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Crime

Scalpers Earned $25M Gaming Online Ticket Sellers 574

Posted by kdawson
from the flash-crowd-at-the-ticket-queue dept.
SeattleGameboy writes "An indictment has been issued for online ticket brokers known as 'Wiseguy Tickets and Seats of San Francisco.' From 2002 to 2009, they used bots, server farms, and CAPTCHA hacking to buy vast number of premium tickets (Springsteen, Miley Cyrus, NFL, MLB playoffs, etc.) and made $25 million in profits. 'They wrote a script that impersonated users trying to access Facebook, and downloaded hundreds of thousands of possible CAPTCHA challenges from reCAPTCHA. They identified the file ID of each CAPTCHA challenge and created a database of CAPTCHA "answers" to correspond to each ID. The bot would then identify the file ID of a challenge at Ticketmaster and feed back the corresponding answer. The bot also mimicked human behavior by occasionally making mistakes in typing the answer, the authorities said.' I guess you can break any system like CAPTCHA if you want it badly enough."
Earth

Climatic Research Unit Hacked, Files Leaked 882

Posted by kdawson
from the playing-dirty dept.
huckamania was one of many readers to write with the news that the University of East Anglia's Hadley Climatic Research Unit was hacked, and internal documents released. Some discussion and analysis of the leaked items can be found at Watts Up With That. The CRU has confirmed that a breach occurred, but not that all 61 MB of released material is genuine. Some of the emails would seem to raise concerns about the science as practiced — or at least beg an explanation. From the Watts Up link: "[The CRU] is widely recognized as one of the world's leading institutions concerned with the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change. Consisting of a staff of around thirty research scientists and students, the Unit has developed a number of the data sets widely used in climate research, including the global temperature record used to monitor the state of the climate system, as well as statistical software packages and climate models. An unknown person put postings on some climate skeptic websites that advertised an FTP file on a Russian FTP server. Here is the message that was placed on the Air Vent today: 'We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps. We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents.' The file was large, about 61 megabytes, containing hundreds of files. It contained data, code, and emails apparently from the CRU. If proved legitimate, these bombshells could spell trouble for the AGW crowd." Reader brandaman supplied the link to the archive of pilfered data. Reader aretae characterized the emails as revealing "...lots of intrigue, data manipulation, attempting to shut out opposing points of view out of scientific journals. Almost makes you think it's a religion. Anyone surprised?" And reader bugnuts adds, for context: "These emails are certainly taken out of context, whether they are legitimate or fraudulent, which adds to the confusion."
Medicine

Believing In Medical Treatments That Don't Work 467

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-two-placebos-and-call-me-in-the-morning dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "David H. Newman, M.D. has an interesting article in the NY Times where he discusses common medical treatments that aren't supported by the best available evidence. For example, doctors have administered 'beta-blockers' for decades to heart attack victims, although studies show that the early administration of beta-blockers does not save lives; patients with ear infections are more likely to be harmed by antibiotics than helped — the infections typically recede within days regardless of treatment and the same is true for bronchitis, sinusitis, and sore throats; no cough remedies have ever been proven better than a placebo. Back surgeries to relieve pain are, in the majority of cases, no better than nonsurgical treatment, and knee surgery is no better than sham knee surgery where surgeons 'pretend' to do surgery while the patient is under light anesthesia. Newman says that treatment based on ideology is alluring, 'but the uncomfortable truth is that many expensive, invasive interventions are of little or no benefit and cause potentially uncomfortable, costly, and dangerous side effects and complications.' The Obama administration's plan for reform includes identifying health care measures that work and those that don't, and there are signs of hope for evidence-based medicine: earlier this year hospital administrators were informed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that beta-blocker treatment will be retired as a government indicator of quality care, beginning April 1, 2009. 'After years of advocacy that cemented immediate beta-blockers in the treatment protocols of virtually every hospital in the country,' writes Newman, 'the agency has demonstrated that minds can be changed.'"
The Courts

Taxpayers Fund AIG Lawsuit Against US 784

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the should-have-let-them-die-when-we-had-the-chance dept.
AIG, now infamous for their executive bonuses, has decided that the $200 billion they received from the government is not nearly enough and is suing the government for the return of $306 million in tax payments. "AIG is effectively suing its majority owner, the government, which has an 80 percent stake and has poured nearly $200 billion into the insurer in a bid to avert its collapse and avoid troubling the global financial markets. The company is in effect asking for even more money, in the form of tax refunds. The suit also suggests that AIG. is spending taxpayer money to pursue its case, something it is legally entitled to do. Its initial claim was denied by the Internal Revenue Service last year."

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