Personal information for more than 10 million former guests of MGM resorts has been posted on a hacking forum. Among the notable data breach victims: Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey. The leaked data includes home addresses, and is said to only affect guests who stayed at the hotel chain's properties before 2018. Read the rest
SpaceX and Space Adventures have partnered to offer space tourists a trip to orbit on the SpaceX Crew Dragon space capsule. They expect the first flight to launch in late 2021 or early 2022. Around $50 million will get you a seat. From Spaceflight Now:
The mission would not dock with the space station, but would instead fly into an orbit above the station’s altitude of about 260 miles (420 kilometers) above Earth, according to Space Adventures, the Virginia-based company that arranged flights of seven wealthy space tourists on Russian Soyuz capsules between 2001 and 2009...
Responding to a question on Twitter about a possible price tag of $52 million per seat, (Space Adventures chairman Eric) Anderson tweeted: “Per seat price for a full group of four not quite that much (not dramatically less, but significant enough to note). Definitive pricing confidential, and dependent on client specific requests, etc.”
Anderson tweeted that the training regimen for the Crew Dragon flight will be “significantly less than the few months required for previous missions or ISS missions.”
“Dragon in this profile allows up to 5 days,” Anderson tweeted. “3 days is probably ideal, 40-50 orbits or so.”
image: SpaceX Crew Dragon (NASA, public domain)
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A couple weeks back, I posted about the the Nepal government's new tourism campaign featuring 100 huge yeti statues designed by Ang Tsherin Sherpa to be painted by various artists and placed around Nepal and elsewhere. A delightful idea but as you can see in the video above from January 29, many people were unhappy with how their beloved yeti was depicted. As a result, the government has removed the existing statues and ended the yeti campaign. From Daijiworld:
Some people complained that the mascot looked like a Japanese sumo wrestler and others believed that the statues represented Hindu and Buddhist deities.
Some people even started praying in front of the statues that had religious pictures or symbols painted onto them. Pictures of women and children worshiping the mascot went viral on social media.
The statue placed at the Basantapur Durbar Square had an image of goddess Kumari painted on its forehead and back. The deity is worshiped by Hindus as well as Buddhists.
"The yeti is a mystical beast (and) this (the statues) has damaged the religious feelings of the people," Ganapati Lal Shrestha, a heritage activist, told Efe news.
(image: Visit Nepal 2020 news release)
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• NY lawsuit vs. Trump to challenge federal ban on New Yorkers from enrolling in programs that allow travelers to skip ahead at airport security lines
BREAKING NEWS: Don't fuck with New York.
New York is suing the Trump Administration because Trump just blocked state residents from enrolling in the Global Entry. Read the rest
More Americans fleeing the coronavirus outbreak are being evacuated from Wuhan, China, to the U.S. On Wednesday, 2 State Department-chartered jetliners carried an estimated 350 U.S. citizens from Wuhan, China, to a U.S. military base in California. Read the rest
Breaking News: There's been an air disaster in Turkey. No deaths reported.
A Pegasus Airlines plane that was heading into Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport for landing skidded off the end of a wet runway, and broke into three pieces after landing on Wednesday. Read the rest
“In this day and age, you can trace everyone’s movements with big data,” Li Lanjuan, an adviser to the National Health Commission, said in an interview with state television.
Government officials in China are using big data to track the location and movement of people who are known to be infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, officially known as Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Read the rest
I've been to Japan at least 8 times, so I feel like I am pretty good at knowing what I need to do before I go. This video, "Must-Do Things Before Flying to Japan" has a number of useful tips, like how to book a good restaurant in advance, how to get a SIM card, how to book tickets to Disneyland, how to get a rail card, how to get a visa (most countries give you 90 days with no visa required), and which medications not to bring with you. Read the rest
US to halt issuance of visas that can lead to permanent residency for nationals of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria
Vice asked its readers to tell them about scams they'd been subjected to trying to book and stay at AirBnB locations. It received thousands of stories: enough to generate a ranked list of the most widespread frauds pulled by AirBnB listers.
The stories quickly started to fall into easily discernible categories. Scammers all over the world, it seems, have figured how best to game the Airbnb platform: by engaging in bait and switches; charging guests for fake damages; persuading people to pay outside the Airbnb app; and, when all else fails, engaging in clumsy or threatening demands for five-star reviews to hide the evidence of what they’ve done. (Or, in some cases, a combination of several of these scams.)
In the aggregate, these emails paint a portrait of a platform whose creators are fundamentally unable to track what goes on within it, and point to easily exploitable loopholes that scammers have steamed their way through by the truckload.
The company's solution appears to be generous to screwed-over customers, booking hotels and handing out nearby upgrades, but to let the scams happen and to let the scammers stay. They've presumably calculated that policing listings would be more expensive. The moral hazard this creates -- consider people who don't complain, or who are simply tricked out of money rather than literally stranded -- is overwhelming. Read the rest
As we've been blogging here at Boing Boing, the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread, and airlines have begun suspending flights to and from China, where most confirmed cases are located.
• As of Friday, 11AM Eastern time, the Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak has killed more than 200 people and infected an estimated 10,000.
• On Friday, the U.S. issued a travel warning telling Americans to stay out of China.
• The Chinese government replied by calling the U.S. 'mean' for the travel advisory. Read the rest
Airlines around the world have already begun suspending flights to and from mainland China, where most cases of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak are located. Read the rest
As the death toll from the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak escalates, the White House is discussing a possible China travel ban, reports NBC News and other organizations on Tuesday morning. Read the rest
On Saturday, the government health ministry of Canada reported the first presumed case in Canada of a patient with the so-called Wuhan virus, officially known as Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Read the rest
CDC says 'risk to the American public is low at this time'
Europe's first three cases of the Wuhan coronavirus were confirmed in France confirmed on Friday. Two patients are hospitalized in Paris, and one in Bordeaux. Read the rest
Here’s a good explainer from Reuters on the airline industry’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak so far. If the virus spreads becomes a pandemic, this could impact world financial markets as did SARS in 2003. Read the rest