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Libertarian 'Utopia' Styled After Ayn Rand Book Spectacularly Falls Apart Almost Immediately

Libertarian ‘Utopia’ Styled After Ayn Rand Book Spectacularly Falls Apart Almost Immediately

image via galtsgulchchile.com

A community made up of American ex-pats deep in the South American hills of Chile – far away from America’s annoying taxes, healthcare mandate, and legal abortions – was supposed to be a Libertarian paradise of rugged individualism, instead it cost many of the people who bought into it almost everything and now is buried under lawsuits – a reminder that everything…

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It’s hard to feel sorry for them.

Libertarians and Randroids learning the harsh consequences of their own dogma will always be funny. It does make me wonder if there is a stratum of con artists targeting them, having factored in that people who are distrustful of the state and unlikely to go to the police make brilliant marks.

A Guy Who Looks Like Psy Is Scamming Rich European Kids for Free Drinks

Last year, a French-Korean guy named Denis Carre went to Barcelona Fashion Week and was mistaken for Psy almost everywhere he went. Yes, Denis was wearing the sunglasses from the “Gangnam Style” video, but that clip has been viewed more than 2 billion times—you’d have thought people would be able to differentiate the real Psy from a slightly tubby French-Korean man in a suit and black sunglasses. Could the cult of celebrity really make people this blind? And, perhaps, even a little bit racist? Or was it more that they just wanted to believe that they were looking at the most viewed face on YouTube?

Denis is a friend of mine, and I was accompanying him that year, taking photos of the whole thing. So I witnessed—among other surreal moments—club owners offering him bundles of cash to perform, and car dealership managers trying to hand him the keys to sports cars, just “because it would be cool to see him drive.”

A year later, we returned to one of this year’s Barcelona Fashion Week parties to find out if everyone would still be excited to see Denis in a suit.

According to the op-eds, our generation’s cultural attention span looks something like an endless loop of “smack-cam” Vines. So we figured people might have forgotten who Psy was, or why they ever gave a shit about him in the first place. To jog their memories, we had a bunch of stickers, T-shirts, and temporary tattoos made up that read: “DO ME GANGNAM STYLE.”

It turns out that this was probably a waste of money; people generally seem to remember global epidemics that dominate popular culture for an entire year.  

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Today is National Catfish Day. Celebrate with the Worst Catfish Scam EVER!

FAKE CACTUS BLOSSOMS

Part of a Series: #Marketing with Plants

A number of greenhouses, hardware stores, and other plant dealers have trays of seemingly ever-blooming cacti available for purchase. Most first-time buyers don’t notice right away that most of those blooms are dead bracts from a Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum), hot-glued to the plants.

The glue damages or burns the tissue of the host plant, starves it for air, and can ruin the spines (which are the modified ‘leaves’ of a cactus). The damaged plant tissue becomes more vulnerable to bacterial and fungal pathogens that can cause rot. If the plant survives in the long term, it will likely be deformed.

Practices like these serve two purposes: they make the plant more visually attractive to consumers at the site of purchase, and they are also a form of planned obsolescence, which is a cynical sort of retail logic in which products are made to break down, so that purchasing remains constant.

Every cactus will eventually bloom, [x], but this will happen when the plant is mature and healthy, and often happens quite seldom. If you like the look of the strawflower bracts, you can grow these flowers yourself, and gently place a bit of colour on your cacti, without the glue.

More: saveyoursucculents' post

#cacti #succulents #economics

How I Scored Visits to the Nicest Hotels in the World…for Free

In 2010, a friend of mine started a travel magazine and asked if she could publish an article I had written about a Kashmiri tailor, during a month I spent living on a houseboat in Kashmir.

I had stayed on the tailor’s boat during the winter, and I was the only guest. George Harrison had stayed there 47 years earlier, when he was studying the sitar with Ravi Shankar. I typed the piece on the hotel owner’s typewriter. But my friend who ran the magazine, a grifter like me, couldn’t pay real money. She compensated me instead with “hotel trades.”

She explained how it worked: I would approach independently owned hotels with a copy of her media kit and a proposal. In exchange for a two-night stay, I would write a 500-word review. She advised me to avoid big corporate hotels, because press people there had to go through so many chains of command they would often dismiss the request outright. “You need a small place,” my friend said, “where somebody can make the decision right there.” She added, “Don’t bother with inexpensive places. It’s bizarre, but the more expensive they are, the more likely they are to agree.”

I grew up in a state of financial volatility. Until I was 18 and my grandmother died, my grandfather would visit me and my mom at our home in Houston, from his mansion in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and for a week, money would flow like water. One Christmas, he saved all the money wrappers from the cash he’d spent and proudly put them in a photo album: they totaled $10,000. But then he would leave, the money would dry up, and we’d go from feast to famine. Sometimes, our lights, water, or phone would go out. Sometimes we’d spend $80 on tomatoes. Or my mom would spend $8,000 on Chinese antiquities, but we’d run out of gas on the way home. It wasn’t that bad, it was just crazy.

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Don't Get Scammed

I’ve seen a recent trend on Tumblr is users asking for money. Most of the time it is for things like food, housing, medical needs, etc. This has become a bit problematic for me…while there are many a legitimate need out there, there are also many willing to take advantage of good intentions by using this method as a means to get money not for any actual need but rather for selfish gain. So, here’s a helpful list to avoid scams on Tumblr:

1. Never do transactions directly, including through PayPal. When you engage in a transaction like this, you leave out a non-biased third party which can intercede if it turns out to be a scam. If you believe a claim is legitimate, but they are asking for direct donations, you can direct them to one of the many free fundraising sites out there like GoFundMe or YouCaring 

2. Keep an eye on how the person spends their money. If a person claims they need money for food, but frequently post expensive or unneeded purchases, it may be a sign that they aren’t managing donations the way they were meant to, or that they don’t actually need those donations. Don’t assume as the items may have been gifts or pre-owned. 

3. Always question other options for getting money. If a person clearly owns several items that can be quickly and easily sold for money, ask why they haven’t considered that first. If that is their only source of entertainment, it can be understandable, but keep in mind this lesson: I have had situations on many occasions where I had no money and had rent due, or needed to buy food. I compensated by selling a DS, an XBox, several games, and at one point even a laptop. If the need is something very immediate like food, people should be willing to give something up to make ends meet. That’s an unfortunate reality of life. But not doing that doesn’t necessary indicate a lack of need. 

4. Don’t think questioning a person makes you a bad person. Sympathy is great, but blind sympathy can be dangerous. If a person is asking for money, then potential donators are owed information before they hand it over. If you’re attacked for asking questions or if your questions go completely ignored, it is likely there is some dishonesty going on. 

5. When in serious doubt, seek proof. A person late on rent will get a notice from their landlord. A person trying to pay medical expenses will have bills. 

6. If you can’t decide, then save your money. Scam artists are very good at trying to reel you in with a sob story but the fact of the matter is, you can’t believe everything you hear. If something seems like a scam to you in any way, then turn the other way. If you still wish you can give, find an established charity and donate to them (there you have the ability to research and understand those companies since most are required to be completely transparent). 

And remember the general rules of any online financial transaction - don’t give someone your credit card information or social security number directly, don’t give out personal information, see if a person is tracking and transparent about their donations and how they’re spending them, and remember that giving directly to a person is NOT tax deductible but counts as a gift - only donations directly to a non-profit organization are tax deductible. If a person claims your donation to them is tax deductible, it is likely a scam. 

This post isn’t to indicate all Tumblr fundraisers are scams but many are, and many others may not be scams but are clearly not well run and may be unsafe to pour money into. Proceed with caution because while you might be saying “But I have good intentions” the money you give to scammers is money that could’ve gone to people who legitimately need help. 

- Mod Dawes Sr. 

1 On April 1, Malcolm L. Shabazz was arrested at a bar in South Bend, Indiana, where he was visiting friends. “America is eating me alive,” he told his imam.
2 He returned to his hometown in the Hudson Valley and flew to Los Angeles to meet his friend Miguel Suarez.
3 Miguel, a 30-year-old undocumented immigrant and labor organizer, was deported from Oakland on April 18. Malcolm met him in Tijuana, hoping a trip south would inspire him to live up to his legacy as Malcolm X’s grandson.
4 Miguel and Malcolm took a two-day bus ride to Mexico City. They dreamed up a plan to unite black and brown people in Mexico and beyond.
5 On May 8, their plans—and Malcolm’s tumultuous life—were cut short after a bar scam they fell for went horribly wrong near the Plaza Garibaldi.

—Investigating the unsolved murder of Malcolm X’s grandson

New credit card phishing scam hits Canada

A new twist on the credit card phishing scam has emerged in Canada, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, an agency of the federal government.

The new phishing scam is targeting people in the early morning, when they are sleepy and potentially vulnerable.

Daniel Williams, a senior call-taker with the Anti-Fraud Centre, says the scam begins with a phone call early in the morning, between 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

The caller claims to be from the victims’ bank and says a credit card was used without authorization the previous evening.

Williams says because of the early hour, the victim will often volunteer information.

"The consumer lets them know who they bank with, then the suspects will read out the first few digits of the credit card which is standard for that bank, that credit card," he said.

Williams says the scammers then ask the victim for the next eight digits to confirm their identity. Once the scammers have the complete card number, they immediately use the information to make purchases on the account.

Williams says the phishing scam is quite successful, and that anyone who has been victimized should contact the police.

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How To Avoid Psychic Scams.

My heart really goes out to those people who have been scammed in the past by someone posing as a psychic or tarot reader. There are so many ethical and professional psychics and tarot readers out there who do a fantastic job at providing a genuine and authentic service. It is awful to think that people are being lured into unethical services when there are much more positive experiences to be had.