Epic Monkey War Erupts in Thai City

A city in Thailand saw traffic come to a sudden halt when the streets were overrun by an epic battle that unfolded between rival gangs of monkeys. The wild scene, which was caught on film by amazed residents, reportedly erupted in the community of Lopburi last week. Much to the chagrin of commuters, hundreds of monkeys amassed in huge groups and faced off at an intersection in the city. After a few minutes of bluster and screeching, the creatures engaged in combat while drivers took cover inside their vehicles and watched the fight unfold.

It is believed that the proverbial monkey war was sparked by a scarcity of food as Lopburi is a popular tourist destination that has been hard by the pandemic, which has led to fewer visitors feeding the creatures that call the city home. Perhaps owing to this ongoing predicament, one local source indicated that the specific showdown between the simians was something of a turf war between three separate groups of monkeys likely looking to increase their territory in the snack-deprived city.

Weird ‘Shapeshifting UFO’ Filmed by Bewildered Airline Passenger

A curious video circulating online shows an odd white object changing forms as it floats alongside an airliner and some have suggested that it could be some kind of shapeshifting craft. The rather lengthy piece of footage was posted to YouTube by the channel Disclose Screen. As is often the case, details surrounding the origins of the video are scant, at best, with the only insights being that it was captured by a German individual as they were a passenger on a plane. Be that as it may, the footage is rather fascinating to watch.

In the video, the puzzling anomaly can be seen seemingly hovering outside the aircraft and, at various times, changing into different shapes, including going from a circular form to an almost stick-like appearance. When the witness attempts to zoom in on the object, it appears somewhat transparent, leading some observers to suggest that perhaps it is a “plasma-based life form.” That said, more skeptical viewers say that the ‘UFO’ is merely water or crystals on the window of the plane. What’s your take on the footage?

With videos a person has to somewhat skeptical. Lots of tricks can be applied to videos.

Spaceball One: An Amazing Spaceship

Spaceballs is a 1987 American science fiction parody film co-written, produced and directed by Mel Brooks. Starring Brooks, Bill Pullman, John Candy, and Rick Moranis, the film also features Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and the voice of Joan Rivers. In addition to Brooks in a supporting role, the film also features Brooks regulars Dom DeLuise and Rudy De Luca in cameo appearances.

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Lord Dark Helmet

The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on June 24, 1987, and was met with a mixed reception. It has since become a cult classic on video and one of Brooks’s most popular films. Its setting and characters parody the original Star Wars trilogy, as well as other sci-fi franchises including Star Trek, Alien, and the Planet of the Apes films.

One of the best parts of this movie is Spaceball One. A giant spaceship attack platform. It’s big, very big.

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11,000 meters long

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The original model.

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This item is the massive 17 ft version model of the Spaceball One ship created for the 1987 Mel Brooks’ Star Wars comedy spoof Spaceballs. The model is constructed of styrene and resin, and detailed with kit bashed model parts. It features fiber optic lighting throughout. Spaceballs spoofs much of the design of Star Wars, and this ship is a spoof based of the Empire Star Destroyer. The effects work was done by Apogee Inc., company headed by John Dykstra that split off from ILM in 1978. Thus, Spaceballs marked the first time since Star Wars that the two units shared work on a single project, as Industrial Light and Magic was hired to create the puppet of the chest-burster for Spaceballs. On this movie the Chief Model Makers were Grant McCune, Chris Ross, David Beasley, Cory Faucher, Jay Roth, John Eaves, Tom Pahk, David Sosalla, Suzy Schneider, and Smokey Stover. The Model Department Special Design was run by Rae Burkland, Ron Thornton.

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Teen Has Wild Encounter with Seagull on Amusement Park Ride

A wild video from an amusement park in New Jersey shows the moment when a seagull got ensnared by a ride and wound up stuck in front of the shocked face of a teenager. The jaw-dropping scene reportedly unfolded as Kiley Holman was visiting Morey’s Piers in the city of Wildwood. The trip wound up taking an unforgettable turn when she and her friend decided to ride an attraction, known as the SpringShot, which propels passengers straight up into the air at a staggering 75 miles per hour. Seconds after being sent skyward on the ride, Holman was stunned when a seagull flew into their path and became lodged in the restraint in front of her face.

“It was going the opposite way and then it came back and hit me right in the face,” she recalled to a local TV station. In an amazing video of the incident, a look of confusion can be seen washing over Holman’s face when she realizes that the ride has acquired a proverbial extra passenger. To her credit, the teen coolly grasped the creature and managed to free it from the predicament as the journey skyward continued. Fortunately, unlike Fabio’s infamous encounter with a seagull while riding a roller coaster, the teen wound up coming out of the ride largely unscathed as she says that the bird “only left like the tiniest scratch.”

Mount Thor: Highest Vertical Drop in the World

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Mount Thor, officially gazetted as Thor Peak, is a mountain with an elevation of 1,675 metres (5,495 ft) located in Auyuittuq National Park, on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. The mountain is located 46 km (29 mi) northeast of Pangnirtung and features Earth’s greatest vertical drop of 1,250 m (4,101 ft), with the cliff overhanging at an average angle of 15 degrees from vertical. Despite its remoteness, this feature makes the mountain a popular rock climbing site. Camping is allowed, with the only official site being at the entrance to the Akshayuk Valley near Overlord Peak.

I don’t know about climbing it, maybe a parachute jump from the top.

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Emotional Support Animals on Planes

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal that a medical professional has determined provides benefit for an individual with a disability. This may include improving at least one symptom of the disability. Emotional support animals, typically dogs, but sometimes cats or other animals, may be used by people with a range of physical, psychiatric, or intellectual disabilities. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability. To be afforded protection under United States federal law, a person must meet the federal definition of disability and must have a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has that disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability. An animal does not need specific training to become an emotional support animal.

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The Air Carrier Access Act establishes a procedure for modifying pet policies on aircraft to permit a person with a disability to travel with a prescribed emotional support animal, so long as they have appropriate documentation and the animal is not a danger to others and does not interfere with others (through unwanted attention, barking, inappropriate toileting, etc.

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CNBC

Want to travel with an emotional support dog, duck or miniature horse? Starting next month, United Airlines will want passengers to show they can behave.

The airline is setting more stringent requirements for emotional support animals, joining Delta Air Lines in cracking down on a sharp increase in such animals in the cabin. Delta complained that some of the animals soiled cabins or bit travelers.

United said the number of customers bringing emotional support animals on board has risen 75 percent over the past year.

“The Department of Transportation’s rules regarding emotional support animals are not working as they were intended to, prompting us to change our approach in order to ensure a safe and pleasant travel experience for all of our customers,” United said.

Late last month, a Brooklyn artist tried to bring a peacock on board a cross-country United flight, but was turned away by the airline because of the bird’s weight and size.

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“As a reminder, animals currently prohibited from traveling in the cabin include hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles, sugar gliders, non-household birds, exotic animals and animals not properly cleaned or carry a foul odor,” said United.

The animals below are not on the prohibited list.

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Last 2 images above courtesy of Markozen photoshop.

Super Spyware That Can Take Total Control of Smartphones

NSO Group Technologies (NSO standing for Niv, Shalev and Omri, the names of the company’s founders) is an Israeli technology firm whose spyware called Pegasus enables the remote surveillance of smartphones. It was founded in 2010 by Niv Carmi, Omri Lavie, and Shalev Hulio. It employed almost 500 people as of 2017, and is based in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, Israel.

Pegasus is spyware developed by the Israeli cyberarms firm NSO Group that can be covertly installed on mobile phones (and other devices) running most versions of iOS and Android. The 2021 Project Pegasus revelations suggest that current Pegasus software is able to exploit all recent iOS versions up to iOS 14.6. According to the Washington Post and other prominent media sources, Pegasus not only enables the keystroke monitoring of all communications from a phone (texts, emails, web searches) but it also enables phone call and location tracking, while also permitting NSO Group to hijack both the mobile phone’s microphone and camera, thus turning it into a constant surveillance device.

Pegasus was discovered in August 2018 after a failed attempt at installing it on an iPhone belonging to a human rights activist led to an investigation revealing details about the spyware, its abilities, and the security vulnerabilities it exploited. As of 2016, Pegasus was capable of reading text messages, tracking calls, collecting passwords, tracking location, accessing the target device’s microphone and camera, and harvesting information from apps. News of the spyware caused significant media coverage. It was called the “most sophisticated” smartphone attack ever, and was the first time that a malicious remote exploit using jailbreak to gain unrestricted access to an iPhone had been detected.

On August 23, 2020, according to intelligence obtained by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the NSO Group was reported to have sold Pegasus spyware software for hundreds of millions of US dollars to the United Arab Emirates and the other Gulf States, for surveillance of anti-regime activists, journalists and political leaders from rival nations, with Israeli government encouragement and mediation. Later, in December 2020, Al Jazeera investigation show The Tip of the Iceberg, Spy partners, showed exclusive footage about Pegasus and its penetration into the phones of media professionals and activists, used by Israel to eavesdrop on its opponents and even its allies.

The spyware can be installed on devices running certain versions of iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, as well as some Android devices. Rather than being a specific exploit, Pegasus is a suite of exploits that uses many vulnerabilities in the system. Infection vectors include clicking links, the Photos app, the Apple Music app, and iMessage. Some of the exploits Pegasus uses are zero-click—that is, they can run without any interaction from the victim. Once installed, Pegasus has been reported to be able to run arbitrary code, extract contacts, call logs, messages, photos, web browsing history, settings, as well as gather information from apps including but not limited to communications apps iMessage, Gmail, Viber, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Skype.

Misuse
Although Pegasus is stated as intended to be used against criminals and terrorists, use by authoritarian governments to spy on critics and opponents has often been reported.

Use by India
In late 2019, Facebook initiated a suit against NSO, claiming that Pegasus had been used to intercept the WhatsApp communications of a number of activists, journalists, and bureaucrats in India, leading to accusations that the Indian government was involved.

Phone numbers of Indian ministers, opposition leaders, ex-election commissioners and journalists were allegedly found on a database of NSO hacking targets by Project Pegasus in 2021.

Independent digital forensic analysis conducted on 10 Indian phones whose numbers were present in the data showed signs of either an attempted or successful Pegasus hack. The results of the forensic analysis threw up shows sequential correlations between the time and date a phone number is entered in the list and the beginning of surveillance. The gap usually ranges between a few minutes and a couple of hours.

11 phone numbers associated with a female employee of The Supreme Court of India and her immediate family, who accused the former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, of sexual harrasment, are also allegedly found on a database indicating possibility of their phones being snooped.

Records also indicate that phone numbers of some of the key political players in Karnataka appear to have been selected around the time when an intense power struggle was taking place between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress-led state government in 2019.

It was reported that the Indian government used Pegasus to spy on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and diplomats from Iran, Afghanistan, China, Nepal and Saudi Arabia.

Use by Mexican drug cartels
Reversing the intended use against criminals, Pegasus has been used to target and intimidate Mexican journalists by drug cartels and cartel-entwined government actors.

Use by Saudi Arabia
Pegasus software, whose sales are licensed by the government of Israel to foreign governments, helped Saudi Arabia spy on Jamal Kashoggi, who was later killed in Turkey.

Pegasus was also used to spy on Jeff Bezos after Mohammed bin Salman, the crown-prince of Saudi Arabia, exchanged messages with him that exploited then-unknown vulnerabilities in WhatsApp.

Wheels on Meals: a Movie with a Completely Nonsensical Title

Wheels on Meals is a 1984 Hong Kong martial arts action-comedy film written and directed by Sammo Hung, with action choreographed by Jackie Chan. The film stars Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Lola Forner, Benny Urquidez and José Sancho. The film was shot in Barcelona, Spain.

The film was a box office success in East Asia, including Japan where the film was released as Spartan X. The film was well-received by critics for its action and comedy, particularly the final fight between Jackie Chan and Benny Urquidez, which is considered one of the greatest fight scenes of all time. Jackie Chan with his stunt team were nominated for Best Action Choreography, for both Wheels on Meals and Project A, at the 4th Hong Kong Film Awards, winning the award for Project A.

Plot:

Thomas and David are cousins who run a fast food van in Barcelona. The food is delivered by Thomas, who rushes around the square on a skateboard. After fending off a biker gang they continue business as normal.

They pay a visit to David’s father, who is in a mental institution, and bump into Sylvia, the daughter of David’s father’s girlfriend. Thomas encourages his cousin to try to ask her out on a date, but David chickens out of this, making the excuse she would have said no anyway.

Later that night, while at the van serving food, Thomas inadvertently bumps into Sylvia, who is pretending to be a prostitute. She is actually a pickpocket, and she robs a man in a bedroom and runs away to their fast food van.

Both Thomas and David are enamored by her, but after allowing her to stay in their apartment that night, they wake to find Sylvia and their money gone. The next day, they bump into Moby, a bumbling private investigator who is also tracking Sylvia. They later discover that Sylvia is the heir to a sizable inheritance that a criminal gang is trying to steal from her. When she is kidnapped, Thomas, David and Moby team up to save her, infiltrating the villains’ castle and defeating them in a martial arts battle. The final scene of the film shows David, Thomas and Sylvia reunited. Sylvia asks for a summer job, and Moby asks David and Thomas if they wish to work as private detectives with him, which they refuse.

The film was distributed by Golden Harvest, a distribution, production and exhibition company based in Hong Kong.

Now for that very odd title:

The film’s title was supposed to be Meals on Wheels. Superstitious Golden Harvest executives however demanded the title change because their two previous films with titles that began with the letter ‘M’ – Megaforce and Menage A Trois – were both box office flops.

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