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Adele Elliott: Contemporary plagues

 

Adele Elliott

 

These days we have much to worry about. Climate change, the economy and whether or not aliens will be accepted into heaven (the ones from outer space, not the ones from south of our border) are a few troubles on our lists that are sure to produce anxiety. Our heads are spinning with crises that our parents and grandparents could never have imagined. 

 

Thankfully, we can count on the reliability of technology. All we have to do is sit at our desks and turn on the little beast that connects us to the entire globe. What could go wrong? 

 

Alright, your magical instrument may sometimes run a bit slowly. But a nice man with an Indian accent (India the country, not Native American) may phone you because he is aware of this, and can fix it, remotely, from his computer. How thoughtful of him! And for prices ranging between $90 and $250, all your problems will be solved. 

 

Is this making your head swim? Maybe you should take a break and go fishing. The bad news is that some devious folks are also "phishing," an attempt to learn all sorts of private data like your secret passwords and bank account numbers. With the touch of a button they can install "malware" -- software designed to give these criminals access to your computer and your personal information. Oh, my! 

 

Most of these scams are sneaky ways of obtaining entree into an individual's data, sensitive material that will then help them to steal from the unsuspecting victim. But sometimes the goal of these deceptions is only to cause hassles. Viruses trigger tons of inconvenience and general woe, usually with no real reward for the villain (except perhaps bragging rights about their world-class hatefulness). 

 

You can find ways of protecting yourself from all kinds of cyber scoundrels at the Federal Trade Commission's consumer information site, consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0346-tech-support-scams. But I warn you, the vast number of people trying to swindle us is overwhelming. This site just might make you lose confidence in human nature. 

 

For those who are starting to learn about computers from scratch (and don't have a pre-teen in your home), the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library is offering classes in basic computing, Word, how to use email, and how to take your first few steps onto the information superhighway. Classes run from August to October, so you should be able to find one that fits in your schedule (Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, 314 Seventh St. N., Columbus; 662-329-5300. lowndeslibrary.org). 

 

Now that I have solved all you pesky computer issues, I will answer a couple more questions. Yes, climate change is real (but only if you accept scientific evidence). The economy stinks. It's amazing that we still survive. And, as to the burning matter of aliens entering heaven, I defer to creationist Ken Ham (notorious for his debate with scientist Bill Nye). Ham says that according to the Bible, aliens (the ones from other planets) will go to hell. The debate becomes quite complicated. For some direct quotes by Mr. Ham on this subject, I suggest that you check out "The Cleveland Leader" newspaper of July 21. 

 

The article may clear things up for some people. However, for Catholics and a few other religions out there, Pope Francis muddied the issues on aliens entering heaven when he recently commented that he would baptize aliens if they wished to become Catholics. 

 

All clear? You are welcome.

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.

 

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