ISIS has killed 17 Iraqi journalists over past 10 months

Mohanad al-Aqidi (left), who is said to have been shot, and Raad Mohamed al-Azaoui, who was publicly beheaded. Photograph: Journalists Without Borders
Mohanad al-Aqidi (left), who is said to have been shot, and Raad Mohamed al-Azaoui, who was publicly beheaded. Photograph: Journalists Without Borders

Much attention was given to the recent killings of Steven Sotloff and James Foley by the hands of ISIS, and deservedly so. Their executions are a chilling reminder of the risks faced by journalists covering the world’s most dangerous places. But little has been written about the many other non-western journalists who have been kidnapped and killed by ISIS over the past year. In the past 10 months, the Guardian reports, as many as 17 Iraqi journalists have been executed by ISIS, sometimes in public beheadings.

Reporters Without Borders remains one of the best sources for information about the dangers to journalists working in ISIS territory and around the world. Here are some reports on killings of local journalists by ISIS militants over the past year:

  • Confusion About Iraqi Journalist’s Reported Death In Mosul
  • ISIS – Major Threat To Media Freedom In Both Iraq And Syria
  • Three Citizen-journalists Among Hostages Executed By ISIS
  • Islamic State Publicly Executes Iraqi Cameraman In Samarra
  • Jihadi Group Kills Iraqi Cameraman In Northern Syria
  • ISIS Threatening To Execute Iraqi Journalists (one of these journalists was reported killed last week)
  • First Media Victims Of ISIS Offensive
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists, another great source for this sort of information, reports that at least 80 journalists have been kidnapped in Syria since 2011, and about 20, mostly Syrian, journalists remain in captivity there. While ISIS has been in its current state only since about 2013, many of the journalists kidnapped in Syria between 2011 and 2013, including James Foley, ended up in ISIS’ hands.

    Magnum announces TV drama in development based on agency’s founding

    “We can get right inside the key events of the second half of the 20th Century through the lives and lenses of these photographers in a bold and completely original way.” -Carnival Films Managing Director Gareth Neame

    Magnum Photos has just announced the development of a television drama based on the founding of the agency. Produced with Carnival Films, the production company behind Downton Abbey, the series will “dramatise the story” of Magnum through the “lives and lenses” of the agency’s four founders: Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David ‘Chim’ Seymour. There’s precious little information about the show beyond what’s been written on Magnum’s blog. My guess is that will be a Mad Men-like show exploring news events and drama behind the scenes, but they haven’t even released a title for the series.

    NASA dumpster dives forgotten moon photos in an abandoned McDonald’s decorated with pirate flags

    By Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA (Pirate McDonald's  Uploaded by shoulder-synth) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
    By Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA (Pirate McDonald’s Uploaded by shoulder-synth) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Inside an abandoned McDonald’s adorned with pirate flags in NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, a motley collection of hackers and old technology is working to recover lost and damaged photography from NASA’s early moon exploration. Dubbed McMoon’s, but officially known as the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, the site was chosen because of the project’s particular requirements for heating, cooling, and water. Inside the former fast food restaurant, the LOIRP is basically “dumpster diving for science.”

    Two buildings near the research center were identified as possible work sites, a former barber shop and this McDonald’s. The fast food restaurant had closed a couple weeks before the image recovery effort started in 2007 and offered more storage space and adequate parking for employees. You can see a few more photos from inside McMoon’s in Flickr user agentmouthwashfanclubpresident’s photostream.

    In July of 2008, the project had finally moved in to the McDonald’s and in November of that year, the team announced the successful recovery of a 1966 photo of the Earth rising as seen from the moon’s surface. In fact, it was the first photo taken of the Earth from the moon. To recover the image, the team found the last set of tapes containing the data and restored 1960s-era tape drives to operational condition using both original and modern parts. There’s also a brief explanation of how the 1966 photo was taken.

    You can see a comparison of the original image and the recovered image below.

    "First View of Earth from Moon" by NASA (left) and "First View of Earth from Moon - reprocessed" by NASA/LOIRP - from Wikimedia Commons
    “First View of Earth from Moon” by NASA (left) and “First View of Earth from Moon – reprocessed” by NASA/LOIRP – from Wikimedia Commons

    The team has an actively updated website about the project called Moonviews, which includes information about recovered pictures. They started by working to recover and restore images from the 5 Lunar Orbiter missions flown between 1966 and 1967. The first three of these missions were done to identify and survey potential landing sites for the subsequent Apollo moon missions, while the last two were of a more scientific nature. The posts at the Moonviews website are fascinating. In this piece about a Lunar Orbiter image last seen 47 years ago, there’s some detail about the method by which photos were sent back from the moon.

    Now, the team now also works on other historical satellite imagery and, with the help of a crowdfunding campaign, have now taken over an abandoned NASA satellite with an aim to open up satellite data for anyone who wants to use it. The website, A Spacecraft for All: The Journey of the ISEE-3, offers information about this new project.

    And while we’re on the subject of lunar photos, computer graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA just released an odd little video that debunks moon landing conspiracy theorists by modeling the lighting in the well-known shot of Buzz Aldrin leaving the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. Aldrin appears to be illuminated from the side opposite the sun, but there were no other light sources on the moon. The engineers recreated the shot in a computer model and analyzed other footage available, eventually realizing that Neil Armstrong’s white spacesuit worked as a reflector in the image.

    (via Metafilter)