Fraud and counterfeiting in medical supplies

I’ve been looking into emergency medical products to control bleeding, following my recent spell in hospital and subsequent developments.  I’ve been very fortunate to have Kelly Grayson as a friend.  He’s not only a very experienced paramedic, he’s won national awards in that field, and is about as knowledgeable as you can get as to what works and what doesn’t.  He’s pointed me in the direction of what I need (tourniquets, larger hemostatic wound dressings, etc.), and I’m in the process of buying it now. What’s astonished me is the amount of fraud and counterfeiting going on in that field.  There are certain types of

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A nationwide scam on Airbnb?

I’ve never used Airbnb myself, but I have several friends who’ve done so.  I was therefore rather worried to read that there seems to be a widespread scam going on involving properties listed on Airbnb. I had unknowingly stumbled into a nationwide web of deception that appeared to span eight cities and nearly 100 property listings—an undetected scam created by some person or organization that had figured out just how easy it is to exploit Airbnb’s poorly written rules in order to collect thousands of dollars through phony listings, fake reviews, and, when necessary, intimidation. Considering Airbnb’s lax enforcement of its own policies,

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For boys needing cutting-edge toys

Being African born and bred, I’ve always had a high regard for a machete as a very useful all-round tool.  It can not only clear brush or chop up light wood;  it’s easier to carry than an axe, it’s a very viable weapon if push comes to shove, and it’s cheap enough that if you break one, it’s seldom a problem to replace it. That being said . . . Cold Steel is currently having a sale on many of their machete models.  Some are below $10!  They make good tools, and the prices they’re advertising are the lowest I’ve ever seen

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Truth is hard in a special-snowflake world

Film screenwriter, director and producer Christopher McQuarrie sent a string of tweets a few days ago that encapsulate how he sees the industry, and how to achieve success in it.  He’s blunt (almost brutally so) about how nobody’s going to do the work if you don’t, and how you can’t expect the Success Fairy to alight on your shoulders and sprinkle you with magic dust, or something like that.  Here’s an excerpt. 1.  I‘m receiving a lot of questions from writers asking where to submit scripts or how to sell them. Others ask how to sign an agent, attach directors or producers, etc. You

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Ridiculous!

I had to laugh at an article headlined “The 25 Most Absurd Job Titles In Tech“.  Examples include: Innovation Evangelist Dream Alchemist Time Ninja Security Princess Software Ninjaneer There are plenty more at the link.  Go read, and boggle your mind at the pretentiousness of it all! Peter

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A serious warning about firearms security

It’s long been the practice among security-conscious firearms owners to obscure the serial numbers in any photographs of firearms they put up on the Internet.  This is because unscrupulous characters have been known to note the serial numbers, report “their” firearm stolen (with that same serial number), and claim the loss against their own insurance policies.  The insurance company/ies then keep the firearm on the stolen property lists, and if there’s ever an inspection (for example, you’re stopped while driving, and the policeman checks your firearm serial number against his database), you may find yourself in trouble.  Alternatively, if you

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Elections, incumbents, and democracy

Looks like Congress is the opposite of “democratically elected” when you take this into account. How is 97 percent of Congress able to get re-elected each year even though only 17 percent of the American people believe our representatives are doing a good job? It’s called an incumbent protection system. Taxpayers have a right to know how it works. Recently, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com mashed up the federal checkbook with the congressional campaign donor database (source: OpenSecrets.org). We found powerful members of Congress soliciting campaign donations from federal contractors based in their districts. We followed the money and found a culture of conflict-of-interest. The confluence

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An historic way of life to a different, slower drumbeat

Courtesy of Old Salt Blog, I was interested to come across a novel, centuries-old method of shrimp fishing – on horseback. Intrigued, I looked for more information, and found this longer, more detailed view of the same “industry” in Belgium.  I found it equally interesting. It’s fascinating to think that such an ancient method of fishing has survived so long;  and it’s good to know that the number of mounted fishermen in training has actually increased in recent years.  I imagine the occupation is a lot less stressful than much of modern living, which is an attraction in itself. Peter

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Food. Ye Gods and little fishes . . . food!

Our annual Blogorado gathering is coming up next weekend, and Miss D. and I have volunteered to provide supper on Friday night.  We therefore hit the road to Muenster, TX this morning, to Fischer’s Meat Market, which I’ve mentioned in these pages before.  It’s a truly magnificent German-style meat market, which breeds its own cattle, slaughters them itself, and processes the meat to produce all sorts of delectable goodies. We probably shocked the counter staff by ordering so much.  Thirty-odd bratwurst, thirty-odd bockwurst, eight pounds of coarse-ground peasant-style Braunschweiger, twelve pounds of German potato salad (the kind you eat warm), six pounds of sauerkraut, several pounds

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A grim lesson in retirement reality for US states

I’ve warned before about pension shortfalls in the USA, particularly in government pensions.  I’ve also warned about the dangers of too much debt, whether governmental, corporate or personal. Puerto Rico has just become a case study in what happens when the two problems intersect. When [Puerto Rico] declared bankruptcy in 2017, it was the biggest bankruptcy case in US history … So there’s been more than two years of negotiation between bondholders and all the various officials, pensions, unions, etc. And on Friday they announced the deal. Bondholders will take a huge cut of more than 60%. But, as part of

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