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13 November, 2002

Parody, Full Circle

The Onion [new window], of course is a brilliant newspaper parody -- even though it stupidly requires JavaScript and hijacks the browser's Back button. But that's a different topic.

Now Mad magazine has published The Bunion, a parody of The Onion.

And don't miss this one: a movie poster for Gulf Wars Episode II.

Posted on 13 November, 2002

Laura Betterly: Spam Queen

Today's Wall Street Journal has an excellent article about a spammer named Laura Betterly. She sends 60 millions spam emails each month, and earns about $200,000 annually for her efforts.

If you have 30 million to 60 million [addresses], you're going to get a certain percentage of [recipients] who think your stuff is cool," she says. "It's a numbers game." "What we do for a living is not a bad thing. We're not horrible," she says.

Well, about 599,99,400 people each month would disagree. The other 600 are the fools who actually respond to her crap.

Perhaps the best quote in the article is at the end:

Recently Ms. Betterly opened a message from a woman claiming to be the daughter of former Philippines President Joseph Estrada, asking if Ms. Betterly would like to make some money by helping the woman hide $17.3 million in embezzled funds. That kind of spam "is why what we do has a bad name," Ms. Betterly says. "People actually fall for this stuff."

Sheesh! At least now I have a face to associate with the trash that fills my inbox.

But the worst part: The WSJ article will probably result in a huge increase in her business. There are plenty more halfwits out there who will purchase her spam database in an effort to get rich quick on the Internet.

According to a poster at SlashDot, you can contact Laura Betterly at laura@dataresourceconsulting.com. Keep that handy the next time you need to provide a bogus email address in an online form.

Posted on 13 November, 2002

The Healthiest States in the U.S.

Here's a list of states, ranked in order of "healthiness." The study was done by the United Health Foundation (story here).

1. New Hampshire 18. Virginia 35. Delaware
2. Minnesota 19. New Jersey 36. North Carolina
3 Massachusetts 20. Idaho 37. Texas
4. Utah 21. Kansas 38. Nevada
5. Connecticut 22. Indiana 39. Kentucky
6. Vermont 23. Pennsylvania 40. Georgia
7. Iowa (tie) 24. Montana (tie) 41. West Virginia
7. Colorado (tie) 24. California (tie) 42. New Mexico
9. North Dakota 26. Wyoming 43. Florida
10. Maine 27. Ohio 44. Tennessee
11. Washington (tie) 28. Maryland 45. Alabama
11. Wisconsin (tie) 29. Michigan 46. Oklahoma
13. Rhode Island 30. Alaska 47. Arkansas
14. Hawaii 31. Illinois 48. South Carolina
15. Nebraska 32. New York (tie) 49. Mississippi
16. South Dakota 32. Missouri (tie) 50. Louisiana
17. Oregon 34. Arizona  

The foundation based its rankings on factors including smoking, motor vehicle deaths, heart disease risk, high school graduation rates, children in poverty, prenatal care, access to health insurance, and public spending on healthcare. It also took into account deaths from and incidence of certain diseases, deaths on the job, infant mortality, and premature death.

Here's a link to Health Care State Rankings for 2002-- a similar study, but with different results.

Posted on 13 November, 2002

A Concise History of Bill Gates & Microsoft

It's right here. It's more interesting that Bill Gates' official web site.

Posted on 13 November, 2002

WiFi Speed Spray

I normally don't endorse products, but this time I make an exception. Every once in a while an incredible product comes along -- and this is one of them. Folks, you just gotta try WiFi Speed Spray(tm).

If you have a wireless network, or if you're even thinking of a wireless network, you owe it to yourself to check out this amazing product. You simply won't believe that data can travel so fast. I'm a believer.

Posted on 13 November, 2002