Facebook took my fake-account-spotting ability away

September 30th, 2014

I was disappointed tonight when I discovered that Facebook has taken away my ability to spot fake Facebook accounts. Occasionally, the Facebook groups I administer get requests from suspicious-looking accounts. Often the spammers have recently joined Facebook and have appropriated the photo of another person for their profile photo. Usually the photo is for a hot-looking girl but not always.

When a request to join a group comes in from one of these questionable accounts, the first thing I do it to cut and paste the URL of their profile photo into Google Image Search (GIS). If the account’s fake, GIS will almost always pop up the name of the real person pictured in the photograph. Or there will be multiple hits, showing the same photograph is associated with multiple names. Either way, a Google Image Search has proven a quick way to sniff out fakes.
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People’s Climate March

September 24th, 2014

We attended the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday. Over 400,000 people marched two miles through the streets of New York to show their support for action on climate change. It was one of the most fun demonstrations I’ve attended, mainly because there was no stage. I don’t like it when 100 different groups get invited to the stage to pitch their pet causes when I might not be inclined to support them all. This one made no demands other than to show up and march. Easy.

It was quite a thrill to stand in the middle of New York City, feel the growing roar of the crowd as it approached, and then add my full-throated yell, too. There was real power there.

I’ll probably post more on this soon but I’m going through a very busy week with bond stuff and other distractions.
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This New Card Skimmer Is Almost As Thin As A Credit Card | TechCrunch

September 16th, 2014

Credit card fraudsters are winning.

Good old Brian Krebs has the scoop on a new card skimmer found in Europe. How is it different? It literally fits right into the card slot of any ATM, essentially allowing unfettered access to cards as they slide through. Add in a tiny camera and you’ve got a complete card cloning system.

via This New Card Skimmer Is Almost As Thin As A Credit Card | TechCrunch.

Little fraud — but reason to worry — after major credit card hacks – Business – The Boston Globe

September 16th, 2014

Credit card fraud news story.

For American consumers, some specialists say data breaches are the new normal. More than 500 data breaches — not just of financial information, but of passwords, e-mail addresses, and personal information — occurred in the United States in the first half of 2014 alone, roughly on par with 2013 and 2012, according to Risk Based Security, a Virginia consulting firm. Worldwide, there were 76 breaches that exposed credit card numbers over that same period.

via Little fraud — but reason to worry — after major credit card hacks – Business – The Boston Globe.

Dis-credit-ed

September 14th, 2014

This afternoon, Kelly showed me what she thought was a realistic looking phishing email she received. Upon further examination, however, we realized it was a legitimate fraud alert sent from our credit card company.

I quickly called the customer service number on the back of my card and learned of a fraudulent charge put in today to Xoom Corporation, a wire transfer company of some sort based in San Francisco. Within minutes, a new credit card was being sent out and the fraud charges declined. This was the card we were sent only in February as a replacement for the Target credit card breach, so it lasted all of 7 months before being compromised. Nice.

With all the news about Home Depot’s recent, massive credit card breach, I first wondered if the company was to blame for my fraud instance. In actuality, I almost never shop at Home Depot. The last time I did was February 1st and that was using my previous credit card. Read the rest of this entry »

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

September 13th, 2014

Here’s a good C-SPAN interview of Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Good stuff:

Not that I’m paying attention to such stuff, of course.

Hands down, people without kids have better lives—except for this one major thing – Quartz

September 13th, 2014

Despite all of the negatives in their lives—the stress, the unhealthy lifestyle, the meager social life, the financial challenges, the pop culture oblivion, and the longing for younger days—parents still find themselves happier. We can’t prove exactly what drives these numbers. I have good friends who are physically unable to have kids, which no doubt affects their happiness. Some people choose not to have kids because of other hardships in their lives. And, surely, lots of unhappy parents only say they’re happy because they think they’re supposed to.

But maybe joy indeed doesn’t just have to come from extrinsic things and fabulous social lives—it can come from the adventure of raising a family, from teaching and nurturing others, from sacrifice, and from unconditional love.

via Hands down, people without kids have better lives—except for this one major thing – Quartz.

9/11 revisited

September 12th, 2014
'Dissent is Patriotic" sign overlooking the World Trade Center site.

‘Dissent is Patriotic” sign overlooking the World Trade Center.

I took an eye-opening cab ride on a business trip to New York several years ago. It wasn’t the driving that raised my hair as much as the topic of conversation. My cabbie, a native English speaker, had a tale to tell about the 1996 attack on the World Trade Center. It was his opinion that someone higher up had allowed that bombing to happen, since a gigantic security rule was broken when the van that was detonated was allowed to enter the parking deck.

“I drive my cab there all the time,” he told me. “I know where we people are allowed to park and where they’re not allowed to park.”

I challenged the cabbie on this but he was insistent. “No way. That couldn’t have happened in a million years without someone higher up approving it,” he said.

At the time I chalked it up as a tale from an overly imaginative cab driver, but it wasn’t long before news broke that the FBI was deeply involved in a supposedly botched sting operation in which fake explosives were to be switched in at the last moment. Whoops!

Here’s Dan Rather’s report on CBS the night of October 28, 1993:

I don’t recall hearing that any FBI agents lost their jobs after fucking up a sting operation, bombing a building, and killing six people. Do you?

Fast forward to today. Another 9/11 anniversary has come and gone and even 13 years after the event I can’t help but feel awkward pausing for a moment of silence. It isn’t that I’m not saddened by the loss of lives on that terrible day, it is the way that event is continues to be described as a terrorist attack. There has never been any doubt in my mind that the official narrative of 9/11 is complete bunk, and I must admit that every year my certainty grows.

We lost a lot more than 3,000 lives that day, in my opinion we lost the republic. That truly deserves a moment of silence.
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Fifteen years

September 12th, 2014

Wedding bliss, 1999

Wedding bliss, 1999


Kelly and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary yesterday. For a little romantic night out, we spent our evening with a few hundred other Ligon Middle School parents at the Open House. Hey, at least we were together and, to be honest, it was fun! We’re going out tomorrow night for a romantic dinner.

Above is a scan of a wedding photo we’ve had on our shelf almost since our wedding day. The color may have faded but the love is stronger than ever!

My fellow Americans, please stop being idiots

September 11th, 2014

I agree.

Look, I’ve said it before and I still believe every word. ISIS represents no threat to the United States. None.

Are there terrorists in this world who would like to give us a bloody nose? Absolutely. You know what? You’ve already surrendered an astounding amount of your personal privacy in the name of enabling agencies to reduce that threat. Stop being so eager to bend over and give the little that remains. You’re already going through ridiculous rituals at airports and government offices and museums and bus stations and football stadiums and probably at the local Gymboree, all designed to give you the illusion of safety at an immense cost in both time and money. You’ve already given up everything from the privacy of your phone calls and emails to the ability to take some shampoo on the road. Don’t get out the checkbook to buy more nonsense.

via My fellow Americans, please stop being idiots.