☠️The Giant of Kandahar, Toxoplasma Control, and Skimmer Scanners
Scan the Skimmers
Hey friends! How are you doing this lovely Monday?
I hope you had a wonderful Easter with your friends and family.
Last week was pretty exciting for the land of tech, wasn’t it? Do you think Elon will really buy Twitter? Can he? It’ll be a lot of fun to see where this goes . . .
I picked up a few Pixel Interfaces on Saturday morning. I think they’ll reveal today - but I’ll post a few pictures next week if I get any good ones.
It’s kinda meta because Pixel Interfaces is a derivative of a project that never minted soooooooo is it really a derivative.
On a more serious note - I’m thinking about adding some sort of “support” payment tier to The Land of Random.
Nooo nooo don’t worry - this newsletter will always be free.
As it stands - I’m too busy with my other commitments to do an additional newsletter - but have many ideas that I’d like to “buidl” at some kind of monthly project level.
Buying $1 items from Aliexpress to Review (LOL - this would be FUN)
Deep dives into obscure corners of the Net
If you have any ideas you’d like to see for some sort of “supporter” tier - please feel free to leave a comment below or respond to this newsletter. I’d very much like to hear your thoughts.
☠️The Giant of Kandahar
There’s something fun about exploring Cryptid legends - whether Bigfoot, UFO’s, or Mothman.
Have you heard the tale about the giant of Kandahar?
This story has been gaining traction on TikTok recently.
Here’s the story in a nutshell - a team of American Spec ops soldiers encounter a Giant in the Kandahar mountains of Afghanistan. The giant attacks and kills one of the soldiers, and is promptly shot. The government covers up the story, takes the giant’s corpse, and covers up the story.
Just like Bigfoot - the tale is very intriguing because it takes place in the middle of nowhere. The mind often wanders . . . why couldn’t something crazy exist in the middle of nowhere?
This is my favorite video - Mr. Ballen (a veteran of Afghanistan) takes a deep dive into explaining the story, saying that he heard about it from his Interpreter back in the day.
Snopes says that the story first appeared on L.A. Marzuli’s show on Youtube - in which he interviews a military contractor (Mr. K) who claims to have been on the Spec Ops team.
Now - Marzuli’s show is one of those ones that truly gets way out there - so if it’s truly the first appearance of the story, it raises the “grain of salt” we take with such stories to the size of a saltlick.
Here’s a link to that video if you’re interested.
Now HERE’S a link to an alleged interview with one of the Airmen who had to transport the giant’s corpse.
What else can we check out for “proof?”
Now - it’s just comments and such to go on.
Here’s another interesting one
Now - this is the most intriguing idea. If you could find some sort of internet proof that this story was known about previous to L.A. Marzuli’s video.
you could interview some people from Kandahar to ask them - and if they can back it up with some accounts.
Well . . . maybe, just maybe, there’s a little bit more to this conspiracy theory . . .
Who knows? It’s certainly fun to speculate!
Have you heard the theory that the animal parasite Toxoplasma gondii might influence human behavior?
That’s right - you can catch it from your cat (many cats have it), and it may have the ability to affect your behavior.
It affects the behavior of Mice - why not humans?
For more than a decade, however, there have been multiple studies of subtle, or not so subtle, changes in animal behaviors associated with latent T. gondii infection. Mice and rats with an infection, for example, lose their aversion to the smell of cats, especially to cat urine. This so-called fatal feline attraction is perilous for any rodent made fearless by infection; it makes it easier for cats to catch and eat them. But it benefits cats, which acquire an easy meal, and it helps the parasites, which gain a new reservoir. (source)
The parasites may influence the mice to be eaten by the cats, so they can spread to the cats.
However - when the cats spread it to us - we’re “dead end” hosts. We aren’t going to be eaten by cats. However - the parasites may think they can spread to others through death . . .
It’s possible that the parasites may try to exerting influence in our brains to die - so they can spread.
In addition, parasites are not aware that they have entered dead-end hosts, so they are likely to exert whatever effects they do in any host. In this regard, it is interesting to consider the increase in traffic victims among T. gondii–infected humans as a contemporary example of manipulation activity of a parasite. It is also possible that the effects of the parasite are not due to the manipulation in an evolutionary sense but merely due to neuropathological or neuroimmunological effects of the parasite's presence. (source)
Yeah - there’s a possible correlation between being infected with Toxoplasma gondii and a rise in traffic incidents.
Could subtle alterations in psychomotor performance have any effects on human behavior? To test this, sera were collected in a Prague hospital from 146 individuals deemed to have been responsible for causing, either as a driver or as a pedestrian, a motor vehicle accident. These sera were compared with 446 control sera collected by random sampling in Prague. The difference in seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in these 2 samples suggests that Toxoplasma-infected subjects have a 2.65 times higher risk of traffic accidents than Toxoplasma-free subjects (source)
Let me stop myself before I get too far down that rabbit trail. If you’re interested in this stuff - read the link.
There’s a brand new study that seems to indicate that the parasite may influence who we find to be attractive.
Here’s the background of this new study: “Are Toxoplasma-infected subjects more attractive, symmetrical, or healthier than non-infected ones? Evidence from subjective and objective measurements”
Parasites are among the main factors that negatively impact the health and reproductive success of organisms. However, if parasites diminish a host’s health and attractiveness to such an extent that finding a mate becomes almost impossible, the parasite would decrease its odds of reproducing and passing to the next generation. There is evidence that Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) manipulates phenotypic characteristics of its intermediate hosts to increase its spread. (source)
Sooooooooo our boi Toxoplasma might make us more attractive so it can spread to others.
First, we found that infected men had lower facial fluctuating asymmetry whereas infected women had lower body mass, lower body mass index, a tendency for lower facial fluctuating asymmetry, higher self-perceived attractiveness, and a higher number of sexual partners than non-infected ones. Then, we found that infected men and women were rated as more attractive and healthier than non-infected ones. (source)
Isn’t that terrifying?
Parasites may make us look good to infect others.
AND - it may influence who we find attractive. Yikes.
“Oh - you work out a lot?”
“Nah - I have a symbiotic relationship with this parasite that makes me more attractive. You’re attractive because you’re not infected.”
“Ohhhhhh….” moves away slowly
Read more of the study at the link!
We swipe our cards at least once a day - but how often do we say to ourselves
Gee - I wonder if this is the scanner that steals my card number.
Unless we’re at a sketchy gas station - we usually don’t have these thoughts.
I discovered a device called Hunter Cat on TikTok that you can use to test card readers for skimmers.
That’s right - HUNT THE SKIMMERS
It’s the same dimensions as a debit card - but a bit longer so ATM’s won’t eat it.
Hunter Cat is a magnetic stripe head detector. Ever wonder if a hidden card skimmer is installed on a device you want to use? The hunter cat will detect the number of magnetic stripe heads inside of a card reader and presents simple user feedback via LEDs – Ok, warning, or dangerous. With this information, the user could proceed or not depending on the alert LEDs. (source)
There should be only magnetic stripe head per header - if there’s more than one, LED’s light up to tell you something may be fishy.
Here’s a interesting little interview with the creator
I could see myself using this at a gas station pump orrrrr an ATM - but not in a store. It’s definitely something you’d need to be discrete about using.
What would you say if you ran a store and someone came up and said
Hey - is it ok if I run my little Skimmer Hunter card through your payment processor before I swipe my card?
You’d probably say no.
Yeah - if you use it - don’t be very obvious.
For the low low price of $35, a Hunter Cat can be yours!
Check it out at the link.
🦑The Land of Random
This is the part of the newsletter with the crazy internet links
If you like The Land of Random (which you do cuz you’re reading it) you’ll love diving deep into different corners of the internet every week. Every issue is a fun little adventure - with thought-provoking articles! Subscribe at the link.
Starlink Satellite Tracker
So many Satellites. Is it just me or is the sky always moving now?
Drive Thru Lofi Vibes
Just vibin’ and waiting for fries
Mackerel Fish Adventure
Fancy going on an adventure in a wacky 90’s style site? There’s a lot to explore.
OK IT’S ACTUALLY A VERY COMPLEX ARG STYLE ADVENTURE.
Rug Pull Rugs
Did you get rugged by a crypto project? Buy an actual rug to commemorate your horror. This website is hilarious.
Play with the cute goldfishies!
This website is part portfolio, part museum, and part ARG. Absolutely wild!
This game looks terrifying
🎵TikToks You Can’t Miss
That looks fun but only if I take “the squad” with me
This thrift store knows how Gen Z works
I WOULD LOVE a sequel to 9
And this friends - is Why I buy Zeni Optical glasses
I was not good at this as kid. Much respect
Well friends - that’s all for this week! See you next time!