Monday, October 17, 2011

Banks back down on homeowner foreclosure, Sesame Street channel hacked & filled woth porn, lost De Vinci portrait controversy

Image: Rose Gudiel

Good Morning Humboldt County!

C’mon in and have a cup of coffee with me. I’ve got a few stories to start your day. The sun is struggling to pierce the morning haze and a determined woodpecker is hammering away outside. What a wonderful world!      


Homeowner taps 'Occupy' protest  to avoid foreclosure

Rose Gudiel and her family were squatters in their own home. They had lost a two-year battle against foreclosure, and the eviction date had arrived. They hunkered down in the house on Sept. 28, surrounded by dozens of homeowner advocates and friends, hoping to stave off forcible removal.

“(The bank) kept saying we can’t do anything. Your case is closed,” said Gudiel. “Our stand was, ‘No, we’re not leaving. This is our home. We worked hard for it and we’re just not going to leave.’”

But instead of the anticipated confrontation, there was a dramatic reversal of fortune. Fanny Mae canceled the eviction notice and offered the Gudiels a loan modification that could enable them keep their home.

Why? Fannie Mae and loan servicer OneWest won’t discuss the case. But nonprofit advocates say a series of bold protests — with reinforcements from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement — and a spate of media interest put Rose in the limelight and forced the banks to back down.

Sesame Street YouTube channel hacked, filled with porn

The official YouTube channel for children's television series Sesame Street was compromised this weekend. At that time, a hacker filled what could be considered one of the more the child-friendly corners of the Internet with videos so pornographic that they'd make Cookie Monster blush until he resembled Elmo.

Security blog Sophos reports that the incident occurred on Sunday and that it took about 20 minutes before the explicit content was removed. It wasn't just the pornographic material which disappeared from YouTube at that point though. The entire Sesame Street channel — and all of its original videos — are currently "not available" on YouTube.

Image: A recreation of what La Bella Principessa would have looked like as a page in the Sforziad.

'Lost' Da Vinci Portrait, and its origins, stir controversy

Christie's auction house may have sold a priceless piece of art by Leonardo da Vinci for a little more than $21,000, according to researchers who claim to have identified the origins of the hotly debated painting.

The painting appears to have come from a 500-year-old book containing the family history of the Duke of Milan. Art historian Martin Kemp, of the University of Oxford, believes the mystery painting, which appeared in 1998, is a portrait of the duke's daughter, created by da Vinci for her wedding book. [ See images of the portrait and book ]

"We knew it came from a book, you have the stitch holes and can see the knife cut. Finding it is a miracle in a way. I was amazed," Kemp told LiveScience. "When doing historical research on 500-year-old objects … you hardly get the circle completed in this way." In 2010, Kemp first suggested that da Vinci painted the portrait, and since then, art historians have debated over both its origin and the painter. In fact, several art historians contacted by LiveScience said they wouldn't comment on the piece or didn't return emails. An earlier examination of the artwork by a gallery in Vienna led the director there to say it was not a da Vinci, and they are unswayed by the new evidence.

Time to walk on down the road…

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