Daniel Shares – Weirdest Spam Comments

Bookish Topic Tuesday (felt like I should share some of these, it’s not quite book related, but)

Daniel Shares

Weirdest Spam Comments

So over the year and a half (wow time has flown), I’ve gotten some pretty strange comments, which thankfully have all been caught by Akismet, which is WordPress’ spam filter. So I thought I would share them with you, they’ve been saved from the spam filter to be shown here. Just to put things in perspective about how much spam I get, over the life of the blog I’ve got 8,888 spam comments (1,500 of them last month!), compare that to only 182 legitimate comments. I’ve only had 4 spam comments creep past the filter, and only 4 comments get trapped in the filter (as far as I know though, but they were caught because of a link).

But just what is spam? Well, it’s all these comments which have the main purpose of basically link-dropping. People or usually ‘robots’ leave links to sites which are probably littered with viruses and advertising to get money, with some scams to, in the hope that other people head over there. In addition, the more links to a website the better it’s perceived ‘ranking’, since it’s expected that if more people link to it, then it must be good. Though these days, Google have figured out ways to filter out the phony, spam links.

Usual spam looks like this:

I constantly spent my half an hour to read this
webpage’s posts everyday along with a cup of coffee.

Which doesn’t really look like spam, it looks like an almost sincere comment, but, it isn’t, there are usually links in the comment itself, or there are links next to the comment which is what happens if I post a comment somewhere, so people can find their way to the site.

Then there are ones like this:

I’m really loving the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog readers have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this issue?

Again, seems innocent enough, but the link provided goes to a pretty dodgy site. Since many of the comments seem innocent, new bloggers definitely need to be on guard, otherwise their blog just becomes spam feeding grounds.

So onto the more interesting spam that I’ve seen:

These are all activities encouraged by the Catholic Church.
Apple created a way to completely shut that program down rather
than having it hibernate like it normally would if you just hit
the home button and speaker. The Journal also reported
that Sprint would be getting this quality bump sooner or later to reduce overage fees, if nothing else.

That one just makes no sense, it’s just a combination of sentences, but that’s pretty common of spam, it’s all random.

The Royal Family as well as other persons who have declared loyalty to Sealand have occupied Sealand ever
since. Think than it this way, now, as opposed
to filling your pool using one single hose, you can have
hundreds of hoses to fill it up with. Basically, it’s like filling your children’s pool with water.

This one just makes me laugh, ‘Sealand’, what are they talking about? It’s makes even less sense than the first one!

Pizza was called (and is still called) tomato pie and pizza pie in certain parts of the States. You can often buy these at home improvement stores, in the outdoor grilling sections. Although the creation of flat bread with toppings resembles a green-onion pancake, it remains a mystery still whether the history of pizza starts with China.

Now I have no idea if pizza is called tomato pie and pizza pie (I doubt it), but I don’t think you can buy it at home improvement stores! Again, I just laugh.

Steve Not any. Several, 7

Who’s Steve?

Your article is here, the feeling of a mere individual can bring in more.Let these people from every corner of the world, even in the heart with eudaemonia. We are not solitude.

They even create new words: eudaemonia!

Well that’s all the spam for now, I’ll take note of any other interesting ones I come across! And next week I’ll get back on topic, back to books!

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Bookish Topic Tuesday & Daniel Shares #3 – Vocabulary and Language Learning

Bookish Topic Tuesday & Daniel Shares

Vocabulary and Language Learning

So this post isn’t really on books, it’s on the writing in books, and some awesome places to improve your vocabulary. I have done this before and in fact I’m re-sharing one site, but it’s so good that I want to bring it back to your attention. Obviously vocabulary is a very important thing, and when you are reading books, you are going to pick up on a lot of words, but more often than not, there are words in a book that you have no idea what it means. But, no big deal, since you can easily skip past it, and the value of the book isn’t really lost, since after all, it’s just one sentence out of countless thousands. Or, you can quickly pull out your phone and search it up (which is what I tend to try and do). Or make a note of it (something I used to do, and might re-start since seeing the meaning once, doesn’t mean I’ve learnt the word) for later reference. If you’re reading on a e-reader obviously you have the easiest option, of searching it up, without having to do that much.

Continue reading Bookish Topic Tuesday & Daniel Shares #3 – Vocabulary and Language Learning

First Birthday! Danielisreading turns one!

No post on Sundays! Well, not my normal post anyway, this post marks the first big milestone of this blog…

Well today is the day this blog becomes a year old! And what a journey it has been, and it feels like such a long time since I began! I started with Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, and loved it, it was very different and quite unusual (I will eventually get around to the TV miniseries, that is on my to-do list). Before I moved on, I covered the ‘top 10’ short stories, which is an idea I will repeat at sometime, as short stories (are short so easy to cover in one post) are an important aspect of storytelling, and are just as important in the literary scene as novels. Then I moved onto The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which I had read before, but rereading it was amazing, as it is such a beautiful book, and he is a fantastic author. After reading more about Nazi Germany, I was influenced by The Book Thief to try to read Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler himself, but that was such a dry read, I gave up. I may read the entire book eventually and comment in one post, but that is not high on my list of things to do. I grant that it was immensely interesting, it just wasn’t enjoyable, and wasn’t something I wanted to cover on here extensively. Now I have been working my way through The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody. I started with Obernewtyn, then The Farseekers, then Ashling and now The Keeping Place. I love them, and cannot wait for the next two novels, The Stone Key and The Sending. Of course once the final book, The Red Queen, arrives, I will cover it, but the release date is not known (note that The Red Queen is actually the title for the second half of The Sending in the US, because that book has been cut in two, very confusing, and Isobelle Carmody is working on trying to fix that major issue) but it is tentatively set as sometime in 2013. But I do warn you to take that with some reservation, as The Sending‘s release date was pushed back many months, and with Isobelle Carmody, she takes her time, which I hate but love. Because she makes sure she gets it the way SHE wants, not what the editors want, not what the publishers want, and she is pretty ‘flexible’ with her timeline of publication. And recently I have been posting about The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, her first ‘adult’ novel, and let me tell you, it is most certainly and ADULT novel! Currently the posts are alternating between The Casual Vacancy and The Keeping Place, and that will continue until I finish The Casual Vacancy.

I have no plans to continue alternating, I would rather focus on a single book/series and work my way through that. And it can get slightly confusing when you are reading two books for the blog, and then another one or two for ‘personal’ reading. It can get hard to keep track, but since I don’t have the time to post two posts in one day everyday of the week, I’m happy to alternate, especially considering my The Casual Vacancy posts aren’t like my other ones, instead being one giant list.

What’s next? Well as I said just above, I will continue with The Obernewtyn Chronicles, and since there are still two long books (both are around 1000 pages!) and possible The Red Queen to go, it won’t be for a few months that the Chronicles have been completed. I mentioned previously that I did have plans for what I would do next. One other series I would really like to do is Gone by Michael Grant, and all I really know about it is (rot13.com to decypher, just incase you don’t know about this series, and don’t want to know, the main essence of the book, and I think it would be reveal really early on, but I just want to maintain a spoiler free zone) “Nyy gur nqhygf qvfnccrne, naq gur xvqf ner yrsg gb sraq sbe gurzfryirf.” There are a number of books in that series, so that will take quite some time as well. But another thing I really want to explore, are the Classics. I own quite a few ‘Classics’ because they are usually quite cheap, and who doesn’t love cheap books? So eventually I would like to cover some of ‘the classics’ of the world, and I’m ‘lucky’ because I haven’t read too many of them, so I don’t really know what will happen in them, but I do know of them, so it will be fantastic to see what it is all about! Hope you can join me, when the time comes!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As is customary with anniversary posts I will give the blog’s stats for the year. This blog had small beginnings, in fact, for the 2011 calendar year (after it was launched) it had a grand total of 78 views! Slowly it grew, and in Janurary 2012, for the month, the blog had 101 views! It was making progress, in that one month, it had views that were more than the previous 2.5 months. I never really expected many views, especially not to begin with, so I wasn’t perturbed. The blog continued to grow until it reached a peak of 340 views in April (finally breaking the average of 10 views per day on average) helped by a tweet by Isobelle Carmody herself, about my announcement that I would be reading The Obernewtyn Chronicles, which I was both grateful and extremely shocked for occurring, I basically hyperventilated when I saw it. There was a slight decrease in May and June, possibly because I started The Obernewtyn Chronicles and there is not such a big fanbase around (though there is an awesome one at obernet) or maybe because I had a bit of a gap in April, readers didn’t find my site as much, who knows. But after June, things steadily began to increase once again.

During September the blog had over 550 views, which blew my mind! That was nearly 20 views per day on average, which was amazing! And I largely attribute that, and this month’s stats to The Casual Vacancy, as people go online to find out more about JK Rowling’s new book, and I am delighted that people have come to my site, and that people have commented and liked and subscribed, that is what makes blogging worth it.And now in October, the blog has had had two days where over 100 views have occurred, which is outstanding. In the first week of October, the blog had 473 views! That was more than any month before September! In one week! Now this month, we have had over 945 views! Nearly a THOUSAND views in less than half a month! I am amazed! The average views for October are 76 per day! That is nearly more than the first two and a half months! In fact, over this year we have had over 3711 views. So a quarter of them have been in the last two weeks!

The location of my readers was only recorded since February 25th, when WordPress started tallying this data for us to see. My most popular country is the USA with 1733 views (so nearly half, so thanks all of you over in America!). Next comes Australia with 575 and then the UK with 190. Though I’ve had views from around 163 countries! Which is incredible!

I don’t know if this sort of view statistics will continue as The Casual Vacancy becomes ‘old news’ but I do hope that this is where a community starts, that sounds corny and I don’t know if that will happen. But I hope that people like coming to my blog, and reading my thoughts and opinions on the books I am reading, and maybe get some enjoyment and happiness out of them. And I’d love if you’d comment and give my your thoughts, they don’t have to agree with mine, I’d like to hear what you have to say about things, and what you’ve picked up. I don’t care if it is about Cloudstreet or Mein Kampf or The Obernewtyn Chronicles or one of the short stories I’ve covered, or one of the books I’ve briefly mentioned that I have read (another one of those will be coming shortly). If you don’t want to comment, or what to tell me something privately or whatever, I have created an email account for you to contact:

danielisreading@gmail.com

If you want to send me suggestions (with little to no spoilers please) feel free to do so, I may not be able to get around to doing them on the blog, but I’ll be sure to check them out eventually. If you want to know if I have read something before plus ratings and some reviews of other books or if you want to know what I’m currently reading and where I am up to, you can check out my goodreads profile, which you can find here (not a link):

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6943202-daniel

Feel free to follow my profile (which will require you to have a goodreads account, which is really handy to keep track of all the books you have read over the years, and what you thought of them). And I have a twitter account, where I tweet when new posts are up, and other random book related stuff too:

https://twitter.com/danielisreading

So thankyou, to everyone who has come and read posts, and commented, and liked, and followed! I really appreciate it, and I hope you can join me as I continue my way through many more books in the future!

Just to finish with two interesting stats tables:

These are the top ten search terms that have landed views on the blog:

Search Views
the devil and daniel webster short story 39
book thief cover 18
the knife never lies 18
saumensch translation 16
the book thief cover 12
“papa sat with me tonight. he brought the accordion down and sat close to where max used to sit. i often look at his fingers and face when he plays. the accordion breathes. there are lines on his cheeks. they look drawn on, and for some reason, when i see them, i want to cry. it is not for any sadness or pride. i just like the way they move and change. sometimes i think my papa is an accordion. when he looks at me and smiles and breathes, i hear the notes.” That is a long one! 11
cloudstreet ending 10
samantha mollison casual vacancy 9
krystal weedon 9
yarvil 8

Here is the 10 most viewed pages:

Home page / Archives 813
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 109
Short Story #4 -The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Vincent Benet 99
Short Story #1 – Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy 79
The Book Thief – Part Ten – The Ribcage Planes 77
Short Story #2 – The Lady Or The Tiger? By Frank Stockton 67
The End of Cloudstreet – The final words, and my thoughts 61
The Book Thief – Prologue – A Mountain Range Of Rubble – Death And Chocolate 59
The Book Thief – Part Four – The Swapping of Nightmares (cont.) 54
The Casual Vacancy – #3 51

Daniel Shares #2

To break things up a little bit before starting ‘Ashling’ I decided to share some things again that I think are worth sharing. This time I am going to focus on Youtube, and share some channels that I personally enjoy, admittedly most of them are nerdy, but they are still good fun to watch, and you get to learn something in the process.

Crashcourse and SciShow (http://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse & http://www.youtube.com/user/scishow)

The immensely popular Vlogbrothers (http://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers) Hank and John Green have branched out and now (though have for a while) have multiple channels exploring many facets of life. These two channels are dedicated to education. Crashcourse encompasses History and Biology with John and Hank teaching one subject each respectively. Never has there been such detailed explanations of history and biology on Youtube to watch for free! SciShow is dedicated to science and is hosted by Hank, and each week a number of videos are released dealing with various aspects of Science, from new discoveries, famous and important scientists, explaining complex scientific ideas and issues and more. HankGames is also worth a mention, where Hank plays various ‘computer’ games with his friends on camera (http://www.youtube.com/user/hankgames).

CGPGrey (http://www.youtube.com/user/CGPGrey)

This channel is dedicated to explaining complicated issues and rectifying popular misconceptions. If you wonder what the difference between Great Britain and United Kingdom is, or want to know the history of Santa or confused about what exactly is a leap year, then there are videos for you.

MinutePhysics (http://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics)

Short videos explaining physics in a simple, easy to understand manner. Very informative!

Brady Haran

Brady Haran produces a tonne of educational videos on a variety of topics explained by actual scientists, professors and academics. My favourites are Numberphile, Periodic Videos and Sixtysymbols though that is mainly because I just haven’t had enough time to explore them all! Here’s the full list of channels that he produces, some of them are no longer updated (but may be in the future) but still contain a wealth of knowledge. New videos are added basically every week (normally a couple a week for most channels).

The PianoGuys(http://www.youtube.com/user/ThePianoGuys)

And finally, a non-educational channel (though there are many more channels that I would like to share, but there are too many and not enough time). If you thought classical music was for old people, well think again. Seriously, it is time to have a new view on classical music, they are highly popular, and their music is inspirational, emotional and world-class. Haven’t been around for very long (only a year) but already have broken into the top 200 most subscribed channels! Not only is their music amazing, but their videos are stunning and beautiful. Take a look and a listen, you won’t regret it.

Tomorrow is when ‘Ashling’ with start, there will be much to discuss!

Something a Little Different – Daniel Shares

I thought that I would do something different as a little ‘break’ between Obernewtyn and the next book in the series ‘The Farseekers’, because, why not? What I want to do is share a few things that I have found on the internet, that I think are really interesting and great, and that others might be interested in, but have not found themselves. I don’t know if this will become a thing, but it might, depending on how this goes. So have a look at what I’m sharing, because I found them interesting, and you might too.

Ike Kūʻokoʻa Project (http://www.awaiaulu.org/main/index.php)

Edit (16/09/12):Unfortunately this Project has now been completed, unless you already have an account, you can no longer assist with the project (checking and ranking pages). If you have a Hawaiian language background, you may be able to assist the project by reviewing the pages, but you will have to contact the project via their website.

I found this project, after hearing about it on a trip to Hawaii, and I thought it would be great to get involved. The project is all about transcribing thousands of pages of Hawaii newspapers, so they can be complied into something like a search engine, so people can easily find information that is ‘trapped’ on the page. All of the newspapers are in Hawaiian and were published between 1834 and 1948. But don’t worry if you don’t know a word of Hawaiian, as all you are required to do is type the words, which are all written in the ‘Latin Alphabet’ so you just have to type what you read. The project wants to complete the 60,000 pages by 31 July, 2012. Currently only 8% of the pages have been completed, so they really need more volunteers to help out. Depending on how fast you can type, a page can be completed within 4 hours. You don’t have to worry about formatting or fonts, just type the words, and then go through and check it, and submit it. Once you submit it, you can dedicate the page to someone. It’s really not that hard, and can be really fun and you can start to see common words. You might even be inclined to look up some words, and learn some Hawaiian. For more information check out their website, and get involved.

Freerice (http://freerice.com/)

Freerice is an interesting and clever website that rewards you for learning. That might not sound that interesting, but trust me it can be quite addictive. The website contains a series of different quizzes which are on a multitude of subjects. The subjects include, human anatomy, English Vocabulary, Maths, Chemical symbols, Famous Paintings, Flags of the World, World Landmarks and more. Each subject has a number of different levels of difficulty, some have 3 levels whilst others have 60. The system is designed that you start at level one, and once you get three questions correct in a row, you progress a level. If you get a question wrong, you go back to the previous level, and that question will pop up again soon. There are levels for everyone, at all intelligence levels, and if you get bored with one subject, there are plenty more to keep you interested. But the really amazing thing is, that as you are learning (and you might not think you are at the time) you are actually helping feed the world’s hungriest people. That’s right, for every question you get correct, 10 grains of rice are donated through the World Food Programme, which is run by the United Nations. It might not sound like much, but within a matter of minutes you can easily accumulate hundreds of grains of rice, and to feed one person for one day they need 19,200 grains of rice. The total amount of grains that Freerice have donated over the 4-5 years it has been around, is approaching 100 billion! There are two questions you are probably asking, how is this possible, and can we be sure that the hungry are getting the food? Well firstly, it is possible because of advertising. Each page has a couple of advertisements, like almost every webpage, and those ads pay for the 10 grains of rice. Secondly the program, as mentioned before, is supported and promoted by the World Food Programme, which is run by the United Nations. So why not ‘kill two birds with one stone’ and start expanding your vocabulary and knowledge in a variety of subjects (you can even test your language skills in French, Italian, German and Spanish) and help feed hungry people. Don’t worry if English isn’t your first language, as there are Korean, French, Italian and Spanish versions available as well. Have a look at their website for more information, and start testing your knowledge.

Foldit (http://fold.it/portal/)

One final thing to share, this time it is a game. ‘Foldit’ is a free, downloadable game. The main feature of this game, is that you are (by playing) helping scientific research and development. The game involves ‘folding proteins’ into the most efficient and stable shape. You also have to make sure all ‘hydrophobic’ chains away from the outside, and have no overlapping chains. It might sound a little complicated, but there are helpful tutorial levels and there is a forum and chat-room where you can ask questions, and find answers to your problems. The aim of the game overall, is to help scientists better predict what proteins structures (like amino acids) will look like. It will also assist scientists in designing new proteins that can cure diseases. In fact, Foldit gamers, were able to find the structure of an AIDS related enzyme in a matter of 10 days, whereas the scientists had been trying to solve it for FIFTEEN YEARS. So finally, gaming is helping solve problems in the world, and you can finally tell your mum or girlfriend, that gaming has a purpose! You can find out more about the science of protein folding and ‘Foldit’ here.

I just realised that this is my 200 post! This has gone really fast, and it won’t be long until I’ve been blogging for a year. Thank you for being involved in whatever way, I appreciate it all!