Saturday, July 31, 2004

9/11 Commission Recommendations: WEAK

William S. Lind has it right when he says this about the 9/11 Commission Report:

When bureaucracies fail, one of their favorite ways to deflect demands for reform is to offer reorganization instead. That appears to be what has happened in the report of the 9/11 commission and Washington’s response to that report. Worse, the reorganization envisioned is to further centralize intelligence by establishing a national intelligence director and creating a counterterrorism center. One is tempted to ask, if centralization improves performance, why didn’t the Soviet Union (“democratic centralism”) win the Cold War?

What American military and national intelligence really require is that bureaucratic anathema, reform. And reform in turn means not centralization and unification, but de-centralization and internal competition. What did us in both on 9/11 and in the run-up to the Iraq war was an intelligence process that valued committee consensus and internal harmony above the open rough-and-tumble disagreements that surface new ways of looking at things....
He concludes by saying:

At the heart of our inability to reform instead of merely reorganize and further centralize our national intelligence is the crisis of the state itself. The state cannot reform because reform endangers the money and power of the New Class, which controls the state and feeds richly off its decay. As we will see in Washington’s response to the 9/11 commission report, the public is decoyed by puppet shows while the old games continue. And non-state, Fourth Generation enemies, who unlike the New Class really believe in something beyond themselves, will hit us again and again.

Remember, government bureaucracies don’t get more money and more power when they succeed, but when they fail. With an incentive system like that, it is fairly obvious what the rest of us are going to get more of: the consequences of intelligence failures.
The 9/11 Commission Report: Reorganization, Not Reform [Lind]

Thursday, July 29, 2004

"Manhunt" Video Game: Responsible for Teen Murder

LONDON - Dixons has pulled the graphically violent video game "Manhunt" from its shops after parents of a teenage murder victim blamed the game for the killing of their son.

The game, in which the player takes on the role of a convicted murderer ordered by a demented film director to kill people in as gruesome a fashion as possible, has stirred controversy even among fans of violent videos.

It awards extra points to players for carrying out murders in a particularly extreme and bloody way, while victims plead to be spared on behalf of their wives and children.

The parents of Stefan Pakeerah, 14, called this week for Manhunt to be banned after a 17-year-old admitted inviting their son into a park and murdering him.

"Manhunt" pulled after teen murder [Reuters]

Giant Rogue Waves Frequent Oceans

Massive waves up to 100 feet in height -- once thought to be extremely rare -- actually roam the oceans quite frequently and could threaten to overturn ships and oil rigs, a European Commission study has found.

The study, announced last week and conducted on radar images gathered by two European Space Agency satellites during a three-week period in 2001, revealed that no fewer than 10 of the so-called rogue waves rose from various oceans around the world in that time. Not too long ago, scientists had believed that such waves formed just once every 10,000 years, according to the space agency.

Freak Waves Are No Tall Tale [Wired]
MaxWave [European "Rogue Wave" Commission]

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Phishing Test For Online Fraud

The company has put together a Phishing IQ Test.

Think you can't get caught in the "phishing" net of online fraud? Dive into our Phishing IQ Test and find out if you can avoid the hooks of the online crooks. We've put together 10 suspected fraud emails from our collection of millions-all of them real and all of them actually received by real people like you. Click on the link for each question, review the email, read it, and scroll (sorry, no clicking) over its links. Then tell us: Legitimate or Fraud. When you've done all 10, click "Get Your Score" to find out how well you did. Good luck!
Phishing attacks use 'spoofed' e-mails and fraudulent websites designed to fool recipients into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, social security numbers, etc. By hijacking the trusted brands of well-known banks, online retailers and credit card companies, phishers are able to convince up to 5% of recipients to respond to them.

MSNBC is reporting that a new study by (based on the above test) says fake e-mails fool users 28 percent of the time.

Consumers still falling for phish []
Anti-Phishing Work Group

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

One in 32 Americans in jail or on parole in 2003

A record 6.9 million adults were incarcerated or on probation or parole last year, nearly 131,000 more than in 2002, according to a Justice Department study.

Put another way, about 3.2 percent of the adult U.S. population, or 1 in 32 adults, were incarcerated or on probation or parole at the end of last year.

U.S. prison, parole population sets record []

Nigerian Pirates: Most Deadly

The Malacca Straits in southern Asia have received a lot of press because of the pirates infesting those waters. However, a new report says that the waters of Nigeria are the world's most dangerous.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Monday that half of the 30 deaths recorded in pirate attacks around the world between 1 January and 30 June occurred in Nigerian territorial waters.

Gangs, armed with automatic rifles and increasingly with rocket-propelled grenades, cruise along in speedboats and barges, finding cover in the maze of creeks and rivers intertwined with mangrove swamps that make up the delta where the River Niger empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

NIGERIA: Piracy report says Nigerian waters the most deadly [IRIN News]
Pirates Stalking the Malacca Strait [Johnsville News]
Piracy on the High Seas [Johnsville News]
Weekly Piracy Report []

Yankee Giambi's Parasite Watch

Poor Jason Giambi, the New York Yankee first baseman, was diagnosed with an intestinal parasite back on June 29th. Now it seems the parasite has decided to say around for the second half of the season.

One published report said Giambi was being tested for a "potentially fatal" parasite, entamoeba histolytica.

"If he does have entamoeba histolytica, I would say that's overblown," said Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Medical Center. "... Only around 4-8 percent of cases (are fatal) and (Giambi) could have another condition entirely."

Raj Kapila, infectious disease expert at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey was asked: How serious is an entamoeba histolytica? He said:

For a healthy person, intestinal parasites are generally treatable, but the entamoeba histolytica is difficult to detect.

A person with a weakened immune system can become very ill. "It is a disease that can be totally killed, but if it invades inside the tissue, it can be very dangerous." Once it infects the intestine, it has the potential to travel to the colon, liver or brain, if the parasite goes untreated.

The New York Times reported that Entamoeba histolytica affects about 50 million people a year, and causes thousands of deaths.

Yankees Q&A: Dangerous parasite is hard to find but treatable [NJ Star Ledger]
Giambi awaits word on troublesome parasite []
For Giambi, Answers and Energy Are Limited [NY Times]

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Not Up to Code

An eight-story condominium building collapsed in Manila, Philipines. 200 occupants safely evacuated the five-year old building before it collapsed. Initial reports say the building had a bad foundation.

Manila condominium collapses []

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Roller Coaster Riders: Stranded Upside Down

MAPLE, Ontario  - At least 20 roller coaster riders were stranded on a ride at Canada's Wonderland north of Toronto.

The ride apparently malfunctioned and stranded the riders upside down about 30 metres off the ground...

Roller coaster riders stuck upside down at Wonderland [Toronto Star]

Radio Reporter Mugged on Air

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African radio reporter went a little more live than anticipated on Tuesday when he was mugged on air for his cellphone.

Regan Thaw of the Johannesburg area Talk Radio 702 was about to deliver an on-site report from a local squatter settlement when one of the locals pulled a gun on him.

Radio Reporter Mugged on Air [Reuters]

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Future Shock

In recent years, more money has been spent on breast implants and Viagra than on Alzheimer's disease research, leading one to wonder: By the year 2030, will there be a large number of people wandering around with big breasts and erections who can't remember what to do with them?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Green Goo Nano-Threat

First it was "gray goo," the threat of self-replicating machines populating the planet. Now an environmental think tank is raising the specter of "green goo," where biology is used to create new materials and new artificial life forms.  

The world’s second largest re-insurance company, Swiss Re, warns that the unknown and unpredictable risks associated with nanotoxicity or nanopollution could make nanotechnology un-insurable.
Green Goo: The New Nano-Threat [Wired]
Nanotech News in Living Colour: An Update on White Papers, Red Flags, Green Goo (and Red Herrings) []

Monday, July 19, 2004

Anarchy in Gaza

The corrupt and failing Palestinian state in the Gaza strip is quickly falling into anarchy:

GAZA, July 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The Palestinian territories witnessed a serious political and security crisis, the first of its kind since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), in the wake of Friday's kidnappings of two top Palestinian security officials and four French citizens in Gaza...   On Saturday, the PNA declared a state of emergency in Gaza in order to prevent chaos following the kidnappings and reports about the senior officials' resignations and the new appointments...

Palestinian security crisis mounts following Gaza kidnappings []

Embedding chips in Mexican Officials

Mexico's attorney general had had a microchip inserted under the skin of one of his arms to give him access to a new crime database and also enable him to be traced if he is ever abducted.

Attorney General Rafael Macedo said a number of his staff had also been fitted with chips that will give them exclusive and secure access to a national, computerized database for crime investigators...

Mexican Officials Get Chipped [Wired]

Workplace Violence

USA Today ran a disturbing series of articles on workplace violence:    

  • A choking haze filled the hallways, spreading like an impenetrable fog. Larry Hansel, a technician who'd been laid off from Elgar, a San Diego-based electronics company, shot out the company switchboard and set off homemade bombs. They were diversionary tactics. As fire scorched the walls and employees scrambled for cover, Hansel wielded a 12-gauge shotgun and searched the second-floor corridors for executives on his hit list...    
Inside the minds of workplace killers []    
  • In an average week in U.S. workplaces, one employee is killed and at least 25 are seriously injured in violent assaults by current or former co-workers...    
Managers not prepared for workplace violence []    
  • On a humid summer night in 1994, fired waitress Denise Holsinger returned to the place where she used to work, the Witchduck Inn in Virginia Beach. She'd brought her boyfriend, Michael Clagett. It was late, and only a few people lingered inside the small tavern. The World Cup played quietly on the TV.   By the time Holsinger left, three employees and a customer lay dead or dying, all shot in the head...  
Woman who helped kill co-workers says, 'I had no self-esteem at all' []    
  • Some employees convicted of murder say their employer was partly at fault...  
Convicts say companies share fault []

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Hacker Gained Control of Verizon Phone System

William Quinn, 27, of Eastchester, in Westchester County, New York obtained passwords to an internal central computer that Verizon technicians use in repairing telephone lines. The central computer can turn service on and off on all Verizon phone lines.

He was charged in a federal indictment on July 12th.  The indictment said: "In so doing, Quinn acquired the same ability as an authorized Verizon employee to test and disable telephone numbers within various telephone area codes across the country."

Quinn, used the nickname "decoder," and he posted the passwords and instructions on how to use them on several hacker Web sites.

Verizon spent $120,000 to restore security to its systems.

If convicted, Quinn faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Man charged with hacking Verizon []

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Cat Burglar to the Stars: Blane Nordahl

Blane Nordahl is a notorious cat burglar who committed hundreds of burglaries across the U.S. He specialized in stealing hallmarked silver from the homes of some of the nation’s wealthiest people. Nordahl stole from sportscaster Curt Gowdy's house in Florida, Ivana Trump's home in Greenwich, Conn (May 1996), and numerous CEO's.

He removed panes of glass to break into houses, evaded alarms and at various times slipped past guard dogs and the occupants of his targeted homes. Nordahl is reportedly only 5-foot, 4-inches tall. However, he has a "gymnast's body: strong shoulders, skinny hips, muscular legs." Norhahl is thought to have stolen at least ten million dollars' worth of silver in more than fifteen states.

USA Today described Nordahl as "the rare criminal for whom the label 'cat burglar' seems apt. He is cagey, nimble and elusive. He is picky, too. He hit homes in the nicest neighborhoods, in places such as the New Jersey shore and Greenwich, Conn. And he turned up his nose at cash and antiques to concentrate on sterling silver."

The May 17, 2004 issue of New Yorker Magazine entitled: "The Silver Thief: The Story of a Burglar Who Was Too Good for His Own Good" by Stephen J. Dubner has an in depth profile of Nordahl and the tricks of the super skilled cat burglar. It also talks about the adrenaline high or "thrill effect" that a burglar gets before and after a home invasion.

One former girlfriend of Nordahl's told me that he was fixated on stealing every night. "He got high off it," she said. "He liked going into houses when people were sleeping. He said it's more exciting to go into a house when people are there and get away with it." Lonnie Mason also described Nordahl's behavior as an addiction: "This is what he exists for, and it's all about his infatuation with money." Mason argues that silver was particularly appealing to Nordahl because it connotes the sort of family that passes along precious things from one generation to the next-a family that was distinctly unlike Nordahl's own. As Mason sees it, Nordahl remained embittered by his parents' divorce; he resented his father and became extraordinarily close to his mother. (When Mason got hold of Nordahl's phone records, he was astonished by the number of calls between the two.) Nothing gave Nordahl greater pleasure, Mason believes, than stealing a rich man's silver and turning it into cash that he could shower on his mother-who, while unhappy about her son's calling, appreciated his devotion.

related links:
Cat burglar is far from purrfect []
Police: Cat burglar nabbed again [CNN]
Rerun of perfect robberies leads to a gentleman thief [Telegraph UK]
Blane Nordahl []

update Dec. 25, 2004:
Blane Nordahl was sentenced on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 in a Poughkeepsie court to eight years in prison for burglaries at two estates in Dutchess County in late January 2002. Nordahl admitted in September that he broke into the Tarrytown estate of retired Wall Street financier Richard Jenrette and the Wilderstein Historic Site in Rhinecliff, former home of a distant cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt, between Jan. 27 and 30, 2002.

Even in captivity Blane Nordahl is elusive. There does not seem to be a single decent photo of him available on the internet?

Notorious cat burglar tripped up by his reputation for precision [, Dec. 25, 2005]
Perfect crimes betray burglar [Poughkeepsie Journal, Oct. 18, 2005]
High-end cat burglar gets eight-year sentence [USA Today, Dec. 23, 2005]

Marine combat veterans recall close calls in Afganistan

FORWARD OPERATING BASE RIPLEY, Afghanistan (July 14, 2004) -- A series of firefights in south and central Afghanistan have left the combat veterans of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) with dozens of stories to tell, with some a bit more hair-raising than others...

Sgt. Marlando Wilmot, a Massachusetts native serving as a vehicle commander during a June 8 firefight:

"I thought it was a rock or something," said Wilmot, describing the 'punch' he felt in the upper part of the ceramic plate in his protective vest, "then I looked down and saw the bullet that had hit me."

22nd MEU combat veterans recall close calls []

Bush & Kerry Websites have Security Holes

A recent security audit of the official Bush and Kerry campaign websites reveals some security holes that could be exploited by hackers:

Both the Bush and the Kerry Web sites have cross-site scripting errors (XSS). These errors can allow a prankster to create fake Web pages which load from the Bush or Kerry Web sites but additional content can be supplied from a different Web server belonging to a prankster. A prankster could then say anything they want on a Bush or Kerry Web page using a XSS error. Examples include fake news stories, slogans telling visitors to vote for the other candidate, and doctored photos of a candidate.
Bush v. Kerry: Rating the candidates on Web site security []

Election Chaos

The widespread use of touch-screen voting machines in the 2004 election has created a movement called The Computer Ate My Vote campaign, led by MoveOn, TrueMajority and six other organizations. They are urging the secretaries of state to follow California's lead and adopt measures for improving the integrity of elections this November. They also wanted to rally support for federal legislation that would require a paper trail on voting machines nationwide.

The Help America Vote Act has been stalled in Congress for more than a year. This legislation would require a voter-verified permanent record or hardcopy of each vote.

Activists say that poorly designed and weakly secured electronic touch-screen voting machines from companies such as Diebold have the potential to create voting disputes that make Florida's 2000 problems look like a garden party.

Demand for Paper Trail Escalates [Wired]

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Sending rude email costs many workers their jobs

The ePolicy Institute conducted a nationwide poll on email abuse:

The number of workers getting fired for violating e-mail policies is rising as companies face more subpoenas of e-mail records, according to a new poll.

Twenty-five percent of companies terminated a worker for violating e-mail policies, up from 22 percent last year, according to the poll.

Twenty percent of employers polled, up from 14 percent last year, had e-mail records subpoenaed for lawsuits or regulatory investigations and 13 percent of companies have faced lawsuits based on employee e-mail messages...
More workers losing jobs over e-mail [CBS Marketwatch]
101 Email & Internet Disaster Stories [ePolicy Institute]

Terrorist Celebrates Joyous Killing Spree

Mort Zuckerman's editorial describes the evil that lives in radical Islamists:

The unfathomable depths of the terrorists' moral depravity is manifest in the remarks of one of the jihadists, whose interview on an al Qaeda-linked website was translated from Arabic by the Middle East Media Research Institute. The speaker was Fawwaz bin Mohammed al-Nashami, commander of the al-Quds Brigade, who took responsibility for the recent murders of westerners in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. He described how he and his brothers shot their way into the compound, where they killed a British worker, then tied his body to their car. The four men drove, he said, until "the infidel's clothing was torn to shreds and he was naked in the street, and everyone watched the infidel being dragged. Praise and gratitude be to Allah." Then the terrorists stormed another compound and found an American. "I shot him in the head, and his head exploded," Nashami recounted. "We entered another office and found one infidel from South Africa, and our brother Hussein slit his throat. We asked Allah to accept [these pious acts] from us and from him." Then they caught a few more workers, checked on their religion, and then slit their throats, except for one American because he was a Muslim. All of this Nashami described with a sense of joy.
Looking evil right in the eye [US News] [Middle East Media Research Institute]

Hijacker wanted to crash plane in Tasmania

A delusional man, David Mark Robinson, who attempted to hijack a Qantas aircraft over Melbourne, Australia on May 29th wanted to kill everyone aboard.

Robinson said after his arrest he had been chosen by God to deliberately crash the plane in Jerusalem National Park in northern Tasmania in order to rid the world of the devil.

Mr. Robinson was armed with two homemade wooden stakes, two aerosol canisters, and two lighters, when he boarded the 3pm flight. He intended to use the aerosol canisters as flamethrowers.

Hijacker wanted to crash plane []

Storm Chaser goes after death and destruction

Storm Chaser Mike Hollingshead takes pictures as he drives his chase car into a storm he called the Mullen Nebraska Beast on July 8, 2004. His captions provide context:

Things at the Dismal River Ranch were bout to go down hill. "Honey lookie there, death is coming".
Mullen Nebraska Beast []

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Selling A Soul on eBay

A human eternal soul. Item number: 5504683992
Winning bid: GBP 9,999,999.00 (Approx. US $18,593,498.14)
Ended: Jul-07-04 05:17:22 PDT
Start time: Jun-27-04 05:17:22 PDT
History: 46 bids (GBP 1.00 starting bid)
Winning bidder: freenodechannellinuxbidrasser( 0 )
Item location: Nuneaton, England, United Kingdom
Ships to: Worldwide
Seller information: reubensutton( 2 )
Positive Feedback: 100%

Description (revised):
Bid for a human soul today! You will receive: an ownership certificate signed in blood. The exclusive ownership of my soul. Regular letters from my soul. The actual soul will be delivered on the event of my death.
On 29-Jun-04 at 21:34:55 BST, seller added the following information:
Or, when i no longer need the actual soul.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Friday Linkage

Bull Stories from Pamplona, Spain:


The Bazaar of Violence in Iraq: Modern day anarchists have taken root in Iraq and are bent on pure unadulterated mayhem.

Sorcerer summons demons to attack school in Uganda, Africa:

The demons reportedly affected primary four, five, six and seven pupils below 12 years. When attacked, the pupils gabble and run around the compound. Others undress and foam around their mouths.

They also shake violently as if shocked by an electric current. Parents also said they had to tie their children on pegs with ropes to avoid their disappearance.
New Syphilis strain resists drugs: A fast-spreading mutant strain of syphilis has proved resistant to an antibiotic offered to some patients as an alternative to painful penicillin.

Friday, July 9, 2004

Most Notorious Celebrity Murder Cold Cases

Here are the most notorious celebrity murder cold cases where the killer or killers may still be living:

Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls: Gangsta rapper born Christopher Wallace, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles at about 12:40 a.m. on March 9, 1997. Wallace, 24, was leaving a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum celebrating the Friday night's Soul Train Music Awards when a car pulled alongside his Chevrolet Suburban and multiple shots were fired.

Tupac Shakur: Gangsta rapper shot four times on September 7, 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He died of his wounds on September 13, 1996 in Las Vegas.

Jam Master Jay (Run DMC): rapper born Jason Mizell, was shot dead inside a Queens, NY recording studio on October 30, 2002.

Bob Crane: The star of Hogan's Heroes and subject of the bio-documentary movie Auto Focus was a sex addict and a blabbermouth about his myriad of sexual conquests. His murder on June 29, 1978 in Scottsdale, AZ remains a mystery.

Sal Mineo: Hard-working actor, singer and director was stabbed to death on February 12, 1976 in West Hollywood, California.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

27.3 million Americans Victimized by ID Theft

Identity theft tops the list of common crimes reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the past three years. A 2003 survey indicated 27.3 million Americans have fallen victim to ID theft during the past five years, including 9.9 million people in the last year alone. Some more factoids about ID theft:

• ID theft translates into roughly $48 billion in losses to businesses and financial institutions and $5 billion in consumer expenses.

• The FTC found in a recent 12 month period that 3.23 million consumers discovered that new accounts had been opened, and other frauds such as renting an apartment or home, obtaining medical care or employment, had been committed in their name.

• In the cases above the loss to businesses and financial institutions was $10,200 per victim. Individual victims lost an average of $1,180.

• Where the thieves solely used a victim’s established accounts, the loss to businesses was $2,100 per victim. For all forms of identity theft, the loss to business was $4,800 and the loss to consumers was $500, on average.

• 52% of all ID theft victims, approximately 5 million people in the last year, discovered that they were victims of identity theft by monitoring their accounts. Another 26 percent - approximately 2.5 million people - reported that they were alerted to suspicious account activity by companies such as credit card issuers or banks. Eight percent reported that they first learned when they applied for credit and were turned down.

• Phoenix topped the list for identity theft among major metropolitan areas nationwide in 2003, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

• Nevada ranks second in the nation on a per capita basis for identity theft.

FTC ID Theft Statistics
FTC ID Theft Resource Center
ID Theft Resource Center: Non-Profit Organization
Identity theft can affect you [tec online]
Phoenix tops in ID theft [Arizona Republic]
Nevada second in the nation for identity theft [KRNV-Reno]

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Wednesday Linkage

Hand scanners to keep tabs on students at Florida middle school: Jim Kelly, Palm Beach County schools' police chief says: "We are a testing ground for this new technology. It's like an ID card for kids, but they won't be able to lose them."

Three out of Five German Men Didn't Shower Today: The Marplan Institute in Offenbach, Germany released a survey that has some scary details. How do you say hygiene in German?

The attack of the $2 million worm: Researcher says business disruptions caused by viruses cost an average of nearly $2 million in lost revenue per incident.

Verizon recalls cell phone batteries: The batteries, some of which may be fake, have caused minor fires and injuries.

Researchers warn of infectious Web sites: Net surfers beware - "Serious" flaws let compromised servers at major companies take control of computers via Internet Explorer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Bombay's Killing Spree

The leopards in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the middle of Bombay, India have gone on a killing spree. Leopards have killed 14 people this year, and 10 last month alone.

On Sunday night an 18-year-old was dragged from the hut where he slept and a 50-year-old priest was mauled near a temple on the outskirts of Sanjay Gandhi National Park...

last year, a 4-year-old boy was killed when a leopard scaled the wall of a housing complex and dragged him away while he was playing in the garden.
Wild Leopards on Human Killing Spree in Bombay [Yahoo]
Man-eating leopards bring fear to slums of Bombay as 10 die [Telegraph]
As Bombay grows, so do deaths from leopards [Boston Globe]

Bad Idea: Playing Dodgeball with Fireworks

So these kids in Indiana had the bright idea of playing dodgeball with pop-bottle rockets. That was until one of them blew his grandmother's toe off.

A 65 year old Bloomfield woman lost a toe when a pop-bottle rocket fired by her grandson exploded on her foot Sunday at his family’s annual Fourth of July picnic.

Jonathan L. Reed, a 15 year old honor student and wrestler at Greene County High School, and several friends were firing pop-bottle rockets into the air on Sunday when they decided to play an impromptu game of dodgeball, substituting the fireworks for the traditional rubber or foam ball.

The game went on for several minutes with only minor burns sustained by the participants until Reed accidentally aimed too high and fired a pop-bottle rocket that landed on his grandmother Agnes Clausen’s right foot.

The rocket exploded, mangling Clausen’s middle toe on that foot
Fourth of July pop-bottle rocket dodgeball game ends in tragedy [Hossier Gazette]

Friday, July 2, 2004

Public Hot Tubs are Filthy

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that more than 56% of the public hot tubs and spas in U.S. hotels, campgrounds, gyms and other areas open to inspection violate local or state health regulations.

Poor hot tub maintenance can create a perfect environment for the spread of the bacteria that cause skin rashes and respiratory infections...much of the risk of getting sick in a hot tub, whirlpool or spa could be eliminated if owners ensured that they and their staff were properly trained in the use of disinfectant and other basic maintenance.

There are an estimated 5 million hot tubs, whirlpools and spas in public and private use in the nation.
Inspectors Find Rash of Problems in Hot Tubs [Reuters]

Thursday, July 1, 2004

E-Mail Snooping Ruled Permissible

This ruling by the First Court of Appeals in Massachusetts that said Bradford C. Councilman did not violate criminal wiretap laws when he surreptitiously copied and read the mail of his customers in order to monitor their transactions will have far-reaching effects on personal privacy and security. As Wired reports:

Councilman, owner of a website selling rare and out-of-print books, offered book-dealer customers e-mail accounts through his site. But unknown to those customers, Councilman installed code that intercepted and copied any e-mail that came to them from his competitor, Although Councilman did not prevent the mail from reaching recipients, he read thousands of copied messages in order to know what books customers were seeking and gain a commercial advantage over Amazon.
E-Mail Snooping Ruled Permissible [Wired]

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