Wins and Fails This Week in Geek v 14

Flying marijuana, fighting Facebook and denied Dungeon Masters, oh my! As usual it’s been another random week of ups and downs in geekhood, and we’re back with the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Jumping straight into the deep end…

WIN: Medieval Machinery
In the “creative usage of archaic weaponry” category we have Mexican drug dealers winning this week with the application of a catapult to sail marijuana across the border between Mexico and Arizona. The 3 yard tall catapult is capable of launching 4.4 pounds of weed at a time. Catapults aren’t just for little people flinging pumpkins anymore, folks.

FAIL: Spammers
Facebook means business when it comes to penalizing spammers who exploit, hack and otherwise annoy their way into the social networking giant’s vast user base. This was evidenced in a recent court ruling that has spammer Philip Porembski owing Facebook a cool $360,500,000 in damages following a phishing attack that sent 7.2 million spam messages across the site. The messages mostly lead to sites designed to phish login credentials from users, though there were also messages that contained links that earned Porembski money every time they were clicked. Somehow I doubt it was $360,500,000 worth of earnings, however, so Facebook may face an uphill battle to see even a fraction of its winnings. Facebook claims 4,500 people deactivated their accounts due to Porembski’s spam.

WIN: Cooperation
After Egypt shut off access to the Internet this week, a French ISP set up a dial-up network Egyptians can use to reach the Internet. The non-profit ISP, French Data Network, allows anyone with an analog phone and international long distance capabilities to dial in to +33 1 72 89 01 50 with login username & password both “toto” (sans quotes).

FAIL: Saving Throw
This week a court ruled that Dungeons & Dragons threatens prison security by encouraging gang-like behavior. The Dungeon Master, doling out directions to players, is akin to a gang boss, according to people actually responsible for our safety and well being. Goblins everywhere are sleeping more soundly tonight courtesy of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

An aside…
As an aside, I’d like to take a moment to mention the 25th anniversary of the explosion of the shuttle Challenger, which was honored with memorials on Friday. 73 seconds was the total duration of the ill-fated flight, the story of which we all know well. As I was a school child who stayed home to watch the launch, the images will be forever burned into my memory. Even in the wake of the disaster I proudly told anyone who asked that I wanted to be an astronaut – perhaps even moreso for having seen the dangers of manned spaceflight in living color. May the Challenger heroes and all the heroes who’ve given their lives for the advancement of mankind beyond this blue planet rest in peace.

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