Archive for May, 2007


Thursday, May 31, 2007


Promotional Fax Mistaken for Bomb Threat

‘A faulty bank fax printed a message that was misinterpreted as a bomb threat Wednesday, leading authorities to evacuate more than a dozen neighboring businesses and a day care center.

The branch manager of the Bank of America called police about 10 a.m. after receiving a fax containing images of a lit match and a bomb with a fuse, bank spokesman Ernesto Anguilla said.

But text explaining the fax was an internal bank promotion failed to transmit. The missing text included the phrases “The countdown begins” and “Small business commitment week June 4-8,” according to a copy circulated by police.’


Man described as a top spammer arrested

‘A 27-year-old man described as one of the world’s most prolific spammers was arrested Wednesday, and federal authorities said computer users across the Web could notice a decrease in the amount of junk e-mail.

Robert Alan Soloway is accused of using networks of compromised “zombie” computers to send out millions upon millions of spam e-mails.

“He’s one of the top 10 spammers in the world,” said Tim Cranton, a Microsoft Corp. lawyer who is senior director of the company’s Worldwide Internet Safety Programs. “He’s a huge problem for our customers. This is a very good day.”‘


Rat droppings everywhere in sushi factory

‘The pest inspector Bill Lincoln smelt the rats before he saw them when he visited the Sushi World’s factory in Camperdown to quote on fixing the rodent problem last year.

“It was horrific … the stench of rat urine was bad,” he said of the premises the Herald revealed this week had been fined 11 times, and closed for a second time early this month, for breaching hygiene laws.

As Mr Lincoln walked through the premises in Larkin Street last year, he was stunned by what he found. “There were rats in the rice cases; there was shredded paper on the ground where they were making nests; there were droppings everywhere,” he said.

Mr Lincoln said he had seen many food businesses with rat infestations but none as bad as the Larkin Street factory.’

$1M gold bathtub stolen from Japan hotel

‘A glittering bathtub made of gold worth nearly $1 million has been stolen from a resort hotel, an official said Wednesday. A worker at Kominato Hotel Mikazuki in Kamogawa, south of Tokyo, notified police that the fancy tub was missing from the hotel’s guest bathroom on the 10th floor, according to a local police official who only gave his surname, Ogawa.

The round tub, worth $987,000, is made of 18-karat gold and weighs 176 pounds. [..]

Someone apparently cut the chain attached to the door of a small section of the bathroom where the bathtub was placed, but not riveted, and made off with the tub, Ogawa said.

“We have no witness information and there are no video cameras,” he said. “We have no idea who took it,” the official said.’


The Vomitron

Some guys from the Footy Show take a ride on the Vomitron and it lives up to its name. 🙂

(6.5meg Windows media)

see it here »

Stupid In Space

‘The Bush administration. You know ’em, you… well, love isn’t exactly the right emotion.

Showing that there is no place safe from idiocy, here’s an absolutely astronomically stupid comment from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. A statement so stupid, it makes the invasion of Iraq and the management of Katrina look like genius.

Michael Griffin NASA Administrator has told America’s National Public Radio that while he has no doubt a trend of global warming exists “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”‘

Manitoba chiefs want cellphone revenue

‘Manitoba First Nations are seeking compensation from Manitoba Telecom Services for every cellphone signal that passes through First Nations land, saying the airspace should be considered a resource like land and water.

At a recent economic development summit, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs resolved to negotiate revenue sharing with MTS for transmissions signals that cross the land, water and air space of their reserves and traditional territories.

“[The request is] based on the understanding that we do have some fundamental rights as indigenous people to land, water and airspace,” said Chief Ovide Mercredi of the Grand Rapids First Nation.

“When it comes to using airspace, it’s like using our water and simply because there’s no precedent doesn’t mean that it’s not the right thing to do,” he said.’


Everyone better at reading maps than women

‘A new study into the mental skills required to read a map has handed blokes new ammunition and dealt heterosexual women a final indignity.

The research, from the University of Warwick in the UK, suggests that not only are straight women worse at map reading than straight males, they are also outperformed by bisexual men, gay men, gay women and bisexual women – in that order.

The study looked at what’s called mental rotation. This is our ability to mentally visualise an object from different perspectives.

Applied to real life, the most practical example of mental rotation is map reading, says Dr Michael Tlauka, an expert in gender differences and spatial ability from Flinders University. ‘


File-sharing sites are being subverted for web attacks

‘Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks, which let users trade movies, music and software online, are increasingly being used to trick PCs into attacking other machines, experts say.

Computer scientists have previously shown how P2P networks can be subverted so that several connected PCs gang up to attack a single machine, flooding it with enough traffic to make it crash. This can work even if the target is not part of the P2P network itself.

Now, security experts are warning that P2P networks are increasingly being used to do just this. “Until January of this year we had never seen a peer-to-peer network subverted and used for an attack,” says Darren Rennick of internet security company Prolexic in an advisory released recently. “We now see them constantly being subverted.”‘

Bean Bag Launch

(468kB Windows media)

see it here »


British man eats corgi with Yoko

‘A British artist ate a corgi dog, famous for being Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite breed, in protest after a group including her husband Prince Philip allegedly killed a fox earlier this year.

And Yoko Ono, the widow of ex-Beatle John Lennon, also had a taste of the “really, really disgusting” meat, which came from a corgi that died naturally at a breeding farm.

Mark McGowan, who has previously eaten a swan as part of a performance art show, tucked into the dog live on a London radio station. [..]

McGowan said the dog tasted “really, really disgusting,” and added that Ono “looked a bit strange” as she also tasted the dog.’

Followup to Artist with taste for publicity to eat corgi in protest over royal hunting.

Update: Now with video.

(3.5meg Windows media)

see it here »


New AACS processing key leaks onto the net

‘Doom9, the forum that made headlines last year by extracting and publishing a “processing key” used to lock HD-DVD discs, has published a new key. [..]

The last processing key leak created an Internet firestorm when the AACS licensing authority sent hundreds of legal threats to sites that published the key. The strategy backfired: within days, more than a million pages had published the key, ensuring that more people knew how to break HD-DVD players than owned the devices.

AACS has the capacity to “revoke” a processing key. When they do this, all HD-DVD players are unable to play new discs unless they get an update (woe betide you if your DVD player is on your boat, in your cottage, or at your grandparents’ place where there is no Internet access). The big question is whether the AACS can revoke keys faster than hackers can extract them.

It’s a race. AACS is losing.’

Terrorism not focus of Homeland Security

‘Claims of terrorism represented less than 0.01 percent of charges filed in recent years in immigration courts by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a report issued Sunday by an independent research group.

This comes despite the fact the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that fighting terrorism is the central mission of DHS.

The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse said it analyzed millions of previously undisclosed records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act.

Of the 814,073 people charged by DHS in immigration courts during the past three years, 12 faced charges of terrorism, TRAC said.

Those 12 cases represent 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed.’


Man knew he had TB before flying to Europe

‘A man infected with the extensively drug-resistant form of TB known as XDR TB knew he was not supposed to travel overseas but did so anyway, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Julie Gerberding told CNN’s “American Morning” on Wednesday.

The man, who is quarantined at an Atlanta, Georgia, hospital, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Fulton County health officials had said they “preferred” he not travel, but knew about his plans for an overseas wedding and honeymoon. [..]

“The patient really was told that he shouldn’t fly,” she added.

“The patient himself was not highly infectious” but there still was a small risk he could transmit the disease to someone else, Gerberding told CNN.

It is the first time in 40 years the federal government has issued a quarantine order for an individual. Gerberding acknowledged that “we kind of had to make up a plan as we went along.”‘


Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Woman acquitted of illegal poop use

‘A former Democratic Party activist who left dog feces on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s Greeley office during last year’s 4th Congressional District campaign was found not guilty Wednesday of criminal use of a noxious substance.

A Weld County jury deliberated about two hours before acquitting Kathleen Ensz of the misdemeanor count. Her trial began Tuesday.

Ensz’s lawyers never denied that their client left a Musgrave campaign brochure full of feces at the front door of the congresswoman’s office. But they argued that Ensz was making a statement protected by free speech – the poop was a symbol of what she thought of Musgrave’s politics.’

Who needs stairs when you have a tree?

(82kB Windows media)

see it here »


Recreational Boats Considered a Homeland Security Threat

‘The Memorial Day holiday means it’s a day on the water with the family.

Chuck Singleton does what he can to makes sure his kids are safe out here. The concern is who else is out there.

“You don’t know where they come from,” said Singleton. “You know, they could load up with a bomb or whatever and come right out here.”

With thousands of boats on the waterways, the worry is the recreational boat is now a Homeland Security threat.’

Immigrants left floating in sea

‘Twenty-seven illegal immigrants spent a day at sea holding on to buoys around a giant tuna net as the Maltese and Libyan governments argued over who should save them from drowning.

They were picked up eventually by an Italian patrol vessel. The men – Africans of various nationalities – had paid for a passage from Libya to Europe in an open boat that foundered on Saturday.

Soon after their boat went down they were spotted by the Maltese tug Boudafel, which was towing a huge tuna-breeding plant towards Spain.

The men said the tug threw them a line and began towing them, ahead of the plant.’

First Person – Into the Unknown

‘At last, I’ve done it. I’ve thrown in the towel, kicked the habit and gone on the wagon. After thirty years, I have escaped from a fearsome addiction.

To be truthful, I’m not really sure I’ve gone cold turkey yet. Only last month I was at a psychical research conference. Only days ago, I emptied the last of those meticulously organised filing cabinets, fighting the little voice that warned: “Don’t do it, you might want to read that again” with a stronger one that urged: “You’ve given up!” as I threw paper after paper on ESP, psychokinesis, psychic pets, aromatherapy and haunted houses into the recycling sack. If cold turkey does strike, the dustbin men will have taken away my fix.

Come to think of it, I feel slightly sad. It was just over thirty years ago that I had the dramatic out-of-body experience that convinced me of the reality of psychic phenomena and launched me on a crusade to show those closed-minded scientists that consciousness could reach beyond the body and that death was not the end. Just a few years of careful experiments changed all that. I found no psychic phenomena – only wishful thinking, self-deception, experimental error and, occasionally, fraud. I became a sceptic.’


Autopsy Prank

(1.9meg MPEG)

see it here »


Mercury and family disagree over power cut death

‘Mercury Energy says it was unaware that disconnecting power to a south Auckland home could have potentially life-threatening consequences.

Folole Muliaga, 44, died within two hours of a contractor cutting power to her Mangere home at 2pm yesterday.

Today a relative said Mrs Muliaga’s family had told the contractor that the mother-of-four was dependent on an oxygen machine, which needed electricity to run.

Mrs Muliaga’s son told TV One News that his mother – sitting with the machine – had asked the contractor to give them a chance, but the man had replied he was just doing his job.’

Net taxes could arrive by this fall

‘The era of tax-free e-mail, Internet shopping and broadband connections could end this fall, if recent proposals in the U.S. Congress prove successful.

State and local governments this week resumed a push to lobby Congress for far-reaching changes on two different fronts: gaining the ability to impose sales taxes on Net shopping, and being able to levy new monthly taxes on DSL and other connections. One senator is even predicting taxes on e-mail.’


Pakistan sex change couple jailed

‘A Pakistani court has sent a couple to jail for three years on the grounds that they lied about the sex of the husband who is a transsexual.

The couple married last year, after the husband had undergone sex-change operations, but a medical team appointed by a high court in the city of Lahore found that the husband, Shumail Raj, 31, was a woman.

“There is sufficient evidence to establish that Shumail Raj is a woman,” Judge Khawaja Sharif said in his ruling.

He sentenced the couple to jail for three years and imposed a fine of 10,000 rupees ($166) each for perjury.’


Firecracker Wake Up Prank

(8.6meg Windows media)

see it here »

Birthday-balloon dispute escalates; teen injured, two people arrested

‘Stolen birthday balloons sparked a fight in Laurel County on Monday in which a man and his 14-year-old son were charged with assault after a teenager was seriously injured, the sheriff’s office said.

Brad Freeman and Shawn Asher went to the home of Charles Murphy and his 14-year-old son Monday evening to ask about balloons that had been stolen from a birthday party earlier that day, according to a news release from the Laurel County sheriff’s office.

The four began to argue at the home on Old State Road in London, and Murphy allegedly hit Asher in the head with a piece of pipe, the release said.

Murphy’s son, whose name was not released, picked up a baseball bat and began to hit Asher as well.’


Reward Offered In Knife Attack On Duck

‘A duck found with a pocket knife in her back in Huntington Beach was recovering Monday, and authorities announced a $1,000 reward for anyone with information about whoever stabbed the mallard.

The female duck was brought to the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center Sunday at 10 a.m. by a member of the public who spotted it with the knife in its back at the Breakfast in the Park restaurant at 6622 Lakeview Drive, said Lisa Birkle, the center’s assistant wildlife director. The restaurant has views of a lake where many ducks swim, Birkle said.’


Ship’s doctor dies after dinner of blowfish

‘A ship’s doctor has died in Western Australia after eating blowfish, a delicacy that can prove fatal if not prepared properly.

Authorities were called to an iron ore ship off Dampier early on Saturday after a 43-year-old Chinese man suffered paralysis and his breathing became laboured.

“We did a co-ordinated rescue effort through Australian Search and Rescue,” said Acting Sergeant Chris Hinch. [..]

“The other person who had eaten the fish fell ill and made himself vomit,” he said.

“There was another gentleman who did CPR on the doctor and fell ill because the doctor had vomited while he was giving him CPR.

“We bought him to shore as a precautionary measure.”‘

Reality show prize: a kidney

‘Step aside Big Brother housemates – three dying contestants competing for a donated kidney will plunge reality television to fresh lows this week.

A terminally ill cancer patient will gift one of her kidneys to one of three recipients chosen by a television audience, in a bizarre Dutch program.

Viewers will watch video clips depicting the three “contestants” chatting about their lives – and then will vote via text message to literally save one.’


Van Damme Intoxicated

‘Exactly which is Jean Claude Van Damme doing running around the streets of Hollywood stripping of clothing as he goes?’

(2.3meg avi)

see it here »

Pesticides ‘up Parkinson’s risk’

‘Exposure to pesticides could lead to an increased risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease, a study has found.

Researchers discovered that high levels of exposure increased the risk by 39%, while even low levels raised it by 9%. [..]

The study included more general questions about family health history and tobacco use.

All the replies were then compared to those from a group of people of similar age and sex who had not been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

They revealed that while having a family history of Parkinson’s was the clearest risk factor for developing the disease, exposure to pesticides also gave a clear increase.

People who had been knocked out once were 35% more at risk, while being knocked out on more than one occasion appeared to increase the risk by two-and-a-half times.’