Password Security IS a Laughing Matter

 

Anyone who has opened an account has run the gantlet of questions that are used in the event of entering its password incorrectly. (We deplore the use of passwords so when we are forced to create them we use some variation of “dumb idea” or “dongle” (a dongle is a small device able to be connected to and used with a computer, especially to allow access to wireless broadband or use of protected software).) In our case, we have had to provide the answers to such questions as “Who was your favorite elementary school teacher?”, “What was the model of your first car?”, or “What was your mother’s maiden name?” Most recently we had to provide several answers to such arcane questions that we laughed. Fortunately, this is such a widespread nuisance that it has resulted in some humorous suggestions.

 

This Cure is Worse Than the Disease

The police brutality that killed George Floyd in Minneapolis was inexcusable. But the injuries during the demonstrations that followed it were also inexcusable. Many of those injuries were caused by police shooting the demonstrations with rubber bullets. Those bullets are HARD, not the soft Nerf projectiles that children play with. They don’t just sting a little, they cause permanent injuries, especially to eyes. One young man, who was trying to bring peace to the demonstrations, was shot in the groin, destroying one testicle. Any man hearing this story would shudder. Hopefully, rubber bullets will soon be banned.

A Second Wave of CoronaVirus is Likely

Have You Ever Been Attacked by a Product’s Packaging?

It happens so often that it even has a name: “Wrap Rage”. But it isn’t funny. And the main culprit is plastic, which is frequently so strong that it requires a sharp knife and a lot of muscle. Sometimes the packaging is even stronger than the product inside. This situation is perfect for a visit to an emergency room, which these days likely is full of victims of the coronavirus. Frequently the culprit is clamshell packaging, which may be fine for protecting the product inside, but equally fine for injuring the purchaser.

Fake Check Scams

Anyone with a mailing address is bombarded with requests for donations for a variety of causes. In particular, as Americans, we depend on our armed forces to keep us safe from attacks from unfriendly foreign countries. There are numerous organizations that raise money to help veterans, and the messages in their mail campaigns are often heart-rending. And there is a large variety of other causes, e.g., frightful diseases or conditions, who have similar mail campaigns. This situation is ideal for scammers. A popular scam is to send a target person a check, and when the person cashes it a process starts that steals money from him/her.  In our case, fortunately, the check was from a valid charity that we had contributed to, off-and-on, in the past. But this is the first time that we had received a check. It was a small amount, but we wonder why the Veterans of Foreign Wars has done this at this time. We will not cash this check because it will give whoever sent it to me my account number.

Staying Fit Carefully in the CoronaVirus Era

The millions of people with time on their hands can use that extra time to stay fit. We have noticed a big increase of runners and walkers in our neighborhood. We are fortunate to live in California, where the weather is usually good, whereas people living in areas with poor weather need to do their exercise indoors. Those who are already disciplined to do exercises like Pilates or Yoga may not need any extra gear, but others need equipment such as stationary bicycles. Whether or not you use such equipment, you need to be careful.

Being Overweight or Obese Makes You More Likely to Get Covid-19

Elderly individuals are more susceptible to dying from a variety of causes. These days it has become common knowledge that they are more likely than younger people to die from the Covid-19. But people of all ages who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of getting ill, and dying, from Covid-19.

The Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak

The USA has become too dependent on the cheap products it gets from China. In the face of the high volumes of people stricken by CoronaVirus it was not able to supply enough face masks. In particular, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has in the past provided temporary shelters (e.g., trailers) and other products to victims of natural disasters, but the nature of the supplies needed to deal with the CoronaVirus was so different that potential suppliers were unprepared to provide sufficient quantities of appropriate items. To make matters worse, President Trump and 3M were feuding because he used the United States’ Defense Production Act to prevent shipments of US-made face masks to Canada or other countries. Fortunately, Trump and 3M changed their minds, though Canada and other countries might not be happy because they would be getting the less-effective face masks made by 3M whereas Americans would get the more-effective models imported from China.

Kudos to Stores for Using Internet to Serve Households

Grocery stores, in particular, deserve a lot of praise these days for their quick response to the challenges caused by the CoronaVirus. We personally experienced this in the case of using Instacart at our local Safeway. We actually were in touch with the staffer who was picking items from their shelves, and we could answer questions regarding the items he was choosing and make decisions in real-time

BladderMax is Fake News

A half-page article in my newspaper (The Mercury News (part of the Bay Area News Group)) on March 24, 2020 is headlined “New Bladder Control Pill Sales May Surpass Adult Diapers By 2021”. These fake news stories appear regularly in many daily newspapers.  It had the byline T.J. Roberts; possibly a fictitious person, since a Google search reveals no science journalist with that name. And it quotes Keith Graham, Manager of Call Center Operations for BladderMax, saying how it has exceeded their expectations. One would expect a quote from a noted urologist rather than the head of a “boiler room” telephone bank. fortunately, there are other watchers who are alert, such as Science Based Medicine. And there are legitimate bladder control pills, such as Myrbetriq and SagaPro (at a price one-tenth that of Myrbetriq). One wonders why a reputable newspaper would publish such an advertisement.