In Mexico, a group of terrorists (or possibly a lone soul, trying to make it seem as if he's a member of a group) has been mailing bombs to nanotechnology researchers at major universities. The bomber(s) cite the Unabomber, a convicted American bomber, anti-technology activist, and former professor as inspiration for their crimes.
Following the violent kidnapping of former Mexican presidential candidate Diego Fernandez de Cevallos last year, some Mexicans are now having themselves implanted with RFID tracking chips similar to the one that was supposedly cut from Fernandez’s arm by his abductors, the Washington Post reports. Companies selling these chips to scared citizens are promising that they will help rescuers track them down in the event of a kidnapping.
It’s a good rule of thumb that you shouldn’t post anything to the Internet that you don’t want your significant other/priest/grandmother/boss/parole officer to see. You can add the New York City Police Department to that list. The NYPD has established a new unit to track crimes--both past offenses and upcoming trouble--via social media.
By Caitlin KearneyPosted 03.21.2011 at 10:17 am 2 Comments
The aftermath of violent crimes is nothing like what we see on TV, says Stephen Morgan, a forensic analytic chemist. "Crime scenes are messy, chaotic. There's a lot to look at." Too much, in fact. What's needed are methods to simplify the forensic process without damaging evidence at the scene. These three breakthroughs will do just that.
White-hat hackers (that's the good, helpful kind) Michael Gough and Ian Robertson have created an Android app that's capable of breaking into the very popular cardkey-type door locks with a single click. It's not foolproof, since it requires some information about each cardkey system that not everyone will have, but it's still pretty amazing/uncomfortable.
The app (which is not in the Android Market, so don't even bother looking for it) is called Caribou, and relies on a vulnerability in these sorts of security systems that allows them to be unlocked remotely. It's actually a surprisingly lo-fi sort of app: You have to input the IP address of the system you're trying to hack, and then the app will perform a brute force attack (basically trying every single possible combination) until it lands on the correct one. Then the app will unlock the door for 30 seconds while you scoot inside the not-so-secure door.
There's something timeless about a good detective story. At the end of a long day, it's nice to know that the clues check out, the crooks get caught, and everyone goes home happy. During the early 1930s, Popular Science capitalized on the mystery genre by running a series of articles detailing how the modern detective incorporates science into crime detection. We were enthralled by scientists who could trace a bullet to its weapon simply by examining it under a microscope. We were thrilled that a person's gender and age could be determined from a single strand of hair.
Criminals tempted to return to the scene of the crime might find themselves rethinking that impulse if the Questionable Observer Detector is embraced by police forces. The QuOD scans video of a crime scene, searching for those in all-too-frequent attendance, hoping that those repeat gawkers might in fact know something about the crime itself.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, some thieves have found that there's an even cheaper and more anonymous way to make phone calls than buying disposable "burners" (like those featuring so prominently in The Wire): Traffic lights. It turns out that some Johannesburg traffic lights use SIM cards and GPRS to alert authorities to malfunctioning lights--but those SIM cards can also be harvested and used in generic phones to make unlimited, anonymous, free calls.
You know those lizards that spray blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism? This Dutch McDonald's is pretty much like that, only replace "blood" with "synthetic DNA visible under ultraviolet light."
Americans have a prison problem -- namely, we've got a whole lot of people in prisons and that's a huge drain not only on hard money in our public coffers, but on man-hours lost by both the inmates and the people who spend their productive hours keeping an eye on them. But Graeme Wood, writing in The Atlantic, describes a new prison paradigm that would take the economic – and, for the inmates, psychological – duress out of our penal system: let most of the inmates go free.