Category: The Other World

Email Viruses – How They Work and How to Avoid Them

By Brandon Walp

tech talkWhat exactly is an email virus? An email virus is defined as a virus that is sent with or attached to email communications. Email communications are a way of transmitting messages to someone else electronically, such as through Gmail. An email virus can be designed to cause problems with the computer being attacked and/or allow the attacker to steal personal data from the targeted computer. This form of virus may not be detected by the everyday ordinary eye that is not looking for it. I will discuss examples of email viruses, how they work, how to look for them and how to prevent them.

The Melissa virus was an email virus that was considered to be one of the greatest hacks of all time. It was a macro virus that was distributed as an email that when opened by the target, disabled safeguards in the program called Microsoft Word. On top of that, if the target had the email program called Microsoft Outlook, it would resend the virus to the first 50 contacts in the target’s address book.

The virus came attached to an email with the subject line “Important Message from [the name of someone]” and body text that read “Here is that document you asked for…don’t show anyone else ;-).” If the target clicked on and opened the attachment, the infecting file was read to computer storage.
The ILOVEYOU virus was a worm or script that was disguised as a text document attached to an email. This virus goes all the way back to the year 2000. How it worked was it was an email with the subject line “ILOVEYOU” and an attachment called “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.VBS,” and if the attachment was opened it executed a Visual Basic script that infected the computer. What it did was once the script ran, it emailed itself to the victim’s email contact list and even edited the Windows registry and caused data to be replaced, such as images and Word documents, with copies of itself.

Now that I have explained a couple of email viruses and how they worked, we now need to know how to detect and avoid them. Follow these six steps on how to properly look for a virus within your email.

Step 1: Look closely at the subject line. Don’t click on anything you don’t recognize. If the subject line says something like “CLICK HERE TO CLAIM MONEY,” then it is most likely a virus.

Step 2: Don’t click on any attached files you don’t recognize. A good rule of thumb is if the attached file ends with an extension like .exe or .vbs, DO NOT click it, it is a virus.

Step 3: Be aware of the person sending the email. If you don’t recognize the name or company, do not click it.

Step 4: If you recognize the sender, double-check it by reading it and seeing if there is anything that doesn’t look right.

Step 5: Read the email carefully. Some hackers have the capability of making the email seem like it is sent from a trusted source, but look for spelling and punctuation errors as a sign it might be a virus.

Step 6: Never click or follow a link that you do not recognize. Hackers also use a tactic that involves the virus on a website and will send an email with the link to the infected website. Now, if you’re still not sure you are safe, web antivirus software is out there to do the detecting and preventing for you. Some software may cost a monthly or yearly fee, but there are ones out there for free, too. It’s your cost and your responsibility to choose.



Uninstalling the Uninstallable With Windows PowerShell

By Robert Benn

tech talkWindows 10 comes chock-full of applications and features that support the myriad needs of a vast user base. Unfortunately, Microsoft gives their users scant opportunity to choose which applications they want installed alongside their operating system. Worse still, after installation, some applications cannot be removed by traditional means. Fortunately, users that want to run leaner PCs, or that desire a more tailored experience, do have recourse native to Windows — no third-party applications required.

All user-installed programs and the majority of bundled applications can be removed from a Windows 10 machine via the add/remove utility. Certain programs, however, such as Xbox and Groove Music, have their uninstall buttons grayed out on this menu. Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player don’t even make it onto the list.
For finer control of Windows applications, and of the operating system at large, Microsoft has provided a utility called Windows PowerShell. PowerShell is less intuitive than a wizard, insomuch as it utilizes a command-line interface, but it has the power to alter nearly every aspect of a Windows system. Microsoft refers to PowerShell commands as “cmdlets.”

To get a more complete picture of installed programs, users can run the Windows PowerShell cmdlet “Get-AppxPackage –AllUsers.” This command will return a list of installed application packages for all user profiles. For a more targeted approach, “Get-AppxPackage *[Name]*” will search application package names for the characters between the asterisks. The output of these commands will include the full package name. The full package name can be used in conjunction with the “Remove-AppxPackage [FullPackageName]” cmdlet to uninstall the application. Alternatively, the output of “Get-AppxPackage” can be piped to the “Remove-AppxPackage” cmdlet. Extra care should be taken if using the second method, as PowerShell will attempt to remove all applications that meet the search criteria.

Not all applications can be removed using this technique; Microsoft prevents users from removing applications that will break the core functionality of the operating system. Still others are considered features, and so are not enumerated with the Get-AppxPackage command. Two such features are Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer, which can be removed by deselecting them from the Windows features utility available through Control Panel.

Robert Benn Is An Information Technology Major Graduating In May 2018.

To remove Groove Music: Get-AppxPackage *zunemusic* Remove-AppxPackage Microsoft.ZuneMusic_10.18011.13411.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbweOr: Get-AppxPackage *zunemusic* | Remove-AppxPackage

Apps and their names in PowerShell:

Office: officehubGet
Skype: skypeapp
Get Started: getstarted
Groove Music: zunemusic
Maps: windowsmaps
Movies & TV: zunevideo
People: people
Phone Companion: windowsphone
Xbox: xboxapp

Tech Talk 1 (Other World)

#MeToo – Taking a Stand Against Women’s Oppression

Courtesy Of International Socialist Organization

womensmarch2018 Philly Philadelphia -MeToo, 2018, February 25. Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved 15:33, April 8, 2018 from jpg&oldid=289140009

A new resistance is growing. Ever since the serial abuser Donald Trump assumed the presidency, millions of women and survivors of sexual violence have taken to the streets and lifted their voices in defiance of the status quo. in just over a year, popular consciousness has been transformed, and hundreds of powerful men have been struck down from Hollywood to Washington. There is hope again that sexism and misogyny can be challenged and fought. What will it take to build a movement that can end women’s oppression for good? Join us to discuss how socialists understand sexism, and how we can move forward together toward the liberation of women.

On the Road to the Intactivist Demonstration

By Randall Delaware

About 20 years ago a professor said to me, when I was inquiring about starting college and majoring in urban planning: “It’s already past the registration period — poor planning.” Things haven’t changed much in 20 years, for it was on the spur of the moment that I “Pricelined” a $12-per-day rental car. Then it was off to the airport on the bus to get my rental, drive back to my apartment and load up the car with my signs, my music CDs, some extra clothes and my sleeping bag.

It was close to 2 o’clock when I headed south on Route 95 to the nation’s capital. About 12 hours later, I pulled into a rest area somewhere in Maryland and slept in my sleeping bag for maybe three hours. Then with everything still dark outside I drove on to the District of Columbia. At some point when daylight came around, I paid $20 for a visit to a fitness center so I could work out, take a shower and shave.

Around 3 o’clock, I made it to the Capitol. Dave Wilson was there with his fellow “intactivists” — intact activists. I had demonstrated with Dave at several events since my first N.O.C.I.R.C. Symposium at Georgetown University in 2002. I had 10 T-shirts to give out. The front of the shirts read “VAGINA LOVES FORESKIN GLIDING,” which refers to the gliding mechanism of the foreskin moving back and forth during coitus, reducing friction as it does so and leaving the vulva with less micro-abrasion. The back read “MORE LIGHT TOUCH NERVES WITH FORESKIN,” which refers to the specialized encapsulated sensory nerve endings present in the inner lining of the foreskin. There are several types of these encapsulated nerves or corpuscles, but this usually refers to the Meissner’s corpuscles, which have light-touch-sensing ability.

I greeted Dave, after having given out a few of the T-shirts, by referring to him as Cousin Dave. A joke, which made us both laugh, since we don’t know if my Wilson ancestor is related to his. Dave doesn’t like much small talk. He is a man with a mission — a 25-year mission, which is the number of years he has been paying for the permit to demonstrate on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Dave’s story is similar to many male intactivists. He learned about his own circumcision as a boy and felt deep anguish and betrayal. Female intactivists tend to be regret moms or mothers of intact sons. Dave is also involved in another men’s-rights issue. His summer demonstration is for fathers’ rights. Dave’s website is S.I.C. Society, or Stop Infant Circumcision Society.

After speaking with Dave, I ran into Sandy Roman, a Jewish-raised man, a physicist who spent time down under on Antarctica and an inventor of a foreskin restoration device. In the past, I’ve met people like Dr. Robert Van Howe, a medical doctor who opposes circumcision and has written about the flaws in African HIV studies; Dr. George Denniston, a triple Ivy Leaguer, who is the director of Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.); Dr. Mark Reiss, a Jewish man who is the executive vice president at D.O.C.; and Steven Svoboda, a Harvard Law School graduate who directs Attorneys for the Rights of the Child.

It’s getting close to 4 o’clock and the Capitol Police are ready to escort us to visit President Donald Trump’s humble abode — the White House. Dave has also made arrangements for this. I don’t participate in the march down Pennsylvania Avenue but drive to within two blocks from the White House. I park on the street and grab my favorite signs: “UNCIRCUMCISED EUROPEANS HAVE LOWER SEXUAL DISEASE RATES THAN CIRCUMCISED AMERICANS” and “THE FORESKIN HAS MORE SPECIALIZED NERVE END ORGANS THAN

Photo by Randall Delaware


I generally stand there displaying two signs at a time with my arms extending outward. Dave usually engages the crowd. “Do you know how circumcision started in the 1800’s?” “To stop masturbation.” That does the trick, and some people approach to listen to more. He always tells the story of the retired German rocket scientist from N.A.S.A. who approached him 20-something years ago and said, “I’ve never seen sexual lubricants in Germany that you have for sale in your stores here.”

One man has me hold still for a photo that he is going to send to his urologist daughter. Some black men with accents take a photo too. Another man takes a photo and said he is going to send it to his friend in Israel. Finally, a British woman on holiday starts talking to me and finds it’s very odd that Americans still practice circumcision. All English-speaking countries, except the Celtic ones, offered infant circumcision as a remedy for sexual disease but, after a 1949 study by Dr. Gairdner, circumcision saw its demise in England. This woman also mentions that actor Ben Affleck supports our movement.

Around 6:30, it’s time for this Irish citizen to find an Irish pub. Actually, the group has planned on dinner at The Dubliner Restaurant near Union Station. Of course, I order up a Guinness, in a way my County Kerry grandmother, a teetotaler, wouldn’t have. There, I speak briefly with a small group of men who are restoring their foreskin by tissue-expansion techniques. I mention Ron Low, a Kellogg Business School Graduate and inventor of TLC Tugger, a restoration device. He earned over a $100,000 in sales from this device in one year. I also mention Jim Bigelow’s book “The Joy of Uncircumcising,” a how to manual. I ask if they have seen the “1 to 24 months” restoration site: Then I speak with Danelle Day, a mother of an intact son and a boomer’s wife, whom I hadn’t seen in a few years. After that it’s on the road again, to a rest area for the night and then on to Maine on Easter Sunday, arriving back in South Portland with daylight still left.

Global Wealth Inequality And Its Consequences

By Zachary Guiod

We, as a society, rarely question or dis- cuss global poverty and wealth inequality. We know that there are poor countries and poor people; and anyone, who has ever run out of fuel in Maine in winter, can empathize with them, because they know how it feels to have to choose between food or fuel. What the majority of people don’t know is how severe wealth inequality really is and what the brutal consequences are for those who were born into poverty.

The first and most mind blowing fact is that eight men have the same combined wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people on the planet. Let that sink in for a second. And they keep on getting richer. In 2017, the world’s richest 500 people saw their wealth increase by a combined trillion dollars! You may ask, “Well what about the poorest half of the world? Are they accumulating more wealth?” The sad answer is no, their wealth has stagnated or worse declined. In a world where the richest eight men have more wealth than the poorest 3.6 billion, the number of people living in extreme poverty and poverty should be zero. This is not a radical thought.

According to the most recent estimates in 2013, 767 million people, or 10.7% lived on less than $1.90 a day which means they lived in extreme poverty. This number has improved since 2012 when it was 12.4%. It has been more than cut in half since 1990 when 1.85 billion lived in extreme poverty. Unfortunately, even though over a billion people have escaped extreme poverty in the past two decades, the majority who escaped still live in daily suffering of “regular” poverty and have very limited opportunities for financial advancement. In 2012 2.1 billion people lived on less than $3.10 a day. While there has been some improvement, it is not at all acceptable in a moral world.

What are the consequences of this insane level of income inequality? I will focus on the worst: hunger. According to the United Nations, poverty is the number one reason for hunger around the world. Globally, one in nine people, or 815 million people, are undernourished. Nine million die from hunger and hunger related diseases. Poor nutrition is responsible for 45% of deaths in children under five, or 3.1 million deaths a year. One in four children suffer stunted growth due to poor nutrition. In developing regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, that number can rise to one in three.

We live in a world where the 500 richest people can “earn” a trillion dollars in one year and nine million of the poorest people will die that same year because they cannot afford food. This is the staggering reality we are faced with today. You may be reading this and thinking, “What am I, one person who is already struggling financially, going to do about global wealth inequality?” Just by reading this you are doing something to help; the first step in solving any problem is simply becoming aware of the issue.


The Beacon Goes on Spring Break

By Daniele Amandolini

I haven’t lived in the US for a long time, and I’m constantly learning and experiencing new bits of American culture. As school in Europe has a vastly different schedule, I found myself experiencing my first Spring break this past month. I cherished the week off from the school grind, and flew to San Francisco to visit some relatives.

The Beacon was a big topic of discussion in describing my new life here in the US: it helped me feel part of the community, and to develop skills and experiences I’m sure will come in handy in the future. And it wasn’t just talk — Some lucky copies of the paper traveled with me to the Golden State, and I proudly showed off my team’s work to the sea lions on Pier 39.

The Beacon hopes everyone had a great and relaxing Spring Break, a tradition I was glad to be a part of, and a much needed chance to recharge my batteries for the second half of the semester.

Beacon goes on Spring Break
Daniele Amandolini proudly showing off The Beacon in Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, CA. Photo by Daniele Amandolini


Meeting Professional Journalists at USM

By Daniele Amandolini

Seth Koenig of the Bangor Daily News. Photo by Daniele Amandolini.

In a world in which news outlets are being attacked daily, it’s more important than ever to practice journalism with ethics and serve our communities thoroughly and without biases. We at the Beacon are committed to always grow and learn and make our readership proud of our work.

On Saturday, March 24, The Beacon attended a journalism workshop hosted by USM and their school publication, The Free Press. The event covered many facets of this fast changing industry, ranging from the technical side of how to conduct an interview and handle “sources”, to using social media to engage readers.

Jim Patrick, social media editor for the Portland Press Herald. Photo by Daniele Amandolini.

The event featured esteemed figures in local journalism, including representatives from the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald, all willing to share valuable information and eager to answer questions from the young high school and college students in attendance. While the way we are consuming news is shifting from paper to online, they all stressed the importance of providing quality news, no matter the format.

While The Beacon is a relatively small publication, we are dedicated to grow and learn to better serve each and every one of our readers, and this workshop was a great opportunity for us to meet professional reporters, photojournalists, and editors.

We would also like to commend the talented, hard working staff of The Free Press for putting together such a compelling event.

Fred Field, professor of the Communications and Media Studies department at USM. Photo by Daniele Amandolini.