If you click on ‘More’, you’ll see part of an email that was forwarded to me from one of the higher-ups at work. I imagine something like this would snag me…it’s sneaky. That said, a quick internet search revealed it may not be entirely true. From About.com (http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_credit_card_fraud.htm):

There’s no way to verify whether this anonymous, first-person account is authentic, but the type of fraud it warns against is real enough, so the message is worth heeding even if it is slightly misleading.

It’s misleading in that it gives the impression that this type of scam is brand new and only pertains to the three-digit security code now found on the backs of most credit cards. In reality, it’s a very old and familiar form of fraud that requires credit card holders to be protective of all the information pertaining to their accounts.

Any of these individual bits of information may be just what the scammer needs to “fill in the blanks” and gain full access to your account, so beware.



I read a short article online today about educational video games.  The Federation of American Scientists released a paper suggesting video games can have real education value.  From the article:

Capping a year of study, the group called for federal research into how the addictive pizazz of video games can be converted into serious learning tools for schools.

The theory is that games teach skills that employers want: analytical thinking, team building, multitasking and problem-solving under duress. Unlike humans, the games never lose patience. And they are second nature to many kids.

The only reason I noted the article, since I’m not a huge gamer, is that I have a friend who works along these same lines and I thought I’d give his efforts a small (since my blog is small) shout-out.  Benjamin Stokes works for the non-profit group Serious Games Initiative in their Games for Change branch. 

Games for Change (a.k.a. G4C) exists to, “provide support, visibility and shared resources to individuals and organizations using digital games for social change….Today, G4C acts as a national hub to help organizations network and develop videogame projects beyond their traditional expertise.”  If you’re interested in that kind of thing then head on over and join their discussions.  It’s interesting stuff that covers a lot of ground within a social-change framework; from decision-making techniques and resource optimization to outreach strategies and negotiating.

While I haven’t had time to read the FAS paper, I suspect the biggest hurdles to mainstream educational video games will be making them fun and being able to meausure how much good (or not) they contributing toward the game’s educational goal.

Perhaps they can take tips from the US Army’s new strategy game: Future Force Company Commander.  What’s interesting, to me, about this game is that it’s potentially training the next generation of strategists using tools they will likely have in 2015.  How’s that for forward thinking?

F2C2 is a real-time tactical strategy game that allows you to learn about the Army’s FCS program by giving you command of a Mounted Company Team in the year 2015. Through gameplay, F2C2 shows how FCS is designed to give the 21st Century Soldier unprecedented situational awareness and the ability to see first, understand first, act first, and finish decisively.

Congrats to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank on winning the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.  The award was given,

…for their efforts to create economic and social development from below. Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.

… Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions.

It’s always nice to see recognition given to people who deserve it – who have made a tremendous difference in the lives of over 4 million people.  It’ll be a tough act to follow.

Sorry for the long absence. For those who have notices, the blog has a new look. I’m not particularly enthused about it, but the others that I like don’t work correctly in IE (go figure – if you haven’t switched to Firefox, go thee hither and install ASAP). This template seems to be better supported and so it’ll stay until a nicer one comes along.

Well, what to write in the first post of a new blog? Something witty or interesting would be nice, but I think I’ll stick with a general introduction of myself. I’m in my late 20s, married, schooled in operations research (but regretfully am not using it in my job), avid reader, competitive pistoleer, and generic low-level geek. I’m mostly doing this as a way to keep family and friends updated on the goings-on in my life since I move regularly, am poor with email correspondence, and have a hard time finding time to pick up the phone to call. Plus, there are some big events (will blog about later) on the horizon that will be fun to share with whatever small community of readers I manage to gather. For now, that’s me in a nutshell and why this blog exists.