'The Handmaid's Tale' is making SXSW 100 percent more unsettling

Published: Sunday, March 12, 2017 @ 7:22 AM
Updated: Sunday, March 12, 2017 @ 7:22 AM


            Cosplayers from the television series

One way to promote a TV show at South by Southwest: opening a pop-up chicken restaurant. Another way: terrifying people to death. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” went for option No. 2 this weekend in Austin, Texas.

As Statesman Shots co-hosts Omar Gallaga and Tolly Moseley explained in an episode of the podcast Saturday, they came across stoically marching ladies in red on their way to the Los Pollos Hermanos installation promoting AMC’s “Better Call Saul.” They were not the only people startled by the guerilla marketing for the dystopian drama.

>> For complete SXSW coverage, head to Statesman.comMyStatesman.com512tech.com and Austin360.com



>> Read more trending news


Happy nightmares, SXSW. 

Disabled teenage girl denied trip to Disneyland

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 1:48 AM

Disneyland at night.
Barry King/WireImage

A 14-year-old California girl who attends a special education class was denied a chance to go to Disneyland on a school field trip because the bus transporting the students did not have a wheelchair lift, her parents claim. 

>> Read more trending news

Madison Wolanyk was born with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and autism and needs a wheelchair, KGTV reported. When her class at Hilltop Middle School in San Diego attended Disneyland on a field trip in February, Wolanyk was not part of the group.

Her father, Eugene Wolanyk, said he didn't find out about the excursion until the morning of the field trip, KGTV reported. He said he learned about it after his daughter’s school bus pulled up to their Chula Vista home.

Madison wasn't taking the bus that morning because of a scheduled doctor's appointment. The bus driver was surprised, Wolanyk said.

"He said, 'Why? She's not going to Disneyland?'" Wolanyk told KGTV. "What trip to Disneyland?"

Wolanyk called the middle school and spoke with the vice principal.

"He just told me very matter-of-factly there's like 100 students going so we couldn't get the lift for the bus, so that's why Madison's not going," Wolanyk told KGTV.

Wolanyk was livid, especially after that same vice principal gave him an envelope with two complimentary tickets for Disneyland that expired that day. It was too late to pack up the family van and drive two hours to Disneyland, so Wolanyk called the school's principal, who initially told him Madison said she didn't want to go.

However, Madison denied that.

Eugene Wolanyk said he believed the school wasn't taking his complaint seriously, so he filed a claim with the Sweetwater Union High School District. The claim states Madison also missed last year's special education trip to Disneyland for the same reason.

The claim, which was rejected by the district, says school personnel violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to accommodate Madison, KGTV reported. The alleged discrimination led to Madison's "emotional distress."

The claim states Madison's taxpayer-funded one-on-one aide was allowed to attend the Disneyland trip, while Madison was left behind.

Eugene Wolanyk called the school's actions "cruel."

"I want Madison to be given every opportunity that every other child has, especially since she's on a trajectory of attending high school until she's 22," Wolanyk told KGTV. "So I asked them why do I always have to be holding the bag?"

KGTV reported that the middle school used a charter bus for the special education trip to Disneyland. District spokesman Manuel Rubio declined to comment on the Wolanyks' claim, saying the district does not comment on pending legal matters.

A Disneyland spokesman said the park has offered to host Madison and her family with "park hopper" tickets.

Woman accused of embezzling $9,000 one pizza at a time

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 11:18 PM

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, woman is accused of embezzling close to $9,000 from Mazzio’s Pizza.

>> Read more trending news

Officials said Diana Pruett managed to pull in the money one pizza at a time through refunds.

A manager at the store discovered something suspicious with the number of returns and refunds. Police were called in. When they contacted Pruett, she reportedly admitted to officers that she faked returns and kept the money.

Pruett reportedly admitted to doing it for about a year.

FOX23 did some math and figured that, for example, if an average order is $20, it’d take close to 450 pizzas or orders to bring in that much cash.

Pruett is facing a felony embezzlement charge. FOX23 reached out to Mazzio’s but they have not yet provided a statement.

Professor: ‘10 concerts’ Facebook meme may reveal answer to security questions

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 10:32 PM

(Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you’ve opened your Facebook app recently, your feed has likely been flooded with statuses of your friends posting “10 Concerts I’ve Been To, One is a Lie.”

>> Read more trending news

A meme prompted the engaging challenge, in which people ask their friends to comment which concerts they truthfully attended.

But national security and information experts – locally and nationally – warn it could be a threat to your online privacy and security.

University of Washington crisis information professor Kate Starbird sent out a tweet on Friday morning explaining that many security questions ask users to submit their first concert as an answer.

Additionally, privacy experts caution the “10 concerts” poll could reveal too much about a person’s background and preferences and sounds like a security question.

Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, called the threat moderate. He told The New York Times that the poll is similar to other quizzes on Facebook, and that the answers can reveal specifics about someone’s upbringing or culture.

Despite others warning of risk, Alec Muffett, a software engineer and security researcher, suggested that password protection for security questions begins with what users submit.

Muffett said, “The usual aphorism is: ‘Your password should be secret, but ‘secrets’ make really bad passwords’ — especially when they are just discoverable or guessable facts.”

Security experts advise that it’s best to make up an answer to your security answer, rather than a truthful one that could be easily obtained. 

Baby revived with naloxone, mom facing charges

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 8:11 PM

A Pittsburgh-area mother is facing charges after police said her 10-month-old ingested heroin and fentanyl.

Laurel Hopta, 27, was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Police said when they and paramedics arrived at the Aleppo Township home, they saw Hopta standing outside fully dressed in warm clothing, clutching her baby, who was wearing only a diaper.

>> Read more trending news 

The baby was showing all the signs of having ingested heroin, according to police.

Paramedics had to administer naloxone twice before the baby responded, police said.

WPXI asked Chief Norbert Micklos what Hopta said happened. He said, “she had gone to draw a bath for the baby and when she came back into the room, the baby was unresponsive.”

Police said that the child must have allegedly ingested the heroin when Hopta's ex-boyfriend left it in the house before moving out, according to Hopta.

Two weeks prior to the incident, Hopta was arrested in the parking lot of a grocery store in Bellevue for using heroin, police said. She did not have her daughter with her at the time.

The 10-month-old is now being cared for by family members.