Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Archive for March, 2009

[Science Factism] The Evolution Of The Octopus…

Posted by Lex Fear on March 20, 2009

…Or not, as it may seem, according to Oil is Mastery:

“These are sensational fossils, extraordinarily well preserved,” says Dirk Fuchs of the Freie University Berlin, lead author of the report. But what surprised the scientists most was how similar the specimens are to modern octopus: “these things are 95 million years old, yet one of the fossils is almost indistinguishable from living species.” This provides important evolutionary information.

Indeed: it provides information that none has occured.

, , , , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.

Posted in Doublethink, Quoteyness, Religion & Science, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

[Pause for Thought] Stem Cells

Posted by Lex Fear on March 20, 2009

Just so we’re clear, everyone knows that you can collect stem cells from a placenta. right?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Duh!, Morals & Ethics, Realpolitik, Religion & Science, The Purpose Missing Church, The Religious Wrong, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Scammy] How Defraud eBay Users – Courtesy Of Paypal

Posted by Lex Fear on March 17, 2009

I have been meaning to discuss this one for a while, but it only just popped back into memory recently whilst I was looking through some old emails.

I’m writing this to warn you of the systematic failure of Paypal customer service and how this creates potential for easy, undetected scamming and profiteering opportunities for eBay power-sellers by abusing low-usage eBay users.

Last year I gave up eBay for good. I gave it up after I received 1 negative feedback having achieved in 2 years over 50 positive. The negative feedback was not warranted – it was retaliatory, from an eBay power-seller going by the trader name of notebookspares, offline company name: Rolta Limited, email address: hanspals@hotmail.com. I found a bunch of linked websites too, from googling their phone number: 0208 561 3960 – I wonder how many scams they are running?

I put up this power seller’s details as a warning to other potential buyers – particularly to buyers who do not do hundreds of trades a day and have a large feedback cache. I have copies of all correspondence and other details regarding this transaction, if requested.

Last year I received retaliatory feedback for posting negative feedback after not receiving an item from notebookspares (Rolta Limited). I posted the negative feedback after I’d exhausted all possibilities with Paypal resolutions.

You see, one day early in 2008 I had ordered an item from notebookspares, but on failing to receive it or any communication within 2 weeks I tried eBay’s contact form, then I tried emailing direct and finally a phone call leaving a message – all to no avail.

Since it was now outside of the time limit for escalating no item/no response, I went through eBay to get to Paypals “Item Not Recieved Dispute Resolution Centre”. Despite the power-seller, notebookspares , not being arsed to return my messages or calls, a day later he responded to confirm that the item had been posted and signed as recieved. News to me.

So I took the Proof Of Delivery he provided, plugged it into Royal Mail website and found that it referred to a delivery to a completely different name and address. No other details were provided unfortunately. Sounds like an honest mistake right, either notebookspares had provided the wrong POD, or they posted to a wrong address. Anyone would be able to detect this and make amends – Paypal however didn’t check the POD provided and now wanted to close the dispute.

Therefore, I escalated it, I complained that notebookspares had not bothered with any correspondence and had now provided an incorrect POD. It took 3 weeks for Paypal to respond, in that time, they still had not checked the POD with Royal Mail online, instead informing me that since the power-seller, notebookspares, had provided a POD, the resolution was now closed. I was livid.

Note: The POWER-SELLER had provided POD, so there was NO DISPUTE! It doesn’t matter that the POD was to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NAME AND ADDRESS, the POD had been provided, so PAYPAL concluded there was NO DISPUTE.

Despite escalating this again, stating the facts of the matter again (POD was wrong name/address, power-seller notebookspares, had not responded to any hails), 4 weeks later Paypal concluded once again there was NO DISPUTE – they didn’t even bother to gather facts from the interested parties.

I should mention at this point, I did contact Royal Mail, and attempt to find out where the parcel got delivered and obtain a refund this way, but Royal Mail requested more details about the delivery than I had to give. Which left me with the same problem, notebookspares would not respond to messages or requests for information which Royal Mail needed, and Paypal would do sweet FA about it.

The only thing I had left was the power of democracy, which, like real democracy, is weak. I left a negative feedback on notebookspares. 1 negative feedback against 1000’s of positives, which affected his feedback score NIL. Not satisfied with being an asshat, notebookspares immediately left retaliatory feedback that wasn’t even anything to do with the service or item, which of course brought me down to about 95% positive. I complained to eBay directly – but guess what – they couldn’t give a shit.

Finally, receiving no further correspondence or recourse from Paypal, notebookspares or eBay, I refused to settle my eBay fees which were around the £10 mark- which got my account suspended. The item itself was worth £25, so I made a loss of £15. eBay tried to recover the fees by threatening court action, but I dealt with them like I dealt with my gym recently (for another post, another day) and they chickened out.

Since it was such a small amount, I didn’t bother reporting the fraud to the police (apart from reporting it to the press, what else would they do?), but I did write to eBay and threaten to call in the police. I got no reply from eBay so why bother reply to their emails asking for their fees?

So, hopefully you can now see the potential pitfall?

Here’s how the scam works – Paypal practically endorses it by design!

If you are a power seller, like notebookspares (Rolta Limited) was, and you have built up a large number of positive feedbacks, here is your chance to make a bit of extra profit on the side!

Every now and then, take an order from a low-level user (50 feedbacks or less) for a small item (£50 or less), when you have recieved payment through Paypal, deliver the item to another address you use and get you POD from Royal Mail.

When the buyer inevitably complains using Paypals resolutions, provide the POD – it doesn’t matter what NAME, ADDRESS or SIGNATURE is on the POD, as long as a POD exists, Paypal will close the case and you have made yourself a tidy little profit on the side.

When the little buyer leaves negative feedback, you can devastate his score by RETALIATORY FEEDBACK. eBay will do nothing about retaliatory feedback so you are SAFE!

Paypal and eBay will turn a blind eye to this as long as you are generating a big revenue for them, so this is not for the little guy – power sellers only.

Just make sure that you don’t do this too often as it will eventually effect your feedback score, but if you do it once or twice for every 100 buyers you have yourself a nice little racket!

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Anecdotes, Bad Company, Buyer Beware, Holding Actions, Justice & Mercy, Profiteering, Technology, Untouchables, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Credit Crunchies] Was Marx Right? Er, no.

Posted by BHudson on March 6, 2009

Of late, both Stephen King and Mark Steel have commented (in the Independent) about the rise in support for Marx’s theory and, specifically, the idea that the current economic problems prove him right. As far as I can tell, this is all based on the fact that Marx knew the business cycle (‘boom and bust’) was part of a capitalist system. In other words, the current ‘bust’ is supposed to support Marxist theory. But presumably, it also supports pretty much any economic theory of modern times equally well. The fact that Gordon Brown was wrong in declaring the end of ‘boom and bust’ doesn’t mean that Marx was right.

Confession time. I think Marx’s theory was right.

Was right, as in ‘might just have worked if society stayed as it was between 1890 and 1950’. Not any longer. Key to Marx’s ideas was his class theory. Broadly, he defined two classes:
Proletariat – serves to provide labour. Does not own the other means of production
Bourgeoisie – serves to own the means of production and employ the labour of the proletariat, hence exploiting them.
This model of defining the classes worked to a point. By the 1960s, or thereabouts, the industrial working class who defined the proletariat had become far smaller and less significant. Without its main player, Marx’s theory stopped working. Marx was knowledgable in history, and said himself that his theory would be discredited if it was shown by posterity to not work.

Agorism, however, theorises that there are three broad ‘classes’. The word ‘class’ is perhaps improper, as most people do not fit in one single category. Each act can be placed into one of three categories:
Entrepreneur (Good) – innovator, risk-taker, producer, the strength of a free market, victim of the state
Non-statist capitalist (Neutral) – holders of capital, not necessarily ideologically aware, “relatively drone-like non-innovators”.
Pro-statist capitalist (Bad) – “the main Evil in the political realm”, oppressor of the entrepreneur and non-statist classes.

‘Agorist Class Theory’, by Wally Conger covers in reasonable depth the reasons why the agorist theory is stronger.

Agorist Solutions for Marxist Problems (from ACT)

Marxist Problem: The revolutionary class appears to work against its
own interest; the proletariat support reactionary politicians.
Agorist Solution: The Counter-Economic class cannot work against its
interests as long as it is acting counter-economically. Those supporting
statists politically have internal psychological problems without doubt,
but as a class, these acts dampen the weakening of the State marginally.
(Someone who earns $60,000 tax-free and contributes up to $3000
politically is a net revolutionary by several thousand dollars, several
hundred percent!)

Marxist Problem: “Revolutionary” States keep “selling out” to
Agorist Solution: There are no such states. Resistance to all states at all
times is supported.

Marxist Problem: Revolutionary parties often betray the victimized
class before taking power.
Agorist Solution: There are no such parties; resistance to all parties at
all times is supported.

Marxist Problem: Little objective relief can be accomplished by
reformist action. (Agorists agree!) Therefore, one must await the
revolution to destroy the system. Until then, revolutionary activities are
premature and “adventurist.” Still, the productive class remains victim-
ized until the class reaches consciousness as a whole.
Agorist Solution: Each individual may liberate himself immediately.
Incentives for supporting collective action are built in and grow as the
self-conscious counter-economy (agora) grows.

Marxist Problem: The class line blurs with time — against prediction.
Agorist Solution: Class lines sharpen with time — as predicted

Posted in Opinion, Quoteyness | Leave a Comment »