Monthly Archives: March 2012

Homeopath Francine Scrayen in court for the death of her "patient".

Francine Scrayen the homeopath who defrauded one of her patients with bogus medical treatments is now being sued for the death of her patient; or should I say victim. Toni Brown is suing Scrayen over the death of her sister, Penelope Dingle who died after giving up conventional treatment in favor of the witchcraft that Ms Scrayen sold.

Penelope Dingle’s sister is suing the homeopath who persuaded the cancer victim to ignore conventional treatment in favour of fighting the deadly disease with alternative medicine.

The case made national headlines in 2010 when State Coroner Alastair Hope held an inquest into Mrs Dingle’s death, finding that her husband, Peter Dingle, and homeopath Francine Scrayen had played important roles in the decision.

Mrs Dingle’s sister Toni Brown has launched District Court proceedings against Ms Scrayen, claiming she suffered her own psychological problems as a result of the way in which her sister died. The West

I have already written about the tragic death of Penelope Dingle at the hands of Francine Scrayen in “Scammed to death: How Francine Scrayen killed Penelope Dingle.” (Comments at the bottom of the page are worth reading)

In my view the deceased’s rectal cancer was present and causing bleeding and other symptoms from at least 31 October 2001.  During the period 31 October 2001 until at least the end of November 2002, the deceased regularly described the symptoms of her rectal cancer to a homeopath, Francine Scrayen.  It was not until November 2002 that Mrs Scrayen and the deceased discussed the possibility of reporting her rectal bleeding to a medical practitioner and it was not until 5 December 2002 that she first reported those problems to a doctor.

I accept that Mrs Scrayen  believed that the deceased had suffered from haemorrhoids years earlier and the bleeding and pain was “an old symptom coming back”, but a competent health professional would have been alarmed by the developing symptoms and would have strongly advised that appropriate medical investigations be conducted without delay.

Mrs Scrayen was not a competent health professional. I accept that Mrs Scrayen had minimal understanding of relevant health issues, unfortunately that did not prevent her from treating the deceased as a patient.

This case has highlighted the importance of patients suffering from cancer making  informed, sound decisions in relation to their treatment.  In this case the deceased paid a terrible price for poor decision making. 
Unfortunately the deceased was surrounded by misinformation and poor science.  Although her treating surgeon and mainstream general practitioner provided clear and reliable information, she received mixed messages from a number of different sources which caused her to initially delay necessary surgery and ultimately decide not to have surgery until it was too late. Coronors Report; conclusion.

So after such a conclusion from the coroner it’s good to see that action is being taken against Francine Scrayen. While it won’t undo the damage already do it will bring fake medicines such as Homeopathy and those who sell it back into the spot light.

I personally feel that criminal charges should be filed against Francine Scrayen because she intentionally influenced her “patient” into making bad medical choices. Francine Scrayen is not a medical professional, but that didn’t stop her from treating Ms Dingle as a patient and charging her for “treatment”.

Francine Scrayen is the very worse type of fraud. Not only did she cheat her victim of money but she also cheated her out of life. Francine Scrayen sold fake medicine to a cancer patient who died as a result of being given snake oil instead of real medicine. This type of practice is unacceptable and Ms Scrayen needs to be held accountable for her despicable actions. 

#Anonymous script kiddie #opBlackout set for failure.

Anonymous, the so called “hacker” group that is in reality just a script kiddie legion of idiots. Has threatened to take the entire internet offline this Saturday, on the 31st of March. They are expecting to do this by launching a Distributed Denial of Service Attack against the Internet’s DNS Root Servers.

These root servers are an essential part of the Internet’s DNS system. Without DNS servers you (or rather your computer) cannot resolve domain names such as, or even to their corresponding IP Address, and without the Root Servers the system collapses.

The DNS System has a hierarchy and at the top of the hierarchy is the “root”. Anonymous knows this and has evidently discovered that there are just 13 servers in the root that are responsible for the entire DNS system below them.

To protest SOPA, Wallstreet, our irresponsible leaders and the beloved 
bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of 
sheer sadistic fun, On March 31, anonymous will shut the Internet down.
In order to shut the Internet down, one thing is to be done. Down the
13 root DNS servers of the Internet.

To protest SOPA, Wallstreet, our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun, On March 31, anonymous will shut the Internet down.
In order to shut the Internet down, one thing is to be done. Down the13 root DNS servers of the Internet.


By cutting these off the Internet, nobody will be able to perform a domain name lookup, thus, disabling the HTTP Internet, which is, after all, the most widely used function of the Web. Anybody entering “” or ANY other url, will get an error page, thus, they will think the Internet is down, which is, close enough. Remember, this is a protest, we are not trying to ‘kill’ the Internet, we are only temporarily shutting it down where it hurts the most. Some Twat

However the 13 root servers aren’t really just 13 servers, thanks to IP Anycast the 13 IP addresses actually have hundreds if not thousands of servers behind them. The root servers are all asigned letters A through M and I am informed by a very reliable source that the “” server with an IP address of exists in no less than 25 different countries; and that’s just one of 13 clusters of servers.

Another problem that Anonymous has is that DNS Records have a cache. For example I set my DNS records to 86400 seconds (24 hours) which means when you visit my blog your computer won’t need to resolve the address to its IP address for upto 24 hours so not only would Anonymous need to achive the impossible of knocking down huge server clusters, but they would need to keep them down for a prolonged period of time because DNS caching is a standard practice.

DNS Root response times.

The idea that a bunch of pissed off teenagers could take down the DNS Root is nothing short of laughable. Just because you can DDoS your mates off their home internet connection doesn’t mean you can take on the huge server clusters that makeup each server in the DNS Root. So quit making up stupid shit, you never know someday you might learn something.

Phishing URLs for #FraudWeek

Earlier tonight a tweet caught my eye.

Incorrect security advice from a government department, who would have thought. You would think the Government could do better, but no. Apparently logging off will keep you safe. This isn’t the early 90s anymore an threats have grown beyond another user on the computer after you. Besides do people really share computer much these days anyway? Even if they do, an errant sibling or spouse is your least concern.

As part of fraud week I thought I would post something a little more useful than the Australian Government. While there are many security threats both online and offline the one I keep needing to educate users about is Phishing. Whereby criminals will impersonate a legitimate website in order to trick a user into supplying their username and password for the legitimate site.

For example have a look at this website. (click the image)

Now take a look at the second website (click the image)

Did you spot the difference? Unfortunately allot of people do fail to spot the difference and become victims of crime due to the theft of their credentials. This is because only one of these websites is real and the other a fake. If you happen to enter your username and password into the fake site then your credentials are in the hands of the criminals running the fake site; this process is called “Phishing”.

Here is the all important difference that users need to be taught to look for.

It’s in the URL, while both sites contain only one of those sites is actually while the fake site is actually a subdomain in disguise. Just because you see the name in the address bar it doesn’t mean you are at the correct site. In this case the criminal owns (the domain extension for Columbia) and you’re simply visiting a subdomain hosting the fake site.

One of the ways criminals trick users into going to the wrong site is by sending them an email pretending to be from the legitimate site but instead linking to the fake site. Users with HTML enabled are especially at risk because urls are much easier to hide inside of hyperlinks. For example links straight back to this article, but if placed in an official looking email pretending to be from Microsoft a user could be duped into thinking it’s a link to when it actually links elsewhere. This tactic combined with a good fake site and URL is enough to fool most users.

So as part of #FraudWeek teach some of the less tech savvy users how to spot the fakes. Just because you can spot them it doesn’t mean your friends and family can.

Google Chrome blocking access to a Phishing site.

Fortunately most modern web-browsers have the ability to scare users away from Phishing sites, but they shouldn’t be solely relied upon as some Phishing sites do manage to escape detection. Therefore user education is the key.

Homeopathic quack uses The Conversation to pimp health scam.

Well it didn’t take long for a supporter of Homeopathy to respond to calls for an alternative “medicine” crackdown. Sandra Lucas from La Trobe University has responded in defence of Homeopathy. While I am not surprised to see someone defend outright fraud, I am surprised by the platform that was used.

Sandra’s article was posted on none other than

People have a right to choose the treatments they want and decide how to manage their health issues. All health professionals including homeopaths should be qualified so the public has appropriate treatment. Treatments should be based on how well they make people feel rather than how scientific or traditional the medicine is. Sandra Lucus

This came as a surprise because this is a site that tries to bill itself as a source of reliable information from experts in the academic field. Yet, they allow people like Sandra Lucus to post such un-scientific rubbish that I am now going to have a hard time taking their site seriously.

We will:

  • Unlock the knowledge and expertise of researchers and academics to provide the public with clarity and insight into society’s biggest problems.
  • Give experts a greater voice in shaping scientific, cultural and intellectual agendas by providing a trusted platform that values and promotes new thinking and evidence-based research.
  • Provide a fact-based and editorially-independent forum, free of commercial or political bias.
  • Create an open site for people around the world to share best practices and collaborate on developing smart, sustainable solutions.
  • Ensure quality, diverse and intelligible content reaches the widest possible audience by employing experienced editors to curate the site.
  • Ensure the site’s integrity by only obtaining non-partisan sponsorship from education, government and private partners. Any advertising will be relevant and non-obtrusive.
  • Work with our academic, business and government partners and our advisory board to ensure we are operating for the public good.
  • Support and foster academic freedom to conduct research, teach, write and publish.

The Conversation, Charter

Fact based my arse. If you want to provide a “fact based” forum then you shouldn’t be allowing people to pimp bogus medicine. Homeopathic theory is so thoroughly debunked that we have a greater chance of proving the existence of Unicorns and Pixies than we do of finding evidence to support Homeopathy.

I’m not allowed to write for The Conversation because I’m not an academic. Yet kooks like Sandra Lucus are given a special privilege due to their academic status, regardless of the trash they may write. The editors should realise that just because someone has credentials it doesn’t mean they know what they are talking about. Or that they won’t deliberately make false, unsupported claims in order to defend an ideology.

Homeopathy in the firing line, again.

People who sell bogus Homeopathic “Medicine” in Australia are coming under fire from health authorities once again.

Homeopaths are facing a fight to defend their practice in Australia after the National Health and Medical Research Council flagged it might declare their work baseless and unethical.

draft public statement seen by The Age concluded it was ”unethical for health practitioners to treat patients using homeopathy, for the reason that homeopathy (as a medicine or procedure) has been shown not to be efficacious” The Age

I have written about Homeopathy on numerous occasions. Most notably the incident in which it lead to the death of local Perth woman Penelope Dingle at the hands of her homeopath Francine Scrayen who was treating her ineffective treatment. Like all homeopathic practitioners Francine Scrayen wasn’t a medical professional but rather a fraud looking to cash in on the vulnerable.

The draft statement by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council said that although homeopathy was not harmful in its own right, it might pose a risk to patients if safe and efficacious conventional treatments were delayed in favour of homeopathic treatments. The Age

Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people to skip legitimate medicine in favor of a treatment that has never been proven to work, despite being more than 200 years old. The late Steve Jobs was also a victim of Homeopathy.

So its about time that Homeopathy became recognised as the unethical sham that it is.

Presenting Anti-abortion fruitcake, Kristin Terheqes

Ok, I’m used to encountering insane propaganda but sometimes I encounter something so absurd that it needs to be shared. This one comes from one Kristin Terheqes.

Also, my comment telling them they haven’t a clue about medical procedure has disappeared from the comment thread. I think it perfectly reasonable to call this ridiculous image propaganda. Judge for yourself. shifty auction swindle.

Late last night I saw a television commercial for advertising good for ridiculously low prices. So I though I’d check it out and apply to old “If it sounds to good to be true” routine and see how the site makes its money.

Quibids is an auction site where people can place bids on items with incredibly low price tags.

To place a bid on any of these items you must first purchase credit with the site, these credits are called “Bids” and each “Bid” is worth 60cents. You can then place these Bids on items of your choice and if your Bid is the last in when the counter reaches zero then you win the right to purchase at the final auction price.

Seems legit on the surface, but here is where the scam lies. Unlike a normal online auction once the counter gets down to 20 seconds it will begin resetting back to 20 seconds each time someone places a Bid. Eventually the timer will get moved down to 10 seconds where it will constantly reset back to 10 seconds every time a bid is placed and will continue to do so until people stop bidding. So in theory an auction could go to eternity.

Here is the real key to the scam. Bids (credits) used to bid on items are non-refundable so even if you lose an auction you have still payed for the privilege of bidding, not only you but everyone who bids on these auctions is paying just to take part with no guarantee that they will be able to purchase the item. Even the winner of the auction is still out of pocket for the Bids (credits) they used to bid on the item which they can now purchase.

The constant resetting of the counter is used to drive people into a frenzy (it works) and start bidding like mad to be the last one before the counter hits zero. But 10-20 seconds is actually a long time at auction so they are easily outbid by someone else who is in turn outbidded again by another person. This can go on for hours with people spending their non-refundable Bids (credits) just to outbid each other.

Legitimate auctioneers don’t charge you to place each bid, or constantly reset the auction to keep you all bidding. However currently does both. The most well known online auction house is eBay, but you only pay on items that you win. The same goes for House, Car, Antiques and all legitimate auctions. I am happy to call a scam because the old “If it looks too good to be true” is certainly correct here. I am also convinced that naming their credit “Bids” is a deliberate attempt to trip users up with cleaver wording.

A visit to the National Museum of Computing

Back in January I visited the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, England. Unfortunately I was running short of time and didn’t get to look at everything. But here’s most of what a captured with a camera phone. Click the images to enlarge them.

Apple Macintosh -1984 (above). IBM Personal Computer – 1983 (below)Here is an Apple Macintosh, I remember using one of these in school. The Greyscale Monitor is build into the system case and a keyboard and mouse plug into the front. If I remember correctly the power switch is on the back right-hand side (to the user) and is either orange of grey. The all-in-one design that made the Macintosh stand out in 1984 is still popular in modern Apple computers.

The computer below it is an IBM Personal Computer XT, it is the first IBM PC to come with an internal hard drive. It’s 4.77 MHz processor was impressive back in 1983.

I have no idea what the Hewlett Packard pictured below is about. It appears to be built into the desk. It is clear that the system doesn’t have a mouse and I suspect the interface would amount to allot of green text.

Hewlett Packard – Let’s see Apple beat this all-in-one design.

Surprisingly many of the systems in the museum are still in working order. There was a working Commodore 64.Commodore 64 – 1982 (centre)

The Commodore 64 was one of the best selling personal computers of all time. The keyboard is built-in but it didn’t have a monitor. Instead of a monitor you plugged it into a TV, this made it cheaper and more affordable for the average person to acquire. It’s name is a reference to it’s 64 KB of RAM.

Here is the largest calculator that I have ever seen.

Friden Model 132 Calculator – 1965

As you can see there is a lot to go through.

These days the average phone has more processing power than all the computers in the museum.

I recognise a PDP-8 on the end there, here is another one outside of the cabinet.

PDP-8 – 1965

I also found an (early) Internet simulator.

An Internet without YouTube?

I regret not having the time to look through the museum thoroughly. There is so much to see and I have only photographed a small portion of what I saw. Now that I know this Museum is at Bletchley Park I can plan my time better on a future visit.