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Nigerian 409 scams are lagging indicators

I RECEIVED THIS IN THE MAIL:

OFFICE OF THE SENATE HOUSE
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN PAYMENT
Our Ref: FGN /SNT/STB
Your Ref.

THIS IS TO OFFICIALLY INFORM YOU THAT WE HAVE VERIFIED YOUR INHERITANCE FILE AND FOUND OUT THAT
WHY YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED YOUR PAYMENT IS BECAUSE
YOU HAVE NOT FULFILLED THE OBLIGATIONS GIVEN TO YOU IN RESPECT OF YOUR CONTRACT/INHERITANCE
PAYMENT. SO IF YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE YOUR FUND THIS WAY PLEASE LET
US KNOW BY CONTACTING THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUNDS DEPARTMENT CARD PAYMENT CENTER MR CHARLES
BROWN ON HIS EMAIL. ADDRESS: inq.atm1@gmail.com
Telephone: +2347039521184

Don't contact them, OK?

AND ALSO SEND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
1. YOUR FULL NAME
2. PHONE AND FAX NUMBER
3. ADDRESS WERE YOU WANT THEM TO SEND THE ATM CARD
4. YOUR AGE AND CURRENT OCCUPATION

THE ATM CARD PAYMENT CENTER HAS BEEN MANDATED TO ISSUE OUT USD 6.8MILLION AS PART PAYMENT FOR
THIS FISCAL YEAR 2009.
NOTE: THAT BECAUSE OF IMPOSTORS, ...

This is a very nice touch.

... WE HEREBY ISSUED YOU OUR CODE OF CONDUCT,WHICH IS (ATM-822) SO
YOU HAVE TO INDICATE THIS CODE WHEN CONTACTING THE
CARD CENTER BY USING IT AS YOUR SUBJECT.

KINDEST REGARDS,
MR DAVID MARK.
SENATE PRESIDENT.

They seem to have figured out that the action's with the government, now. Keynes would be proud.

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gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I noticed a few email recently from people claiming to have received my "resume" that were just as shady as this bad boy. It initially threw me off because I have sent my resume to many folks these days. (Seems 10 years of high level academic research and billions of computations doesn't count for much these days if you want to change fields, because using one of the largest collections of computers in the world for computation is no substitute for having analyzed small sets of housing data. But that's an angry digression.). You can tell its a scam since there are about four or five different names: the "From" on the email header; the actual email address (usually hotmail or gmail); the introductory paragraph; and the signature; other names elsewhere on occasion.

Only tyrants rig elections.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Can you share? I'm even interested in the mechanics of "billions of computations" and "largest collection of computers in the world" since that's what I thought is "the big puffy cloud".

-----------------------------

I'm not such a bad guy once you get to know me.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Distributed computing collects a ton of computers together to perform computations. Many universities have large local clusters and some ingenious researchers use computers from all over the world. (See folding@home and rosetta@home for bio-related uses. The former even has a collaboration with Sony to use PS3 units, which can perform certain types of computations much more rapidly.)

As far as computational biology goes, I worked on protein structure so used a number of computational techniques on the side (I was an experimentalist by day), particularly homology/comparative modeling and statistical coupling analysis.

The problem with homology modeling is that the model you generate of your protein is dependent on how good you "align your protein sequences" (what you are doing is trying to superimpose your protein of interest onto a known, related protein structure). It's also dependent on the specifics of your "starting model". My friend and I, on a whim, came up with a strategy to try to circumvent the single model problem. We generates a number of perturbations to the starting model to increase the number of starting models to include for changes in alignment and other parameters. We ended up generating about a million models with many, many computations required each. We then used the large number of models to get statistics on computed electrostatic properties (we were looking at interface interactions) to look for important amino acids in the protein. A similar approach is here, but that approach uses a known protein structure, something we did not want to assume with a single model.

Statistical couple analysis is a way to look for important intramolecular interactions using solely genetic sequence information. I was interested in a "protein domain" that is found in thousands of proteins (and in a certain family of importance to the lab I was in), but has little functional information known about it. All told there were some 4,500 sequences of these "protein domains". I analyzed piecewise each position of the different sequences to generate a "statistical energy" fore each position on the sequence. This tells you important amino acids. In fact, I finished my dissertation where these computations fit nicely with experimental data.

In addition to the computational stuff above, I did protein NMR and x-ray crystallography as my "day job" as an experimentalist which required enormous numbers of computations as well.

I had to learn most of that on my own in a short time period and write a lot of my own code but analyzing housing data is apparently beyond my pay grade ;).

Only tyrants rig elections.

Submitted by lambert on

That might be fun.... Ha ha only serious....

Any computations we need to do that we can't?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

We still can't reliably predict the structure of even relatively small biological macromolecules given their sequence. Some researchers use a brute force method that has very complicated all-atom force-fields. This uses basic laws of physics (ionic, spatial interactions) and just plugs away. If you get stuck in a local relative minimum you are hosed. Given that the smallest amino acid has dozens of atoms and useful macromolectules have hudreds of amino acids you're looking at enormous amounts of computations: 100 (amino acids) * 12 (atoms/a.a, a very small number compared to average) = 1200. There are several forces at play and you include these forces for each atom, with each atom you have: (1200 (atoms) * 1199 (remaining atoms))^N where N is the number of force parameters used. Of course this doesn't even bother to include solvent (in fact, many off the shelf force fields use "implicit solvent", a bulk property), which would add orders of magnitude to the number of atoms. This is a simplification, but you get the idea.

By "new science" I refer to a concept such as the singularity between quantum mechanics and "real life". You can do a ton with good ol' fashion Newtonian mechanics despite it not being fundamental like quantum field theory. Also, you have a hard time modeling "real world" (large and slow) with quantum mechanics. There are many researchers trying to granularize the problem and using a statistical approach using known protein structure (from NMR or protein crystallography which yields atomic models) to accurately predict structure, or some other mathematical simplifications.

I'm mostly interested in the latter approach. For more info try googling "folding@home" and "rosetta@home"

Only tyrants rig elections.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I received one of those scam e-mails claiming to be holding/releasing money from the Madoff scandal. Trailing indicators, but only by a little.

connecticut man1's picture
Submitted by connecticut man1 on

a couple of weeks ago, saying they were soldiers returning from Iraq and they had loot they wanted to share with me.

They are getting a little more creative with their scams but, seriously, WTF?

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

"Three Kings"?


We can admit that we’re killers … but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

1 John 4:18

elixir's picture
Submitted by elixir on

the grammar. Wouldn't that be the first thing on your To Do List if you were an internet scammer: "Have Nigel tweek the message for grammar and spelling."? These messages are sooo very unbelievable that I've started to consider them a form of natural selection, a tool, if you will, to weed out the savvy challenged.

I love this job!

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

did you see this article that hypothesized why Roberts flubbed the oath of office?

...Language pedants hew to an oral tradition of shibboleths that have no basis in logic or style, that have been defied by great writers for centuries, and that have been disavowed by every thoughtful usage manual. Nonetheless, they refuse to go away, perpetuated by the Gotcha! Gang and meekly obeyed by insecure writers.

Among these fetishes is the prohibition against “split verbs,” in which an adverb comes between an infinitive marker like “to,” or an auxiliary like “will,” and the main verb of the sentence.
...
Though the ungrammaticality of split verbs is an urban legend, it found its way into The Texas Law Review Manual on Style, which is the arbiter of usage for many law review journals. James Lindgren, a critic of the manual, has found that many lawyers have “internalized the bogus rule so that they actually believe that a split verb should be avoided,” adding, “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers has succeeded so well that many can no longer distinguish alien speech from native speech.”

In his legal opinions, Chief Justice Roberts has altered quotations to conform to his notions of grammaticality, as when he excised the “ain’t” from Bob Dylan’s line “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” On Tuesday his inner copy editor overrode any instincts toward strict constructionism and unilaterally amended the Constitution by moving the adverb “faithfully” away from the verb.

If this writer's assessment is correct, it's hardly comforting. Frankly, the fact that Roberts is so rigid in his thinking on this and other issues makes him less suited to his current position, IMO.

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

It was written by Steven Pinker, one of the biggest peddlers of bullshit gender-essentialist just-so-story evolutionary psychology out there.

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

I love it that Roberts was so arrogant, he either didn't think he needed notes or he was showing his continuing disdain for any part of the Constitution with which he disagrees by trying to change the wording of the oath and SCREWED UP.

HAHAHA!