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					                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ARAB TIMES, FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2010
NEWS/FEATURES                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    22

                                   People & Places



thrive on thrill
SOMERVILLE, Massachusetts, July
29, (AP): Schuyler Towne took a
gleaming brass lock, inserted a small
bent piece of flat steel into the key-
hole and gently applied finger pres-
sure. Then he slid in a lockpick and
manipulated the mechanism until it
                     swung open.
                        In less than 20
                        Towne, 26, is not
                     a burglar. He’s a
                     lockpicking instruc-
                     tor and part of a
                     growing competi-
                     tive      movement
                     called “locksport”
     Towne           that involves learn-
                     ing the theory of
locks, analyzing the devices and fig-
uring out ways to quickly defeat the
systems without destroying them.
   While lockpickers thrive on the
intellectual thrill of beating all sorts of
locks, they oppose attempts to use the
skill for mischievous purposes and
have laid down universal ethical
guidelines: “You never pick a lock you
don’t own and you never pick a lock
that’s in regular use,” Towne said.
   Some lockpickers observe a code
of responsible disclosure by provid-
ing manufacturers information on
weaknesses they discover in locks
they defeat — just like responsible
computer hackers do when they
detect security flaws in software.
   Still, the sport worries some law
enforcement authorities, like James
Pasco of the National Fraternal Order
of Police.                                    President Barack Obama appears on the ABC’s television show ‘The View’ in New York, July 28. (From left): Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, the president, Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. (AP)
   “I’m sure that they are having a
good time and I’m sure that the vast
majority of people engaged in it are                               Obama reflects on 20 months of crises
just puzzle solvers of a sort, (but) you
run the absolute risk of educating               US     President     Barack   Obama            Thursday.                                          But Obama said he was gratified to            Sasha, 9, saying they were “full of ideas,      media. He said his administration overre-
criminals who might be inclined to            Wednesday reflected on 20 months of                  In brief excerpts released by ABC,           see the economy growing again and said           and opinions and observations — it’s just       acted by forcing her out.
pick locks for illegal purposes, you          crises that have plagued his administra-          Obama reflected on a difficult last 20          that though he had been getting a tough          a great age.”                                      Obama said the forced resignation of
know,” Pasco said.                            tion, in a rare interview with a daytime          months, joking “where do I begin here?”         ride from the pundits, the plight of the            He also nominated his weekend vaca-          Shirley Sherrod shows racial tensions
   Babak Javadi of the US chapter of          television talk show.                                The challenges included “a non-stop          American people was what mattered.               tion in Maine this month as one of his          still exist in America.
                                                 Obama taped an appearance with                 effort to restart the economy, we have             “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying         recent highlights.                                 “There are still inequalities out there.
The       Open      Organization      Of      ABC’s “The View” which was presented              also had the oil spill, we have also had        about me, I spend a lot of time worrying            Obama also said that the racial              There’s still discrimination out there,”
Lockpickers, or TOOOL, disagrees.             by a panel including veteran journalist           two wars, we have also had a pandemic           about them.”                                     firestorm that led to the ouster of a black     said Obama, who is the first black US
He says locksport requires enthusiasts        Barbara Walters and actress Whoopi                — H1N1 that we had to manage,”                     On a lighter note, the president also         Agriculture Department official was a           President. “But we’ve made progress.”
to invest a lot of time and patience to       Goldberg. It was to be shown in full on           Obama said.                                     praised his daughters Malia, 12, and             “phony controversy” generated by the            (Agencies)
learn the skills. What’s more, crooks
are likely to use crowbars and saws to
quickly pick locks because they do
not care about surreptitious entry, he
                                                                                                                     Other Lives
   The practice of lockpicking is gen-
erally legal if the picker owns the                                                                                                              ‘They’re surviving & growing at very rapid rate’
lock or has explicit permission from
the owner to pick it. But possession,
creation and distribution of lockpick-
ing tools may be illegal, depending
on the location.
   Locksport fans compete in several
                                                                                                    Amish population expanding westward
formats, including head-to-head con-                                                                HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, July 29,            (0.4 hectare), compared with $2,000 or         only limited use of telephones and elec-       entirely due to the Amish birth rate —
tests that determine the fastest lock                                                               (AP): The search by the booming North         $3,000 per acre elsewhere.                     tricity. Practices can vary from group to      many Amish families have five or more
picker. In the so-called Locksport                                                                  American population of Amish for                 “They are sort of challenging some of       group, but their plain dress and use of        children. Kraybill said the Amish retain
Wizard, each contestant is given a                                                                  affordable, fertile farmland has pro-         the mainstream assumptions about               the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect make            about 85 percent of the young adults
burlap sack containing an identical                                                                 duced settlements in 28 states and            progress and how you achieve the good          them distinct in modern society.               who have to decide whether to remain in
set of locks and is required to blindly                                                             Ontario — and has even led parties to                                                                                                       the church. The Amish marry within the
pick them using only tools they have                                                                                                              life and happiness,” said Elizabethtown           The study focused on all Amish
                                                                                                    scout recently for suitable properties in     professor Don Kraybill, the study’s            groups that use horse-and-buggy trans-         community, and the total number of con-
put in the sack.                                                                                    Alaska and Mexico.                                                                                                                          verts nationwide is believed to be less
   In other challenges, participants                                                                                                              director. “They’re not merely surviving;       portation, so it excluded such automo-
                                                                                                       A new study estimates the number of        they’re thriving, and growing at this          bile-driving groups as the Beachy Amish        than 100, he said.
have to pick their way out of hand-                                                                 Amish has increased nearly 10 percent                                                                                                          About half the Amish are under 18
cuffs before attempting to defeat a set                                                                                                           very rapid rate.”                              and Mennonites.
                                                                                                    in the past two years alone, to a total                         Growth                          The newest state to get an Amish set-       years old, meaning the community tends
of locks. There also are competitions                                                               population of 249,000, compared with                                                                                                        to focus much of its energy on young
to disassemble locks and reassemble                                                                                                                                                              tlement is South Dakota, after a group of
                                                                                                    about 227,000 in 2008. That figure was           The highest rates of growth over the        at least six families bought several farms     people and schools, Kraybill said.
them properly.                                Gabi Gregg, organizer of the Young Fat
                                                                                                    just 124,000 in 1992. Nearly all Amish        past year were recorded in New York (19                                                          Earlier this summer, a van of Amish
   “This is why I pick: I love compet-        and Fabulous Conference, socializes                                                                                                                near Tripp in the southeastern part of the
                                              with fellow bloggers at the plus-size fash-           descended from a group of about 5,000         percent), Minnesota (9 percent),               state. They have planted forage for their      land scouts from Prattsburg, New York,
ing,” Towne said. “Nothing makes                                                                                                                  Missouri (8 percent), Wisconsin (7 per-
me happier than sitting down across           ion retailer Torrid in New York, July 8. The          in the early 20th century.                                                                   cows, built barns and established a            visited Alaska to seek a site for a new
                                              Young Fat and Fabulous Conference is a                   The study by the Young Center for          cent) and Illinois (7 percent). High-          weekly bake sale.                              settlement but were unable to find any-
from another person and attempting                                                                                                                growth areas for Amish in the past five
to open a lock faster than they can.”
                                              series of meet-and-greet events between               Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at                                                               Myra Weber, co-owner of Weber’s             thing suitable. Another group, from
                                                     bloggers and retailers. (AP)                   Elizabethtown          College         in     years also include Kentucky, Kansas and        Grocery, said they’ve patronized her           Illinois and Missouri, just made a return
   Towne’s group meets once a month                                                                                                               Iowa.
in a Somerville garage converted into                                                               Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, found that                                                      store for baking supplies and ice cream.       trip to Mexico on a similar mission.
                                                                                                    about two-thirds of Amish still live in          The Amish are a devout Christian               “We put it in paper sacks for them,            Kraybill said there are no Amish con-
a studio for artists. Winners at its con-                                                                                                         faith dating to the 1500s, and their
tests take only one prize — pride in                                                                the     traditional    strongholds     of                                                    wrap it up really well,” Weber said of         gregations in Alaska or Mexico,
being the best lockpicker.                                                                          Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, but that      ancestors began arriving in eastern            the ice cream. “They say they have to          although small numbers of Amish
   John Loughlin of Stanton Concepts                                                                they continue to spread west, particular-     Pennsylvania around 1730. They gener-          get it home right away and eat this.”          schoolteachers from Pennsylvania and
LLC, a Stanton, New Jersey-based                                                                    ly into the Midwestern corn belt.             ally eschew modern conveniences such                                                          Ohio have been helping improve educa-
                                                                                                       Farmland in Lancaster County,              as motorized vehicles, instead relying on                      Converts                       tion within an Old Colony Mennonite
company that designs and licenses
high-end security lock technology,                                                                  Pennsylvania, can cost $15,000 an acre        horse-drawn carriages and permitting             The remarkable growth is almost              community in Mexico.
said feedback from locksport enthusi-
asts pushes some manufacturers to
develop more secure locks.                                                                      School painters, as well as 50 acres (20          The spot is a bit more than an hour north of   kms) north of New York City.                    cone of silence appears also to cover contrac-
   Loughlin has been working with                                                               hectares) of buffer space to shield the party   Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s home in           The Clintons — and the town — have been      tors, who are reluctant to talk about their deal-
the Netherlands-chapter of TOOOL,                   Chelsea                   Hillary           from prying eyes.                               suburban Chappaqua and about 90 miles (145       silent when it comes to wedding details. The    ings with the Clintons. (AP)
which is based in Amsterdam, to
develop better locks. He sends mem-
bers prototypes of his high-security                   People                                                                                                                                                          ‘Help fight non-native invaders’
locks, and asks them report any dis-
coveries of potential weaknesses.
   “We found them to be just a                RHINEBECK, New York: Never mind that                                                                                                               Florida declares ‘open season’ on lionfish
tremendous resource in our efforts,”          the details about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding
said Loughlin, “... and if anyone is          are being guarded like state secrets. The post-                                                                                                    MIAMI, July 29, (RTRS): As thousands of         expanding in Caribbean and Atlantic waters,
going to find a crack, it’s likely that       card-pretty upstate town of Rhinebeck is ready                                                                                                     Floridians take to the sea to hunt for spiny    where they have few natural predators.
these guys are going to do that.”             for its close-up.                                                                                                                                  lobster in the state’s two-day lobster mini-       Marine biologists in Florida say they are
   Locks are a product of a centuries-           Clinton and her parents, former President                                                                                                       season, they are being                          gobbling up natives species, including
old search for robust ways to protect         Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary                                                                                                        warned by authorities                           members of the snapper and grouper fam-
privacy, valuables and personal secu-         Clinton, have not even confirmed that her                                                                                                          not to catch under-size                         ilies, and posing a threat to the fauna of the
                                              wedding is being held in Rhinebeck. Still,                                                                                                         specimens or exceed                             southern US state’s world-famous coral
rity.                                         signs congratulating her hang in shop win-
   The oldest known lock, from                                                                                                                                                                   strict catch quotas.                            reefs.
                                              dows, residents are talking to TV crews and                                                                                                           But no such limits                              Florida’s wildlife and marine park
Egypt, was made of wood and was               officials are bracing for crowds.
dated to be about 4,000 years old. It            Clinton, 30, will wed investment banker                                                                                                         exist for the equally                           authorities, as well as conservation groups,
relied on the same pin tumbler princi-        Marc Mezvinsky on Saturday, and this little                                                                                                        prickly — but dangerous                         are seeking the help of the enthusiastic
ple that is used by many of today’s           Hudson Valley town of upscale boutiques and                                                                                                        — lionfish, which                               army of amateur lobster hunters during the
most popular locks.                           pricey homes north of New York City is                                                                                                             wildlife authorities are                        Wednesday-Thursday mini-season to try to
   Towne, who is a graphic arts               expecting an influx of celebrity guests,                                                                                                           encouraging local divers         Christ         blunt the invasion of lionfish. Florida
designer by profession, was first             reporters and onlookers.                                                                                                                           to capture or kill at will                      whose governor is Charlie Christ.
                                                 It’s all but certain that the couple will                                                                                                       to try to stamp out the voracious invading         “We want to get rid of them, basically,
introduced to lockpicking at the 2006         wed Saturday evening at Astor Courts, a
Hackers on Planet Earth conference                                                                                                                                                               species from Florida waters.                    we want them dead,” said Zachary
                                              secluded estate along the Hudson River                                                                                                                The gaudy white and reddish brown-           Bamman, who was attending a lionfish
in New York. He says locksport is             built as a Beaux Arts style playground for
popular in Europe, especially in              John Jacob Astor IV more than a century           Spencer Degen shows off three of the ten lobsters he caught on the first day of the              striped lionfish are equipped with an array     reporting hotline on Wednesday operated
Holland, which hosts the big                  ago.                                              two-day miniseason on July 28 in Miami, Florida. The mini lobster hunting season was             of flaring venomous spines like a lion’s        by the Key Largo-based nonprofit organi-
LockCon contest.                                 The estate features the sort of command-       held recently and is followed by the regular commercial hunting season which runs                mane, hence their name. They are native to      zation, Reef Environmental Education
                                              ing view that once inspired Hudson River                                     from Aug 6 to March 31. (AFP)                                         Indo-Pacific seas, but have been rapidly        Foundation (REEF).

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