September 7th, 2008

storyteller doll

MIT domain cracked?

My default email address is one at alum.mit.edu, primarily for the convenience of email forwarding for life. It forwards to two email addresses, one of which is a web-based one that is widely available and, hence, useful for traveling. The other is my ISP, which has a horrible setup for their webmail.

I got a fairly obvious phishing email this morning on the first of those accounts. I'd like to think that MIT alumni are bright enough not to respond to emails that say, "reply to this with your username and password or we will delete your account from our database." Also, I don't think there actually a webmail.mit.edu site, which is what it was claiming it would delete one from. Unfortunately, the web-based service doesn't have an option for full headers so I couldn't look at where it was really directing people.

The email didn't show up at the ISP account, making this more obviously a phishing scam. (That account doesn't get nearly the same volume of spam. Unfortunately, it also has a spam detector that appears to be untrainable. That is, I tell it something is spam, but it lets through the next umpty-ump messages from the sender with the same title.)

I thought it was still expedient to change my alum.mit.edu password, but when I tried to log in to the Infinite Connection, I got a "too many redirects" error message.

I know a few people on my friends list are also MIT alums, so wondered if anybody knew what the story was.
storyteller doll

One letter recipes redux

Some time ago (back in 2002, in fact), I created a parlor game called "one-letter recipes." I described it as follows in an entry over on Areas of Unrest.

The object was to add a single letter to the name of a food in order to suggest an entire recipe. For example, salmond must be salmon cooked with almonds. Papricot is a bland baby food flavored with apricots. Bacone is bacon formed into a cone shape, to be filled with scrambled eggs. I tried this out on Tiny Tim and the best one I heard in response was "skim chee = low fat fermented cabbage." Folks came up with several variants, including adding letters in the middle, to which I speculated on whether pope tarts would be made from communion wafers. You can also just do general puns on the concept, e.g. mustardy is a yellow condiment that always arrives after the rest of the meal. Or add multiple letters. If your friends are anything like mine, they'll be at it for hours. Oh, another good one was "pizzap" for microwaved pizza.

A fairly common meal in Madagascar is zebu steaks or brochettes. (Zebu are humped cattle, which are used primarily as beasts of burden.) They are often accompanied by a nice bottle of Three Horses Beer. I believe this combination should be named "zebru."