…I’ve actually been putting together a very rough (but better than it was) WordPress site for my ju-jitsu instructor, whose class I’ll be leaving when we move next week.
There’s an story over on National Geographic about the life of an Afghan woman made the cover of the magazine (and several books) back in the days of the Soviet occupation. The photographer is the alternative Kevin Carter – he hunted her down in the Tora Bora mountains (where Bin Laden is purported to hang out) to find out what’s happened to her since.
Not only is it an engrossing story, it’s one of the first pieces of journalism I’ve read about Afghanistan for a long time that actually helps me understand a bit about what life is like there. Well worth a read.
I don’t know why this offends me any more than regular spam, but there’s something particularly low about registering with altruistic giving-stuff-away site Freecycle just to spam everyone who tries to use it.
This mail, or variants thereof, has popped up in my inbox several times today. We’re relocating to Shoreham-by-Sea next week, so are in the middle of clearing out all the stuff we haven’t used in the two years since we moved to Melksham. As you’re no doubt aware, Freecycle is a lovely way to do this.
Every thing I’ve posted gets a quick reply from this lady, ostensibly from someone Esther Simmons. Now it happens I may know an Esther Simmons – at least a Mrs Simmons whose first name I’m not sure of – so it took me a couple of reads to figure out what it is.
It’s a crude, but no doubt highly successful, piece of social engineering spam. Written colloquially to lull you into a false sense of security, full of mea culpa to get you to click on a link for a Freecycle-like community (‘If only I’d known about this other site, I’d never have thrown good stuff away”).
The cunning part is that it tries to allay your fears that the link is going to ask you for personal details. The quote from the email is: “(I seem to recall they are advertiser supported so you may have to stick in an email or zip code or something to see what they have available)” Too people out there won’t even mentally flag this as a potential phishing attack, even though the writer isn’t sure which country she’s in. I mean, zip code? Really? You couldn’t even write a piece of spamming code that was geographically aware when posting to specific local groups? Go back to spam school, you lazy spammers.
I may have underestimated the spammer slightly. The return address (@wellnessresearch.info) is a nice touch compared to the usual random letter assortments. Makes it seem safe and respectable doesn’t it?
Not many of the kids at Simakakata could speak English, even though it’s the Zambia’s official lingua franca. The language of tomfoolery is universal though. This very quickly became a favourite playtime game.
A giant indoor soft play centre. Four stories of foam filled fun.
I had a lovely conversation with George, the headmaster from Simakakata, last week about the progress made on the school there. It only took five calls and two international providers to get a clear line, but when we did manage to talk, he filled me in on a lot of things that have been going on, including work on the first LearnAsOne classroom and another building that’s been funded by Care International. The full interview is over at LearnAsOne.