Stories tagged cheating

Oct
22
2007

Some harmless geeks: At play in their natural habitat. They only become aggressive to "norms" when online.  (photo courtesy of Benimoto on flickr.com)
Some harmless geeks: At play in their natural habitat. They only become aggressive to "norms" when online. (photo courtesy of Benimoto on flickr.com)
AbsolutePoker.com, a Costa Rica-based company owned by members of the Canadian Kahnawake Mohawk tribe, found itself in some hot water recently, when its supposedly secure system was hacked, allowing a particular player to see his or her opponents’ cards in high-stakes, no-limit Texas holdem tournaments.

Or AbsolutePoker.com would have been in hot water, if the perpetrator had been an actual criminal, instead of a “geek.”

Yes, in a recent statement to the press, an AbsolutePoker spokesman reassured players that the criminal party was “literally” just “a geek.”

This must have come as quite a relief to the holdem tournament’s other players. Even though the geek’s winnings are estimated between $400,000 and $700,000, it was no doubt reassuring to find out that they are cooler than he is, and could probably beat him up, if given the opportunity.

In their initial statement regarding the situation, AbsolutePoker denied the possibility of cheating, and chalked everything up to luck, claiming that there was “no evidence that [their] redundant and varying levels of game client security were compromised,” and, furthermore, that “it is impossible for any player or employee to see whole cards as was alleged.” This response was clearly made before they considered the possibility that the user in question may not have been a normal person, but could have been, in fact, a geek, and well versed in all sorts of nerdy stuff.

Much to the chagrin of Dungeons & Dragons merchandisers across the country, AbsolutePoker claims that none of the ill-gotten money was withdrawn from the cheating user’s accounts

Feb
15
2007

Michael Waltrip's car: Courtesy stevejk.
Michael Waltrip's car: Courtesy stevejk.

Michael Waltrip's NASCAR team was heavily fined this week for cheating. Inspectors found an unspecified substance in the engine which was thought to unfairly boost his car's performance. But what was this mysterious stuff? Most sources say inspectors found oxygenate in the engine's intake manifold. So if that's the case how does this stuff work?

Internal combustion engine: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Internal combustion engine: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
First we need to do a quick run down of how a standard car engine works:

  1. Gasoline and air get mixed together inside a small chamber called a cylinder.
  2. A piston shrinks the size of this valve compressing the gasoline and air.
  3. A spark plug makes a tiny electric spark which ignites the gasoline and air causing the piston to move. The piston's movement is linked to the wheels, causing them to turn.
  4. The piston also comes back around another time to force out the gases left over after the explosion. That's the exhaust that that comes out your tail pipe.

The air that gets sucked into the engine just comes from the outside world. The same air we breath. The explosion works because our air has about 21% oxygen in it and oxygen really likes to burn. But what if we could add more oxygen to this equation? This results in a more complete combustion of the fuel and more power. More power means more speed.

From what I've read on the web it seems that Waltrip's team was using a type of gel that sits in the air intake on the engine. As the gel evaporated it would release oxygen into the engine which would then be used for combustion, increasing power. NASCAR was none to happy about this and fined the crew chief of the team, David Hyder, $100,000 and kicked him out of the garage.

Incidentally you might be using another type of oxygenate in your car right now, ethanol. Ethanol is mixed in with gasoline to reduce emissions because it is an oxygenate. When you get a more complete combustion with added oxygen you also get less exhaust and less harmful emissions. I still think that Ethanol is a poor alternative fuel strategy but that's another story for another time.