Reblog: US – Vaccine Scams

Info for US readers:


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a preemptive warning this morning regarding Covid-19 scams. Their concern is that telemarketers will try to steal money from US consumers by:

  • Charging a fee to put the consumer’s name on a fictional waiting list for the drug,
  • Charging a fee to get fictional “early access” to one of the vaccines, or
  • Simply charging a fee for the vaccine.

For seniors in the US, Medicare pays for the vaccine, so there is no out-of-pocket fee to the consumer. For consumers not on Medicare your health insurance may pay the full cost.

Doubtless, the telescammers will be hard at work trying to take money from unsuspecting consumers.

Bottom line: if you know someone who could fall for a scam like this, warn them.

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Fandango’s Provocative Question (23 December 2020)

For today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:

Where do you think we should start with respect to climate change? What role should governments play? What can we, as individuals do to help? What steps are you, as an individual, taking? Or do you think climate change is a hoax?

Okay, quite an easy one this week, so I’ll keep this short.

The first step to solving any problem is to understand its scale.

We hear that burning gas is bad. How bad?

We hear that flying is bad. How bad?

We hear that eating meat is bad. How bad?

A few weeks ago, somebody posted on here that food waste is bad. How bad? (Hint – throwing a link at me with the “facts” written on it does not cut the mustard. Whose facts?)

And, only this morning, I read that vapour trails from airliners were bad. How bad?

Do you catch my drift?

The problem is not so much that there are no estimates of these, it’s that there are many. And, each estimate is different. The UK government, for example, will paint a totally different picture to Greenpeace. So, which should we believe? Well, we’ll believe the one that best fits with our pre-conceived political philosophy.

This is the first problem. That everyone sings from a different hymnsheet. Unfortunately, I don’t see a solution to that problem – ever.

Assuming we could agree on this, the role of governments is easy. Use either the tax system, or the legistative system, to encourage good and to discourage bad behaviour.

But in the absense of a solution, we are all left to stick our fingers in the air and to take whatever steps we feel able to take.

For me, this includes:

  • not driving, although I enjoy the occasional use of a car.
  • not flying. The last time I flew was 2013 (London – Majorca) and, before that, 2008 (London – Toulouse).
  • not eating much meat. I eat some because, well, I enjoy it. My point is that farmed animals are, in many cases, an inefficient use of land. You’d find it far easier to count the meals I eat with meat, than those without it.
  • Solar panels. I produce clean electricity which is pumped back into the grid.
  • Woodburner. You might argue that wood smoke is every bit as bad, but it saves heating the place with gas.

…to name a few.

Not all that Flutters is Gold

I started this one yesterday, just as a tiny bit of fiction, in response to Paula Light’s prompt. It was sufficiently silly, I thought it might be fun to continue it.

“Butterflies’ urine?”, queried Dave. “That sounds kinda hard to get hold of.”

“Yeah, like you wouldn’t believe. Took us years to perfect that. We have millions of these butterflies flying around this huge greenhouse. We created these fake flowers, they’re like tiny funnels but they have tiny emitters in them, let off this scent. It triggers them to, well…pee. Imagine, something like pheromones. We collect it, then process it into something usable. We’ve got to filter it quite a lot – sometimes they don’t just pee, if you catch my drift.”

“You can’t get much from each butterfly, surely?”

“No, that’s why we need millions of the little critters.”

“And that makes a difference?”

“Oh, yeah, it is all scientifically proven. Their pee contains this really powerful enzyme, it forces the human body to reject carbs. They pass straight on through.” The man was pitching with honed delicacy, he was clearly enthusiastic, and this was a spiel he’d delivered a million times already. “And besides”, the man winked, “you never saw a fat butterfly, did you?”

“How long is this flight?”, wondered Dave.

Goose Bumps

inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 23 December 2020, leather.

Slept in haunted house, just for a dare,
When he heard creaking footsteps on stair,
The door swung with a creak,
He heard child’s voice shriek,
Hell for leather, he got out of there.