Archive - 2011

On the new breed of survivalists

Joseph Flatley, Features Editor with The Verge, discusses his recent article entitled, “Condo at the End of the World.” Flatley first gives an overview of The Verge, a new website dedicated to in-depth reporting usually seen in traditional media such as newspapers and magazines. He describes The Verge as a website dedicated not only to what technology means, but also to how it affects our lives. The discussion then turns to Flately’s article on survival condos, which have attracted the attention of wealthy citizens concerned about end of the world calamity and economic collapse. According to Flatley, the interest in survival condos has increased after 9/11, and after the recent economic downturn. The “condos” are abandoned missile silos that date back to the cold war. Flatley describes his interviews with different people who are carving out a market for high-end survival real estate, turning these abandoned missile silos into luxury living. He describes how survivalists might live in an end of the world scenario, including what they will eat and how they will stay properly hydrated.

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From the vaults: Tutti Frutti

This piece originally appeared in Deek Magazine on September 23, 2005.

Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia. The Deep South (like most of America) was a wild place in those days. Richard’s father was a preacher and a bootlegger, selling hooch and salvation as an adherent of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church — a sect of Christianity founded by a farmer named William Miller, who once wrote a book with the unwieldy title, Evidences from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ about the Year 1843.

Richard spent his youth on the dirt street where hustlers of all types would hang out in the hot, dusty Georgia afternoons, singing to snare marks and move goods. There were old men with vegetable carts, ward heelers making the rounds, soap box preachers selling religion… people hustled whatever they had to get by.

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Condo at the End of the World

A new breed of survivalist is wealthy, educated, and plans to ride out 2012 in style

Somewhere in the old Cincinnati-Dayton Defense Area that spans Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana sits a $1.5 million “man cave.” I made my way to the site on a warm fall morning with Google Maps and GPS coordinates supplied by my real estate advisers, Matthew and Leigh Ann Fulkerson of 20th Century Castles, LLC. Built in a decommissioned Nike missile site, the residence boasts a kitchen, four bedrooms, two baths, an exercise room, indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, and an elevator for lowering the owner’s classic automobiles below the surface. On clear days, the doors that once exposed anti-ballistic missile for launch can be opened to let sunshine penetrate the otherwise dimly lit basement.

Continue reading at The Verge

Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick

Kevin Mitnick is a liar. In fact, he wrote the book on lying (well, a book on lying, called The Art of Deception). I’m not trying to call his character into question, but the fact should be noted. In his younger days, Mitnick’s obsession with exploring telephone and computer systems allowed him to maintain a very casual relationship with the truth, one that found him impersonating cops and telephone company employees alike. His hacking was always more than just knowing his way around an operating system and exploiting security vulnerabilities — he could think on his feet and weave fictions out of thin air, which made him a natural “social engineer.” He probably spent as much time on the phone talking telephone companies and state agencies out of sensitive information as he did behind the keyboard, exploiting vulnerabilities in software.

While we can’t be certain of the extent of his exploits, an approximate list could include: breaking into computer systems owned by Sun Microsystems, DEC, NEC, Motorola, and Nokia; getting his hands on documents relating to Pacific Bell’s SAS (Switch Access Services, which could be used to wiretap phone lines); and of course a number of crimes related to his being a fugitive (including identity theft). Mitnick has always maintained that he never profited from his crimes — and there is no proof that he ever did. So how did he become “the most dangerous hacker in America?”

Continue reading on The Verge