Avoiding potentially dangerous short URL’s

I’ve found myself increasingly targeted by Internet spammers and a few blog commenters who provide Internet links to sites they recommend, but in a shortened URL that’s unreadable and gives no hint as to where it’s actually redirecting me.  Needless to say, I treat all such links as highly suspicious. I’ve been pleased to discover that there are Web sites to help find out where those links are really going, before I click on them.  This article discusses several ‘link expanders’.  I’ve tried some of those it recommends, and find they work well. So, if you find yourself confronted with

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Social Security: going bankrupt one statement at a time?

An article in National Review points out an interesting feature of the author’s Social Security statements. I saw an asterisk with the following message: The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2033, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 77 percent of scheduled benefits. I could not believe I was seeing the equivalent of what I was just thinking, but with a new twist, “If I like my Social Security, I can keep 77 percent of it.” With an asterisk, my beloved government was informing me that they will be unable to fulfill their

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Trying to manage the bear . . . an exercise in futility

We’ve discussed before how the Chinese government has attempted to, in so many words, ‘take over’ that country’s stock markets and ‘manage’ the economic crisis affecting them – to no avail.  The Economist sums up why those measures haven’t worked. Why is China finding it so hard to save its stockmarket? The short answer is that, for all the government’s involvement, China’s stockmarket is still a market, and there are now more sellers than buyers … Had China’s stockmarket been allowed to crash, shares would have eventually found a floor. Instead, regulators have tried to erect a floor, and investors

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Revolver SCORE!

I lucked into a good deal this morning.  Last night, while idly scanning the local Armslist, I noticed a gentleman in a town not too far away had just listed three revolvers for sale, including one that I’ve been trying to find for years:  a Smith & Wesson Model 625-6 Mountain Gun chambered in .45 Colt.  It’s basically identical to the pictures below. The seller was asking a fair price, so I contacted him right away to say I’d take it.  It’s a good thing I did – he said he had five calls within an hour, and I just

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Doofus Of The Day #848

Courtesy of Wirecutter: Miss D.‘s going to laugh when she sees that.  She tells me that in Alaska, which she still regards as ‘home’, it gets too cold in winter for the roads to be salted to melt ice and snow.  Instead, the Anchorage municipality scrapes away what snow it can, then layers fine gravel and dirt on the ice.  By spring the city has up to a foot or more of an ice/gravel/mud mix on the roads, and as the ice melts the muck gets all over everything.  (I remember noticing that while I was flying up to Anchorage

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Why rising interest rates may destroy the US national budget

We’ve spoken many times before about the parlous state of the US government in financial terms.  Most of its programs are funded by deficit spending, borrowing money today to pay for current needs and promising to repay it out of future earnings.  Trouble is, as we’ve seen, future repayments never happen:  instead, the debt gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger, until . . . The inimitable Karl Denninger has summed up the effects of such debt levels – and the impossibility of repaying them – in an article today. You borrow $1,000,000 @ 5% interest on a one-year bond.  You

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I need advice from travel trailer/5th wheel owners, please

Miss D. and I are considering longer-term options, including possible relocation and lengthy writing-related journeys.  As part of the process, I’m looking into travel trailers and 5th-wheel trailers.  However, both of us are complete novices in this field, so we’ve got a lot of research to do.  That’s OK, because we’re not looking to buy anything right away.  This will work out over a couple of years, I’m sure. Unfortunately, the Internet is full of ‘sponsored’ information sites that are nothing more than an attempt to entice one to buy from a particular dealer or manufacturer.  Some sites even contradict

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