Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Examples of spam comments received in one week

Comment spam has been, for me, a rich source of linguistic fascination as well as a window into what it is that comment spammers are trying to achieve and how they do that.

Their aim is of course to get a blog (in this case mine) to link to their website, because more links pointing to a site tells Google that the site is more valued by the internet.

The actual text of the comment is entirely irrelevant, it exists to cover for the link. A comment that contains nothing but an odd-looking link will make most people suspicious, one that's accompanied by text might well get through. My blog often talks about things that attract spam though I don't know if I see more spam than other blogs (I think it's pretty universal). Possibly I just delight in it more ;)

Thursday 19 December 2013
I've noted a few spam comments coming in over the last couple of weeks from someone calling themselves Jame Burngasser, the latest one was really plausible.

Post comment attempted on: Twitter has killed off RSS feeds, that's why your stuff doesn't work
"When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

Also visit my website ... Jame Burngasser [hyperlinked to http:// tweetcartel. net]"

It's written in good English, it's asking for help with a plausible problem and is polite - of the spam messages I've received it's the best yet. However I recognised the name and, hovering over the link in the email notification message I get, spotted the familiar 'Tweet Cartel. net' website. So that one doesn't get published until I've made safe (mangled) the links.

Post that comment was attempted on: "Twitter's new photo preview just takes up more space - here's one partial solution":
"naturally like your web site however you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very
troublesome to inform the reality then again I'll surely come back again.

Feel free to visit my blog post - James B [hyperlinked to http:// tweet cartel.n et]"
Again a coherent spam comment (I've spotted typos on this blog myself, not rife though) but "troublesome to inform the reality" lets it down a bit. Googling for the first part "however you have to check the spelling on several of your posts" shows a number of variants and also how common this spam comment is.

Currently listening to BBC6Music:
John Grant - Glacier
Daughter - Amsterdam

Friday 20 December 2013
Two spam comments this morning...

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Josi Bunder has left a new comment on your post "Where London science communicators might work":
"Classifieds are perfect for selling just about anything at all.
Here you can sell and buy anything under the sun including both novel and used products. Get more with free advertising at postallads 4free. com"

Saturday 21 December 2013
Three spam comments this morning... I like to think this sort of thing will be on English exams of the future: "What word would make more sense here?" ;)

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Sunday 22 December 2013
creation has left a new comment on your post "Share multiple sites with a single link - Sqworl l...":

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Monday 23 December 2013

Tuesday 24 December 2013
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Wednesday 25 December 2013

Thursday 26 December 2013
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Friday 27 December 2013

Saturday 28 December 2013
pierre grima has left a new comment on your post "How to make it easier for people to find your jobs...":
This IT services Provider, who are going through a strong stage of growth within their SharePoint and technologies team is currently seeking a SharePoint Consultant to join their team, providing subject matter expertise and mentorship to junior professionals.
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New spam - came in via old work email, forwarded by server, requested that I contact them via a different email address, played along for a bit...

Re: Proposal I await your prompt response 

Mrs Huian Gong -
Dear ,

Thank you for giving me your time, Let me start by introducing my self, I am Mrs Huian Gong a staff of OCBC Wing Hang Bank. here in Hong Kong attached in Private Banking Services, I am contacting you concerning a customer and an investment placed under our banks management; as a matter of fact it was 7 years ago. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail private and also to kindly respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this email. I contacted you independently of our investigation and no one is informed of this communication; I would like to intimate you with certain facts that I believe would be of interest to you. it is of great importance for you to take care and understand every word which I have written down below; please be patient and read the explanation in my email.

In 2010, the subject matter; Ref: FI/WHB/958/042/0510 came to our bank to engage in business discussions with our Private Banking Services Department.He informed us that he had a financial portfolio of USD$13,991,674 million United States Dollars, which he wished to have us turn over (invest) on his behalf. I was the officer assigned to his case; I made numerous suggestions in line with my duties as the de-facto chief operations officer of the Private Banking Services Department, especially given the volume of funds he wished to put into our bank.

Few months later his attention was needed regarding a business which i was going to discuss with him but i was unable to reach him, I made futile efforts to locate him I immediately passed the task of locating him to the internal investigations department of our bank.Four days later, information started to trickle in, that he was apparently dead, a person who suited his description was declared dead of a heart attack in Cannes, South of France; we were soon enough able to gather more information and the cause of death was confirmed. The bank immediately launched an investigation into possible surviving next of kin to alert about the situation and also to come forward to claim his funds. If you are familiar with private banking affairs,those who patronize our services usually prefer anonymity, but also some levels of detachment from conventional processes. In his bio-data form, he listed no next of kin. In the field of private banking, opening an account with us means no one will know of its existence, accounts are rarely held under a name;depositors use numbers and codes to make the accounts anonymous. This bank also gives the choice to depositors of having their mail sent to them or held at the bank itself, ensuring that there are no traces of the account and as I said, rarely do they nominate next of kin.Private banking clients apart from not nominating next of kin also usually in most cases leave wills in our care, in this case; he died Intestate.

There is USD$13,991,674(Thirteen million, nine hundred and ninety one thousand, six hundred and seventy four united states dollars) deposited, I alone have the deposit details and they will release the deposit to no one unless I instruct them to do so. Also I alone know of the existence of this deposit for as far as the finance firm is concerned, the transaction with our deceased customer concluded when I sent the funds to the firm, all outstanding interactions in relation to the file are just customer services and due process. The finance firm has no single idea of what's the history or nature of the deposit, they are simply awaiting instructions to release the deposit to any party that comes forward, and this is the situation. This bank has spent great amounts of money trying to track the family of the deceased; they have investigated for months and have found no family but however the investigation has officially come to an end.

My proposal; I am prepared to place you in a position whereby an instruction is given to the finance firm to officially release the deposit to you as the closest surviving relation/associate, and all etiquette shall be done in accordance with the rule of law, I certainly can guarantee you that. By the common law, the power of bequeathing is coeval with the first rudiments of the law.There is no ruling which prevents an inheritance from being so exhausted by legacies as to render it unworthy of the their's acceptance; perfect operation whereby the paper work shall be co-ordinated in such a way that your status as a sole beneficiary is confirmed. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the money with you in half and no more; that is: I will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you; afterwards we share the proceeds 50/50.

I would have gone ahead to ask the funds be released to me, but that would have drawn a straight line to me and my involvement in claiming the deposit, but on the other hand, you as a indifferent foreigner would easily pass as the beneficiary with the rights to claim, I assure you that I could have the deposit released to you in a few days. I will simply inform our bank of the final closing of the file relating to the customer, I will then officially communicate with the finance company and instruct them to release the deposit to you; with these two things: all is done. The alternative would be for us to have the firm direct the funds to another bank with you as account holder, this way there will be no need for you to think of receiving the money from the firm. We can fine-tune this based on our interactions, I am aware of the consequences of this proposal and I ask that if you find no interest in this project that you should discard this mail. I ask also, that you do not be vindictive or destructive, if my offer is of no appeal to you, delete this message and forget I ever contacted you; please do not destroy my career. You may not know this but people like me who have made tidy sums out of comparable situations run the whole private banking sector, I am not a criminal and what I do, I do not find against good conscience, this may be hard for you to understand, but the dynamics of my industry dictates that I make this move. Such opportunities only come ones' way once in a lifetime. I cannot let this chance pass me by and I hope you understand, because for once I found myself in total control and face to face with my destiny. These chances won't pass me by, I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if you will not work with me please let me know, and hence move on with my life, but do not destroy me; I am a family woman and this is an occasion to provide them with new opportunities. There is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth undertaking, I have evaluated the risks and the only risk I have here is from you refusing to work with me and alerting my bank; I am the only one who knows of this situation, good fortune will bless you and plant you into the center of relevance in my life, let’s share the blessing.

If you find yourself interested to work with me, please contact me specifically, if you give me positive signals, I will initiate this process towards a quick conclusion. It is necessary to inform you that under no condition should you contact me via official channels; I will simply deny knowing you and about this project. I repeat, I do not want you contacting me through our official lines neither do I want you contacting me through my official email account. I do not want any direct link between you and me. My official lines are not secure lines as they are periodically monitored to assess our level of customer care in line with our Total Quality Management policy, please observe this instruction religiously. Please, again, note I am a Family woman; I happily married with kids, I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what the consequences might be, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold, this is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients; do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord I shall have the pleasure of meeting you, after this task has been completed plan a meeting.

I await your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Mrs. Huian Gong

---- ---- ---- ----

Another one today (Friday 17 April 2020)

Dear ,

I want to thank you for your email response, I sincerely appreciate your interest to assist me in this transaction, however I would like to be sure of your willingness, trustworthiness and commitment to execute this transaction with me, I cannot afford to compromise these virtues because this transaction is highly sensitive, I have my principles which will profit the both of us. I will need you to follow my instruction to enable us have this transaction completed on time.

I know you might be wondering where I got your email contact but to be honest with you, I got your contact email discretely on the internet during my search for a reliable partner who would be of assistance to me in order to have the funds transferred out, if you read my previous emails properly I have explained why I need your assistance, I did consider what you might think about my kind of person but the risk was worth taken and the fact remains that I cannot transfer the funds in my own name, this is the main reason your assistance as a foreigner is required. 

Considering the money involved, it is necessary for me to be sure of the person to whom I will be entrusting this transaction, my trust is not given out lightly and I do not expect you to trust me that easy too, so I need to be convinced that you are a matured person with some integrity and I will also prove my integrity to you.

With regards to the legality of this transaction, I want to inform you that the attorney I am using will prepare the affidavits which shall legally put you in place as beneficiary; and will obtain the necessary clearances which will cover all the aspects involved in this transaction from the Hong Kong authorities including the Justice department. Every documents will be done to meet all international beneficiary claim standards and I will be responsible for this payment so don't think about

I must also inform you that you will not have to travel to anywhere for any reason, because the attorney shall be handling all matters of probate on your behalf, you will be duly represented here by the attorney, he is an accredited lawyer with vast experience in issues of inheritance here in Hong Kong. He will have all the documents perfected, and with these documents he shall come forward to apply for the immediate release and transfer of the funds to you.

What I expect from you is trust and commitment, I want this large sum of money transferred with your assistance, and as a banker for many years I know that if we follow up this transaction diligently it would be completed within 12 working days without any question. 

I want to know if you are willing to follow up this business seriously before I can give you more details about this transaction, as a result of which I shall bewaiting for your response and assurance, you need to be someone whom I can rely upon, at least for absolute commitment.

Mrs Huian Gong

---- ---- ---- ----

Another one (Saturday 18 April 2020), wonder how long I can keep this going.

Dear ,

Thank you once again for your genuine interest in this transaction, I am very glad to note that you are a noble, matured, and trustworthy person whom I can realy on for your capabilities to handle this transaction, and for a person of your status and experience I am very confident doing this business with you.

Like I said before, due to this issue on my hands now it became necessary for me to seek your assistance, I appreciate the fact that you are ready to assist me in executing this project, and also you will help me in investing my money in your country or somewhere else, I am quite certain about that. You should not have anything to worry about, I will do everything legally required to ensure that the project goes smoothly, it shall pass through all Laws of International Banking and beneficiary claim, you have my word.

Having resolved to entrust this transaction into your hands, I want to remind you that it needs your commitment and diligent follow up. If you work seriously, the entire transaction should be over in a couple of days...


Firstly, I will want to know precisely the type of occupation that you do, you should note that this project is highly capital intensive, this is why I have to be very careful, I need your total devotion and trust to see this through, I know we have not met before but I am very confident that we will be able to establish the necessary trust that we need to execute this project.

I am now in a search of a foreign on-line bank which I may require that you open an account in your name in this foreign bank ,I will find a bank that you can open account on-line with request your fiscal present. The money would be transferred to your account which you will open in this bank for both of us, this is one of the ways I have found, and it will protect us from my local banks in my country, I want us to enjoy this money in peace when we conclude, so you should listen to my instructions and follow them religiously. Also you have to know that I cannot transfer this money in my name as my bank will be aware that it is from me, this is where I need you.

As result of this you may have to open an account in the corresponding bank that has the same transfer telex type with my bank, I will obtain a certificate of deposit from my bank, it will be issued in your name, and this will make you the beneficiary of the funds. After the money is been release it will be transfer to your account for both of us and we can then instruct the bank to transfer our various shares into our respective home bank accounts bit by bit, I will also perfect the documentations with the assistance of my attorney to give the transaction the legal right.

Before we commence all this things, I will need to do the paper work that will place you as the beneficiary of the fund so I will need you to send me a copy of your identification (International passport OR Driver's Licence), your current residential address and your phone number, I will give them to the attorney who will do the paper work and it will also prove me that I am transacting with the correct person and as soon as I get these from you I will commence the paper work that will place you as the beneficiary. I hope you will understand why I need all these, the money in question is big and I want to ensure that I know you well before I proceed to give you all the details to commence the project, I will also send you my own Identification upon the receipt of your identification.

Ensure that you keep this project confidential; do not discuss it with anybody, because of the confidential nature of this transaction and my work.

Please reply soonest.

Best Regards,

Mrs Huian Gong

---- ---- ---- ----

Received on Monday 20 April 2020

Dear Jo Brodie,
I read your mail and i want you to send me a copy of your identification passport/driver's licence so that the paper work can be done and it will also prove me that i'm transacting with the right person hope you understand so that we can proceed and complete the transaction hope to hear from you soon


 ---- ---- ---- ----

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).