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Letters Fortunately, in addition to the tonnage of email we received about the recent coverage of the Swastika-removing patch issued by Microsoft, there are other issues which you, our readers, have taken the time to write to us about.

In a week where spam seemed to be everywhere – inboxes and headlines alike – the following seems like a natural place to start.

Subject: Error: IR 591 should read IR 519.

Dear Friend and felow Business Person,

How are you?

I am gordon Brown i am 52 years old i live in 11 downin STreet in London (United Kingdom) after i was put there by free DEMOCRATIC electin on 1997 and again by free DEMOCRATIC elecon in 2001. i am honrouble man and i aim to do RIGHT for my people this is why i am here by free DEMOCRATIC election it is the will of all peoples. Right now i am needing your HELP to do right by my peoples there are right now USD30,000,000,000 (THIRTY BILLION US DOLLARS) held in bank accounts in various peoples names here in London (UK) and also around uK. i need this money to spend on schools and hospitals and also to fund re-election through slush fund as i am HONROUBLE MAN and have been chosen by God to do RIGHT for my PEOPle and ALL PEOPLES. To collect this THIRTY BILLION US DOLLARS i need help of persons like you who has small business with bank account. Please i need you to tell me bank details so i can collect money to do RIGHT by my peoples to show my aprecaton for your GREAT HELP i will take 99.9999% and give you 0.0001%. please if you can help me get back to me on this my email (ministers@hm-treasury.gsi.gov.uk) so that I can help myself to your money. I will be waiting for your urgent reply.

Best Regards

Mr Gordon Brown
Chancellor of the Exchequer

Mike Smith

The Apple/Pepsi/Superbowl advertising story refuses to do the decent thing and drop down dead. Which nerve this touched we are not quite sure, but neurologists need to work it out, and get it stopped. Soon.

Still, we couldn’t let this one go unpublished, even at the risk of provoking more comment:

Subject: Pseudo-scientific gobbledygook vs. common sense
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 07:33:12 -0600

A lot of people have had a lot to say about the Pepsi/iTunes Music Store Superbowl commercial. Many just have crack issues, but I just read this and am left wondering:

"I'm still a huge Apple fan, as I have been for years," explains [film director] Brian [Flemming] on his weblog. "Apple's products have had a huge, and positive, influence on my life. That's why I'm so let down by Apple's involvement in this propaganda. Pepsi sells slow poison to children - it's hardly surprising that they'd stoop to this. From Apple I expected better."

I've been a personal trainer for six years. I'm quick to question intent and assume an utterly inexplicable lack of common sense in the average person, even more from the average ad creator. However, this "slow poison" thing - repeated frequently by others - seems overblown. I've consumed soda since five or six. I seem to have made it through childhood, and am doing fine, although maybe I just have never been tested for blood cola poison levels.

I have difficulty obsessing on this comparatively small issue with things like, well, real poisons like environmental toxins, pouring forth from most manufacturers of most anything.

Blame parents for not parenting, or education for not educating, not sugar, in innumerable other child-targeted consumables in much higher concentrations mixed with other niceties like saturated and trans fats, or any number of chlorohexomaloinsolidivynil-type "I can't say it nor have any idea what it is so why am I consuming it” additives.

Today, with almost every food being fortified and the readily available (and TV advertised) vitamin tablet the "empty calorie" argument is just too simple.

For example, a small Pepsi from KFC ends up supplying me with 140 calories, 35mg sodium (1%), and 37g of carbohydrates, 37 of those from sugars.

From one cup of average orange juice I have 112 calories, 2mg sodium (0% reported impact), 27 grams of carbohydrates, 21 from sugars. At this point there's negligible difference.

The orange juice further contains the following one-size-fits all RDA percentages: Vitamin A 5%, Vitamin C 161%, Calcium 2%, Iron 1%. So it's "better," right?

If that's your food intake for the day, well sure, but likely you will have something else. So, combine the rather low serving-size juice in your child's breakfast, simply adding some fortified Kix cereal floating in fortified 2% milk, and toast from fortified bread. Oh, and the TV said vitamins were good, so don't forget to plop that Centrum Kids(R) Rugrats(R) Extra C vitamin down - how did we ever manage without the assistance popular character shapes?

When said child runs out the door to school, the attached stomach is busy churning vitamin C at 417% RDA from the vitamin, 161% from the juice, 30% from the cereal, 8% from the milk. We're now at a whopping
616% of the RDA for vitamin C, and it's only the first meal. But that's still good right? Aunt Bertha takes 2000% RDA vitamin C tablets to head off that cold, because 100% = good, so 2000% = 2000 times better.

Still, "they" say excess C is moved out in your urine, so we're still fine. Until that right-sided conjunctivitis shows up following even short durations of high vitamin C doses, lowering copper levels to inflammatory response, or the doctor explains how chronic copper deficiency from extended periods of high C dosing has caused the softening and malformation of your child's leg bones. Maybe even something simpler, like knowing how the more vitamin C you intake at a time, the less your body actually processes for use.

TV ads and their possible relation to the truth, half-truth, or nothing like the truth should be a manageable concept even at an early age. Nutrition and its possible relation to your health, half-health or nothing like your health, well it's a little more work. Most anything in enough quantity can be deadly, like vitamin A. Some deadly poisons can be inert at lower exposure levels, like Windows.

100% RDA Register reader

If it isn’t spam, it’ll be a virus. The number of emails from people we actually know is probably, proportionally, approximately zero…

A note on Richard Forno's article:

Richard writes: "Had there been a standard ["Virus detected"] message, users and system administrators would have had a far easier time addressing the outbreak itself[...]. If anyone wants to help draft a RFC on this, please contact me".

To my mind, this is misguided for three reasons:

Firstly, as he himself points out, these messages were responsible for a substantial part of the overall excess traffic caused by MyDoom variants. We do not need a standardised message; we need an abolition of them. Almost all successful worms now forge the "From:" field, so these messages are a waste of bandwidth. The chances they'll reach someone who needs to know are minimal;

Secondly, a standardised message would be a Godsend for worm writers. How better to disguise a malevolent attachment than in a message apparently from a trusted source, expressed in a standard way?;

Finally, he talks of a denial of service attack without noting the most clear and obvious one of them all: a worm writer forging the "From:" address in worms to appear to be from their DoS target, so that every AV package that auto-replies then saturates the hapless target's inbox.

These "You have mal!" messages are part of the problem, and in no way part of the solution. Let us pressure the AV package makers to abolish them, not standardise them.

Jon

And for the love of little furry animals, tweeting birds and all things fluffy and nice: don’t open attachments from people you don’t know. Tell all your friends. Thank you. ®

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