Hit ’em where they drive

Nothing, I suspect, makes a bogus email more persuasive than the inclusion of something actually (sort of) true. This particular scam, by that reckoning, is utterly convincing in its presentation:

A new malware scam is posing as a speeding ticket email with a fake link that is said to load malicious code onto users’ computers. The emails, sent to at least few local residents in Tredyffrin, Pennsylvania, purport to come from the local police department. Malware emails that masquerade as something official are not rare, but these messages are fairly unique: they are said to contain accurate speeding data, including street names, speed limits, and actual driving speeds, according to the Tredyffrin Police Department, located close to Philadelphia.

It’s suspected that the data is coming from an app with permission to track phone GPS data. That could either be a legitimate app that has been compromised, or a purpose-built malicious app that was uploaded online. As anyone who has used a GPS navigator knows, location data can be used to roughly calculate your travel speed. The emails ask for payment of the speeding ticket, but no apparatus is set up to receive such fines. Instead, a link that claims to lead to a photo of the user’s license plate instead loads malware onto the user’s device.

“Citations,” says the PD, “are never emailed or sent in the form of an email attachment.” Still, people believe that banks and such will send you email to ask you your email address — which they obviously already have.

“Tredyffrin,” incidentally, is Welsh; it only looks like a J. K. Rowling place name.


Looks like her cousin

I was never that fascinated by The Patty Duke Show, partly because I couldn’t comprehend the genetics of “identical cousins.” (This business got particularly weird in season two, when there was an episode involving a third Lane clone.) Fortunately, I adored her singing; her voice wasn’t much more than serviceable, but the producer (studio pro Jack Gold, who’d been doing this sort of thing for two decades) knew how to get the maximum out of it.

Cover art for Don't Just Stand There by Patty DukeFrom the liner notes of the Don’t Just Stand There LP:

[J]ust like everything she touches, it is pure gold. It is certain to find a huge throng of eager fans waiting to purchase it and catapault [sic] it quickly high on the nation’s best-seller lists. In addition to the title tune, it contains a wonderful selection of the great songs of the day — all eminently youthful and all hand-picked for our star of stars.

This is not the first time I’ve read a liner apparently written by someone who hadn’t heard the record. (And track four is a cover of “Danke Schoen,” which wasn’t “youthful” when Wayne Newton put it out two years before.)

“Don’t Just Stand There” topped out at a respectable #8. (I’ve written about this track before.) To promote it, she appeared on Shindig; to my surprise, she did it live.

Patty Duke indisputably achieved Far Greater Things in her life. But this is what I remember best.

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I don’t want no damage

But how’m I gonna manage this?

North-central and northwestern Oklahoma are among the highest risk areas in the country for damage from earthquakes, according to an updated earthquake hazard report released by the U.S. Geological Survey on Monday.

The report marks the first time the USGS hazard map has included risk from both natural and human-induced earthquakes.

“By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.,” Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, said in a statement. “This research also shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced.”

The fracking problem apparently isn’t actually fracking, per se, but the disposal, via injection, of waste water.

The probability diminishes the farther you get from Fairview, which endured a 5.1 quake in 2011, though there are areas of concern in Dallas and in northern Arkansas. Biggest ever in the state: 5.6. Now how big is 5.6? This big, at least in Big D:

If a 5.6 magnitude quake were to happen, northwest Dallas, West Dallas and downtown would bear the brunt, according to the U.S. Geological Survey ShakeMap included in the FEMA report.

Levees and dams could collapse. About 80,000 buildings would be at least slightly damaged, causing $9.5 billion in “direct economic losses.” Some 290 area bridges — those with a “10 percent or greater chance of exceeding slight damage” — would need to be inspected to make sure they didn’t crack or buckle.

I suspect some of us will crack or buckle when the ground shakes.

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Not what they meant by “rest”

As speculated, a couple of Thunder starters — Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant — were given the night off: in their stead, Billy Donovan opted to start Kyle Singler and Dion Waiters. He probably needn’t have bothered; after sort of holding their own through the first half, the Thunder basically fell asleep in the third quarter, outscored by an embarrassing 25-9. Detroit, of course, is actually fighting for a playoff spot: at gametime, they were occupying the #8 spot in the East, 2½ games ahead of the Bulls and the Wizards. And while the Pistons weren’t entirely brilliant, the Thunder were utterly terrible, especially in that third quarter, during which Royce Young observed: There is absolutely zero offensive movement for the Thunder. Just standing around waiting for Westbrook to create a shot for somebody.” Things improved a little in the fourth, with OKC briefly pulling to within one point; however, nothing, up to and including deliberately fouling Andre Drummond, would close the difference. (And once Stan Van Gundy saw successive hits on Drummond, the Notorious S.V.G. immediately swapped in Tobias Harris.) A Russell Westbrook trey in the last minute brought OKC to within two, but Reggie Jackson got two freebies to ice it, and Aron Baynes finished the job with two more, making the final 88-82 and evening the season series at 1-1. For a team averaging over 110 points the last couple of weeks, this qualifies as, um, feeble.

Then again, you want points, you gotta hit shots. The Thunder mostly didn’t do that: 38 percent from the field, 6-21 from Way Out There, and only two players in double figures, which would be Westbrook, who took 28 shots to get 24 points, and Enes Kanter, again making his case for Sixth Man of the Year with 14 points and 14 boards. Between them, Waiters and Singler managed a whole ten. Meanwhile, Marcus Morris, written off after being shipped out of Phoenix, turned in a 24-point performance on a mere 13 shots to lead the Pistons.

I don’t think the Thursday-night clash with the Los Angeles Clippers will be a snooze-fest like this, but I could be wrong. And once that happens, it’s back on the road for four more: Houston, Denver, Portland and Sacramento. Grind time is upon us, boys and girls.


She was right about boys

First, the big hit:

Among people I know, far more hate that little 1982 number than love it. (Fellow Waitress Chris Butler had written it two years earlier, as the leader of Tin Huey.) I don’t care. Its sheer insouciance, give or take a dollop of rudeness, makes it work, and Patty Donahue can be just as rude as she needs:

Patty Donahue

Anyway, for sheer snark value, “Boys” takes second place to “The Smartest Person I Know,” from the EP I Could Rule the World If I Could Only Get the Parts.

And I mean in two directions. At about 2:16 there’s a brief spoken-word passage recorded backwards by Patty: “Anyone who worries about subliminal messages on pop records is a fool. Everyone else have a nice day.”

Lung cancer, not entirely unexpected given her devotion to tobacco, killed Patty Donahue at 40. She would have been 60 today.

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Amusingly stung

This brings up memories of the old Suck.com motto: “a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun.” Meet the fish:

A police department northwest of Austin says a woman was arrested after she responded to their Facebook hoax about contaminated drugs.

The hoax, posted to Facebook on Tuesday [since pulled], stated “Breaking News: Area Meth and Heroin Supply Possibly Contaminated With Ebola. Meth and Heroin recently brought in to Central Texas as well as the ingredients used to make it could be contaminated with the life threatening disease Ebola. If you have recently purchased meth or heroin in Central Texas, please take it to the local police or sheriff department so it can be screened with a special device. DO NOT use it until it has been properly checked for possible Ebola contamination! Contact any Granite Shoals PD officer for testing. Please share in hopes we get this information to anyone who has any contaminated meth or heroin that needs tested.”

Two days later, Granite Shoals Police say a “concerned citizen” brought her drugs to the police station so officers could test it. The woman, identified by police as 29-year-old Chasity Hopson, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Is this entrapment? I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on television, and it’s been many months since I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but it occurs to me that just possessing the drug is the actual crime, and she was in possession before she notified the police.

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Stuck to one’s guns, as it were

The National Rifle Association, presumably having noticed that I overpaid the next three years’ dues, sent me a spiffy NRA-branded baseball cap, black with gold trim, with an American flag embroidered on the back. (Or, I guess, on the front, were I the sort of atavistic throwback who wears baseball caps backwards.)

Not that they spent the maximum amount possible on this headgear, given the blatant “MADE IN CHINA” label. Still, it is 100-percent cotton (per the same label), and it’s infinitely adjustable, for a small number of values for infinity. For now, I may let Twilight Sparkle wear it.

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Vaguely mature

Cristina up in Toronto has been going off about “grandma shoes,” and she’s evidently serious enough to call them “fuddy-duddy-esque.” Some, she conceded, might be wearable, but the others, not so much. I weighed in with faint praise for this Aquazzura shoe, from the more-wearable group, though I was forced to admit: “I can’t envision it, though, on any of the grannies I know.” Then again, I know few grannies who can pony up high-triple-digit sums for a pair of shoes, even these shoes:

Alexa by Aquazzura

I think it’s that feeble-looking strappage that makes “Alexa” here look unreasonably jaunty.

Oddly enough, the same day I came up with that response to Cristina, I got a shoefie dropped into my timeline, yet another Aquazzura shoe:

Wild Thing by Aquazzura

Presumably this one, tagged “Wild Thing,” will not appeal to your grandma. But I could be wrong: actually wearing those shoes in this picture is former Homeland Security Advisor (2004-07) and occasional CNN contributor Frances Townsend, who at sixty is probably old enough to be a grandma, but isn’t one.

Should you wish to own either of these two styles, you will get some insignificant change back from a $700 bill — if you live somewhere where there’s no sales tax, anyway.


T owed

The Raptors administered a fair thrashing to the Thunder in Oklahoma City in early November, so payback was the first order of business. But this would not be an easy proposition: Toronto is a better team now than they were then, and hey, it’s their house. It was going to take at least another 20-point, maybe a 30-point performance by Kevin Durant, and at least a double-double, maybe even a triple-double, from Russell Westbrook. Even harder, the Thunder would have to figure out some way to DeTer DeMar DeRozen. How did they do? KD, 34 points; Westbrook, 26-11-12; DeRozen, 8 of 22 for a team-high 19. The occasional lapse aside, OKC made it look sort of easy, dispatching the Dinos, 119-100.

In fact, this game was so unexpectedly uneventful that radio guy Matt Pinto spent a fair amount of time speculating who, if anyone, might be given the night off tomorrow against the Pistons. Of course, resting a starter or three — or four, as the Spurs did the other night — puts additional pressure on the reserves to perform, and the OKC bench has been somewhat inconsistent of late, rolling up only 25 points tonight, 15 of which came from Dion Waiters. (How hard can it be for both Waiters and Enes Kanter to get hot on the same night?) And the DeFense against DeRozen, largely the work of Andre Roberson, gave the too-lightly regarded Norman Thomas — how lightly? Not even his own Wikipedia page — the opportunity to crank out 18 points on 7-13.

Still, one should shed no tears for the Raptors, who still enjoy a five-game cushion over the third-place Atlanta Hawks. And perhaps one should think forward to Detroit tomorrow night; the Pistons lead the Bulls by two, the Wizards by two and a half, to hold, however tenuously, the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. And they’re 24-13 at the Palace, nothing to sneer at. Then again, the Raptors were 28-8 at the Air Canada Centre until tonight.


Evergreen onions

I have the Pergelator to thank for this nifty little video set to the R&B classic “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MGs:

Of course, having read the description before actually watching the video, I went into Anachronism Overload: how in the pluperfect hell are there late-1950 performers dancing to a song composed and recorded in 1962? They’re not, of course; this is just some swell editing.

The first color segment, though, from It Started in Naples, rang a memory bell, and this is what’s actually being sung:

There’s always a good reason to check out what Sophia Loren is doing. (She was twenty-six in this 1960 film.)


You did Nazi this coming

Yet another reason why you do not want Everything In The Fricking World connected to the Internet:

The notorious hacker and troll Andrew Auernheimer, also known as “weev,” just proved that the Internet of Things can be abused to spread hateful propaganda. On Thursday, Auernheimer used two lines of code to scan the entire internet for insecure printers and made them automatically spill out a racist and anti-semitic flyer.

Hours later, several people started reporting the incident on social media, and eventually a few local news outlets picked up on the story when colleges and universities all over the United States found that their network printers were spilling out Auernheimer’s flyer.

Auernheimer detailed this “brief experiment,” as he called it, in a blog post on Friday.

Said weev:

After a little investigation it seemed that to print to a printer with port 9100 exposed, all you have to do is netcat a postscript file to that port.

And how likely is it that port 9100 is open and listening? Very:

For network-connected print devices, the standard TCP/IP port monitor is the best choice. Standard port monitor is the successor to line printer remote (LPR), that has been widely adopted as the de facto standard in network printing for the past several years. Standard port monitor is faster, more scalable, and bidirectional. In contrast, LPR is limited in all of these areas. Although Windows NT 4 and later provided registry modifications to help extend the capabilities of LPR printing, these changes do not compare with the benefits of using standard port monitor… The RAW protocol is the default for most print devices. To send a RAW-formatted job, the print server opens a TCP stream to the printer’s network interface. For many devices this will be port 9100.

“We were only following instructions.”

@SwiftOnSecurity feigned astonishment at the ease of the hack: “I’ve always wondered how the hell you even get a printer on the _Internet_. Plugging it into a DSL modem? Who? Why?”

Anything on the wrong side of a firewall can be presumed open, be it a printer, a computer, or a refrigerator.

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Imagine the directory structure

At any given moment, I have several side projects going, though “going” implies a destination, and many of those destinations may never be reached.

This is because I am not as organized as those people who can describe the whole process far in advance:

Caffeine –> Idea –> Caffeine –> Boredom –> Caffeine –> Another Idea –> More Caffeine –> Idea For Something I Think Is Hysterically Funny –> Execution of Something NOT Funny Because I Quickly Decided That My Hysterically Funny Idea Was Really Not Very Funny –> Caffeine –> Think About Disappointing My Five Readers –> Make That Four –> More Caffeine –> Feel Bad About Not Achieving Anything Or Writing A Book –> Side Project Executed But May Never Be Shown To Anyone –> Caffeine –> Repeat.

Dissolute soul that I am, I get bogged down somewhere in the vicinity of “Execution of Something NOT Funny.”

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Strange search-engine queries (530)

Yep, here we are, back at the old stand, trying to figure out just what brings people to this site, and reporting on the explanations we find least explicable.

529:  No, that was last week. This week is 530.

and the ursines remain on the sylvan glades:  And probably taking a dump thereupon.

if anamarie’s parents send her to a(n) _____ school instead of a public school to enhance her learning, they are probably doing it because the standards may be higher than local public schools:  Um, “expensive”?

“td bank” “erotic”  Well, compared to Scotiabank, anyway.

perverse adolescent lesbo seduces eastern milf:  It happened just outside a branch of TD Bank.

mcgyver is faced with the problem of opening a safe with 10 buttons numbered from 0 to 9. the safe can be opened by pressing three buttons, not necessarily distinct, in correct order. what is the probability that mcgyver will hit the right combination?  100 percent, even if the numbers have been obscured by time and dust and the safe itself is covered with scorpions. You never bet against MacGyver.

opposite of bondage:  Blofeldage?

damascus girls:  You can’t be Syrias.

we’re gonna get married randy newman:  Unless, of course, you’re Short People.

pictures of wastes:  A waste is a terrible thing to mind.

evisceration plague tab:  We’ve been trying to get Google to add this to Chrome for years now.

toe tales:  See, for instance, Parliament’s “Agony of Defeet,” a classic toe-jam session.

where do grape nuts come from:  Kroger, aisle seven.

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Grist for the diploma mill

There exists, to my delight and/or amazement, a Wikipedia page called “List of animals with fraudulent diplomas.” The gist of the matter:

Animals are often used as a device to clearly demonstrate the lax standards of the awarding institutions. In one case, a cat’s degree helped lead to a successful fraud prosecution against the institution that had issued it.

The “standards” most often in use, one might assume, derive from the question “Did the check clear?”

This one apparently did:

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office … sued an online university for allegedly selling bogus academic degrees — including an MBA awarded to a cat.

Trinity Southern University in Texas, a cellular company and the two brothers who ran them are accused of misappropriating Internet addresses of the state Senate and more than 60 Pennsylvania businesses to sell fake degrees and prescription drugs by spam e-mail, according to the lawsuit.

Investigators paid $299 for a bachelor’s degree for Colby Nolan — a deputy attorney general’s 6-year-old black cat — claiming he had experience including baby-sitting and retail management.

The school, which offers no classes, allegedly determined Colby Nolan’s resume entitled him to a master of business administration degree; a transcript listed the cat’s course work and 3.5 grade-point average.

Obtaining the transcript, incidentally, cost an additional $99.

Texas subsequently froze all the assets of “TSU” and its operators, and enjoined them from further mischief; trinitysouthernuniversity.org is up for sale by the Chinese domain-parking operation that currently owns it.

(Via Jen Myers.)


And another one gone

Another newspaper, this one in Britain, goes Web-only:

The final print edition of The Independent newspaper went on sale Saturday, ending its 30-year appearance on British newsstands with an exclusive on an assassination plot against a former Saudi king.

A poignant wrap-around front page carried the words “STOP PRESS” in red lettering on a white background, followed by the words “Read all about it in this, our final print edition — 1986-2016”.

The newspaper will now be available online only, with its final editorial claiming history would be the judge of its “bold transition … as an example for other newspapers around the world to follow”.

Were it truly “bold,” they’d have done it in 1996.

And it’s not like this came like a bolt from the blue:

The Independent‘s Russian-born British owner, Evgeny Lebedev, who announced the closure of the print edition last month, wrote that journalism had “changed beyond recognition” and the newspaper “must change too”.

Not that Mr Lebedev is playing Jolly Executioner here; the paper was slated for closure in 2010 before he bought it. Daily circulation, which peaked at 420,000 in 1989, has declined to barely a tenth of that, though the Sunday edition sells decidedly better. Still, independent.co.uk is reported to have 70 million unique visitors per month.

(Via Fark.)


This earth in fast thick pants

Elizabeth Farrelly, fulminating in the Sydney Morning News:

Our ongoing inertia on climate change suggests that the problem is deep; not at root technical or political but spiritual, a direct consequence of the seven deadly sins run every bit as wild as the carbon we spew into the air. Easter, properly understood, is still the best antidote but its healing powers (since we’re in Harry Potter land here) are neutralised by the patriarchal corporation — the church — that holds it captive.

Tim Blair of the rival Daily Telegraph calls this dreamy drug-induced vision what it is:

Elizabeth left Harry Potter land a long time ago. She’s presently in a land more familiar to people who ate the entire contents of Samuel Coleridge’s medicine cabinet.

The nearest field of poppies thanks you for your support in the form of carbon dioxide.

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