Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sending spam mails

I would classify myself as a spammer now - even if by accident.
I received one of those numerous "Join my network" kind of emails. Curious as I am, I went to the site to check it out, though I knew already that I do not really need more professional networks than LinkedIn. This new network site is called Konnects. As a service, they offer to check if anyone of your contacts are already in their network. I let them check my gmail contacts by using my gmail account login, and I could see that only two of my contacts are presently using Konnects. Then their site offered to send invitations to all the contacts on my list, and I decided "No, I do not want to bother anyone with this new site", so I deselected all from the list. Now at this point I must have made a mistake, or the website has a bug, for what happened is, that Konnects sent invitations to everybody in my contact list. This includes not only emails of my friends, family and colleagues, but also every email address that has ever sent mail to me on my gmail address, including mailing lists and support and no-reply email addresses.
Now you might think that at least it was a single event, no harm done in the long run. But, Konnects did not only send one, but on average three invites to each email address! I felt something had to be done, so I wrote an email to all my contacts, excusing for the spam behaviour of the Konnects invitation mailer. However, it turns out, gmail has a limit for sending emails. If you send more than 500 mails, they will block you for 24hrs! So now I am not only a spammer, I am also locked out of my favourite mail program for 24hrs, making it impossible to reply directly to all the mail I receive for the rest of the day. :(

*Sigh* at least, as Philip says with a smile: "It could be worse!"

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Carcinogenic cereals

The favourite breakfast of me and my family, namely muesli and cereals with oats, just got a hard accusation by recent research: Oats contain the carcinogenic compound acrylamide. It is not a natural occuring substance in oats, but the processing of the oats to increase shelftime to the standard of approximately one year, includes heating to high temperatures which causes the acrylamide formation.

The good news is, cereals and oatmeal are not the worst offenders in this case. The top acrylamide-rich foods are french fries and potato chips. However, it is estimated that 25% of the average consumer daily intake of acrylamide is from coffee consumption. You may also be unwittingly generating acrylamide in your own preparation of foods. Be careful not to overfry your potatoes, leave them nice and golden instead of dark brown or burnt.

Read more:
Politiken covers the oatmeal story (in Danish)
Survey data on acrylamide in food by US FDA
Top twenty acrylamide-rich foods by Dr Ben Kim

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