Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. The great American psychologist and philosopher William James (1842-1910) observed: "I believe there is no source of deception in the investigation of nature which can compare with a fixed belief that certain kinds of phenomena are impossible." This pretty succinctly states my feelings about the nature of reality in general. Especially since I've been reading In Search Of Schroedinger's Cat by John Gribbin. Did you know that if you set up two barriers between a light and the wall, the one nearest the light with a single slit and the other with two slits, that you can get a bar pattern? Why does that happen? What about when you monitor one of the openings for the passage of particles ("photons")? Then you DON'T get the bar pattern? What's up with that?
Things sure get weird down at the atomic level! The funny thing is... everything is built "from the ground, up" by atomic and sub-atomic particles. A table may appear to be solid, but the material is composed of particles; particles are made of molecules; molecules are constructed of atoms! So does the table exist (bar pattern) or not? It seems to me that it depends on whether you're "monitoring" the table! Bwa-ha-ha-ha...

Signed,
Co-Conspirator To Make The World A Stranger Place

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GRINS & GIGGLES:

A Charlotte NC lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars then insured them against fire, among other things. Within a month, having smoked his entire stock-pile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued....and won! 

In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The Judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be "unacceptable fire" and was obligated to pay the claim. 

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000.00 to the lawyer for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the "fires." 

After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!!! With his own insurance claim, and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and sentenced him to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.

The Truth:
A little too slick to be true, and it isn't. No evidence of this case has ever been found and it has been around as an urban legend since at least 1968.

http://www.scambusters.org/hoaxes/cigars.html

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CYBERSPACE ALERT:
FTC shuts down spam service for fraud
By George A. Chidi

THE U.S. FEDERAL Trade Commission (FTC) netted an injunction last week against companies that allegedly lured consumers via unsolicited spam e-mail messages to a fee-based pornographic Web site with the promise of a free Sony PlayStation 2 game console.

An e-mail message claiming to be sponsored by Yahoo said the recipient had won a PlayStation 2, but users who claimed the prize were directed to a fake Yahoo page, then instructed to download an application to receive the video game console, the FTC said.

Instead of a prize, the program changed the dial-up settings on users' computers to call a 1-900 number, according to the FTC. The call connected the users' computers to a pornographic Web site at charges up to $3.99 per minute. Substantial time would be required to download enough of the Web pages for users to determine that no PlayStation awaited them, the FTC said Wednesday.

The FTC stepped up its push to fight deceptive e-mail in February, and this month announced that it has been involved in an international law enforcement effort that has yielded the filing of 63 deceptive-spam and Internet-fraud cases. The FTC took particular issue with this case because of the possibility that children looking to claim a free video game machine might stumble onto the pornographic Web site, the FTC said.

In the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Nevada, the FTC accused BTV Industries, National Communications Team, LO/AD Communications, Rik Covell, Adam Lewis and Nicholas Loader of five violations of fair trade and pay-per-call laws.

The charges include false advertising and deceptive practices by falsely offering a sweepstake prize, misleading users of the source of the e-mail, failing to properly notify users that a fee would be charged to connect to their Web site, and failing to properly warn users that a pay call was starting.

The court issued an injunction shutting down the site and froze the assets of the companies in advance of a Monday preliminary hearing.

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MEATSPACE ALERT:

A group of cannibals is hired for programming. Their manager tells them, "You're only here to work so please don't mess with your colleagues and NEVER eat them. We have a commissary and you can eat there." 

So the cannibals promised.

After about 6 weeks the manager spoke to them again : "We're satisfied with your work and you are behaving very well. Thank you all. By the way, we are missing a cleaning woman. Has somebody eaten her?"

The cannibals denied having done this.

After he left, the chief of the cannibals stood up, "Who is the idiot that ate that cleaning women?"

One of the cannibals admitted that he had actually done it.

"Are you out of your mind? For six weeks now we are eating VP's and Senior managers and nobody has taken notice. How can you be so stupid as to eat a working person?"

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TRUE STORY:
Two Bits for Texas
By Anonymous

When Steve turned 40, he had a heart attack, lost his job, was told he couldn't work by the Veterans Administration, and felt deserted by many friends. He was so depressed he felt like his life might already be over.

One day Steve showed me an article in our newspaper about a small town in Texas. A schoolteacher there had taken her class on a field trip to tour the Battleship Texas near Baytown. They saw the deplorable shape the ship was in and wanted to do something about it.

The teacher remembered how the battleship had been brought home to Texas by young Texans collecting nickels after World War II. She approached the principal about starting a campaign to help restore the ship, called "Give Two Bits for Texas."

Steve was moved. He remembered that when he was growing up in a nearby small Texas town, his grandpa and grandma took him and his brother aboard the USS Texas. He wrote a letter to the teacher and her class telling of those happy memories, and asking if they would accept his "two bits" -- 25 cents. He wrote, "I hope your campaign goes well.
I hope you can save the USS Texas so you can take your kids and grand kids to visit her, like mine took me." He enclosed a quarter and put the letter in the mail.

Soon Steve got a letter from the teacher. His letter had touched her, for she too had grown up in the area and seen the Texas with her grandparents. She wrote, "Your letter changed my students from saying, 'We should do something' to 'Let's do something.' Thank you for that!" Next, the Texas County School Board wrote to tell him the campaign was in full swing and the quarters were pouring in. The kids' "Two Bits" campaign publicized the condition of the Texas and raised more than $20,000 in donations.

A few weeks later one student wrote her own letter to Steve. She said that they were going to have a ceremony aboard the Texas to present the money to naval officials, and she would speak there. She would tell them, "Steven Emery of California wrote to us, 'I hope you save her so you can show her to your kids and grandkids.' Simply put, that is why we want to save her."

It was wonderful to see the effect of all this on Steve. Because the teacher, students and School Board took the time to acknowledge Steven's inspiring letter, he got a new lease on life. Steve hopes those kids all have kids and grand kids of their own -- so they can show them the Battleship Texas which they helped save.

And when the rest of us tour the USS Texas with our families, we can remember Steve, whose "two bits" started the campaign that saved her -- and the teacher and kids whose thank-you notes saved Steve.

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FUN SITE:
The Darwin Awards

What's a Darwin?
Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it in really stupid ways.

Sexy Snack Slays
2002 Personal Account

(March 2002, Colorado) I was a third-year medical student doing my first surgical rotation, when a man came in who had consumed, along with a copious amount of alcohol, the panties of a local stripper. After he sobered up, he waited for the panties to pass through, but they never emerged.

He began to feel bloated. That’s when the fearless fellow tried to fish them out with a hook constructed from a wire coat hanger.

The predictable result: he was not able to snag the panties, but instead ripped gashes along the length of his esophagus. He died from the effects of a massive infection, removing himself from the breeding population.

His X-rays were the highlight of my very first M&M (Mortality and Morbidity) conference. I don't think this was published, but there are other surgeons in the Denver area that remember the case.

http://www.darwinawards.com/

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GREAT UTIL:
Copy & Burn DVD's without a DVD Burner!!!

All you need is a computer with a CD-R or CD-RW drive, and a DVD drive installed (standard on most computers out today). Technology is advancing and while most people don't know about this, now is your chance to capitalize on this incredible package that will do the exact same thing a $500 DVD burner does at just a fraction of the cost! Using Copy your DVD, all you need is a DVD drive and a CD Burner! ANY CD-R at any speed!!

With Copy your DVD you can:

·Copy ANY DVD Movie.
·Copy DVD's to regular CD-R discs and watch on your DVD Player. 
·Make instant backups of your personal DVDs. 
·Never Worry about Scratching or Losing a DVD Ever Again! 

http://www.burnyourdvd.com/

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HARDWARE:
Recycle print cartridges & hardware

Recycling newspapers, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans has become second nature for most earth-conscious citizens. But in this day and age when computer equipment can seem almost as disposable as a soda bottle, consumers should be aware of how they can help conserve our resources by recycling their outdated gear.

HP is committed to helping you help the earth by providing easy means for you to return and recycle your used hardware. Whether you’ve just changed the cartridge in your ink jet printer or have purchased an entirely new system, here’s what HP is doing to make sure the old equipment doesn’t end up in a landfill.

Where does it go?
When you return your used hardware to HP, it is evaluated for possible reuse. Any components that are still functioning are donated to charitable organizations that accept used products, or are filtered to other reuse programs. Non- functioning components are recycled through a unique process that creates raw materials for use in the production of new products. Each month, HP’s worldwide recycling centers process over 4 million pounds (about 1.8 million kilograms) of computer-related products that have been returned by customers or generated by HP’s own operations.

HP accepts used office or personal computing products including printers, scanners, fax machines, personal computers, desktop servers, monitors, hand held devices, and so on. This includes the associated external components such as cables, mice, and keyboards. You can even recycle non-HP brand hardware through the HP take-back program.

How do i do it?
It’s easy to return your used products to HP for recycling. All HP-brand laser toner cartridge packages include a prepaid UPS shipping label in the box. Simply repackage the old cartridge in the bag and box from your new cartridge, seal the carton, and attach the label. Deliver the box to an authorized UPS service center, and you can rest assured that you’ve done at least one small thing to help the planet today. (Please note that HP cannot accept non-HP printer cartridges for recycling.)

To return hardware, all you have to do is visit HP’s recycling Web site and place an order to have your equipment picked up. There is a small per-item fee for this service, but HP will arrange to have the items picked up from your location at your convenience. All you have to do is pack them up in boxes and have them ready to go at the designated time.

For more information on product recycling, including information on high-volume returns, how to order labels and packaging for cartridge returns, and information on returning products outside the United States, visit the HP Product Return and Recycling web site. And remember, using HP Recycled Paper is a great way to contribute to a healthy environment every day!


http://www.homeandoffice.hp.com/

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QUICK WIT:

In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.


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