China, despite attempts to get rid of it, still has slavery.
China still practices slavery of women
and children in some rural regions, although it is illegal the
government does very little to stamp out the practice. In 2007 a
British documentary about China's black market slavery drew ire from
the Chinese government with Chinese officials claiming the problem
isn't very big.
But the reality is that China's slave trade is huge, and the market for boys is especially high.
China's One-Child Policy is an attempt
to curb overpopulation, but it has resulted in a massive abortion rate,
forced abortions, sterilizations, child abandonment, child slavery
(boys sell for approx. $1300 US each) and sex selective abortions
(resulting in 118 males born for every 100 females). Rural peasants and
ethnic minorities frequently break this law and pay a fine.
That or people abandon the child or sell it into slavery on the black market. Girls aren't considered very valuable and are more likely to be used in Nike sweatshops or in prostitution. Boys are considered more valuable for working and desired as children.
Slavery has existed in China for millenia and indeed slaves were even used to build the Great Wall of China, but this modern version of slavery is basically the result of unwanted children.
Some of these children end up being sold overseas to parents who want to adopt, but please think about who you are giving your money to: Slave Traders.
You may be giving the child a better life in a different country, but slave traders are more interested in making some quick cash than the child's welfare. We've all heard horror stories of people trying to adopt a kid from China and how there's hidden fees, surcharges and extra cash always wanted. Those are the slave traders bilking you for more money.
Its a difficult decision to make. On one hand you're giving your money to people who trade in slavery and prostitution... on the other hand you may be saving a child from a life of prostitution and slavery.
China isn't the only country with this problem, see also:
I can't stand spam. Why do I need a year's supply of viagra pills? Or penis / breast enlargements? Or a ripped off copy of Adobe Photoshop? High interest business loans? Rolex watches? A fake Prada or Gucci bag?
And whats with all the F#$%^*G Russian and Chinese spam? Certainly we can make a filter for different languages?
Talk about rampant consumerism for crap we don't even need. Plus there is the added factor that they're almost all scams interested only in your money with no actual products to be delivered.
Despite spam filters, despite advances in technology to try to get rid of spam, we keep getting this stuff. People were begging for aggressive laws against spam years ago, but legislators seem to be powerless to stop it.
And even my aggressive set of spam filters doesn't get them all. I get over 3000 spams per day, and 99.9% of them end up in the spam folder. About 5 to 10 of them still sneak through the filters and have to be removed manually.
What is needed is an industry wide solution. Microsoft, Google and Yahoo need to gather together and create a set of software that all three can use that will filter spam effectively and ban spammer IP addresses.
Unfortunately Microsoft owns Hotmail, which is one of the biggest sources of spam. Yahoo-mail also produces a lot of spam. Gmail seems to be the only one that doesn't spam frequently (only 239 of the 90,000+ spams in my junk box are from Gmail).
It makes me tempted to ban all email from Hotmail and Yahoo, but too many friends still use them.
I'm hardly alone, almost everyone seems to hate spam, except the unusually quiet spammers themselves and advertisers that still use such deplorable and despicable tactics.
I saw an ad once on Craigslist from a man offering his services as a spammer. I sent him a response and told him if I ever met him or another spammer in real life I was going to brutally beat the crap out of him. I fully understand and endorse the beating of spammers. The amount of hours in my life wasted just deleting spam... its enough to drive a less stable person insane.
Hence the headbanging gif above.
I wonder if that is the only way people will start taking spam more seriously... violent anti-spam outbursts, temporary insanity from years of pent up rage.
MySpace can collect $6 million from a notorious Internet marketer accused by the popular online hangout of spamming its users.
arbitrator has ruled that Scott Richter and his Web marketing company,
Media Breakaway LLC of Westminster, Colo., must pay MySpace $4.8
million in damages and $1.2 million in attorney's fees for barraging
MySpace members with unsolicited advertisements. Media Breakaway and
its employees were also banned from the site.
MySpace, a unit of
News Corp., had alleged that some of the messages were sent from
accounts whose sign-on information had been hijacked by "phishing."
Media Breakaway countered that rogue business affiliates — independent
contractors who sent messages for Media Breakaway — were to blame for
phishing and other improper behavior.
In a statement, Media
Breakaway celebrated the fact that the arbitrator had awarded MySpace
"95 percent less than the amount demanded" by the company.
Thursday's arbitration ruling pales next to a $230 million verdict
MySpace won in U.S. District Court last month against two Internet
marketers, Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines. Nonetheless, MySpace hopes
the Richter case will rachet up the pressure it has been trying to
place on spammers.
"MySpace has essentially declared a war on
spam and phishing on our site," Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace's chief
security officer, said in an interview.
Richter is a familiar
figure in such matters. Microsoft Corp. won a $7 million settlement
against him in a spam lawsuit in 2005, and the state of New York got
$50,000 from Richter the year before.
However, Richter's father,
Steven Richter, who serves as Media Breakaway's president and general
counsel, said Monday that the company has worked harder in recent years
to stay clean. He said Media Breakaway now has five employees tracking
its legal compliance, up from one in 2006.
In this case, he said,
Media Breakaway had misunderstood MySpace's rules prohibiting
commercial messages. "Once they told us it was wrong we threw the iron
curtain down on it," Richter said in an interview.
The sad thing is that despite those huge lawsuit wins against spammers, the spammers are scamming millions more from people in the form of credit card fraud.
So why aren't VISA, American Express and Mastercard suing these people too?
Indiana's gambling tax revenues are down for
the first time in more than a decade, a sign that the normally
booming industry is not immune to economic downturns says economists.
But I think they're wrong. I think its a sign that people are gambling online more often.
For the first six months of 2008, Indiana state collected $465
million in tax money from casinos, down from $488.6 million for the
same period last year. The 2008 number includes taxes from the
state's 11 casinos plus two slot machine facilities that opened in
June at the state's horse racetracks.
Indiana Gaming Commissioner Ernie Yelton cautioned against
reading too much into the decline. "Historically, the industry has been resistant to the
economy," Yelton said.
The gambling industry is considered somewhat recession-proof,
but a combination of factors has contributed to the recent decline
in Indiana, said Ball State University economist Michael Hicks. Gas
prices are high, and recent flooding from global warming could have kept some gamblers
at home, he said.
Gamblers have more choices in Indiana since the two horse racetrack
casinos opened in early June. The slot machine facilities in
Anderson and Shelbyville generated $6.5 million in tax revenue that
That is still a lot of cash, but when you consider the rise of internet gambling and online poker websites it makes sense that more people may be staying home and gambling with the credit card instead of their wallet. Gamblers simply have more options these days than just casinos and the horse races. We even have TV shows for poker competitions... No TV shows for casinos and horse races... movies yes, but they are rare and far between.
If you compare online gambling websites on Alexa.com you'll see that a lot of them are growing in popularity. Its a huge money making business, in the billions of dollars... and cheap to create when you think about it. Nothing special for the graphics, pretty easy to write software and once its made there is very little maintenance required.
I question whether the companies involved are cheating on their taxes. Remember afterall that casinos and gambling in North America are largely government regulated and taxed (and sometimes operated by). There is also a credibility issue: There is no way to prove online gambling companies aren't rigging the system to screw their users over. It is a matter of time before governments decide these online companies are either ripping people off, not paying their taxes, and will try to create more regulations.
So does this mean casinos and horse race betting are dying? I doubt it. Babyboomers are just starting to retire. I think we will see a bumper crop of new retired gamblers in the next 10 years.
I will say this about horse races... the accidents, when they happen, can be pretty interesting (see the YouTube videos above). Its a bit like those people who go to car races and rallies in the hopes of seeing a crash.
Having worked at the horse races for many years, I've also seen lightning hit the racetrack (the horses still run in the rain sometimes). That was bizarre... but thankfully no one was hurt.