Nolan Conway's photos of Walmart nomads document the lives of people who use Walmart's overnight-parking-friendly lots as places to camp on their way from A to B, or for the long haul. The communities that form there run the gamut from happy-go-lucky retirees to the slightly desperate and more than slightly desperate, and the portraits give a sense of camaraderie and community.
The Smati Turtle 1 is an "African concept car" created by Dutch artist/researcher team Melle Smets and Joost van Onna, who worked with the artisinal car-makers of Suame Magazine, Ghana, to create a killer junker for the African market. Suame Magazine is a neighborhood full of people who take apart scrap cars and rebuild them for local markets, removing the difficult-to-maintain electronics, expanding the cargo areas. The Turtle 1 took three months to create, and had its test-drive inaugurated by the Ashanti king.
This Zippomobile was created by Joe Griffin of Custom Upholstery in Memphis. He was commissioned by Zippo to reproduce the original 1947 Zippomobile, which toured all 48 states to promote the lighter in the post-war era. There were no plans from the original Zippomobile, built from a Chrysler New Yorkers Saratoga, so Griffin had to wing it, working with a second Saratoga and photos of the original.
An epic, two-year thread on the Home Model Engine Machinist boards documents Keith5700's astounding journey to scratch-build a working, 1/4 scale V8 engine. It's an insane read, as Mr 5700 discovers a lot of difficult things the hard way, while a community of teeny-thing machining enthusiasts cheer him on and offer advice, leading to triumph after triumph. The photos alone are worth clicking through all 35 screens (I've put some of the best after the jump).
The sounds a modern car makes are deliberate, designed, and a deception: the clicking of the turn signal isn't a mechanical tick-tock; it's an MP3 of a mechanical tick-tock, played back through hidden speakers. The engine's rumble is tuned with active noise-cancelling that mutes the tones that jangle the ears.
A pair of crooks in Oklahoma made more than $400,000 with a whisper-thin gas-pump credit-card skimmer that they installed in Wal-Mart gas stations, using rental cars while they were doing the installation. Kevin Konstantinov and Elvin Alisuretove allegedly harvested their skimmers every two months or so, creating bogus credit cards with the data and then withdrawing cash at ATMs or sharing it with crooks in Russia and the former USSR. Brian Krebs details the technology, as well as a series of next-gen gas-pump skimmers that use tiny, unobtrusive Bluetooth bugs to harvest credit-card data.
Flavio Garcia, a security researcher from the University of Birmingham has been ordered not to deliver an important paper at the Usenix Security conference by an English court. Garcia, along with colleagues from a Dutch university, had authored a paper showing the security failings of the keyless entry systems used by a variety of luxury cars. Volkswagon asked an English court for an injunction censoring his work -- which demonstrated their incompetence and the risk they'd exposed their customers to -- and Mr Justice Birss agreed.
Today's jam is "Beep Beep," by the Playmates, which charted in 1958 with the tragic tale of a Nash Rambler and a Cadillac locked in competition. I dare you to listen to this without bouncing in your seat -- and without humming it afterwards.
A woman who valet-parked her car at Rochester airport returned to find a notice informing her that the valet had searched her car, on orders from the TSA. The TSA does not search cars in the other garages, and they do not provide notice to valet parkers that their cars are subject to search. The TSA says it searches the parked cars because they are stored close enough to the terminal that a bomb could do serious damage.
John McCaffery, TSA, said, “No, those vehicles that are in the garage, short term long term parking, even if they carry pretty large amounts of explosives, they would not cause damage to the front of the airport. But for those who use the valet, the car could be there for a half hour or an hour so there is a vulnerability.”
News10NBC went to the valet parking and one of the attendants showed us the notice they put in the cars.
We asked, “You're required, they tell you, you have to search the car?” Valet Parking Attendant Frank Dettorre said, “I have to do it.”
My prediction: the TSA will erect a sign at the valet drop-off saying, "By valet parking, you agree that we can search your car." And that will be the end of it. Because in the 21st century, posting a notice of your unreasonable conduct is the same as getting consent for it.
Coop snapped this shot of the gorgeous "Iron Orchid," a masterfully decorated 1935 Ford 5 Window Coupe, built by Dave Shuten of Galpin Auto Sports. I don't give a darn about cars, but this one? Hubba hubba. (here's another view).
CCTV footage from Long Beach, CA shows crooks robbing cars after opening them with some kind of keyless entry fob that appears to defeat the cars' built-in cryptographic security. The fobs evidently don't work on all models, and may require operation from the passenger side. It's not clear what method the fobs use to attack the locks. Any guesses?
Adding to the mystery, police say the device works on some cars but not others. Other surveillance videos show thieves trying to open a Ford SUV and a Cadillac, with no luck. But an Acura SUV and sedan pop right open. And they always seem to strike on the passenger side. Investigators don't know why.
"We've reached out to the car manufacturers, the manufacturers of the vehicle alarm systems: Nobody seems to know what this technology is," Hendricks told us. "When you look at the video and you see how easy it is, it's pretty unnerving."