Monday, October 12, 2015

A small collection of links...

...Because I still don't have anything of my own written. Pretty much the entire family was sick this weekend, and while I seem to have escaped the worst of it -- so far -- I've still had to do nurture and cleanup and keeping everybody occupied in the house. That... doesn't lend itself to writing.

So, here are some interesting things I've been looking at recently:

1. The Dynamics Of Jamaican Lottery Scammers (Caution: there's a video, with audio, that will auto-play when you follow that link.)
More than 200 Jamaicans a year are killed in connection with lottery scams -- a fifth of the killings in the island nation, which has the dubious distinction of being among the most violent countries per capita in the world.

Scammers who sell names and numbers to callers expect a cut of their profits; if they find out they're being cheated, they'll hunt down and kill the caller or a member of his family. Other killings occur when rival gang members steal caller lists.

"It's a cancer in the society," says Luis Moreno, the U.S ambassador to Jamaica. "Gangs escalate armed competition with each other over who is going to control these lists and who is going to get the best scammers, the best phone numbers, the best phone guys. Even children as young as 10, 12 years old are tied in as couriers."
2. Last week, an online Christian group called the eBible Fellowship predicted that the world would (probably) end on Wednesday, October 7. They were following up on the, um, "work" of Harold Camping, the preacher who claimed that the world would end on May 21, 2011. I've written about him before. Naturally, they were quite surprised when it didn't happen... although, I maintain, nowhere near as surprised as they could have been.

3. Apparently, the acquisition of a new clay tablet by the Sulaymaniah Museum has added twenty lines to the Epic of Gilgamesh, and quite possibly corrected the order of the chapters as well. If you're interested in ancient mythology and/or storytelling, you should not only read this article, but explore all the links too.
The tablet adds new verses to the story of how Gilgamesh and Enkidu slew the forest demigod Humbaba. Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, gets the idea to kill the giant Humbaba, guardian of the Cedar Forest, home of the gods, in Tablet II. He thinks accomplishing such a feat of strength will gain him eternal fame. His wise companion (and former wild man) Enkidu tries to talk him out of it — Humbaba was set to his task by the god Enlil — but stubborn Gilgamesh won’t budge, so Enkidu agrees to go with him on this quest.
...And that's what I've been reading.

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Feel free to leave comments; it lets me know that people are actually reading my blog. Interesting tangents and topic drift just add flavor. Linking to your own stuff is fine, as long as it's at least loosely relevant. Be civil, and have fun!