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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Women kills husband in an online game, arrested

Online games where people live in a virtual reality using 'avatars' have become wildly popular, with millions using such games. But if people think that online worlds are a more utopian alternative to the real world, they are mistaken. There are the same kind of emotions, same kind of strange behavior, same weaknesses that exist in real life; they are making their existence felt in such online games as well. Consider the case of this lady who was married in virtual reality to a person who actually lived more than 620 miles away. One day she found herself divorced, and this unnerved her so much that she decided to kill the 'avatar' of her online husband (no implication in real life, but his online character died):

A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband's digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday. The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May.
"I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

There have been other cases like this, with people swindling virtual money (with this virtual money capable of being converted into real currency, this is a crime), people objecting when their spouses spend too much time in these games or get married in the virtual world to somebody else, and so on. As time passes by, the probability of such incidents happening would increase.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cannibal jailed for 30 years: Irony, he was a chef

In this time and world, it is hard to imagine the concept of cannibals. There are umpteen religious, moral and legal restrictions against the consumption of human flesh. In fact, the mind would get all disgusted with the thought of eating human flesh. So, when somebody is observed doing it, it gets all the more repulsive:

A British chef who killed a man with a knife and cooked and ate his flesh was sentenced Monday to minimum of 30 years in prison. Judge James Stewart said Anthony Morley, 36, showed no remorse for the killing of Damien Oldfield.
Morley attacked Oldfield, 33, during a night the pair spent together in April at Morley's home in the northern city of Leeds. Morley slit Oldfield's throat as he lay in his bed, stabbed him repeatedly and cooked some of his flesh. Stewart rejected Morley's claim that he had been provoked when Oldfield unexpectedly initiated sexual contact after the pair watched "Brokeback Mountain," a film about two cowboys who try to conceal an affair. Morley claimed Oldfield's actions reawakened traumatic memories of childhood sex abuse and that he feared he was going to be raped.

It is always strange to try and visualize as to why somebody would do something like this ? What thoughts were going on in their head when they did something like this ? In such cases, even the judges must be horrified. They would have to look at photos of the victim, and hear detailed information about what happened, something that would shake even the most hardened of people.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Text from elephants warns of danger

The title of this post seems a bit misleading. This is an interesting innovation, trying to address a problem when elephants (or other animals) live in a sanctuary or compound that is close to human habitation. In such cases, there can be many cases of conflict between the humans and the animals; such conflict is typically where either the animal is foraging for food, or moving out of the current territory. However, this causes problems when humans are nearby - this can lead to the humans treating the animals as a danger, with poisoned food, or with weapons. In some cases, especially when dealing with larger animals, humans have also lost their lives:

The text message from the elephant flashed across Richard Lesowapir's screen: Kimani was heading for neighboring farms. The huge bull elephant had a long history of raiding villagers' crops during the harvest, sometimes wiping out six months of income at a time. But this time a mobile phone card inserted in his collar sent rangers a text message.
The race to save Kimani began two years ago. The Kenya Wildlife Service had already reluctantly shot five elephants from the conservancy who refused to stop crop-raiding, and Kimani was the last of the regular raiders. The Save the Elephants group wanted to see if he could break the habit. So they placed a mobile phone SIM card in Kimani's collar, then set up a virtual "geofence" using a global positioning system that mirrored the conservatory's boundaries. Whenever Kimani approaches the virtual fence, his collar texts rangers. They have intercepted Kimani 15 times since the project began. Once almost a nightly raider, he last went near a farmer's field four months ago.

This is very interesting, and may help a long way in resolving the tension that comes in when humans and wild animals interact in the open, outside their traditional boundaries.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Man kills in-laws with flamethrower

In this bad world of ours, there have always been people doing things which normal people cannot understand. Why somebody would do mass murder, or torture other people, or commit incest, or many other such things. You must have also read jokes somewhere about the normally strained relationship between a husband and his in-laws, but would you ever imagine a man burning his aged and infirm inlaws to death ? Read on about this guy in Austria (the same country where a man confined his daughter for 18 years and had 7 forced children through rape with her):

A man in eastern Austria used a homemade flamethrower to kill his wife's elderly parents, police said Saturday. The incident happened at 10pm (4pm ET) Friday in Hartberg, a town in Austria's Styria region, about 22 miles (35.5 kilometers) from the Hungarian border, said Chief Anton Kiesl of the state police homicide division.
Kiesl said the man first spread gas in the room of his 84-year-old in-laws, then lit a homemade propane gas bottle and threw it at them, burning them alive. The mother-in-law suffered from diabetes and her legs had previously been amputated, so she was unable to flee and died in her bed, Kiesl said. The father-in-law was able to flee but died soon afterward; police found his body on a garden bench near the family's apartment, Kiesl said.

Police are investigating as to a motive, but there can be no motive that would justify the murder of elderly people, unable to prevent harm to themselves; and to do this against an elderly lady whose legs have been amputated and who is unable to run to safety must require a horrible mind.

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