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Daily Archives: February 5, 2024

Pluralistic: How I got scammed

“How I got scammed (permalink) I wuz robbed. More specifically, I was tricked by a phone-phisher pretending to be from my bank, and he convinced me to hand over my credit-card number, then did $8,000+ worth of fraud with it before I figured out what happened. And then he tried to do it again, a week later! Here’s what happened. Over the Christmas holiday, I traveled to New Orleans. The day we landed, I hit a Chase ATM in the French Quarter for some cash, but the machine declined the transaction. Later in the day, we passed a little credit-union’s ATM and I used that one instead (I bank with a one-branch credit union and generally there’s no fee to use another CU’s ATM). A couple days later, I got a call from my credit union. It was a weekend, during the holiday, and the guy who called was obviously working for my little CU’s after-hours fraud contractor. I’d dealt with these folks before – they service a ton of little credit unions, and generally the call quality isn’t great and the staff will often make mistakes like mispronouncing my credit union’s name. That’s what happened here – the guy was on a terrible VOIP line and I had to ask him to readjust his mic before I could even understand him. He mispronounced my bank’s name and then asked if I’d attempted to spend $1,000 at an Apple Store in NYC that day. No, I said, and groaned inwardly. What a pain in the ass. Obviously, I’d had my ATM card skimmed – either at the Chase ATM (maybe that was why the transaction failed), or at the other credit union’s ATM (it had been a very cheap looking system). I told the guy to block my card and we started going through the tedious business of running through recent transactions, verifying my identity, and so on. It dragged on and on. These were my last hours in New Orleans, and I’d left my family at home and gone out to see some of the pre-Mardi Gras krewe celebrations and get a muffalata, and I could tell that I was going to run out of time before I finished talking to this guy…[been there, done all of this…awful!]

FAA Aviation Maps

Kottke: “On Beautiful Public Data, Jon Keegan highlights the extremely information-rich flight maps produced by the Federal Aviation Administration that pilots use to find their way around the skies. Among all of the visual information published by the U.S. government, there may be no product with a higher information density than the Federal Aviation Administration’s… Continue Reading

From Businesses and Banks to Colleges and Churches: Americans’ Views of U.S. Institutions

“Continued partisan divides on schools, unions, churches 0 How we did this – Americans overwhelmingly see small businesses as having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country. By contrast, their views of large corporations are broadly negative. Most people – including identical shares in both parties – also are critical… Continue Reading

How USPS turned images from James Webb Space Telescope into mailable art

Fast Company: “In 2022, when NASA released some of the first photos the James Webb Space Telescope had captured of the universe, they sold like hotcakes. Pillars of Creation—three striking towers of gas and dust that look like arches and spires rising out of a desert landscape—were slapped on T-shirts and printed on mouse pads.… Continue Reading

Online anonymity: study found ‘stable pseudonyms’ created a more civil environment than real user name

The Conversation: “The ability to remain anonymous when commenting online is a double-edged sword. It is valuable because it enables people to speak without fear of social and legal discrimination. But this is also what makes it dangerous. Someone from a repressive religious community can use anonymity to talk about their sexuality, for example. But… Continue Reading

It’s time to admit that genes are not the blueprint for life

Nature: The view of biology often presented to the public is oversimplified and out of date. Scientists must set the record straight, argues a new book. How Life Works: A User’s Guide to the New Biology Philip Ball Pan Macmillan (2024) For too long, scientists have been content in espousing the lazy metaphor of living… Continue Reading

Microsoft announces AI newsroom projects with Semafor and others, as NYT lawsuit looms

GeekWire: “Microsoft announced five projects to help news organizations incorporate generative artificial intelligence into their operations, building on its existing efforts to use technology to support the role of journalism in democracy. The company will collaborate on different initiatives with Semafor, the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, the Online News Association, the GroundTruth… Continue Reading