With the raging popularity of the Nigerian e-mail scam (see my writeup and links on October 24), a new sport has sprung up – Nigerian fraudster baiting, leading the scammers on the road to ridicule.
Here’s a wonderful example – an exchange of e-mails between “Dr. Graham Douglas” in Nigeria, and gullible victim Norman Bettison. As the Nigerian fraudster gets more and more excited, “Normy” makes his messages more and more ludicrous, until the story ends with Normy purportedly locked in a Houston hotel room with a dead prostitute, awaiting documents from Nigeria. Funny stuff.
Getting ready for The Two Towers? Here’s an early look from Time Magazine, which notes that “Fellowship was often quiet and deliberately paced. Two Towers is an unabashed action film.” They predict that we’ll like it even more than the first film.
There’s no introduction in The Two Towers, no prologue to remind you where the first film left off. The new “extended” DVD edition of Fellowship of the Ring is available now, with an additional thirty minutes of footage. (You didn’t get fooled and buy the original DVD release a few months ago, did you?) The extended edition is spread over four discs, and it includes a free movie ticket to The Two Towers if you see it before December 31 – which makes it a steal for $26. […] continued
MSNBC has a wonderful article about an unexpected side effect of global warming – huge ice blocks, 22 lbs or more, which form in the upper atmosphere on clear days and fall to earth, smashing car windshields and ripping holes in houses. Don’t look at me like that – I’m serious. Here’s the article if you don’t believe me.
Google is bringing its remarkable technology to harvesting the news. Here’s a link to Google News, presenting the top news stories of the moment without any human intervention. Google News software continuously crawls more than 4,000 Web news sources, looking for the most relevant articles from the most reputable sources. The Google software then automatically generates news pages for its various section fronts. New front pages appear every 12 minutes or so.
Here’s an article about the new service and how it compares to the pages produced by humans at CNN, MSNBC, and the online newspapers. If you’re addicted to breaking news, Google News will instantly become your first stop on the web. […] continued
The Press Democrat just did a feature about the abbreviations invented for text messaging – they’re becoming second nature to many kids, and teachers are seeing them turn up in school assignments. FYI, here’s a dictionary that covers many of the basic text messaging abbreviations FWIW. If U R like me, it will make you feel old. Kind of a PITA. ROFL!
That doesn’t scare you? Go take a look at an online dictionary of l33t terms used by the hacker community. “LE3T 5PE4K I5 wH3N j00 +4Lk l1kE THi5. t0 uNDEr$+@ND j00 mu5+ Be l3e+. 1pH jo0 4RE noT lEeT jo0 C4Nnot SPe@K or rE4d tH1$.” I was running across nonsense like this frequently as I surfed during the last couple of years. […] continued
Amazon has improved its free shipping offer – starting today, you can get free shipping for any purchase over $25.
The Fellowship of the Ring will be released on DVD in the next few days. But if you’re considering it, be careful! There’s going to be two versions released on DVD, and they’re staggering the releases hoping to trap the unwary into buying both.
This month sees the release of a 2-disc set that includes the original version of the film, plus a disc worth of extras.
In November, an expanded 4-disc DVD release will include 30 minutes of additional footage incorporated into the movie, plus two discs packed with extras. It’s the version that you’ll want if you’re a real fan. […] continued
More interesting reading at The Register: a deeply cynical article bashing the press for repeating stories about alleged threats of cyberterrorism. The government is beating the drums about the likelihood that al-Quaeda technology whizzes are about to level cities from their computers, or something like that. The press is repeating the stories without any investigation, corroboration, or thought. As a result, the stories too often are the equivalent of urban legends – anecdotes that appear out of thin air and only appear substantial because they’re repeated so often.
Administration officials are pouring out a torrent of vague threats and promises of imminent doom. […] continued
In case you missed this in the paper a couple of days ago, here’s a story that’s absolutely priceless. The Beijing Evening News (circulation: 1.25 million) printed a word-for-word translation of an American news item in its June 3 edition. The article concerned the threat by Congress to leave Washington D.C. unless they get a new Capitol building with a retractable dome. “Don’t get us wrong: We love the drafty old building,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert was quoted as saying. “But the hard reality is, it’s no longer suitable for a world-class legislative branch. The sight lines are bad, there aren’t enough concession stands or bathrooms, and the parking is miserable.”
Pick your flavor of early reviews of Attack of the Clones. On one side: a very favorable review from BBC News. Sample: “This is quite possibly the best Star Wars of the series. It looks lavish and Lucas pushes all the right buttons. He also lets us see that ancient Jedi Master Yoda knows how to handle a lightsabre!”
On the other side: the New York Times was unimpressed. Sample: “While “Attack of the Clones” is many things — a two-hour-and-12-minute action-figure commercial, a demo reel heralding the latest advances in digital filmmaking, a chance for gifted actors to be handsomely paid for delivering the worst line readings of their careers — it is not really much of a movie at all, if by movie you mean a work of visual storytelling about the dramatic actions of a group of interesting characters.”