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Baby Died of Malnutrition While Parents Tended To Virtual Child April 2, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in News, Sex / Relationships, Tech / Science.
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A South Korean couple have gone on trial charged with allowing their baby daughter to starve to death while they played an online computer game.

Prosecutors said they fed the baby once a day and left her alone for hours while they visited internet cafes.

In a tragic twist, the couple were going to the cafes to interact with a VIRTUAL child – named Anima – in a role-playing game called Prius Online (pictured, above.)

The game enables players to interact with Anima and as they do so, help her to recover her lost memory and develop emotions.

Last month, a police officer told the Yonhap news agency the couple appeared to have “lost their will to live a normal life”.

Such a desperately sad story…

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How Passwords Get Hacked April 1, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Tech / Science.
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Every day we seem to hear about some poor soul having their password cracked, be it on their email account, a social networking site, or an online shopping destination.

But how exactly do hackers manage to crack them?  And what constitutes a ‘weak’ password?

Onemansblog.com goes into a helpful amount of detail, explaining broadly about how a hacker works their way in, and the multiple routes to go about it.

According to the site, here’s a Top 10 ‘easiest to crack’ list of passwords, covering 20% of the population:

  1. Your partner, child, or pet’s name, possibly followed by a 0 or 1 (because they’re always making you use a number, aren’t they?)
  2. The last 4 digits of your social security number.
  3. 123 or 1234 or 123456.
  4. “password”
  5. Your city, or college, football team name.
  6. Date of birth – yours, your partner’s or your child’s.
  7. “god”
  8. “letmein”
  9. “money”
  10. “love”

So obvious stuff, like your partner’s name, your city, date of birth, etc, are bad choices.  But what are GOOD password choices?

  1. Randomly substitute numbers for letters that look similar. The letter ‘o’ becomes the number ‘0′, or even better an ‘@’ or ‘*’. (i.e. – m0d3ltf0rd… like modelTford)
  2. Randomly throw in capital letters (i.e. – Mod3lTF0rd)
  3. Think of something you were attached to when you were younger, but DON’T CHOOSE A PERSON’S NAME! Every name plus every word in the dictionary will fail under a simple brute force attack.
  4. Maybe a place you loved, or a specific car, an attraction from a vacation, or a favorite restaurant?
  5. You really need to have different username / password combinations for everything. Remember, the technique is to break into anything you access just to figure out your standard password, then compromise everything else. This doesn’t work if you don’t use the same password everywhere.
  6. Since it can be difficult to remember a ton of passwords, I recommend using Roboform for Windows users. It will store all of your passwords in an encrypted format and allow you to use just one master password to access all of them. It will also automatically fill in forms on Web pages, and you can even get versions that allow you to take your password list with you on your PDA, phone or a USB key. If you’d like to download it without having to navigate their web site here is the direct download link.
  7. Mac users can use 1Password“>1Password. It is essentially the same thing as Roboform, except for Mac, and they even have an iPhone application so you can take them with you too.
  8. Once you’ve thought of a password, try Microsoft’s password strength tester to find out how secure it is.

It’s fascinating (but scary stuff) and well worth a read.  Remember – prevention is better than cure.

It’s True – ALL Men Watch Porn March 29, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Sex / Relationships.
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Scientists at the University of Montreal launched a search for men who had never looked at pornography – but had to give up when they couldn’t find any.

The researchers were conducting a study comparing the views of men in their 20s who had never been exposed to pornography with regular users.

But their project stumbled at the first hurdle when they failed to find a single man who had not been seen it.

Although hampered in its original aim, the study did manage to interview 20 heterosexual male university students who consumed pornography, and found on average, they first watched pornography when they were 10 years old.

Around 90 per cent of consumption was on the internet, while 10 per cent of material came from video stores.

Single men watched pornography for an average of 40 minutes, three times a week, while those in relationships watched it 1.7 times a week for around 20 minutes.

Wow!  BWT isn’t so much surprised by the finding that all men watch porn, but that men watch porn so much!  40 minutes, three times a week seems like quite a lot to us.  But what do you think, BWT readers?  Are you surprised by any of these findings?

Oolong The Rabbit March 9, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Arts, Bizarre.
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Oolong the rabbit was cute.  Ridiculously cute.  He also happened to be rather good at balancing inanimate objects on his head.  That’s why he became an internet sensation, after his owner began publishing photos of his amazingy furryness back in 1999.

Sadly you may notice we speak in past tense, as Oolong passed away in 2003.  But if you remember Oolong (and if you’ve had anything to do with the internet that isn’t porn, you probably do), you can now cherish his life and waffle-balancing adventures in a new book called In Almost Every Picture #8.  It’s a beautiful, 144-page photography book, featuring Oolong in all of his flat headed glory.  From bananas to teapots – there was nothing that little guy couldn’t handle.

Oolong’s owner, Hironori Akutagawa, now has a new rabbit, and is teaching it the ways of Oolong’s many balancing talents.  But nothing can really replace Oolong.  He will always remain dear in our hearts.

Rest in peace, furry flat-headed dude.

P.S. If you can get through The Telegraph’s entire Oolong gallery without getting the sniffles, then you are COLD AND DEAD INSIDE.

The State of Online Content March 4, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Tech / Science.
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Not too long ago we brought your attention to A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, and The Telegraph’s warning of the power of information on the internet.

Now a survey has surfaced that states most Americans now get their news online – hardly surprising.  We’d bet it’s a similar picture in the UK.  Accessing a wealth of information quickly, easily, and (in the vast majority of cases) for free is a no brainer.  But is receiving our news in this manner reliable, or indeed sustainable?

HighTalk.net doesn’t think so.

On the matter of newspapers and/or magazines publishing online versions of their content for free, HighTalk states:

“I’d argue that the online properties of offline publications aren’t truly offering “free” content.  It is subsidized content.  In other words, it is paid content that is being given away.  As I’ve argued before – free isn’t a good business model for journalism and I don’t believe the current state of “free” for newspapers and magazines is sustainable.”

Fair enough, you could argue.  Rupert Murdoch (founder of uber media beast News Corp, which also owns The Times and The Sun) has already said that giving away newspaper content for free is not a viable long term solution.

So what’s left?

Apart from Wikipedia and the odd and the occasional awesome blogger or expert, not much.  Then you find yourself slipping into the worlds of ‘spin’ and ‘deceit.’

HighTalk continues: “Spin is content generated by any source that has an agenda – political parties, non-profit organizations, corporations, activists, political action committees, trade associations, unions, and even branches of the government.  Spin isn’t necessarily “untruth” and, in fact, good spin uses reliable information to make its case.  When you get a bit of information from a friend it probably contains some of their spin – unintentional most of the time, but filtered through their own experiences and biases.”

“Deceit is outright lies or misinformation either by design or from ignorance.”

So how reliable is free content?  Are we walking blindly into a massive online world of Chinese whispers?  Or do most of us only really give a damn about articles involving cute kittens getting rescued by firemen?

Of course, BWT is never so lazy as to take existing content and then re-hash it for your reading pleasure.  Even though we’re essentially just doing that right now.  But never mind.  Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish ‘n’ chips wrapper.

Thanks HighTalk!

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing February 19, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Food, Tech / Science.
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Remember Marcus the school sheep, who  had national newspapers, radio stations, websites and Paul O’Grady petitioning for him to be spared the chop?

He’d originally been purchased by head teacher Andrea Charman, to teach children about the food chain.  But when the media – and “a handful of parents” – caught wind of Miss Charman’s plan to have him slaughtered, there was an outcry for him to be spared.

Five months have passed, and Miss Charman has stepped down from her job.  The Telegraph claims that she has become a modern day scapegoat, and lays a lot of the blame at the feet of anonymous and increasingly hostile users on the web.

The article states: “An online campaign was started. The comments on “Remove Andrea Charman from ever teaching again” duly rolled in, not just from parents in Kent, but from Belgium, and France and Los Angeles. A not untypical message was: “i’m gonna spit on her grave (thats gonna be very soon)”. Others threatened to burn the school down.”

“She is just one of an increasing number of people who have become caught up in what the internet community call “flame wars” – online petitions, or disagreements between two camps, that can spiral out of control.”

Professor Barrie Gunter, head of mass communications at Leicester University, points out that the technology itself is not to blame for such viciousness. “The problem stems from the way people are able to operate anonymously; it is this that can be used as a force for evil. People can behave in a way online that they would never do in the normal, offline world. In the real world, social etiquette restrains people from doing and saying certain things. That restraint does not seem to be apparent on the internet.”

It’s an interesting read, highlighting how easy it is for information to be passed on and in some cases blown all out of proportion on the web.

What do you think, BWT fans?  Should internet users be held more accountable?  Do you find yourself acting out a persona on the web?  And if so, why?

Google And Wiki BFF February 18, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Tech / Science.
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The internet can be a very ferocious place.  Websites can flourish just as rapidly as they die (we’re looking at you, Myspace), and it can generate a dog-eat-dog mentality amongst competitors.

… Which is why BWT was so pleased to see that search giant Google has reached into its wallet and given two million dollars towards the running of Wikipedia.  Pretty nice of them, no?  Especially when you consider Google launched its own “Wikipedia-killer” just a year and a half ago.  Guess they cut their loses and decided to make friends.

Well done, Google!  What’s the chances of Twitter sending Facebook a bouquet of roses?  C’mon people, we can make it happen!

Obvious Internet Study Finds Obvious Things February 6, 2010

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Guess what?

Being addicted to the internet can make you depressed and impact on your mental health.

Want to know what else is truly shocking?  The average age of addicted internet users hovers around twenty one.

Reported here, here, here, and zzz….

Next Week: Drinking Lots of Booze Makes People Seem Prettier

When Not To Look At Inappropriate Images #87 – On TV February 5, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Film / TV, News.
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It’s risky enough looking at images of semi-naked people at work, but what if you were caught doing it at work on live TV?

That was the reality for one poor sod, caught out while his co-worker did a live TV interview with an Australian news program.  You can check out the clip above.  The cheekiness occurs just past the one minute mark.  The chap’s monitor sits to the side of the interviewee’s ear.

Now, I know what you might think – it’s hard to make out the images.  But hang in there and all will be revealed (arf arf.)  The money shot is when the guy realises he’s been rumbled at the 1:32 mark.  Busted!