Tag Archive: Facebook

FOLSOM, Calif.  — Thermal imaging cameras recorded a parolee sneaking back into New Folsom State Prison at 1:30 a.m. Thursday, prison officials said.

“We quickly determined we did not have an escape. We found the suspect hiding in bushes near the Prison Industry Authority area,” prison spokesman Tony Quinn said.

Marvin Lane Ussery, 48, was arrested on suspicion of being a felon on prison grounds.Hoof it over to Facebook to join the weird news herd.

Ussery served time behind bars at New Folsom Prison, also known as California State Prison Sacramento, for robbery before he was granted parole in June 2009.

The prison houses mostly maximum-security inmates serving long sentences, or inmates who have been difficult to control at lower-security institutions.

Ussery’s bicycle was parked near where he hopped the prison fence, prison officials said. Thirty corrections officers combed the prison yard for hidden contraband that the ex-inmate may have been trying to sneak in.

“We don’t have any evidence of this in this case, but we have had incidents where former prisoners have snuck back onto the property to hide backpacks filled with drugs, alcohol or phones,” Quinn said.

Minimum-security prisoners then find those backpacks and try to smuggle the contraband into the prison,” he said. Officers had not found smuggled contraband by Thursday afternoon.


Image: Chimney


ABBEVILLE, La. — The narrow, brick chimney of a Louisiana bank became his tomb for 27 years and now Joseph Schexnider will be laid to rest Sunday in a proper grave with a proper farewell by his family.

Image: Robert Schexnider

Abbeville Police Department  /  AP

Joseph Schexnider was briefly with the Louisiana National Guard.

Still, his brother Robert wonders, how did he wind up in that chimney? Didn’t anyone hear any cries for help? Was it a robbery attempt gone awry, an accident or something more sinister?

“At least we know where he is now,” Schexnider, 48, said, tears welling in his eyes ahead of his brother’s funeral and burial. “At least he’s home.”

Nearly three decades after he disappeared, much mystery lingers about the case of Joseph Schexnider and involving a small town bank in the southern Louisiana city of Abbeville. Police say Schexnider became trapped and apparently died in the bank’s chimney in 1984. But beyond that, they know little more.

“Everybody has an opinion,” said Lt. David Hardy, chief of investigations for the Abbeville Police Department. “But no one has evidence to say one way or another.

If Joseph Schexnider did cry out for help, no one heard his pleas. The stench of death was never detected.

The decades rolled on until last May when a construction worker helping turn the bank’s vacant second floor into offices tugged some fabric out of the chimney and was showered with old clothes and human bones.

Described as sweet-natured and relaxed by the few who remember him, Joseph Schexnider was 22 when his family last saw him in January 1984. He had no criminal record, but was wanted for possessing a stolen car.

A lanky, rambling man, Schexnider was prone to wandering at an early age.

In the years after they last saw them, his family, his mother, and two brothers and a sister, had not reported him missing — and no one searched for him.

“My mother worried about him, but I just said, ‘Mom, that’s just Joseph being Joseph,'” Robert Schexnider said. “He was always taking off for somewhere.”

Joseph first ran off around the age of 9 or 10, Robert recalled, adding his brother had dropped out of high school in the ninth grade.

He worked now and then at this and that, quitting jobs when he became tired and moving on. He was briefly in the Louisiana National Guard, leaving with a medical discharge. One of the few pictures of him shows him in uniform, his dark eyes looking off into the distance.

“He was always going off somewhere,” Robert Schexnider said. “He told me he’d seen every state in the country.”

Schexnider followed carnivals and once traveled with a circus. He told his brother he hawked cotton candy and peanuts with the shows, traveling with the circus to New York where he was stranded when it left to go overseas.

“He didn’t have enough money to get home, so the church helped him out,” recalled Francis Plaisance, a city councilman and the pastor of the church the Schexniders attended. “I remember him as being a nice kid.”

Plaisance also remembers Joseph as a somewhat simple person. When the church sent a plane ticket to New York for him to come home, Schexnider was unable to navigate the airport.

“We ended up having a pastor up there walking him through it and put him on the plane,” Plaisance said.

Jason Hebert, now a detective with Abbeville Police, went to elementary school with Joseph Schexnider. He described him as a quiet kid, on the fringe of a group of young boys that made mischief in the town.

“He was just another kid,” Hebert said. “Nothing really stood out about him.”

With the remains found in the chimney were a yellow long-sleeve shirt, a pair of jeans, blue tennis shoes, and jockey shorts with Schexnider’s name printed in the waistband. There also was a magazine and gloves.

He had a wallet with a copy of his birth certificate, a Social Security card and a few pictures.

“There was no sign of foul play,” Hardy said. But, he said, there is no way to determine the cause of death.

A DNA test confirmed his identity.

From the way the skeleton was recovered, Hardy said it appeared Schexnider went into the 14-inch-by-14-inch chimney feet first. Because the chimney narrowed sharply at the bottom, he then was apparently unable to maneuver his way back out.

Facebook related crime triples

It comes from a report of Nottinghamshire police that reveals thatcrimes entwining social networking site, Facebook has tripled when compared to previous year data.

As the reports suggest the crimes have multiplied to an alarming 346 percent within a years’ time, with harassment ranking top in widely reported crimes.

The data produced by the Nottinghamshire police states that during April 2008 and March 2009, they received 13 complaints which were accredited to the popular social networking site. The same figure rose to 58 during the period between April 2009 and February 2010.

Detective Sergeant Harry Parsonage commented in a statement, “For crime that involves communication, Facebook is just a method of communication.”

On the other hand Facebook officials stated in denial, “It is no surprise that Facebook is also mentioned in criminal reporting, especially since everyone knows that the police use Facebook as a tool.”

However the police authorities plead guilty of the extent of usage of the social networking platform in committing crimes at the same time expressed their awe in soaring rates ofincidents and seek to get in to the depth of the matter.

Google+, is growing much more rapidly than Facebook, Myspace and Twitter did in their early days


Google is a latecomer to social networking but its new site, Google+, is growing much more rapidly than Facebook, Myspace and Twitter did in their early days, technology experts said.

While + may be the fastest-growing social network ever, it remains to be seen, however, whether it can pose a serious threat to the  titan Facebook, which has more than 750 million members.

Andrew Lipsman, vice president for industry analysis at tracking firm , said Google+, which was launched by the  and advertising giant on June 28, had 25 million unique visitors as of July 24.

During a panel discussion on Google+ hosted by Wedbush Securities, Lipsman said it took other social networks much longer to reach 25 million users: 22 months for Myspace, 33 months for  and 37 months for Facebook.

“Obviously, this is a very strong growth trajectory,” Lipsman said.

He cautioned, however, that Google “has a really large user base it can build off of” with its one billion users worldwide.

And it still has a “really long way to go to be competitive with Facebook,” Lipsman said.

“Google+ is the fastest by a long shot but it’s important to realize that fastest may not always be best,” he said. “Sometimes, that slow build can lead to a strong network effect that pays long-term dividends.”

Most Google+ users — 6.4 million — are in the United States, followed by India with 3.6 million, Canada with 1.1 million, Britain with 1.1 million and Germany with over 920,000, according to comScore.

Lipsman said many Google+ users appear to also be users of Google’s email program  and display a “very strong early adopter profile.”

He said the ratio of men to women is about two to one and that 60 percent of Google+ users are between the ages of 18 and 34.

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In the United States, the highest numbers of Google+ users are in the tech-savvy cities of San Francisco and Austin, Texas, he said.

Steve Rubel, executive vice president for global strategy and insights at public relations firm Edelman, said Facebook is not “vulnerable immediately” to Google.

“I don’t see (Google+) taking significant share from Facebook in the next 18 months,” Rubel said.

At the same time, “what we have seen is that over the years there’s never been a social network or community that has had significant staying power,” he said. “There’s always a shuffling every two or three years, a changing of the guard.

“We saw it with ,” he said of the one-time social networking leader that has been eclipsed by Facebook and hemorrhaging users ever since.

Rubel said Google was compelled to try its hand at social networking because Facebook is restricting the access of its search engine to Facebook content.

“What’s happening is more content is being created behind Facebook’s walls than ever before and a lot of that content is invisible to Google,” he said.

“Conceptually, at least, they’re building kind of an alternate Web… There’s also an entire Web that is app-based on mobile phones. That is also invisible to them.”

Rubel said it was conceivable that more content would be invisible to them in five or 10 years than what the search engine can see today when created on Facebook or inside apps.

“So they had to make a play to get more people to create content on their site,” he continued. “It’s to get more people to spend time on Google.”

In unveiling Google+, Google stressed the ability it gives users to separate online friends and family into different “Circles,” or networks, and to share information only with members of a particular circle.

One of the criticisms of Facebook is that updates are shared with all of one’s friends unless a user has gone through a relatively complicated process to create separate  Groups.

The world's most highly valued tech company now has more cash on hand than the U.S. Treasury.


Maybe the cash-strapped U.S. government should start selling iPads.

According to the latest statement from the U.S. Treasury, the government had an operating cash balance Wednesday of $73.8 billion. That’s still a lot of money, but it’s less than what Steve Jobs has lying around.

Tech juggernaut Apple had a whopping $76.2 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of June, according to its last earnings report. Unlike the U.S. government, which is scrambling to avoid defaulting on its debt, Apple takes in more money than it spends.

This symbolic feat — the world’s most highly valued tech company surpassing the fiscal strength of the world’s most powerful nation — is just the latest pinnacle for Apple, which has been on an unprecedented roll.

U.S. debt: How did we get here?

Its Macs, iPhones and iPads remain hot sellers, its stock has surged past $400 a share and Apple just became the world’s largest smartphone vendor by volume.

There’s been a lot of speculation about what Apple might buy with its piles of cash — Facebook and Sony being two of the more high-profile examples — but the company doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to make a move.

“We don’t let the cash burn a hole in the pocket or make stupid acquisitions,” CEO Jobs said last fall. “We’d like to continue to keep our powder dry because we think there are one or more strategic opportunities in the future.”

Offering Uncle Sam a short-term loan is probably not one of them.


Earlier this month, 21 Holocaust survivors affiliated with the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a plea to Facebook asking them to deny access to anyone promoting the idea that the Holocaust was a hoaxreports the Jewish Chronicle Online.

In the letter sent July, the survivors wrote:

We are writing to you to protest Facebook’s policy that categorizes Holocaust denial as “free speech,” rather than the shameless, cynical and hateful propaganda that it is.

Followed by:

Do not permit Holocaust denial any platform on Facebook to preach its inherent message of lies and hate. By allowing this hate propaganda on Facebook, you are exposing the public and, in particular, youth to the anti-Semitism which fueled the Holocaust.

Despite the plea from survivors, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes told MSNBC in an email, that one of the toughest questions they have to deal with is how to handle the sharing of controversial ideas and opinions. Noyes wrote that while Facebook finds these groups to be “repugnant and ignorant” after a considerable amount of time discussing issues of Holocaust denial, they concluded that “the mere statement of denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our terms.”

This is not the first time the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which runs The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, has taken issue with Facebook. In 2009, the human rights group told The Sunday Times, that the rise of social networking sites like Facebook have accelerated the spread of racist and bigoted views, and asked Facebook to remove pages that allegedly promote hatred against Jews. And in 2008 the group sent a letter to Jewish CEO Mark Zuckerberg headlined: “Do Not Serve as a Platform for Hate,” again addressing offensive pages.

Facebook has, however, removed pages in the past. CNN reported that in March the social networking site agreed to remove group page entitled the “Third Palestinian Intifada” that encouraged Palestinians to take up arms against Israel, after the Israeli government appealed to Facebook. The page, which garnered more than 350,000 “likes,” was removed because it contained direct calls for violence, explained Facebook.


Reacting to public news of her breakup from fiance Jesse JamesKat von D wrote a heartfelt message on her Facebook page Wednesday night. The 881-word note, entitled “What can I say? I suck” ranges from self-deprecating to wistful. Contrary to reports of infidelity on James’ part, the tattoo artist and television personality suggests that she is to blame for the split.

Among others, Kat points to a hectic schedule and bad luck as contributing factors to the demise of her relationship with Sandra Bullock‘s former husband.

There was my new relationship with Jesse, which regardless of how happy it made me, sprung a lot of negativity from the outside world. Then the 2 month book tour, not to mention my house burning down half way through the tour… Taking on another season of filming the show during all of this, plus a million other things to add to the list…

Kat — who has since insisted she would keep the tattoo of James’ face on her torso — also says public criticism both alienated and brought the couple closer together, stating that “it felt like it was just the two of us against the world” and that she “lost a lot of friends.”

Over 2,000 people have commented on her note while the number of people who like the confessional continues to grow from more than 4,000 “likes” on Facebook.

She adds: “Never planned on walking away from this relationship” before signing off with “Con todo mi corazon, Kat Von D.

South Africa — In the words of “Jaws” scientist Matt Hooper, “This is not a boat accident!”

According to the Cape Times, six researchers from South Africa are reflecting on what they describe as the fright of their lives after their own close encounter with a great white shark.

The research team from Oceans Research was working off Seal Island, near Mossel Bay, on South Africa’s Cape coast, when the nearly 10-foot-long creature reportedly made its move.

Team leader Dorien Schroder told the newspaper that following more than an hour of shark activity around their boat, the Cheetah, the waters at the stern fell quiet.

“Next thing, I hear a splash and see a great white breach out of the water from one side of the boat hovering, literally, over a crew member chumming on the port side,” she reportedly said.

According to Schroder, the shark landed with half its body in the boat, but in a panic, thrashed its way further onto the vessel, cutting fuel lines and damaging equipment.

As the team scampered toward a safer portion of the boat, the shark reportedly became stuck.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. >> A Florida teen is accused of posting a Facebook invite for a house party, killing his parents with a hammer and then hosting dozens of people while the adults’ bludgeoned bodies were locked in the master bedroom.

Tyler Hadley, 17, was expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday in Port St. Lucie. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley, who police believe were struck on their heads and torsos on Saturday, sometime after their son posted on Facebook to tell friends about the party.

Investigators believe the Hadleys were attacked outside their master bedroom and the bodies were moved into the bedroom and the door locked.

The teen was being held without bond at a juvenile detention center in Fort Pierce and it wasn’t clear whether he had an attorney.

Neighbors and some of Hadley’s high school classmates were shocked.

“He just seemed normal, I didn’t think anything was wrong with him,” Hadley’s friend, Johnna Izzo, told Miami television station WSVN.

Neighbor Raeann Wallace said she had known the family since before Tyler Hadley was born. “This is not the Tyler I remember. What happened? … He and his dad would be shooting hoops (in the driveway).”

On Saturday night, as many as 60 people attended the party in the community about 50 miles north of West Palm Beach, according to Port St. Lucie Police spokesman Tom Nichols. They were loud enough to prompt a noise complaint and a visit by police officers. When they arrived at 1:30 a.m. Sunday to warn about the noise, the party was already breaking up, Nichols said.

Then, police said, they received a tip that a slaying may have taken place. They returned to the home at 4:20 a.m., finding the bodies covered with towels, files, books and other household items, and the hammer between them.

The mother, 47, was an elementary school teacher. The father, 54, worked for Florida Power and Light. The Hadleys also had a 23-year-old son who lives out-of-state.

Autopsies were under way, but police said they believed they died of blunt-force trauma.

Hadley had attended St. Lucie West Centennial High School, according to police, but had not graduated. They said they did not know what the motive was.

As Google+ continues to grow, debate rages over whether or not Facebook users should ditch their favored social network and try out the search giant’s option. There are some that say such a shift makes sense, since Facebook isn’t as adept at delivering a worthwhile social experience any longer. Others say that sticking with Facebook is the way to go, since it’s so big, and that’s where everybody’s friends hang out.

Admittedly, making that decision is personal. And a solid argument can be made for using both social networks simultaneously. But if folks decide to turn their backs on Facebook and only use Google+ as their go-to social network, it wouldn’t be a mistake. After all, there are a host of solid reasons people might decide to ditch Facebook in favor of Google+.

Read on to learn more about why some users are making the jump from Facebook to Google+, and why by doing so, they might find a better social network.

1. Facebook’s privacy troubles

Facebook is no stranger to privacy troubles. Last year, for example, the company came under fire for making too much user data readily available to the public. In response, Facebook unveiled new privacy features last year that simplified the process of keeping personal information away from parties user didn’t want to share it with. The only problem is the social network continues to come under fire from security experts, including Sophos, which said earlier this year that it needs to do more to keep the privacy and security of data paramount in its plans. Although Google doesn’t have the best privacy record either, Facebook’s troubles might be enough to warrant a change to Google+.

2. It’s all about Circles

When Facebook users share content on their page, it’s very difficult to get only certain people to see it. In many cases, all of a person’s friends see content, regardless of whether they want them to or not. But with Google+’s Circles feature, that issue is eliminated. Circles lets users put other folks into certain “groups” and then determine what they want to share with each group. Circles are central to the appeal of Google+.

3. Data Liberation is arguably the best feature

The best feature on Google+ is the service’s Data Liberation. When employing that feature, users can download all their Google content, including photos, profile information, contacts, and more, to their computers. In other words, a user who shares information in Google+ actually owns that content. On Facebook, that just isn’t the case. If ownership matters to users, Google+ is their best bet.

4. Facebook video chat is lame in comparison

Facebook recently announced Skype integration, allowing users to engage in a video chat with a friend. It’s a nice addition. The only problem is, when it comes to video chatting, Google+ reigns supreme, thanks to its Hangouts feature. Hangouts allow users to have a video chat with up to 10 people at the same time at no charge. Plus, friends who happen to see others in a video chat can drop in and join the conversation. Facebook can’t compete on any level with that functionality.

5. It’s more than a social network

One of the best things about Google+ is that the search giant isn’t simply making it a walled garden away from its other products. Google+ allows users to see what sites they’ve given a “+1” rating on, and thanks to a navigation pane at the top, users can quickly jump to Gmail, Google News, and other services. Google+ is designed to be more than just a social network. And that’s refreshing.

6. Google is serious about identities

A major issue with other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, is that the users’ identities are not easily determined. In many cases, people either don’t use their real names or impersonate others. With its social project, Google is forcing users to display only their real-world names. In the long-run, that will be a welcome feature as folks find fewer impersonators and more legitimate content.

7. Strong privacy features

Google was smart with Google+. Rather than try and get users to share as much content as possible, the search giant has delivered a host of privacy features to allow users to share only what they’re comfortable with. With the platform’s privacy tool, users can assign their “network visibility,” to determine with whom to share posts and more. Privacy is vastly important when it comes to social networks and Google seems to understand that.

8. A small, dedicated group of users

A solid argument can be made that Facebook’s 750 million active users should be enough to convince people to stay put. After all, the majority of an average person’s friends are likely using Facebook and not Google+. However, there is something to be said for Google+’s current user community. For the most part, its users are active, engaged and doing their part to make the environment as rich as possible. On Facebook, that isn’t always the case. For now, Google+ user’s base is one worth joining.

9. It’s a real news feed

Google+ comes with a nice feature, called Sparks. With it, users can input a topic that they’re interested in and find information related to that. So, if they like movies, they can get film-related news. Those who are into comics can learn more about that. Sparks makes Google+ a full-fledged news feed, thus keeping users in place and making them want to come back for more.

10. Facebook should have a competitor

If nothing else gets a user to switch, perhaps they should think about the competitive landscape in the social space. Right now, Facebook is dominating all other social networks, and the closest alternative, Twitter, is more like a complement than a competitor. But Google+ is a direct competitor with the ability to scare Facebook. And as consumers have seen time and again, a little fear in the marketplace is a good thing for long-term innovation. Simply put, if Google+ and Facebook battle it out, the users will benefit no matter who is winning.

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