More on Society & Culture
5 months ago
My friend worked in a startup scam that preys on slothful individuals.
He explained everything.
A drinking buddy confessed. Alexander. He says he works at a startup based on a scam, which appears too clever to be a lie.
Alexander (assuming he developed the story) or the startup's creator must have been a genius.
This is the story of an Internet scam that targets older individuals and generates tens of millions of dollars annually.
The business sells authentic things at 10% of their market value. This firm cannot be lucrative, but the entrepreneur has a plan: monthly subscriptions to a worthless service.
The firm can then charge the customer's credit card to settle the gap. The buyer must subscribe without knowing it. What's their strategy?
How does the con operate?
Imagine a website with a split homepage. On one page, the site offers an attractive goods at a ridiculous price (from 1 euro to 10% of the product's market worth).
Same product, but with a stupid monthly subscription. Business is unsustainable. They buy overpriced products and resell them too cheaply, hoping customers will subscribe to a useless service.
No customer will want this service. So they create another illegal homepage that hides the monthly subscription offer. After an endless scroll, a box says Yes, I want to subscribe to a service that costs x dollars per month.
Unchecking the checkbox bugs. When a customer buys a product on this page, he's enrolled in a monthly subscription. Not everyone should see it because it's illegal. So what does the startup do?
A page that varies based on the sort of website visitor, a possible consumer or someone who might be watching the startup's business
Startup technicians make sure the legal page is displayed when the site is accessed normally. Typing the web address in the browser, using Google, etc. The page crashes when buying a goods, preventing the purchase.
This avoids the startup from selling a product at a loss because the buyer won't subscribe to the worthless service and charge their credit card each month.
The illegal page only appears if a customer clicks on a Google ad, indicating interest in the offer.
Alexander says that a banker, police officer, or anyone else who visits the site (maybe for control) will only see a valid and buggy site as purchases won't be possible.
The latter will go to the site in the regular method (by typing the address in the browser, using Google, etc.) and not via an online ad.
Those who visit from ads are likely already lured by the site's price. They'll be sent to an illegal page that requires a subscription.
Laziness is humanity's secret weapon. The ordinary person ignores tiny monthly credit card charges. The subscription lasts around a year before the customer sees an unexpected deduction.
After-sales service (ASS) is useful in this situation.
After-sales assistance begins when a customer notices slight changes on his credit card, usually a year later.
The customer will search Google for the direct debit reference. How he'll complain to after-sales service.
It's crucial that ASS appears in the top 4/5 Google search results. This site must be clear, and offer chat, phone, etc., he argues.
The pigeon must be comforted after waking up. The customer learns via after-sales service that he subscribed to a service while buying the product, which justifies the debits on his card.
The customer will then clarify that he didn't intend to make the direct debits. The after-sales care professional will pretend to listen to the customer's arguments and complaints, then offer to unsubscribe him for free because his predicament has affected him.
In 99% of cases, the consumer is satisfied since the after-sales support unsubscribed him for free, and he forgets the debited amounts.
The remaining 1% is split between 0.99% who are delighted to be reimbursed and 0.01%. We'll pay until they're done. The customer should be delighted, not object or complain, and keep us beneath the radar (their situation is resolved, the rest, they don’t care).
It works, so we expand our thinking.
Startup has considered industrialization. Since this fraud is working, try another. Automate! So they used a site generator (only for product modifications), underpaid phone operators for after-sales service, and interns for fresh product ideas.
The company employed a data scientist. This has allowed the startup to recognize that specific customer profiles can be re-registered in the database and that it will take X months before they realize they're subscribing to a worthless service. Customers are re-subscribed to another service, then unsubscribed before realizing it.
Alexander took months to realize the deception and leave. Lawyers and others apparently threatened him and former colleagues who tried to talk about it.
The startup would have earned prizes and competed in contests. He adds they can provide evidence to any consumer group, media, police/gendarmerie, or relevant body. When I submitted my information to the FBI, I was told, "We know, we can't do much.", he says.
9 months ago
A Gun-toting Teacher Is Like a Cook With Rat Poison
Pink or blue AR-15s?
A teacher teaches; a gun kills. Killing isn't teaching. Killing is opposite of teaching.
Without 27 school shootings this year, we wouldn't be talking about arming teachers. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA cause most school shootings. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA wouldn't be huge business if weapons weren't profitable.
Guns, ammo, body armor, holsters, concealed carriers, bore sights, cleaner kits, spare magazines and speed loaders, gun safes, and ear protection are sold. And more guns.
And lots more profit.
Guns aren't bread. You eat a loaf of bread in a week or so and then must buy more. Bread makers will make money. Winchester 94.30–30 1899 Lever Action Rifle from 1894 still kills. (For safety, I won't link to the ad.) Gun makers don't object if you collect antique weapons, but they need you to buy the latest, in-style killing machine. The youngster who killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, used an AR-15. Better yet, two.
Salvador Ramos, the Robb Elementary shooter, is a "killing influencer" He pushes consumers to buy items, which benefits manufacturers and distributors. Like every previous AR-15 influencer, he profits Colt, the rifle's manufacturer, and 52,779 gun dealers in the U.S. Ramos and other AR-15 influences make us fear for our safety and our children's. Fearing for our safety, we acquire 20 million firearms a year and live in a gun culture.
So now at school, we want to arm teachers.
Consider. Which of your teachers would you have preferred in body armor with a gun drawn?
Miss Summers? Remember her bringing daisies from her yard to second grade? She handed each student a beautiful flower. Miss Summers loved everyone, even those with AR-15s. She can't shoot.
Frasier? Mr. Frasier turned a youngster over down to explain "invert." Mr. Frasier's hands shook when he wasn't flipping fifth-graders and fractions. He may have shot wrong.
Mrs. Barkley barked in high school English class when anyone started an essay with "But." Mrs. Barkley dubbed Abie a "Jewboy" and gave him terrible grades. Arming Miss Barkley is like poisoning the chef.
Think back. Do you remember a teacher with a gun? No. Arming teachers so the gun industry can make more money is the craziest idea ever.
Or maybe you agree with Ted Cruz, the gun lobby-bought senator, that more guns reduce gun violence. After the next school shooting, you'll undoubtedly talk about arming teachers and pupils. Colt will likely develop a backpack-sized, lighter version of its popular killing machine in pink and blue for kids and boys. The MAR-15? (M for mini).
This post is a summary. Read the full one here.
7 months ago
Old power paradigm blocks new planetary paradigm
The difference between our reality and the media's reality is like a tale of two worlds. The greatest and worst of times, really.
Expanding information demands complex skills and understanding to separate important information from ignorance and crap. And that's just the start of determining the source's aim.
Trust who? We see people trust liars in public and then be destroyed by their decisions. Mistakes may be devastating.
Many give up and don't trust anyone. Reality is a choice, though. Same risks.
We must separate our needs and wants from reality. Needs and wants have rules. Greed and selfishness create an unlivable planet.
Culturally, we know this, but we ignore it as foolish. Selfish and greedy people obtain what they want, while others suffer.
We invade, plunder, rape, and burn. We establish civilizations by institutionalizing an exploitable underclass and denying its existence. These cultural lies promote greed and selfishness despite their destructiveness.
Controlling parts of society institutionalize these lies as fact. Many of each age are willing to gamble on greed because they were taught to see greed and selfishness as principles justified by prosperity.
Our cultural understanding recognizes the long-term benefits of collaboration and sharing. This older understanding generates an increasing tension between greedy people and those who see its planetary effects.
Survival requires distinguishing between global and regional realities. Simple, yet many can't do it. This is the first time human greed has had a global impact.
In the past, conflict stories focused on regional winners and losers. Losers lose, winners win, etc. Powerful people see potential decades of nuclear devastation as local, overblown, and not personally dangerous.
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was a human choice that required people to acquiesce to irrational devastation. This prevented nuclear destruction. Most would refuse.
A dangerous “solution” relies on nuclear trigger-pullers not acting irrationally. Since then, we've collected case studies of sane people performing crazy things in experiments. We've been lucky, but the climate apocalypse could be different.
Climate disaster requires only continuing current behavior. These actions already cause global harm, but that's not a threat. These activities must be viewed differently.
Once grasped, denying planetary facts is hard to accept. Deniers can't think beyond regional power. Seeing planet-scale is unusual.
Decades of indoctrination defining any planetary perspective as un-American implies communal planetary assets are for plundering. The old paradigm limits any other view.
In the same way, the new paradigm sees the old regional power paradigm as a threat to planetary civilization and lifeforms. Insane!
While MAD relied on leaders not acting stupidly to trigger a nuclear holocaust, the delayed climatic holocaust needs correcting centuries of lunacy. We must stop allowing craziness in global leadership.
Nothing in our acknowledged past provides a paradigm for such. Only primitive people have failed to reach our level of sophistication.
Before European colonization, certain North American cultures built sophisticated regional nations but abandoned them owing to authoritarian cruelty and destruction. They were overrun by societies that saw no wrong in perpetual exploitation. David Graeber's The Dawn of Everything is an example of historical rediscovery, which is now crucial.
From the new paradigm's perspective, the old paradigm is irrational, yet it's too easy to see those in it as ignorant or malicious, if not both. These people are both, but the collapsing paradigm they promote is older or more ingrained than we think.
We can't shift that paradigm's view of a dead world. We must eliminate this mindset from our nations' leadership. No other way will preserve the earth.
Change is occurring. As always with tremendous transition, younger people are building the new paradigm.
The old paradigm's disintegration is insane. The ability to detect errors and abandon their sources is more important than age. This is gaining recognition.
The breakdown of the previous paradigm is not due to senile leadership, but to systemic problems that the current, conservative leadership cannot recognize.
Stop following the old paradigm.
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3 months ago
Quietly Create a side business that will revolutionize everything in a year.
Quitting your job for a side gig isn't smart.
A few years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of starting a side business.
I never thought a side gig could earn more than my 9-to-5. My side gig pays more than my main job now.
You may then tell me to leave your job. But I don't want to gamble, and my side gig is important. Programming and web development help me write better because of my job.
Yes, I share work-related knowledge. Web development, web3, programming, money, investment, and side hustles are key.
Let me now show you how to make one.
Create a side business based on your profession or your interests.
I'd be direct.
Most people don't know where to start or which side business to pursue.
You can make money by taking online surveys, starting a YouTube channel, or playing web3 games, according to several blogs.
You won't make enough money and will waste time.
Nitin directs our efforts. My friend, you've worked and have talent. Profit from your talent.
College taught me web development. I soon created websites, freelanced, and made money. First year was hardest for me financially and personally.
As I worked, I became more skilled. Soon after, I got more work, wrote about web development on Medium, and started selling products.
I've built multiple income streams from web development. It wasn't easy. Web development skills got me a 9-to-5 job.
Focus on a specific skill and earn money in many ways. Most people start with something they hate or are bad at; the rest is predictable.
Result? They give up, frustrated.
Quietly focus for a year.
I started my side business in college and never told anyone. My parents didn't know what I did for fun.
The only motivation is time constraints. So I focused.
As I've said, I focused on my strengths (learned skills) and made money. Yes, I was among Medium's top 500 authors in a year and got a bonus.
How did I succeed? Since I know success takes time, I never imagined making enough money in a month. I spent a year concentrating.
I became wealthy. Now that I have multiple income sources, some businesses pay me based on my skill.
I recommend learning skills and working quietly for a year. You can do anything with this.
The hardest part will always be the beginning.
When someone says you can make more money working four hours a week. Leave that, it's bad advice.
If someone recommends a paid course to help you succeed, think twice.
The beginning is always the hardest.
I made many mistakes learning web development. When I started my technical content side gig, it was tough. I made mistakes and changed how I create content, which helped.
And it’s applicable everywhere.
Don't worry if you face problems at first. Time and effort heal all wounds.
Quitting your job to work a side job is not a good idea.
Some honest opinions.
Most online gurus encourage side businesses. It takes time to start and grow a side business.
Suppose you quit and started a side business.
After six months, what happens? Your side business won't provide enough money to survive.
Indeed. Later, you'll become demotivated and tense and look for work.
Instead, work 9-5, and start a side business. You decide. Stop watching Netflix and focus on your side business.
I know you're busy, but do it.
Next? It'll succeed or fail in six months. You can continue your side gig for another six months because you have a job and have tried it.
You'll probably make money, but you may need to change your side gig.
You've created a new revenue stream.
Starting a side business, a company, or finding work is difficult. There's no free money in a competitive world. You'll only succeed with skill.
Read it again.
Focusing silently for a year can help you succeed.
I studied web development and wrote about it. First year was tough. I went viral, hit the top 500, and other firms asked me to write for them. So, my life changed.
Yours can too. One year of silence is required.
8 months ago
Three Arrows Capital collapse sends crypto tremors
Three Arrows Capital's Google search volume rose over 5,000%.
Three Arrows Capital, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency hedge fund, filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy last Friday to protect its U.S. assets from creditors.
Three Arrows filed for bankruptcy on July 1 in New York.
Three Arrows was ordered liquidated by a British Virgin Islands court last week after defaulting on a $670 million loan from Voyager Digital. Three days later, the Singaporean government reprimanded Three Arrows for spreading misleading information and exceeding asset limits.
Three Arrows' troubles began with Terra's collapse in May, after it bought US$200 million worth of Terra's LUNA tokens in February, co-founder Kyle Davies told the Wall Street Journal. Three Arrows has failed to meet multiple margin calls since then, including from BlockFi and Genesis.
Three Arrows Capital, founded by Kyle Davies and Su Zhu in 2012, manages $10 billion in crypto assets.
Bitcoin's price fell from US$20,600 to below US$19,200 after Three Arrows' bankruptcy petition. According to CoinMarketCap, BTC is now above US$20,000.
What does it mean?
Every action causes an equal and opposite reaction, per Newton's third law. Newtonian physics won't comfort Three Arrows investors, but future investors will thank them for their overconfidence.
Regulators are taking notice of crypto's meteoric rise and subsequent fall. Historically, authorities labeled the industry "high risk" to warn traditional investors against entering it. That attitude is changing. Regulators are moving quickly to regulate crypto to protect investors and prevent broader asset market busts.
The EU has reached a landmark deal that will regulate crypto asset sales and crypto markets across the 27-member bloc. The U.S. is close behind with a similar ruling, and smaller markets are also looking to improve safeguards.
For many, regulation is the only way to ensure the crypto industry survives the current winter.
6 months ago
Effective Technical Book Reading Techniques
Technical books aren't like novels. We need a new approach to technical texts. I've spent years looking for a decent reading method. I tried numerous ways before finding one that worked. This post explains how I read technical books efficiently.
What Do I Mean When I Say Effective?
Effectiveness depends on the book. Effective implies I know where to find answers after reading a reference book. Effective implies I learned the book's knowledge after reading it.
I use reference books as tools in my toolkit. I won't carry all my tools; I'll merely need them. Non-reference books teach me techniques. I never have to make an effort to use them since I always have them.
Reference books I like:
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
You can also check My Top Takeaways from Refactoring here.
Non-reference books I like:
Technical books might be overwhelming to read in one sitting. Especially when you have no idea what is coming next as you read. When you don't know how deep the rabbit hole goes, you feel lost as you read. This is my years-long method for overcoming this difficulty.
Whether you follow the step-by-step guide or not, remember these:
Understand the terminology. Make sure you get the meaning of any terms you come across more than once. The likelihood that a term will be significant increases as you encounter it more frequently.
Know when to stop. I've always believed that in order to truly comprehend something, I must delve as deeply as possible into it. That, however, is not usually very effective. There are moments when you have to draw the line and start putting theory into practice (if applicable).
Look over your notes. When reading technical books or documents, taking notes is a crucial habit to develop. Additionally, you must regularly examine your notes if you want to get the most out of them. This will assist you in internalizing the lessons you acquired from the book. And you'll see that the urge to review reduces with time.
Let's talk about how I read a technical book step by step.
0. Read the Foreword/Preface
These sections are crucial in technical books. They answer Who should read it, What each chapter discusses, and sometimes How to Read? This is helpful before reading the book. Who could know the ideal way to read the book better than the author, right?
I scan the chapter. Fast scanning is needed.
I review the headings.
I scan the pictures quickly.
I assess the chapter's length to determine whether I might divide it into more manageable sections.
Skimming is faster than reading but slower than scanning.
I focus more on the captions and subtitles for the photographs.
I read each paragraph's opening and closing sentences.
I examined the code samples.
I attempt to grasp each section's basic points without getting bogged down in the specifics.
Throughout the entire reading period, I make an effort to make mental notes of what may require additional attention and what may not. Because I don't want to spend time taking physical notes, kindly notice that I am using the term "mental" here. It is much simpler to recall. You may think that this is more significant than typing or writing “Pay attention to X.”
I move on quickly. This is something I considered crucial because, when trying to skim, it is simple to start reading the entire thing.
3. Complete reading
Previous steps pay off.
I finished reading the chapter.
I concentrate on the passages that I mentally underlined when skimming.
I put the book away and make my own notes. It is typically more difficult than it seems for me. But it's important to speak in your own words. You must choose the right words to adequately summarize what you have read. How do those words make you feel? Additionally, you must be able to summarize your notes while you are taking them. Sometimes as I'm writing my notes, I realize I have no words to convey what I'm thinking or, even worse, I start to doubt what I'm writing down. This is a good indication that I haven't internalized that idea thoroughly enough.
I jot my inquiries down. Normally, I read on while compiling my questions in the hopes that I will learn the answers as I read. I'll explore those issues more if I wasn't able to find the answers to my inquiries while reading the book.
Best part: If you take lovely notes like I do, you can publish them as a blog post with a few tweaks.
This is my learning journey. I wanted to show you. This post may help someone with a similar learning style. You can alter the principles above for any technical material.