How One Spam Leads to Another

“If you want to be your own boss and make money working from home while increasing the size of your penis and shopping for cut-rate electronic products from China — you’re in luck.

The quantity of e-mailed advertising pitches for these and other fabulous opportunities is about to increase dramatically, according to research by Bob West, an anti-spam activist.” Wired


Sleep Late, Sleep Often…

“Power Nap” Prevents Burnout; Morning Sleep Perfects A Skill:

“Evidence is mounting that sleep – even a nap – appears to enhance information processing and learning. New experiments by NIMH grantee Alan Hobson, M.D., Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., and colleagues at Harvard University show that a midday snooze reverses information overload and that a 20 percent overnight improvement in learning a motor skill is largely traceable to a late stage of sleep that some early risers might be missing.” Science Daily


Sample Victimization

Woman sues over unsolicited Prozac mailing. In my continuing coverage of the pharmaceutical industry’s lack of scruples, this takes the cake (so far). This Florida woman, who took Prozac briefly seven years ago but not since, and from a different pharmacy (although part of the same national mega-chain; don’t get me started on that aspect of the story!), opened her mailbox to find a free, unsolicited sample box of the new once-a-week formulation of Prozac being pushed by Eli Lilly to hold on to market share as the patent on the original formulation expires. The pharmacy chain that did the mailing — funded by Lilly to the approximate tune of $63 wholesale for the four pills — says it was only responding to doctor’s orders, and indeed Lilly had apparently arranged for an area medical practice to provide prescriptions to the pharmacy. A form letter congratulated recipients of the samples on taking the first step toward their recovery, after instructing them to stop their daily Prozac one day before taking the first of the weekly pills. Obvious problems with this picture include the fact that someone accessed her confidential prescribing record for marketing purposes; the lack of control over who received and opened the mail (children?); the potential public exposure of the fact that she was, or had been, treated for depression if the delivered package was conspicuous; the lack of any medical decision-making about whether a switch to the weekly form was medically indicated, and whether it was safe in conjunction with whatever other medical conditions she had or other medications she was taking; and the scumsucking bottom-feeding behavior of the MDs who Lilly probably hired to sign bunches of these ‘prescriptions’ for their patients and former patients. My question — for every recipient of these samples who protests and/or files suit, how many simply start taking the freebies, with or without stopping their existing Prozac (if they’re on it) as instructed in the form letter? SJ Mercury News


On summer reading

A journey and a book are perfect companions: Alain de Botton explores the pleasures and quirks of summer reading, especially when travelling. He endorses ‘reading against the grain’ — that is, books ‘inappropriate’ to the locale to which we have travelled — which I love to do. He also finds it a ‘cherished illusion’ that we will have scads of time to read while travelling, but I actually do get a far greater density of reading for pure pleasure done while away than at home. [probably because I take a break from weblogging!] And 165 short book reviews from the 9th century, and one man’s view of ten top novels on campus, from a writer who teaches Shakespeare at a Montreal university. [links courtesy of Robot Wisdom]



Eight Cities in Patriot Act Revolt: “Over the last three months, the Massachusetts cities of Cambridge, Northampton and Amherst and the township of Leverett, as well as the town of Carrboro, N.C., all passed resolutions that call the USA Patriot Act a threat to the civil rights of the residents of their communities.” ABC


Ickes rants:

Heard on Metafilter: ‘Former BBC anchor David Ickes, who claimed he was “the son of god” in 1991 has got a new job at the Sci-Fi channel ranting. In Network, anchor Howard Beale has an on air nervous breakdown. Instead of taking him off the air, the network gives him a weekly show to rant to the nation. Oddly, Icke’s idea about reality is very similar to Philip K. Dick’s Valis, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles and a recent mefi discussion.’ The Guardian asks, also about Ickes: “Would Canada take seriously his warnings of power-hungry extraterrestrial reptiles or would he be dismissed as an anti-Semitic bigot?”


Bush’s Insider Trading

Bush’s Insider Connections Preceded Huge Profit on Stock Deal: “It has been widely reported that Texas Gov. George W. Bush made money over the years with a little help from his friends. But new details show that he served on an energy corporation’s board and was able to realize a huge profit by selling his stock in the corporation because an accounting sleight-of-hand concealed it was losing large sums of money. Shortly after he sold, the stock price plummeted. That profit helped make him a multimillionaire.” public i What will the Administration do to try to close this barn door after the horse is gone?


Homeland Insecurity

“…(W)e’ve built a major black-is-white logic reversal into the very nature of the threat: Although we’ve killed countless members of the enemy group, including much of its leadership, disrupted its infrastructure, captured reams of intelligence on its activities, it’s suddenly stronger than ever before. Likewise, we ascribe substantial organizational talents to what we also describe as uniquely disorganized. This new group has become, the Times story implies, a threat not least of all because it is less a group than the former group, which itself was notable for its loose-knitness (although, in comparison with the new group, the former group was apparently a model of central governance). By the logic we are applying to Al Qaeda and its offspring, we can never prevail. Whatever we do to thwart the enemy just makes it stronger. We are always, because of our size and power and resources, necessarily weaker. (Al Qaeda has something similar, perhaps, to the ghostly powers the Vietnam-era guerrillas were credited with having over conventional military forces.)…” New York Magazine [via Adam]



The new power elite and life after capitalism by

Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist
: “The netocracy, say pundits Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist, will be the new

power elite, controlling networks – both social and digital – and displacing

the bourgeoisie as the ruling class. Its members will understand that

equilibria and static positions are boring and artificial approximations, and

dynamic fluxes are neither. And that interesting logical structures are not

tree-like hierarchies, but are interconnected in potentially very complicated

ways – what Deleuze called the “rhizome” – just as Web pages, genes and

friendship networks are.” New Scientist