Trustworthy! Easy money?

Someone found 25 million dollars somewhere in a tent in a terrorist camp. The money was hidden in a box, and after some debate it was decided the money should go to the red cross. Instead of just handing it over a much more complex plan was devised. The red cross would secretly transport the box with the cash to me, using the diplomatic post or a deceased soldier.

The box with money needs to be send to a trustworthy person, and for some reason the person who found the money (and seems to not know my name), has decided that I am this trustworthy person. For my troubles I get to keep a past of the cash (30%, around 8 million) and the rest I should hand over to the red cross.

Maybe I am just being paranoid, but something smells fishy here.

Dear, Sir.

I want to trust you with this confidential proposal. Before I continue, let me introduce myself to you, I am Col. SPARKIE H WHITE the commander of the Special N.A.T.O coalition force with the United Nation troops in Afghanistan, on war against terrorism. I was working with General S McChrystal, the former commander of U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan before he was replaced by another General. I am serving currently in a Taliban territory; a remote Village in Bamyan province to the bustling capital Kabul (CBC’s Doc Zone).

Because of series of killing of England/United States troops in Afghanistan especially the shot down of UN helicopter that killed 30 American soldiers and 12 England Soldiers on the 5th of August 2013 and the five American soldiers who were killed by a bomb in Afghanistan. After this series of killing I and my colleague decided to share the money we recovered on our raids on terrorist’s camp in Afghanistan. I have now in my possession the sum of $25M (Twenty Five million US Dollars).

I have carefully packaged the money in a box; I have made contact with a friend who is working with the UNITED NATIONS RED CROSS here in Kabul. He will assist me move the consignment out of the trouble area down to your country, which is the only safer means of moving it out of this hell hole, he will deposit it with the United Nations Red Cross as a diplomatic luggage as I have told him that the luggage belongs to one of our soldier that died during the attack but before giving up he told me to make sure the luggage get to his family. He will deposit the consignment for safe keep and to make contacts for its proper use.

So I need someone I can work with on trust and that is why I contacted you. So if you accept, I will put you forward as the beneficiary/owner of the funds and then the box shall be deposited on your name as the beneficiary and the Red Cross Agent will transfer the box to you anywhere in your city. I just need your acceptance and all is done. I have 100% assurance that you will surely receive the box without any hitch through United Nations, every arrangement will be made to proceed to your country.

Once I confirm your interest to my proposal, and your positive reply I will proceed with the arrangement to move the consignment out of the trouble area and register your name as the beneficiary then move the consignment to your country Red Cross office. I am willing to give you 30% of the total sum when the money is delivered to you. I wait for your response so we can proceed immediately. In less than 7days the money should be in your safe custody.

The only telephone access we have here is radio message which is for our general use and is being monitored; therefore all communication will be via email till we finish our assignment. Please keep it to yourself even if you are not interested.

5 euro

Iedere week vijf euro betalen. Zomaar opeens, gemakkelijk via de telefoon rekening. Zonder dat je er iets voor hoeft te doen. Zelfs niet eens toestemming geven.

Zo ging het met onze telefoonrekening. Opeens betaalde we iedere week 5 euro voor nummer 900 814 644. Het bleek om een abonnement te gaan op ‘game-station’. Gelukkig (voor ons) hadden ze precies het nummer van Ana, en dat bleef niet ongemerkt. Na een paar telefoontjes kregen we het geld, inmiddels al weer 20 euro) weer terug. Toen bleek ook dat je dit soort nummers gewoon uit kan zetten. Nooit meer ongevraagde superdure nummers die je kan bellen. Vreemd dat dit niet standaard uit staat, maar waarschijnlijk komt dat doordat de telefoonmaatschappij er ook niet slechter van wordt.

Gouda

Every Dutch person likes to eat cheese, but in Spain they also eat their fair share of cheese. Dutch cheese is even present in every supermarket. We always buy Gouda or Edam cheese and these can be found everywhere. A nice cheese for a nice Dutch breakfast.

The last pachage of cheese had something that called my attention. There was a small german flag on the package. Strange, because Gouda for sure is a city in the Netherlands.

Finding out what was going on was easy. I send an email to the cheese manufacturer and within a day I got my answer. It seems that the name Gouda is not protected at all. Only “Holland Gouda” or “Dutch Gouda” are protected names. As long as the words Holland or Dutch do not appear on the package everyone can call their cheese Gouda. If seems that I have been eating non-Dutch cheese for breakfast for years.

Class photo

A class photo is a very nice way to remember your class for when you are a bit older. It is nice to see your classmates and even nice if you are still in contact with some of them. A picture makes it easy to remember, but it seems that pictures are not a very reliable way to remember anymore.

Alex just got his class photo of his class with 5 year-old. A nice picture but with something strange. Just look yourself: Klassenfoto Marpe 2016!

klassefoto-marpe-2016-added-kidAt first glance there is nothing wrong with the picture. A typical picture with a lot of kids that remarkably all look more or less at the camera. We only noticed Alex who seemed to have his eyes a bit closed, but hey, they are kids after all, so this is to be expected.

Then I noticed something else. The boy on the bottom right seems to be floating. A better look makes it clear somethings up here. The boy looks at the camera perfectly, has a clean black uniform, and his colors are more crisp. This boy has been added to the class photo using a photo made in a studio.

The teacher and the two most right boys were cut from the rest and moved a little to the right. The new kid was added and moved to the background, blurred a little, and then the teacher and two most right boys were moved a little in front of the new boy. Just like he was there. But in reality he wasn’t there. Should we want him in the picture even if he was part of the class? If we are going to edit the class photo anyway, why not just all studio pictures of all kids, smiling, clean and looking at the camera, and paste them all in a class composition.

Doing the dog?

Doing the dog?!English is without a doubt a very important language. Still, in the education we are giving Alex and Alan it is a little less important. For our sons Dutch is much more important. I want them to have at least a basic knowledge of Dutch so that they can manage themselves once in Holland. At school English is also a little less important. Alex’ school focuses more on German, with German classes every day, and English only twice a week.

We still feel that a little English at school, and all the English we can get on the TV should be enough to get a basic understanding. At least, as long as he is not taught incorrectly. At his school Alex got a drawing with the English title “What’s doing the dog?”, the words are in an incorrect order, which make it quite wrong. It should have been: “What’s the dog doing?”. Such a mistake in just once sentence is sure making us a bit worried.

Radar & In a ditch

Leiden - Brahmslaan!My appartment in Leiden was part of a TV program and it was featured on TROS Radar.

But, as often the case, the media coverage involved exaggerating the facts a little. Once there was also an article in the local newspaper about me. It informed the people that some victim of an accident involving a car and a bit had broken his jaw. In reality the victim was me, and though I had indeed been hit by a car, and taken to the hospital, I was without damage.

The TROS Radar TV show went undercover to film at my apartment. The program wanted to show that people that wanted to rent a home were changed things that had also been paid by the people that supplied the home. Something like that, and if was shown that it was not legal to charge two different parties for the same thing. Only the renters could be charged or the person renting out the place. Not both.

The funny thing was that the person representing me (I never met this person in my life) did have quite some stories about me to share. I was heavily in debt, divorced, and basically having a very bad time.

Spam

Spam sucks so I made this dynamic post! Click to experience the spammers-revenge.Stop that Spam!Spam is terrible. Every month this small blog gets thousands of comments. About 0.11% of these comments are ‘real’ and the rest are automated crap. It is just a crazy situation. All these comments are filtered and thrown away automatically, but still it remains a never ending steam of data. Around 250 useless comments a day, where the author advertises investment tips, pleasure-enhancers, fur coats, adidas’, vitamins and you name it. Often in various unfamiliar languages.

I once worked for a translation agency where they used spam as part as their business model. It was funny that the quality (or better the lack thereof) of the translation work could be directly related to the manners in which they secured their projects.

Spammers use a range of automated systems and usually a new post on this blog is directly followed by a number of spam comments. To make the comments more difficult to identify usually the text is a combination of different ever-changing sentences. This way every comment seems to be a unique text. The result is usually terrible bad, but sometimes the spam gets through the layers of protection and then the goal is achieved. If 1 out of 17300 comments is actually published the objectives of the spammer are reached.

Now it is the time to fight back! I have created this F.U.-post with a ever changing content, and lots of links to itself. If will be difficult for a spam bot to see it is the same story all the time, and they will just keep on spamming, which eventually will cost them just a little bit more then usual. If this dynamic post cost the spammers 1.05 cents more my job is done.

Corendon

Corendon goldcard!Nowadays you can get cards for almost everything. Companies think that a card secures a stronger loyalty from their clients. The same goes for Corendon. A name that I had never heard before, until I found out they offer cheap tickets to Gran Canaria. I was interested and gave them my data to get the newsletter.

Corendon photo!Later I suddenly got the goldcard send to my home. I was amazed because I never travelled with Corendon and they require a minimum of 10 flights to get a discount.I was even more amazed by my special picture with gold chain. Quite a scare to see myself like this.

I do have something to hide

In 2006 the Dutch government tried to calm the population. The message was that there was no need to worry, because there were 200.000 people working to keep us safe. Searching for strange behavior to quickly discover possible treats. In 2006 the moral of the story was: There is nothing to be afraid of. Just go on living. The website made for the government against terrorism has died and no longer exists.

Last year the Volkskrant ran a story about phone-taps in the Netherlands. We were the country with the highest numbers of phone-taps of the developed countries. No less then 22 thousand phones were monitored each year!

Last month the NSA admitted to monitoring 1.8 million phone calls in the Netherlands per month.

These messages are all smoke screens.

Edward Snowden! Hero!Now we live in 2013. Edward Snowden, an employee of the United States secret service sheds some light on the information that is being collected. The United States are embarrassed because it turns out that everything, simply everything, is being monitored and stored. Of course this is not done solely by the United States. The Dutch intelligence service also monitors everything in the Netherlands and shares this data with other agencies.

Everything you do with your computer, everything you pay for with a card, everywhere you are seen by cameras, everything related to insurance, all your medical history, all bank related data, everything you do with your phone, all the places you visit with your phone, you name it. Everything is recorded and stored. Privacy is one big illusion. Privacy is granted as long as you are not perceived as a threat. This leads to the big question. To whom should you not be perceived as a threat? And what are the consequences if you are perceived as being a threat?

The simple fact that monitoring all information is so widespread proves that there are automated systems. Monitoring 1.8 million phone calls a months is impossible without automation. If there is an automated system, then there is no reason to you limit this process to an incomplete set. The logical conclusion is that everything is being monitored. Lets hope the owner of this system is the government.

If the goal is to monitor and use all data that can possibly be monitored, than a system that cannot be monitored poses a direct threat. A source that cannot be monitored is like a big hole in the fence surrounding a jail. This implies that the government needs to know the weaknesses of all systems. If a system cannot be monitored they need to research the system as soon as possible. Every theoretical exploit must be tested for feasibility, turned into a proof-of-concept and then added to the list of monitoring tools.

“I have nothing to hide”, “They may know everything about me”. These are things we hear sometimes and make clear that people don’t realize what is going on. All the privacy we lose now is lost for the generations that will follow. Each new generation of people will be watched and controlled more closely and eventually we will end up with our backs against the wall.

We are all being watched and we accept our faith as something that is just part of life. No-one who really matters is really worried, and those that are worried really have no voice. Nothing happens and nothing changes until you decide to change your routine. What will be the consequences? Maybe now sticking your head above the cornfield will just result in a little note popping up at some desk of someone working for a secret agency, but who will guarantee us that in 5 or 10 years the same person is not send directly to jail, of suddenly disappears.

A hero has risen. Snowden, who realized things are moving towards a dangerous future and tried to make a change. Someone who has given up everything he had, for all of us. Lets hope a change will follow before it is to late.

Kycklingbullar

Ikea meatballs!We have not been neighbors for a while now, but we still enjoy visiting the IKEA every now and then. Recently the IKEA made the headlines. It seems that the IKEA meatballs contain some horse. I’m not really clear on what the problem is with that, but the solution IKEA comes with is to remove all meatballs from all shops in Europe.

What a shame because these balls are pretty tasty, but luckily I just bought a bag of balls just a few days ago.