Smart Home Hackers Set Couple’s Thermostat to 90 Degrees

Thermostat Hijacked by Hackers
(YouTube/FOX6 News Milwaukee)

In many ways, the frequent advances in technology are a godsend. We have better TVs, access to unlimited information, an astonishing level of convenience, and touch screens and voice-activated devices generally make it seem like we’re living in the future.

There are drawbacks to this increase in technology comes the occasional drawback, like access to too much information, an obtrusive dependence on our devices, and the constant looming threat of loss of privacy. All of these things are trade-offs most of us are willing to make, or, at the very least, too far down the road to reverse.

But there are some things a man simply can’t stand. One of them is when someone tries to touch his fries, another is when someone messes with his thermostat.

A Milwaukee man and his wife faced that very threat recently when his newly installed Google Nest thermostat was compromised by hackers, who promptly began messing with their home.

Samantha and Lamont Westmoreland at first suspected a glitch when they saw that their thermostat was turned up to 90 degrees. Soon it became apparent that something else was going on when a voice began speaking through one of their home’s cameras and playing vulgar music.

“So I unplugged it and turned it facing the ceiling,” Westmoreland said, before telling Fox 6 in Milwaukee how terrifying the situation was. “It’s supposed to make me feel safe, and I didn’t feel safe,”

Eventually, the couple regained control of their newly installed $700 smart home system by changing their network ID, and Google insisted in a statement to Fox that their system wasn’t compromised, but the network was.

“Nest was not breached. These reports are based on customers using compromised passwords (exposed through breaches on other websites). In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of security risk. Nest users have the option to migrate to a Google Account, giving them access to additional tools and automatic security protections such as Suspicious activity detection, 2-Step Verification and Security Checkup. Millions of users have signed up for two-factor verification.”

Regardless of how it happened, those hackers better watch their backs, because you simply don’t mess with another man’s thermostat.

Watch the video:

Crowdfunded Robocop Statue Finally Complete, Just Needs A Home

(Kickstarter)

You know you’ve done good when someone makes a statue out of you. David defeated Goliath. Ted Williams defeated baseball. Rocky ended the cold war on Christmas. They all have statues commemorating their triumphs.

But Robocop restored law and order to Detroit and he has yet to be honored. UNTIL NOW!

Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that kicked off 10 years, the half-man/half-machine/all incredibly violent robot cop from Paul Verhoeven’s classic movie is finally getting his due. And he looks great.

Inspired by a social media post back in 2011, Detroit artists Brandon Walley and Jerry Paffendorf of the Imagination Station public art group launched the Kickstarter campaign, which eventually got the attention of original Robocop himself, Peter Weller, and reached their goal of $67,000.

But issues over materials and rights, health issues, and more delayed the completion of the statue (read the whole saga in the Detroit Metro Times), and it wasn’t until 2021 that it was finally finished.

And it is HUGE. And awesome!

Robocop Statue
(Kickstarter)

 

(Kickstarter)

The statue is 11 feet tall and the metal base alone weighs half a ton. The entire thing weighs two tons! Where do you possibly put something like that? That’s the problem. They don’t know yet.

If it were up to me, he would stand at the edge of town, greeting – and warning – visitors to Detroit that their city ain’t to be messed with. But wherever he ends up, he’s going to look great, and be a source of pride for locals.

I’d buy that for a dollar!

Fourth Graders Get To Slime Teacher After Reaching Charity Goal of $50,000

Students slime teacher after raising $50,000
(YouTube/Miss Sutherd, TikTok/ms.sutherd)

The importance of giving back is a lesson best learned early. When kids see the impact they can have on the world around them, it has the potential to guide their decisions and priorities for the rest of their lives. Ms. Sutherd, a fourth grade teacher in California, wanted to teach her students both about the power of social media and the impact they can have on others. To help them see their potential firsthand, Ms. Sutherd devised a plan.

Together with her students, Ms. Sutherd challenged her class to raise money for charity using social media as a tool. They settled on raising money for Shriners Hospital for Children, but when asked about their fundraising goal, the young students set the bar astronomically high.

“They said well, ‘What if our goal is $50,000?’ I said, ‘That’s crazy, but I am here for it,’” Ms. Sutherd recalled in a YouTube video.

Ms. Sutherd had gone viral on TikTok for her challenges to her students in the past, but this time, the class aimed to reach as many people as possible to hit their goal. As further incentive for her students, Ms. Sutherd agreed to the ultimate kid fantasy – if the determined fourth graders hit their lofty goal, they’d get to slime their teacher.

@ms.sutherdSLIME MS. SUTHERD #foryou #forthekids #TIKTOKCHALLENGE #fyp #shriners #lovemykids #HairFoodChallenge #PepsiApplePieChallenge #teachersoftictok♬ original sound – Miss Sutherd

After posting her initial plan on TikTok, Ms. Sutherd’s lesson quickly went viral. Her YouTube video’s caption read, “With the help and support of everyone across America (and the world), including the NFL, Tony Hawk, and Rosie O’Donnell, my kids had a day they will NEVER forget.”

Ms. Sutherd pitched in $1,000 on behalf of her class, who donated their tickets (their classroom currency) to the cause. Tony Hawk donated $1,000, and strangers from every state in the US helped the class hit $30,000. Saladin Shriners donated the final $20,000 to get the glass to their final goal. They did it – $50,000, and a whole lot of slime for Ms. Sutherd.

The proud teacher concluded, “This whole experience just goes to show that anyone, of any age, from anywhere, can make a difference.”

8 Epic ’90s Video Games That Represent The Best Of The Decade

There are few things as rewarding as sitting down in front of the TV and thoroughly destroying your kids at a video game — especially once they hit their teens and “just can’t even.” Yeah, yeah, it’s a time to “bond” and “build connections.” But it’s also time to show them their old dad knows WTF is up. You can keep up in Fortnite. Sometimes you even pull off an occasional win. And, yep, sometimes they sit down to play Call of Duty with you, and you’re the king. But where your gaming skills would 100-percent shine is in playing some old-school ’90s video games. You know, the ones your kids probably haven’t even seen. The ones they’d file under dinosaurs of Dad’s era, like payphones and Blockbuster stores

Well, they may not know the struggle of busy signals or late fees, but they’re about to find out the struggle of that S Block on Tetris. Time to dust off the old gaming systems and start one of the most important lessons of your offspring’s education: ’90s video games

'90s Video Games: Mortal Kombat
Giphy

Best ’90s Video Games

1. Super Mario 64

When everyone else was sticking to 2D gaming, Nintendo kicked it into 3D — and it paid off. The world is bold and enjoyable, and the Easter eggs are seemingly never-ending. Kids of all ages will still enjoy the hell out of this game, despite how awful the graphics may seem compared to modern games.

2. Street Fighter II

Ever notice that Xbox gives away a game practically every month that is set up nearly identical to Street Fighter? That’s because it was wildly popular, and to this day, people are looking to cash in on the desire for quick and campy fight games. No joke, when you take inflation into account, Street Fighter II is still one of the highest-grossing video games in the world.

3. Mortal Kombat

We obviously can’t mention SFII without mentioning Mortal Kombat. At the time, the graphics caused a ton of backlash from concerned parents. That, of course, only made kids want it more. Mortal Kombat had staying power, too, thanks to its explosive finishing moves and catchy final cheer. Raise your hand if you still yell, “Finish him!” at random moments. Us, too. 

4. Super Mario World

Have you even really gamed if you haven’t rescued Princess Peach at least a few times? Released in 1990, this game had major staying power thanks to Nintendo’s choice to add multiple completion and win strategies to the levels.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This one hit late, in 1998, but we’re still talking about it. Everyone on the planet knows who Link is… even if they still call him Zelda. And, honestly, it’s probably because of this very game release. The added mind-bending puzzles and solid soundtrack helped seal the deal on this game’s long-lasting popularity. Check out a recent fan remake mad in Real Engine 4

6. GoldenEye 007

GoldenEye branched out considerably from other popular games of its time. It took a step back from the fantastical and landed in the realistic. Or at least as realistic as one can be while pretending to be James Bond in stealth mode. It marked the beginning of well-done and enjoyable first-person shooter games.

7. Sonic The Hedgehog 2

This bright and loud thrasher hit in 1992, but we played it long after. Part of the magic? It’s crazy fun and challenging without being unbeatable. Your kids probably know who Sonic is, thanks to his long-lasting appeal (and the recent Sonic movie). But, trust, they’ve never seen him like this.

8. Tomb Raider

We know why you liked this game in middle school. We get it because we dug it for the same reasons. But compared to what your kids are seeing these days, Lara Croft could feel pretty basic. Having said that, Tomb Raider is a truly solid game full of intrigue, adventure, and action. It also marked the first time a female was a main, controllable character in a video game. So, yeah, it still deserves a spot in the canon of top ’90s video games. 

5 Kid-Themed Virtual Phys Ed Videos to Get Them Moving at Home

5 Kid Themed Virtual Physed Videos
(YouTube/Les Mills)

Virtual learning and social distancing have caused a concerning decline in the activity levels of children. So the next time your kids are taking a recess or they’ve just spent far too long watching TV, break it up with some non-sedentary screen time. Here are 5 teacher-approved physical activity videos with awesome themes that are guaranteed to put your kids in motion.

Dinosaurs

What kid isn’t seriously considering a career in paleontology? In this video, they’ll get to duck, jump, and hide from an array of massive dinosaurs. Will it get their heart rate up? You bet jur-ass it will.

Marvel Superheroes

Newsflash: kids love superheroes. This awesome workout will inspire them to move like The Avengers. Sorry DC lovers, this workout resides in the Marvel Universe – when it comes to getting your kids moving, we need to do “whatever it takes.”

Video Games

Your kids probably dig all-things Mario, so this is a great one to keep in the pipeline when they’ve been sitting around all day playing video games. It’s even hosted by a live-action Mario and he seems like a pretty fun-gi. Let’s-a-go!

Space

Outer space, spaceships, aliens – kids are fascinated by anything that’s out of this world. In this video Britt & Shawn introduce a fun mission that challenges participants to avoid asteroids, jump over craters and hide from ET.

Ninjas

Snow ninjas to be exact – and the goal is to protect the gingerbread man from them. Your kid will have to kick, punch and watch out for avalanches. Instead of throwing stars, they’ll dodge snowflakes, because it’s best to avoid a ninjury.

 

New “Froot Loops” Breakfast Pizza Is Really Stretching Our Definition of Pizza

Froot Loops Pizza
(Instagram/fongspizza_forestave)

Nothing brings people together like pizza. It’s the greatest of all communal foods, and even when pizza gets provincial, it’s still delicious. You can love New York pizza while also appreciating the casserole that is Chicago style pizza. Even chain pizza can be appreciated on some level, and every kid has nothing but incredible memories of the Pizza Hut buffet. But pizza can also tear people apart. Pineapple on pizza has been deemed criminal by some. Kiwi pizza has the internet divided. But one Iowa pizzeria might have officially taken things too far. They’ve created a new breakfast pizza topped with…Froot Loops.

Fong’s Pizza started offering their “Loopy Fruits Pizza” which is a sweet cream cheese base with mozzarella, Froot Loops, Greek Yogurt, and condensed milk. It sounds like a complete abomination.

I try to keep an open mind when it comes to pizza. Even with fruit, sure, throw pineapple on it, let’s give it a whirl. But this is really stretching it. You know it’s shaking up the pizza game when even DiGiorno’s is throwing shade.

If anyone should be uniting against BIG PIZZA, it’s grocery-store pizza.

Still, if you listen to the owner of Fong’s Pizza talk about this concoction, she does make some compelling points. Gwen Page told TODAY the pizzeria wanted something that would be fun for children and that they love doing things that are off the wall.

“What can we do to give people that truly unique experience?” she said. “That’s what we strive for.”

And, well, you can’t deny it’s unique. And these days, with the level of specialization in every industry, not every new thing has to appeal to everybody. Presumably, this appeals to someone. I can’t pinpoint who that may be, but if there can be a new streaming service every week, I don’t see why we can’t throw cereal on pizza and see what happens.

“It’s just a reminder to folks to be silly, live life, and have fun, because that’s really what this pizza is all about: having fun,” she explained.

Having fun IS what pizza is about. But it’s also about, you know, satisfying the primal urge of hunger and keeping you alive for a few more hours, so I may be sticking to my boring, delicious, ancient brand of pizza.

Director Says Lebron’s Space Jam Will Dunk On MJ’s

LeBron's Space Jam Dunks on MJs
(Entertainment Weekly/Warner)

The NBA GOAT debate has been going on for years, and it’s going to continue. For a long time, there was no debate, with 6 rings, an unmatched competitive streak, and an unassailable highlight reel, MJ was the best ever.

Then LeBron came along. He was good immediately, became great quickly, and started piling up rings himself. He may never match MJ’s total, but he’s already outlasted MJ’s career and remained amazingly consistent throughout his 18 (and counting) years. He was gaining on MJ, and then The Last Dance hit the airwaves and reminded everyone who he was.

But this summer, fresh off his latest championship and gunning for another, LeBron has a secret weapon: Space Jam 2.

Adding fuel to an already raging fire, Space Jam: A New Legacy, the sequel to MJ’s beloved Looney Tunes collaboration, pits the stars against each other again. This time on movie screens. And LeBron’s director has chosen sides.

Speaking to EW for a cover story about the new movie, Malcolm D. Lee laid down the gauntlet: “Space Jam: A New Legacy is a better movie than Space Jam,” he declared. “LeBron’s got that going for him.”

SHOTS FIRED.

Don Cheadle co-stars in the movie with LeBron, and he is shying away from the debate about who’s the GOAT on the court, instead choosing to focus on the two legendary athletes’ prowess as actors. “Who is going to be the first to get an Oscar? Let’s have that debate,” Cheadle said. Lebron was pretty good in Judd Apatow’s Amy Schumer movie, Trainwreck, but aside from commercials, he hasn’t done much acting outside of that. Then again, Jordan didn’t so much beyond Space Jam himself…

I guess we’ll just have to wait until July 16th, when the movie hits theaters and HBO Max simultaneously, to see if LeBron can match Jordan in big-screen charisma, and at the box office. The rest of their rivalry will have to be settled in the record books.

Father Figures: He Never Misses

“My husband and I own a business.

He works close to 80 hours a week but somehow never misses a doctor’s appointment, sports game or practice, holidays, or birthdays.

He does miss out on bedtime, bath, meals, homeschool craziness, backyard shenanigans, and sibling fights (with 5 boys there tends to be a lot of those!), but our boys and I know how much he wants to be here for every moment, and when he does make the time to be with us it’s always magic.

My boys have a better understanding of hard work because of him, they have a greater understanding of truly spending time with people you love, and how much family means to us.

I wish he didn’t have to sacrifice this time so often but I am grateful to raise our children alongside this honest, hardworking, strong man that my dudes look up to.”

– Ashley Polen

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Dad’s Reaction Is Priceless After Realizing His ‘Lottery Prize’ Is a Baby

Dad's scratch-off lottery ticket reveals wife's pregnancy
(YouTube/Becoming Baez)

There are moments we experience throughout our lives that change everything – moments we know, without a doubt, we’ll never forget. If you’re lucky enough to experience either one, winning the lottery and having a baby are two momentous occasions that will cement themselves in your memory forever. One man named Rick got to experience both of those life-altering moments simultaneously (sort of), and he genuinely couldn’t be happier.

Hayli Baez and her husband Rick have two kids and have been planning on growing their little family for some time. In a video she shared on social media, Hayli is thrilled to find out that she’s pregnant for the third time. Instead of running to tell her husband immediately, Hayli shares that she’s been preparing for this moment for a while – she’s so prepared, in fact, that she had props.

The ecstatic mom-to-be explains that she’d purchased novelty scratch-off lottery tickets that reveal a unique prize, and she couldn’t wait to put them to use. She calls her husband over and does her best to keep it together, impressively hiding her bubbling-over excitement. She casually reveals that she’d purchased some Regular Old Scratch-Offs and forgotten about them, inviting Rick to scratch one alongside her.

Rick scans the card, laughing slightly at the “one-in-a-million” odds of winning. “Unless … we’re that one in one million,” he considers as he gets down to scratching.

Hayli and Rick scratch their cards side-by-side, and before long, Rick reveals that his lottery ticket shows three gold bars.

“What’s the prize?” Hayli asks, knowing full well what the prize is.

Slightly oblivious to his wife’s enthusiasm, Rick continues scratching his card. “Three gold bars,” he repeats as Hayli nearly loses it.

The scratching process seems to take hours, but eventually, Rick begins to read. “A …. ” *scratch scratch scratch* “a baby? What?”

Hayli stares at Rick. Rick stares at his lottery card. After a pregnant pause (sorry), Rick’s eyes widen and his jaw drops as he lets out a 9-second-long shriek of pure joy. Yes, I timed it.

He pulls Hayli into an embrace, letting out a few heartfelt “yay”s and “wow”s that truly capture the thrill of finding out you’re becoming a parent (no matter how many kids you already have). The happy couple’s joy is contagious, and even on challenging days, it helps us remember just how lucky we are to be parents.

Fan Recreates Top Gun: Maverick Trailer with LEGO Pieces

LEGO Top Gun Trailer
(YouTube/Onbeatman)

One of the downsides of the pandemic, and there are many, many, many downsides, has been the inability to see some of the most anticipated movies of the past year.

The MCU’s Black Widow and Inhumans movies were delayed until later this year (hopefully), Daniel Craig’s last James Bond flick, No Time To Die, is still waiting to be seen by eager audiences, and Tom Cruise’s return to the cockpit as hotshot pilot Maverick in the highly-anticipated sequel to his 80s blockbuster Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick.

We’re still hoping to see all of those movies soon, but in the meantime, some enterprising soul has spent their downtime recreating the Top Gun: Maverick trailer in LEGO form that can only truly be enjoyed by adults.

He calls himself Onbeatman on YouTube, and in his description of the trailer, he briefly explains the project: “After months of painstaking work… I recreated the TOP GUN: MAVERICK trailer in Lego, one frame at a time. This was created 100% independently out of my love for Top Gun, cinema, and LEGO.”

He’s not lying, he totally recreated it, and looking at this thing it’s clear that it took months of painstaking work, even from the first shot of the snowy mountain range. It’s pretty awesome!

Take a look: