Hacker steals $50,000 a few cents at a time

When opening an online brokering account it is common practice for companies such as E-trade and Schwab to send a tiny payment – ranging from only a few cents to a couple of dollars – to verify that the user has access to the bank account listed. Services such as Google Checkout and Paypal use a similar tactic to verify credit and debit cards linked to accounts.

According to court documents, Californian Michael Largent used an automated script to open 58,000 such accounts, collecting many thousands of these small payments into a few personal bank accounts.

Largent also performed the same trick with Google’s Checkout service, cashing more than $8,000 alone from the service.

When his bank contacted him about the thousands of small payments, Largent explained that he had read the terms of service of the sites he was targeting, and believed he was doing nothing wrong, claiming that he needed the money to pay off debts.

Rocketman flies with jet-pack strapped to his back

The self-built contraption took the former fighter pilot five years to build and perfect – and yesterday he gave it its maiden flight.

Stepping out of an aircraft at 7,500ft, Rossy unfolded the 10ft rigid wings strapped to his back as he plummeted earthwards.

Passing from freefall into a gentle glide, he triggered the four jet turbines and accelerated to 190mph above the mountaintops.

With his first big test under his belt, Rossy, 48, is ready for bigger challenges: he plans to cross the English Channel later this year, before attempting to fly through the Grand Canyon.

So far, Rossy and his sponsors have poured more than $240,000 and countless hours into building the device.

MySpace wins $234M spam judgment

MySpace has won a $234 million judgment over junk messages sent to its members in what is believed to be the largest anti-spam award ever, The Associated Press has learned.

A federal judge ruled against two of the Internet’s most prominent spam defendants, Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines, after the two failed to show up at a court hearing.

Rines and Wallace worked in concert to create their own MySpace accounts or take over existing ones by stealing passwords.

They then e-mailed other MySpace members asking them to check out a cool video or another cool site. When you go there, they were making money trying to sell you something or making money based on hits or trying to sell ring tones.

It would be a surprise, though, if MySpace ever collected. The giant judgments are all defaults, which means they don’t necessarily even know how to find the spammer.

There was no telephone listing for Wallace in the Las Vegas area, where he is last known to live. Service was disconnected for two listed numbers for Rines in Stratham, N.H., his last known address; a third number was unlisted.

CraigsList sues eBay

A few weeks after being sued by eBay, CraigsList is now suing the auction giant, alleging eBay had used its minority stake in Craigslist to steal corporate trade secrets.

Craigslist’s complaint alleges a plan by eBay to use its position as a minority shareholder in Craigslist and its position on the Craigslist board to gather competitive information that led to the launch of eBay’s rival classifieds business. The suit claims eBay code-named Kijiji its “Craigslist killer” in internal strategy discussions.

Space Vegetables Could Solve World’s Food Crisis

The seeds from which these giant veggies grew were fired into space, where they orbited the Earth for two weeks. Once they returned they were cultivated in hothouses, producing the monster specimens seen here.

China, which is behind the space fruit and veg, says they could be the answer to the world’s food crisis. China has been experimenting with space plants since the 1980s.

pumpkin

Previously it has claimed that the near zero gravity conditions – microgravity – have created high-yield rice and wheat plants, and tomatoes and peppers with harvests ten to 20 per cent greater than normal.

The most recent batch of 2,000 seeds was launched into orbit in 2006 on the Shijian 8 satellite. Afterwards they were cultivated and the best specimens selected for further breeding. The results include two-foot cucumhebers and 14lb aubergines. China says its giant fruit and veg have already been sold to Japan, Thailand and Singapore.

Researcher Lo Zhigang admitted he and his colleagues could not explain why time in orbit causes the seeds to mutate. But they suspect exposure to the cosmic radiation that bombards spacecraft in orbit, as well as microgravity, could play a part.

chilli

Wetsuit’s inventor dies

hugh bradnerSurfing would still be shivering and facing a high risk for hypothermia if it weren’t for Hugh Bradner, inventor of the first wetsuit.

Bradner, a renowned physicist and professor emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography died May 5, 2008, in San Diego after a prolonged illness. He was 92.

RIP

Never seen before pictures of Hiroshima

These pictures were taken on the ground, from the inside of the disaster. It is far from the abstract image of the nuclear mushroom. These pictures show Hiroshima a few days after Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb, on August 6th 1945, at 8.17am. These pictures have not been revealed to the US general public yet…

These photographs, taken by an unknown Japanese photographer, were found in 1945 among rolls of undeveloped film in a cave outside Hiroshima by U.S. serviceman Robert L. Capp, who was attached to the occupation forces. Unlike most photos of the Hiroshima bombing, these dramatically convey the human as well as material destruction unleashed by the atomic bomb.

Please contact Sean L. Malloy (smalloy@ucmerced.edu) if you have any information that might help identify the original photographer.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

photos of hiroshima robert capp

Using a skull as a bong… wew gross

The news just fell. Here is a copy/paste from the Associated Press. What kind of sick bastard would do this?

Authorities in Texas have filed corpse-abuse charges against two men who allegedly removed a skull from a grave and used it as a bong.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office confirmed on Thursday that misdemeanor abuse of corpse charges have been filed in the case.

One of the men allegedly told police they dug up a grave in an abandoned cemetery in the woods, removed a head from a body and smoked marijuana using the skull as a bong.

Police found the cemetery and a grave that had been disturbed but are still investigating the rest of the story, officials said.