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Tuesday, 18 February 2020

What Happens When You Pour Salt into a Cabbage?


This was the subject line of a recent spam. It continued ...

Putting a chopped onion in your socks tonight might be the best thing for your health.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Pneumonia jab

I hadn't known that there was a vaccine for pneumonia (which I barely know how to spell). But there is.

I was at the local clinic for a routine inspection, and the nurse said "I see you haven't had  a pneumonia jab." "No, I haven't. Should I?" "Yes"

So I rolled up my sleeve, she gave me a jab, and it was as simple as that.

I wasn't vaccinated because I hadn't known it was possible. ome people deliberately avoid getting their children vaccinated against, for example, measles, because they don't understand how it works, why it works, and why it's a good idea. I'd say "Darwin", but this isn't them, it's their children.

Ask your GP about the pneumonia jab.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Lie detectors

 ... don't work.

There's been suggestions that terrorists leaving prison, should be put through a lie detector test to see if they intent to commit further offences.

If only.

The problem is, lie detectors don't work.

They are great fun when used on reality TV shows, and can lead to great drama and confrontations. But they don't actually work.

The American Psychological Association says they don't work. "Most psychologists agree that there is little evidence that polygraph tests can accurately detect lies."

Yes, it would be great if there existed a "magic lasso" as used by Wonder Woman, that forced people to only tell the truth.  Or if there was a "truth serum" (why is it always called a serum?) that did that. Or if there were some technology that could tell if someone is lying.

William Moulton Marston (author of the Wonder Woman stories) invented the lie detector.
Since then, it's been used many times, both for fun (as in reality TV shows) and in serious situations, and people seem to think that it works.

It doesn't work.

 

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Nice scam

 This arrived in my mailbox.


Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2020 07:53:44
From: G.O.V. UK <newsletter@amazonaws.com>
To: xxx <xxx@xxx.com>
Subject: Your latest vehicle tax payment failed ID - 4609441314363

Our Reference: 7399096
Date: 16/01/2020

Dear xxx@xxx.com,

Your latest vehicle tax payment failed. It appears that some of the billing
details associated with you might have expired or were otherwise changed.

http://up.rev.ref.kxtc.hpxanh.com/.asd/.+++/?kxtc

Yours sincerely

Enforcement OfficerlxlyeAnPD
On behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport



At first glance, it looks plausible. But what is the "lxlyeAnPD"?


And why is this email apparently coming from amazonaws.com? And what is that web address? And G.O.V. UK would have looked better as "Vehicle Tax".

So I checked the header; the email came from masterhost.smart-soft.ru, which is Russia!
And the address of the web site is ... Vietnam.

So, it's some sort of scam, and I'm guessing that if I were to go to that web address, it would want my credit card details, so they can bill me for vehicle tax.

So, nice try, but no banana.

If only they had used a spoof address that was gov.co.uk (it's VERY easy to spoof the from address). And they should get rid of the "lxlyeAnPD". And use a more plausible web site address, or an URL shortener so the site address isn't obvious.

Incompetence. Incompetence everywhere, even in the scammers.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

VAT in the post-Brexit era

Apparently - no change.

I wrote to HMRC to ask them about how I pay VAT to EU countries after January 31st. They told me, same as before. The same arrangements continue (VAT MOSS) until the transition period expires (December 2020?). And after that - who knows?