More on Nigerian Book Scam

I posted this note a few days ago about how I'd received an order for books to be shipped to Nigeria, even though I'm not a bookstore, and how I suspected it was yet another Nigerian scam. Books probably have a high value in places where it's hard to import hard external goods.A bookseller who asked not to be named provided me with the following story via email: I read your blurb about a suspicious order for Black's Law Dictionary that originated from Nigeria. Our store has had several of these questionable orders, both via email and operator assisted calls. These types of phone calls are usually by deaf people who need an operator to relay the information but are used more and more by scammers who don't want to be traced. A lot of the email orders I have seen are for bibles and I guess for some dealers that can be disarming. The last order I got that I spent any time with was for medical books and came via one of these relay phone calls. They actually supplied the credit card number but as my research has shown, these credit cards are stolen and the bookstore could end up holding the bag if were to fill the order. On this particular transaction I was able to call Visa and they gave me the issuer's phone number. They thought it was suspicious enough to cancel the card even though it had not been reported missing or stolen. I also found out during my research that the books actually end up in the former USSR a majority of the time and not Nigeria. Here is my most recent email order from these Nigerian scammers and if we had acted on it we would have been out more than $20,000.00. It boggles the mind. DEAR SIR/MA, I WILL LIKE TO ORDER THE BELOW LISTED BOOKS FOR YOUR STORE AND I WILL LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU DO SHIP INTERNATIONAL,IF YOU DO KINDLY GET ME THE TOTAL COST OF 60 COPICES OF THE BOOKS INCLUDING THE SHIPPING COST TO MY CLIENT'S LOCATION IN NIGERIA SO I CAN SEND YOU MY CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FOR YOU TO CHARGE FOR THE TOTAL COST. 1.CLINICAL MEDICINE (KUMAR AND CLARK ) 2..Clinically Oriented Anatomy Fourth Edition by (Keith L.Moore,Arthur F. Dalley).Isbn 0683061410. 3.Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. David L. Nelson, Albert L. Lehninger, Michael M. Cox. ISBN:1572599316. 4.Clinical Medicine, 5th Edition Kumar & Clark 0702025798 WITH ALL REGARDS, WILLIAMS SMITH The bookseller also pointed me to this discussion at Edifying Spectacle by booksellers and relay operators. Here's a story the bookseller pointed me to, also, about how a religious bookstore was ripped off for about $3,000 plus additional holdbacks. This obviously needs to be further publicized, and I assume the ABA has done so. But there are many places that sell books that aren't associated with the ABA or that don't have the time to learn about this kind of thing. Alert your local bookstore today!

Christ's Suffering and Gibson's Profit

Can I add anything to the discussion of Mel Gibson's movie (that I haven't seen)? Yes. Many of the theater-goers' comments I've read from those who were professed Christians and who liked the movie went something like, "This movie helped me appreciate the suffering that Christ went through for my salvation."Of course, the physical manifestation of Christ's suffering is just a very small aspect of his nature, and it's the one that unarguably Gibson focused on. Christ's physical suffering is an analog of his spiritual suffering. Christ's supreme act, if you choose to believe it, is that he took all of the sin of the world -- all of its suffering -- onto himself. It's one thing to carry a cross for miles and be nailed to it. No fun, I agree. But it's entirely another to experience the sin of billions of people across all time past and present (if you support that interpretation). Let us say, unimaginably more painful. That, as I understand it, is his transcendental act. The act that transformed the very human son of God into a vessel that allowed him to assume his place at his Father's side, a nice Jewish boy going into his dad's business. There is a sect of Judaism that coincidentally believes that there is a hell for Jews (I'm still not clear on heaven) in which you spend 700 years. But every moment of hell for you, you experience the cumulative pain of all mankind many times over. It's Christ times 700 years. The focus on the physicality of Christ's suffering in Gibson's movie seems very much like a child's storybook version of Christ' life. Jean Piaget, the great child development expert, posited stages in child development that start with the concrete and, for well-raised functional children, move into the abstract. Gibson's focus on the concrete part of Christ's pain excludes the much more abstract and important part: his assumption of a pain far beyond any pain that we could imagine but that he is supposed to have assumed on our behalf. There are probably tens of millions or more people who have suffered more intensely and longer physically than Christ did. But the fundament of the religion is that no one could suffer more spiritually than he did.

Nigerian Book Scam?

In my inbox this morning, I received the following. Sounds like a scam. I run isbn.nu, a book price comparison service, but I still think it's a scam -- partly because there were four other people addressed, none of which made sense or were legitimate email addresses. Yeah, yeah, a US-residiing Nigerian bookstore owner who needs me to dropship to Nigeria...My name is [deleted],i reside in the U.S and i am The Manager of [deleted] i do distribute all kinds of law books overseas and i recieved an order from one of my customer's in Nigeria. And which i am out of stock of the product they ask for, so please i will like you to help me get this title and give me the total cost so that i can pay it up including the shipment via UPS.And I will be paying with my credit card and i will also supply you with the shipping details in nigeria. Black's Law Dictionary by Bryan A. Garner, Henry Campbell Black's Law Dictionary Black, Henry L. Black Hardcover 10th edition ISBN: 0314228640) Qty:80 copies with discount.

Orkut, or Cut?

I had my Orkut profile deleted yesterday. I'd played with the system for a few weeks, accumulated nearly 100 "friends," many of whom asked me to be part of their network not vice versa. But, still, I was uncomfortable with the kinds of behavior and choices I had to make to be part of the network.I was in some ways too rapidly connected with too many early adopters. I was part of a network of 60,000 people by the time I quit, and I'm guessing that means I was connected to every Orkut member. There are folks who talk more sensibly about why Orkut (and social networks in general) are problematic, like danah boyd's (EtCon talk), Chuq v. R., and Xeni Jardin. But the fundamental problems for me are: I'm not dating. I'm married, happy, and not looking for more/new partners. And although I'm not a prude nor conservatively moraled, I still don't want to know the romantic social predilections like a Elks Club badge of everyone I barely know. I'm not looking for more friends. I have enough friends in the atomic world already to want electronic friends that I will rarely if ever meet in fleshspace. I'd rather spend more time enriching existing friendships. I don't need to spend more time online. It's already my work and my hobby. It's easy to offend people. "You're not my friend, you're somebody I met and respect." Explicit choices lead to offense. Dividing it finer provides more opportunities to offend people at a more sophisticated level. How many relationships are perfectly symmetrical? How many do you want to put to the test of that symmetricality? Although it's nice to hook up new business relationships online, I find LinkedIn accomplishes that enormously better with their focus on career and knowledge and endorsement. It's still a social networking system, but it appears to be more like a resume connector than a friend-maker. I don't need to expose myself through yet another method. My site already exposes me enough. Even if I limit my profile, I'm providing a lot of personal detail. If I don't fill out the profile, I'm not very interesting. Finally, how many Orkut, Friendster, etc., will there be in which I have to fill out the same information again and again?

More Sloppy Reports from Maine's Laptop Program

It's not quite my bete noire, but I have taken issue over the last couple of years with reports of the program which provided Mac iBook laptops to all 7th graders in the state of Maine, and later all 8th graders as well. Although objective studies aren't perfect and I don't believe that standardized tests tell the whole story, this Associated Press account says that because teachers think students are learning better, that students are learning better.Yes, teachers do know whether their students are performing better and whether they can spend more one-on-one time. But there should also be some quantification over two years. Are kids who spent two years on a laptop outperforming kids who didn't? That should be a very easily answerable question which, combined with this survey of opinion, would produce a result worth discussing.

My New Book on File Sharing in Panther`

My latest book is now available: Take Control of Sharing Files in Panther is a 96-page eBook in the Take Control series from venerable Macintosh experts Tonya Engst (editor in chief) and Adam Engst (TidBITS's e-in-c). Coincidentally, they're married.The Sharing Files title will run you $10, and covers a huge range of issues for setting up and customizing file sharing services like FTP, WebDAV, AppleShare, and many others under Panther. It also covers connecting to Panther-based servers from Jaguar, Panther, Windows XP, and Mac OS 9.

Cartoonists Sign 'Ground Hog' Joke Pact

In startling collusion news today, a series of cartoonists have revealed their pact to make Groundhog's Day jokes revolve around the notion that "ground hog," or a variety of pork products, has just the right family-oriented double entendre to make for a rollicking good time across the entire comics pages.Cartoonists involved in this up-to-now secret pact include Jef Mallett (Frazz), Delainey and Rasmussen (Betty), and Bill Amend (FoxTrot). More news on this underground contract as it becomes available.