An innocent typo led to a giant 212-story obelisk in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Found on The Verge on Saturday, 05 September 2020
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University student Nathan Wright made an edit to OpenStreetMap data for part of his degree work last year, adding more than two hundred stories to a building that’s actually just two stories. Wright meant to type 2, but instead he typed 212 in the data section for floors.

The typo made its way into Microsoft’s Bing Maps data, which Asobo Studio, the developers behind Microsoft Flight Simulator, uses to map out the world in the game.

Never trust data.

He tried to prank the DMV. Then his vanity license plate backfired big time.

Found on Mashable on Tuesday, 13 August 2019
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Droogie registered a vanity California license plate consisting solely of the word "NULL" — which in programming is a term for no specific value — for fun. And, he admitted to laughs, on the off chance it would confuse automatic license plate readers and the DMV's ticketing system.

It seemed that a privately operated citation processing center had a database of outstanding tickets, and, for some reason — possibly due to incomplete data on their end — many of those tickets were assigned to the license plate "NULL."

Thankfully, the DMV contacted the private citation processing company, which then erased the $12,000 in fines. However, and this part is key, they didn't actually fix the problem with their system.

How can a developer still have a job if his code cannot make a difference between NULL and the string "NULL"?

Banksy artwork self-destructs through shredder moment after $1.4 million sale

Found on CBS News on Sunday, 07 October 2018
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The spray-painted canvas "Girl With Balloon" went under the hammer at Sotheby's in London, fetching more than three times its pre-sale estimate and equaling a record price for the artist. It then ran through a shredder embedded in the frame, emerging from the bottom in strips as an alarm sounded.

The auction house said it was "in discussion about next steps" with the buyer. Some art-market watchers have suggested the work – which shows a girl reaching toward a heart-shaped balloon – could be worth even more in its shredded state.

This is the kind of prank that does not hurt anybody while at the same time it outlines what's wrong with the current world of artwork. If someone has these amounts of money to launder invest, you cannot feel really sorry for the buyer. Unfortunately though, those who say it will now be worth even more are probably right: the art market is retarded like that.

This giant DIY mousetrap destroys everything

Found on CNet News on Sunday, 07 May 2017
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"I've got a bit of a raccoon problem at my house, so I built something to fix the problem," the Backyard Scientist wrote on his YouTube page. "It breaks multiple local ordinances and a few international treaties, but I give you the giant mousetrap."

After many attempts using garage door springs and then coil springs, he finally got it right.

Some people do have too much free time.

City Officials: Hack Caused 156 Emergency Sirens To Go Off In Dallas

Found on CBSDFW on Monday, 10 April 2017
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City officials say the sirens were triggered just before 11:45 p.m. Friday and that the Office of Emergency Management went through protocols to turn them off.

The FCC was notified to assist in identifying the source of hack according to city officials. The city is also working to put in safeguards to avoid these types of hacks again.

If there is something positive about this prank, it's that officials learn that emergency systems need to be secured too.

Woman brilliantly fools a phone scammer

Found on CNet News on Sunday, 04 September 2016
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Dawn Belmonte, of Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, says she decided to scam the scammers. On her Facebook page, she said she recognized the number of the man calling as one regularly used by scammers who claim you owe taxes.

Oddly enough, the scammer didn't realize he had been scammed. Even though Belmonte laid it on very thick at the end by saying she'd been contemplating suicide.

When you get a call from one of those scammers, try to hold him as long on the phone as possible and annoy him as much as possible. For your personal entertainment, and so he cannot call and scam others.

Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

Found on The Register on Friday, 04 December 2015
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“The European office couldn't wait, however, so James “used an aggregated on-demand international ISDN connection so the databases could sync as required.”

“This was massively expensive, but was only needed for two weeks before we could place the order for broadband. The system worked fine unattended, and everyone was happy as the ERP system worked flawlessly.”

Despite the outbreak of happiness, “a week later the IT Manager called me into a meeting with HR to inform me I had been made redundant, effectively immediately.”

“Two months later,” James wrote, “I received a call from the horrified IT Director (the IT Manager himself had been made redundant straight after me), to ask if I knew why they faced an ISDN bill for over £100,000.”

Always think twice before you fire someone.

Kim Jong-un claims to have cured Aids, Ebola and cancer with single miracle drug

Found on The Independent on Sunday, 21 June 2015
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North Korea has created a wonder drug which not only cures Aids, but also eradicates Ebola and cancer, if the latest proclamation from the country’s news agency is to be believed*.

The dictatorship, which is known for making far-fetched claims about its achievements, says that the medicine will apparently be injectable and will be known by the name of Kumdang-2.

The dictatorship is known for making outlandish claims about its own prowess. The state claims that Kim Jong Il invented the hamburger and had magical powers which meant he did not need to use the toilet.

At least the last claim seems plausible if you look at Kim Jong-un's body.

Wandsworth Prison escapee Neil Moore faked bail email

Found on BBC News on Saturday, 28 March 2015
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He posed as a senior court clerk and sent bail instructions to prison staff, who released him on 10 March 2014.

Prosecutor Ian Paton said: "A lot of criminal ingenuity harbours in the mind of Mr Moore. The case is one of extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity, all apparently the developed expertise of this defendant".

Looks like nobody blamed the staff who did not notice that the instructions came from a different domain.

Planning to fly? Pour out your shampoo, toss your scissors, RENAME TERRORIST WI-FI!

Found on The Register on Monday, 27 October 2014
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American Airlines Flight 136 from Los Angeles to London was grounded for nearly a day after a passenger spotted a Wi-Fi network named "Al-Quida Free Terror Network" (sic).

Among the passengers stranded in the incident was UK Government Communications Service head of digital communications Anthony Simon, who was understandably miffed by the ordeal.

"Thanks to the idiot who did this meaning I won't get back to London for another day."

The question is who the real idiot here is: whoever picked a funny name for a WiFi, or officials who really thought that any real terrorist would name a hotspot like this prior to an attack?