Archive for August 14th, 2011
One of the central figures in this week’s feature story–“Porn, Piracy, and BitTorrent”–is John Doe #2,057, an anonymous Seattle man accused of illegally downloading the film Tokyo Cougar Creampies. Doe is adamant that he is innocent–he left his Wi-Fi network open, plus he’s legally blind, which makes it nearly impossible to watch movies, hardcore porn included–but he agreed to pay a settlement worth several thousand dollars to the attorneys who sued him just to make the case go away. He was worried that if he fought back in court, his real name would be eventually be divulged, forever linking him with the ridiculous and raunchy title. But a bit of research reveals that Tokyo Cougar Creampies is relatively tame compared to some other porn flicks that have prompted mass lawsuits against cyber-pirates.
As explained in our story, the copyright lawyers filing the mass John Doe lawsuits often bank on the fact that accused pirates will be shamed into quickly paying up by virtue of the ignominious porn titles involved.
Man Gored by Angry Mountain Goat Is the Only Animal-Related Fatality in Olympic National Park History. Time for a Lawsuit! – Seattle News – The Daily Weekly
On the afternoon of October 16, 63-year-old Bob Boardman was hiking a trail of switchbacks with his wife Susan Chadd and their friend Pat Willis at Klahhane Ridge, roughly 20 miles south of Port Angeles in Olympic National Park. When the trio paused for lunch, they were joined by an unexpected guest: a surly 370-pound, 8-year-old mountain goat. The goat stalked the hikers, pawed the ground, and bleated menacingly. Boardman, an experienced Olympic National Park outdoorsman and no stranger to confrontations with angry mountain goats, ordered his companions to forge ahead while the animal followed next to him for nearly a mile. Then tragedy struck. The goat lowered his horns and gored Boardman in the thigh, severing his femoral artery. He bled to death within minutes.
Boardman, according to Olympic National Park rangers, was the first animal-caused fatality in the park’s 73-year history. And yet, because he lodged several complaints about aggressive goat behavior prior to the deadly encounter, Boardman’s estate is now filing more than $10 million worth of wrongful-death and personal-injury claims against the park.
A Spanish entrepreneur wants to give you a glimpse of the black expanse of space and the curvature of the earth from a most unusual vantage point — a balloon.
José Mariano López-Urdiales, the founder of zero2infinity, is offering what he calls the “near-space” experience of viewing the planet and the space beyond it from 36 km [22 miles] above the earth. He hopes to have the first passengers aloft in the near-space vehicle called a “bloon” — the company doesn’t appear to be big on capital letters — by the middle of this decade.
That altitude is a long ways from the height of more than 100 km promised by Virgin Galactic and others developing suborbital space tourism vehicles. But López-Urdiales argues the 100-km definition of space is somewhat arbitrary and the view from 36 km offers essentially the same viewing experience as higher altitudes. The bright sun is surrounded by a black sky. The curvature of the earth is clearly visible, highlighted by the electric blue of the atmosphere just above the horizon. López-Urdiales says people were enjoying this view long before there were rockets.
“The first people who described the earth as a blue ball were not in rockets,” he says. “They were flying in balloons.”
The great appeal of zero2infinity’s concept is that you’ll enjoy the view for a couple of hours, as opposed to the handful of minutes you’ll experience flying beyond the atmosphere in a rocket. And without the rumble of a rocket, the ride will be serene.
A minor hack of AOL’s Postmaster website has already been fixed, but it adds another negative light on a company that is already on hard times.
On top of a particularly difficult week, AOL’s postmaster.aol.com website was hacked Saturday afternoon by someone who goes by the name “HodLuM.” The site was slightly defaced with a message from the hacker.
“AOL S3RV3RZ ROOT3D BY HODLUM LOLZ!,” the message read.
AOL finally discovered the hack, and fixed the page between two and four hours after evidence of the breach was posted to Reddit.com.
There are a number of reasons this hack looks bad for AOL. First of all, someone got into AOL’s servers, which is bad enough. Second, HodLuM likely has a sense of humor, as the HTML file used to deface the webpage appears to have been written in Microsoft Word — a sign that the cyber-security experts at AOL weren’t exactly doing their job up to par. Third, the ALL CAPS LEETSPEEK used by HodLuM suggests he or she is probably around 13-years-old.