Weird laws from around the world

(NSFW language)

Funny: In Florida, it's unlawful to have sex with a porcupine. Sad: In Russia, it's illegal to tell minors that gay people exist. (Sam O'Nella)

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Store manager vs alleged shoplifter

KodyXO's video has everything going for it, from landscape-oriented 60fps footage to elderly ladies refereeing a wrestling match in a grocery store between a store manager and an alleged shoplifter. There's even an annoying photobomber!

EMPLOYEE: "You're shoplifting, you can't shoplift here!" THE ACCUSED: "Yeah? Why not?" EMPLOYEE: (momentarily baffled) "Wh.. Why not?"

The arrestee was reportedly charged with third-degree robbery.

Big retailers might let you walk off if the cops don't arrive in time, but stores can and do detain shoplifters. Rite-Aid's got its staffer's back, but one imagines there may be a chain-wide round of "why we just let them go" retraining days quite soon.

It's interesting to see how different media cast the events of the video. The local Hillsborough Tribune sticks to the facts, as it sees them...

The two fight over the purse, with the woman pulling, yanking and twisting in order to pry it from his grip. At one point the woman tries to punch the employee, and kicks him. He tells her that she is not allowed to shoplift in the store. Eventally the man wrestles her to the floor as she attempts to strike him.

"Ma'am, you need to chill out," a voice is heard on the video as the woman is on the ground. "You need to chill."

The woman screams "Let me go!" several times, but eventually relinquishes the purse to the employee as Washington County Sheriff's deputies arrive and arrest her. ... "You can use reasonable force to detain someone," Reimann said.

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Anti-theft toilet paper dispenser with facial recognition technology

The public bathroom at Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park now has a toilet paper dispenser outfitted with a camera and facial recognition technology to prevent toilet paper theft. From the New York Times:

Before entering restrooms in the park, visitors must now stare into a computer mounted on the wall for three seconds before a machine dispenses a sheet of toilet paper, precisely two feet in length. If visitors require more, they are out of luck. The machine will not dispense a second roll to the same person for nine minutes.

At the Temple of Heaven Park, one of Beijing’s busiest tourist sites, many people said on Monday they were pleased by the new machines.

“The people who steal toilet paper are greedy,” said He Zhiqiang, 19, a customer service worker from the northwestern region of Ningxia. “Toilet paper is a public resource. We need to prevent waste...”

I agree with park visitor Wang Jianquan, 63: “The sheets are too short."

"China’s High-Tech Tool to Fight Toilet Paper Bandits" (NYT) Read the rest

Longstanding, unpatched Bluetooth vulnerability lets burglars shut down Google security cameras

A security researcher has published a vulnerability and proof-of-concept exploits in Google's Internet of Things security cameras, marketed as Nest Dropcam, Nest Dropcam Pro, Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Cam Indoor; these vulnerabilities were disclosed to Google last fall, but Google/Nest have not patched them despite the gravity of the vulnerability and the long months since the disclosure. Read the rest

If Google wins its trade secrets suit against Uber, it could tank Uber

Google is suing Uber, alleging that the company recruited a former Google exec who had secretly offered to give them access to trade-secrets from Google's self-driving car project. Read the rest

13 shots fired into Tulsa gay center

Thirteen shots were fired into Tulsa's Dennis R. Neill Equality Center Monday from a passing truck or SUV. The Gayly reports that no-one was hurt.

Around 12:30 am last night a white, four door pickup pulled up in front of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center and fired 13 shots at the windows and front door. Office Administrator Olivia Cotter discovered the damage to the protective glass on our windows and front door around 8:15 am Monday morning, March 6. ...

"We are working closely with Tulsa Police," said Oklahomans For Equality officials. "Captain Cathy Reynolds, the LGBTQ liaison with the Tulsa Police Department, has made our safety and security a top priority."

"I am sickened, yet not surprised, by the bullet holes that now riddle the front of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center," said Geoffrey Brewster, Board President, Oklahomans for Equality. "They are the latest reminder of the deep-seated hatred some individuals have towards the LGBTQ community. Oklahomans for Equality condemns every act of hatred and violence perpetrated against any individual or group based upon difference.

"We are keenly aware after an event such as this, or the Pulse Night Club shooting in Orlando, FL, that sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected classes in current hate crime legislation. Even though hatred of difference is the motivation for such acts, our community is not equally protected under the law. This must change, and we call on our community and our allies to demand it."

Oklahoma legislators are planning to pass a bill that reportedly strips LGBTQ people of housing and employment protections. Read the rest

Synagogue vandalism suspect is accountant with a master's degree

Stuart Wright has two tattoos, writes Sam Charles of The Chicago Sun-Times: one says "Jesus is love" and the other is a swastika. This educated accountant from the suburbs was arrested late February and charged with a hate crime after someone smashed the window of a downtown synagogue and stuck swastikas on the doors.

Wright graduated from Hinsdale Central High School in 2003 and went on to the University of Iowa. He later received a master’s degree in accounting from DePaul University.

According to Wright’s LinkedIn profile, he worked as an accountant for four companies between June 2012 and September 2015. He became a certified public accountant in 2013 and his license is valid until September 2018, according to state records.

Property records show Wright’s father — a retired investment banker — owns a five-bedroom, six-bathroom house with a three-car garage in west suburban Oak Brook. It has been for sale since February 2016 with a price tag of nearly $1.5 million.

These lonely rich kids, with their SUVs and dreamy resentments, so mollycoddled they don't even notice the cameras: this is Trump's hottest demo and you'll be hearing more from it soon. Read the rest

Shark robs gas station

A man wearing a shark costume robbed a gas station in Christchurch, New Zealand. The shark and his accomplice were armed with a knife and a hammer. They robbed the store of "a haul of confectionery," aka candy. From Newshub:

The store attendants have been offered Victim Support counselling.

Police searched the area but failed to find the pair.

One was described as wearing a blue and white shark onesie, a grey cap, black gloves and socks, and had a dark blue bandana covering his face.

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Uber uses data-mining to identify and block riders who may be cops, investigators or regulators

Greyball is Uber's codename for a program that tries to predict which new signups are secretly cops, regulators or investigators who could make trouble for the company, deployed in "Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries like Australia, China and South Korea" where the company was fighting with the authorities. Read the rest

Taser ships a pistol-holster sensor that triggers record mode in all nearby bodycams when cops draw their guns

The Signal Sidearm is a sensor designed to be fitted to a police pistol holster: when triggered, it wirelessly signals all nearby police bodycams to go into record-and-archive mode. It's made by Axon, the bodycam division of Taser International. Read the rest

Racists blubber in court as judge jails them for threatening black child's birthday party with shotgun

Jose Torres and Kayla Norton terrorized a black kid's birthday party by leading a convoy of confederate-flag flying vehicles past it while shouting racial slurs and threats—and pointing a shotgun at the children. They blubbered in court Monday as a Georgia judge sentenced them to years in jail.

Channel 2 Action News spoke to a woman who was at the birthday party in 2015.

Melissa Alford said at least seven pickup trucks displaying Confederate flags pulled up on her property on Campbellton Street and their passengers were armed and threatened to “kill y’all niggers.”

"This is behavior that even supporters of the Confederate battle flag can agree is criminal and shouldn't be allowed," Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a statement.

Norton was sentenced on one count of violating Georgia's street gang act and one count of making terroristic threats. Torres was sentenced on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of terroristic threats and one count of violating the street gang act.

Superior Court Judge William McClain gave Torres 20 years, with 13 served in prison, and Norton was given 15 years with 6 inside. Three things seem to have enhanced the community's righteous ire:

1. It was shortly after white supremacist Dylann Roof's killing of 9 black worshipers at a church in Charleston.

2. The Douglasville Police Department originally refused to arrest the people making the threats.

3. Only four of the people in the convoy were charged with serious crimes, despite there being "a dozen or more" involved. Read the rest

British police arrest suspect in last November's me-too Mirai botnet floods

Last October, floods of traffic from Internet of Things devices infected by the Mirai worm brought down several high profile internet services, from Level 3 to Dyn to Twitter and Reddit. Read the rest

In 1937, a judge quietly asked Meyer Lansky to form a squad of Nazi-punching gangsters to raid Bund meetings

Meyer Lansky was an infamous and ruthless gangster -- albeit one so personally charming that his life is chronicled in a book called But He Was Good to His Mother -- and no friend of New York State Judge Nathan Perlman; nevertheless, as the Nazi-supporting German-American Bund staged more and more toxic rallies in New York City, Perlman quietly asked Meyer to form a squad of Jewish gangsters to disrupt their meetings. Read the rest

Bank fraud and Dieselgate: how do we design regulations that are harder to cheat?

Tim Harford points out that Dieselgate -- when VW designed cars that tried to guess when they were undergoing emissions test and dial back their pollution -- wasn't the first time an industry designed its products to cheat when regulators were looking; the big banks did the same thing to beat the "stress tests" that finance regulators used to check whether they would collapse during economic downturns (the banks "made very specific, narrow bets designed to pay off gloriously in specific stress-test scenarios" so that they looked like they'd do better than they actually would). Read the rest

For the past 40 years, the presence of immigrants in US cities was correlated with a reduction in violent and property crime

In a new paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, sociologists and criminologists from University at Buffalo (SUNY), the University of Alabama, Kennesaw State University, the State of Georgia, and Georgia State University review 40 years' worth of FBI data on violent crimes and property crimes, correlating this data series with Census data on the influx of immigrants to US cities. Read the rest

Hereditary Samsung chieftain arrested for bribing disgraced president's "Shamanic" cult leader

Lee Jae-yong is nominally "vice-chairman" of Samsung, but his father, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, is considered to be a mere figurehead, with Lee Jae-yong as the true boss of the company. Read the rest

Italy unveils a legal proposal to regulate government hacking

Internet traffic nowadays is mostly encrypted (“HTTPS”). Thus, for a few years now, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) have been facing far more challenges at gathering data through the interception of connections than they used to.

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