ARAB TIMES, FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2010 NEWS/FEATURES 22 People & Places Trends Locksport ‘Lockpickers’ 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 seconds. 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. Code 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 said. Practice 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).