Life update

October 21, 2008 at 8:58 am | Posted in conference, family, holidays, life, math | 1 Comment

Well, the semester is in full swing as you, dear reader, may have guessed by the infrequency of my entries alone.  But life doesn’t stop, that’s for sure.

Last weekend I took 10 students to the Fall 2008 MAA Seaway section meeting, a local math conference. The talks were very cool, and many students told me they had a great time. I was also the chair of the student program committee. Last meeting in the spring, there were only 2 submissions for the student talk session, so this time we decided to supplement student talks with other things, like math jeopardy and an ice cream social. We also had two faculty give an workshop for undergraduates on how to craft a math talk. Lots of good stuff for our students. Then we got 12 submissions for student talks! We had to get help to cover all of the rooms we needed to fit all of these activities! In the end, though, I think it was a success. And we have some ideas to make the arrangement of activities better next time.

Some family have been going through some pretty rough times, and there is nothing I can do about it. That’s weighing on me and making it hard to concentrate on anything. Life sucks sometimes.

This weekend we’re going to do some preparation for winter. We’re going to store the motorcycles, and put the trailer out of the garage and beside it, covered with a tarp. Then we’ll have the motorcycles winterized in one bay, and the car in the other. I should replace that broken window in the garage door, too.

Thanksgiving at our house is on, and we’re going to have folks over again. Hopefully we can avoid the plumbing disaster this time around.

Over Columbus day weekend Jenny and I visited some friends and relatives. The relatives were Martin, Uta, and Tanta Martha who were visiting from Germany. Tanta Martha knew me when I was a nipperkin. She nicknamed me “schlingel,” which loosely translates as “rascal,” a nickname that stuck to me with my Oma (Martha’s sister) all my life. This will probably be her last visit to the states, so I just had to make the trip. I made two different holiday liqueurs, whose recipes I learned from Oma, and brought them to share during this visit; they were a hit. I really improved the coffee liqueur this time. We also had a great visit with our dear friends Edz and Sacha. One of these years we’ll get them up here to chill with us in the north country.

Academic advising has begun. It’s almost hard to believe that it’s time to start thinking about next semester already. On the other hand, I’m already thinking about what I’m going to be teaching in the 2009-2010 academic year, so it shouldn’t be so hard to believe.

Time moves so fast. I should make some time to think long term about life and what I want out of it. I did that over 10 years ago when I was working as a waiter in a restaurant, and I set myself on this course, got back into school, and now I’m a mathematician and professor. But it’s about time for a long term view again. I’m not going to be switching careers or anything, but I need a better balance between work, home, family, etc. Jenny and I talked about that a bit on the car ride back from the visit with the german relatives. Putting it off to the “break” between the semesters doesn’t work. There is no better time than now.

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Spammers are tapping their own resources

October 3, 2008 at 7:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

You know all those spam emails that clutter up your inbox or junk email folder?  The ones you just throw away as soon as you see them, sometimes even BEFORE you see them, when the subject is a dead giveaway?  And even when the subject is NOT a dead giveaway, usually the english is so horrible that it’s laughable.  I assume it’s foreigners and not junior high students who are writing these and that’s why their english is so bad.

When so many people delete them so routinely, it makes you think why they do it.  It must be economical, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.  It is very cheap, but it must make a bit of money for the companies that have spammers advertise for them.  One out of a thousand, one out of 10,000 … some non-trivial proportion of the population must be responding to these emails.

Well, spammers themselves are trying to tap that market, the one in a zillion people who respond to these “ads.”  They’re trying to make their emails not so horrible sounding, with decent english, with the hope that even more people will read them, and they’re getting that one is a gazillion people to help them do it.  It’s smart, actually.  Some spammer was thinking to themselves, “My english not good.  How to make my texts as an english speaking person?   Who not smart but english speaking fix my words to be hearing normal language?”  This is my proposition, and it is based on the following piece of spam that I just received.

—–

Hello,

We are offering a part time job based on computer.

Job Description:

We will provide you with the texts for our employees with the important information and you will need to revise and correct the texts as an english speaking person and send them back to us.

Salary:

We don’t have a fixed salary for this vacancy. We will pay you $7.00 for every 1Kb of the text which you revise .  You will get paid at the END of each working month. So, your salary will depend on your activity.

Example: If you correct about 5Kb of texts per day you will get over $1000.00 at the end of the month.

Requirements:

-Location: USA
-Age: 20+
-Home computer, e-mail address and Microsoft Word
-Responsibility

To apply for the position, please, provide us with the following information to our e-mail: dating.hrjob@gmail.com

__________
FULL NAME:
HOME ADDRESS:
CITY, STATE, ZIP CODE:
Phone number (home or cell, but SHOULD BE available any day time):
E-MAIL:
AGE:
OCCUPATION:
EDUCATION:
AVAILABLE HOURS TO DEVOTE TO WORK:
———-

As soon as we receive your aplication we will contact you within 24 hours.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask.

Awaiting for your application.

Sincerely,
Dating Group Team
dating.hrjob@gmail.com

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