Emailmovers Irony Filter Broken

Whilst checking my Spam folder earlier, I found one sent direct to one of my email addresses by our old friends Emailmovers who have a history of playing fast and loose with the law when it comes to Spam (see for instance this post and this article).

“See how Emailmovers can help you with your marketing post GDPR”

Oh really?

And worse still, Emailmovers’ website currently says:

“Working closely with the DMA and ICO we are making sure all our data is GDPR ready for May 2018”

Well, clearly it’s not, but there’s no surprise there, is there?

Ask the Right Question… More Idiocy from Southwark Council

Way back in the mists of time, I wrote a bit about how Southwark Council had decided to make traffic congestion worse on Jamaica Road, SE London by stopping local drivers from using a ‘rat-run’.  Their consultation paper – sent to a tiny minority of extremely localised people – asked a series of heavily biased questions without a “none of the above” option.

Well these fuckwits are at it again: solving a problem that doesn’t actually exist and thereby creating a new one.

They’ve decided that people daring to park on the Western part of Rotherhithe Street – which is a no through road and not exactly busy – are going to be penalised, including all the residents who currently park there.  Their proposals , published at http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200140/parking_projects/4039/rotherhithe_parking_zone_study – show only very limited permit parking (at £125 each…) for residents with the rest of the area subject to double yellow lines.

Now there really isn’t an issue with parking on that section of Rotherhithe Street: I walk along it every time I walk to work and there’s plenty of space for parking and no trouble with the road being blocked from the (non-existent) through-traffic by these pesky parkers.

So what would happen when Southwark gets its way? Well quite simply all those vehicles will need to park somewhere else nearby and the nearest parking would be the Eastern side of Rotherhithe Street where there are (currently) very few parking restrictions and no resident-only parking spaces whilst still being a busy through road on the C10 bus route. And when all those vehicles park on ‘our’ street, where will we be able to park? Where will all those coaches that park overnight whilst fetching and carrying kids staying at the local YHA now be able to park? After all, Southwark allowed a new housing development to go up where the coaches used to park. Oh and another new development is going up opposite our house with Southwark’s blessing despite all bar one comment (duplicated 40+ times) objecting to it with no parking spaces included within the development because parking’s not a problem!

Now have a look at the questionnaire. See how it asks what times you’d like the restrictions to apply. There isn’t a “Never” option, is there? Ask the right question…

Modern Toss

Bollocks to this!

Ask the Right Question… More Idiocy from Southwark Council

Way back in the mists of time, I wrote a bit about how Southwark Council had decided to make traffic congestion worse on Jamaica Road, SE London by stopping local drivers from using a ‘rat-run’.  Their consultation paper – sent to a tiny minority of extremely localised people – asked a series of heavily biased questions without a “none of the above” option.

Well these fuckwits are at it again: solving a problem that doesn’t actually exist and thereby creating a new one.

They’ve decided that people daring to park on the Western part of Rotherhithe Street – which is a no through road and not exactly busy – are going to be penalised, including all the residents who currently park there.  Their proposals , published at http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200140/parking_projects/4039/rotherhithe_parking_zone_study – show only very limited permit parking (at £125 each…) for residents with the rest of the area subject to double yellow lines.

Now there really isn’t an issue with parking on that section of Rotherhithe Street: I walk along it every time I walk to work and there’s plenty of space for parking and no trouble with the road being blocked from the (non-existent) through-traffic by these pesky parkers.

So what would happen when Southwark gets its way? Well quite simply all those vehicles will need to park somewhere else nearby and the nearest parking would be the Eastern side of Rotherhithe Street where there are (currently) very few parking restrictions and no resident-only parking spaces whilst still being a busy through road on the C10 bus route. And when all those vehicles park on ‘our’ street, where will we be able to park? Where will all those coaches that park overnight whilst fetching and carrying kids staying at the local YHA now be able to park? After all, Southwark allowed a new housing development to go up where the coaches used to park. Oh and another new development is going up opposite our house with Southwark’s blessing despite all bar one comment (duplicated 40+ times) objecting to it with no parking spaces included within the development because parking’s not a problem!

Now have a look at the questionnaire. See how it asks what times you’d like the restrictions to apply. There isn’t a “Never” option, is there? Ask the right question…

Modern Toss

Bollocks to this!

24 Months Later…

So here we are at the end of March 2016. The RX-8 R3 has just had another annual service and is showing over 84,000 miles up and is still being driven like I stole it.

The trouble with it is that there’s no real replacement … just yet?

On the horizon we may, just may, have one in the shape of the Mazda RX-Vision.

How cool is that?

Sadly it’s only a two seater and not a 2+2 as the RX-8 is, but who knows? At this stage it’s a concept.

Or should we go for the Mazda MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback)?

Travis Perkins Text Spam Using Textlocal

More spam received this morning. This time from Textlocal – al@txtlocal.com – advertising Travis Perkins’ trade accounts:

Opening a Travis Perkins account is quick and easy, simply visit https://tx.vc/{tracking URL removed} and start trading today! Optout: Text TPSTOP to 60777

They’ve suggested via Twitter that I direct message them my number so they can opt me out of such texts, spam that I never opted in to receive in the first place.

And wasn’t the first rule of spam never to confirm that the e-mail address or telephone number was a live one?

 

Mannatech and Ambrotose

So once upon a time, a friend who was dying from Motor Neurone Disease wrote a blog about living with the disease. This was a full and frank discussion of the issues, his treatments and his observations. It’s a moving story.

Anyway, one entry mentions – briefly – a food supplement called “Ambrotose”:

“One of the doctor members very kindly gave me some powder which he says has helped his wife enormously. She has had MS for the last seven years. He also has a niece with a muscle wastage complaint who is also taken the same powder. Its trade name is Ambrotose and it is described on the jar as an immune support formula. It is a Food Supplement containing Plant Polysaccharides.

The ingredients are listed as: arabingelactan; aloe vera inner leaf gel powder; rice starch; gum ghatti; tagacanth; vegetarian glucosamine hydrochloride; vegetarian algie extract powder. Whether it will do any good or not remains to be seen but my friend is convinced it will slow things down. What it costs I have no idea but I’m pretty sure there’s no way I will get it on the NHS. I will try it for a month or so and then decide whether to continue with it….”

That’s all it says and is the only blog entry on the subject. The entry is now over 6 years old. Mark has since passed away.

Imagine my surprise when I recently received a “Cease and Desist” e-mail from a company I’d never heard of called Mannatech:

7/17/2015

TO: PRIVATE REGISTRANT

RE: Impermissible Use of Health Claims Attributed to Mannatech Products
http://www.dmarkcato.com/tag/ambrotose/

Dear : PRIVATE REGISTRANT

Mannatech, Incorporated (“Mannatech”) routinely reviews the internet to insure our products are being properly represented to the public. Health claims which go beyond the specific claims approved for Mannatech products and/or claims which state suggest or imply Mannatech products cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease are against Mannatech policies.

Your website (identified above) contains statements which are contrary to Mannatech”s policies. You are hereby requested to immediately remove from your website any statement which (i) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products prevent, treat or cure disease, (ii) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products are a substitute for a doctor”s standard of care, and/or (iii) otherwise violates Mannatech”s Associate Policies & Procedures.

The removal of this type of impermissible information from the internet is of great importance to protect Mannatech”s right to conduct business. We request that you contact the undersigned at jdiaz@mannatech.com within five (5) business days from the receipt of this letter to (i) confirm the offending statements/representations have been removed from the website and (ii) confirm you will refrain from making such representations in connection with Mannatech nutritional products in the future (iv) address any concerns or questions relating to the issue raised herein.

Please keep in mind that it is your responsibility to ensure that any websites, blogs, social/networking mediums, other electronic media, etc. created by you or by a third party on your behalf used in connection with your Mannatech Independent Associate business complies with Mannatech Associate policies.

We thank you in advance for your immediate attention and cooperation, and again stress the importance of complying with our request and contacting the undersigned as requested herein.

Respectfully,

The Mannatech Legal, Ethics and Compliance Department

Note: Nothing contained in this letter shall be construed as a waiver of any rights Mannatech, Incorporated has at law or in equity, all of which are expressly reserved.

This initially annoyed me and then it amused me: the blog entry apparently is “against Mannatech policies”. Well good for them! It also “violates Mannatech”s [sic] Associates Policies & Procedures”. Really? Wow! If only I knew what those were, eh? And what “Mannatech Independent Associate business” are they talking about?

So I naturally ignored this fuckwit’s e-mail.

7/23/2015

To: PRIVATE REGISTRANT

RE: Impermissible Use of Health Claims Attributed to Mannatech Products
http://www.dmarkcato.com/tag/ambrotose/

Dear PRIVATE REGISTRANT:

A few days ago Mannatech, Incorporated (“Mannatech”) contacted you requesting your immediate assistance in removing statements from your website (identified above) which violate Mannatech Associate policies in connection with claims about our nutritional products. Our records do not reflect you”ve made the requested changes to your website or contacted the undersigned regarding this matter – this automated letter was generated accordingly.

Mannatech requests you immediately remove from your website any statement which (i) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products prevent, treat or cure disease, (ii) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products are a substitute for a doctor”s standard of care, and/or (iii) otherwise violates Mannatech”s Associate Policies & Procedures.

We further request that you contact the undersigned at Jdiaz@mannatech.com within five (5) business days from the receipt of this letter to (i) confirm the offending statements/representations have been removed from the website and (ii) acknowledge that you will refrain from making such representations in connection with Mannatech nutritional products in the future.

It is our hope that you now fully appreciate our concerns and will take prompt action to avoid escalating the matter further. The removal of this type of impermissible information from the internet is of great importance to protect Mannatech”s right to conduct business.

If you have already complied with the original letter from Mannatech concerning this matter, please disregard this automated letter. You will be contacted regarding the next steps in the compliance process in the near future.

Respectfully,

The Mannatech Legal, Ethics and Compliance Department

Note: Nothing contained in this letter shall be construed as a waiver of any rights Mannatech, Incorporated has at law or in equity, all of which are expressly reserved.

No. I don’t fully appreciate their concerns; I couldn’t give a toss at this point about them or their products. So I continued to treat it with the apathy it deserved.

This upset them…

7/30/2015

To: PRIVATE REGISTRANT

RE: Impermissible Use of Health Claims Attributed to Mannatech Products
http://www.dmarkcato.com/tag/ambrotose/

Dear PRIVATE REGISTRANT:

Mannatech, Incorporated (“Mannatech”) has attempted to contact you on two separate occasions seeking your immediate assistance in removing statements from your website (identified above) which violate Mannatech Associate policies in connection with claims about our nutritional products. Our records do not reflect you”ve made the requested changes to your website or contacted the undersigned regarding this matter.

Mannatech demands you immediately remove from your website any statement which (i) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products prevent, treat or cure disease, (ii) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products are a substitute for a doctor”s standard of care, and/or (iii) otherwise violates Mannatech”s Associate Policies & Procedures.

The removal of this type of impermissible information from the internet is of great importance to protect Mannatech”s right to conduct business. Mannatech is prepared to take legal action to secure your immediate compliance with this demand, including litigation seeking injunctive relief, damages and attorney”s fees as allowed under Texas law.

Due to the serious nature of this issue, failure to contact the undersigned at Jdiaz@mannatech.com within three (3) business days from the receipt of this letter will result in Mannatech taking additional action to secure your compliance.

Respectfully,

The Mannatech Legal, Ethics and Compliance Department

Note: Nothing contained in this letter shall be construed as a waiver of any rights Mannatech, Incorporated has at law or in equity, all of which are expressly reserved.

Ooh! So they’re now demanding I remove any statement about their products from the website. I’m quaking and Mark is no doubt turning in his grave at the thought…

So I thought I’d actually have a look at who Mannatech are and what this Ambrotose stuff is. Go and have a look and you’ll see that – despite all the jargon and faux scientific phrases being bandied about – it’s just a dietary supplement; a placebo if you like and an expensive one at that.  Indeed, their whole website is carefully worded so as not to actually make any specific claims about any of their products at all. It’s a work of genius! And then if you Google them further, you’ll see references to a lawsuit and issues with them being accused of being no more than a multi-level marketing outfit. It makes interesting reading (unlike their website). Their MLM status no doubt explains all that bollocks about their associate policies too. I can see why they’re nervous too: look at what the Texas Attorney General had to say:

“…Documents filed in Travis County district court reveal Mannatech’s scheme to exploit families, including those challenged by cancer, Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis and other serious illnesses. According to investigators, exaggerated claims about the therapeutic benefits of Mannatech’s dietary supplements and nutritional products were unlawfully used to increase sales. The attorney general’s enforcement action asserts that Mannatech’s deceptive practices pose a health risk to seriously-ill consumers who may forgo traditional medical attention because of the company’s false claims.

Texans will not tolerate illegal marketing schemes that prey upon the sick and unsuspecting, Attorney General Abbott said. Aided by an army of multi-level sellers and their fictitious claims about its products, Mannatech has aggressively marketed supplements to countless unwitting purchasers. With today’s enforcement action, the Office of the Attorney General seeks to shut down an elaborate scheme to defraud innocent consumers across the nation…”

Ouch!

Almost as ‘ouchy’ as their paying out $6M to make the case go away.

Let’s see what happens next with this bunch…

City of London 20mph Speed Limit

On 20th July 2014, a blanket speed limit of 20mph was introduced in the City of London:

20mph City of London Limit

20mph City of London Limit

Why did they decide to do that? It was apparently part of their “Road Danger Reduction Plan“. And yet, reading that, it’s not speed that’s the issue with the highest at-risk groups of cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Cyclists:

  • “… 84% of casualties are involved in collisions at intersections or junctions. This is in line with the Greater London average.
  • Collisions are more likely to occur in the middle of junctions rather than on their approaches.
  • Failure to see a cyclist appears to be a significant causal factor.
  • The main contributory factors identified in cyclist casualties are “turning right”, “changing lanes”, “opening vehicle doors” and “undertaking of large vehicles turning left across cyclists path”. The last factor being the most significant in KSI casualties.”

Uh-huh. So speed isn’t really at issue at all here and indeed it looks like the main issue is cyclists with a deathwish undertaking – no pun intended – large vehicles.

Motorcyclists and Scooterists:

“…As 72 per cent of motorcyclists were injured due to the actions of other road users, a significant reduction in motorcyclist casualties will only be achieved by addressing the behaviour of other road users, particularly car, taxi, and goods vehicle drivers and by increasing motorcyclists’ awareness of other road users. The most common causes of a motorcyclist being injured are pedestrian lack of attention, motor vehicles turning right across their path, and vehicles U turning.”

I see. So the trouble here is pedestrians and vehicles doing right and U turns, neither of which are speed-related.

Pedestrians:

“Goods vehicles, coaches and buses are disproportionately involved in collisions….

“Pedestrian inattention” has been identified as the main contributory factor for pedestrian casualties.”

Interestingly, it also notes that there are clusters of casualties around the stations where “the City experiences considerable over-crowding of footways, particularly at peak times, with pedestrians stepping onto the carriageway.” So it appears that people stepping off the overcrowded pavements into the path of slower-moving vehicles is the risk here, again rather than speeding. Perhaps investment/improvement into the pedestrian walkways is the key here?

According to the London Evening Standard:

Michael Welbank, speaking on behalf of City of London council, said: “For the City of London to continue its success as an international business hub it is critical that its streets should be safe for all who use them be they commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, motorcyclists, shoppers or cultural wanderers and dreamers.”

So maybe infrastructure investment might be a better idea, along with enforcement of other legislation and education of pedestrians and cyclists? Or why not simply reintroduce the Locomotive Act 1875, although this would mean fewer speeding fines and less “Being Seen To Be Doing Something”:

"Red Flag" Act

“Red Flag” Act

Happy Holidays!

Well I’m counting down to our Eurothrash 2014 – a week in Austria on the Sprint GT with Ali and a couple of mates – and I’m definitely in the holiday mood.

This year around Easter I went to Fuerteventura yet again, this time taking my kids and their partners and Ali, which meant the villa was packed and I had to hire two cars for us all thanks to all our gear (and the fact we were six!).  Ali and I are heading back there again at the end of the summer, so much more shooty fun is envisaged!

And I’ve also just booked the first of our holidays for 2015: Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand next spring to start us off in a bunch of 5-star hotels. The second week at Ko Samui in particular should be spectacular with a villa to ourselves with its own private pool, outdoor sofas and rain shower and a beach:

Garden Pool Villa
Garden Pool Villa
Beach View
Beach View

It’d be rude not to take my camera gear and do some shooting whilst we’re here!