What I learned this week, June 29, 2012

The Terms

Great News! One of my favorite independant Coffee Houses – The Pearl Cup – is opening a new branch in Richardson – the city where I live. It is planned on opening in late September or August. It won’t be particularly close to my house (It’s in a very nice neighborhood – not the kind of place where people like me live) but it will be a lot easier to get to than the one down on Henderson in the City. Nobody goes there anyway, it’s way too crowded.

Pearl Cup to Open a Location in Richardson!

Dallas Observer Best Coffee Shop – The Pearl Cup

The Bartender’s Tale: How the Watergate Burglars Got Caught

Think you know everything about Watergate? Leave it to a barman to add a surprising twist to Washington’s most enduring story

Turing the tables on scammers

Why would a Nigerian scammer admit that he’s from Nigeria? After all, Nigeria is notorious for fraudulent emails. Shouldn’t the fraudsters claim instead to be from Turkey or South Africa or, really, anywhere but Nigeria? That’s a question asked by Microsoft researcher, Cormac Herley, and seconded by security guru Bruce Schneier. Herley’s insightful answer looks at the economics of scam emails:

Attacking the maximum number of people does not maximize profit. … Since the scam is entirely one of manipulation he would like to attack (i.e., enter into correspondence with) only those who are most gullible. … Since gullibility is unobservable, the best strategy is to get those who possess this quality to self-identify. An email with tales of fabulous amounts of money and West African corruption will strike all but the most gullible as bizarre.

Nigerian scams are labor intensive for the scammer, but only after the first bite. Actually landing even the most gullible correspondents takes time, effort, and skill that the scammers don’t want to waste.