06.28.07

Sicko!

Posted in Bad boys, Modern life, Political rant at 8:27 pm by angela

Watch it now. I’m watching it this very moment.

Sicko.avi

06.24.07

This explains everything

Posted in Bad boys, Communications breakdown, irrational thought, Modern life, neocon crackpots, Political rant at 10:47 am by angela

Well, well, well.

I posted a link to this Wikipedia article on the Dunning-Kruger Effect in my Breaking news blog. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that this is much too important to just put up a link and hope someone will draw conclusions from it.

The Dunning-Kruger effect quantifies scientifically the old saying that “ignorance is bliss”. The less one knows about a subject, the more likely they are to rate highly their knowledge or skills pertaining to it.

Apparently, when you are ignorant of a subject, you are unaware of how much there is to know. This was relatively easy to test in an academic situation. It was reliable – as students began to master a subject, they also began to downgrade their assessment of their own mastery of it.

For instance, I often run into students who tell me they speak a foreign language. When I ask if they speak it at home, they say they learned it in school. The only way they could say that they “speak” a foreign language while being so utterly preverbal – which they are – would be if they had never been exposed to a situation where the language is being spoken.

Just as when teaching science classes, where kids come up with all kinds of bogus pseudoscience. No, sorry. The world is not 3,000 years old. I don’t care if they taught you that in christian school. It’s not good science, and it’s not good religion, either. The proper fundamentalist version is that the world is about 6,000 years old.

See? To believe that is true, you need to be ignorant of science, religion, and of history. Fortunately that is an easy thing to be.

Being ignorant of absolutely everything (know anybody like this?) is the best route to becoming a know-it-all. In fact it seems that persons like that are subconsciously aware that acquiring knowledge would render their wall of ignorance permeable. Thus, they avoid all facts, and they assert that those who oppose them are tainted by, have been “influenced” by facts.

For a person like this, truth can only be discovered by pure thought untainted by facts or data. Truth achieved through pure thought in this way is eternal. It need not adapt itself to reality. In fact, for a person with this frame of mind, it is a moral imperative to dismiss, deny, or pretend that confounding facts do not exist. Reality is obligated to adapt itself to the self-conjured “truth”.

In fact, ignorance is not only blissful, it is empowering and self-affirming. Ignorance is its own reward.

Think Bill O’Reilly, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Ann Coulter. Think about how this country seems to be heading directly into a category 5 storm with blind and deaf madmen at the helm. Need I go on?

06.21.07

Social commentary…what, again?

Posted in Fashion and style, humor, Modern life at 10:26 pm by angela

I sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I just discovered this blog of paintings and commentary inspired by our celebrity-obsessed society and the the celebrities of no intrinsic value that we obsess on. A person could spend endless hours perusing those paintings. Imagine how long it took to paint them…

We should all be endlessly grateful that these self-same celebrities have laid their lives out to amuse us. And done such dumbass things as to give us reason to laugh, of course.

I would love to have a print of The Three Disgraces hanging on my living room wall. Anybody want to buy it for me?

06.19.07

Mitt Romney, fudgepacker?

Posted in Communications breakdown, humor, Modern life, neocon crackpots, Political rant at 5:38 pm by angela

06.18.07

Dealing with phishing

Posted in Bad boys, Crime, Phishing, Spam at 10:03 am by angela

I thought it was time to do a little public service work here. Like many people, I’m tired of receiving those phishing emails. You know, the ones that tell you you may have had unauthorized activity in your account, and you need to use this link to login right now to get it straightened out.

Or maybe you don’t know, which is why I’m trying to do this as a public service and not just poking fun at the idiots. It’s pretty obvious to me that if people didn’t click on their link and type in their account info, thus giving god knows who access to their accounts, that these emails wouldn’t be going out. The crooks would give up.

But I’ve heard perfectly intelligent people relate to me how they were phished not once, but multiple times. So I’m going to show you what to look for in the hopes that I save at least one potential victim from the phishing scam.

First of all, consider what account it came in on. Is this the account that you normally receive email from this company? If not, then it’s absolutely a scam. I actually heard a woman say that she responded because it came in on a different account. No. That’s completely wrong.

Do you even have an account with this company? The fact that you receive emails from multiple companies that you don’t even have accounts with asking you to verify information should make you suspicious of all contacts like this, even when you do have an account with the company in question.

The email address I received this on is one that goes with this website. I do no day-to-day business on it, just stuff having to do with clients and porn. Therefore, I should not be receiving official correspondence on it from financial institutions, and thus, it’s all phishing.

The webmail account I use will not show suspect images, even in the html mode. So I can’t show you the header image. But you may see an exact replica of the official company email header. It may even link to that company, to give you the illusion that this is an official email.

On the other hand, you may see a poor imitation of the company logo. So watch for that.

So looking at this email I received, first of all, you can see that they did not address me by my customer name. (1) If they do not do that, immediately assume it’s a scam. In this case, I am not a banking customer of Bank of America, but even if I was, I would assume it was a fake for this reason alone.

Now look at (2), the link address. Many people probably don’t know that when a text link shows up, it is actually a piece of text that links to a URL you don’t see. Most of the time when a URL shows the link is same. But there’s no reason it has to be. You know that any piece of text can be a link. So http://principalquattrano.com/news,
Breaking news!, http://www.whitehouse.gov, http://www.georgebush.com, and even http://www.georgebushistheantichrist.com all link to my news blog. Clearly none but the first two should be linking to my news blog.

If you look at the link, it looks official. It starts with ‘http://www.bankofamerica.com’, which is the company’s official website. Now look in the yellow box at the actual URL you’d be going to if you clicked on that link. When you mouseover a link in Opera, this is how the actual link address appears. In most other browsers you will see it at the bottom of the window. Mouse over my links above, so you can see where they are actually linking to.

This link goes to a URL ‘http://www.baliparty.com’, which clearly has nothing to do with the Bank of America website. I followed it to a Japanese company, but could not get any more specific information than that. In any case, seeing that the two URLs are different should raise red flags for you.

Now look at (3). “Tank you”? These are often full of spelling errors. Spelling matters. No big company would send out an email with dumb, really dumb spelling errors like this. It’s telling you the thing was written by a foreigner.

And finally, (4). They’re going to put a ‘temporal’ hold on your funds? What the hell does that mean? You’re going to have access in the next life? The correct word is ‘temporary’.

Like I said at the beginning, they wouldn’t be sending these emails out if suckers weren’t clicking on those links to send their account login to Japan and other faraway places. Don’t be a sucker. Read and think.

And if you’re still not sure whether your account has been compromised, go to the company’s website the way you normally do, through your bookmark, or by typing the company URL into your browser.

06.16.07

What a difference! Spam update

Posted in Blogging, Modern life, Spam, Techie at 1:11 pm by angela

After I wrote that last spam rant announcing I had changed the settings to requiring registration, I was disappointed to see that there was still spam coming in. Early today I went to WordPress.org looking for a spam plugin. The plugin I decided on instituted a 30 second delay before allowing users to compose a comment, and allowed for custom comments by the blogger about how to use the system. Apparently spambots find it difficult to work with the delay, while real people would spend that much time reading my message to them anyway. It looked good to me, but I was working on something and didn’t get to it right away. Alas, when I went back, I was unable to find the same search page.

I did, however, find instructions for editing your .htaccess file to prevent spambots that do not give browser referrers, which is apparently all of them. I installed this and went to empty out the Akismet bin, only to find there were only 9 spams there. Amazing! A thing of wonder!

If you have trouble adding comments to the blog (they won’t show up right away, but I should be able to approve genuine blog comments by registered users within a day or so), or if registration doesn’t work, go to my main page and leave a message with my CyberTwin bot. She’s kind of inane at times, but I always see conversations between her and anyone who chats with her. They’ve improved the programming system for MyCyberTwins, but it’s a slow process. Bear with us.

Speaking of which, if you’ve got a website, you may be able to use a MyCyberTwin, too. It’s easy to set one up. But teaching them to respond as you would can be very time-consuming. They’ve improved it, so now you can edit the questions you might expect to be asked. Check my cybertwin out on my main page and see what you think.

Update to say that I’m still getting a certain type of spam. Clearly this bot is not registering and logging in. As near as I can see, bots must have access to the function of comments posting without going through the form. I have blogs that have comments completely turned off, yet they still receive comment spam. Time to learn php.

06.14.07

Guys and baggy saggy pants

Posted in Bad boys, Fashion and style, irrational thought, Modern life, What women want at 2:08 pm by angela

LOUISIANA TOWN BANNING SAGGY PANTS; PLANS FINES, JAIL TERMS FOR VIOLATORS

The fine actually would apply in the case where a male’s gonads were exposed when his pants slipped down.

I guess that’s a problem there in Louisiana. You don’t see too many of that style of pants falling down here, though you do see a lot of guys walking around holding their pants up.

According to Carl Broussard, the mayor of Delcambre, the fine city where this issue has caught the interest of local lawmakers,

“Just wear it properly. Cover your vital parts. I mean, if you expose your private parts, you’ll get a fine. If you walk up and your pants drop, you get a fine. They’re better off taking the pants off and just wearing a dress.”

Ok, guys. It’s time for a reality check.

If you wear pants like these, ask yourself why you are. Now if the answer is “to impress girls”, that’s the wrong answer. Girls don’t like pants like that. They think it’s stupid to wear pants that are always in the process of falling down. And, believe it or not, women just don’t want to see some random guy’s ass crack or whatever, nor do they want to see his icky underwear. The best way to describe it is that to a female, such a thing scores very high on the “ew” scale.

If you’re wearing pants like this, you’re doing it to impress other guys. Not women. Competing with guys in this way to see how low you can get those pants to ride is a guy thing.

Suspenders?

The story

Spamagain

Posted in Blogging, Spam at 8:31 am by angela

Alright, I admit it. I’ve been lax, maybe not so far as being a bad girl, but a lot of things happened at once which kind of broke my stride working on this site.

What do I find when I get back? My nemesis, frickin’ blogspan comments.

OK, so I’ve complained about this blog spam before. You know, those pseudocomments that show up, which are actually ads for porn or fake drugs or spyware, or just redirects to the same through dummy blogs. I wish I was really good at programming, rather than understanding it just a little. I could write robots myself, but I would use my powers for good, rather than evil.

I was hoping that installing the Akismet plugin on my blogs would make it easier for me to manage spam comments. It did for a while, but the problem is that you pretty much have to inspect all the comments you receive prior to deleting, in order not to miss an occasionally miscategorized real comment written by a real human being. It doesn’t allow you to delete one page at a time as you finish inspecting that page. And blogspam is just ever-increasing.

This wasn’t a problem when I was getting a couple of pages of spam a day and deleting daily. But it’s come to the point where it’s just gone spinning out of control.

You see here a week’s backlog of spam comments and the total since I installed the plugin earlier in the year.I apologize, dear readers, but I’m just going to have to hit that DELETE button, even though you may have a real comment hidden in there. I’m running about 0.1% miscategorized comments right now, but I guess there’s nothing I can do about it. By the time I get past page 5, I’m not really seeing too clearly, anyway. So this is kind of an announcement. I have changed my blog settings to require registration prior to commenting. I’ve never done this before, but I guess I have no choice.Oh, well. We’ll see how this works.