It’s such a nice little word

But “like” doesn’t mean a thing in this crazy, mixed-up online world:

A BBC investigation suggests companies are wasting large sums of money on adverts to gain “likes” from Facebook members who have no real interest in their products.

It also appears many account holders who click on the links have lied about their personal details. A security expert has said some of the profiles appeared to be “fakes” run by computer programs to spread spam.

Gee, ya think?

In fact:

Earlier this year Facebook revealed that about 5-6% of its 901 million users might be fake — representing up to 54 million profiles.

Graham Cluley of the security firm Sophos said this was a major problem. “Spammers and malware authors can mass-produce false Facebook profiles to help them spread dangerous links and spam, and trick people into befriending them,” he said.

I will, of course, continue to believe in Twilight Sparkle.

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Beyond Brylcreem

Nancy Friedman reports on Crack, a “habit-forming hair fix”:

Its branding is thorough … [it's] “curiously addictive” and provides “instant gratification.”

And, she says, it lives up to its billing. What’s more, its promotional material (including this video) is a lot less grating than, say, Bed Head’s.

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Living up to its billing

It’s Friday the thirteenth. Someone kill me now.

I started the day with the discovery that my muffler ($700) is toast. I had two days’ worth of backlog to clear at work. I got within spitting distance of caught up, and then all the current stuff was changed. 2500 pages of reports to trash.

There is simply nothing good about this day. Had I a dagger, I’d be falling on it right now. Let the heirs buy the frigging muffler.

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Beater heaven

Which state cuts the most slack to owners of older motor vehicles? Steven Lang makes the case for Georgia:

In Georgia you can skip emissions if a vehicle is 25 years or older. A 1987 Acura Legend or Toyota Celica GT-S can have a nice and toasty oxygen sensor and the government couldn’t care less.

What’s that? You lost your title? Well, if that vehicle is 1985 or older, you don’t need one of those either.

Don’t want to pay ad valorem tax? Starting with vehicles purchased after March 1, 2013, our state will be implementing a one time title tax of 6.5%. After that the ad valorem remains zero until the politicians say otherwise.

So do you pay for anything for a truly old beater? There is a $20 fee for your annual tag decal. Or a $35 fee if you want an antique plate.

This “title tax” apparently replaces the sales tax, which is a ton of money on most cars anyway.

In Oklahoma, there is no sales tax on cars, but there is an excise tax of 3.25 percent, which must be paid at initial registration. For the moment, there is no emissions testing, though this happy circumstance can’t last forever. However, you darn well better have a title.

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An empty scrotum flapping in the breeze

For some unknown reason, my brother Paul was fond of that particular phrase, and I am deeply honored to have the opportunity, now that he is gone, to make use of it on a legitimate (sort of) post.

This was obtained from WANTYNU’s Facebook page:

Growacet testicular fortitude capsules

I’m assuming the usual health warnings — after four hours consult a physician, and don’t give to pregnant women — apply.

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On the way to Galactic Graft

There might be something in the world less useful than the United Nations — a clothing-optional beach along the Ross Ice Shelf, perhaps — but at least the devoted (and chilled) naturists aren’t trying their damnedest to pry money out of everyone to support their major mission, which seems to be avoiding paying tickets for New York malparkage.

One of their more risible proposals is a $25/tonne carbon tax, expected to bring in a quarter of a trillion dollars. Dave Schuler laughs even louder than I do:

$25 per tonne as measured by whom? I question their math (I think it would yield a lot more than that). I look forward to the UN’s extracting $176 billion per year from China. Imagine the UN bureaucrats’ surprise when China’s 7 billion metric tonnes per year of carbon dioxide suddenly becomes zero, literally with the stroke of a pen.

Note to Washington: You might want to stock up on those Chinese pens.

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They got some crazy little cable there

I have to believe there are more efficient ways to conduct industrial espionage:

What do you do when you’re an entrenched oligopoly and another player steps into your market? If you’re Time Warner Cable, you offer $50 gift cards to your Kansas City employees for information on the roll-out of Google Fiber, according to GigaOm. Time Warner has set up a phone hotline and an email address that will award three gift cards a week for employees that “[share] tips, rumors, and ramblings about Google Construction or launch activity…”

Given Google’s rumored 1-Gbps speed, about twenty times what cable systems can serve up, perhaps the only thing TWC needs to know is 400 East 9th Street, which is the location of the bankruptcy court.

(Via this Adam Gurri tweet.)

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Remade in the shade

NoOneOfAnyImport, miffed at the No Doubt cover version of “It’s My Life” (the Talk Talk song, not the Animals song, though frankly I’d like to hear Gwen Stefani do her best Eric Burdon some day), has announced a Worst Cover Song Evah contest. Presumed joke covers are usually too good to be the Worst, which eliminates, among others, the Gourds’ bluegrass version of “Gin and Juice” and pretty much the entire oeuvre of Richard Cheese.

Of the versions nominated, I’m thinking the Miley Cyrus rendition of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a cinch. Truth be told, I rather liked the Disturbed version of “Land of Confusion,” though this is not so much because it’s by Disturbed as it is the fact that Phil Collins doesn’t sing on it.

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Modest ambition

The musician known in some circles as MandoPony responds to a bit of criticism:

Tone is often lost or misconstrued over the internet, but it seemed to me that the person leaving the comment was insinuating that I was somehow “less” of an artist, or not quite deserving of praise, simply because I wasn’t pushing some sort of boundary with the music I made.

As though people were jamming the YouTube servers to hear Iannis Xenakis.

I’ll admit that I’m a pop musician. I make jazz, dubstep, bluegrass, Celtic, and rock music, sure — but I’m a pop musician at heart. Why? I enjoy writing simple, accessible songs that people easily and quickly identify with. I compose “meat-and-potatoes” music. It’s simple, it’s not cryptic, and it’s easy to “get”. And, hopefully, it’s fun and entertaining. I just want to bring a smile to someone’s face with my art. After they smile, they can move on with their lives and hopefully have a brighter day.

That’s seriously all I’m going for. Is that a bad thing? Am I less of an artist for having such lowly aspirations as to only hope to make someone happy?

You’re asking a guy with four Herman’s Hermits albums?

For a “simple, accessible song,” try on “I Am No Hero,” otherwise known as “Luna’s Theme.”

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From the Great Nonwhite North

Perhaps not everyone is prepared for a description like “Canada’s top R&B singer,” but surely it fits Deborah Cox, born in Toronto, who turns 38 tomorrow and who enjoyed this monster hit (#2 on Billboard‘s Hot 100, 14 weeks at #1 on their Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart) in 1998 and well into 1999:

She’s done three albums since One Wish, whence this came, the most recent being The Promise in 2008. (Sony put out a compilation in their S.O.U.L. series last year.) She’s still married to her high-school sweetheart, who manages her career. And every now and then she shows up on the red carpet:

Deborah Cox at a pre-Grammy party 2010

In this case, the official pre-Grammy gala in 2010. About the only place she doesn’t turn up much these days is Canada; she’s moved to the very un-Canada-like Miami, Florida.

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Nor any room for slush

There have been times when I’ve wished that Nissan had commanded its Jatco operation to bestow more than four gears on poor Gwendolyn, who is capable of even greater acceleration when she’s not wrestling against the ratios inflicted on her. For that matter, there’s a hot-rod SUV comparo in the current Car and Driver, assuming one accepts the idea of a hot-rod SUV, and the least-complicated slushbox represented is a 5-speed auto. The other competitors: six, seven, and eight.

It doesn’t stop there, either:

German transmission supplier ZF has a nine-speed automatic that will be introduced next year, and reports have said Hyundai is looking to pack ten forward gears into a forthcoming gearbox.

When do we reach the point of diminishing returns? Right about now:

ZF North American president Julio Caspari … tells Automotive News that the gear race is “close to the limit.” AN says Caspari thinks marketing may be a bigger factor than engineering when it comes to developing transmissions with additional gears, citing just an 11-percent difference between the best transmissions today and a theoretically perfect unit.

I wonder what they mean by “theoretically perfect.” No driveline loss? Not gonna happen. On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for the old two-speed Powerglide, even though I burned one up in my old Chevy Nova. (Rebuild: $175. Those were the days.)

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Evidently no one plucked it down

Cracked.com has served up for your amusement and mine a list of the 6 Most Needlessly Detailed Wikipedia Articles, one of which is the piece on Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 3, which runs to 24,053 words. Comments your Cracked author: “For a mere 1,774 words more, you could just read the damn play.”

If you want to just read the damn play, it’s right here. Bonus: the longest soliloquy in all of Shakespeare, spoken by Richard, son of York and Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), which you really ought to hear spoken.

(Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

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You’re about to be Bilked

Cryptic letter from Charles Pergiel yesterday: “Name for the day: Acker Bilk.”

Well, I’m a day late, but here’s Acker Bilk, and he’s not playing “Stranger on the Shore,” either:

“Dardanella” was the lead track on Mr. Acker Bilk Requests, Part 2, a 1959 EP on the British Pye label; Reprise issued it in the States as a single in 1962, probably to swipe some of the thunder from “Stranger on the Shore,” which had just hit big for Atco. The tune itself dates to 1919.

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I know I’m fakin’ it

A few years back, I told you about how Martha Stewart was spending the big bucks for Christian Louboutin shoes and then delegating an employee to obliterate the signature red sole: she just didn’t like it.

At the other end of the spectrum, women without the wherewithal to buy Louboutins are doing Martha in reverse, so to speak:

In cash-strapped times, fashion conscious women must resort to ever more creative measures in order to continue looking their best. And these days a favourite trick is painting the soles of high-street shoes red in order to make them resemble those by celebrity designer Christian Louboutin.

If you’re going to try this yourself, it’s Pantone 18 (Chinese red), though it might be wise to keep your experimentation under wraps, as YSL and the French firm Zara discovered:

Louboutin files a trademark infringement suit against YSL in 2011 (in US). YSL, a household name, (known for its specific shape shoes) used the same Pantone 18, Chinese red shade as the one trademarked by Louboutin. Case is ongoing.

Louboutin sues Zara (in France) in 2011. Initially court favours Louboutin; Zara appeals arguing that Louboutin’s trademark specifications were too vague (no mention of Pantone colour). Case just closed Zara 1 – Louboutin 0. The iconic red sole shoe designer house re-files for French trademark name to include Chinese red Pantone 18.

Then again, Zara’s entire business model is built on knockoffs of haute-r couture, so fighting on was presumably their only option.

(Once again, tweeted in my general direction by Jeffro.)

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It’s totally scamtastic!

This item from Monday’s email is utterly demented, more than reason enough to park it here:

Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division
Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001 Website: www.fbi.gov

Attention, this is the final warning you are going to receive from me do you get me?

I hope youre understand how many times this message has been sent to you?.

We have warned you so many times and you have decided to ignore our e-mails or because you believe we have not been instructed to get you arrested, and today if you fail to respond back to us with the payment then, we would first send a letter to the mayor of the city where you reside and direct them to close your bank account until you have been jailed and all your properties will be confiscated by the fbi. We would also send a letter to the company/agency that you are working for so that they could get you fired until we are through with our investigations because a suspect is not suppose to be working for the government or any private organization.

Your id which we have in our database been sent to all the crimes agencies in America for them to inset you in their website as an internet fraudsters and to warn people from having any deals with you. This would have been solved all this while if you had gotten the certificate signed, endorsed and stamped as you where instructed in the e-mail below.this is the federal bureau of investigation (fbi) am writing in response to the e-mail you sent to us and am using this medium to inform you that there is no more time left to waste because you have been given from the 3rd of January. As stated earlier to have the document endorsed, signed and stamped without failure and you must adhere to this directives to avoid you blaming yourself at last when we must have arrested and jailed you for life and all your properties confiscated.

You failed to comply with our directives and that was the reason why we didn’t hear from you on the 3rd as our director has already been notified about you get the process completed yesterday and right now the warrant of arrest has been signed against you and it will be carried out in the next 48hours as strictly signed by the fbi director. We have investigated and found out that you didn’t have any idea when the fraudulent deal was committed with your information’s/identity and right now if you id is placed on our website as a wanted person, i believe you know that it will be a shame to you and your entire family because after then it will be announce in all the local channels that you are wanted by the fbi. As a good Christian and a honest man, I decided to see how i could be of help to you because i would not be happy to see you end up in jail and all your properties confiscated all because your information’s was used to carry out a fraudulent transactions, i called the efcc and they directed me to a private attorney who could help you get the process done and he stated that he will endorse, sign and stamp the document at the sum of $98.00 usd only and i believe this process is cheaper for you.

You need to do everything possible within today and tomorrow to get this process done because our director has called to inform me that the warrant of arrest has been signed against you and once it has been approved, then the arrest will be carried out, and from our investigations we learnt that you were the person that forwarded your identity to one impostor/fraudsters in Nigeria when he had a deal with you about the transfer of some illegal funds into your bank account which is valued at the sum of $10.500,000.00 usd.

I pleaded on your behalf so that this agency could give you till 7/9/2012 so that you could get this process done because i learnt that you were sent several e-mail without getting a response from you, please bear it in mind that this is the only way that i can be able to help you at this moment or you would have to face the law and its consequences once it has befall on you. You would make the payment through western union money transfer with the below details.

NAME: OBI JACOB
ADDRESS: LAGOS NIGERIA
TEXT QUESTION:FOR
ANSWER: YOU
AMOUNT: $98
Senders name======

Send the payment details to me which are senders name and address, mtcn number, text question and answer used and the amount sent. Make sure that you didn’t hesitate making the payment down to the agency by today so that they could have the certificate endorsed, signed and stamped immediately without any further delay. After all this process has been carried out, then we would have to proceed to the bank for the transfer of your compensation funds which is valued at the sum of $10.500,000.00 usd which was suppose to have been transferred to you all this while.

Note/ all the crimes agencies have been contacted on this regards and we shall trace and arrest you if you disregard this instructions. You are given a grace today to make the payment for the document after which your failure to do that will attract a maximum arrest and finally you will be appearing in court for act of terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking charges, so be warned not to try any thing funny because you are been watched.

THANKS FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION.

ROBERT MUELLER
WASHINGTON DC

Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division
Fbi Headquarters In Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001 Website: www.fbi.gov

I honestly don’t believe I could try anything funnier than this.

And oh, the return address — presumably bogus &#151 was an AOL account. Icing on the cake.

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Maybe a slight sense of decency

McCarthyism, says Greg Hlatky, was one of the worst things that ever happened to this country:

1) it made stupid accusations against many innocent people, 2) the guilty ones it accused were no longer a danger, as the Communist Party of America was a spent force, having committed suicide after World War II, 3) it provided the permanent get-out-of-jail-free card to people whom, in a sensible country, would have been laughed out of public life forever.

Lillian Hellman, for one.

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