Monday, July 24, 2006

Spam: the worldwide problem has an interesting article on spam by country. Summarily, the US is the leading source of spam materials, followed by China. What I found most particularly interesting is the "pump-and-dump" scam, which is designed to quickly and temporarily boost a company's stock value.

Spam *designed* to affect the economy, and not just for penis-enlarger purchases.

A spammer will purchase penny stock in a company, promote the company and encourage others to buy quickly, then sell off when the price peaks. This causes stock value to roller-coaster.

According to the Wikipedia, pump and dump scams became a major source of income for Organized Crime in the 90s.

While I was researching spam, I also came across this bit in the Wikipedia:

Hobbit Spam

In early July 2006 there has been a massive increase in an unsolicited message from a spoofed address with a half dozen or so random letter subject which contains nothing but three lines of text from JRR Tolkein's The Hobbit. This follows fairly closely another similar form dubbed "discordian poetry" that appeared to used a random word generator dubbed "discordian poetry." In both of these there was no apparent attempt to sell anything and was theorized it was a skriptkiddie ineptly running a spamsuite, confirmed when shortly afterward the same format messages began appearing with image files overlaying the text (a common spam technique). It is suspected to be a variation from the same source and image overlays will begin appearing. [[5]]

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Paying it forward

... To a classmate of mine whose blogs I enjoy, Michael Althouse. There are times when he expresses perfectly in words something I've only felt, or thought about, but never tried to express. Here is one of those blogs.

Magic is a fascinating fantasy. But the "Harry Potter"-type magic that Mike discusses is the kind that is really... easy. It's the people or inventions who can make mundane things sparkle that can truly weild magic.

There are many words for a good writer... Philosopher, author, storyteller, wordslinger. I think we can safely add one more: Wizard.