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Mostly so I can post random news bits without the effort of finding the appropriate threads

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Fears as Bitcoin Exchange Collapses

[ article quotation put in spoiler tags only for 1st-post length :) - LC ]



The sudden disappearance of one of the largest bitcoin exchanges has intensified the mystery and mistrust surrounding the virtual currency.

Prominent bitcoin supporters said the apparent collapse of the Tokyo-based Mt Gox exchange was an isolated case of mismanagement that would weed out "bad actors".

But the setback raised serious questions about bitcoin's tenuous status and even more tenuous future. At least one supporter said the blow could be fatal to bitcoin's quest for acceptance by the public after it was just beginning to gain legitimacy beyond the technology enthusiasts and adventurous investors who created it.

A coalition of virtual currency companies said Mt Gox went under after secretly racking up catastrophic losses. The exchange had imposed a ban on withdrawals earlier this month.


By yesterday its website returned only a blank page. The collapse followed the resignation on Sunday of chief executive Mark Karpeles from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, a group seeking wider use of the exotic currency.


Mt Gox's origins are rooted in fantasy instead of finance. The service originally specialised in trading colourful cards featuring mythical wizards and derives its name from a game. The initials stand for Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange.


San Francisco-based wallet service Coinbase and Chinese exchange BTC China sought to shore up confidence in the currency by saying the Mt Gox's situation was isolated and the result of abusing users' trust.


"As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out, and that is what we are seeing today," the statement said.

Since its creation in 2009, bitcoin has become popular among tech enthusiasts, libertarians and risk-seeking investors because it allows people to make one-to-one transactions, buy goods and services and exchange money across borders without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties. Criminals like bitcoin for the same reasons.


For various technical reasons, it is hard to know just how many people worldwide own bitcoins, but the currency attracted outsize media attention and the fascination of millions as an increasing number of large retailers such as Overstock.com began to accept it.

Speculative investors have jumped into the bitcoin fray, too, sending the currency's value fluctuating wildly in recent months. In December, the value of a single bitcoin hit an all-time high of 1,200 dollars (£722). In the aftermath of the Mt Gox collapse, one bitcoin stands at around 470 dollars (£283).


Central banks across the world have been hesitant to recognise bitcoin as a form of money and yesterday's vanishing act is not helping.

Japanese government officials at the Finance Ministry and the Fiscal Services Agency said today that a virtual currency like bitcoin was not under their jurisdiction. Tokyo police declined to comment.


Mt Gox "reminds us of the downside of decentralized, unregulated currencies", said Campbell Harvey, a professor at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business who specialises in financial markets and global risk management.

"There is no Federal Reserve or IMF to come to the rescue. There is no deposit insurance."

But, Prof Campbell said, Mt Gox's disappearance "doesn't mean the end of the road" for bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

The collapse "might represent the end of the 'wild west' where anyone can set up shop and deal in crypto-currencies," he said. But "increasingly sophisticated investors" are funding serious ventures that will "raise both quality and confidence".


Peter Leeds, a publisher of newsletter focused on risky investments, doubts bitcoin will recover from the Mt Gox collapse and expects the currency to plunge below 300 dollars (£180).


"It's more likely that someone getting involved in bitcoin at this point of the game is going to lose," he said. "There are all sorts of problems inherent with bitcoin that are just now coming to light."


Documents purportedly leaked from Mt Gox lay out the scale of the problem. An 11-page "crisis strategy draft" published on the blog of entrepreneur and bitcoin enthusiast Ryan Selkis said that 740,000 bitcoins were missing from Mt Gox. That represents roughly 6% of the estimated 12 million bitcoins that have been created so far, translating into hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of losses, although figures are fuzzy given the currency's extreme volatility.


"At the risk of appearing hyperbolic, this could be the end of bitcoin, at least for most of the public," the draft said.

In a post to his blog, Mr Selkis said the document was handed to him by a "reliable source" and that several people close to the company had confirmed the figures. The Japanese government has not announced any formal investigation.

The scandal may cost customers dearly.


At the Tokyo office building housing Mt Gox, bitcoin trader Kolin Burges said he had picketed outside since February 14 after traveling from London in an effort to get back 320,000 dollars (£193,000) he has tied up in bitcoins with the exchange.

"I may have lost all of my money," said Mr Burgess, next to placards asking if Mt. Gox is bankrupt. "It hasn't shaken my trust in bitcoin, but it has shaken my trust in bitcoin exchanges."


Mr Karpeles did not immediately return messages seeking comment. A security officer at the office building said no one from Mt Gox was inside. Tibbane, an internet company of which Mr Karpeles is CEO, still has its name listed on the building's directory.

"I have no idea" where they are, said Mr Burges. "I'm both annoyed and worried."

Bitcoin's boosters say the currency's design makes it impossible to counterfeit and difficult to manipulate. But it has struggled to shake off its associations with criminality, particularly its role in powering the now-defunct online drug marketplace Silk Road.


Only last month, another member of the Bitcoin Foundation, vice chairman Charlie Shrem, was arrested at New York's Kennedy Airport on charges of money laundering.


The exchange's website displayed a notice today that said all transactions were closed "for the time being" to protect the site and customers.



Scientists cultivate bacteria from baby poop to make healthier sausages http://io9.com/scientists-cultivate-bacteria-from-baby-poop-to-make-he-1529898755


I did not want to know that!

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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io9 - Worlds Largest Aircraft Unveiled




The world's largest aircraft has been unveiled -- and it's a mammoth



Who says our visions of a blimp-filled future are passé? Behold the Airlander, a hybrid air vehicle that's part blimp, part airplane, and part helicopter. Experts are calling it a 'game changer' — and it could revolutionize the transport industry.


Developed by Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd., the Airlander was recently unveiled in Britain's largest aircraft hanger. Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, an avid pilot and HAV investor, was there to meet the press.


"It's a game changer, in terms of things we can have in the air and things we can do," he told the BBC. "The airship has always been with us, it's just been waiting for the technology to catch up."



The massive aircraft uses both aerodynamics and lighter-than-air (LTA) technology to generate lift (it's full of inert helium, not explosive hydrogen). It's 302 feet (92 meters) long, which is about 60 feet longer than the biggest airliners (the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747- 8). And it's almost 30 feet longer than the massive cargo-carrying Antonov An-225, the longest aircraft ever built. Well, at least until now.




The Airlander's maiden voyage is scheduled for later this year.



Once aloft, it can stay there for up to three weeks. It'll be able to carry 50 tonnes to virtually anywhere in the world — which is 50 times more than a helicopter. It's green, doesn't require a runway, and can be controlled remotely. It can even fly with a lot of bullet holes in it, too (hinting at potential military applications).


Indeed, this was once a U.S. project, but British developers bought it back. They're hoping to sell it to oil and mining companies to deliver heavy equipment to remote and highly inaccessible areas. It could also be used for humanitarian purposes, like shipping supplies to poverty-stricken areas or disaster zones.


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"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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I didn't want to make a separate thread for this, so I decided to stick it here, for lack of a better place.  Paula Creamer's ridiculous 75-foot eagle putt to win the HSBC Women's Championship:


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Playing a video game could reduces cravings for food and alcohol e.g. Playing Tetris for 3 minutes reduces cravings by as much as 24%. link


Wait what? looks like another one of those studies that prove something that we already now (i.e. staying busy makes time pass by) only with eye candy title for "younger" audience..

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18 NJ teen moves out and sues parents to support her


A family court judge ruling that canning's parents don't have to pay her high school division or living expenses or attorney fees right now. I believe she is a vulnerable young woman and her parents aren't taking care of her. But this case has raised many questions and could affect families across the country.

The legal issues in this case bring into direct conflict a parent's ability and right to set reasonable rules and exert reasonable discipline over their children.  At a future date the judge will decide whether Sean and Elizabeth canning must pay Rachel's college tuition next fall. In the meantime, the judge clearly concerned about setting a dangerous precedent.
What would the next step be? Are we going to condone a 12-year-old to sue for an xbox?  Rachel claims her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18 in October.
But her parents say she left because she wouldn't follow house rules including dumping her boyfriend. We gave her the ultimatum of breaking up with her boyfriend but she didn't want to give up the boyfriend. 
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Free games updated 3/4/21

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The Keys to the Worldwide Internet




Meet the seven people who hold the keys to worldwide internet security
It sounds like the stuff of science fiction: seven keys, held by individuals from all over the world, that together control security at the core of the web. The reality is rather closer to The Office than The Matrix
Link to video: Who holds the seven keys to the internet?


In a nondescript industrial estate in El Segundo, a boxy suburb in south-west Los Angeles just a mile or two from LAX international airport, 20 people wait in a windowless canteen for a ceremony to begin. Outside, the sun is shining on an unseasonably warm February day; inside, the only light comes from the glare of halogen bulbs.

There is a strange mix of accents – predominantly American, but smatterings of Swedish, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese can be heard around the room, as men and women (but mostly men) chat over pepperoni pizza and 75-cent vending machine soda. In the corner, an Asteroids arcade machine blares out tinny music and flashing lights.

It might be a fairly typical office scene, were it not for the extraordinary security procedures that everyone in this room has had to complete just to get here, the sort of measures normally reserved for nuclear launch codes or presidential visits. The reason we are all here sounds like the stuff of science fiction, or the plot of a new Tom Cruise franchise: the ceremony we are about to witness sees the coming together of a group of people, from all over the world, who each hold a key to the internet. Together, their keys create a master key, which in turn controls one of the central security measures at the core of the web. Rumours about the power of these keyholders abound: could their key switch off the internet? Or, if someone somehow managed to bring the whole system down, could they turn it on again?


The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. Gaining access to their inner sanctum isn't easy, but last month I was invited along to watch the ceremony and meet some of the keyholders – a select group of security experts from around the world. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer's, expense.


What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet's version of a telephone directory – a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit. To get to the Guardian, for instance, you'd have to enter "" instead of theguardian.com.



'Each of the 14 primary keyholders owns a traditional metal key to a safety deposit box, which in turn contains a smartcard, which in turn activates a machine that creates a new master key.' Photograph: Laurence Mathieu for the Guardian


The master key is part of a new global effort to make the whole domain name system secure and the internet safer: every time the keyholders meet, they are verifying that each entry in these online "phone books" is authentic. This prevents a proliferation of fake web addresses which could lead people to malicious sites, used to hack computers or steal credit card details.


The east and west coast ceremonies each have seven keyholders, with a further seven people around the world who could access a last-resort measure to reconstruct the system if something calamitous were to happen. Each of the 14 primary keyholders owns a traditional metal key to a safety deposit box, which in turn contains a smartcard, which in turn activates a machine that creates a new master key. The backup keyholders have something a bit different: smartcards that contain a fragment of code needed to build a replacement key-generating machine. Once a year, these shadow holders send the organisation that runs the system – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) – a photograph of themselves with that day's newspaper and their key, to verify that all is well.


The fact that the US-based, not-for-profit organisation Icann – rather than a government or an international body – has one of the biggest jobs in maintaining global internet security has inevitably come in for criticism. Today's occasionally over-the-top ceremony (streamed live on Icann's website) is intended to prove how seriously they are taking this responsibility. It's one part The Matrix (the tech and security stuff) to two parts The Office (pretty much everything else).


For starters: to get to the canteen, you have to walk through a door that requires a pin code, a smartcard and a biometric hand scan. This takes you into a "mantrap", a small room in which only one door at a time can ever be open. Another sequence of smartcards, handprints and codes opens the exit. Now you're in the break room.

Already, not everything has gone entirely to plan. Leaning next to the Atari arcade machine, ex-state department official Rick Lamb, smartly suited and wearing black-rimmed glasses (he admits he's dressed up for the occasion), is telling someone that one of the on-site guards had asked him out loud, "And your security pin is 9925, yes?" "Well, it was…" he says, with an eye-roll. Looking in our direction, he says it's already been changed.



'Rumours about the power of these keyholders abound: could their key switch off the internet? Or, if someone somehow managed to bring the whole system down, could they turn it on again?' Illustration: Aaron Tilley Photograph: Aaron Tilley for the Guardian


Lamb is now a senior programme manager for Icann, helping to roll out the new, secure system for verifying the web. This is happening fast, but it is not yet fully in play. If the master key were lost or stolen today, the consequences might not be calamitous: some users would receive security warnings, some networks would have problems, but not much more. But once everyone has moved to the new, more secure system (this is expected in the next three to five years), the effects of losing or damaging the key would be far graver. While every server would still be there, nothing would connect: it would all register as untrustworthy. The whole system, the backbone of the internet, would need to be rebuilt over weeks or months. What would happen if an intelligence agency or hacker – the NSA or Syrian Electronic Army, say – got hold of a copy of the master key? It's possible they could redirect specific targets to fake websites designed to exploit their computers – although Icann and the keyholders say this is unlikely.


Standing in the break room next to Lamb is Dmitry Burkov, one of the keyholders, a brusque and heavy-set Russian security expert on the boards of several internet NGOs, who has flown in from Moscow for the ceremony. "The key issue with internet governance is always trust," he says. "No matter what the forum, it always comes down to trust." Given the tensions between Russia and the US, and Russia's calls for new organisations to be put in charge of the internet, does he have faith in this current system? He gestures to the room at large: "They're the best part of Icann." I take it he means he likes these people, and not the wider organisation, but he won't be drawn further.


It's time to move to the ceremony room itself, which has been cleared for the most sensitive classified information. No electrical signals can come in or out. Building security guards are barred, as are cleaners. To make sure the room looks decent for visitors, an east coast keyholder, Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder of Sweden, has been in the day before to vacuum with a $20 dustbuster.


We're about to begin a detailed, tightly scripted series of more than 100 actions, all recorded to the minute using the GMT time zone for consistency. These steps are a strange mix of high-security measures lifted straight from a thriller (keycards, safe combinations, secure cages), coupled with more mundane technical details – a bit of trouble setting up a printer – and occasional bouts of farce. In short, much like the internet itself.



Lynn Lipinski, PR for Icann, signs the official register of the key ceremony. Photograph: Laurence Mathieu for the Guardian


As we step into the ceremony room, 16 men and four women, it is just after lunchtime in LA and 21.14 GMT. As well as the keyholders, there are several witnesses here to make sure no one can find some sneaky back door into the internet. Some are security experts, others are laypeople, two are auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers (with global online trade currently well in excess of $1tn, the key has a serious role to play in business security). Lamb uses an advanced iris scanner to let us all in.

"Please centre your eyes," the tinny automated voice tells him. "Please come a little closer to the camera… Sorry, we cannot confirm your identity."

Lamb sighs and tries again.

"Thank you, your identity has been verified."

We file into a space that resembles a doctor's waiting room: two rows of bolted-down metal seats facing a desk. Less like a doctor's waiting room are the networks of cameras live-streaming to Icann's website. At one side of the room is a cage containing two high-security safes.

Francisco Arias, Icann's director of technical services, acts as today's administrator. It is his first time, and his eyes regularly flick to the script. To start with, things go according to plan. Arias and the four keyholders (the ceremony requires a minimum of three, not all seven) enter the secure cage to retrieve their smartcards, held in tamper-evident bags. Middle-aged men wearing checked shirts and jeans, they are Portuguese keyholder João Damas, based in Spain; American Edward Lewis, who works for an internet and security analytics firm; and Uruguayan Carlos Martinez, who works for Lacnic, the internet registry for Latin America and the Caribbean.


All but one of the 21 keyholders has been with the organisation since the very first ceremony. The initial selection process was surprisingly low-key: there was an advertisement on Icann's site, which generated just 40 applications for 21 positions. Since then, only one keyholder has resigned: Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, now in his 70s and employed as "chief internet evangelist" by Google. At the very first key ceremony, in Culpeper, Virginia, Cerf told the room that the principle of one master key lying at the core of networks was a major milestone. "More has happened here today than meets the eye," he said then. "I would predict that… in the long run this hierarchical structure of trust will be applied to a number of other functions that require strong authentication." But Cerf struggled with the travel commitment and dropped his keyholder duties.


At 21.29, things go awry. A security controller slams the door of the safe shut, triggering a seismic sensor, which in turn triggers automatic door locks. The ceremony administrator and the keyholders are all locked in an 8ft square cage. Six minutes of quiet panic go by before they hit on a solution: trigger an alarm and an evacuation. Sirens blare and everyone piles out to mill around in the corridor until we can get back to the 100-point script. Every deviation has to be noted on an official record, which everyone present must read and sign off at a later point. Meanwhile, we use the downtime to snack: people rip open a few bags of Oreo biscuits and Cheez-Its.



'At 21.29, things go awry. A security controller slams the safe door shut, triggering a seismic sensor, which in turn triggers door locks. The keyholders are locked in an 8ft square cage.' Photograph: Laurence Mathieu for the Guardian


Both the US commerce department and the Department of Homeland Security take a close interest, to differing degrees, in Icann's operations. In the wake of the ongoing revelations of NSA spying, and of undermined internet security, this does not sit well with many of Icann's overseas partners. Some, including Russia and Brazil – whose president has made such demands very public – are calling for a complete overhaul of how the internet is run, suggesting it should be put under UN auspices.

The question of who put Icann in charge is hotly contested. Lamb argues that "it's the online community; it's the people who've put Icann in charge". Eklund Löwinder, the Swedish keyholder who vacuumed the day before, puts it more bluntly. "Well, mainly, it was the US Department of Commerce," she says. The European Commission wants changes to this system, though it still expresses its faith in Icann; the EU recently called for a "clear timeline for the globalisation of Icann".


Eklund Löwinder explains that while the security might occasionally seem ridiculous, every step is very important when it comes to maintaining trust. "It's a system based on backups of backups, layers and layers of security," she says, her dangly cat earrings swinging. "Of course it is a bit romantic and thrilling to be a part of this, because I am a romantic by heart. I have to admit I love the internet. It's a piece of engineering art you have to admire. And to be able to contribute to make this a safer place makes me feel good."

Where does she keep her key? She admits she has two copies, in case she loses one; one of them never leaves a bank deposit box. The other, which she uses twice a year in the ceremonies on the east coast, is attached to a long metal chain. Most of the time it sits in a wooden puzzle box, with a hidden lock, created by her furniture designer son.


By 22.09 (we are all sticking to GMT) the ceremony is back on and everyone's returning to the script. The high-security machine that will generate the master key is set up.

Once activated by the smartcards, this will produce a lengthy cryptographic code. If dropped, or even knocked too hard, the machine will self-destruct.

Now that everything has been removed from the safes, we move to act two of the ceremony: the key signing. The first step would be familiar to anyone – getting the laptop plugged in and booting it up – but some witnesses watch like hawks, logging and initialising each step. Others are beginning to flag, checking their watches or having whispered conversations with their neighbours.


At 22.40, a series of USB drives is set up, one of which will be used to load the signed key on to the live internet at the end of the ceremony: this is when the code is uploaded to the servers that dictate who controls .com, .net, .co.uk and more.

The output of the previous ceremony is checked, to make sure people are working off the same key – a process that requires Arias to read aloud a 64-character code. Everyone nods as they verify it against their sheets.


At 22.48 the high-security machine – a small, plain grey box with a keypad and card slot in front – is wired up. Each keyholder hands over his individual smartcard. Then, at 22.59, nearly two hours after the ceremony began, it's show time. Alejandro Bolivar, an American expert from Verisign, the security company that administers the "root zone" of the domain name system, steps forward to read out a nonsense sequence of words generated by the previous key. He begins: "Flatfoot warranty brickyard Camelot…" and continues for nearly a minute before concluding, "blackjack vagabond." The sequence corresponds with the witnesses' notes, so they nod and sign their script. A short line of code is typed into the laptop at 23.02, and seconds later the new key is signed, to a smattering of applause.


After a 20-minute sequence of disconnecting secure machines and powering down the laptop, a USB stick is handed to Tomofumi Okubo, another Icann staffer. Deliberately or otherwise, Okubo makes a slight bow as he is passed the stick holding the "signed" digital key. Later Okubo will transmit the key on a secure channel to Verisign and this signed key will be made live across the internet. It will take effect for three months, from 1 April (yes, really). After that, the key will expire and error messages will start to appear across the internet.


Given how high the stakes are, and the number of possible targets, does Okubo think the system is trustworthy? "I think so," he says. "You'd have to compromise a lot of people…" He trails off.


Does this often slightly bizarre ceremony work? Are the security precautions integral, or just for show? Bruce Schneier, an American cryptologist and security expert who worked with Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian to analyse some of the files leaked by Edward Snowden, suggests it's a little of both. "A lot of it is necessary, and some of it is necessary theatre," he concedes. "This process is both technical and political, which makes it extra complicated… I think the system is well designed." As to whether the system will survive in the aftermath of the NSA revelations, Schneier thinks the jury is still out: "That, we don't know."


Back in the ceremony room, the four keyholders are once again locked in a cage with the safes holding their smartcards, this time returning them for future use. It is 23.32 on the clock and each is solemnly holding up their keycard, in a new tamper-evident bag, for the cameras to witness before returning it to the safe. Not everyone present is entirely gripped. "It's like a combination of church and a baseball game and I don't know what else," says Icann PR Lynn Lipinski. "I'm getting sleepy."


At 00.06, five hours after we all arrived, it's time to shut off the live-streaming cameras. Lamb checks in to see how many people have been following the ceremony.

The system admin calls back: "We peaked at 12."


We file out, job done.


"Wait," Okubo says. "One question before we go… Can I ask who's coming for dinner?"

There's a show of hands and, with the web secure for another three months, the keyholders to the internet file out into the LA sunshine.


• This article was edited on 28 February 2014. The original said El Segundo was in northern Los Angeles, rather than the south-west of the city. This has been corrected.




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"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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Spoiled kid from private high school, with car and phone privileges. Who run away from home after her parents took her privileges for being suspended from school. Suing the parents once it got real, and she realized what independence means. did I miss anything ?!


"(They) should be required to provide for my support and education until I can stand on my own two feet. In order to do this, I had to take legal action." - You gotta love the rights without responsibilities system.

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'Upskirt' cellphone photos not illegal, Massachusetts high court rules


Massachusetts' highest court ruled Wednesday that a man  who took cellphone photos up the skirts of women riding the Boston subway did not violate state law because the women were not nude or partially nude.

The Supreme Judicial Court overruled a lower court that had upheld charges against Michael Robertson, who was arrested in August 2010 by transit police who set up a sting after getting reports that he was using his cellphone to take photos and video up female riders' skirts and dresses.
The ruling immediately prompted top Beacon Hill lawmakers to pledge to update state law.
Existing so-called Peeping Tom laws protect people from being photographed in dressing rooms and bathrooms when nude or partially nude, but the way the law is written, it does not protect clothed people in public areas, the court said.
"A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is 'partially nude,' no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing," the court said in its ruling.
State law "does not apply to photographing (or videotaping or electronically surveilling) persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the MBTA," the court said.
The SJC said that while such actions should be illegal, they are not, given the way state law is written.
Suffolk County prosecutors said their interpretation of the state's Peeping Tom law was that "upskirt" photos are illegal.
District Attorney Dan Conley said prosecutors are hoping state lawmakers will change the wording of the statute by the end of this legislative session.
"What we have is not that the Supreme Judicial Court is saying this is OK," Conley said. "The statutory language just didn't quite fit the conduct."
In its ruling, the court said that other states, including New York and Florida, have passed laws specifically criminalizing upskirt photos, noting that women have an expectation of privacy under their clothing. Washington lawmakers closed a loophole in that state's voyeurism law a decade ago, after a similar ruling there.
Conley added that this conduct has become more and more prevalent, and he urged riders to be alert.
"This action is immoral and reprehensible; don't do it," he said.
A telephone message left with Michelle Menken, Robertson's attorney, was not immediately returned.
Robertson, 32, of Andover, was facing more than two years in jail had he been convicted. He could not immediately be reached for comment by the Boston Herald, but the SJC’s decision sparked calls for updating the law.
Senate President Therese Murray said she was "stunned and disappointed" with the court ruling. She said the Senate will respond quickly.
"We have fought too hard and too long for women's rights to take the step backward," Murray said in a statement. "I am in disbelief that the courts would come to this kind of decision and outraged at what it means for women's privacy and public safety."
Gina Scaramella, executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, said such photos are a serious invasion of privacy. She said the law needs to catch up to technology.
"It really is a form of sexual harassment. It's a violation for the person who is unknowingly getting their body photographed," she said. "People wear clothing for a reason and having someone violate that privacy is a real problem."
“We believed that the statute criminalized upskirt photography, but since the SJC found otherwise we are urging legislators to act with all due haste in rewriting this statute in protecting commuters’ privacy,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley told the Herald. “Everyone — man or woman — should have a right to privacy beneath their own clothes.”
T spokesman Joe Pesaturo also told the newspaper, “MBTA Transit Police support the Suffolk DA’s efforts to work with the Legislature in rewriting the statute.”
Pesaturo said that in the past three years, T police have investigated 13 "secretly photographing" cases. In some cases, the alleged offender was issued a court summons. Some remain open investigations. During those three years there was an average of 395 million passenger trips on the MBTA.


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Free games updated 3/4/21

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An enterprising blogger has recorded a piece of music hidden in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, bringing to life a series of notes that originally appeared on the backside of one of Bosch’s sinners.


Posting on her Tumblr, a self-described “huge nerd” called Amelia explained that she and a friend had been examining a copy of Bosch’s famous triptych, which was painted around the year 1500. “[We] discovered, much to our amusement,” she wrote. “[a] 600-years-old butt song from Hell.”


Once zoomed-in, the object of Amelia’s interest is clear: Bosch left sheet music “written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens of the rightmost panel of the painting”.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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China to test new smog-busting drone to help clear polluted skies



Government agencies are to test a new design of aerial drone to see whether it might help tackle the air pollution that often blankets much of the mainland, state media reported.

The vehicle will spray chemicals that freeze pollutants, allowing them to fall to the ground.
The tests would be led by the China Meteorological Administration and carried out later this month at airports and ports, Xinhua said.
The drone has been developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China and has a paragliding wing, which allows it to carry three times more weight than the fixed-wing version, making it more efficient and cost-effective.
Premier Li Keqiang said in his speech at the National People's Congress in Beijing yesterday the government would "declare war" on pollution. It would focus, in part, on reducing PM2.5, the fine particles of pollutants thought to be most harmful to people's health.

Free games updated 3/4/21

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I can follow the 2nd one without much problem but the 3rd one gives me a bit of trouble. Not a lot, but where I'll miss a word or two here and there. They're also cheating a little because some words in each .gif has a different frame property in terms of how long it's displayed.


Being able to read/follow visual .gif speed text is not quite the same as actually reading a novel at 1000wpm either - which I can't do. :disguise:

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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