Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm Feelling Better About My Chances Today!

Mr. Heater / Cooker to the rescue!

18 degrees to 50 in about 2 minutes.  Once the thermostat read 40 degrees the smoker fired right up.

Todays feature.

See ya in 5 hours.

Meanwhile, in China

When Deb and I visited China we walked the People's Square.

SHANGHAI (AP) - Large numbers of police - and new tactics like shrill whistles and street cleaning trucks - squelched overt protests in China for a second Sunday in a row after more calls for peaceful gatherings modeled on recent democratic movements in the Middle East.
Near Shanghai's People's Square, uniformed police blew whistles nonstop and shouted at people to keep moving, though about 200 people - a combination of onlookers and quiet sympathizers who formed a larger crowd than a week ago - braved the shrill noise. In Beijing, trucks normally used to water the streets drove repeatedly up the busy commercial shopping district spraying water and keeping crowds pressed to the edges.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Scary!

STS-133 - Discovery Final Launch



I'm saddened by this.

St Elmos Fire during Aerial Refueling of E-4 by KC-135



A USAF KC-135 Aircraft is preparing to refuel a USAF E-4. The same aircraft used as Air Force One. The weather that we were going through causes the differential static equalization between the two aircraft. Once the boom touches the receptacle of the E-4 the charges are equalized and the static stops. This is commonly known as St Elmos Fire.

Gallium Spoon Melting

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

The systematic lack of regulation has left even the country’s top regulators frustrated. Lynn Turner, a former chief accountant for the SEC, laughs darkly at the idea that the criminal justice system is broken when it comes to Wall Street. “I think you’ve got a wrong assumption — that we even have a law-enforcement agency when it comes to Wall Street,” he says.

How a Remote Town in Romania Has Become Cybercrime Central

Râmnicu Vâlcea has only about 120,000 residents, but among law enforcement experts around the world, it has a nickname: Hackerville. The town is full of online crooks who cruise the streets in expensive European cars.

The New Virology

Largely unseen by the world, two dangerous germs homed in on their targets in the spring and early summer of 2009. One was made by man to infect computers. The other was made by nature, and could infect man.

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Close Enough?

Why Didn't This Catch On?

The Great Jerky Experiment

So I decided to try and make Beef Jerky in the smoker for the first time...



I just need to cut the meat into strips...



Add the rub to the meat in a freezer bag...



Let it sit for a couple of hours...


Now at this point I headed out and fired up the electric smoker.  After about an hour it was time to load the beast.  I open the door to the smoker to find it ice cold!  It is plugged in, ice cold and there is an error message flashing on the control box: EAAF.



So I Google the code and this is what I get: If the internal temp is less than 40 F you will get this code. Warm up the heat sensing probe and it should work just fine.  Well this makes a ton of sense!  Who would EVER think of smoking meat when it is below 40 degrees outside. I check the temperature and it reads a balmy 27 degrees. I look all over inside the smoker but I can't find the sensor that I am supposed to heat up!

I finally give up and move the entire operation over to the Traeger grill. All is well.


After about an hour I head into the garage because the pellets are getting low.  Nope, we are out of pellets!  I figure I can nurse this thing along and get the job done if I'm very careful with the temperature settings.

I make several trips back and forth working the grill temperature settings between Smoke and Medium heat.  I'm into the 3rd hour of smoking and I come out to check the meat and it all goes to HELL!  I have accidently moved the temperature switch to the left instead of the right.  This means I have been cooking the meat on HIGH for the last half hour!

Result: One third of my strips have turned into charcoal.  Now I could have continued to smoke the rest had I not finished off the last of my pellets in an errant blaze of glory but it's over and I pull what I can save.


The meat that survived is great!  It didn't go as planned but there is always next time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

419 Eater

4-1-9 Schemes frequently use the following tactics:
  • An individual or company receives a letter or fax from an alleged "official" representing a foreign government or agency.
  • An offer is made to transfer millions of dollars in "over invoiced contract" funds into your personal bank account.
  • You are encouraged to travel overseas to complete the transaction.
  • You are requested to provide blank company letterhead forms, banking account information, telephone/fax numbers.
  • You receive numerous documents with official looking stamps, seals and logo testifying to the authenticity of the proposal.
  • Eventually you must provide up-front or advance fees for various taxes, attorney fees, transaction fees or bribes.
  • Other forms of 4-1-9 schemes include: c.o.d. of goods or services, real estate ventures, purchases of crude oil at reduced prices, beneficiary of a will, recipient of an award and paper currency conversion.
Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud Overview
The perpetrators of Advance Fee Fraud (AFF), known internationally as "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes, are often very creative and innovative.

Unfortunately, there is a perception that no one is prone to enter into such an obviously suspicious relationship. However, a large number of victims are enticed into believing they have been singled out from the masses to share in multi-million dollar windfall profits for doing absolutely nothing. It is also a misconception that the victim's bank account is requested so the culprit can plunder it -- this is not the primary reason for the account request -- merely a signal they have hooked another victim. 
  • In almost every case there is a sense of urgency.
  • The victim is enticed to travel to Nigeria or a border country.
  • There are many forged official looking documents.
  • Most of the correspondence is handled by fax or through the mail.
  • Blank letterheads and invoices are requested from the victim along with the banking particulars.
  • Any number of Nigerian fees are requested for processing the transaction with each fee purported to be the last required.
  • The confidential nature of the transaction is emphasized.
  • There are usually claims of strong ties to Nigerian officials.
  • A Nigerian residing in the U.S., London or other foreign venue may claim to be a clearing house bank for the Central Bank of Nigeria.
  • Offices in legitimate government buildings appear to have been used by impostors posing as the real occupants or officials.

The most common forms of these fraudulent business proposals fall into the following main categories:
  • Disbursement of money from wills 
  • Contract fraud (C.O.D. of goods or services) 
  • Purchase of real estate 
  • Conversion of hard currency 
  • Transfer of funds from over invoiced contracts 
  • Sale of crude oil at below market prices 
The most prevalent and successful cases of Advance Fee Fraud is the fund transfer scam. In this scheme, a company or individual will typically receive an unsolicited letter by mail from a Nigerian claiming to be a senior civil servant. In the letter, the Nigerian will inform the recipient that he is seeking a reputable foreign company or individual into whose account he can deposit funds ranging from $10-$60 million that the Nigerian government overpaid on some procurement contract.

The criminals obtain the names of potential victims from a variety of sources including trade journals, professional directories, newspapers, and commercial libraries. They do not target a single company, but rather send out mailings en masse. The sender declares that he is a senior civil servant in one of the Nigerian Ministries, usually the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The letters refer to investigations of previous contracts awarded by prior regimes alleging that many contracts were over invoiced. Rather than return the money to the government, they desire to transfer the money to a foreign account. The sums to be transferred average between $10,000,000 to $60,000,000 and the recipient is usually offered a commission up to 30 percent for assisting in the transfer.

Initially, the intended victim is instructed to provide company letterheads and pro forma invoicing that will be used to show completion of the contract. One of the reasons is to use the victim's letterhead to forge letters of recommendation to other victim companies and to seek out a travel visa from the American Embassy in Lagos. The victim is told that the completed contracts will be submitted for approval to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Upon approval, the funds will be remitted to an account supplied by the intended victim.

The goal of the criminal is to delude the target into thinking that he is being drawn into a very lucrative, albeit questionable, arrangement. The intended victim must be reassured and confident of the potential success of the deal. He will become the primary supporter of the scheme and willingly contribute a large amount of money when the deal is threatened. The term "when" is used because the con-within-the-con is the scheme will be threatened in order to persuade the victim to provide a large sum of money to save the venture.

The letter, while appearing transparent and even ridiculous to most, unfortunately is growing in its effectiveness. It sets the stage and is the opening round of a two-layered scheme or scheme within a scheme. The fraudster will eventually reach someone who, while sceptical, desperately wants the deal to be genuine.

Victims are almost always requested to travel to Nigeria or a border country to complete a transaction. Individuals are often told that a visa will not be necessary to enter the country. The Nigerian con artists may then bribe airport officials to pass the victims through Immigration and Customs. Because it is a serious offence in Nigeria to enter without a valid visa, the victim's illegal entry may be used by the fraudsters as leverage to coerce the victims into releasing funds. Violence and threats of physical harm may be employed to further pressure victims. In June of 1995, an American was murdered in Lagos, Nigeria, while pursuing a 4-1-9 scam, and numerous other foreign nationals have been reported as missing.

Victims are often convinced of the authenticity of Advance Fee Fraud schemes by the forged or false documents bearing apparently official Nigerian government letterhead, seals, as well as false letters of credit, payment schedules and bank drafts. The fraudster may establish the credibility of his contacts, and thereby his influence, by arranging a meeting between the victim and "government officials" in real or fake government offices.

In the next stage some alleged problem concerning the "inside man" will suddenly arise. An official will demand an up-front bribe or an unforeseen tax or fee to the Nigerian government will have to be paid before the money can be transferred. These can include licensing fees, registration fees, and various forms of taxes and attorney fees. Normally each fee paid is described as the very last fee required. Invariably, oversights and errors in the deal are discovered by the Nigerians, necessitating additional payments and allowing the scheme to be stretched out over many months.

Several reasons have been submitted why Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud has undergone a dramatic increase in recent years. The explanations are as diverse as the types of schemes. The Nigerian Government blames the growing problem on mass unemployment, extended family systems, a get rich quick syndrome, and, especially, the greed of foreigners. 

Indications are that Advance Fee Fraud grosses hundreds of millions of dollars annually and the losses are continuing to escalate. In all likelihood, there are victims who do not report their losses to authorities due to either fear or embarrassment.

Cat Laser Bowling

I'd Call This THE Perfect Idaho Snow Car!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Meanwhile in Norway...

As Seen Today At Del Taco!

You'd Never See Something This Crazy In The US...



Okay, So I Might Be Wrong!

Other Strange Things They Eat In Japan


Peeps never looked so... Unappetizing!

Little baby Octopuses?

Oh I know, you think it's Octopi...

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Time To Go and Paint a Pachinko Cabinet

A Personal Challenge.... For Bubbles & Manatee Man!

If This Doesn't Make You Hungry...

YOU ARE DEAD and don't know it yet!

Star Wars Begins: Parts 1-3

Created by the fans, this 14 part documentary on the Star Wars movie is really a blast to watch!





Google Chrome Cheat Sheet: 10 Tips and Tricks

Crawling for Bass - Subwoofer Placement

Start by placing your subwoofer in the spot where you usually sit when watching movies or listening to music, and turning on a fairly bass-heavy test track. Then, crawl around on the floor and listen to where the bass sounds the best...

InvisibleHand

InvisibleHand shows a discreet notification when there are lower prices available on the product or flight you're shopping for. It gives you a link directly to the lowest price.

It stays out of your way

InvisibleHand remains invisible until it finds a deal on a product you're shopping for.

Real-time prices

Unlike price comparison sites, InvisibleHand refreshes its product prices every time you use it

Get cheaper flights

InvisibleHand automatically looks for cheaper flights when you search for them

It works with Google

When you google a product, InvisibleHand will automatically show the lowest real-time prices.

Reveal hidden prices

InvisibleHand knows the price even when the retailer tries to hide it (US only).

It learns as you use it

InvisibleHand will search for deals, even when you browse a product it hasn't seen before.

Flightlite

This webapp allows you to track the status of a flight in near real time on a map, including altitude, direction, and time of arrival.

Will Apple Be Censoring Books, Too?

NBC Employee Fired for Leaking Today Show's Embarrassing Internet Cluelessness

The Essential Free Apps for the Super Bowl XLV

I feel a little bit woozy but I just added a SPORTS label to the Blog!

This Week's Best Apps

The Man Who Isn't There

But the Chinese artist does more than just wear camouflage pants and stand next to a bush. With the help of some assistants, Bolin paints himself, head to toe and unassumingly just stands there--in grocery stores, next to piles of coal, on staircases, you name it. And, unless you look really closely, you'll miss him entirely--which is pretty much the point.



Liu Bolin
Hiding in the City No. 91- Great Wall, 2010

Photo Gallery

The Final Countdown

Some time this year, Nasa’s space shuttle will touch down for the last time. Bereft of their jobs and their mission, what will happen to the people of Florida’s Space Coast?

China's Coming Bust

The Afghan Bank Heist

A secret investigation may implicate dozens of high-ranking government officials.

The Suicide Catcher

In the rapidly modernizing, constantly churning city of Nanjing, China, there is a legendary bridge, four miles long, where day after day, week after week, the desperate and melancholy and tormented come to end their lives. Most end up in the Yangtze River, 130 feet below. But some do not meet their maker. They meet someone else. They are pulled back from the brink—sometimes violently—by an odd and unlikely angel.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Idaho 'Yurt' Adventure: Part 4

Deb Chillaxin in a large snow house.

Some of these things were big!


and some were smaller.  Or maybe it's just me?

There were 15+ examples of many different types of snow structures.

Some more ornate than others.



It was a beautiful day.

It's cozy in a Yurt.

There were no concerns that we might run out of fire wood!

Running around in the snow makes me HUNGRY!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A rare video of Chernobyl ground zero days after the meltdown



This film shows the terrifying images captured by the Russian filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko on scene at Chernobyl those dreadful days in April 1986. Shevchenko later died suffering from the radiation he exposed himself to. Sadly, his name is not among the official casualties of the accident.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Skin Gun!



Amazing new technology for treating burn victims!  Pretty graphic but worth it!