Housing: Still Semi-Stuck


As expected, the Case-Shiller/S&P Housing Index came out this morning and the accompanying press release goes like this:


“New York, July 30, 2013 – Data through May 2013, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed increases of 2.5% and 2.4% for the 10- and 20-City Composites in May versus April. Dallas and Denver reached record levels surpassing their pre-financial crisis peaks set in June 2007 and August 2006.

Read moreHousing: Still Semi-Stuck

Coping: Lyle Alzado, Vitamin B-50 & Vitamin Testing

To borrow a station promo from WOAI in San Antonio overnight (1200 AM if you’re in the area) “Don’t take new vitamin B-50 unless you want to end up like Lyle Alzado.”  The station is running special reports this morning on the vitamin, if I follow correctly.


Here’s what we can “dot-connect” here:  Lyle Alzado was one hellavah fine football player – and also one of the first to admit taking anabolic steroids and fessing up publicly (details may be found here).  He died at age 43 of brain cancer – which he attributed to steroids.


Fast forward to this week and we have a warning from the Food and Drug Administration that certain B-50 compounding may contain steroids.  From the official press release…


“…the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that they should not use or purchase Healthy Life Chemistry By Purity First B-50, marketed as a vitamin B dietary supplement. A preliminary FDA laboratory analysis indicated that the product contains two potentially harmful anabolic steroids—methasterone, a controlled substance, and dimethazine. These ingredients are not listed in the label and should not be in a dietary supplement.


“Products marketed as a vitamin but which contain undisclosed steroids pose a real danger to consumers and are illegal,” said Howard Sklamberg, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The FDA is committed to ensuring that products marketed as vitamins and dietary supplements do not pose harm to consumers.”


The FDA has received reports of 29 adverse incidents associated with the use of Healthy Life Chemistry By Purity First B-50.  These reports include fatigue, muscle cramping, and myalgia (muscle pain), as well as abnormal laboratory findings for liver and thyroid function, and cholesterol levels. Females who used this product reported unusual hair growth and missed menstruation, and males who used the product reported impotence and findings of low testosterone.


Consumers using Healthy Life Chemistry By Purity First B-50 who experience any of these symptoms should consult a health care professional and report their experience to the FDA. Using anabolic steroid-containing products may cause acute liver injury. Some of the cases reported have resulted in hospitalization, but there were no reports of death or acute liver failure….”


I’m one of those people who believes that moderate use of vitamins and nutrient supplementations over time can improve one’s health, but as always we recommend regular blood work and close coordination with your healthcare professional. 


My own daily vitamin/nutrient regimen  consists of celery seed, lots of vitamin C, magnesium, L-arginine, black cherry extract, turmeric, huperzine, and bilberry/lutein.  On top of this is a good solid multi-vit plus zinc and a baby aspirin with a meal.  Every other day a small amount of boron and a B-complex formulated for allergies. 


This is not a recommendation – again, see your health professional.  It does, however, seem to work for me.  I think the way to test vitamins is to add one to your regimen, use it for a month, and note any difference in weight and how you feel.  Blood pressure and periodical blood work-ups periodically, too.


My collection of “additives” works well:  The celery is a mild diuretic which works excess salt through the system.  The magnesium is to hedge against heart disease.

Read moreCoping: Lyle Alzado, Vitamin B-50 & Vitamin Testing

March to City/States: Obamacare to Save Detroit?

We can’t help but notice from raw irony in how Detroit, due back in bankruptcy court this week, could become a poster child for Obamacare. 


The reason, as the New York Times explains in more detail over here, is that by pushing (early) retiree healthcare off onto the Obamacare system, that would reduce the city’s future financial obligations and, depending on how you push the numbers around, could become a keystone to working out a plan to avoid bankruptcy proceedings from moving ahead.


Not that other cities are not having a tough go of it, as well.  Chicago is quickly burning through its cash reserves and we have to wonder if mayor Rahm Emmanuel shouldn’t have spent more time playing SimCity when younger.


“Hand me that 5/8ths Woonsocket, would’ja?” 

That Rhode Island city, not to be confused with the similar-looking left-handed skyhook, is increasing property taxes 23 percent.  By doing so, they take another bold step toward being the first city in America to taxing people more than they make…a sadly crowded field, indeed.


As we spiral in on Ben Bernanke’s departure and the arrival of (please God, not him!) Larry Summers at the fed, Governing.com has a useful resource that shows government unit are marching out back for that final cigarette before the blindfold and wall


The real solution, which Peoplenomics.com readers will receive in Wednesday’s report, is going to uniform government worker retirement programs and multi-color currency.  I know that’ll keep you guessing, but I’ve been rereading lots of (first) Depression economic books of late, including some rare ones, and it’s amazing how much of what we’re facing now has been around before.


The Week Ahead

Since this is the end of the month this week, we should be braced for some predictable things that will happen.  Oh, sure, there is a pending home sales report due out later on this morning, but that’s not nearly as important as tomorrow’s Case Shiller/S&P Housing Index report which continues to be the gold standard of non-government truth detectors.  Housing prices stuck at 2003 by a month on month happy chart would be my dart toss.


Speaking of truth hurts, then on Wednesday morning, our “First Things” section in Peoplenomics will be assessing the new GDP figures.  This is always a statistical nightmare being the worst mash-up on self-referential percentages imaginable.  Once we get down to the actual constant dollars up or down of it, we can then infer whether the collapsing velocity of money will continue down, or whether it will try to level off a bit.


And one other economic highlight to keep an eye on is the price of gold which usually has some kind of a month-end beat down so the commercials can sop up something to deliver. 


As any summer Monday should be, this promises to be a somewhat predictable week, after all.


More After This…




The Point of Iraq?

Oh, sure, we went into Iraq to develop ways to control people’s harvesting of heritage seeds, develop purple finger inks, and defend the West’s interest in heavy duty oil reserves.


But now that will pulling back to the US mega consulate, we see a wave of sectarian violence returning with more than 60 Shi’ites killed in the latest bloodshed.


Down the trench a ways, we have Syria’s government scoring a major victory over rebels (backed by the west) in Homs.


Continuing our matutinal stroll southward, we hear Israel whining about the price of peace talks.


Then, before heading to the throne room (as a result of all this exercise), we finish up at the south end of Western influence with Egypt disorder causing much hand-wringing in places like the Wall Street Journal.


It is, sorry to say, same hike and the same crap, as most mornings.  Maybe for tomorrow’s stroll, we’ll do the other side of the sandbox.  Whatever.


Hot Reader News Tips

We get plenty of news tips from readers about stories that may not be getting front page (above the fold) play in the mainstream media, but which have captured reader attention.  Here’s a sampling of where reader revelations are pointing today:

Coping: Filling Nostradamus

Our long-term reader/contributor G.A. Stewart (which he’s not off being a techie) is one of the world’s leading Nostradamus thinkers.  His website over at www.theageofdesolation.com is where he sells a thoughtful book on how modern times are fulfilling many of the prophecies of M. Nostradamus, whose history you can catch up on at Wikipedia.


Since I like to keep you abreast of things – preferably before they happen – we have an interesting discussion of how some hints of things to come may be coming along over the next year, or so:




Got to thinking…   1260 DAYS AND TWO WITNESSES FROM THE BOOK: May 23, 2013: “One thousand two hundred and threescore days” from December 10,2009 and Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.


I think the two witnesses have flown under the radar in the countless riots that have erupted in the United States and Europe. Nondescript, they are fighting the good fight and they will probably appear somewhere around May 23, 2013.


MAY 20, 2013 Edward Snowden… leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press. Snowden left Hawaii for Hong Kong on May 20, 2013…

MAY 23, 2013 Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin Interrupts Obama Speech The Code Pink activist confronted the President on drones, Gitmo  


Also take a look at this, maybe you can work with it on your bench.  


Nostradamus Sixain XXVII

Fire from space from the Western side,

From the mid heaven, running to the East,

Worms half dead without finding a root.

Third Age of Mars the warlike,

One will see fires shining from the Carbuncles,

The age of the Carbuncle will bring famine in the end.

Read moreCoping: Filling Nostradamus

NSA Technique? Something About JSTOR?

Other than the summer sweeps (which ended day before yesterday)  and the George Zimmerman whip-up of emotions and the royal diaper king, what do you think has been going on at the mentally subcutaneous level of thick-headed America?  Glad you’re still bright enough to be curious.  Apparently you’re resistant to emotional frenzy-whipping…which is a good thing.


We’ve got a real who-done-it going today watching reports of the continuing investigation into the death (Could it have been  a murder made to look like suicide?) of Aaron Swartz who was the genius inventor of RSS and Reddit.


In the latest episode, reports WhiteOutPress.com seems MIT has jumped onboard the government cover-up bandwagon in fighting a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request from Wired which is trying to get information about the case.  Kevin Poulsen, editor of Wired is, to my way of thinking, a true patriot to asking hard questions of the government in the Swartz case and demanding documentation.


The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is unambiguous:  “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


Except:  The FISA (foreign intelligence surveillance act) Court gets to keep secrets and obviously by claiming “terrorism” the word foreign is being interpreted fast and loose in order to cast a wide net over….everyone.  Oh, and since it’s all secret, no appeal to public courts…so yes, boys and girls, there is a shadow government.


As the above-linked article shows, the prosecution/persecution of  Swartz really ramped up after he released a large chunk of JSTOR documents.  This is only meaning if you understand that this is a HUGE repository of academic studies by America’s best and brightest – information too hot to be released to the general plebes like you and me.


The judge in the case has given the government until August 5 to produce a timeline for release of documents, but an intelligent bet is that the government will “play for time” on this one and will have to be wrangled  back into court by Wired sometime in mid-August to explain why they haven’t released the documents.


OK, fine as far as it goes…which isn’t far enough.  What would be the “big deal” about release of JSTOR documents?  For a little more sense of what’s going on, I’d suggest a back issue of TechDirt over here under the headline “JSTOR freely released public domain papers that Greg Maxwell already Freed...” 


“OK, why such a big deal?


Good question:  What could JSTOR have possibly leaked to the public that would have caused such an uproar?


My #1 guess is that there is a key conceptual framework about “Big Data” in there which would only have one purpose:  Massive spying on the [innocent] American public.  Contravening the 4th Amendment in the process.


Specifically I would be looking at advanced server integrations which would be applicable to that new NSA super-farm being built south of Salt Lake City when another side bet is that someone has a huge advance in “named-entity recognition” that will literally give the government key insight into what you’re thinking, you threat to freedom, you, lol.


[Forbes has already leaked the blueprints of the mega-server farm, which has to be an award-winner for Kashmir Hill’s investigative work.]


Or, the released data might have contained computationally useful information about linguistics.  A head-wrap may be seen in “Phrase clustering for discriminative learning”  Mix up learning agents and massive Big Data warehousing and now you’ve got absolute control of a population (formerly a “free” country.)


While you’d think MIT would have “clean hands” in this, remember they are one of the world’s leading computer theory and linguistics centers and the public blow-back could be significant toward the school if it were to be revealed (all hypothetically, mind you) that maybe they were working with the government (NSA et alia) on computation approaches to spying on protecting Americans.  Why else would they hold that school staff could be placed in some kind of jeopardy by the release of information?


I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately in the Big Data arena and it’s obvious to anyone who reads a few books what’s likely going on.  You might start with Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, $20, Amazon and for the theoretical implications.  Next reread The Commanding Heights : The Battle for the World Economy: What comes into focus is that there is a subtle shift in managing populations away from what is now fairly direct mass media manipulation and toward “thought inference as reflected by probabilistic data analysis.


Soft mass-control versus hard personal-control is another way to look at it.


Another insight arises as Arvind Sathi notes in Big Data Analytics: Disruptive Technologies for Changing the Game  “There were two types of leaders: Disseminating leaders who were connected to their groups by outgoing calls and authority leaders who were connected by a larger proportion of incoming calls…”  [emphasis added- Ure]


While Sathi’s reference was to IBM Research’s work on (telephone) call centers, the data analysis case may likely be generalized when looking at a much larger universe of Big Data which includes not only verbose speech (SVIR/voice->text followed by NER thence SQL scoring layers) but also text (twits and emails) plus social mapping data (social media).  Toss in your actual income (bank records) and expenses (bank/credit card records) along with call data (time/location/social maps) and there ain’t much about you government can’t already “know.”   


While great research, there is obvious extensibility into how humans communicate in general such that the inbound/outbound call ratios of telephone call centers are likely extensible to your personal inbound and outbound email, shared links/favorites, and even things like your Facebook postings after running through NER.  Which is why we explained additional mechanics of this to Peoplenomics readers recently [subscribe].


These latter concerns are particularly troublesome to news/analytics types like Ure’s truly who might be classes as “disseminating leaders” which means, under the emergent new laws of sociopolitical control via human communications, that you are roughly 28.5 times more likely to send a copy of something read on  UrbanSurvival on to some of your friends than general non-specific web-based information.


Put another way, there’s a whole new class of quantifiable social behaviorism being discovered by Big Data and government is trying to get there first by loading up the Federal Data Hub with as much data and inferences about YOU and possible (never mind legal, because that’s whatever congress says it is).  It’s clear that they’re trying to get as much of the baseline infrastructure in place as possible before the public  rebels and demands change from Congress.


So the two battlefronts to note this week are the battle lines in the Swartz case on the one hand and the heavy-handed NSA green light approved by 217 traitorous members of Fools on the Hill whose only concern with Big Data is how it can be translated into campaign finance income.  Which is why out of state money is so important to congresspersons.


Oh…..there is one other slim motivation for all the tensions over the JSTOR records release:  The data may have revealed the location of the other of the moon’s sentinel’s (one of which is likely adjacent to the crater Aristillus)…but by comparison that’s a very low probability case.  Besides, if you really wanted to know the answer to that one, you could get a ham radio license and test when the MUF is below 13 MHz  using lunar ephemerides and 20 meters.  But implications of LDE’s is another topic for another day…Maybe the secret of why we’re not going back to the moon is in there, too.


But seriously (and more so than usual) a word-frequency (topic-frequency) analysis of the JSTOR data would like reveal at least the primary domain probability of the contentious materials.  Sorted to source_school=MIT but then you’d probably already figured that.  If you have access, another tack would be index comparison between public and non-public…but then you couldn’t tell me.  But, such is life.


Why subject-domain hunting is more fun than snipe hunting, ain’t it? 


The federales meantime have started a big push to secure all web passwords it seems


Well, enough deep thinking for this morning, shall we get back to the distractions, then?


Reinventing Science

Big headlines this morning about how MIT neuroscientists successfully planted false memories in the brain.  Refer to previous story.


Oh…and product marketers have been doing this for years…

Say, here’s something of interest on an MIT server that I  bet’cha didn’t know.  Infers a link between a certain widely used ag chemical and autism rates…


More After This…




Weiner Week Continues

As we began this week with an account of national hog dog day, little did we ever imagine (OK, maybe we did, wanna make something of it?) that by week’s end we would still be up to our headlines in Weiners.


Yet here we are…and the Weiner du jour is Mrs. Weiner, aka Huma Abedin who is getting a lot of questions about how she could hold a part time tax payer paid job for Hillary (don’t make me say it) at the State Department while pulling in more than $300-large from the same outfit ol’ Bill’s on the board of…

Read moreNSA Technique? Something About JSTOR?

Coping: Past-Life Learning – A Bad Idea?

After being a microphone-slinging journalist for 15-years in a major market, and another xx years of writing/journalism, you get a pretty good idea who’s writing you the straight skinny and who’s pulling your chain.


so yesterday morning I was all hot on the idea of using past life regressions to “pull through” information and skills from previous lifetimes (if real) and I received a couple of really good emails on topic.  But the capper of them all was this one from a fellow we’ll call Bob because it has a serious warning and “ring of truth” to it that causes me to step back from going forward with my usual full-tilt boogie into a new adventure:


“If the memories have not already returned ( usually around late 40s ) then you are probably not ready.


Regret, is the first to come back, fear of running for you life and horror of battle fields soon follow.


Regret will tear you to pieces if you let it.


Hellish dreams appear. 


Language, is a product of years of training the speaking muscles and brain responses. It takes about 10 years ( not fun ) to train a body to survive in its environment. Seeing your loved ones dying around you is the worst horror of all.


When my memories returned, my first thought was “Bullshit”. Then I took a trip to a place from long ago and there I found the graves. I lost a dear son in WW1. To see the graves of your loved ones is a terrible experience.

Read moreCoping: Past-Life Learning – A Bad Idea?

Slip-Sliding Away

The recent election victory of Shinzo Abe in Japan seems to be blowing up as the Japanese market, which has rallied for a while at the prospect of more Abe-nomics promptly fell on its butt last night, down 168 points in overnight trading, but the futures are hinting at a further 400-points, or more, to go.


While we’ll just have to wait until this evening to see how much of that actually materialized, the mood in Europe is somber and we expect the US market to open down 50 and close down a hundred and something.


Just for example, the land of “new royal diapers” was down 0.84% (when I checked earlier) which – if it carried over into the market here – would mean a decline of something like 130 Dow points, so that’s our dart for this morning.


As always, this is not trading advice, unless you’re an imbecile or fool.  But then again, judging by how things are going lately, I may be way off in my population estimates of imbeciles and fools at a planetary level and certain national capitols.


As always, I think Mark Twain said it best…but I I’ll be damned if I can remember where exactly, so you go read his complete works (listed over here) and I’m sure it will jump out at you.


The Train In Spain Is Mainly a Pain

…at least for the 140-odd people injured.  Likely not for the 78 (and climbing) dead.


Durable Goods

Press release just out (I highlighted the weasl-words):


New orders for manufactured durable goods in June increased $9.9 billion or 4.2 percent to $244.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up four of the last five months, followed a 5.2 percent May increase and was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992. Excluding transportation, new orders increased slightly. “


Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.0 percent. Transportation equipment, also up four of the last five months, led the increase, $9.9 billion or 12.8 percent to $87.1 billion. This was led by nondefense aircraft and parts, which increased $6.5 billion.



Shipments of manufactured durable goods in June, down two of the last three months, decreased slightly to to $229.8 billion. This followed a 1.3 percent May increase. Machinery, also down two of the last three months, drove the decrease, $0.4 billion or 1.2 percent to $34.2 billion.

Read moreSlip-Sliding Away

Coping: Shrink Seeking

I’m not sure where the stars are, but this morning I got up with two marvelous ideas…both of which are ground-breaking and both of which deserve serious discussion.


The first of these is one that I’m already researching a reporting for Peoplenomics.com readers for next week based on a really interesting outcome of government surveillance…but complete details on that one after I do some more research and work out the loose ends to it.


But the other great idea which popped into my head this morning was a result of listening to George Noory’s interview on CoastToCoastAM Georgina Cannon who was talking about “inter-life journeys.”


In order to grok this, you’ll need to understand that what we are talking about here is the whole theory of reincarnation.  You know the stuff:  Born, go through a life, die, and later on in another lifetime, you can experience some of the conditions of the past life as medical symptoms, or whatever.


This is usually where the discussion dead-ends.  Now, while I didn’t listen to the whole show last night (I do need to get some rest) I nevertheless was struck by people’s lack of imagination!


I’m thinking that there must be some skill or talents developed in another lifetime that could sure be useful in this life.


If you read enough about past lives, not just Cannon’s work but lots of others have written in the field, you get the idea that the average time-interval between dying in a previous life and waking up/being born into the present one is four to eight years.


Now, since I was born in 1949, the odds seem pretty good to me that I checked out of a previous life sometime in World War Two.  When I think about it (and my fascination with flying airplanes, not to mention my inclination to eat Asian foods, born in an Asia neighborhood with the only Scottish last name that looks Asian and such) it’s easy for me to imagine that I was a Japanese or Chinese airplane pilot during the period from 1938 to 1945.


So this is what has me looking for a good shrink/past life regression expert to work with:  I don’t give a darn about how my subconscious has twisted thinking-up memories which may – or may not – be real.


No sir!  What I am after would be actually retrieving some of the SKILLS that would have been acquired over the course of  multiple previous lifetimes.  I’d call it something modest like a “Ure Hack” of personality.


The way I figure it is this:  Sure, there are occasional child savants who come along who may just “know” (from their previous lifetimes) how to play marvelous piano or other musical instruments. Often comes with some form of autism…like an improperly done hard drive reformat, know what I mean?


What I’m after would be a series of past life regressions which would attempt to work around whatever those barriers are to actually recapturing lost language and music skills for sure…not to mention trade skills which you may have learned in previous lifetimes!


Wouldn’t it be marvelously more efficient to spend a dozen sessions in deep regression work and be able – in that time – to recall at least one (and maybe many) past life languages?  How about all those past-life skills like some of the tradecraft you might have learned?


I imagine myself walking into such a series just a normal 64-year old  MBA with modest home shop. electronics, and flying skills, OK, some sailing skills, too…and walking out of a regressionbeing able to speak two past languages fluently; like passable Japanese, Chinese, French or whatever.


Then there would be the trades that could be brought back.  Maybe I was a free-diver who went for pearls or fish, or maybe I was a violin player in Poland or maybe I was a machinist…cook….or you name it.


That’s the part of past life regressions that interests the hell out of me.  Yeah, it’s a tidy little conversation starter in the woo-woo crowd to be able to make claims.  But, to come back as an expert machinist or welder, piano player or kicking it in two or three languages, well THAT gets to be pretty impressive.


So if you know anyone who’s in the regression business, let me know since this is an area that demands more study and it’s been percolating for a number of years and last night’s Noory show just sort of brought it back up to front-of-mind with a reminder to mention it to you.


I’ll let you know what I find out…but in terms of confirmation of the past lives claim, I’d say recapturing concert piano skills, or some other intricate task (like watchmaking or instrument repair) would be a marvelous proof.


On the other hand, if we can’t recall specifics of a trade, and if we can’t bring those back to the present, then the odds increase that what passes for past life may be something like DMT – Dimethyltryptamine (the spirit molecule) being activated around the time people are born and yet again around the time they check out.


If a good regressionist could demonstrate bringing back skills, then I might know an anesthesiologist (who was frustrated by the limited toolkit available to neurologists) who might be able to offer some keen insights into how to develop this into a really meaningful technology.


Let me see here:  Recall several lifetimes of past life skill sets including math, language and trades OR fork out 4-8 years of this life and get loaded up on student loan debt…yep, sure seems like a disruptive technology to me!


Prepping Notes: Sun Ovens

Reader Greg is asking:


Hello George;     I’m a multi-year peoplenomics subscriber, daily reader of Urban Survival. I remember you recommending a solar oven sometime back. I can’t find it on your site. Was it the All American Sun Oven or ?...”


Glad you asked:  Ours is an All American Sun Oven (which run nearly $300 now) but it has survived my using it.  You can find others but ultimately it all depends on how hot you want the sun oven to get.  More reflector area and smaller internal space means you get higher temps.  300-400 is fine for baking, one pot casseroles and such.  No melting aluminum in these.


Now, you can build a solar oven out of some leftover window glass, some wood, insulation, and shiny reflector matgerial.  There are even plans around thenet showing how to build an oven out of glass and a cardboard box.  But if you ever need it as a real cooking source the commercial made units seem like  a better bet.  That and living in the Sahara instead of Seattle, too.


One thing I’m still looking for is an automatic tracker, so I don’t have to go move the oven every 20-minutes, or so.  Go read more on oven trackers here.  Send me your second proto.  I’ll see if I can break it.


No, I wasn’t Kidding

I’ve been a believer in the Maxa Cookie Manager product for years now and the reason is simple:  Cookies, which can track your computer use, can seriously slow down computer performance.


Not that you’d take my word for it, but a reader sent me this after trying the product out this week:


Hey George, Just wanted to say thanks for recommending the Maxa cookie manager.  It was a breeze to install and I cannot believe how much faster my computer is!!  I start my day every morning with your column…blog…whatever it is called.  Love the way you think!  Been reading you for 3 years now.  Try and stay cool down there in Texas.  Thanks for what you do!!   Kelly


If you’d like to sample how it works, click here and download it and follow the setup instructions.  I recommend the upgrade to the paid/pro version, but run it and make your own decision…


Christmas in July

I’ve always held TigerDirect in high regard as a marketing outfit and this morning’s “Christmas in July” sale email somehow struck me as reflecting ‘Merca’s new core values. 


Their four lead items:  A monitor, a 1TB hard drive, an 8-camera security system, and a laptop to use it all…   A marvelous summation of where the country has gone in a single email…

Another data point in the decline of ‘Merica is that Christmas is no longer a religious event… It’s being legislated away by the folks with political correctness disease.  Which leaves  Corporations to almost to own it outright with just a few residual nuisance claims.


It always seemed to me, though, that a good IP law firm could sue for residuals on Christmas sales claiming trade dress infringement.  Which is why I don’t own a law firm, I suppose.


A “Dear John” Letter

Ah, the scammers are rerunning an oldie but goodie here:


“I’m writing this with tears in my eyes,my family and i came down here to Manila,Philippines for a short vacation to visit a resort and got mugged at gun point last night at the park of the hotel where we lodged.All cash,credit cards and cell were stolen off me. I’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all,our flight leaves today and I’m having problems settling the hotel bills, we still have some money in our account but we don’t have access to it right from here.   The hotel manager won’t let us leave until i settle the hotel bills(£1,950 USD)now am freaked out.Please reply and let me if can you have the money wire to me through Western Union i promise to pay back as soon as we get back home.    Thanks you so much.  Hope to hear from you soon.  




Since this kind of email shows up with some frequency, I decided to write a useful email back.  After all, even the hard-working scammers should receive the courtesy of a reply….


“Dear John,


I was really troubled to hear of your multiple misfortunes, but as a management consultant I’m pleased to be able to offer you several opportunities to resolve your most distressing plight.  All God’s children have woes, eh?


First, you may find it useful to actually visit the Philippines since your message header reveals that your email originated with a YahooMail account stateside.  Tisk, tish!.  Really, John, I’m disappointed with your lack of IT experience thinking anyone would overlook such an obvious flaw!


Secondly, only a complete idiot would go to Manila for a vacation.  What the hell were you thinking?  Sandals in the Caribbean…a cruise….there were so many good choices and you didn’t make one.  Your bad.


As to the armed gunman, you should have locked your door and not been carrying easily lost items!  Haven’t you heard of Traveler’s Checks?  Dude!


Last:  Even a jamoke like me knows hotel management can not hold you.  Are you kidding? The average American’s weight is 196 pounds.  By contrast, the average Filipino (age 40-59) is only 122 pounds. 


See here John:  With a nearly 2 to 1 weight advtange you should have easily been able to kick his ass.  If not, you are simply a pussy, and that’s being polite as I can be.  You oughta look into testosterone augmentation therapy.


That shouldn’t be too hard to find, since you seem to be located just outside Austin, Texas. 


But before I make further consultative suggestions, you really oughta take some IP courses.


Sincerely (or nearly so)




Sending long, involved explanations to perps of such scams is fun.  It clogs up their inbox and gives them false hope.  Its like an invitation to become a pen-pal.  You can also use the address of someone you don’t like and invite him to come over and pick up the cash there.  A kinder person would use the address of a police precint station.  But I like the dual-use model.


Another approach would be to promise to send XXX dollars right away,  encouraging the perp to borrow from his local loan shark while he awaits the fabulously generaous cash you promise.  Then, when the cash doesn’t appear, the local loan shark will administer a stern lesson about fraud on my behalf.


It’s hard to con an honest man…but the dishonest?  Well, they’re pretty easy.



Write when you get rich…

George Ure (george at ure dot net)


Here are some useful ways to spend your money…


Now on the

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A Course in Surveillance Algorithms

An algorithm is simply a set of instructions for a computer system to follow in a particular order.  In the case of Big Data, the steps are capture, organize, integrate, analyze, and act.  Using this approach, we can build a fine example of the many trip-wires an innocent civilian could stumble over in the modern surveillance society.  Plus we have our monthly check of west coast port data with is oftentimes a decent truth detector about the economy and an update on many headlines and our trading model.  You may need a third cup for this morning’s report…



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George Ure’s latest writings…



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Read moreCoping: Shrink Seeking