A McDonald's worker has been fired after allegedly refusing to serve a paramedics wearing full uniform because staff "don't serve badges."

Sunstar paramedic Anthony Quinn said the fast food worker in Madeira Beach, Florida, refused to serve him and his colleague after telling both of them that "we don't serve your kind here."

Quinn discussed the incident in a post on Facebook. "I walk into McDonald's just to use the bathroom and an employee goes we don't accept officers in here," he wrote.

"I tell her I'm not an officer. She then says anyone with a badge. Then says it to my partner as he walks in to order food, says we don't serve your kind here.

"Just insane how people are," Quinn added.

Caspers, the company which runs the Madeira Beach McDonald's, apologized to the paramedic for the employee's actions and said they have since been fired.

"We are aware of the unfortunate incident that took place at one of our restaurants last night. We, like you, were upset and disappointed and took immediate action," a spokesperson told ABC Action News.

"The employee has been terminated. What occurred does not reflect the values of our brand, our franchise, or the love and admiration we have demonstrated consistently for our friends in law enforcement and first responders. We have reached out to offer our sincerest apology."

The company also confirmed to WTSP that the employee was "no longer with the organization."

Last year, two police officers claimed they were mocked and refused service while attempting to order food at a Burger King in Louisiana.

Two Assumption Parish sheriff's deputies wearing full uniform said workers jokingly told them they restaurant was completely out of food while they were trying to order through the drive-thru speaker.

"They sat there for an extended period of time before someone finally let them order," the department's public information officer, Lonny Cavalier, wrote in the Blue Lives Matter blog.

"[One officer] could hear them inside laughing, but no one would come to the window."

In a statement to WBRZ, Joe Clements of Crown Restaurants, who own the Burger King restaurant in question, said: "The actions of these team members do not reflect the values and beliefs of our organization, nor do they reflect the values and beliefs of the Burger King Brand.

"I have investigated the incident and have determined that certain team members refused service to multiple guests in our drive thru, including the two deputies, on that day. As a result, these individuals no longer work for our organization."


McDonald's famous golden arches catches sunlight March 14, 2001 at one of it's chain restaurants in Boston MA


Math is famously divisive. Some people like to say they’re not “math people” if they have trouble with the subject (though, that might not actually be a healthy approach). Well, guess who have turned out to be math people? Honeybees!

Devoted readers may recall some past stories on this front. Almost exactly a year ago, we learned that bees can understand basic numbers, including the semi-abstract concept of zero. Then, in February, scientists said they’d discovered not only that bees can count, but that they can also do basic arithmetic.

Now the honeybee-math trilogy is complete. With a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the same international team of researchers behind those discoveries has announced that bees are also capable of linking numerical symbols to actual quantities, and vice versa.

That means honeybees can equate a symbol like the numeral 2 to the actual, abstract numerical quantity of 2 “things,” regardless of what the things are

This has all come as a bit of a shock, since the insects have under a billion neurons in their brains. They’re also pretty different evolutionarily from us and the other animals who’ve displayed an aptitude for math: pigeons, African grey parrots, rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees. But clearly, backbones aren’t everything, and honeybees have what it takes to ‘get’ numbers like few other species so far can. Today’s find not only buffs up the bees’ reputation a little bit more, but also provides insights into how other species process and communicate the very concept of numbers.

Practice Makes Perfect

So, how do you train bees to recognize that a given symbol means a specific “numerosity,” or amount of something? Or that a specific numerosity corresponds to a given symbol? The same way you get humans to learn it at an early age: practice.

The researchers trained 20 honeybees and marked each insect with a colored dot to identify them. Then they monitored the bees for about two to four hours each. Half learned to associate symbols with a numerical amount, and the other half the opposite, associating amounts with symbols. (In all cases, an upside-down “T” stood in for 3, and an “N” for 2.)

To train them, the researchers put the bees through a Y-shaped maze. In the first chamber, the base of the Y, the bees saw the thing they were being trained on — the symbol, or the numerical amount — and they then had to choose which leg of the Y to go into, one being labeled with a correct answer and the other a wrong one. Correct answers were rewarded with yummy sucrose, and wrong ones with icky quinine. (And don’t feel bad for any slow learners. “If a bee made an incorrect choice and started to imbibe the quinine, it was allowed to … collect sucrose to maintain motivation.” Don’t want any unmotivated bees!)

After the training, the bees were tested on how well they learned the concepts, by choosing between numerosity options they’d never seen before to represent the numerical quanitity (using different colors, for example, or different shapes of different sizes). And, for the most part, no matter what tricks the researchers threw at them, the bees could handle it, reliably identifying the right number of things, or the right symbol, depending on their training.

“Bees in both groups demonstrated significant learning,” the authors write, “demonstrating that bees learnt the two [symbols] had corresponding matching quantities associated with them.” Good for you, honeybees!

One-Way Learning

But there was one thing the bees couldn’t handle: reversing their training. The group that learned that N means 2, for example, couldn’t figure out that 2 corresponded to N, and vice versa. “While independent groups of bees are able to learn the association in either direction with similar performances in training and tests, it seems the association itself is not reversible,” the authors write.

Which is kind of neat. Even the most math-phobic person is likely to have no trouble grasping the idea that if a symbol refers to a number of things, then the opposite is true as well — most school kids aren’t struggling with the very meaning of numbers, after all. But something in the way bees learned to understand these representations of numerosity kept them from making that connection.

Humans process numbers and symbols in different parts of their brains, so this finding suggests maybe honeybees do too, and just aren’t able to connect them as well. “Understanding how such apparently complex numerical skills are acquired by miniature brains will help enable our understanding of how mathematical and cultural thinking evolved in humans,” the authors write. “And possibly, other animals.”

As far as we know, humans are the only animals that have come up with math. But, it’s increasingly looking like we’re not the only ones who can do it.


More than two thirds (67 per cent) of children believe their generation will be worse off than their parents’, according to a YouGov survey for Britain’s biggest children’s charity.

The children, born around the turn of the millennium, blame lack of job opportunities, financial insecurity and rising house prices as the top three factors that will leave them with a bleaker future than their parents.

They believe they will be physically healthier than their parents’ generation, with just 15 per cent saying they would be less fit. However, almost seven in 10 (69 per cent) believe they will be less happy and have more mental health problems.

They blame social media for worsening mental health by increasing their exposure to unrealistically-high expectations of body image and lifestyles. Rising crime rates, declining youth clubs and services and growing social intolerance of  the young are also cited.

Almost two thirds (62 per cent) of the 1,030 16-24-year-olds polled by YouGov felt the Government cared more about older generations than their own.

Writing for today’s Telegraph, Javed Khan, Barnardo’s chief executive, warned of a looming mental health crisis with one in eight children affected - and called for urgent and sustained investment in mental health services from the £20 billion a year NHS funding settlement.
Study examined mental-health implications of high levels of screen time


High levels of screen time — spent on social media and television in particular — are linked to symptoms of depression, a new study suggests. (Shutterstock)

Screen time — and social media in particular — is linked to an increase in depressive symptoms in teenagers, according to a new study by researchers at Montreal's Sainte-Justine Hospital.

The research team, led by Patricia Conrod, investigated the relationship between depression and exposure to different forms of screen time in adolescents over a four-year period.

"What we found over and over was that the effects of social media were much larger than any of the other effects for the other types of digital screen time," said Conrod, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal.

The researchers studied the behaviour of over 3,800 young people from 2012 until 2018. They recruited adolescents from 31 Montreal schools and followed their behaviour from Grade 7 until Grade 11.

The teenagers self-reported the number of hours per week that they consumed social media (such as Facebook and Instagram), video games and television.

Conrod and her team found an increase in depressive symptoms when the adolescents were consuming social media and television.

The study was published on Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, a journal published by the American Medical Association.

Low self-esteem

The study found that of all the forms of screen time, consuming social media can be the most harmful.

Conrod and her colleague, Elroy Boers, found that the increased symptoms of depression are linked to being active on platforms such as Instagram, where teens are more likely to compare their lives to glitzy images in their feeds.

"It exposes young people to images that promote upward social comparison and makes them feel bad about themselves," said Conrod.

"These sort of echo chambers — these reinforcing spirals — also continually expose them to things that promote or reinforce their depression, and that's why it's particularly toxic for depression."

They also tested to see if the additional screen time was taking away from other activities that might decrease depressive symptoms, such as exercise, but found that was not the case.

'A good pastime'

The most surprising finding for Boers was that time spent playing video games was not contributing to depressive symptoms.

The study suggests the average gamer is not socially isolated, with more than 70 per cent of gamers playing with other people either online or in person.

"The findings surprised us," he said. "Video gaming makes one more happy. It's a good pastime."


Patricia Conrod, left, is a professor of psychiatry at Université de Montréal. She worked on the study with Elroy Boers, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Dr. Martin Gignac, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Montreal Children's Hospital, said there has been an increase in the number of emergency-room visits at the hospital related to teens having suicidal thoughts and behaviour in recent years.

"I don't think that [social media] is the only reason, but it's one of the risk factors we should monitor," said Gignac, who was not involved with the study.

As online relationships supplant in-person communication, Gignac said it's important that young people learn when posting about their lives online is healthy, and when it can hurt.

He's hoping that schools expand programs teaching kids about healthy online activity, and that learning how to practise good "digital citizenship" eventually becomes a universal part of school curriculum.

Scant research

Boers said he was inspired to dig into examining the effects of screen time in adolescents because it's something that's very common among youth, but not something that's widely studied.

"I would almost compare it to smoking in the 1970s, where the very negative effects are still relatively unknown," said Boers.

Though depression can be debilitating at any age, when it is found in adolescents, it is also linked to substance use, lower self-esteem and poor interpersonal skills.

He said, on average, teens are spending six-to-seven hours in front of a digital screen per day.

"What we found is quite worrisome and needs further investigation," he said.

He and Conrod hope their research will be used by pediatricians and other health-care providers to help more effectively treat teens for depression.

According to a recent study in the Journal Science, planting a trillion trees at the global scale could be one of the most effective and efficient solutions to the climate change crisis. An initiative of planting trees globally could help in scrubbing a considerable portion of heat-trapping emissions from our atmosphere.

According to the scientists and researchers, a program at this vast level could contribute to removing around two-thirds of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions majorly caused by the industrial revolution and cutting of the trees at a huge scale.

The scientists worked hard in their research and used Google Earth mapping for getting to the conclusion that there is enough space on earth to plant even more than a trillion trees without disturbing the cities and farmlands. The study reveals that an area covered by the trees about the size of the United States could easily remove about 205 out of approximately 3 billion metric tons of carbon from our atmosphere.

According to Thomas Crowther, who is a climate change ecologist in Zurich endorsed the idea of planting a trillion trees by saying that “This is by far — by thousands of times — the cheapest climate change solution.” He further insisted that this step should be taken without any delay because it would have immediate results in eliminating the impending danger to the climate.

He further emphasized that “It’s certainly a monumental challenge, which is exactly the scale of the problem of climate change.”

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Russia, and the United States have enough room available for reforestation.

However, according to Crowther, although it is an effective solution but not enough to control the climate crisis. He emphasized on the need to stop burning coal, oil, and gas.

Deforestation is the biggest reason for rapid climate change globally. Acres of rainforests are being cut down every day in Amazon for making space for agriculture. Cutting those trees are doubling the heat-trapping gases. While planting new trees is the best solution, stopping the deforestation would bring immediate benefits.

According to Chris Field, a scientist at Stanford University environmental told AP that this study makes sense, but it is an uphill task and won’t be easy to execute this plan. “The question of whether it is feasible to restore this much forest is much more difficult,” Field said in an email.
The proposed vessel would ply polar waters, but scientists have their doubts about its effectiveness.
Image: Submarines can rebuild an iceberg block by block.


The proposed ice-making submarines would ply polar waters and pop out icebergs to help rebuild melting ice. Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha, Denny Lesmana Budi, Fiera Alifa

From building floating cities and towering sea walls to erecting snow cannons in Antarctica to help replenish melting polar ice, scientists and urban planners have proposed all sorts of schemes to defend against rising seas — one of the most worrisome consequences of climate change.

Now, designers in Indonesia have offered up what may be the most audacious plan yet: they propose building ice-making submarines that would ply polar waters and pop out icebergs to replace melting floes.

“Sea level rise due to melting ice should not only be responded [to] with defensive solutions,” the designers of the submersible iceberg factory said in an animated video describing the vessel, which took second place in a recent design competition held by the Association of Siamese Architects.

The video shows the proposed submarine dipping slowly beneath the ocean surface to allow seawater to fill its large hexagonal well. When the vessel surfaces, an onboard desalination system removes the salt from the water and a “giant freezing machine” and chilly ambient temperatures freeze the fresh water to create the six-sided bergs. These float away when the vessel resubmerges and starts the process all over again.

A fleet of the ice-making subs, operating continuously, could create enough of the 25-meter-wide “ice babies” to make a larger ice sheet, according to the designers. Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha, an architect in Jakarta and the leader of the project, said he sees the design as a complement to ongoing efforts to curb emissions.


Artist's rendering shows the scale of the submarine's interior, which the designers say could be used as an office space or laboratory.  Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha, Denny Lesmana Budi, Fiera Alifa

“To stop global warming, of course we still have to reduce carbon emissions throughout the world,” he said in a message, adding that he advocated a two-pronged approach to curbing climate change: reduce carbon emissions on one hand and rebuild lost ice on the other.

Experts praised the designers' vision but cast doubt on the project's feasibility.

“It’s like trying to save the sand castle you built at the beach using a dixie cup as the tide comes in,” Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Penn State, said of the iceberg-making proposal.

Mark Serreze, director of the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, offered a similar assessment. He called the project “very interesting” but said it raised more questions than it answered.

“What are you going to do, put out a flotilla of 10,000 submarines?” he said. “Who’s going to build them and how much energy does it take, and how are the submarines powered?” And unless they’re powered by wind or another clean energy source, he added, the submarines would need to burn fossil fuels, releasing even more planet-warming greenhouse gases into the air.

If the icebergs were big enough, they might help curb sea level rise indirectly by reflecting more of the solar radiation that raises global temperatures. But Serreze said creating the bergs wouldn’t lower sea levels directly if they remained in the water; they'd have to wind up on land to reduce the volume of the oceans.

More important, Serreze said, rebuilding sea ice would do nothing to address the greenhouse gas emissions that are the root cause of climate change. “It’s simply a Band-Aid,” he said of the ice-making vessel idea.


How did Elon Musk grow into the business maverick he is today? It didn’t come easy. CNBC reports that even though the 47-year-old “tech titan Elon Musk is currently worth more than $20 billion … the Tesla and SpaceX boss hasn’t always been so wealthy.” Really?
Musk acknowledged back in June 2018 (via Twitter), “I arrived in North America at 17 with $2,000, a backpack and a suitcase full of books. Paid my own way through college. Dropped out of Stanford Engineering/Physics grad school with $110,000 in college debt.”

Let’s rewind. Looking back, where did this immigrant’s journey begin? Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa. In his home country, he’d moved to Johannesburg and Durban but always wanted to go to America. In a revealing 2012 interview with Kevin Rose, Musk explains, “It always seemed like when there was cool technology or things happening, it was kind of in the United States. So, my goal as a kid was to get to go to America basically.”


A fascinating interview with Tesla CEO Elon Musk back in 2012 in which he discusses some of his early challenges (YouTube: Kevin Rose)

After South Africa, Musk found his way to Canada, where his mother recalls “having very little money … in a rent-controlled apartment in Toronto with Elon on the couch.” He eventually received a scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania in the US. Musk didn’t know what to do after graduating. He admits, “I actually wasn’t sure what I wanted to do growing up. I think at one point I thought inventing stuff or creating things would be a cool thing to do. But I wasn’t really sure if that meant starting a company or whether that meant working for a company that made cool stuff.”

It turns out he’d make a go of it in Silicon Valley. He reached out to one of the hot dot-com companies of the time, Netscape. After making an effort, he recalls, “I didn’t get a reply from Netscape and I actually tried hanging out in the lobby, but I was too shy to talk to anyone. So I’m just like standing in the lobby. It was pretty embarrassing. I was just sort of standing there trying to see if there’s someone I could talk to and then I just couldn’t, I couldn’t … I was too scared to talk to anyone. So then I left.”

Instead, he decided to strike out on his own. Musk quit grad school at Stanford University to team up with his brother, Kimbal, and start Zip2 in 1996. Musk explains that the “initial idea was to create software that could help bring the media companies online. So we helped, in a small way, [to] bring companies like New York Times, Hearst, Knight-Ridder, and so forth … online. They weren’t actually always online — people don’t realize that.”

It all worked out. Zip2 was acquired by Compaq for $340 million in 1999. That laid the groundwork for Paypal … which ultimately set the stage for SpaceX and Tesla. Now, Musk is involved (albeit in a smaller capacity) in many forward-looking companies like The Boring Company and Neuralink. In retrospect, things may have turned out differently. After all, he could’ve made a connection in Netscape’s lobby, landed a job, and found himself coding in a cubicle at a failed internet company. 


An amateur astronomer in Texas captured a rare sight earlier this week when an apparent meteor slammed into Jupiter’s thick upper atmosphere.

On Wednesday, amateur astronomer Ethan Chappel was on the lookout for Perseid meteors, reports ScienceAlert. But his telescope was trained on Jupiter with the camera running. Later, after feeding the data into a software program designed to detect impact flashes, Chappel was alerted to the event.

Looking at the footage, Chappel saw a brief but discernible flash along the western portion of Jupiter’s Southern Equatorial Belt, or SEB.

Later that day, Chappel announced his discovery in a tweet: “Imaged Jupiter tonight. Looks awfully like an impact flash in the SEB.” Chappel released a sharper version of the impact on Thursday, along with a colorized view of the apparent impact.
The flash appeared at at 4:07 a.m. UTC (12:07 a.m. ET) and lasted no longer than a second and a half, said astronomer Bob King in his coverage at Sky & Telescope. The impact still needs to be confirmed by other astronomers, but it certainly bears the hallmarks of a meteor strike, and not something that might be produced by Jupiter’s lightning flashes or auroras.

“It expanded from a pinpoint to a small dot before fading away—telltale signs of a possible impact based on previous events observed at Jupiter,” noted King.

Looking at the flash, the size of the explosion seems small, but it’s important to remember that Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. The meteor had to have been quite big to produce a flash of such prominence.
In a tweet, astronomer Heidi Hammel, a scientist working on the James Webb Space Telescope and a board director at the Planetary Society, said the impact won’t likely “leave dark debris like SL9 [Shoemaker-Levy 9] did 25 years ago.” In July 1994, Hammel was on the Hubble team that chronicled this momentous event, when 21 cometary fragments of Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter over the course of several days. The collisions created a dramatic, albeit temporary, atmospheric scar.


Jupiter’s impact scars following collisions with fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994.
Image: H. Hammel (MIT)/Prudy Schmidt (NASA)

We asked Hammel why this impact is unlikely to leave a smudge.

“In 2010, a flash on Jupiter with a somewhat similar brightness was spotted, and we so looked at Jupiter with both NASA’s Hubble and NSF’s Gemini telescope, and another team looked with ESO’s VLT,” Hammel told Gizmodo. “We saw no impact site. Bottom line: from an analysis of the brightness and duration of the 2010 flash, we can infer the impact energy, and [discern] when such bolides are likely to create detectable effects.”

To which she added: “My tweet was based on my visual inspection of the recent video, compared with my knowledge of past Jupiter bolide impacts since 2010,” including a similar impact in 2012.

Analysis of the 2010 impact estimated the size of the bolide at between 8 and 13 meters (26-43 feet) in diameter, which released around 4 quadrillion Joules of energy, or roughly 1 megaton of TNT. By comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 15 kilotons.

Yesterday, Hammel emailed with Ricardo Hueso Alonso, an astronomer at Universidad del País Vasco in Spain, who confirmed her preliminary visual assessment. Based on his own evaluation of Chappel’s new video, he wrote: “From an energy point of view the flash did not saturate the [telescope] detector and seems smaller than the impact in 2012 and similar to the one in 2010.”

Writing in his Sky & Telescope post, King said any scar left behind from the August 7 impact would be blown westward due to Jupiter’s prevailing winds.

“When I learned of the news yesterday evening, I immediately set up my 10-inch Dob [telescope] for a look, but I was unable to make out any dark scar such as those left in the wake of previous Jupiter strikes,” wrote King. “Several other observers with better skies and much better cameras have similarly recorded nothing obvious at the site since the impact, but that could change. That’s why it would be wise for all amateurs to monitor the site to look for an impact scar or changes in Jovian cloud patterns.”

Since 1994, astronomers have recorded an additional seven impacts on Jupiter, according to King, though nothing quite on the scale of Shoemaker-Levy 9. That said, Jupiter is pounded by meteors on a regular basis—somewhere between 2,000 to 8,000 times the rate of impacts experienced on Earth, reports ScienceAlert. Unlike the impact on August 7, however, the vast majority of these impacts are too small to detect from Earth.

Hopefully confirmation of this latest impact will come soon, along with more details about what must have been a truly large object.


A FEW SHORT decades ago, the archetypal hacker was a bored teenager breaking into his school's network to change grades, à la Ferris Bueller. So today, when cybersecurity has become the domain of state-sponsored spy agencies and multibillion-dollar companies, it may be refreshing to know that the high school hacker lives on—as do the glaring vulnerabilities in school software.

At the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas today, 18-year-old Bill Demirkapi presented his findings from three years of after-school hacking that began when he was a high school freshman. Demirkapi poked around the web interfaces of two common pieces of software, sold by tech firms Blackboard and Follett and used by his own school. In both cases, he found serious bugs that would allow a hacker to gain deep access to student data. In Blackboard's case in particular, Demirkapi found 5 million vulnerable records for students and teachers, including student grades, immunization records, cafeteria balance, schedules, cryptographically hashed passwords, and photos.

Demirkapi points out that if he, then a bored 16-year-old motivated only by his own curiosity, could so easily access these corporate databases, his story doesn't reflect well on the broader security of the companies holding millions of students' personal information."The access I had was pretty much anything the school had," Demirkapi says. "The state of cybersecurity in education software is really bad, and not enough people are paying attention to it."

5,000 Schools, 5 Million Records
Demirkapi found a series of common web bugs in Blackboard's Community Engagement software and Follett's Student Information System, including so-called SQL-injection and cross-site-scripting vulnerabilities. For Blackboard, those bugs ultimately allowed access to a database that contained 24 categories of data, everything from phone numbers to discipline records, bus routes, and attendance records—though not every school seemed to store data in every field. Only 34,000 of the records included immunization history, for instance. More than 5,000 schools appeared to be included in the data, with roughly 5 million individual records in total, including students, teachers, and other staff.

In Follett's software, Demirkapi says he found bugs that would have given a hacker access to student data like grade point average, special education status, number of suspensions, and passwords. Unlike in Blackboard's software, those passwords were stored unencrypted, in fully readable form. By the time Demirkapi had gained that level of access to Follett's software, however, he was two years into his hacking escapades and slightly better informed about legal dangers like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which forbids gaining unauthorized access to a company's network. So while he says he checked the data about himself and a friend who gave him permission, to verify that the bugs led to access, he didn't explore further or enumerate the total number of vulnerable records, as he had with Blackboard. "I was a little stupider in the 10th grade," he says of his earlier explorations.

When WIRED reached out to Blackboard and Follett, Follett's senior vice president of technology George Gatsis expressed his thanks to Demirkapi for helping the company identify its bugs, which he says were fixed by July of 2018. "We were happy to work with Bill and grateful he was wiling to work through those things with us," Gatsis says. But Gatsis also claimed that even with the security flaws he exploited, Demirkapi could never have accessed Follett data other than his own. Demirkapi counters that he "100 percent had access to other people’s data," and says he even showed Follett's engineers the password of the friend who had let him access his information.

Blackboard also thanked Demirkapi, but argued that based on its analysis no one else had accessed those records through the vulnerability he exposed. "We commend Bill Demirkapi for bringing these vulnerabilities to our attention and for striving to be part of a solution to improve our products' security and protect our client’s personal information," reads a statement from a Blackboard spokesperson. "We have addressed several issues that were brought to our attention by Mr. Demirkapi and have no indication that these vulnerabilities were exploited or that any clients’ personal information was accessed by Mr. Demirkapi or any other unauthorized party.

Advanced Persistent Teen
Demirkapi says he started digging up the two companies' security flaws out of a combination of teenage boredom and an ambition to learn more about cybersecurity and web-based hacking. "I have a passion to, I guess, break things," Demirkapi says. "I really wanted to learn about web application testing, so I thought, well, how cool would it be to test on my own school’s grading system?"

Demirkapi notes that, unlike Ferris Bueller, he never actually tried to change students' grades. which would have required a deeper level of access to Blackboard's network. He did, in a separate incident, exploit flaws in a college admission software to change his admission status to "accepted" in the database of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a college he had applied to. A spokesperson for the college said that change alone wouldn't have been enough to admit him.
"These companies say they're secure, that they do audits, but don't take the necessary steps to protect themselves from threats."
-TEEN HACKER BILL DEMIRKAPI
After Demirkapi began to find bugs in Blackboard and Follett's software, he says he struggled to get the companies to take him seriously. In the winter of 2016, he initially tried to contact Follett by asking his school's director of technology to contact the company on his behalf. But as Demirkapi remembers it, she told him the company had dismissed his concerns. He says he later sent messages himself to Blackboard and Follett via email and Follette's contact page. Blackboard initially thanked him for his note and said it would investigate, but didn't follow up. Follett ignored him altogether.

So a few months later, Demirkapi took a more typical approach for a juvenile hacker. Among Follett's bugs, he found that could add a "group resource" to his school's account, a file that would be available to all users and, more importantly for Demirkapi, that would trigger a push notification with the resource's name to everyone in his school district who had Follett's Aspen app installed. Demirkapi sent a message reading "Hello from Bill Demirkapi :)" out to thousands of parents, teachers, and students.

That stunt got him suspended from school for two days. "It was really immature of me to do that, but I didn’t know any other way to get in touch with a company that wasn’t open to contact," Demirkapi says.

If It Weren't for That Meddling Kid
Over the course 2018, after Demirkapi enlisted the help of his school district's director of technology and Carnegie Mellon's CERT Coordination Center, he says the companies finally began to listen. With Blackboard, whose sensitive data he had accessed in the process of testing the software's security, he worked out a contract that stated the company wouldn't sue him, and in return he'd keep the company's vulnerabilities secret until they were fixed—after refusing an initial draft in which Blackboard tried to prevent him from telling anyone even after the patches went through.

Even now that both companies have fixed the software flaws Demirkapi found, he says that his work should worry anyone who cares about the security of student data. "It doesn't seem like there's any interest in this from the security field, because the incentives just aren't very high," he says, pointing out that neither Blackboard nor Follett has a bug bounty program for rewarding security researchers who find and their vulnerabilities. "These companies say they're secure, that they do audits, but don't take the necessary steps to protect themselves from threats."

Some months after his Blackboard vulnerability disclosures, Demirkapi noticed that Blackboard had posted a job opening for a new chief information security officer. Demirkapi jokes that he briefly considered applying. Instead, he's going to try college.

Source: wired


A STUDENT has shared shocking images of his lungs after he claimed vaping for a year caused them to collapse.

Chance Ammirata says he would vape one mint Juul pod every couple of days - the equivalent of 10 cigarettes-worth of nicotine a day.


Chance Ammirata, 18, had emergency surgery for a collapsed lung last week which he says was down to vaping


Chance shared these shocking images of his lungs on social media as a warning to othersCredit: Chance Ammirata / Twitter

But last week the 18-year-old needed emergency surgery to repair damage he says was caused by the toxic chemicals from the trendy devices.

Chance, from Florida, US, started vaping around 18 months ago after believing it was a "safe" alternative to smoking cigarettes.

Last Monday he recalled struggling to sleep because of a pain in his left side but presumed he had pulled a muscle.

The following day he went bowling with a friend and was left in agony just trying to sit in a plastic chair.

He told DailyMail.com: "I remember she made me laugh and it felt like my chest was collapsing, like I was having a heart attack."

"
I remember she made me laugh and it felt like my chest was collapsing, like I was having a heart attack
Chance Ammirata
His friend decided it was time he went to hospital and after waiting five hours he was suddenly surrounded by surgeons.

They told him his left lung had collapsed and he was rushed in for an operation to have a tube inserted into his lung to keep it inflated.

Chance was in shock - he hadn't suffered any other symptoms such as cough or wheezing, and said the diagnosis was "completely abrupt".

He added: "When they did the actual major surgery to reinflate my lungs, the surgeon said, 'whatever you've been smoking has been leaving these black dots on your lungs'."

Emergency surgery

Surgeons were able to repair the hole, but he was told that the "black dots" will likely take years to heal and may never disappear at all.

Chance was told he won't be able to do cross-country running or scuba dive and it'll be a while before he can fly.

He is due to have the tube removed from his chest this week.

The teen, who says he's never smoked cigarettes, is now warning others of the dangers of vaping.


The student, 18, from Florida, US, shared pictures of himself from his hospital bedCredit: Chance Ammirata / Twitter


Medics told Chance that the collapsed lung was likely caused by vapingCredit: Chance Ammirata / Twitter

Sharing a shocking image of his lungs on social media, he wrote: "You thought Juuls were safe. So did I.

"The black dots on my lungs are reminiscence of juuling [sic].

"I've been doing it for a year and a half and can never do it again - you really shouldn't either.

"I know how hard it is to change anyone's mind who's addicted because I was too.

"And I don't think anyone could have said anything to make me stop.

"But your lungs most likely look like this too if you've been smoking.

"Don't let it get worse - please stop - like really please. It's so f*****g scary."

Expert warning

It comes just weeks after eight teenagers were hospitalised with severe lung damage in the same state after inhaling THC via an e-cigarette.

The youngsters arrived at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin with extreme coughing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, fatigue and weight loss.

Experts have previously warned that most e-cigarettes are contaminated with nasty toxins.

Scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health tested 75 popular e-cigarette products, including single use cartridges and refillable e-liquids.

They found almost one in three contained traces of endotoxin, a microbial agent found on gram-negative bacteria.
"
The nicotine in e-cigarettes is not a harmless drug and then there are all these other things such as flavourings that are inhale 
Prof Martin McKeeLondon School Of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine
And 80 per cent contained traces of glucan, which is found in the cell walls of most fungi.

They warned exposure to these toxins has been linked to a number of health problems, including asthma, reduced lung function and inflammation.

E-cigarettes are widely considered to be safer than smoking cigarettes.

While they do contain nicotine - the addictive part of a cigarette - they don't contain any tobacco.

Health officials, including Public Health England, recommend vaping to smokers trying to quit.

But countless experts have urged caution, warning not enough is known about the long-term effects of vaping.


Vaping and e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, pictured is a stock image of a Juul productCredit: Getty - Contributor


Major power failures have been reported across large areas of the UK, affecting trains, airports and traffic lights.

Power operators for the South East, Midlands, South West and Wales said there was a "major incident" affecting electricity.

UK Power Networks said it believed it was due to a "failure on National Grid's network".

Transport for London said the drop in power is affecting traffic lights, while many trains have been delayed.

Blackouts have also been reported in the North East.

Network Rail said all trains had been stopped after a "power surge on the National Grid" but its signalling system has come back online.

Passengers have been warned to expect delays.


A cold-hearted dog sitter was caught on live video slamming a 10-week-old golden doodle to the floor, leaving the puppy whimpering and struggling to get up.

Bryce and Amanda Horton were horrified when they saw the unidentified female sitter forcefully drop their pooch, Lucy, into her pen at their Victorville, California, home Saturday, KTLA reported.

“I saw it on the camera live, she was still standing there. That’s when I talked to her through the camera, told her, ‘Hey, I saw what you did to the dog. You need to get your stuff and get out of the house,'” Bryce told the station.

The video shows the dog struggling to get on all fours, while the sitter stares at it.

The sitter — who was hired through the popular dog website Rover — apparently didn’t realize there was a camera recording her every move.

Lucy was checked out by a veterinarian and miraculously didn’t suffer any bruises or broken bones despite the hard landing.

“The vet made the comment, ‘She must have bones made of rubber’ ’cause she threw her down hard for a puppy that’s that young,” Bryce said.

He said the sitter’s excuse was that she got “frustrated.”

“I don’t understand. She had only been there for maybe 15 minutes,” Bryce said.

Rover said it has nixed the woman’s profile from its site and is cooperating with authorities. It also offered to pay the Hortons’ vet bills.

“The activity depicted in this video is shocking and appalling. We have permanently deactivated this sitter from our platform and will continue to investigate. Any incident of this nature is extremely rare on our platform, and we take it very seriously,” said spokesman Dave Rosenbaum.

San Bernardino County Animal Control has launched an investigation that could lead to criminal charges.

“I understand that people mess up but something like that, you just can’t do that kind of thing,” said Bryce.



Was dog semen not an option? Can we not make smoothies with possum blood instead? How about protein powder made from ground spiders? Maybe just slap a fresh raw donkey uterus onto our plates and have us eat it with our hands? Nah? Is cockroach milk really what we have to go with for the next superfood trend? It feels like we might have overlooked literally every other option before arriving here. But yeah, apparently cockroach milk might have some pretty impressive health benefits.

According to scientists, the “milk” from cockroaches is more than four times as nutritious as cow’s milk and replicating it could be incredibly helpful in feeding the planet’s ever-growing population. It’s the new superfood, which makes sense, because preventing a global famine is pretty much the only way anyone could justify telling you to pour some roach milk over your Cheerios with a straight face.

Now, cockroaches don’t actually produce milk as you and I know it. There is one type of cockroach in particular, the Pacific Beetle Cockroach or Diploptera punctate, that gives birth to live young and secretes (excuse me while I puke) a milk type of substance. This apparent dairy alternative is full of super nutritious protein crystals that scientists want to try and replicate. The researchers say the milk crystals are extremely nutritious substances — a complete food on their own replete with fats, sugars, and essential amino acids. Their goal is to replicate the genes responsible for producing the crystals using stem cell biology so they can make it in a lab.

The important thing here is that there isn’t going to be a warehouse full of female Pacific Beetle Cockroaches getting milked by tiny little machines. And that no one will be drinking a milk alternative that came from the, I don’t know, breast(?) of an actual cockroach. Your cockroach milk ice cream will be lab-grown and nowhere near any actual roaches unless the lab has terrible janitors and messy eating scientists.

Whatever. As long as it’s lab-grown and not actually getting pushed out by some cockroach wet-nurse I don’t care.
SpaceX continues to make history with nearly every Falcon rocket launch, so it’s only fitting that one of the most well-known places for preserving rocket history, Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, would be interested in adding one of the company’s recovered cores to a display. SpaceX’s ‘flight proven’ collection is, after all, piling up. Even more relevant, however, is that most of those historic launches took place at KSC’s Launch Complex 39A.
After the Mars-bound enterprise successfully launched its third Falcon Heavy rocket this week, including the self-landed recovery of both side boosters, KSC directly voiced its interest in a SpaceX addition to their famous Rocket Garden display.
“Hint: We think a #Falcon9 and/or #FalconHeavy booster would look great in the Rocket Garden. 🚀 We have the space available and the capability to make it happen,” Therrin Protze, COO of KSC’s Visitor Complex, tweeted to Elon Musk.
The request was quickly met with a positive reception by SpaceX’s CEO, confirming to fans and KSC visitors alike that both parties involved in making a display happen were on board with the idea. “Sure, that would be an honor,” Musk later replied after describing his admiration for the display. “I love the KSC rocket garden. Spent many days there looking at rocket design details.”

Hint: We think a and/or booster would look great in the Rocket Garden. 🚀 We have the space available and the capability to make it happen.

- Therrin Protze, COO of Visitor Complex



Kennedy Space Center’s Rocket Garden. | Image: Kennedy Space Center/NASA

Kennedy Space Center’s Rocket Garden is currently home to a collection of rockets representing NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, including a Mercury-Redstone 3 rocket like the ones that put the first three American into space – Alan Shepard, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, and Ham the chimpanzee. Interestingly enough, while the Rocket Garden represents human achievements in space travel, the addition of a recovered Falcon core would represent the only resident to have actually left Earth, a distinction that wasn’t necessary only a few years ago. In effect, SpaceX’s success in recovering as much of each launch vehicle as possiblewould cast a new light on Rocket Garden tours with a Falcon in its midst, increasing expectations that one-and-done space travel is now largely a thing of the past.
If all goes well and a deal comes out of the SpaceX and KSC affirmations, the rocket will eventually join a few others in line to dot the country with space-faring Falcon cores. Among those planned is a display at Houston Space Center in Texas via a deal inked in May this year. The rocket is initially planned to be on its side and raised off the ground to allow visitors to walk underneath. One of the special aspects of Falcon’s presence in Houston, itself full of incredible spaceflight history, is why the Center chose to include a SpaceX vehicle in its display collection.
“[We want to]… interpret the history of the space program, but also interpret for the public what is currently going on and where we are going moving on into the future,” William Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston, said in an interview with collectSPACE. “With the relationship that NASA has with the commercial sector in support of the International Space Station and other missions, I felt we really needed to begin interpreting that as well.”
SpaceX also has plans for its very own rocket garden alongside an expanded presence at its launch facility in Florida. The company aims to build a dedicated facility for storing, refurbishing and decommissioning Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters and payload fairings “immediately” after construction approvals are granted, according to an environmental assessment published in April 2018. Included in the plan are 50 acres of land, a 130,000 square foot facility (with and additional 100,000 square-foot facility option, if needed), and a place to display decommissioned Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters, recovered fairings, and its Dragon spacecraft, assuming they won’t be donated to museums instead.

Until the construction for all planned sites are completed, SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California headquarters has the only Falcon on display for visitors to admire. The first booster the company recovered in December 2015 stands 156 feet tall on the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Jack Northrop Avenue, and it has since been the site for an untold number of visitors taking selfies, sharing their excitement for SpaceX’s achievements all over social media. Until more flight-proven cores are distributed, fans will have to just make due watching Falcon cores come homeafter ocean drone ship landings.