Thursday, August 27, 2015

Spotting Frauds On Twitter

It would be great to talk about sports all the time and never have to delve into anything else but sometimes something comes up that is your duty as a citizen of the planet Earth to talk about. Yesterday's tragic events in Virginia have led to a lot of important discussion, and some touching memorials to the two souls lost, however they have also led to some pretty nasty fraud attempts.



Take for example this account, Alison&Adam Funds, which I am sincerely hoping is banned by the time you read this (if it's not, please report it!).

Let's dive right into the flags, the things that should help you spot frauds like this in future.

  1. First – the name @owinostephen3, clearly not affiliated with either family or any organization likely to help. 
  2. A quick check of that name on Google links to a Facebook account with 20 followers – instant flag right there
  3. Unfortunately it has to be said, that Facebook account is clearly African of origin. Ask yourself, why would a Facebook user in Africa with 20 followers care about funds for a tragedy like this?
  4. A very quick check to run is the followers of the account. In this case they are almost all fake accounts. You can tell quite simply from their makeup. In this case, a lot of soft-porn type accounts, a lot of African accounts and several clearly fake ones.
  5. Another check is of course followers-to-following ratio, in this case 60 approx to 350 approx, meaning they are following a lot of people, yet no one follows them proportionately, a big flag.
  6. The tweets they send are a quick check point, in this case this is clearly an account setup with the aim of defrauding people, as all 30 approx tweets are copy/pasted and repeated.

The more you dig, the more hateful and disgraceful this kind of behavior is. All you can do is be smart yourself and don't fall for it, educate those around you and of course, report, report, report. The Internet is our playground, pick up the litter and throw it in the trash, so everyone can enjoy it. This litter definitely needs to go in the trash,
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I have to say, sadly Twitter do not make it easy to send a detailed report on accounts such as these, lots of other bad stuff, sure, but they need to make it simple to report this kind of rubbish as quickly as possible.

The Internet is both awesome and awful. Make sure you stay smart while on it, and never let fools like this trick you.




Sunday, August 09, 2015

An Open Letter To Wes Welker (Upon Reading Sydney Seau's HOF Speech)

Dear Wes,

I love you man. And I want you to live a long and fruitful life after football. With that said, I beg you; put your cleats away and put your helmet down.

You were a terrific player for my beloved Patriots, always answering the bell no matter how big the hit on the previous play. You made the Pats a better team, always clearly giving 100%. Tom Brady loved you, and that's a good enough endorsement for most of us New England fans.

Alas now, it's time for you to go do some fun stuff. You quite obviously have a pretty good idea of how to have a good time, go ahead and explore that space, just get out of football.

Let me really spell this out, I, and countless other of your fans, can't take watching you exposed to one more big hit. I bet the loved ones in your life feel the same.

Have you been following the Hall Of Fame inductions today? As I read the reports of Sydney Seau's lovely, touching speech that the NFL didn't allow, I thought about you actually. I thought, the NFL clearly doesn't care about player safety, not when they are so obviously and so cowardly hiding from a young daughter's honest, heart breaking speech.

Too honest, obviously, for the NFL

The league clearly wants zero part of the concussion debate right now, instead they want us to argue about Deflate-Gate and fantasy football.

The league does not care about you, Wes. Get out now, while you're still healthy. Get out and enjoy the fruits of life, the rewards of your excellent career.

Don't put your future in the hands of this poorly run league front office. If you're on the fence about this at all just consider one thing amongst all the scandal and rubbish associated with the NFL lately.

Just consider their cowardly behavior this weekend, running scared from a young daughter who just misses her Dad.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Narrative Of UFC 189

First things first, I don’t care either way about the angry, noisy, flatulent (I just presume that) and violent Conor McGregor. Good for him, and I mean that seriously. I felt a twinge of Nationalistic pride when he vanquished his patsy opponent on Saturday night in Vegas, and his absolutely relentless act is actually growing on me a tiny bit. So, it would not be accurate to read this and file it under the much over used ‘hater’ tab.



I really couldn’t care about McGregor, either way. I don’t hate him, I don’t love him. I do think his angry, aggressive act is starting to have a detrimental effect on Irish male teens, who see themselves as his natural replacement once he finally gets his comeuppance, however that’s a story for another day.

My problem with Saturday night’s farce is that even a non-seasoned WWE UFC viewer, such as myself, could see clearly what happened. It was astonishing to see so many, blinded by Irish triumph, missing the overall context.

It’s pretty simply really. UFC knew that once Aldo pulled out they had to dash something together, and Chad Mendes was convinced to be the lamb to the slaughter. What would be interesting would be to find out what UFC promised Mendes to take this beating. Remember, he had a couple of weeks ramped up training, whilst McGregor was literally at the peak of his form. Mendes knew going into this he didn’t have a chance.

However, UFC managed to get him in the ring. At that point, what happened was clearly visible.

Mendes gave it a decent shot in the first, but his stamina, greatly curtailed by lack of training, started to give out. Once he realized he wasn’t going to be able to make an impression on the finely tuned Irish man, he literally dropped his gloves, waited for an excuse, and went down faster than you can say ‘dive’.

Did you see how fast that referee called the fight?

There’s no doubt in my mind that UFC told Mendes not to worry, they would ensure the referee called it the moment he got in trouble, thereby ensuring Mendes wasn’t exposed to too much of a beating.

The Irish media and fans have completely and utterly ignored the borderline WWE nature of the ‘fight’, but really, it was there for all to see. It was interesting to watch ESPN, shortly after the fight, basically say it straight out ‘Mendes went down very, very easily’.

Great, an Irish man is kicking butt and taking names at a high level in a sport. I am genuinely glad about that.

The problem is, the ‘sport’ would appear to be basically almost as scripted as WWE. Sure. There’s real blood, sweat and tears being spent, but don’t tell me there isn’t a narrative being constructed here behind the scenes.

It’s just too obvious.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

An Open Letter To The New York Times: Berkeley Balcony Collapse

Dear Sir, Madam,

I refer to the article 'Deaths of Irish Students in Berkeley Balcony Collapse
Casts Pall on Program'.


I was so disheartened to read this article when it first came out, and that emotion has turned to confusion as to why your paper insists on keeping that same article on-line.

The article itself was nothing short of insulting. I am a proud Irish-American dual-citizen who has spent several summers on the Cape and in Boston working with Irish people. I can tell you that our bosses found us to be loyal, hard working people, and your lazy, slanderous characterization couldn't be further off the mark. Further to that, the irony of an American newspaper taking shots at an entire race for partying is immense, considering the well documented, woeful behaviour of American students in Mexico and indeed Europe.

All of that apart, your timing could not have been more ugly and insensitive. You seem to have completely missed the point that 6 human beings, including one citizen of the Unites States, it should be noted, died that tragic night. Your opinion piece added nothing but pain and insult to the situation, and certainly didn't educate or report with any gravity.

To add insult to injury, I personally found great flaw in your apology. In same it was written that the article was “intended to explain in greater detail why these young Irish students were in the US”

That's nothing short of a lie I am afraid, as even after re-reading the article again today in a more calm mood, you can not make me believe that the context of the article was to explain in detail why students were in the US. It was a very targeted and very well aimed assassination piece, and to colour it as anything else after the fact is, I am sorry to say, cowardly.

You have really screwed up on this one, folks, and you deserve the people of Ireland, the people who read your newspaper Worldwide and, most importantly of all, the Irish and American families of the tragically departed a proper, heartfelt apology.

I previously visited the NY Times daily, as one of the few remaining trustworthy, quality newspapers of note. That relationship has been terminally severed for me, and I can guarantee you many thousands more Irish-Americans feel the same since the publishing of your insensitive piece.

Sincerely,
Cormac


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do Something Meaningful Today: Contact A Qatar World Cup Sponsor About Worker Death Rates

By the time the 2022 World Cup comes around, as many as 4,000 workers will have died in terrible working conditions in Qatar. This needs to stop, now.

Qatar World Cup working conditions

Our World Cup is in danger. The beautiful game is going to be very ugly, in 2022. In fact, it is hideously ugly already, and one of the worst stains of all is developing in Qatar. The horrific statistics of worker deaths in Qatar, as they prepare for the 2022 World Cup, are both startling and disgusting.

Figures courtesy of PlayFair Qatar


Independent groups estimate that as many as 4,000 workers will die building the Qatar World Cup stadiums. I wrote about this a year ago;

Even FIFA are admitting that as many as 1,200 migrant workers have died horrible deaths in Qatar, building the stadiums that will probably now not even see any World Cup games. They are dying in droves from disease, hunger and workplace accidents. Amnesty international estimate that as many as 4,000 migrant workers will die if Qatar are allowed continue with their disgusting system.

In the space of a year more or less nothing has happened, the World Cup certainly hasn't been taken off of Qatar, in fact FIFA has managed to bury their heads firmly in the sand and stay relatively unscathed by this horrible human tragedy, as yet.

The scale of this disaster is terrifying. Let me spell it out very clearly, more human beings will die building the World Cup stadiums to be used by Qatar in 2022 than died in the World Trade Center attack of 2001.

Where's the outrage?

Thankfully, the required levels of said outrage are beginning to bubble to the top of mainstream media. Marina Hyde's brilliant article in the Guardian is one of the better tilts at exposing the terrible rates of death in Qatar.There are also several groups growing, for example Playfair Qatar, all trying to highlight this disaster, and all trying to end it now.

Why should we stand by and watch this happen? If you love football, if you love the World Cup, stand up and do something about this.

Forget that even, if you love people, you should be doing something about this tragedy.

Personally I am going to start with a campaign of Tweets to the major Qatar 2022 sponsors, asking them if they are aware of the human tragedy happening there right now. I will be asking them if they are prepared for their product's name to be associated with what will go down as FIFA's greatest tragedy, the approximately 4,000 deaths it will take to build the Qatar stadiums.

No doubt I am going to get blocked, a lot, but maybe one Tweet will get through to one human being, and that human being will talk to another, and so forth, and maybe somewhere down the line we might stop even one human being from dying of heat-stroke, malnutrition, exhaustion or other in the hot Qatar sun.

Read about it, learn about it, and ask yourself, are you okay with this? If you find yourself very much not okay with it, stand up and do something about it.

Extend a hand to a brother (or sister) on the far side of the World, sweating it out today under the baking sun for £6 a day.

Do it now, because when 2022 rolls around, if nothing has changed, that's going to be one depressing, sobering World Cup to watch. A tournament built on the back of human tragedy. We don't need that, and these guys below very much don't need that.

Do it.

Human beings: Could do with your help





Tuesday, May 12, 2015

So, How Long Will Aaron Rodgers Suspension Be?

Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers has admitted he likes to do something very similar to what Tom Brady has been suspended four games by the NFL for allegedly doing. How come Rodgers hasn't had the NFL rule book and subsequent suspension thrown at him? 



And so, the Internet continues to collapse under the weight of deflategate. In many ways, the Brady aspect doesn’t really matter. If the NFL chooses to ban a player for tampering with a football, that’s their choice. They make the rules. As a fan of the game I understand that. As a fan of the Patriots, I understand still that the team and perhaps the QB deserve a punishment, but goodness it would have been easier to take had there been some kind of tangible evidence, other than two Sully and Marty types exchanging moronic text messages.

Tangible evidence such as, for example, a confession to two major NFL commentators that you like to inflate a football a whole half a pound heavier than legal.

Back to that in a minute.

My major issue with this absolute mess is the lack of consistency from the NFL in terms of proportionate discipline.

Jackie McMullan on ESPN raised the concerns that Brady’s punishment does not seem proportionate when put against other transgressions of differing severity.

That is the same penalty for NFL players who get busted for performance-enhancing drugs. 
That punishment is two more games than Ray Rice initially received for knocking his fiancee unconscious and dragging her out of an elevator like she was a football dummy.

Perhaps even more concerning and indeed frustrating is that other NFL Quarterbacks who have a history of being involved in some shape or form with ball tampering have not even been investigated.

Two very obvious exampled jump to mind.

First Eli Manning, who had the audacity to come out with a smarmy statement last night about integrity. I suspect this comment is to try and pre-bludgeon to death any mention of his own ball tampering, which he has conducted by a team of Giants staff members, as well documented in this article.

They stop just short of giving the football a blow dry, style and massage.

Then there’s Aaron Rodgers.

The Golden Boy of the NFL is a great example of the lack of consistency in that same league as he is a self professed ball-tamperer, he has openly admitted he likes to have the football inflated as much as half a pound heavier than the legal NFL limits.

In one instance, in the below clip from the Packers-Patriots game on Nov. 30, CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms discussed openly and loudly how Rodgers wanted the football he used to feel. Here is a transcript of their in-game conversation


Nantz: We talked to [Aaron] Rodgers about 'How do you like your footballs?' Because, you know, you can rub them up before the game. [Phil], you really kind of created that for everybody else in the league.

Simms: I don’t know if I did, because the quarterbacks got tired of them complaining. But he said something [that] was unique: 'I like to push the limit to how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do and see if the officials take air out of it.' Because he thinks it’s easier for him to grip. He likes them tight. Of course, he’s got very big hands and you can tell that by watching him play.

Nantz: You’ve never heard of a guy really desiring a football to be fat and overinflated before, have you?

Simms: Everybody wants it smaller and soft, so they can dig their fingers into. He’s such a feel thrower. You can tell. The one touchdown he threw down the field to the tight end is such feel; then he flicks it. That shows you he just has great control of it, with his fingers and hand.

Nantz: He said, 'God gave me big hands and a strong grip.'

Simms: You know, the officials do check those footballs and sometimes maybe even get lucky and put an extra half pound of air in there to help Aaron Rodgers out.

Here is the video itself (in case you think we’re making this up!)

In a second, related incident, on his weekly radio show with ESPN Milwaukee, Rodgers confirmed that he prefers the balls to be overinflated, and that he doesn’t think there should be a maximum air pressure.

“It’s not an advantage when you have a football that’s inflated more than average air pressure. We’re not kicking these footballs,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

So, to summarize, Aaron Rodgers has openly admitted he likes to tamper with the football, and further to that he is saying he thinks the rule doesn’t mean anything. Aaron Rodgers is essentially taunting the NFL, ‘Hey, screw your rules, come at me bro!’ and yet, no suspension for Rodgers.

Consistency.

Without it, the NFL is going to continue to look a Keystone Cops of an organization.






Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Guess How Many Runs The Red Sox Have Given Up So Far?

The Boston Red Sox have had a pretty strange start to the season. They have hit the ball just fine, they are 2nd in the entire MLB with 109 runs scored (trailing only the free swinging Blue Jays and their 116 runs). That’s the good news, the bad news is, the pitching has been pure garbage.

Ace?

The Red Sox are dead last in Major League Baseball in runs conceded, having given up a whopping 118 runs to this point (by contrast the Cardinals, a team that has a few guys who can throw strikes, have given up a stingy 50 runs so far). 118 runs, after only 21 games! Good gravy. Pedro Martinez is rolling around unhappily under his Mango Tree somewhere in the Dominican.

The Sox are giving up 5.6 runs a game on average, and perhaps most garishly of all, they are on a pace to concede 910 runs this season.

This is not how the Front Office drew it up, and change has to come fast before this becomes a lost season. The AL East is going to be much more competitive than expected and if Boston wants to even sniff the playoffs this season there has to be a major upgrade in the pitching department. Both the rotation and the bullpen need shots in the arm.

Or, just, new arms, either.

There's simply no hiding from the fact Boston are the worst team in baseball in terms of runs conceded. Every single team is better than them at stopping the opposition from scoring.

Change has to come, fast. The Sox didn't spend big bucks on the prime of Sandoval, Ramirez to become a high scoring softball team that can't keep the ball in the park on the defensive side. They also don't want to waste what looks to be very promising years for Pedroia and Ortiz, amongst others.

The bad news is 118 runs after only 21 games. The good news is, the Sox have a pretty smart Front Office, and this horrible start will no doubt usher in the required changes faster than expected.


Monday, April 27, 2015

An Open Letter To People Planning On Buying The Floyd Mayweather Fight


Dear potential Mayweather fight purchaser


Mayweather duing one of several court hearings for beating women.

I’ve noticed a number of friends and people I know discussing the cost of purchasing the upcoming Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, and going back and forth about how expensive it is ($100 essentially). In this day and age that’s a hefty price for a fight, however in this context in particular, it’s an astonishing amount of money to handover to a serial beater of women.

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Mayweather is a convicted, serial beater of women who expresses zero remorse for his actions.

If you are planning on purchasing the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, just please understand that a percentage of your money will be going to a man who has been the instigator in dozens of serious incidents involving the serious, often life threatening, battering of women. A percentage of your hard earned cash money will be going directly to him, the rest of your money will be going to groups that enable him.

Money is a God to many these days, and it is the fact he brings in so much money that keeps Floyd Mayweather out of trouble with those who prosper from his fights.

The only way Floyd Mayweather will ever be brought down, as he fully deserves to be, will be if advertisers (money) walk away from his fights. Until that day, he will continue to be a massive cash pony for the boxing powers-that-be and therefore the rest of us will have to suffer through the reprehensible circus act that is a Floyd Mayweather fight.

Perhaps you, the potential buyer of the fight, are not fully versed in the litany of horrors that makes up Mayweather’s treatment of women. Please, do not ignore the evidence, the firm and serious evidence that the media at large is ignoring (remember, he makes money, they make money, you don’t get to hear the full story as you should).

Thankfully, not everyone is Mayweather’s lap-dog.


‘’Floyd Mayweather's history of misogyny, expressed—as he is wont to do—through violence, is well-documented and reprehensible. It extends over a dozen years and includes at least seven separate physical assaults on five different women that resulted in arrest or citation, as well as several other instances where the police had to be summoned in response to an actual or perceived threat from Mayweather.’’

His disgraceful history of violence is covered in great detail in this excellent Deadspin article. It makes for depressing and indeed scary reading. Once you complete it, if you make it all the way through, a decent person finds themselves wondering, 'How on earth is this monster allowed exist and indeed prosper in the public domain?'

Most cretins of Mayweather's ilk are behind bars. Others are on the run, others are in litigation. Mayweather is out among us, and making a lot of money while existing in the public domain. He is enabled by the people who make money off of him but perhaps most importantly he is enabled by you, the person who is spending his or her hard earned money on a Mayweather pay-for-view fight.

It doesn’t sound nice to hear that, does it? If you buy his fight you are though, you are enabling Mayweather’s continued, uninterrupted, unhindered existence in the entertainment industry, and you are essentially saying you are okay with someone beating a woman up, as long as he’s entertaining when you want him to be.

You have the power to shut this nasty misogynist down.  He doesn’t deserve your money, he doesn’t deserve your time.

It might take some time before the true Mayweather raises his head again, but you can bet he will. Don’t regret putting money directly in his pocket when that time comes.











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