John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, will go free

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On March 30, 1981 in Washington DC, John Hinckley fired six bullets at President Ronald Reagan in an effort to impress the actress Jodie Foster. Reagan fully recovered but his press secretary, James Brady, who was also hit, lived the rest of his life in a wheelchair. The courts found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity. As soon as next week, Hinckley will be released from the mental hospital where relives to stay with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, Virgina. From NPR:

Under the terms of the order, Hinckley is not allowed to contact his victims, their relatives or actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed. Hinckley also will not be permitted to "knowingly travel" to areas where the current president or members of Congress are present. The judge said Hinckley could be allowed to live on his own or in a group home after one year.

"Mr. Hinckley shall abide by all laws, shall not consume alcohol, illegal drugs... shall not possess any firearm, weapon, or ammunition and shall not be arrested for cause," Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ordered...

In a prepared statement, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute said, "Contrary to the judge's decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release."

"John Hinckley, Who Tried To Kill A President, Wins His Freedom" Read the rest

What if all drugs were totally legal?

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Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | Reddit

In this episode we discuss the history of drug laws, why some drugs are legal and others aren’t, and what would happen if we just let everybody lose to do whatever they want.

▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest

Elderly woman beats mugger with bacon

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Police in Greater Manchester, UK report that an 86-year-old woman withdrew cash from an ATM before entering a supermarket where she was confronted by a mugger.

"The lady then defended herself by repeatedly hitting the female offender over the head with a packet of bacon," according to a GMP Trafford South post on Facebook. "The offender then retreated and made off from the supermarket." Read the rest

Preteen robbers throw dummy through window

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On Monday, five kids, around the age of 10, reportedly used a CPR dummy to bash in the window of a convenience store in Peoria, Illinois. They were foiled by bars that prevented them from entering. From the Peoria Journal Star:

According to Peoria police reports, the children, three girls and two boys, all about the age of 10, were at the Jackpot Supermarket, 200 N. MacArthur Highway, about 11:30 p.m. When officers arrived, the children weren't there but the CPR dummy was.

Read the rest

To hell with the Trolley Problem: here's a much more interesting list of self-driving car weirdnesses

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Jan Chipchase has assembled a provocative, imaginative, excellent list of "driver behaviors in a world of autonomous mobility" that go far beyond the lazy exercise of porting the "trolley problem" to self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles, including flying drones. Read the rest

Man robbed store with face wrapped in toilet paper

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Early this morning, a gentleman walked into the bathroom of a Nashville, Tennessee convenience store and emerged brandishing a gun, his face covered by toilet paper. He demanded money and then took off in a Ford Focus.

Seems that inspiration can strike anywhere.

(WKRN) Read the rest

FBI closes D.B. Cooper hijacking case

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Hijacker D.B. Cooper leaped from a plane in a storm with $200,000 and a parachute and was never seen again. The FBI, after 45 years of investigation, is letting him slip into legend for good.

On Nov. 24, 1971 passenger Dan Cooper threatened to blow up a Northwest Orient flight if he didn't receive $200,000, four parachutes and a flight to Mexico.

As part of the agreement between Cooper and authorities, passengers on the flight were dropped off at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. In exchange for the hostages, ransom loot and the parachutes were brought aboard.

Shortly before hitting the Oregon border, Cooper jumped out of the plane's tail exit with two of the chutes. Neither Cooper, nor his remains, were ever found. Tattered ransom money was found along the banks of the Columbia River in 1980.

Read the rest

The week in Pokemon: home invasions, armed robbery, police militarization

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Pokemon Go is the game of the summer: the first really successful alternate reality game that mashes up crowdsourced maps, in-phone cameras, seriously addictive game mechanics, and (of course) a free-to-play/cash-to-accelerate slot machine mechanic that children wouldn't be allowed to stand near if it were in a casino -- in less than a week, it's lifted Nintendo's stock price by 10% and been implicated in any number of bizarre news stories: Read the rest

Thief robs GPS tracking manufacturer, gets caught

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I doubt this thief knew he was robbing Noa Technologies, the manufacturer of tiny GPS trackers intended to be stashed on public bikeshares. Turns out near everything he stole had a tracker on-board! I bet the San Francisco police officers responding to this call were pretty entertained.

Via the San Francisco Chronicle:

A local thief must have figured he’d made a clean getaway last month. He broke into a house in Noe Valley in the middle of the night and began collecting loot. He grabbed three bicycles and a laptop, then apparently found car keys. He jumped into a 2015 Ford Explorer and roared out of the garage.

And ran smack into the future.

What he didn’t know was that he’d ripped off the work/live space of a company called Noa Technologies, which markets GPS tracking devices. Almost everything the suspect took was outfitted with a tracker. On the scale of bad ideas, this was right up there with attempting a strong-arm robbery of a martial arts academy.

Read the rest

One of the copyright's scummiest trolls loses his law license

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For more than four years, we've chronicled the sleazy story of Prenda Law, a copyright troll whose extortion racket included genuinely bizarre acts of identity theft, even weirder random homophobic dog-whistles, and uploading their own porn movies to entrap new victims, and, naturally, an FBI investigation into the firm's partners' illegal conduct. Read the rest

Black-hat hacker handles are often advertisements

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When Bruce Sterling wrote his seminal book The Hacker Crackdown -- a history of the rise of hackers, the passage of the first anti-hacking laws, and the formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation -- most of the hackers he chronicled had handles that were a combination of playfulness and menace, like Phiber Optik, Scorpion and Acid Phreak. Read the rest

Adnan Syed of 'Serial' podcast will get a new trial

Adnan Syed leaves the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse Feb. 5, 2016. REUTERS

A Maryland judge today granted a retrial to Adnan Syed, whose conviction for the 1999 murder of his former girlfriend was the subject of the first season of the popular podcast “Serial.”

Syed’s lawyer C. Justin Brown announced the news Thursday afternoon via Twitter, and confirmed to reporters later that the motion for a new trial was granted by Judge Martin Welch.

Read the rest

Man pointed gun at priest "the whole time" he was giving confession

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A priest at St. Christopher Parish in Rocky Hill, Ohio says a man resembling this police sketch reportedly gave confession while pointing a gun at him the entire time. The fellow is still at large.

"He just came in, you know, to go to confession, and before he sat down, he pulled out this gun from behind his back," the priest said in a call to 911 after the incident. "So I did confession at gunpoint."

The question is, what did he confess? Well, that's between him and his priest, and the man of god isn't breaking "the sacred seal of confession."

(ABC News) Read the rest

Always-on CCTVs with no effective security harnessed into massive, unstoppable botnet

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When security firm Sucuri investigated the source of a 50,000-request/second DDoS attack on a jewelry shop, they discovered to their surprise that the attacks originated on a botnet made of hacked 25,500+ CCTV cameras in 105 countries. Read the rest

Gun-waving cop who attacked black teenaged girl in her bathing suit faces no charges

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Last July, McKinney, Texas police officer Eric Casebolt made headlines when video surfaced of him pulling his gun on a group of black children in their bathing suits at a pool party, tackling a young girl in her bikini. Read the rest

Phishing for Bitcoin with fake 0-days

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Arriving in my inbox at a steady clip this morning: a series of phishing emails aimed at Bitcoiners, promising that the sender has found a bug in "the Bitcoin client" and promising "Pay 0.07 BTC today, get 10 BTC for 15 hours." Read the rest

ATM skimmer spotted in Vienna

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Ben Tedesco of the cybersecurity company Carbon Black found an ATM skimmer while he was on vacation in Vienna, Austria.

A skimmer is a card reader that fits over an ATM card slot. It scans and records the information on the magnetic strip. Some skimmers have little built-in cameras to record card holders' pins as they enter it on the ATM keypad. If not, the sleazy criminal will mount a video camera nearby, or even install a counterfeit keypad.

From YouTube description:

While on vacation with my family in Vienna, Austria I went to grab some cash from an ATM, being security paranoid I went repeated my typical habit of checking the card reader as I have 100's of times... today's the day when my security awareness paid off! Check out how perfectly made this skimmer is that was custom made for this ATM MACHINE!

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