Daily Archives: December 13, 2010

New England Nutmegs Connecticut

Published December 13, 2010

In a world where the Big Ten conference can have 12 schools, and the Big 12 has 10 schools, why can’t New England have five states?

Discover New England's map of New England

Discover New England, the “official” tourism bureau for New England, no longer lists Connecticut. The erstwhile state has been deleted from the bureau’s map of the region, which does include New York City and Montreal.

The Associated Press reports the state failed to pay its annual dues:

Discover New England … will no longer promote Connecticut and its attractions. The move comes after Connecticut eliminated its budget for tourism marketing, and was unable to come up with the annual $100,000 fee.

The story gets more complicated, though. According to CTvisit.com, the website for the state’s Commission on Culture and Tourism, Connecticut still exists and is “closer than you think.”

I’ve got calls out.

As an ode to Connecticut, we of the newsroom have compiled a short list of what Connecticut gave us:

  • Roger Sherman, co-author, Constitution, Declaration of Independence
  • Linda McMahon, executive, World Wrestling Entertainment
  • UConn women’s basketball team, poised to break a consecutive win record
  • Foxwoods Resort Casino
  • George W. Bush
  • Benedict Arnold
  • John Mayer

WBUR continues to observe Connecticut as one of six New England states.

Booked: Gregg Housh, Unofficial Spokesman For Nonexistent Group

Published December 13, 2010

He says he played no part in “Operation Payback,” but Boston’s Gregg Housh is intimately aware of the recent cyberattacks on Visa, MasterCard, Amazon.com, PayPal and the Swedish government.

Housh has made himself the unofficial spokesman for Anonymous, a loosely organized group of hackers with a conscience — “hacktivists,” they call themselves. Housh is our guest today on Radio Boston.

Authorities already know his name, Housh tells the Christian Science Monitor, because he has worked with Anonymous before. He  spent three months in federal prison as a teenager for software piracy.

NPR grabbed this screen shot of the Twitter page affiliated with Anonymous last Wednesday afternoon.

NPR grabbed this screen shot of the Twitter page affiliated with Anonymous last Wednesday afternoon.

Last week, Anonymous carried out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on companies that have cut ties to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. The MasterCard and Visa websites crumbled within minutes; Amazon.com and PayPal remained standing.

“What we may be looking at is 15- and 16-year-old kids who do this … not as a prank but as a protest,” said Mark Rasch, who founded the Justice Department computer crimes unit, in an NPR interview.

“And do we really want to spend the time, the money, the energy and the resources to bring a bunch of these kids over from Belgium or Holland?”

In a DDoS attack, a network of computers, called a botnet, attempts to overwhelm a Web server with requests until the site becomes disabled. I asked people on Twitter for help explaining DDoS in plain English, and my favorite response was from  @jamespoling. I’ll adapt his analogy: Imagine 5,000 people drive on to the Pike and pay the toll in pennies, effectively shutting down the interstate.

Housh is the closest known connection to the shadowy group who will talk on the record. Listen to the show at 3 p.m. for our interview.

Monday Morning: The Bears Hibernated

Published December 13, 2010

What’s news on a warm-ish, blustery Monday morning in Boston:

The Patriots became the first NFL team to clinch a playoff berth. New England trounced the Bears in Chicago last night, 36-7. (Herald)

A Fall River solider was killed in Afghanistan. He is the third Mass. soldier to die in two weeks. (Globe)

Sen. John Kerry is pushing for a (possibly flawed) contract to build combat ships. It could land Pittsfield 500 jobs. (Globe)

A student became the victim of yet another Harvard mugging Saturday night. There have been 11 robberies on a Harvard property since Nov. 11. (Crimson)

Study: Secondhand smoke spreads to apartment-dwelling kids. Even if the parents don’t smoke. (CommonHealth)

Don’t miss: The Globe’s weekend profile of Boston Dawna, citizen crimefighter. “She inhales cigarettes and exhales F-bombs.”