Renting Your Own Apartment From an Identity Thief

From 3QuarksDaily:

A man called the other night and asked to speak with Beth Ann Bovino. Not interested in a conversation about the midterm elections or whether I need a new phone service, I considered “She’s not home”. Instead, I asked “whom may I say is calling?” He said his name (correctly, I had caller ID). He then ran into a series of statements about me: that I live at 304 West XXth Street (I do) and that I have a one bedroom with a fireplace (yes again). He asked if I am renting my place (I’m not). That’s when he told me that someone had placed an ad on Craig’s List in my name.

How to Recover Numbers from Blurred Images


Suppose someone posted a photo of their check or credit card online for whatever awful reason (proving to Digg that I earned a million dollars, showing something funny about a check, comparing the size of something to a credit card, etc.), blurring out the image with the far-too-common mosaic effect to hide the numbers:

Seem secure because nobody can read the numbers anymore? WRONG. Here’s a way to attack this scheme:

(via Schneier on Security)

Weighty Report Cards

From the NY Times:

The problem was the letter Karlind discovered, tucked inside her report card, saying that she had a body mass index in the 80th percentile. The first grader did not know what “index” or “percentile” meant, or that children scoring in the 5th through 85th percentiles are considered normal, while those scoring higher are at risk of being or already overweight.

Yet she became convinced that her teachers were chastising her for overeating.

Since the letter arrived, “my 2-year-old eats more than she does,” said Georgeanna Dunbar, Karlind’s mother, who complained to the school and is trying to help her confused child. “She’s afraid she’s going to get in trouble,” Ms. Dunbar said.

The practice of reporting students’ body mass scores to parents originated a few years ago as just one tactic in a war on childhood obesity that would be fought with fresh, low-fat cafeteria offerings and expanded physical education. Now, inspired by impressive results in a few well-financed programs, states including Delaware, South Carolina and Tennessee have jumped on the B.M.I. bandwagon, turning the reports — in casual parlance, obesity report cards — into a new rite of childhood.

Legislators in other states, including New York, have proposed them as well, while some individual school districts have adopted the practice.

Here, in the rural Southern Tioga School District, the schools distribute the state-mandated reports even as they continue to serve funnel cakes and pizza for breakfast. Some students have physical education for only half the school year, even though 34 percent of kindergartners were overweight or at risk for it, according to 2003-4 reports.

(via Majikthise)

Criminal Confessions

From the Smoking Gun:

We don’t know about you, but every time The Smoking Gun tunes in to “NYPD Blue,” it seems that a hapless perp is being interrogated into submission by a cagey TV cop. Shoving a pad and pen across the table, detectives Sipowicz or Simone will bark, “Write it down!” The cowering criminal then obliges with a confession. Case closed.

In real life, it’s a bit tougher to convince someone to send themselves to the can. But it does happen, as some of these legal records show. Here’s a collection of hand-scrawled documents–confessions, death threats, incriminating evidence–that we’ve compiled from a variety of court, police, and FBI files.

Post WWII French Artillery Scooter

It’s half tank, half Vespa:

“So, what’s the most unusual military vehicle you can think of? Maybe the Japanese airplane-launching submarine of WW2? Or perhaps the Soviet attempts to build a flying tank? Or perhaps the 1000 ton rolling fortress the Germans tried to build in WW2? All quite odd, I agree, but barely made it past the drawing boards. For us, the oddest is a scooter armed with a 75mm cannon.