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Brazilian environmentalists tell residents to urinate in shower to save water

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Environmentalists in Brazil are urging the country’s residents to urinate in the shower while washing themselves, to help conserve water and save the rainforest. Television ads being aired in the country claim that by doing so, the nation could save over 1,000 gallons of water per household each year.

SOS Mata Atlantica ran the ad campaign in an attempt to use comedy to get people to reduce the amount of water they use. “[The ad is] a way to be playful about a serious subject,” said Adriana Kfouri, a spokesperson for Atlantica.

The animated ad narrated by children shows people, including a trapeze artist, an alien and dancers, all taking a shower while at the same time, urinating in it. The ending of the ad then states, “Pee in the shower! Save the Atlantic rainforest!”

Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London, England, proposed a similar campaign in 2006. He said urine should be classified as a “green waste” and that “there is no earthly reason that you need to flush the loo if you have merely urinated. That’s a huge saving of water.”

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Peepal Farm helps 9 rescued dogs cross 8000+ miles across 3 countries to their homes

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Nine rescued Indian-breed dogs are scheduled to join homes in the United States through the India-based animal rescue and recovery center Peepal Farm. The organization decided to take all nine in one big trip to consolidate the costs and paperwork and number of volunteers. Co-founder Joellen Anderson plans to take the animals across the U.S. in a camper van starting the first week of December.

Peepal Farm is an animal rescue and recovery center in Himachal Pradesh, India. It was founded by Shivani, Robin, and Anderson to help stray animals in and around the area and raise awareness of the cruel treatment of strays in India.

Peepal Farm is a stray animal rescue, vegan organic farm, and a low-impact farmstay. It was built in the Himalayan Foothills to accommodate recovering injured stray animals, people who want to do good work, and an organic garden to supplement the diet of all residents.

Peepal Farm is based on the philosophy that every action for survival leaves a “suffering footprint,” especially any act of consumption. As such, the organization focuses on mindful consumption and making survival purposeful through good work, such as alleviating physical pain.

Due to limited space at the recovery center, they have to release the stray animals back on the streets to make space for the incoming patients. However, some animals are either too young or need long term care, so they started a dog adoption campaign called “Adopt Happiness.” They had some success in getting the dogs adopted by locals and dog lovers in India and abroad.

The costs of getting the dogs to their homes was often a consideration of people willing to adopt and Peepal Farm adapted by sharing the cost by getting volunteers traveling the same destinations as the dog’s intended home.

[edit]

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Bangladesh security tightened following Pilkhana massacre and Bashundhara City fire

Friday, March 20, 2009

Following the Pilkhana massacre which occurred February 25 and 26 leaving 74 dead and the inferno at the Bashundhara City shopping mall complex March 13 leaving seven dead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said security measures are being tightened countrywide across Bangladesh.

Fire drills will be enacted at all key-point installations (KPI). Fire fighting systems will be examined by the fire brigade and the public works department (PWD) to ensure functionality. Security measures will be enhanced supplementing areas under private security such as at the Bashundhara City Complex.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department requires modernization and needs new equipment to fight fires past the sixth floor of buildings. The Fire Brigade says it needs turntable ladders, snorkels, foam-tenders, lighting units, emergency tenders, fireproof uniforms, and rescue ropes for fire fighting and rescue operations. Transportation to fires is also an issue due to narrow roads, low electrical wires and congestion.

The Bangladesh National Building Code requires fire fighting equipment installed in buildings over seven floors. This code is to be monitored by authorities to ensure compliance with the new guidelines and to make sure buildings are being maintained.

The Bashundhara City Complex opened Monday for shoppers two days after Friday’s blaze. A probe is underway to determine the cause of the fire and to assess structural damage.

Loss of life was minimized as the blaze broke out on a Friday, the beginning of the weekend in Bangladesh, so offices in the upper floors were empty. The lower eight floors are used for shopping and the upper floors are all Bashundhara Group offices.

The mall is valued at Tk 7.0 billion (US$100 million). It is not known if the complex is covered by fire insurance.

It is estimated that it will take over two years to rebuild the area damaged by flames which were burned down to a skeleton. Bashundhara City’s technical advisor, Latifur Rahman, estimated damages at Tk 2.0 billion (US$29m).

Only one television cameraman has been allowed in to film the burnt area. None of the 2,500 shops, cinemas or cafes were burnt by the inferno. The seventh and eighth floors still experience smoke damage, and there was water damage to merchandise.

A three member committee is currently investigating the cause of the fire which will consist of Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, representatives of the police, IGP Noor Muhammad, and fire brigade, Director General Abu Nayeem Md Shahidullah. The committee is required to report within the week with their findings. The forensics department is also sifting through the burnt remains.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries has also formed a committee which has begun interviewing witnesses and recording their testimony alongside the government committee.

It has been discovered that 150 closed circuit cameras were not being used when the fire started. Another mystery is why the mall fire fighting system has been found unused.

Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think….These matters seem to be mysterious

“In the shopping mall there is an ultra-technology elevator which runs even without electricity but we have found that locked,” Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, joint secretary (Police) of the home ministry, said. “Why the fire burnt so fiercely is a matter to think. We have to see if there was any incendiary substance there. These matters seem to be mysterious.”

Mall management has been asked to submit substances and items which would have been in the upper floors when the fire started. The fire erupted on the 17th floor and spread quickly to the two floors above and engulfed the three floors below. The aerial ladders belonging to the Fire Service and Civil Defence reached as high as the 13th floor of the 21-storey building.

Videos have been sent to the United States (US) for examination to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to help in the damage assessment. Experts from the US are expected to arrive soon.

Firefighters were brought to the rooftop of the 20-storey tower by helicopter. The only fatality in this operation was Baki Billa, a firefighter of Bashundhara City firefighting department, who fell when climbing down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of the building. Three other firefighters made the transition safely. At this same time, the chief security officer was safely rescued by the Bangladesh Air Force helicopter, a Bell 212. Six security officers of the complex also lost their lives.

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Australian researchers confirm stress makes you sick

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Australian researchers say they have scientifically proven that stress causes sickness. The Garvan Institute in Sydney has discovered that a hormone, known as neuropeptide Y, (NPY) is released into the body during times of stress. Their findings show the hormone can stop the immune system from functioning properly.

Neuropeptide Y is one of those hormones that gets unregulated or released from neurones when stressful situations occur…it’s known for example that it regulates blood pressure and heart rates so your heart rate goes up but it hasn’t been known that it actually can affect immune cells as well,” said Professor Herbert Herzog, one of the researchers.

Herzog feels it is good to finally have proof of something people have suspected for so long.

“Now we have proven without doubt that there is a direct link and that stress can weaken the immune system and that makes you more vulnerable when you for example have a cold or flu and even in the more serious situations such as cancer can be enhanced in these situations,” said Herzog.

The Garvan Institute study centres on two key events that enable the human body to recognise foreign substances and control invaders. When our body encounters a pathogen (bacteria and viruses), the immune cells retain and interrogate suspects. Their activation is made possible by NPY. These cells then return to the lymph nodes, which are found all over the body, with information about the foreign invaders. The lymph nodes are where decisions about defence are made.

“Most of us expect to come down with a cold or other illness when we are under pressure, but until now we have mostly had circumstantial evidence for a link between the brain and the immune system,” said lead Garvan researcher, associate Professor Fabienne Mackay. “During periods of stress, nerves release a lot of NPY and it gets into the bloodstream, where it directly impacts on the cells in the immune system that look out for and destroy pathogens (bacteria and viruses) in the body.”

In the case of bacteria and viruses, TH1 cells are part of the attack team that is sent out on the ‘search and destroy’ mission. But when their job is done they need to be turned ‘off’ and the immune system reset. The same hormone, NPY, that activates the sentry cells now prompts the TH1 cells to slow down and die.

“Under normal conditions, circulating immune cells produce small amounts of NPY, which enables the immune cells on sentry duty and the TH1 immune cells to operate – it’s a yin and yang kind of situation. But too much NPY means that the TH1 attack is prevented despite the foreign invaders being identified – and this is what happens during stress,” added McKay.

The impact of stress on the body has been observed in athletes. Ph. D researcher at the University of Queensland, Luke Spence, together with the Australian Institute of Sport, studied elite and recreational athletes over five months.

They found elite athletes were more susceptible to respiratory diseases under stress.

“A lot of elite athletes put themselves through vast amounts of physical stress in their training, but also their emotional, psychological stress of feeling the pressure of Australia on their shoulders, wanting to compete and wanting to do their best,” said Spence.

It’s not just athletes who are prone to stress. Pressures at work and at home may cause emotional and mental stress that can be equally damaging. Almost a third of all work absenteeism in Australia is due to illness, costing employers over $10 billion a year.

“I think it has a huge impact for the work force and also for employers – if their employees are constantly stressed, constantly under pressure, they are more likely to get sick,” Spence said.

Further research could lead to the development of new drugs which may inhibit the action of the neuropeptide Y hormone.

Herzog warns people to minimise stress before it becomes a problem.

“Relaxation methods like yoga will help you to prevent that but there will still be people out there that are not responding to that and treatment by interfering with the system will be important,” he said. “There’s obviously some time until such a treatment will be available but this is something we will definitely work towards.”

The Garvan research will be published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Volume 202, No. 11.

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Rebel leader, 56 inmates escape from East Timorese jail

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and other 56 inmates escaped last night from Dili‘s mail jail.

Australian and Portuguese forces initiated a massive manhunt for the escapees, which with their escape, created a new crisis for international security forces in East Timor. Australian SAS troopers using Black Hawk helicopters and night-vision goggles were involved in the search.

GNR‘s liaison officer, Lieutenant Cabrita told the Portuguese Rádio Renascença news agency that the prisoners took advantage of the relieve of guard to escape. “The evasion happened during the relieve of the forces that were serving in the jail’s security, having the escapees used vehicles for their escape”.

Later Australian police liaison officers confirmed the escape of the rebel leader. “It is understood 57 prisoners are currently unaccounted for, one of those being Mr Alfredo Reinado,” an Australian police spokesman said.

Alfredo Reinado is a former East Timorese Army officer who deserted and led a rebel group during the unrest in May, being blamed for some of the country’s violence during the security crisis.Him and other 14 soldiers of his rebel group were arrested on July by Australian troops for illegal possession of firearms after an GNR patrol found them with pistols, hundreds of ammunition and grenades in a house during a routine operation.

Of the other 56 prisoners unaccounted for, 16 are believed to be former Timorese police and soldiers accused of crimes committed during East Timor’s security crisis, and five prisoners convicted for homicide.

According to Becora’s prison warden Carlos Sarmento, the inmates had escaped by breaking down several walls on the prison’s east wing.

The East Timorese Justice Minister, Domingos Sarmento, blamed the international security forces for the jailbreak and told the Lusa news agency that the New Zealand forces in charge of the security of the prison’s exterior left the prison without informing the Timorese government.

“There was an agreement in which the forces of New Zealand would be in charge of the outside security of the prison, but about a week ago they left the location and didn’t inform us”, Domingos Sarmento said.

Domingos Sarmento said that he contacted the Australian-led forces so that the security outside the prison could be restored, but was told that the forces’ removal from the prison were due to the necessity of deploying troops in other points of the city.

The Minister recognized that the absence of police and military forces on the prison’s outside and the fact that the guard were unarmed contributed to facilitate the escape of the prisoners. Also recognizing that the use of weapons by the guards would improve the security in the jail, he noticed that the internal regulation doesn’t allow that use.

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December

6

The Deadliest Fall

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The Deadliest Fall
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18 December 2004

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Emergency hospital during 1918 influenza epidemic, Camp Funston, Kansas (source: National Museum of Health and Medicine, AFIP).

A bout of the flu can be mild. In young, healthy adults, many infections pass unnoticed. But sometimes the influenza virus evolves into a strain that decimates its victims. The worst known strain swept the world in the Fall of 1918, infecting 500-1000 million and killing 40-100 million, about 2-5% of people.

There are several theories about where the pandemic began, but the likeliest origin was in Haskell County, Kansas, in the United States. People in the sparsely populated county, where farmers raised pigs, poultry, cattle, and grain, began suffering from influenza in late January 1918. Unusually for flu, it was young, healthy adults who were hardest hit. Victims fell ill suddenly, many progressing to pneumonia and dying, often within days. Within weeks, however, the epidemic ended. The natural geographic isolation of this community normally might have contained the fatal flu in a sort of unintentional quarantine, but the First World War intervened. Men were uprooted from their home towns and congregated in huge numbers in army camps for training and then shipping out to other camps or to fight in Europe. The destination for men from Haskell County was Camp Funston, part of Fort Riley, Kansas, where the first influenza case was reported in early March. As soldiers moved among camps, the virus spread. Within two months, the epidemic spread to most of the army camps and most of the largest cities in the United States. As American soldiers went to France, so did the virus, spreading first from the port of Brest.

The flu then spread worldwide. The pandemic reached its height in the Fall of 1918. Spain was affected early, and because Spain was not fighting in the World War, there was no wartime censorship, and news of the outbreak became widely known, leading to the flu being called the Spanish Flu in many countries. In Spain, however, it was called French Flu or the Naples Soldier. In India, about 12 million people died of flu. In some US cities, people died so quickly that morticians couldn’t cope with the bodies. According to Jessie Lee Brown Foveaux, who worked in the Fort Riley laundry during the epidemic: “They were piling them up in a warehouse until they could get coffins for them.”

The disease started with cough, then headache. Temperature, breathing and heart rate increased rapidly. In the worst cases, pneumonia came next, the lungs filling with liquid, drowning the patients and turning them blue from lack of air. Patients bled from every orifice: mouths, noses, ears, eyes. Those who survived often suffered temporary or permanent brain damage. Several million developed encephalitis lethargica, in which victims were trapped in a permanent sleeplike and rigid state, as portrayed in the 1990 movie “Awakenings.” In others, normal thought processes were impaired. During negotiations to end World War I, US President Woodrow Wilson was struck with flu, and people around him noted that his mental abilities never fully recovered. The French leader George Clemenceau had wanted harsher punishment of Germany than Wilson had desired. Clemenceau may have convinced Wilson in his weakened state to accept such harsh terms, which may have been one of the factors causing World War II.

Since flu is highly contagious early in the illness, even before symptoms appear, strict quarantine may be necessary to stop its spread during an epidemic. Australia kept its 1918 flu death rate relatively low by enforcing quarantines. However, in many parts of the world, public health officials hesitated to impose such measures, giving the disease time to gain a foothold. In the US city of Philadelphia, a rally of half a million people was planned in September 1918 to sell bonds to fund the war, at just the time when the flu started to infect residents. Although doctors warned the public health director to cancel the rally, he wanted to meet the city’s quota to raise money for the war and refused to cancel the event. Within days after the rally, half a million city residents caught the flu.

Why was the 1918 flu so deadly? The influenza virus wasn’t preserved at the time of the outbreak, at least on purpose. But in the late 1990s researchers Ann Reid, Jeffery K. Taubenberger, and their colleagues extracted and sequenced the genetic material of the virus, RNA, from tissue of victims who died in the pandemic. They used bits of lung that were preserved in formalin from victims on army bases or from victims buried in permafrost in the Alaskan village of Brevig Mission, where flu killed 85% of adults. Comparisons with known flu viruses in humans, pigs, and birds suggest that some genes of the 1918 virus came from birds or an unknown animal source. Other scientists then were able to show that the amino acid sequence of hemagglutinin protein from the 1918 virus had several changes from other flu viruses that may have helped it to easily bind and invade human cells, and that made the virus look different enough from earlier flu virus strains that people had no immunity.

The possibility exists that another flu pandemic will sweep the world like the one in 1918. In 2004, an H5N1 influenza virus has killed millions of birds and at least 30 people in southeast Asia. So far this virus strain has not evolved the ability to pass directly from human to human, but that possibility becomes more likely as the bird flu pandemic continues and humans remain in contact with chickens, ducks, and other birds. The virus has killed two-thirds of people reported to be infected. Dr. Tim Uyeki, an epidemiologist for the US Centers for Disease Control, says, “you have the ingredients in Asia right now for a public health disaster.”

But since sequences of this bird flu virus are known, it may be possible to develop a vaccine or set of vaccines to protect against it. At a special meeting of influenza experts on November 11th and 12th, World Health Organization influenza program chief Klaus Stohr said, “It is not only possible, but also important, that influenza pandemic vaccines be made available… and there’s a shared responsibility needed to make that happen…. We have a huge window of opportunity now.”

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December

5

Trial ‘soon’ for aid worker who facilitated release of Italian journalist in Afghanistan

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Trial ‘soon’ for aid worker who facilitated release of Italian journalist in Afghanistan
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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

An Afghan doctor, Rahmatullah Hanefi, who works for the Italian non-governmental organization (NGO), Emergency, will go on trial in Afghanistan for his alleged role in the March, 2007 slaying of Afghan interpreter and reporter, Adjmal Nashbandi.

Italian journalist, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his driver and interpreter were kidnapped by the Taliban in Helmond Province, Afghanistan on March 5, 2007. During the ensuing negotiations for Mastrogiacomo’s release, his driver, Sayed Agha, was killed by their Taliban captors. Mastrogiacomo’s interpreter, Adjmal Nashbandi, was later executed by the Taliban. The release of Mastrogiacomo was controversial and criticized at the time for the exchange of five Taliban prisoners in return. Hanefi mediated negotiations, reportedly, with the Taliban for the release of Mastrogiacomo.

Afghanistan’s ambassador in Rome said Tuesday that Hanefi would be put on trial “soon”. It was not revealed what the specific charges against Hanefi are, but it has been suggested that the offence may be accessory to murder in the death of Nashbandi. “Hanefi’s case will come to trial soon, maybe in a week, and a lawyer will be nominated to assist him,” said Musa Maroufi, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Italy. He added that “no execution will be carried out” against Hanefi.

In April, Emergency closed the three hospitals it operates in Afghanistan. The NGO has denied that Hanefi had anything to do with Nashbandi’s death. In a news update on its U.S. website Monday, Emergency suggested that their international staff were forcibly removed from the hospitals by Afghan authorities.

“Continuing under a pretense of normalcy in this situation would provide services so inadequate as to endanger our patients,” said Emergency in the news update. They have decided “to suspend all activity until conditions allowed for the return of… international staff” and suggested a clarification was required from the Afghan government “concerning intimidating threats” allegedly made by the government.

Emergency is pressing for the release of Hanefi.

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December

5

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

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Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi
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Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”

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December

5

Toilet Enclosure

By Patricia Holland

A toilet enclosure is created by installing two toilet partitions around either side of the toilet and sealing off the compartment with a hinged door. This very basic design can then be expanded and customized to any restroom interior. Thanks to the range of options in colors, materials used to make partitions, and the many ways to install partitions, contractors can create private space for any restroom user without wasting space, time, or money in the process.

A toilet enclosure can be built out of partitions made from several different types of materials. On our site, you will find choices in baked enamel steel, stainless steel, plastic laminate, solid Phenolic, and Bradleys proprietary Bradmar solid plastic. Solid plastic is by far the most resilient of surfaces. It is made from a contiguous, colored piece of plastic that does not require painting or repainting. It is vandal resistant and completely moisture resistant, making it the easiest of all materials to clean. It is admittedly, however, the most expensive of the five choices.

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When cost is a major determining factor in bidding a contract, it may be necessary to consider alternatives to solid plastic. Baked enameled steel is the most affordable of these alternatives. It has proven itself to be more than adequate in applications ranging from church restroom design to franchise restaurant design. While it ranks rather low in vandal resistance, a baked enamel toilet enclosure will remain in good condition for years in any environment with low traffic or moderate traffic with minimal risk of abuse. Plastic laminate is a bit more expensive but it is also more durable. It can handle heavier traffic, and the plastic outer coating is easy to clean. Stainless steel is standard in the medical care industry, as well as some restaurants and factory restrooms. Stainless steel is a fine, attractive material that is highly durable, moisture resistant, and super hygienic.

Partitions further vary according to the way they are mounted. This pertains specifically to how the dividers are installed to create a toilet enclosure. Restroom dividers can be mounted to the floor, hung from the ceiling, mounted to both the floor and ceiling, or they can be mounted to the floor and braced with a head rail attached to the rear wall. These four configuration options allow contractors to create restroom floor plans in any size room. The depth of a concrete floor, the height of the ceiling, and the amount of clearance necessary in and around partitions are all factors that play a role in how stalls can be designed within existing space. Bradley restroom partitions are among the finest in the world, if not the very finest in the world, when it comes to giving contractors more opportunities to adapt restroom stall design to the actual space they have available without compromising the integrity of the design.

Based on this, and on the availability of a number of partition components and accessories that are used to create a toilet enclosure, a restroom stall can be designed for ADA compliance, complete site free privacy, and full open floor access to cleaning crews. The size of the stall can be customized to single user, two-user, or large multi-user configurations. Stalls can be placed in restrooms with built-in showers, lockers, and wash fountains, or they can be standalone privacy compartments for the very smallest of possible spaces.

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December

4

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

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Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi
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Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”

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