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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lack of security when discarding old machines or drives - contain confidential information

In today's time, we store a huge amount of data on our computers and on the disk drives that they contain. A small fraction of such information is pretty confidential, whether it be customer information, credit card information, social security information, police records, and even more importantly, national security related information (such as military and intelligence agencies). Accessing such information when it is in the computers during operation is pretty highly controlled, with all manners of security controls, penalties for unauthorized access, and so on. However, when these computers are discarded, precautions are not taken and such information can be extracted (link to article):

A third (34 per cent) of discarded hard disk drives still contain confidential data, according to a new study which unearthed copies of hospital records and sensitive military information on eBayed kit.
A disk bought on eBay contained details of test launch routines for the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) ground to air missile defence system. The same disk also held information belonging to the system’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, including blueprints of facilities and personal data on workers, including social security numbers.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weird - Mother and boyfriend sentenced to more than 5 years for the violent death of her child

The normal image of a mother is one who protects her baby and children at all costs; in fact, in nature, a wild animal is treated as even more dangerous if it is protecting its young - the concept of being a mother is that even nature produces far more hormones to increase this child protection instinct in the mother. So when a baby is found battered with more than 50 injuries, including a broken back and ribs, it would outrage the whole country. What made this crime in England even worse was that social services had the case on their watchlist, and the injured baby escaped inspecting social services workers and a doctor who examined the baby. The workers were fired, and the mother has now been sentenced for a minimum of 5 years (link to article):

Sentencing the mother to a minimum of five years in prison for her role in her toddler's horrific death, Judge Stephen Kramer called the woman "manipulative and self-centered." She and her boyfriend, both of whom cannot be identified for legal reasons, were found guilty of causing the death of the child.
The blonde, blue-eyed toddler had been on a child protection watchlist and was visited dozens of times by social workers. The head of the local children's services, Sharon Shoesmith, initially denied responsibility, but has been fired. She is appealing the decision. The social worker in charge of Baby P's case has also been fired. And the doctor who last saw Baby P and failed to diagnose his broken back and fractured ribs has been dismissed and is no longer able to practice medicine without supervision.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A worker getting fired - claimed she was ill, but was found to be well enough to use Facebook

Social tools such as Facebook are very engrossing; companies are finding that their employees are spending more time on such sites, and in fact, they are getting banned in some companies because of the perceived impact on productivity. Given that Facebook allows a number of people to be able to view what you are doing (if you post), and if you are on the Friends list, you can get a good deal of information from the posts and also from the photos. Facebook is also being referred in divorce cases, since people post information without really thinking through the consequences, and such evidence is being used by courts to a large extent. In this case, the lady had claimed that she was suffering from migraine, and was too ill to be using a computer, not realizing that the company was tracking her updates, and they finally fired her (link to article):

A Swiss woman has lost her job after her employers spotted she was using the Facebook website when she had claimed to be too ill to use a computer. The unnamed woman was suffering a migraine and had told her employer, Nationale Suisse, she needed to lie in a darkened room.
But the company says it followed a simple logic: that those who are well enough to use Facebook with a migraine are well enough to work with a migraine.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weird - South Korean couple took care of an online / virtual baby and let real baby starve to death

Sometimes when you read some news, you cannot believe as to how this is possible. When parents have a baby, they are fiercely protective of them, taking care of them, making sure that the baby is getting all the required attention and nourishment. Even poor families try their best to ensure that their children get all the required attention, and Governments have programs to ensure that children get attention, including free meals. A baby is so defenceless and without any ability to take care of itself that it treated as a criminal matter to neglect a child.
Modern virtual games which allow the creation of virtual avatars, friends, relatives, are very engrossing and can lead to people spending large amounts of time, being totally engrossed in these. However, the combination of these events spelt doom for a poor infant in South Korea, whose parents neglected to feed the baby, instead spending all their time on a virtual child, and their baby eventually starved to death (link to article):

The couple, residents of a Seoul suburb, allegedly neglected their prematurely born three-month-old daughter, feeding her just once a day in between 12-hour stretches at a neighborhood internet cafe, the official Yonhap news agency reported.
Professor Kwak Dae-kyung of Seoul's Dongguk University told the Yonhap news agency that the couple appeared to have lost track of reality. "Online game addiction can blur the line between reality and the virtual world. It seems that taking care of their on-line game character erased any sense of guilt they may have had for neglecting their daughter."

Weird stuff - New Zealand Auction house puts up bottles for sale - containing ghosts

Issues concerning the paranormal always lead to debate, but this one takes the cake. There are a huge number of people who believe in ghosts, and there are an equally large number of people who do not believe in ghosts. However, no matter what you believe, you will be astounded by this.
Auction houses auction all kind of strange stuff, but this online auction house is going to a new level, and claims to auction 2 vials that contain spirits captured by an exorcist in a house in New Zealand (link to article):

The auction description claims the spirits were captured by an exorcist from a spiritual church at a property in Christchurch, the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island.
And the seller has claimed that one spirit belongs to a man who died in the house in the 1920s.
“We have had no (paranormal) activity since they were bottled on July 15, 2009,” the Herald Sun quoted the seller as saying.
“So I believe they are in the bottles,” he added.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Killed due to a botched sex game, why would somebody accidentally strangulate themselves

There are an ever increasing number of dangerous things people do for pleasure, such as jumping off cliffs and bridges with a parachute, climbing buildings without any safety gear, or being close to dangerous animals such as sharks, crocodiles, and others. But probably the most danger that people undertake is inside closed doors, through the concept of sado-masochism, where a person deliberately hurts himself to enjoy the pain. Consider the case of this famous person who killed himself when cutting off the oxygen to his brain to experience the pleasure that it provides (link to article):

Kristian Digby, a TV presenter working for the BBC, was found dead in his apartment after his bid to get a thrill from a suspected solo sex game apparently went wrong. Digby, 32, is believed to have suffocated while starving himself of oxygen for sexual arousal.
Auto-erotic asphyxiation (AEA) is a dangerous form of sex play in which the person engaged in the act intentionally cuts off oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Man whose penis remained stiff for 21 days - not because of any Viagra, but because of a medical problem

Viagra is a wonder drug that has helped a number of men and their relationships, in cases where the man has not been able to be sexually able to sustain the relationship. In most cultures, being sexually virile is always considered to be something that men should treasure, and something that makes them more attractive. However, consider the case where a man suffered a medical condition known as 'priapism', where the blood flow in the make organ was not able to flow out, and hence the person remained in a painful condition for as much as 21 days (link to article):

A 55-year-old Kolkata businessman found out what it would perhaps be like to have an overdose of Viagra. The father of two, ended up with a prolonged erection that lasted for — hold your breath — a full 21 days.
While for normal individuals, penile erection subsides once sexual excitement has ceased, victims of priapism fail to return to a normal state. Prolonged erection usually leads to a permanent damage to the penis and could even cause death. It has to be treated within six hours, but doctors in this case managed to save his life.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cutting a house in 2 as part of a divorce - husband takes separation of assets too far

Divorce proceedings sometimes can get too heated, when earlier close spouses can get bitter, especially when all attempts to save the marriage have failed. At that time, it is difficult for them to go ahead with separation of assets, many of these assets have very strong memories. But, the action this husband took was unprecedented; living in a village in Cambodia, the husband was angry that his wife would not take care of him when he was ill, and they decided to separate (link to article):

The husband and wife had been living together in the house in a village in the Prey Veng province of southern Cambodia, roughly 50 miles (80 km) from the capital. The couple would not talk to the newspaper, but the village chief told May Titthara that the husband was angry because his wife wouldn't tend to him when he was ill.
Last week, the husband and his friends moved his belongings to one side of the house -- and sawed and chiseled it off, said the reporter, who interviewed the village chief and neighbors. The couple also divided their property into four sections: for themselves and their two children.
However, this was not a legal divorce through the courts, more an action by them themselves.

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