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1,000 feral cats released onto Chicago streets to tackle rat explosion

A Chicago animal shelter is using feral cats to tackle the city’s rat problem.

The Windy City has ranked number one on pest control company Orkin’s list of the “rattiest cities” in the U.S. for six consecutive years, as Chicago has had the most rodent pest treatments.

In an effort to rein in the explosion of rodents, the Tree House Humane Society kicked off a program to release feral felines into areas experiencing rat problems.

After humanely capturing the feral cats, the humane society spays or neuters the animals and places them into residential and commercial settings with rodent infestations to act as an environmentally friendly rodent control.

The Tree House Humane Society says only rescued cats who cannot thrive in a home or shelter environment, or cannot be reintegrated into their former colonies, are used for the Cats at Work program. After receiving approval for a working cat, property and business owners are responsible for their well-being.

“Property and business owners provide food, water, shelter, and wellness to the cats who work for them. In most cases, our Cats at Work become beloved members of the family or team,” the shelter says on its website.

Read more here. (The Hill)

U.S. bankruptcy judge rejects NRA bid to reorganize in Texas

May 11 (Reuters) - The National Rifle Association cannot use bankruptcy to reorganize in gun-friendly Texas, a federal judge in Dallas ruled on Tuesday, handing a defeat to the influential firearms rights group that is facing an effort to dissolve it in New York state.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Harlin Hale's decision, following a trial over the legitimacy of the NRA's January bankruptcy filing, means the group will remain incorporated in New York.

Letitia James, New York's attorney general, had last August filed a lawsuit seeking the dissolution of the NRA, which she accused of corruption and misspending.

"The question the court is faced with is whether the existential threat facing the NRA is the type of threat that the Bankruptcy Code is meant to protect against," Hale wrote. "The court believes it is not."

The NRA, a group closely aligned with U.S. Republican politicians including former President Donald Trump, has been instrumental for years in thwarting Democratic-backed gun control proposals in the U.S. Congress.

Read more here. (Thomson Reuters Foundation News)

Popular brands like Aukey allegedly involved in massive fake Amazon review scheme

The war on fake Amazon product reviews is underway. A security report from SafetyDetectives (via Digital Trends) kicked things off by revealing that "more than 13 million records, equating to 7GB of data, were exposed" on a server. The report goes onto state that the majority of people's data revealed that fake reviews were being provided, including reviews for "Amazon vendors."

Despite this, it would appear that these two companies are also at the top of the list when it comes to this fake Amazon review scheme that has been uncovered. If you were to search for Mpow headphones or AUKEY chargers, you wouldn't really find too much. You could go to the Amazon seller pages, but many of the listings are either unavailable or removed completely.

The way that these review schemes work is that a company representative will reach out for review, or a card will be included in the box of the product. After receiving the product, you are asked to post a review on Amazon with the implication of leaving a five-star review. Some ask for a five-star review explicitly, but others just imply it. In return, the company will provide compensation after the review has been published to Amazon.

This isn't exactly unheard of, as we've seen instances ourselves over the years. However, the data leak revealed that this is not just a blip on the radar. Amazon also has explicit rules against posting fake or paid-for reviews, but it seems that these companies discovered a massive workaround.

Read more here. (Android Central)

Github Restores Reverse-Engineered GTA Code Following DMCA Counter Notice

GitHub has restored a fork of the fan-made “Re3” project that published reverse-engineered code of the popular GTA 3 and Vice City games. The action follows a counter-notice sent by a third-party developer in response to Take-Two Interactive's takedown. Github followed the DMCA procedure and isn't publicly taking sides.

In February, a group of developers released a project that had many passionate GTA fans excited.

After years of work, they published “Re3” and “reVC,” two fully reverse-engineered releases of the GTA III and Vice City games, which were originally released two decades ago.

The reverse-engineered code opens the door to many tweaks and modifications that make the old games much more playable on modern computers. Importantly, however, an official copy of the games was still required for the code to work properly since game assets are not included.

GTA fans welcomed the releases with open arms but the same can’t be said for Take-Two Interactive. A few days after “Re3” and “reVC” were posted on GitHub, the game publisher took them offline, claiming copyright infringement.

“The content in the links below consists of copyrighted materials owned by Take-Two. The use of our copyrighted content in these links are unauthorized and it should be removed immediately,” Take-Two Interactive wrote.

Read more here. (Torrent Freak)

Train firm’s ‘worker bonus’ email is actually cybersecurity test

A rail union has hit out at a “cynical and shocking stunt” after a train company emailed staff to promise a bonus to workers who had run trains during the pandemic – only to reveal it was in fact a test of their cybersecurity awareness.

West Midlands Trains emailed about 2,500 employees with a message saying its managing director, Julian Edwards, wanted to thank them for their hard work over the past year under Covid-19. The email said they would get a one-off payment as a thank you after “huge strain was placed upon a large number of our workforce”.

However, those who clicked through on the link to read Edwards’ thank you were instead emailed back with a message telling them it was a company-designed “phishing simulation test” and there was to be no bonus. It warned: “This was a test designed by our IT team to entice you to click the link and used both the promise of thanks and financial reward.”

The leader of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) union said it was “crass and reprehensible”, especially given that one worker at West Midlands Trains had died from Covid-19 and many others had fallen ill with the virus.

The TSSA general secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “This was a cynical and shocking stunt by West Midlands Trains, designed to trick employees who have been on the frontline throughout this terrible pandemic – ensuring essential workers were able to travel.

Read more here. (The Guardian UK)

This is pretty similar to what has happened with GoDaddy in December last year.

Japan: With less than 1% of the population is fully vaccinated, protests to cancel or postpone Olympics intensify

Japan is now racking up COVID-19 infections like never before. Less than 1% of the population has been vaccinated, new, more contagious variants have arrived on the scene, and people are tired after more than a year of extreme caution.

The situation is so dire that a state of emergency in Tokyo has been extended until the end of May to combat the spread of the virus.

Still, Japanese leaders maintain the games must go on.

"We are putting all our efforts into stemming the spread of infections," Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said last week, asserting that despite concerns, Tokyo can still host a "safe and secure Olympics" this July and August.

Overwhelmingly, Japanese people vehemently disagree with that sentiment.

Read more here. (Insider)

Ransomware gangs get more aggressive against law enforcement

RICHMOND, Va., (AP) — Police Chief Will Cunningham came to work four years ago to find that his six-officer department was the victim of a crime.

Hackers had taken advantage of a weak password to break in and encrypt the files of the department in Roxana, a small town in Illinois near St. Louis, and were demanding $6,000 of bitcoin.

“I was shocked, I was surprised, frustrated," Cunningham said.

Police departments big and small have been plagued for years by foreign hackers breaking into networks and causing varying level of mischief, from disabling email systems to more serious problems with 911 centers temporarily knocked offline. In some cases important case files have gone missing.

But things have taken a dark turn recently. Criminal hackers are increasingly using brazen methods to increase pressure on law enforcement agencies to pay ransoms, including leaking or threatening to leak highly sensitive and potentially life-threatening information.

The threat of ransomware has risen to a level that's impossible to ignore, with hardly a day going by without news of a hospital, private business or government agency being victimized. On Saturday, the operator of a major pipeline system that transports fuel across the East Coast said it had been victimized by a ransomware attack and had halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat.

The increasingly defiant attacks on law enforcement agencies underscore how little ransomware gangs fear repercussions.

Read more about it here:

This is so real and they are doing it every day.
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  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    You need to buy a laptop that supports external GPUs for this.
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    I'm pretty lucky to get myself an Alienware 15 with RTX 2070.
  • Varine Varine:
    I think I'm moving back up north for the summer, I got offered my job as the tournant chef back and I'm tired of struggling down here, it pays like twice as much too
  • Varine Varine:
    I think imma give four or five weeks of notice today to my boss, and see how much that backfires on me. I know he's struggling to hire anyone though, so it's like, do a couple weeks of interviews with me and then we'll have two or three weeks to train someone to take over for me. Hopefully he doesn't fucking let me go in like two weeks cuz that would really fuck me up right now
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    Wouldn't it be better if you give 3 to 4 weeks of notice? So that, at least you are guaranteed for 1 more week of paycheck to hold you over?
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    By the way, where are you moving to?
  • Varine Varine:
    Back to Idaho for the summer, then maybe Houston in August or so, my girlfriend or whatever we are loved it there
  • Varine Varine:
    I'm not sure yet, but my parents need some help cuz they're getting older and my mom has MS so can't do much anymore, so I'll be able to get their property fixed up so they can sell their other house. And the resort is stoked to have me back for the summer, cuz they always struggle with staff.
  • Varine Varine:
    I think it'll be alright, even if they cut me loose a bit early I do have some money and I know plenty of people that will lend me the few hundred bucks to get up there. I'm just catching up after last year still, if I have to kite some bills for a couple weeks it'll be fine.
  • Varine Varine:
    I hate my job but I do like one of my bosses, he does try really hard to get me what I need, and I want to make sure I leave with them comfortable with a new manager
  • Varine Varine:
    I like my coworkers for the most part too as much as I bitch about them, they just aren't reliable. As kids tend to be, I was a shithead at 19 and 20 too I'm sure, so
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    Good luck on getting things going.
  • Varine Varine:
    Eh, it'll be fine, I got it mostly planned out already. Roommates know, boss will know in about an hour when I go to work, I'll have a plane booked once we decide my last day, and I have a place to stay up there lined up for two or three months
  • Varine Varine:
    That all came together surprisingly easily
  • Varine Varine:
    I think I'm going to give 4 weeks, so that'll give me 2 more full checks probably, and then one more coming after I leave.
  • Varine Varine:
    All that shit came together really well suprisingly. My boss was upset cuz I am really good at my job suprisingly, but he's stoked that he got 4 weeks, plus one or two if he needs it, my flight's book in mid June, but I start my new job almost immediately so it'll be nice to have some time to chill and pack and get my rooms cleaned out. He actually gave me a dollar raise right after I gave notice to thank me for not being short or just leaving and making sure I can help interview and train someone to replace me. He is really cool, his food truck has just been a nightmare to run. I get my vaccine next week finally, allegedly Idaho will let me have my license back when I get there, and I have all my bills up to date so it should be an easy move this time around.
  • Varine Varine:
    Is anyone else getting server timeouts in the chat? I think it's on my end, my wifi adapter has been acting up recently
  • Varine Varine:
    100% my end, idk what it is though.
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    Just woke up. No idea.
  • jonas jonas:
    sounds great :) have fun in Idaho
  • The Helper The Helper:
    freaking Idaho
  • Varine Varine:
    Yeah it sucks up there, but it'll be a bit easier for the summer probably.
  • The Helper The Helper:
    When you get to Houston you will have your pick there is a huge shortage of good people to work in your field here. They are hiring everywhere and Texas is pretty much fully open.
  • The Helper The Helper:
    for anyone else following this yes I am in Houston so Varine and I will RL meet gotta love it! Looking forward to it!
  • jonas jonas:

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