CBS News Logo Scientists encode text messages in evaporated alcohol

A team of scientists recently discovered a way to send encoded text messages through evaporated vodka. The study – a collaborative effort between researchers at both York University and the University of Warwick – found that messages converted to binary signals could be transmitted through evaporated particles, learned. For their first transmission, scientists transmitted the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem across a distance of several meters using a common desk fan. “We believe we have sent the world’s first text message to be transmitted entirely with molecular communication, controlling concentration levels of the alcohol molecules, to encode the alphabets with single spray representing bit 1 and no spray representing the bit 0,” lead researcher Nariman Farsad, a doctoral candidate at York University, was quoted as saying. “Imagine sending a detailed message using perfume – it sounds like something from a spy thriller novel, but in reality it is an incredibly simple way to communicate,” Dr. Weisi Guo, a researcher based at the University of Warwick’s School of Engineering, additionally noted. Traditionally, text messages and alcohol are not considered a wise combination, due in large part to the effects of alcohol on the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant whose effects could impair judgement. CDC researchers noted that, beyond those short-term complications, excessive alcohol use or abuse could come with severe consequences, including “harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work.” The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. Watch the researchers discuss the details below. This article was originally published by CBS Atlanta.  Continue Reading

Georgia AG refers Atlanta text messages for criminal investigation

Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr’s office on Tuesday referred for criminal investigation text messages sent between former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s communication officials conspiring to delay the release of public information requested under the Georgia Open Records Act. It is the first time in Georgia’s history that a criminal investigation has been launched in relation to the Georgia Open Records Act. Channel 2 Action News last year requested water billing records of top elected officials, including Reed and city council members. Former communications officer Jenna Garland, who now works in the private sector, directed a communications officer for the city’s Watershed Department to “be as unhelpful as possible” and to “drag this out as long as possible” when fulfilling the information request. Garland ends the March 7, 2017 exchange by telling watershed communication director Lillian Govus to “provide the information in the most confusing format available.” MORE | AJC, experts question Atlanta’s handling of legal bills in bribery case Channel 2's Richard Belcher tried to speak with Garland about the text messages. Lillian Govus (left) and Jenna Garland (right) The texts were provided to Channel 2 by Lillian Govus, who was the top communications officer for Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management. They document exchanges between Govus and former Press Secretary Jenna Garland. WSB-TV Handout The text messages appear to be a violation of the Georgia Open Records Act, which mandates that government officials provide responsive documents within three business days of a request if they are available. Obstructing or “frustrating” the release of documents is explicitly prohibited. “Any person or entity knowingly and willfully … frustrating or attempting to frustrate the access to records by intentionally making records difficult to obtain or Continue Reading

Text messages shed light on inner workings of pot commission

At least one Arkansas medical-marijuana commissioner missed the board's self-imposed deadline to grade applications for the state's first cannabis-growing facilities, and others tweaked their evaluations after submitting them, according to records obtained under the state's Freedom of Information Act on Thursday. The text messages shed some light on the process that applicants and industry insiders have criticized for lacking structure and transparency. Former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, an investor, lobbyist and attorney for Natural State Wellness Enterprises, one of the successful cannabis-cultivation applicants, spoke at a Rotary Club gathering in Little Rock this week and complimented the commission for its hard work evaluating the stacks of applications. But he also noted that the commissioners rejected suggestions in 2017 to hire an outside contractor to evaluate the proposals in a "professional, uniform, standardized, objective, verifiable fashion." "Well, the next thing you know they've got 75,000 pages of documents in their living room next to their easy chair," he said. "They've got a cup of coffee and a red pen, and they're just doing it." [APPLICATIONS: Read the applications from each of the five firms] Hopeful cultivators have feared from the start that the most deserving applicants may not be selected because of impropriety or poor grading, and the commissioners themselves said they were crunched to finish reviewing the bids in time. One commissioner, Fayetteville attorney Travis Story, didn't receive the 95th cultivation facility application until the evening of Feb. 25 -- five days after the scoring deadline and two days before the commission's Feb. 27 meeting when the winning proposals were announced. He told Mary Robin Casteel, director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, he may have failed to download it from the file-sharing service used by the commission. "I'll do it real quick," he texted Casteel before she sent the Continue Reading

Your Amazon Echo can now send text messages for you — here’s how to do it

Avery Hartmans, provided by Published 11:59 am, Wednesday, January 31, 2018 Amazon Alexa has learned a new skill: sending text messages. On Tuesday, Amazon introduced the ability to send text messages from your Echo device to anyone in your contacts. All you have to do is say, "Alexa, send a message." Alexa will then either send your message as a regular text, or over Alexa messaging (if it's to another Alexa-enabled device). The new feature works using any Alexa device, like the Echo Dot or Echo Show, but it only users with Android phones will be able to enable text messaging — at least for now. Here's how to set it up: When you open the Alexa app on your Android phone, you should be greeted with this screen letting you know the new feature is available (text messaging isn't available on iPhones yet). Local Channel Now Playing: Now Playing Pickup truck T-bones sedan on rural S.A.-area road, killing woman San Antonio Express-News Galveston PD releases image of 'Little Jacob' Galveston Police Department Man found covered in blood after crashing car into ditch San Antonio Express-News Man+killed+by+police+after+stealing+bike%2C+riding+onto+Loop+410 Jacob Beltran Police: Drive-by gunman fires 30+ rounds into home, strikes man San Antonio Express-News Woman killed as firefighters battle flames for hours San Antonio Express-News SAPD: Man catches 2 suspect breaking into car on West Side, opens fire Caleb Downs Kawhi Leonard's Relationship with Spurs Is Just Fine, According to His Uncle Sports Illustrated Shots fired call near Alamo Heights prompts large police presence Fares Sabawi UTEP athlete, SA native snubbed @lamTre_/ Twitter Business Insider You'll have to give Amazon some permissions, like accessing your contacts. Business Insider To turn the feature on, click the conversations button at the bottom of the screen. Business Insider See the rest of the story at Business Insider See Also: Cardi B, Continue Reading

More troubled teens seeking help by texting helpline Text messages to Samaritans helpline spike

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Kathy McCabe Globe Staff  April 02, 2016 A suicide prevention group in Boston is receiving a growing number of text messages on its helpline, supporting its theory that high school students and young adults are more likely to reach out for support and guidance if they don’t have to speak on the phone. Samaritans Inc. received more than 300 text messages on its helpline last month, nearly triple the number in January, and expects that total to more than triple by this summer as word of the program spreads. “I anticipate getting to 1,000 per month by the summer,” said Steve Mongeau, the group’s executive director. “Some people just feel there is more privacy in texting than talking.” Advertisement The statewide group began accepting text messages in October, and has since expanded the volunteer-based program to provide around-the-clock service. It has also launched a public awareness campaign called “You Are Not Alone” to promote the service at MBTA stations and other busy areas. Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here “Hopeless? Lonely? Desperate? We’re here to listen,” one of the group’s messages read. “Call or Text Samaritans Helpline.” In 2013, the most recent year for which state data is available, there were 177 suicides in Massachusetts among people 34 and younger, according to state public health officials. In a 2014 Gallup survey, more than two-thirds of 18- to 29-year-olds said they sent and received text messages “a lot” the previous day, compared with 50 percent who frequently made or receive phone calls. That trend persuaded the Samaritans to accept text messages, in the spirit of meeting teenagers Continue Reading

9 Lindquist text messages are public records, judge rules, setting the stage for more fines and payouts

A long-running case involving text messages on Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist’s personal phone led to another adverse ruling for the county Friday. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christopher Lanese ruled that nine of 17 text messages on Lindquist’s phone are public records, setting the stage for disclosure and a possible payout of legal fines and attorney fees. Over the past six years, Pierce County has spent $623,441 on the case, much of it paid to outside attorneys hired to argue against disclosure. On Friday, Lanese walked through a list of text messages line by line, delivering his assessment of a batch he examined in a private review. “Lindquist prepared outgoing text messages within the scope of his employment,” Lanese said. The exact wording of the text messages sent during one week in 2011 remains unclear, but they involve conversations between Lindquist and other unidentified county employees. Topics include rumors of possible job applicants and related jokes. Other messages appear to involve discussions of letters written to the editorial page of The News Tribune, and references to online comments on news stories. The exact wording of the text messages sent during one week in 2011 remains unclear, but they involve conversations between Lindquist and other unidentified county employees. The topics , include rumors of possible job applicants and related jokes. Other messages appear to involve discussions of letters written to the editorial page of The News Tribune, and references to online comments on news stories. Lanese noted that such messages, even if intended as humor, still related to the conduct of Lindquist’s office. He ordered the in-camera review of the messages in December over the county’s objections, after finding that two affidavits submitted by Lindquist regarding the messages didn’t provide sufficient information. Glenda Nissen, a former county sheriff’s deputy who has been Continue Reading

Officials’ text messages are public records, but lawmaker wants to make them secret

When it comes to texting and chatting on social media, one Arizona lawmaker wants to say "laterz" to the Arizona public-records law.State Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, has proposed a bill that would allow elected officials and high-ranking government execs to keep their electronic messages secret if they use a private device or account.As written, House Bill 2265 would even allow officials to cloak messages that pertain to government business if they send or receive them using a private device or account.That would be a dramatic shift from current law — courts have routinely held that communications public officials send using private devices are subject to public-records requests if they pertain to government business.Dan Barr, a media lawyer who specializes in public-records cases, said the only purpose of the bill would be to enable officials to "conduct public business outside of public view."Thorpe did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. He told Capitol Media Services that all messages on his private cellphone shouldn't be public record.“I’d have no objection to the state providing legislators with mobile devices to conduct state business on," Thorpe told CMS. “However, if I’m paying the monthly phone bill on my personal device, I think those records ought to belong to me.”Barr said officials' texts about private matters are already not considered public records, regardless of whether they're sent on a private or public device. He said the bill "unwittingly admits that some public officials have been violating the public-records law by using text messaging to evade" records requests."I hope this is just your prototypical dumb bill at the beginning of the session that goes away," Barr said. READ MORE: Arizona legislator wants to let uninsured buy Medicaid coverage Franks seat election to cost $3.5M; lawmakers offer $2.5M Continue Reading

West Texas school employee exchanged ‘explicit text messages’ with minor student, police say

By Kelsey Bradshaw, Published 2:16 pm, Tuesday, January 9, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-19', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 19', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Odessa Police Department Image 1of/19 CaptionClose Image 1 of 19 Elyssa Renteria Zuniga, 26, was arrested Jan. 9, 2018 and charged with having an improper relationship between an educator and student. Elyssa Renteria Zuniga, 26, was arrested Jan. 9, 2018 and charged with having an improper relationship between an educator and student. Photo: Odessa Police Department Image 2 of 19 In 2017, investigations into improper teacher-student relationships jumped 36 percent, records obtained by show.Click forward to see Texas educators accused or convicted in some of the most recent sex scandals. less In 2017, investigations into improper teacher-student relationships jumped 36 percent, records obtained by show. Click forward to see Texas educators accused or Continue Reading

Wisconsin board grapples with saving text messages, social media posts as public records

MADISON - When government work gets done on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, does it get saved and if so for how long?   What about text messages?A state board is hoping to answer at least some of those questions for state and local officials who increasingly must apply the state's old open records to new technologies. Matthew Blessing, chairman of the Public Records Board, said at a board meeting Monday that he hopes to develop new guidelines for the government officials who have been asking his board for that very thing.In the meantime, Blessing had words of caution for public officials who use text messages and other modern electronic media to do the public's business."If your agency cannot effectively manage and (store) text messages, you should not be using that platform," Blessing said. To help make that storage possible at the state level, officials are looking at a software vendor that may be able to help retain state employees' text messages, he said. The Public Records Board faced criticism in 2015 after it broadened the definition of so-called "transitory records," such as the case of an employee who emails to say he can't make a minor meeting. Those records can be destroyed immediately by public officials because they're not considered to have long-term value. The board ultimately backtracked on the change, which could have limited the access of citizens and media outlets to more important information from texts, emails, Facebook messages and other methods. Carl Buesing, an attorney on the board, said some text messages from public employees can be deleted, such as a nurse at a county nursing home who texts to say she is late for a shift. But Buesing said that using text messages can be problematic if government officials can't save them and produce them later to the public if needed. "Until we find a way to capture that I'm not enthusiastic about using it," he said. In other Continue Reading

Her secret text message sends a troubling signal

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been with my girlfriend for about a year. I trust her completely, but she is starting to take advantage of me. The other day, she received a text message that said, "Hey, sexy - what are you up to?" She mistakenly opened the phone in front of me and then quickly ran to the bathroom to return the message. I checked her sent text messages later that night, and one of them said: "I will call you later - my boyfriend is here right now." I know I was wrong to go through her phone messages, but I had to know her response. Now I check her phone all of the time, looking for suspicious text messages. I know she loves me, but her correspondence with this person is disrespectful. What should I do? My relationship with her means everything to me. Tyron, Brooklyn Dear Tyron: You opened this letter, yet you say that you trust your girlfriend completely? Obviously, you don't, and you should not trust your girlfriend now - she has proven untrustworthy. For whatever reason, another man intrigues her. Could it pass? Yes. Should you confront her? Yes. It's unhealthy for you to sneak around and check her communications while she's away. Instead of continuing down that road, reverse your path. Confront your girlfriend and ask her who this man is and what her intentions are. State that you know she's in some kind of relationship with him, and you want to know if she wants to be with you or if she is ready to move on. Make it clear she can't have both. This won't be easy for you, but it will be worth it. You deserve a girlfriend who chooses you. She may simply need to be reminded of her choice. DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my very close friends is on medical leave from work and will not tell me why. She is even flying home for an entire month to recover from whatever is ailing her. No one in my circle of friends knows the specifics about her condition, but we are all extremely concerned. We have tried to talk to her separately, but she refuses to Continue Reading