Sunday, June 1, 2008

Teens await arrest after Comcast attack

Updated at 12:15 p.m. PDT to clarify that Comcast wasn't technically hacked, but that its domain and Web site were hijacked.

Two teenagers who say they hijacked Comcast's Web portal on Thursday also say they expect to be arrested for their actions.

"I wish I was a minor right now because this is going to be really bad," 19-year-old "Defiant" told Wired's Kevin Poulsen, who managed to get a one-hour phone interview with Defiant and his 18-year-old cohort "EBK."

"I slept in my clothes, because the last time they came, I was in my underwear with my dong hanging out and shit," Defiant said of a past raid.

On Thursday, Comcast's portal was defaced, leaving some e-mail subscribers without service. On the site, the hackers referenced their group: "KRYOGENICS Defiant and EBK RoXed Comcast."

The teens say that after they initially managed to take control of Comcast's registrar account at Network Solutions, they called the company's technical contact to tell him, but he dismissed their claim and hung up on them.

That response angered EBK, who says he then decided to redirect traffic from Comcast's site to other servers. "I wasn't even really thinking," he said. "Plus, I'm just so mad at Comcast. I'm tired of their shitty service."

Meanwhile, the teens say they did not grab user names and passwords during the hack, even though they could have.

Original here

'Heathrow is my home': Meet one of the 100 homeless people who live at the airport

With pink lipstick and freshly brushed hair, an attractive woman queues to buy a cup of coffee at a restaurant overlooking the departure hall of Britain's biggest and busiest airport.

It is just before 7am, and the passengers ahead of her at Costa will soon be rushing to catch their flights all over the world. Yet Eram Dar has no passport and no ticket. What's more, she isn't in a hurry to go anywhere.

Eram's home is Heathrow's Terminal One. Over the past year and a half, she has lived at the airport with all her possessions in a blue canvas bag.

Today, she plans to do a bit of window shopping at the airport's stores and, perhaps, buy a bowl of pasta for lunch. She often finds a discarded newspaper and reads it to while away the day.

No place to go: Eram Dar says 'Heathrow is like a good hotel'

As night falls, she will sleep on the floor between an American Express currency exchange booth and a Wall's ice-cream vending machine on a corridor that leads to Terminal One from the underground.

She says simply and in a middle-class English accent: 'Living at Heathrow is like being in a good hotel. It is warm, very clean and you don't get bothered. I think I'm very lucky to be here.

'I sleep in the same spot every night, if another person hasn't grabbed it first. Sometimes the airport passengers peer down at me as they walk by. The night cleaners mop and brush around me. I just close my eyes and put my scarf over my head to block them all out.'

Eram is one of an astonishing number of people who, it was revealed this week, live at Heathrow. It is a scenario reminiscent of Stephen Spielberg's film, The Terminal, which starred Tom Hanks as a stateless Eastern European tourist who sets up home at New York's JFK airport after his own country is erased from the map by war.

However, what is happening at Heathrow is not the stuff of Hollywood fiction. The fact is the homeless are flocking to British airports as never before.

Over the past three months, it has been discovered that 111 people are sleeping permanently at Heathrow, and the numbers are growing - 20 homeless are believed to be living at Gatwick and more are expected.

Airports are seen as warm, comfortable havens and safer than sleeping rough. Yet charity workers say the homeless have to play a 24-hour-a-day cat-and-mouse game to avoid detection by police and airport security and being thrown out onto the streets.

Peter Mansfield-Clark, a director of the charity Crawley Open House, based near Gatwick airport, explains: 'These people take a rucksack with them with a change of clothes. They use the toilet areas to wash or shave and make themselves look tidy.

'They'll often be in travel gear, so they appear as if they're waiting to go off somewhere or have just come back. If you look the part, you've a chance of being able to sleep without anyone disturbing you.'

Some of the homeless deliberately put on floral shirts, as though they are about to fly to a holiday in the sun, to help escape suspicion.

Eram sleeps in the bus station near terminal 3 if she is evicted from the airport

Most also have a suitcase on wheels, which makes them fit in with the crowds. Some even pose as businessmen in suits, hiding behind newspapers if the security staff come their way, or lie on benches covered with a coat as if they are waiting for a delayed flight.

This week I spent two nights at Heathrow, after the London-based charity Broadway was brought in by the British Airport Authority to help the airport's homeless.

Howard Sinclair, chief executive of Broadway, told me: 'It's not as hard as living on the streets. That's why the homeless go there.'

One of them is Harben, a 51-year-old Indian who came to Britain 23 years ago. I met him as he was walking into the departure lounge of Terminal Two, about to settle down for the night.

He was wearing a thin cotton jacket and rain-soaked trousers. In his left hand was a white bag, containing a camel-coloured wool overcoat with a Harrods label inside. He says he found it under a bench at the airport a few weeks ago.

He lives at Heathrow by choice, and has done since his luck ran out six months ago after his marriage broke down, when he left the family home and struggled to keep his plumbing business going.

'When I found Heathrow, it was good news for me because, since my marriage broke up, I had nowhere else to go,' he says.

As darkness falls over Heathrow, and the last planes take to the skies, the airport goes quiet for the night. Harben creeps into his favourite place, behind the rows of sleeping passengers lying on benches in the Terminal Two lounge.

He lies on the floor, a few feet away from an internet cafe. He covers himself in the Harrods coat and begins to snore. But not for long.

Soon, a security man comes over and wakes him. Harben is marched to the door and pushed out into the rain.

'Now, don't come back again!' he is told brusquely. I follow him towards the central bus station, at the heart of Heathrow. There, he lies down on a wooden bench.

The bus terminal is noisy and drafty. It adjoins Terminals One, Two and Three and is always busy. Here, there are a dozen people asleep on benches. Some will be waiting for early morning buses home. Others are the homeless.

One man, with a curly mop of hair, has a big blue suitcase standing beside him as he sleeps. He keeps his hand on it, protectively. I see him on the first night, and in exactly the same position the second night.

'We call him Michael,' says a bus station official, with a shake of his head. 'He keeps all his possessions in that blue suitcase.

'You watch - at six o'clock, when the buses start arriving, he will walk off trailing the case behind him to the wash rooms. I don't know what he does during the rest of the day. But he'll be back tonight after nine.'

So what of Eram? It was during my first night at Heathrow that I found her. She was asleep, lying on the floor on a turquoise blanket and wearing a purple dress.

'She sleeps here every night,' says the male cleaner. 'Tomorrow morning, when the passengers start to come into the airport, she'll get up because of the noise of the trolleys. You'll have to wait to speak to her.'

At last Eram sits up. It is 6.30am and a passenger has just bought an ice-cream from the machine beside her head.

There is a jangle of coins, and then a thud as the carton drops down. It is enough to wake the dead.

'I couldn't help hearing that,' she tells me. Soon, she is relating the story of how she became one of Heathrow's homeless.

Many of the homeless like 'Michael' (above) have suitcases to make it seem like they are going on holiday

Eram was born into a middle-class home in Enfield, a suburb of North London. Her father was an entrepreneurial businessman with an insurance broking business. Her mother was proud to be a housewife.

She had four half-sisters and a one half-brother. 'My mother was strict when I was a teenager. I wasn't happy at home because of that.

'My parents settled in Britain from Kenya before I was born. They are Asians and they didn't want me going out and learning the English ways. It meant arguments, although I understand now they only wanted the best for me.'

Eram went to a good school, St Andrew's secondary in Enfield. She passed five O-levels and studied law, intending to become a solicitor. In the end, she did not finish her training and became a legal secretary. With a good income, she moved out of home and rented her own flat.

But, then she became ill. 'I've had skin problems, psoriasis, since I was 16,' she explains. 'It flared up 20 years later and I couldn't go to work very easily. It was all over my arms and my hands.' She pulls up her sleeves to show me.

'I had problems paying the rent, and then I was evicted by the private landlord. I ran back to my flat from the court and packed my bag. I only took what I could carry.'

By now, Eram's father had died, her mother had Alzheimer's disease and she was put in sheltered council housing. The family house had been sold.

Meanwhile, her four half-sisters didn't want to help, and her elder half-brother had emigrated to Canada.

Sipping her coffee at Costa, overlooking the departures hall, she explains: 'I had no one really. One friend, called Harry, that was all. I left my big suitcase with him and moved onto the streets taking my blue bag. It took me some years to hear about Heathrow.

'I liked it here immediately. I have never felt lonely because there are so many people. I don't mix much with the other homeless, although they are of all ages and from every walk of life. I am not the only middle-class one here.

'We all recognise each other, but I just like to keep myself to myself. The airport feels quite secure. In fact, you could say that it's cheap and cheerful.'

Eram goes to the local library in Hounslow to borrow books. Somehow, she has acquired a Freedom Pass (normally available to the over-60s but also given to the homeless in London) which means she can travel anywhere in the city by bus.

Once a week, she travels to the Samaritans headquarters in central London to collect a Giro cheque of £60 in benefits. The money has to be paid there, because she has no place of abode or proper address.

'The cash goes nowhere,' she says. 'Buying food at the airport is expensive. I don't eat anything at breakfast because, if I do, it makes me feel more hungry.

'Once a week, normally when I get the Giro cheque, I splash out and buy a big meal of pasta. It keeps me going.'

Sometimes, there is a police sweep to rid the airport of the homeless. Eram has been marched out and driven away before. 'The officers left me on the Bath Road, just nearby, and I came back again,' she says with a hint of laughter.

'The builders who work overnight at the airport are very kind and don't report the homeless to the authorities. The cleaners turn a blind eye, too.

'In the mornings, when I get up, I wash and change my clothes so I don't stand out from the crowds. I look like a passenger most of the time. Sometimes, people ask me which flight I am about to catch.

'I try to make plans for the future, but that's difficult when you have next to nothing and live at an international airport. Yet most of the time I am happy.'

Is she just putting on a brave face? Eram is 42, although she looks ten years younger. She has no family, no boyfriend, almost nothing apart from the contents of the blue bag. It doesn't seem much of a life.

'I don't really see a different future,' she admits, slowly and in a quiet voice. 'I try to count my blessings. I don't take drugs, I don't drink, I don't have any mental problems. I am not down and out, yet. In fact, I could be living at Heathrow forever.'

Original here

It’s Not So Easy Being Less Rich

NANCY CHEMTOB, a divorce lawyer in Manhattan, has found that her days have become crammed seeing clients, all worried about how an economic downturn will affect their marriages.

Lou Beach

Plane, Ann Johansson for The New York Times; Hair, Image Source, via Corbis

CUTTING CORNERS Sometimes, sacrifices have to be made.

They seem to have nothing to fret about: their net worths range from $5 million to $1 billion. A blip in the markets shouldn’t send their chateau-size Park Avenue co-ops to foreclosure or exile them to Payless Shoes.

But Ms. Chemtob’s clients are concerned all the same, she said, because their incomes have shrunk, say, to $2 million a year from $8 million, and they know that their 2008 bonus checks are likely to be much less impressive.

One of her clients recently confessed that his net worth had decreased to $8 million from more than $20 million, and he thinks that his wife will leave him. He has hidden their fall in fortune by taking on debt to pay for her extravagant clothes and vacations.

“I literally had to sit there and tell him that he had to tell his wife that she had to stop spending,” she said. “He was actually scared she would leave him because their financial situation changed so drastically.”

The wealthy don’t generally speak publicly about their finances, in good times or bad. It’s in poor taste, for one, and their employers could fire them for talking even a little. But people who provide services to the wealthy — lawyers, art advisers, personal trainers and hairstylists — say they are getting an earful about their clients’ financial anxieties.

Interviews with the people who actually see the bank statements, like divorce lawyers and lenders, say their clients are definitely living on less than they did a year ago, regardless of how expansive the definition of “less” may be. Hairstylists and private jet rental companies say the wealthy are cutting back on luxuries like $350 highlights and $10,000-an-hour jet rentals. Even nutritionists and personal trainers notice a problem. The wealthy are eating more and gaining weight because of the stress.

These financial problems — if they can be called that — will hardly elicit tears from the rest of us. But in those gilded living rooms, there is a quiet nervousness about keeping up appearances.

“Even if they’re not in danger of not paying their mortgage, there’s still a psychological change,” said Chris Del Gatto, chief executive of Circa, which has watched its business jump by 50 percent in the last year as wealthy clients sell their spare diamonds and Rolexes. “The economy is an issue even for people who don’t need the money.”

THEIR spouses could leave them when they discover that their net worth has collapsed to eight figures from nine. Friends and business associates could avoid them as they pass their lunchtime tables at Barney’s or the Four Seasons. And these snubs could trickle down to their children.

“They fear their kids won’t get invited to the right birthday parties,” said Michele Kleier, an Upper East Side-based real estate broker. “If they have to give up things that are invisible, they’re O.K. as long as they don’t have give up things visible to the outside world.”

So New York’s very wealthy are addressing their distress in discreet and often awkward ways. They try to move their $165 sessions with personal trainers to a time slot that they know is already taken. They agree to tour multimillion-dollar apartments and then say the spaces don’t match their specifications. They apply for a line of credit before art auctions, supposedly to buy a painting or a sculpture, but use that borrowed money to pay other debts.

“Most people won’t go to their banker and say: ‘You know I’m in desperate trouble. I need funds,’ ” said Andy Augenblick, president of Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, which allows clients to borrow against art collections worth more than $2 million. Mr. Augenblick said that the number of requests for these types of loans is five times higher than a year ago. He said that while these borrowers claim that they don’t need the money, their latest financial statements show that their net worth has withered in the past year.

Other wealthy clients are cutting luxuries that they think their friends and relatives won’t notice, according to Mr. Del Gatto of Circa. At Circa’s midtown offices, he said, the seven consultation rooms have been busy with customers selling their precious gems. Some older couples, he said, are selling estate jewelry to help support their children who have lost Wall Street jobs. Bankers are paring down their collections of Patek Philippe watches. Wives from Greenwich and Scarsdale are selling 2-carat to 35-carat single-stone diamond rings. One recent client explained to Mr. Del Gatto that she was selling $2 million in diamonds she rarely wore, because her friends wouldn’t notice that they were gone.

“She said, ‘If I sold my Bentley or my important art, they would notice,’ ” he said. “That we hear, in differing examples, every day.”

Art consultants find that the very wealthy are more receptive to parting with their precious works. Cassie Rosenthal, an owner of the Chelsea gallery Goff & Rosenthal, said that since the subprime crisis hit in the fall, and especially since the new year, some collectors are willing to sell pieces that were off limits in the past. She said that when the deals close quickly, they’re happy.

“Most people will just sort of say: ‘Will you sell this for me? When you can get me payment?’ ” Ms. Rosenthal said. “It’s more about the urgency of getting paid.”

Justin Sullivan, managing director of Regent Jet, which leases private airplanes, said most clients in real estate and on Wall Street are switching to chartered jets over private jets, and cutting their flight budgets by about 25 percent. One New York real estate developer cut his budget to less than $250,000 a year from $1.5 million a year.

“A year ago, he would have only flown Gulfstreams,” Mr. Sullivan said. “Now it’s moving to the point where he’s flying Beech jets and Learjets.”

Some wealthy New Yorkers are even cutting back on relatively smaller things. At J Sisters, a midtown Manhattan salon where celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Gwyneth Paltrow mingle with Wall Street clients, stylists and colorists say they hear about money worries all day. On a spring afternoon, a half-dozen hairstylists to the very wealthy talked about how customers are stretching their $350 highlights and $150 haircuts to every eight weeks instead of six weeks. Some women are cutting out highlights entirely, saying they would “rather be brunettes.”

Jean-Fran├žois Pilon, a stylist at J Sisters, has seen many women come less frequently and tip less generously. During the subprime crisis last summer, and the collapse of Bear Stearns last March, he said, many clients tried to stretch out their visits. He interprets these changes in behavior as signs that they need to watch their spending.

“You pick up on it very quickly,” he said. “People don’t beg.”

The drop in wealth has also exposed other personal problems, like bad marriages. Money — which bought jewelry or extravagant vacations — helped smooth over many of these difficulties, said Kenneth Mueller, a psychotherapist in the East Village who works with many Wall Street bankers and real estate developers. Now, he said, his clients “catastrophize” smaller bonuses or shriveling stock portfolios. “You have to remind them that there’s something that has always been there,” he said. “All the money helped mask the anxiety.”

The very wealthy can’t hide anything from their nutritionists and personal trainers, because they see the weight gain. Heather Bauer, a dietitian who works with many Wall Street executives who pay $600 to $800 a month for her services, says her clients have been eating and drinking more in the last six months. She sees results of this indulging each time they step on a scale, and in their journals that record what they’ve eaten.

ONE Wall Street executive, Ms. Bauer said, snacks on nuts in her office all day to manage the stress of potentially losing her position, while another confesses to inhaling four bowls of cereal at 10 p.m. Even their sex lives are suffering, Ms. Bauer said, because of the stress or because the weight gain makes them feel unattractive.

Her clients blame the economy for their out-of-control waistlines.

“The number one concern that they have is the state of the financial market,” she said. “There definitely is a correlation between the stock market and weight gain.”

Clay Burwell, a personal trainer to many Wall Street executives, said that his clients were also feeling the toll. A year of eating more, drinking more and working longer hours has started to hurt their health.

“They come into the gym with a dark storm cloud over their head,” he said. “They look like hell.”

Original here

Killer elephant 'Osama' dies in hail of bullets

Animal linked to 11 deaths terrorized villagers across two Indian states

PATNA, India - An elephant nicknamed "Osama bin Laden" that killed at least 11 people and injured dozens has been shot dead, officials in eastern India said on Saturday.

The wild male elephant had been terrorizing villagers in two states in recent months, destroying their crops and homes.

Forest officials and a police team tracked down the rogue jumbo in the eastern state of Jharkhand late on Friday, where it was shot dead, senior government official Ravi Ranjan said.

"Yes, Osama has finally been killed and it took us 20 bullets to silence him," Ranjan told Reuters from Jharkhand on Saturday.

Deadly rampage
Hundreds of villagers gathered on Saturday to catch a glimpse of the dead elephant.

On Thursday, another elephant rampaged through a village in northern India, killing at least seven people and injuring 24 others before it was killed.

The female entered the village of Bhudaheda on the edge of the Jim Corbett National Park, and began destroying crops, said Srikant Chandola, the park's chief wildlife officer. He said the animal started trampling people when residents tried to frighten it away by beating drums.

Belinda Wright, director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, said the elephant had apparently entered the village after becoming separated from its herd.

Original here

Sex-ed organization turns masturbation into a charitable event

This photo is self-explanatory.
This photo is self-explanatory.

Happy National Masturbation Month, and no, I didn't make that up.

In December 1994, Surgeon General Jocelyn Elder was asked at a World AIDS Day event in New York City whether she thought masturbation should be included in comprehensive sex education in schools.

Dr. Elder's reply, which is quoted in White House transcripts, was, "I think that is something that is a part of human sexuality and it's a part of something that perhaps should be taught."

No, she wasn't suggesting sex education classes teach young people explicit masturbation techniques, but she believed that masturbation was a part of human sexuality and, therefore, should be included in comprehensive sexual health curriculum.

Makes sense, since 53 percent of men and 25 percent of women masturbated for the first time by ages 11 and 13 according to a study by Janus & Janus.

"But we've not even taught our children the very basics. And I feel that we have tried ignorance for a very long time, and it's time we try education," she continued saying that day.

Soon after, she was fired by President Bill Clinton, the man who single-handedly put oral sex squarely in the middle of dinner-time conversation.

In response to Dr. Elder's firing, in 1995 the San Francisco-based sex retail store Good Vibrations declared May the month to get your masturbation on and teamed up with The Center for Sex & Culture to hold an annual online Masturbate-a-thon.

Participants are asked to get pledges (dollars per minute) and try to masturbate as long as possible on a given day in order to raise money for The Center for Sex & Culture, which is dedicated to supporting sex education, sexual safety and masturbation, the most common and still frequently scorned sexual practice on the planet.

Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised and the current world record for a female participant, Norine Dworkin of San Fransisco, is six hours and 30 minutes and for a male participant in San Francisco is eight hours and 40 minutes.

Masturbation may still be taboo in most of America, but a 2002 study by Pinkerton, Bogart, Cecil & Abramsom of undergraduate college students showed 98 percent of men and 44 percent of women reported masturbating.

The Center for Sex & Culture hopes with their Masturbate-a-thon to shed the sex act of its negative stereotype and help people feel less shameful for stroking.

If you're interested in lending a helping hand, literally, to keep sex education safe, accurate and fun, contact The Center for Sex & Culture at 415.255.1155.

Original here

Ban on drunken chat-up for thief

Falkirk Sheriff Court
Allan was given the life ban by Sheriff MacKinnon at Falkirk Sheriff Court

A convicted rapist who stole underwear has been banned for life from making sexual advances towards women while under the influence of alcohol.

Andrew Allan, 34, admitted sneaking into a woman's bedroom on 8 May and stealing her underwear "as a trophy".

Falkirk Sheriff Court was told Allan wanted to use the items "for sexual gratification".

In 2003, Allan, from Grangemouth, was given a four-year jail term for raping a woman in an Aberfoyle hotel bedroom.

The court heard that in the latest incident, Allan had crept into the home of a 38 year-old woman in Grangemouth's Candie Crescent uninvited.

He sneaked upstairs and walked into her bedroom, where she lay sleeping.

'Threatening behaviour'

He woke her, then stole her purse and four pairs of her knickers, before sneaking out again.

He then used her Visa card to steal £300 from a cash machine in the town.

Aiden Higgins, prosecuting, said: "It might reasonably be inferred that the accused was selecting items which he wished to keep for himself, for sexual gratification.

"He kept them and they were recovered from his own house."

Sheriff Neil MacKinnon imposed the chat-up ban after ruling that the theft was a crime "with a significant sexual element".

The Sexual Offences Prevention Order prohibits Allan for life "from approaching any females who are not known to him whilst under the influence of alcohol and using sexualised and/or threatening behaviour towards them."

It also bans him from drinking anywhere other than in his home, or being under the influence of alcohol in public.

He was also placed on probation for three years and on the sex offenders register and made the subject of a 10pm to 7am curfew for a year.

Allan was jailed for rape in 2003 after an attack on a sleeping women at the Covenanters' Inn in Aberfoyle in Perthshire, where he worked as a waiter.

Original here

Tired Japanese shopper steals police car to get home

A Japanese man, too tired to walk home, decided to steal a patrol car he saw outside a post office in Gunma, north of Tokyo, that had been left running.

japanese-police-car Tired Japanese shopper steals police car to get home picture
The officers where inside the post office investigating a report of a stolen card that had been used at the location.

“I came out shopping by train, but I got tired walking, so I thought I would drive the police car home.”

He was apprehended about 15 minutes later in the driveway of a private home, about 4 kms (2.5 miles) from the post office.

Original here

If Prisoners Ran A Women's Magazine

Every Saturday, Cracked asks one of our favorite sites on the web to fill in for us. Our readers get to learn about an awesome site, and we get to spend our day off trying to ramp a motorcycle off the top of the Empire State Building in GTA IV. Today's guest feature is by Cory Jones and Justin Halpern from


In a surprising move, the editors of Glamour let the insanely violent prisoners of San Quentin edit the latest issue of their magazine. In an unsurprising result, we like this version a lot more.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
You can find more stuff like this from Cory and Justin at

Original here

Where Did All Those Hunted Ducks Go?

It seems the dog of Duck Hunt fame has quite the lucrative side business going for himself. Apparently he’s living lavishly in Chinatown selling our kills back to us at a pretty penny, laughing in our faces from behind his glorified prairie scene of a Chinese Food Restaurant. Hope you like the crunch of pixels in your hoisin sauce!

Original here