a great advantage to the ordinary person.
As is the freedom to disseminate information across the globe instantly, as Mr Snowden ably demonstrated, although I would hazard a guess that the powers that be would not agree with me on that one.
Indeed, this is the one aspect of the www that really bothers big brother.
China for example is one country where access is controlled by the state. Coincidentally this year also marks the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, you’ll find articles about that if you do a search, but probably not in China. They get away with it because they are not a democracy and do not pretend to be one.
In other countries, like the good old Land Of The (Not So) Free (Anymore)), the powers still like to con their people into believing that they are living in a democratic nation and that the people have the power to vote for this or that. But think for a moment, when was the last time you got to vote on whether to start a war, or whether to give $billions of your money to the greedy banksters to pay themselves huge bonuses and gamble away the rest?
It is because they need to keep the pretence of democracy going, that they do not yet have the confidence to start overtly censoring the internet. But they do all they can to snoop on what people are reading, or writing, or looking at.
This is where the freedom the www and associated technology provides can also be a negative, when it is used by governments to surveil us and record every piece of data they can. If they were doing this selectively and targeting terrorists and criminals no one would be too worried. But they are doing it to all of us, guilty and innocent alike.
They are also doing everything they can think of to impose taxes on internet commerce – of course they have to coz they’re stoney broke.
The www has revolutionized business practices and created all sorts of new commerce opportunities, Amazon perhaps being the best example of a company that has gone from nothing to a multi-billion dollar business in just a few years.
Communication and social interaction are also areas where the www has liberated the ordinary person – first with email and more recently with social media. In the near future expect to see social media expanding to become much more than individual platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. We are already seeing many new applications that are allowing people to communicate more widely, more easily and more often.
Another negative is that the World Wide Web has unwittingly facilitated the proliferation of pornography and violence, and is teaching a generation of morons all the wrong things. Things that will ensure they become a burden on society, not an asset.
And it has also opened a whole new environment in which criminals can operate. Millions of dollars are being stolen every day through scams, confidence tricks and outright theft.
You could say (and I frequently do) that people dumb enough to fall for these scams deserve all they get, or all they lose, is perhaps a better way of putting it. You know, the idiots who believe they really have won a lottery they didn’t buy a ticket for, or who think that Dr Umbungo Watanga from Nigeria is being truthful when he tells them that someone they never heard of has left them $25 million and all they need to do is send all their personal details and a few thousand dollars to unlock the fortune that awaits them. There really is one born every minute it seems!
All that said, and twenty-five years on, the www is still in its infancy. We have come a long way in the past 25 years, but we have really only scratched the surface as regards what the web has the potential to do to further improve our daily lives.
Where the vision to develop the www will come from in anyone’s guess. The only thing we know for sure is that the initiative won’t come from governments or their bureaucratic servants, simply because the people we elect to those positions do not have the required intelligence.
So its up to you. If you have any great ideas you want to share, send me an email.
I missed marking my first year anniversary of this blog with an appropriate post and then not to be outdone by that, I also managed to miss the second year anniversary too. I guess I had other things on my mind at the time.
However this post marks another significant milestone in my blogging career, if I can call it that, because earlier today the fasab blog managed to push its way through the 100,000 page views threshold. Certainly a lot more than the humble beginnings when literally only a handful of people turned up!
I know it’s not a world shaking internet statistic, not even in the blogsphere either, but for me and this blog I think it is remarkable. Even more so since I have a tendency to sometimes write about people I know, so I can’t really publicize my blog via the usual “friends and family” route.
Before I started my blog I’d obviously heard about them, but I’d never even read one. I had a bit of time on my hands and I thought I would give it a go. As I’ve probably said before, I wasn’t really into social networking sites like “Myface” or “Spacebook” or whatever, not that there’s anything wrong with them if you like that sort of thing and many people I know do.
But I thought blogging might be my thing.
So I read blogs and I read about blogging and I created my own little niche of “Fighting Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”, which I found I was doing every day anyway, and mixed it with a bit of humor, politics and so forth – and here we are 100,000 views later, and counting.
It has been an interesting time.
Apart from a handful of hopefuls who think they’ll make a fortune out of it, I think most people are like me, blogging for themselves. But it is also very nice and very rewarding when other people stop by to read the posts and even better when they acknowledge them with a “like”, a “follow”, or a “comment”.
I am delighted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has visited the fasab blog and particularly those who have decided to follow whether on WordPress, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, or whatever. Some bloggers and readers, who I like to call my “blog-friends” have become regulars here. I very much appreciate your support. I have tried to reciprocate by visiting your blogs too when time permits.
One or two others – who I have no doubt are thoroughly ashamed of themselves 🙂 – have fallen by the wayside, but most visitors I do not even know. Which brings me to another thing that I wasn’t expecting, and that was the variety of countries visitors come from. The bulk are from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and India – which is more or less what you could expect for an English language blog. But interestingly there have also been visitors from many other parts of Europe, South and Central America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa too. And all are very welcome.
So what does the future hold for the fasab blog?
I don’t exactly know the answer to that. Probably more puns, and factoids. Maybe a few more quizzes. Definitely the odd rant about things that annoy me (that’s a lot of things, the list grows every day!). But hopefully a lot of humor too.
A smile never does any harm – unless some big stupid bloke thinks you’re laughing at him – so prepare yourself for more.
My sincere thanks to everyone who has visited and who reads this.
And don’t forget the “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy!”
Whether we realize it or like it, the advent of the internet has changed all our lives. From power users like myself to just casual users, things are a lot different from how they used to be.
There are, of course, negatives like the increase of spam, fraud, pornography and so forth, but by and large the impact of the internet has been a positive one.
It has made finding information much quicker and easier.
It has given us better and cheaper communication possibilities such as Skype.
It has revolutionized shopping for millions of people.
And it has spawned new social interaction platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and not forgetting blogging sites such as WordPress, allowing people to find groups and individuals all over the world with similar interests to their own.
But perhaps the greatest thing that the internet has achieved is to give freedom for ordinary people to say what they want to say and have that reach a much bigger audience than would have hitherto been possible without having to spend vast sums of money trying to do it.
Unfortunately, however, that freedom is the one thing that governments cannot tolerate. Hell bent on control, they see the freedom that the internet provides as a threat to their power. And slowly but relentlessly they are chipping away at that freedom.
In China there is no pretense or deceit. The government there controls the internet and that’s just how it is.
However in the West, as they always do, governments create smokescreens to hide their real objectives. They read our private emails and listen to our private phone calls in secret, only reluctantly admitting to it when they are exposed by a whistleblower such as Edward Snowden, last seen leaving Hong Kong and heading for Moscow.
And even when they are exposed they can’t tell the truth about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Invariably the excuse trotted out is “security issues”, in other words, they are doing what we don’t want them to do and invading our privacy, for our own good!
If governments expect the people to have confidence in them, then they in turn should show confidence in the people. That means doing their job properly and targeting people and groups that are a possible threat without treating everyone as a potential terrorist.
And it means being honest with their people.
Will that happen?
Not a chance!
As I said earlier the game isn’t about what is good for the people, the game is about control of the people. And a big part of that control is ensuring that the herd shall not be heard – if they have anything important to say that the government doesn’t want us to know!
Yes folks we all gave the Mayans some stick when their prediction didn’t come true (including me, click here if you missed it) but they were just ten days out, not too bad in a few thousand years!
Today IS the end. The end of 2012. It has been a difficult and frustrating year business-wise because of the continued mess created by the stupid and greedy banksters, so I for one won’t be sorry to see the end of it.
However that gripe aside, it is the last day of 2012 so I thought we should do something a little different today.
So, before we start to look forward to a new, and hopefully better, year, here is a selective look back at some of the events of this year.
There are a couple of ways you could do a post like this. You could link to other sites, particularly newspaper sites because they all seem to do lists of one kind or another at the close of the year. The other way is to compile a more personal one, with the things you remember personally. Both are equally valid, but this being a blog I’ve chosen to go the more personal route and compile a list of the things I remember so, although it is quite long, it is selective and by no means covers everything that happened in 2012.
I have also included a list of some of the personalities that passed during 2012, you probably heard about them all at the time, but memories being what they are I am sure one or two of them will come as a surprise.
So let’s get started.
I don’t know whether to class this as the biggest event or the biggest non event of the year, but November 2012 saw the Presidential election campaign and the successful return of President Obama to the Oval Office. Look forward to increasing taxes in 2013!
Although on the face of it a national event, because of the power and influence of America, the US Presidential Election has now become an International spectacle watched by several billion people worldwide. What they made of it all I don’t know, but they watched it anyway.
The other big international spectacle of the 2012 that drew large viewing audiences were the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in London in July, August and September. Approximately 10,500 athletes participated in 302 events in 26 sports.
In the Olympics the top six gold medal places went to USA (46), China (38), Great Britain (29), Russia (24), and South Korea (13), with Germany and France tying for sixth place with 11 gold medals each. The overall medal table was slightly different, USA (104), China (88), Russia (82), Great Britain (65), Germany (44), and Japan (38).
In the Paralympics the top six gold medal places went to China (95), Russia (36), Great Britain (34), Ukraine (32), Australia (32), and USA (31). In the overall medal results the order was China (231), Great Britain (120), Russia (102), USA (98), Australia (85), and Ukraine (84).
The weather, at its extremes, was another major talking point of 2012. Starting with the last and worst, ‘Super Storm Sandy’ took most of the headlines and did the most damage, particularly to north east coast areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The cost is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars.
Almost forgotten because of the ferocity of Sandy was Hurricane Isaac that slowly lumbered ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi River on August 28 as a Category 1 Hurricane with 80 mph winds. Isaac’s large size and slow motion caused a storm surge of up to eleven feet, more characteristic of a Category 2 hurricane. Thankfully, however, New Orleans’ new $14.5 billion levee upgrade held against Isaac’s surge, although further up the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish near Port Sulphur, it did cause major flooding of homes. In total Isaac still managed to do about $2 billion worth of damage.
Early March also saw a massive and violent tornado outbreak on an exceptional scale and including two deadly EF-4 tornadoes. In all, seventy tornadoes touched down in eleven states, from southern Ohio to southern Georgia, killing 41 people, with Kentucky and Southern Indiana being hardest hit and suffering 22 and 13 dead, respectively. At one point, 31 separate tornado warnings were in effect during the outbreak covering an area of more than 80,000 square miles. Tornado watches were posted for mpre than 300,000 square miles, an area larger than Texas. Total damage was estimated at $4 billion.
Also on June 29 a violent line of severe thunderstorms called a derecho swept across the U.S. from Illinois to Virginia, damaging houses, toppling trees, and bringing down power lines. Twenty-two people were killed, and power cuts affected at least 3.4 million people. The derecho was unusually intense due to extreme heat that set all-time records at ten major cities on its south side, helping to create an unstable atmosphere with plenty of energy to fuel severe thunderstorms. At least 38 thunderstorms in the derecho generated wind gusts in excess of hurricane force, making it one of the most severe derechoes on record. Total damage was estimated at $3.75 billion.
Contrarily, 2012 was the warmest year on record, with July being the warmest month of any month in the 1,400+ months of the U.S. data record, going back to 1895. The spring temperature departure from average was also the largest on record for any season, and March temperatures had the second largest warm departure from average of any month in U.S. history. All-time hottest temperature records were set over approximately 7% of the area of the contiguous U.S., according to a database of 298 major U.S. cities maintained by wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt.
This, despite all this rainfall and flooding caused by the severe storms, also saw a ‘Great Drought’ in 2012, the full consequences of which we have not yet seen and which may well prove to be the biggest weather story of the year. The area of the contiguous U.S. in moderate or greater drought peaked at 61.8% in July–the largest such area since the Dust Bowl drought of December 1939. The heat and dryness resulted in record or near-record evaporation rates, causing major impact on corn, soybean and wheat belts in addition to livestock production. Drought upstream of the Lower Mississippi River caused record and near-record low stream flows along the river in Mississippi and Louisiana, resulting in limited river transportation and commerce. Crop damages alone from the great drought are estimated at $35 billion. As the total scope of losses is realized across all lines of business in coming moths, this number will climb significantly.
Add to this 2012 as the 3rd worst wildfire year in U.S. history, with 9.2 million acres burned–an area larger than the state of Maryland.
On a completely different subject 2012 will also be remembered as the year of the high profile celebrity paedophiles.
Penn State University’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was convicted of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. The scandal sparked a national debate over child sex abuse, embarrassed the university and implicated a number of its top officials including legendary football head coach, the late Joe Paterno.
In Britain there was a major, and still ongoing, scandal within the BBC because of the actions and subsequent cover-up of the actions of paedophile disc jockey Jimmy Savile (now deceased). This has already led to the resignations of several high-ranking BBC employees, including its Director General.
The Roman Catholic Church also continued to suffer from the fallout from decades of child abuse and cover-ups by its priests and hierarchy.
In the Techie World 2012 saw a number of milestone events.
There was the introduction of the all new WIndows 8 operating system by Microsoft.
Then there was the continuation of the big bust up between Apple and Samsung which in its second year seemed even stronger than ever.
The thought police closed down Megaupload and stopped Americans using Intrade.
Members of Congress also sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and related bills to make it easier to shut down websites that illegally share music, movies and other content. But opponents (which included just about everybody who used the internet) argued it went too far and could end up shutting down legitimate sites while stifling free expression in the process. Unfortunately for backers of SOPA, Web heavyweights such as Google, Facebook, Reddit and Wikipedia joined the fight against the bill. Sites went black on January 18 to raise awareness. Members of communities such as Reddit put intense pressure on lawmakers (including soon-to-be GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan) until they dropped their support or went on record opposing the bill. The unprecedented backlash eventually caused supporters to shelve SOPA, and quite possibly ushered in a new age of Web activism.
Meanwhile Twitter went from strength to strength with even the President of the United States and the Pope tweeting their little hearts out.
Speaking of flops, Carol Bartz flopped at Yahoo and was sacked being replaced by Scott Thompson. Yahoo continues to be troubled since its idiotic refusal of a $40 billion plus offer from Microsoft.
Google got itself some tablets and started to take on greedy Apple in the iPad market selling its Android versions for substantially less.
Along with the rollout of the much anticipated iPhone 5 in September, Apple overhauled iOS, the operating system that runs the phone, its iPad and other mobile devices. A much-hyped feature of the change was Apple’s first effort at its own mapping app – after dumping rival Google’s map software. The result was so bad that a few days later Apple’s CEO was essentially telling customers to use Google Maps.
2012 also the passing of many well known personalities and celebrities. For example,
Neil Armstrong, aged 82 (8/5/1930 to 8/25/2012), astronaut who flew on the Gemini 8 mission (as commander) in 1966 and the Apollo 11 mission (as commander) in 1969, becoming the first of twelve men to walk on the moon.
Sally Ride, aged 61 (5/26/1951 to 7/23/2012), astronaut and the first American woman in space, who flew on Shuttle flights STS-7 (1983) and STS 41-G (1984).
Patrick Moore, aged 89 (3/4/1923 to 12/9/2012), British astronomer, writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter. Moore was a former president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), author of over 70 books on astronomy, and presenter of the world’s longest-running television series with the same original presenter, the BBC’s The Sky at Night. He was also a self-taught xylophone, glockenspiel player and pianist, as well as an accomplished composer. He was a former amateur cricketer, golfer and chess player. In addition to many popular science books, he wrote numerous works of fiction. Moore served in the Royal Air Force during World War II; his fiancée was killed by a bomb during the war and he never married.
Chuck Colson, aged 80 (10/16/1931 to 4/21/2012), White House counsel under Nixon (1969-72), and imprisoned for obstruction of justice in Watergate scandal (1973). While in prison he underwent Christian conversion and founded Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Robert Bork, aged 85 (3/1/1927 to 12/19/2012, U.S. solicitor general under Nixon. As acting Attorney General, he fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox on Nixon’s orders, after Elliot Richardson and then William Ruckelshaus refused and resigned. He was subsequently Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (1982-88) and Nominated to the Supreme Court by Reagan in 1987 and rejected by the Senate.
Daniel Inouye, aged 88 (9/7/1924 to 12/17/2012), U.S. Representative (D-HI, 1959-63), U.S. Senator (D-HI, 1963-2012).
William Rees-Mogg, Baron Rees-Mogg, aged 84 (14 July 1928 – 29 December 2012), British journalist and life peer, Editor of The Times (1967–1981).
George McGovern, aged 90 (7/19/1922 to 10/21/2012), U.S. Rep., D-SD (1957-61); U.S. Senator, D-SD (1963-81); Democratic presidential nominee (1972).
Arlen Specter, aged 82 (2/12/1930 to 10/14/2012), U.S. Senator (R-PA, 1981-2009; D-PA, 2009-11). Specter was a member of the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and co-author of the ‘magic bullet’ theory that Kennedy and Gov. John Connally were shot by the same single bullet.
Norman Schwarzkopf, aged 78 (8/22/1934 to 12/27/2012), U.S. Army general. Commanded the U.S. and allied forces in the Persian Gulf War (1991).
Yitzhak Shamir, aged 96 (10/15/1915 to 6/30/2012), Israeli prime minister (Likud party, 1983-84, 1986-92).
In TV & movies
Gerry Anderson, aged 83 (14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012) publisher, producer, director and writer, famous for futuristic television programs, using ‘supermarionation’, working with modified marionettes, such as Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. He was also responsible for the real-life sci-fi tv series Space 1999.
Ernest Borgnine, aged 95 (1/24/1917 to 7/8/2012), actor, From Here to Eternity (1953), “McHale’s Navy” (Lt. Quinton McHale, 1962-66), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Code Name: Wild Geese (1984). Won an Academy award for Marty (Best actor, 1956). Husband of singer Ethel Merman for 32 days in 1964.
Phyllis Diller, aged 95 (7/17/1917 to 8/20/2012), comedienne/actress who appeared frequently on talk shows, game shows, and variety shows in the 1960s and 70s.
Charles Durning, aged 89 (2/28/1923 to 12/24/2012), actor, The Sting (1973), The Muppet Movie (1979), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), “Evening Shade” (Dr. Harlan Eldridge, 1990-94).
Larry Hagman, aged 81 (9/21/1931 to 11/23/2012), actor, “I Dream of Jeannie” (Maj. Anthony Nelson, 1965-70), “Dallas” (J.R. Ewing, 1978-91) and reprised the role of J.R. Ewing in the 2012 tv series “Dallas”. Son of actress Mary Martin.
Jack Klugman, aged 90 (4/27/1922 to 12/24/2012), actor, 12 Angry Men (1957), “The Odd Couple” (Oscar Madison, 1970-75), “Quincy, M.E.” (Dr. R. Quincy, 1976-83). Husband of actress/game show panelist Brett Somers (1953-74). Won two Emmy Awards for “The Odd Couple” (1971, 1973).
Sylvia Kristel, aged 60 (9/28/1952 to 10/17/2012), actress, the controversial Emmanuelle (1974) and three sequels (1975-84), Private Lessons (1981).
Herbert Lom, aged 95 (1/9/1917 to 9/27/2012), most famous for his portrayal of Chief Inspector Dreyfus in The Return of the Pink Panther (1974) and five more films in the “Pink Panther” series from 1976 to 1993.
William Asher, aged 90 (8/8/1921 to 7/16/2012), was a TV and film director whose work included “I Love Lucy” (1952-57), Beach Party (1963), “Bewitched” (1964-72), “Alice” (1977-79). Husband of actress Elizabeth Montgomery (1963-73).
Turhan Bey, aged 90 (3/30/1922 to 9/30/2012), actor who starred in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), The Amazing Mr. X (1948).
Peter Breck, aged 82 (3/13/1929 to 2/6/2012), actor, “Maverick” (Doc Holliday, 1960-62), “The Big Valley” (Nick Barkley, 1965-69).
Frank Cady, aged 96 (9/8/1915 to 6/9/2012), actor, “Petticoat Junction” (1963-70), “Green Acres” (Sam Drucker, 1965-71).
Harry Carey, Jr., aged 91 (May 16, 1921 – December 27, 2012), actor, appeared in over 90 movies including Gremplins and Tombstone and several John Ford Westerns such as The Searchers, as well as numerous television series.
Dick Clark, aged 82 (11/30/1929 to 4/18/2012), a TV host on shows “American Bandstand” (1957-87), “The $10,000 Pyramid” (1973-88), “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes” (1984-88), “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (1972-2012). He was also the producer of a variety of TV game shows, talk shows, entertainment shows, and movies.
Gary Collins, aged 74 (4/30/1938 to 10/13/2012), actor, Iron Horse (Dave Tarrant, 1966-68), “The Sixth Sense” (Dr. Michael Rhodes, 1972). TV host for “Hour Magazine” (1980-88), Miss America Pageant (1982-90). Husband of Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley (1967-2012).
Don Cornelius, aged 75 (9/27/1936 to 2/1/2012), host (1971-2007) and producer (1971-88) of “Soul Train”. Producer of the “Soul Train Music Awards” (1987-2007).
Richard Dawson, aged 79 (11/20/1932 to 6/2/2012), actor and game show host, starred in “Hogan’s Heroes” (Cpl. Peter Newkirk, 1965-71), “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” (regular performer, 1971-73), “Match Game” (panelist, 1973-79), “Family Feud” (host, 1975-88, 94-95), The Running Man (1987).
Michael Clarke Duncan, aged 54 (12/10/1957 to 9/3/2012), actor, Armageddon (1998), The Green Mile (1999).
Nora Ephron, aged 71 (5/19/1941 to 6/26/2012), filmmaker responsible for Silkwood (writer, 1983), When Hary Met Sally (writer, 1989), Sleepless in Seattle (writer, director, 1993), You’ve Got Mail (writer, director, producer, 1998), Julie & Julia (writer, director, producer, 2009).
Chad Everett, aged 76 (6/11/1936 to 7/24/2012), actor, “Medical Center” (Dr. Joe Gannon, 1969-76), Airplane II: The Sequel (1982).
Jonathan Frid, aged 87 (12/2/1924 to 4/13/2012), actor, “Dark Shadows” (Barnabas Collins, 1967-71).
Don Grady, aged 68 (6/8/1944 to 6/27/2012), cast member, “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1957-58). Actor, “My Three Sons” (Robbie Douglas, 1960-71).
Andy Griffith, aged 86 (6/1/1926 to 7/3/2012), cast member, “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1957-58). Gained prominence in the starring role in A Face in the Crowd (1957) before becoming better known for his television roles, playing the lead characters in the 1960–1968 situation comedy The Andy Griffith Show and in the 1986–1995 legal drama Matlock.
Robert Hegyes, aged 60 (5/7/1951 to 1/26/2012), actor, “Welcome Back, Kotter” (Juan Epstein, 1975-79).
Sherman Hemsley, aged 74 (2/1/1938 to 7/24/2012), actor, “All in the Family” (George Jefferson, 1973-75), “The Jeffersons” (George Jefferson, 1975-85), “Amen” (Deacon Ernest Frye, 1986-91).
Celeste Holm, aged 95 (4/29/1917 to 7/15/2012), actress, All About Eve (1950). Won an Academy award for Gentleman’s Agreement (Best supporting actress, 1948).
George Lindsey, aged 83 (12/17/1928 to 5/6/2012), actor, “The Andy Griffith Show” (Goober Pyle, 1965-68), “Mayberry R.F.D.” (Goober Pyle, 1968-71), “Hee Haw” (Goober, 1972-92).
Ron Palillo, aged 63 (4/2/1949 to 8/14/2012), actor, “Welcome Back, Kotter” (Arnold Horshack, 1975-79).
Victor Spinetti, aged 82 (9/2/1929 to 6/18/2012), actor, The Beatles movies A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), “Magical Mystery Tour” (1967).
Mike Wallace, aged 93 (5/9/1918 to 4/7/2012), TV news correspondent famous for his adversarial style. Programs include “Mike Wallace Interview (1957-60)”, “60 Minutes” (1968-2006).
Richard D. Zanuck, aged 77 (12/13/1934 to 7/13/2012), film producer for movies like Jaws (1975), Neighbors (1981), Cocoon (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Deep Impact (1998), Planet of the Apes (2001). Son of producer Darryl F. Zanuck.
Robin Gibb, aged 62 (12/22/1949 to 5/20/2012), member of the Bee Gees with older brother Barry and twin brother Maurice (1958-69, 1970-2003). Hits include “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” (1970), “Jive Talkin'” (1975), “Stayin’ Alive” (1977), and “Too Much Heaven” (1979). Older brother of Andy Gibb.
Marvin Hamlisch, aged 68 (6/2/1944 to 8/6/2012), songwriter. Hits include “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” (1965), “The Way We Were” (1973), “The Entertainer” (1974), “What I Did For Love” (1975), and “Nobody Does It Better” (1977).
Whitney Houston, aged 48 (8/9/1963 to 2/11/2012), pop singer. Hits include “Saving All My Love for You” (1985), “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (1987), and “I Will Always Love You” (1992). Wife of singer Bobby Brown (1992-2007). Cousin of singer Dionne Warwick.
Andy Williams, aged 84 (12/3/1927 to 9/25/2012), TV host, “The Andy Williams Show” (1962-71) and singer, “Butterfly” (1957), “Moon River” (1962), “Love Story (Where Do I Begin)” (1971).
Donna Summer, aged 63 (12/31/1948 to 5/17/2012), pop/disco singer. Hits include “Love to Love You Baby” (1975), “Last Dance” (1978) “Bad Girls” (1979), and “She Works Hard for the Money” (1983).
Ravi Shankar, aged 92 (4/7/1920 to 12/11/2012), sitar player. Mentored rock musician George Harrison (1966), played in the Concert for Bangladesh (1971). Father of jazz musician Norah Jones (1979).
Dave Brubeck, aged 91 (12/6/1920 to 12/5/2012), jazz pianist. Hits include “Take Five” (1959).
Hal David, aged 91 (5/25/1921 to 9/1/2012), lyricist and songwriting partner of Burt Bacharach (1957-1972). Hits include “Walk on By”, “What the World Needs Now Is Love”, “What’s New Pussycat?”, “The Look of Love”, “This Guy’s In Love With You”, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, “Close to You”, and “One Less Bell to Answer”. Inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Levon Helm, aged 71 (5/26/1940 to 4/19/2012), rock vocalist and drummer, member of The Band (1968-1976, 1983-1999). Sang lead on “The Weight” (1968), “Up on Cripple Creek” (1969), and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (1969).
Etta James, aged 73 (1/25/1938 to 1/20/2012), blues singer. Hits include “The Wallflower” (1955), “At Last” (1961), “I Just Want to Make Love to You” (1996). Won four Grammy awards (1994-2004). Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1993).
Davy Jones, aged 66 (12/30/1945 to 2/29/2012), actor/singer, “The Monkees” (1966-68). Sang lead on “Daydream Believer” (1967).
Tony Martin, aged 98 (12/25/1913 to 7/27/2012), singer. Hits include “There’s No Tomorrow” (1949), “I Get Ideas” (1951), “Walk Hand In Hand” (1956). Actor; Casbah (1948), Here Come the Girls (1953), Hit the Deck (1955). Husband of actress Cyd Charisse (1948-2008).
Earl Scruggs, aged 88 (1/6/1924 to 3/28/2012), bluegrass banjo player, teamed with Lester Flatt (1948-69). Hits include “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” (1963).
Kitty Wells, aged 92 (8/30/1919 to 7/16/2012), country singer. Hits include “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” (1952), “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (1958), “Heartbreak U.S.A.” (1961). Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1974). Received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1991). Wife of country singer Johnnie Wright (1937-2011).
Gary Carter, aged 57 (4/5/1954 to 2/16/2012), catcher for Montreal Expos (1974-84, 1992), New York Mets (1985-89), and two other teams (1990-91). 11-time All-Star (1975, 1979-88) and 3-time Gold Glove Award winner (1980-82). Inducted into the Hall of Fame (2003).
Lee MacPhail, aged 95 (10/25/1917 to 11/8/2012), major-league baseball executive, general manager of the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, American League President (1974-83) and President of the Players Relations Committee. Elected to the MLB Hall of Fame (1998). Son of baseball executive Larry MacPhail and father of baseball executive Andy MacPhail (1953).
Marvin Miller, aged 95 (4/14/1917 to 11/27/2012), executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (1966-82), negotiated collective bargaining, arbitration, and free agency with the baseball owners.
Art Modell, aged87 (6/23/1925 to 9/6/2012), owner of the NFL Cleveland Browns (1961-95) and Baltimore Ravens (1996-2004). President of the National Football League (1967-69). Was the principal force in having NFL games televised on Monday nights (1970).
Joe Paterno, aged 85 (12/21/1926 to 1/22/2012), college football coach (Penn State 1966-2011). Won 24 bowl games and 3 Big Ten championships. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (2006). Fired for not doing more about allegations of child molestation taking place in his facilities.
Darrell Royal, aged 88 (7/9/1924 to 11/7/2012), college football head coach for Mississippi State University (1954-55), University of Washington (1956), and University of Texas (1957-76). Won three national championships (1963, 1969, 1970). Had 23 consecutive winning seasons.
Alex Karras, aged 77 (7/15/1935 to 10/10/2012), NFL football player; Detroit Lions (tackle, 1958-71). Actor, Blazing Saddles (1974), “Webster” (George Papadapolis, 1983-89).
Junior Seau, aged 43 (1/19/1969 to 5/2/2012), NFL linebacker for San Diego Chargers (1990-2002), Miami Dolphins (2003-05), and New England Patriots (2006-09). Was on the Pro Bowl team 12 consecutive years (1991-2002).
In Publishing & Books
Ray Bradbury, aged 91 (8/22/1920 to 6/5/2012), science fiction writer whose works include The Martian Chronicles (1950), and Farenheit 451 (1953).
Andrew Breitbart, aged 43 (2/1/1969 to 3/1/2012), web publisher, editor for The Drudge Report, and founder of Brietbart.com and BigGovernment.com (2009). Facilitated an undercover video purporting to expose fraud in ACORN (2009).
Helen Gurley Brown, aged 90 (2/18/1922 to 8/13/2012), author of Sex and the Single Girl (1962) and editor of Cosmopolitan (1965-1997).
Jim Unger, aged 75 (1/21/1937 to 5/29/2012), cartoonist of “Herman” (1974-92).
Gore Vidal, aged 86 (10/3/1925 to 7/31/2012), novelist whose works include Myra Breckinridge (1968) and Lincoln (1984).
Maurice Sendak, aged 83 (6/10/1928 to 5/8/2012), children’s writer whose works include Little Bear (1957) and Where the Wild Things Are (1963).
James Q. Wilson, aged 80 (5/27/1931 to 3/2/2012), sociologist/criminologist professor at Harvard (1961-87). Rejected prevailing theories that most/all criminal behavior is the product of societal factors. Wrote Varieties of Police Behavior (1968) and Thinking About Crime (1975).
Zig Ziglar, aged 86 (11/6/1926 to 11/28/2012), motivational speaker and author (See You at the Top, 1975).
Henry Hill, aged 69 (6/11/1943 to 6/12/2012), organized crime figure with the Luchesse crime family of New York, participated in a hesit of Lufthansa Air (1978), became an FBI informant, expelled from the U.S. Witness Protection Program (1982). Subject of the film Goodfellas (1990).
Sun Myung Moon, aged 92 (2/25/1920 to 9/2/2012), founder of the Unification Church (1954), also known as “Moonies”. Convicted of willfully filing false US income tax returns (1982); imprisoned for 13 months (1984-85).
Vidal Sassoon, aged 84 (1/17/1928 to 5/9/2012), hairdresser to the rich and famous.
Rodney King, aged 47 (4/2/1965 to 6/17/2012), victim of a videotaped beating involving seven Los Angeles police officers on 3 March 1991 that made him a symbol of police brutality and led to racially charged riots in Los Angeles. Four officers were tried; three were acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict on the fourth. Their acquittals on 29 April 1992 prompted a riot in which 54 people died. Two officers were subsequently found guilty of civil rights violations in federal court, and King was paid $3.8 million by the city of Los Angeles.
2012 also had its share of manmade tragedies.
In Aurora, Colorado a crazed gunman opened fire on an unsuspecting audience during a midnight screening of the Batman new movie “The Dark Knight Rises”, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. The killer was former neuroscience graduate student James Holmes.
In Benghazi , Libya Islamic militants stormed the U.S. mission on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The attack was the first to kill a U.S. ambassador in the line of duty since 1979 and sparked severe criticism of the Obama administration. An official inquiry found widespread failures in both security planning and internal management.
In a Wisconsin Sikh temple a gunman killed six people and critically wounded three others, before he was himself shot dead by police.
At the Empire State Building in New York City, an out-of-work fashion designer fatally shot a former co-worker before being killed in a blaze of gunshots by police, stunning tourists and commuters outside of one of New York’s most popular landmarks.
Finally, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza shot dead 20 children and six staff members, before killing himself. He had also killed his mother.
Lance Armstrong, the disgraced cycling champion had his seven Tour de France victories scratched from the records and was banned from cycling for life after the International Cycling Union (UCI) ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) sanctions against him. A USADA report said Armstrong had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
Record-setting skydiver. Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner leapt into the stratosphere from a balloon near the edge of space 24 miles above Earth and safely landed, setting a record for the highest skydive and breaking the sound barrier in the process.
CIA Director, David Petraeus, who had formerly played a key role in the Iraq war, and led the U.S. Central Command and commanded U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, stepped down after admitting he had engaged in an extramarital affair.