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A Better Way to Fight Scam Calls

by @ 8:22 pm
Filed under: social — Tags: ,

The usual advice on handling scam calls has been to not answer unknown caller id’s or hang up immediately and to not interact, lest the scammers will flag the number as live and will call it more often.

However, a recent extensive study out of NC State has confirmed what I’d always suspected and that is the scammers pay scant attention to if and how the calls are answered and blindly keep on calling. That means they fire up their auto-dialers, sequentially calling numbers and connecting the answered calls to agents regardless of past history.

I get plenty of these calls myself with the immediate telltale sign being a local but unknown caller id. If I have some time to kill, I pick up the call, go through the initial robot IVR qualification steps and when the live agent finally comes on, I just waste their time.

There are plenty ways to waste scammers' time. You can hang up after the initial greeting, talk gibberish, ask them to wait a minute and set the phone down, or just go along pretending that you are interested in whatever junk they are peddling. The scammers are pretty savvy in recognizing time-wasters and hang up rather quickly, but by then you have wasted a bit of their time.

Now If everyone wasted a few seconds of the scammers’ time, that can add up quickly to a substantial loss to them with the effort not justifying the potential gains. That should drive some if not the majority of the scam call centers out of business.

So, go ahead and answer the scam calls. Every time you waste a scammer’s time, there’s the satisfaction of knowing that it might have saved a vulnerable person from falling victim or at least from being annoyed.

Bob Ross, The Master of Painting

by @ 1:39 pm
Filed under: social — Tags:

Life as a young man in college can be wild sometimes but one of my greatest memories of peace and tranquility was watching Bob Ross paint on the PBS program, The Joy of Painting.

I don't know how I got hooked, but I loved The Joy of Painting from the first time I saw it and even had my roommates watch along on the old crappy TV that was part of every college kid's furnishing.

Bob Ross was truly skilled, but what set him apart from the others was his soft demeanor, his unmistakable sincerity and his devotion to the art, which was mostly paintings of natural settings like mountains, oceans, meadows and the like.

Ross has been gone for 20 years but his art and his lessons continue to impress the world and I am so happy that someone decided to put many of his programs on YouTube. I have never been artistic and very certain that I will never be. But watching one of his programs guarantees a magical and, dare I say, exciting time where blobs of paint are turned into a majestic masterpiece in half-hour.

Thankfully Bob Ross is now immortally on demand, continuing to inject a bit of peace and sanity into our chaotic and loud world. Happy little clouds to all.

Do Not Iron Your Shower Liner

by @ 12:48 pm
Filed under: social — Tags:

... and don't bleach or dryclean it either. While changing my IKEA vinyl shower liner today, for some reason I noticed the back side of the package.

ikea shower liner

It's weird already that IKEA needs to warn the consumer against machine washing/drying, bleaching, ironing, and drycleaning the $5 liner, but it's telling that only the US consumers are given these warnings.

Apparently for other countries a simple 100% PEVA does the job, they just know what not to do. Admittedly I had no idea what PEVA was, but thank goodness for the warnings. I was about to spend hours washing, drying, bleaching, and ironing my old shower liner 🙂

Lima, Peru

by @ 9:54 am
Filed under: social — Tags: ,

A couple of photos from Lima, Peru where I visited earlier this year. Google's Picasa did a good job stitching a few photo fragments to make panoramic views. Click to see full size.

The first one is right off the Lima coast in the Mira Flores district. Surfers are visible in the Pacific.

The second, a shot from the historic Pachacamac. A village is visible beyond the ruins. I suspect some of the people there work in the ruins.

lima, peru

pachacamac, peru

The Rio, Las Vegas

by @ 10:37 pm
Filed under: social — Tags:

A few shots of Las Vegas from the top of the Rio hotel where I rode their newly opened Voodoo zip line.

The Rio





























Reforming alimony rules - Florida

by @ 4:38 pm
Filed under: financial,social — Tags: ,

Finally the wheels of justice have begun to ever so slowly move towards logic and fairness. This time it is in the state of Florida.

States are waking to the reality that alimony in many cases is but a racket perpetrated from one spouse on another and permanent alimony is a specially cruel form of torture.

How permanent alimony came to be is in itself an intriguing topic. How it has been allowed to thrive is a gross travesty of justice and dignity.

Men and women alike should demand that such a draconian law is repealed, never again to be accepted in a civilized society. A marriage should never a be prison sentence enforced by the threat of lifetime extortion for one party and a road to riches for the other.


Alimony Rethought

by @ 2:53 pm
Filed under: law,social — Tags:

Kudos to the New Jersey lawmakers for presenting a bill that would abolish permanent alimony.

This is not a male/female issue. It's a fairness and common sense issue. Once a marriage is dissolved, the couple should be able to fairly divide up their assets and move on. Some form of temporary spousal support may be warranted depending on the circumstances, but it certainly shouldn't be forever.

In most cases alimony has become a tool of revenge or a source of income for the leeching spouse, making alimony an incentive to become a parasite.

In a society where equality of the sexes is the rule, outdated alimony laws have no place anymore. Many spouses are too proud and independent to even ask for it and for others, it's time to strongly encourage them to shape up and support themselves.



Tech and sexism

by @ 10:14 am
Filed under: law,social,technology

When I first read this story I thought the woman in the story was a self-serving, over-reacting simpleton. I still think she is, based on her own account of the events that led to her infantile reaction.

So this woman overheard two guys at a tech conference make jokes about forking and dongles, both tech terms with obvious sexual double-meanings. She snapped a picture of them and tweeted it along with a sanctimonious comment. One of the men was fired by his employer and the woman herself was eventually fired by her employer because she stirred up much negativity from the techies.

The backlash against this woman has been swift and severe.  I don't condone the threatening comments, so let's get that out of the way first. However this woman is a childish attention-seeker who pretends offense at something so ridiculously trivial that wasn't even directed at her. As a native Iranian I have heard my share of middle eastern jokes. I can certainly separate the lighthearted ones from the malicious ones and I've always felt secure enough in myself not to whine about it. Plenty of men and women work in the tech industry which is admittedly tolerant of some profanity, big deal.

I have a mother, a sister and daughters and if any of them did what this woman did and felt proud of it, I'd have no support for them. There's a difference between sexual harassment and dumb comments. If this inept woman didn't like what these guys were discussing she could have moved away or told them to quiet down. Instead she chose to shame and harm them by outing them. Well, I have sympathy for these men and disgust for the actions of this woman. It's not about having a thick skin, it's about having enough maturity and common sense and the woman obviously lacks both.

Well lady, I don't who you are and who they are, but in my eyes you are a whiner who gives a bad name to intelligent women who work alongside men. You don't stand for women in the workforce, you stand in their way, making them appear like weak fragile dolls that cry at the slightest disagreement. One can only hope the actions of this one weak-minded woman don't cause men to feel like they're walking on egg shells or that they must assume a different personality around women.


Belgian twins choose euthanasia

by @ 11:26 am
Filed under: health,religion,social — Tags: ,

Is there a right more precious than the freedom to choose what to do with one's own life? Here's the case of twins who decided to end their lives, rather than face a cruel and torturous life ahead.

Disagree if you want, choose a different path if it happens to you, but keep yourself and your beliefs to yourself.

And if you are the type that actually enjoys seeing people suffer and squirm against their wishes before your imaginary sky friend finally decides they have had enough, psychopathic therapy would be strongly recommended for you.

Prostitution, So What?

by @ 7:00 pm
Filed under: politics,religion,social — Tags: , ,

Once again the American legal hypocrisy rears its ugly head to punish a bunch of adults for doing something it should be no one's business. (‘Zumba Madam’ Allegedly Used Maine Dance Studio As Brothel and Made Videos of Customers - The Daily Beast.)

A group of men up in Maine paid for sex and now the law up there will reveal their names dragging them and their families in the mud? It's high time for people to demand that the dumb law be stricken from the books. What's next, outing people for surfing porn, or gawking at bikini models?

This is about adults engaging in consented activity. Like men don't pay for sex one way or another, be it dinner and a movie, or an engagement ring, or putting half of their assets on the line.

If gays could come out of the closet and not be ashamed of who they are,  why not sex workers and their clients? Then who cares if their names get published. It'll be like outing people for buying pizza.

For the record, I am totally in favor of regulated and taxed sex industry, and while we're at it, the same for mild drugs like pot or opium. Go ahead you hypocrites, publish my name in every newspaper in the nation, see if I care.

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