Denver cops warn of phone scam brewing at local bars – The Denver Post

This is a very convincing scam and there’s no reason it couldn’t happen here in Raleigh. Keep up with your phone and do NOT call it and give your unlock code to whomever answers it!

Denver bar patrons are being warned of a popular new scam aimed at collecting financial information from stolen or lost smartphones.

Since May, there have been 37 cases of scammers posing as helpful bar owners who get access to stolen smartphones and then drain financial accounts from the phone’s apps, say Denver Police.

The scam begins when crooks steal smartphones from unsuspecting bar customers. They then wait for the phone’s owner to call the phone the next morning in hopes of getting it back. The crook, who often identifies himself as a helpful bar employee, asks the phone’s owner for their pass code to verify ownership.

The phone’s owner, thinking the crook is only trying to make sure the phone is returned to the rightful owner, gives the crooks the pass code. The scammer now changes all the owner’s passwords and then moves money via the apps the owner uses to reimburse his friends.

“Now, not only is her phone truly gone, but so is her money,” say police.

Source: Denver cops warn of phone scam brewing at local bars – The Denver Post

Fence is structurally complete!

My fence: it’s critter-proof now!

I nailed on the last few pickets to our new fence yesterday. These took some time because they had to be custom-sawed to fit the odd gaps left when the full pickets didn’t line up. Rather than stop and cut individual boards during my previous fence work days, I chose instead to keep motoring so I got more surface area done. Thus, there were about ten or so odd-shaped pickets to create.

A few hours of measuring, cutting, and nailing on Sunday and I had the fence structurally complete. It is now critter-proof. I put in the last board as the sun was going down and then took out a section of our old fence so that we could enjoy our entire backyard for the first time ever. Hurray!

Now I need to go back and trim down the too-tall posts and 2x4s. I may even cap the posts to better weatherproof them. Then I will take down the old fence and either haul it to the dump or find neighbors who might want to scavenge it for spare pickets. I’ll also have to fill in the holes left by the old fence posts. Still a bit of work to be done but I’m getting there!

NASA Considers Magnetic Shield to Help Mars Grow an Atmosphere

I first read this story last week and it’s been on my mind ever since. It’s beyond our current capabilities to generate a planet-sized magnetic field but we can possibly block solar wind enough to bring Mars back to life. Utterly fascinating!

The Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop is happening right now at NASA headquarters in Washington DC. The workshop is meant to discuss ambitious space projects that could be realized, or at least started, by 2050.One of the most enticing ideas came this morning from Jim Green, NASA’s Planetary Science Division Director. In a talk titled, “A Future Mars Environment for Science and Exploration,” Green discussed launching a “magnetic shield” to a stable orbit between Mars and the sun, called Mars L1, to shield the planet from high-energy solar particles. The shield structure would consist of a large dipole—a closed electric circuit powerful enough to generate an artificial magnetic field.

A magnetic shield to protect Mars

Such a shield could leave Mars in the relatively protected magnetotail of the magnetic field created by the object, allowing the Red Planet to slowly restore its atmosphere. About 90 percent of Mars’s atmosphere was stripped away by solar particles in the lifetime of the planet, which was likely temperate and had surface water about 3.5 billion years ago.

Source: NASA Considers Magnetic Shield to Help Mars Grow an Atmosphere

Chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine’ goes public

Bloggers can save the world.

For nearly two years, he’d wandered the streets of occupied Mosul, chatting with shopkeepers and Islamic State fighters, visiting friends who worked at the hospital, swapping scraps of information. He grew out his hair and his beard and wore the shortened trousers required by IS. He forced himself to witness the beheadings and deaths by stoning, so he could hear the killers call out the names of the condemned and their supposed crimes.

He wasn’t a spy. He was an undercover historian and blogger. As IS turned the Iraqi city he loved into a fundamentalist bastion, he decided he would show the world how the extremists had distorted its true nature, how they were trying to rewrite the past and forge a brutal Sunni-only future for a city that had once welcomed many faiths.

He knew that if he was caught he too would be killed.

Source: Chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine’ goes public

Was Al Franken’s punishment fair? – The Washington Post

Sen. Al Franken resigned yesterday. A shame, I believe, as his situation is more nuanced than others. Here’s a good commentary on whether his punishment really fits his alleged “crime.”

Franken presents a more difficult case both because of the quality of the evidence against him and the nature of the alleged transgressions. Much of the alleged behavior took place before he joined the Senate, which doesn’t make it acceptable but does make it different. Some of the Senate-era behavior is offensive but less serious; a hand on the butt during a photo op is different from a tongue down the throat. And some is anonymous, albeit corroborated by other witnesses, which should give all of us pause. The final, and perhaps last-straw, allegation involved an unnamed former Democratic political aide who claimed Franken, while a radio host, attempted to forcibly kiss her, announcing, “It’s my right as an entertainer.” Franken said the story was “categorically not true.”

Consider: One of Franken’s colleagues, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, is under federal indictment for allegedly taking bribes in the form of lavish gifts and using the power of his office to help a campaign donor/friend in dealings with the federal government. Menendez’s trial ended with a hung jury last month, after which the Ethics Committee announced it would resume its inquiry into his conduct.

If senators have the patience to let the ethics process proceed in the Menendez case, why not with Franken? What about weighing whether some lesser punishment than what was essentially forced resignation would better fit Franken’s circumstances?

The right policy is zero tolerance. That does not answer the question about what is the right punishment, or what proof there should be before it is meted out.

Source: Was Al Franken’s punishment fair? – The Washington Post

Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance – Bloomberg


I’ve often talked about tracking down these debt collectors but this guy got to the kingpin. Gives me hope!

On the morning a debt collector threatened to rape his wife, Andrew Therrien was working from home, in a house with green shutters on a cul-de-sac in a small Rhode Island town. Tall and stocky, with a buzz cut and a square, friendly face, Therrien was a salesman for a promotions company. He’d always had an easy rapport with people over the phone, and on that day, in February 2015, he was calling food vendors to talk about grocery store giveaways.

Therrien was interrupted midpitch by a call from his wife. She’d gotten a voicemail from an authoritative-sounding man saying Therrien was in some kind of trouble. “I need to verify an address to present you with your formal claim,” the man had said. “Andrew Therrien, you are officially notified.”

A few minutes later, Therrien’s phone buzzed. It was the same guy. He gave his name as Charles Cartwright and said Therrien owed $700 on a payday loan. But Therrien knew he didn’t owe anyone anything. Suspecting a scam, he told Cartwright just what he thought of his scare tactics.Cartwright hung up, then called back, mad. He said he wanted to meet face-to-face to teach Therrien a lesson.

“Come on by, asshole,” Therrien says he replied.

“I will,” Cartwright said, “and I hope your wife is at home.”

That’s when he made the rape threat.

Therrien got so angry he couldn’t think clearly. He wasn’t going to just let someone menace and disrespect his wife like that. He had to know who this Cartwright guy was, and his employer, too. Therrien wanted to make them pay.

Source: Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance – Bloomberg

Mountain Lingo: Where Did “Ma-Maw” and “Pa-Paw” Come From? | Appalachian Magazine

My maternal grandparents were called Me Ma and Pa Pa. I don’t know if this came from their living in Florida or their growing up in Louisiana.

Lately, I have grown fascinated with Appalachian-English, particularly of the words we use and have heard our entire lives, but are completely foreign to any of yu’ns who might be read’n this from some w’ars else’t!

What are the origins of these titles? Not everyone is in agreement (imagine that in 2017 America!); however, it seems that the prevailing theory is that “Mamaw” comes from a Lowland Scot term “Ma Maw”, meaning, “My Mother”.“Ma” was used when addressing one’s own mother, while “Maw” is used when addressing others of one’s own or others mothers.But what about Pa-paw? Where did this word come from?

Source: Mountain Lingo: Where Did “Ma-Maw” and “Pa-Paw” Come From? | Appalachian Magazine