Roll up, Roll up!
Put a dog whistle in a shoe, cure your flu!
This juice might not cure your cancer, by why not give it a chance-a?
If you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s… I dunno, eat more eggs or something.
For as long as there have been folks who are sick, scared, and desperate, there has been a predatory class of gentlemen who will sell you a magic bottle of brown to cure whatever ails you.
But baby, oh baby, was the age of the internet made for these people.
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube.
These sites have custom AI-based infrastructures where dumb and dangerous ideas spread like wildfire (or like a bad rash that you rubbed garlic on).
Depending on what you click on and where you visit, you might rarely see this kind of content. But according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal, there are corners of these platforms overrun with bogus cancer treatment claims and dangerous misinformation.
Common faux treatments include injections of baking soda (which will get that cancer out like a red wine stain on a rug) and miracle juice regimens. (Of course. Even cancer hates kale.)
And the algorithms on these websites target this garbage at those who are most vulnerable.
As a breast cancer survivor in our office told me: “There’s so much fear when you get diagnosed. In the back of your mind, a voice keeps repeating ‘you have a lethal disease.’ These bogus offers of remedies, of hope, are unconscionable. Too many folks want to believe the old ‘what if?’ I know of maybe two folks who took alternative treatment and each returned to the traditional chemo/radiation in the end.”
The Journal found one Facebook page with over 60,000 likes, promoting bogus cancer treatments sold by a supplement salesman named Robert O. Young.
Before Mr. Young went to jail in 2016 for practicing medicine without a license, he was earning $5 million promoting his dangerous treatments online. Weeks after getting out of jail, Young was back online pushing baking-soda injections and juicing regimens.
Facebook responded to the report saying it would take steps to “down-rank” unproven medical claims on its platform.
“In order to help people get accurate health information and the support they need, it’s imperative that we minimize health content that is sensational or misleading,” Facebook said in a statement.
However, we don’t know what criteria it will use to judge what constitutes “accurate health information” or how effective “down-ranking” the content will be.
After all, Facebook makes a pretty penny advertising all this dangerous crap.
Now, if you’ll excuse me: I feel a flu coming on and I don’t want to be sick for the 4th of July, so I’m going to put a live frog under my hat and rub mustard on my genitals.
World’s Largest Marijuana Company Ousts CEO
Bruce Linton Searching for New Job as CEO of Legal Marijuana Company
Canopy Growth Corp. blindsided investors this morning when it ousted co-CEO and co-founder Bruce Linton. (It’s easy to be blindsided when you’re high all the time.)
Linton founded Canopy Growth, then known as the punnier Tweed Marijuana Inc., with friend Chuck Rifici in 2013.
“Creating Canopy Growth began with an abandoned chocolate factory and a vision,” said Linton, channeling the ghost of a Victorian child. “The board decided today, and I agreed, my turn is over.”
Since then, Canopy Growth has gone on to be:
- The world’s first marijuana unicorn (not counting the cartels)
- The first cannabis producer on the NYSE
- The biggest marijuana company in the world, with a market cap of more than $14 billion
As the public face of the company, Linton has been instrumental in building Canopy’s image as a leader in a budding industry. And his many interviews and appearances on television have gone a long way to normalizing marijuana investment in general.
In 2018, Linton was awarded CEO of the Year by the Ottawa Board of Trade and Ottawa Business Journal. (I know this because I am an avid reader of the Ottawa Business Journal.)
But sales are down this quarter and shareholders wanted to see a head roll. (Fun fact: heads don’t actually roll that well. The nose gets in the way.)
The media keeps a master folder of “Public Figures Looking Sad Photos” for occasions such as this one.
The news comes just weeks after Canopy’s disappointing fiscal fourth-quarter earnings.
Constellation Brands, who owns a 35% stake in the company, was not happy with the company’s performance in the second quarter of recreational cannabis legalisation in Canada.
“While we remain happy with our investment in the cannabis space and its long-term potential, we were not pleased with Canopy’s recent reported year-end results,” said Constellation Brands CEO William Newlands on the company’s earnings call last week.
“However, we continue to aggressively support Canopy on a more focused long-term strategy to win markets and form factors that matter, while paving a clear path to profitability.”
Meanwhile, south of the border (I mean U.S.A. If you went to Mexico there, you’ve gone too far), steam is picking up for full-blown marijuana legalisation (and the boom in folks eating an entire thing of ice cream for lunch that goes hand-in-hand with legalisation.)
As reported by the Wall Street Journal yesterday:
“Nearly one in four Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal, and 33 states regulate medical marijuana access by statute.
“At the federal level, members of the House of Representatives for the first time overwhelmingly voted in favour of legislation halting federal interference in state-specific marijuana laws. This historic vote is further evidence that politicians at the highest level now recognise the rapidly changing cultural and legal status of cannabis.”
Poll: Biden’s Once-Commanding League Has Evaporated
After a single debate, former Vice President Joe Biden has squandered his once-commanding lead in the Democratic primaries. (And the only surprise is it didn’t happen sooner.)
According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters, Biden has plummeted eight points in polling, from 30% to 22%. (Note: If you think you might be Democratic-leaning, please see your chiropractor.)
For now, Obama’s BFF is still polling at the top of the field. But Senator Kamala Harris has snuck up on old Joe with a double-figure leap to 20%.
Harris’s big gain can be attributed to a single breakout moment in the debates when she attacked Joe on his civil rights record. That moment spoke to Black voters in particular, who are leaving the good ship Biden in droves. (Customers will be happy to know that the good ship Biden now has a strict no-touching policy.)
“Round 1 of the Democratic debates puts Senator Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden on two different trajectories, as support for Harris surges but continues to slip for Biden,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Mary Snow. “Biden’s once-commanding lead has evaporated.”
Elizabeth Warren was in third place with 14% of the vote.
Bernie Sanders dropped six points and two places to just 13% since the poll was conducted last month. Though that hasn’t hurt his ability to rake in the campaign dough. Yesterday, the Sanders camp announced it had raised $18 million in the second quarter of the year, with an average of $18 a donation.
(“You can have a social revolution for less than a plate of pasta at the Italian restaurant in the Village and incidentally, they are charging too much for a plate of pasta at the Italian restaurant in the Village.” – Bernie Sanders, probably.)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana polled with 4% support. While none of the thousands of other Democrat candidates got more than 3% in the poll. (Please start dropping out, guys. I can’t keep track of all you. Especially you, Tim Ryan.)
In Other News
Cell Phone Hacking is Ruining Lives: How to Protect Yourself
This whole nightmare started when Sean Coonce’s phone dropped service.
It was late at night, so Sean tried not to think about it and went to sleep. When he woke up, he was locked out of all his accounts and missing $100,000.
“This is still very raw (I haven’t even told my family yet),” Sean wrote in a post on Medium. “I can’t stop thinking about the small, easy things I could have done to protect myself along the way.”
“I lost north of $100,000 last Wednesday … This was the single most expensive lesson of my life.”
Sean was the victim of a SIM port attack.
This is when a hacker uses personal information to convince your cell provider to transfer your number to a new device.
The hacker then uses this device to log you out of all your accounts, change your passwords, and squeeze as much money out of you before you realise what’s going on.
Coonce admits he was rather sloppy with his online security, even going as far as to say that he “probably deserved to get hacked.”
But he’s developed a multiple-tiered strategy to make sure it won’t happen again and posted it online to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
- Use Google Voice two-factor authentication. Regular two-factor authentication apps can be hacked or stolen. A voice-activated password is much harder to replicate.
- Create a secondary email address for your critical online accounts (bank accounts, social media accounts, crypto exchanges, etc.) and keep it logged on a separate machine.
- Use an offline password manager like Password Store.
- Reduce your online footprint. The less personal info you make available online, the harder you are to hack.