This is a highly creative piece of election spam. I checked my Google Analytics account after a long time to see the statistics for my personal website http://satishkatiyar.com/. I noticed that there were lots of visits to my site from Russia !
Russia ? I only know a handful people in Russia. Slicing the data by languages showed an interesting new language – literally “Secret.ɢoogle.com You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!”, among other languages like “en-us” (US English) and “en-gb” (UK English).
This surely grabbed my attention, not only the new language but also the content. It’s asking me to vote for Trump. Folks, the election is over and Trump is the president-elect.
But then I wondered about the call to action. What URL does it want me to go to? http://secret.google.com/ ? There is no such URL. Looking at it closely, I see the “G” in Google is not the regular “g” character. That domain (ɢoogle.com) is not the same as “google.com” or “Google.com”, which both belong to the search engine giant. Following the URL solved it. The browser was redirected to another site “http://secret.xn--oogle-wmc.com/” which does not exist now.
Ok, so the spam mystery solved. But I am still left wondering who should be protecting the vast majority of population who are not technology savvy, from such fake domain names? It is Google’s responsibility to protect themselves and users by registering all the possible domain names including spelling errors and such creative use of characters? Or should it be ICANN (domain name authority) who is held responsible for such fake domain names? Worth thinking about, while we are grappling with the issue of fake news.
I was lucky to spot shuttle Endeavor last Fri (Sep 21) hitching a ride on the modified Boeing 747 and being escorted by a fighter jet. What a sight! It didn’t come cheap. My wife told me about the event just a few minutes before it was due to fly over the bay. I was not feeling well but this was a rare enough opportunity to get out of the bed and take out the camera. I drove to Coyote Hills and then ran up one of the hills – at least 500 ft high ! By the time I reached the top of the hill, I was out of breath, almost dead. But I was soon rewarded with this great sight. I had my 500 mm zoom lens but unfortunately my camera sensor was not clean and I had not tested the camera settings before taking the pictures. Oh well. Still, I think the shot I got is better than not getting one. It was beautiful.
Pelicans are beautiful birds but I find American White Pelicans even more so. Their wingspan of 8-10 feet and more than a foot long beak make them really interesting. They are fascinating not only because of their shape but also because of their behavior and all white color. I consider myself lucky to live in an area close to Fremont’s Coyote Hills Regional Park and Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge – home to a large population of these beautiful birds. Some of these birds also migrate here in the winters from as far away as the Rocky Mountains.
Unlike brown pelicans, white pelicans are found inland, although often near coastal areas with brackish water. They live and nest on remote islands and places away from noises and human activity. Coyote Hills is such a jewel in the middle of suburbs. There is probably a colony of 50-100 birds that live on an island in the marsh. They eat carp, chub, perch, crayfish and other fishes. One of the most interesting thing about them is that they cooperatively forage to encircle and trap their prey. I have seen them do that at the old salt ponds at Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge.
These birds are “species of specicial concern” in California and need protection. Unfortunately, exactly the opposite will result from the proposed development at Patterson Ranch land. The developer (?) Richard Frisbie is proposing to build hundreds of houses right next to Coyote Hills. That might be a disaster for these birds and other fragile wildlife at Coyote Hills. The lights and noises will be a big problem for the pelicans. These pelicans are highly sensitive to human intrusion and disturbances. They abandon their nesting sites when they see people nearby or hear sounds. They also get easily poisoned from pesticides near their habitat, and as we know, pesticides are found in abundance in our lawns and gardens. Pelicans eat the discarded plastic bags and die. Dogs and children nearby will cause distress and pelicans will probably leave their nesting site.
Please click the link below and sign a petition for Fremont mayor and the city council and urge them to not approve the massive housing project right next to Coyote Hills. These beautiful birds depend on us to protect their habitat.
Click here to sign the petition
Last weekend, I had lunch with a friend and my family at Red Lobster. I had Shrimp Jambalaya and Bayou Gumbo – both contained shrimps. Thought came to mind that these shrimps were farm-raised which lead me to think about the impact of shrimp farming on local environments.
I researched and found that 75% of shrimps are farmed in China and Thailand and shipped around the world. And global shipping, as we know, is a significant contributor to global warming.
Almost all of the farm raised shrimps are either pacific white shrimps or giant tiger prawns, which are very susceptible to diseases. To combat the diseases, they are fed antibiotics which contribute to development of drug resistant bacteria in the environment.
Most shrimp farming is done in coastal areas because of the availability of salt water. This results in direct destruction (clearing) of mangrove forests. Mangrove forests are the natural hatcheries of local fishes and other wildlife. They help protect the soil from erosion. They acts as buffer and filter between the ocean and fresh water run offs.
Fertilizers are used to grow phytoplankton on which the shrimps feed. The excess fertilizer (and there’s a lot of it) gets in the local environment causing imbalance in the environment with excessive plants and algae growth. This crowds-out other local species of plants and aquatic life.
Intensive shrimp farming creates a lot of waste in the form of residual chemicals and shrimp excrement etc. This and high salt concentrations render the ponds useless within a few years. Then the shrimp farms have to move out to new land creating the same problem there.
A seemingly benign act of enjoying Shrimp Jambalaya and Bayou Gumbo has this profoundly negative impact on the environment half a world away! Should I consume shrimp in future? I sure will think about all this impact next time I see shrimp in my food.