Pick a pecan, break a law?

It’s no secret that Georgia is serious about agriculture.  So serious, in fact, that loose pecans are protected under a law buried within the Property Law section (Title 44).

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.
FOR LEGAL ADVICE, CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.

Are the pecans from a tree on someone’s private property?
Do you intend to pick them up during the official harvest season?
Are you wanting to shake the tree to force some of the pecans to fall?

If the answer to the questions is YES, please read OCGA 44-12-241.

Here’s the law – O.C.G.A. § 44-12-241 .

Picking a pecan off a sidewalk, image Copyright June 24, 2018 Amy Barnes.

Picking Pecans (c)2018 Amy Barnes

It’s always good to know the laws you may be subject to, and it is equally important to know your rights; when in doubt, seek the advice of Bar-certified counsel in your state.
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Social Media diversification and why F*Book sucks.

I used to be on FaceBook, until the day I posted an excoriating comment (it really was brutal) about a police detective.  A few hours after I had made my remarks, several unknown F*Book users maliciously reported my account as a “hacked” account. Since the outage, I’ve been on Twitter and Instagram.  I’ve learned a few things along my journey…

Instagram enabled me to quickly reach news media for a campaign to force a city utility to restore service.  With the incredible array of media options, and the length of text allowed on a post, Instagram has proven itself to be almost as good as F*Book; the only thing it is missing are the Group and Page features.

Twitter is its own animal; posts can go viral with a quickness; Twitter stats revealed to me that one of my tweets had over eleven-thousand user-views.  One new feature is similar to hastags – the image tag.  When a user doctors up a pic with an adorable sticker, any user who clicks on the sticker gets to see who else has posted what with the sticker.

Twitter and Instagram allow users to use the hashtag feature, which can turn a campaign into a serious contender for traditional politics and problem-resolving; I’ve helped lead direct action campaigns designed to recoup stolen wages back into the hands of the workers said such wages were filched from.  I’ve helped campaign for the release of people facing injustice within the court system and have raised awareness on various campaigns.

The power of F*Book is dwindling, and with new and improved interfaces / features, Twitter is now a go-to source for news; the coolest feature of Twitter is that – instantly – fellow users can share a tweet and send the OP (Original Poster) into immediate fame; one tweet can be shared many thousands of times over, sending packs of followers and supporters after an offensive person, group, or concept / policy like one would dispatching a pack of H***-hounds after someone. Which brings us to the power of social media…

Social media is, in and of itself, a wonderful check and balance, if used properly.  Political campaigns have taken on a new meaning and life, with children as young as several years old calling entire armies of adults to action for a cause.  With the power of social media comes the responsibility to diversify our reach, so that one platform does not possess a monopoly on the news feed, so to speak; it is vital to the whole of society that people have multiple ways to reach out to support one another.  When protesters are wrongly jailed, Twitter has frequently been used to quickly garner support, while Instagram has allowed sources to securely leak valuable news to reporters across the world.  F*Book, while capable of the same, has been caught up in censorship scandals.

While F*Book has some play, it is Twitter and Instagram that are proving serious contenders in the battle against corruption and malfeasance, and I encourage a good look at Twitter and Instagram.
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In-app ads: the new shareware?

Just a brief missive as I sit here waking up, noticing that a Solitaire app now has ads…

The battle for monetization is on; first software developers tried to sell licenses, then they tried ShareWare / DonationWare, and now it’s in-app ads.

The cool thing about desktop platforms offering in-app ads is that developers get paid based on usage rather than [strictly] license sales.  Users pay nothing.  Everyone benefits.

This concept was found tried-and-true on mobile devices, and now desktop platforms / IDE environments are offering monetization for developers, with a for-pay option to remove ads or rewarding users for viewing ads by offering in-game perks.

Look at how AdMob interacts with Android Studio, then look at Microsoft Store and Visual Studio.  Even gaming platforms are hopping onto this bandwagon, with developers publicly proclaiming that – with ads and sales of game licenses – they no longer have to worry about things as mundane as bills. [see the promotion content for Roblox Studio and look at some of the testimonials]

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Lunch on a buck: Chicken Noodle Rice

Folks, ramen noodles now have serious competition.  This dish is easy, quick, requires only five ingredients, and – best of all – no actual measuring cups are needed.  And, you cook this with three button-pushes on the microwave. This dish tasted so good I forgot to take a nice pic.

And the creator of this recipe is yours truly (the author of this article).

Arborio Chicken Noodle Rice

Ingredients
Your bowl – any standard *microwavable* soup bowl that can hold 2-3 cups of liquid.
Arborio rice – fill the lid with a third-full of rice, drop rice in bowl. Do this twice more.
Lipton Cup-a-soup – drop a packet of chicken soup mix in the bowl.
Parsley – drop one heaping teaspoon of it on top.
Ladybug Picnic (seasoned Sea Salt) – season the dish to taste – drop in before cooking.
Water – fill the bowl with about 1.25x the volume as you have rice, you can always add more.
**OPTIONAL** you can add a can of chicken to add flavor and nutrition, at ~$2 extra cost.
**OPTIONAL** I add two drops of DoTerra Lemon Oil to brighten up the taste.

Cooking
Hit the preset Six button on your microwave – stir a tad bit.
Hit that Six again, check to see if you need more water, stir a bit more.
Now hit preset Two and then when that’s finished, check to see if you have extra water.

If you’re left over with a tiny bit of extra water, just let the rice sit and absorb the water for a few minutes.  The dish will be VERY hot.  Let it sit for anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes.

PIC of INGREDIENTS

soup mix, parsley flakes, rice, seasoned salt

The main ingredients

COSTS

This dish is excellent for people who cannot necessarily leave to go out and eat.  I’m including the source for all my ingredients except for the bowl.

Arborio Rice – $2 to $8 – you can hit up Kroger, Publix, or Wal-Mart for their in-store brand or – like I do – buy from Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/s?field-keywords=Arborio+Rice

Cup-a-Soup – 1.8oz size – ~$2.19 to $18 (bulk 12-boxes) – Amazon has the best price, running at approx $1.50 per box in the bulk 12-box option. Each box has 4 packets, bringing per-serving cost to ~ 38 cents. Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/Lipton-Instant-Soup-Chicken-Noodle/dp/B000EOXQS0/

Ladybug Picnic salt – $8 – by Beautiful Briny Sea – is sold directly from their site – here is a direct link: https://shop.beautifulbrinysea.com/collections/sea-salt-blends-1/products/ladybug-picnic

Parsley flakes – $2-$20 (bulk) – Here’s a bulk deal on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gel-Spice-Parsley-Flakes-Serviec/dp/B01MS6VYZ9/

CONCLUSION – this recipe is perfect to pack into a small, light “care package” for a college student, as the ingredients don’t require refrigeration and do not take up a lot of space.  A lunch-sized portion can certainly be pre-mixed ahead of time and put into a small container to stash into a purse or pocket.

5/25/2018 – by Amy Barnes, photos by Amy Barnes.
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The downfall of BitConnect and BitSequence: a brief explainer.

Crypto-scams, class action litigation, and securities regulation, oh, my!

The story of millions of dollars in losses, and a class action lawsuit, starts with BitConnect allegedly hosting a once-legendary “trading bot” that was the core to a successfully advertised “profit-sharing” agreement with users willing to lend BTC to the venture. BTC was exchanged for the official platform currency, BCC, via a private exchange. Eventually,BCC became so popular that BCC was traded on several cryptocurrency exchanges. BitConnect was indeed able to pay out daily interest, and the ROI was capped at 40% per month, making it a profitable enterprise with payouts turning out quite nicely.  After nearly two years in operation, receiving more than any bank could deliver in interest, investors became comfortable with reinvesting everything gained.  BitSequence showed up very late in the game, borrowed from the BitConnect playbook, and staff posted about “trade signals” – specifically referring to price changes in BTC rates, leading investors to believe that a trading profit sharing arrangement was in play.

And then BitSequence showed up.  Ads appeared on Twitter offering 3% paid daily, with a standard warning to invest at your own risk. BitSequence was riding on the coattails of its controversial predecessor, BitConnect, which had clocked in nearly two years of churning out profits from an alleged “trading bot.” BitSequence was a scam.

The BitSequence TOS (no longer available as the site had shut down without warning) stated that each investment package on offer is was a permanent purchase – buyers do not get their principle back, in return for lifetime income of 3% daily ROI.  A tactic was developed by savvy investors: cash out the 3pct ROI on a small investment until the principle amount has been earned, and then reinvest future gains.  The minimum investment amount was $10.00 USD value of: BTC, LTC, ETH, XRP, and more, with interest paid out in the cryptocurrency that was used to invest.  Then one day it all disappeared – website, Twitter handle, etc.

BitSequence offered referral bonuses similar to BitConnect, offering 5% of downline investments and a smaller percentage of downline interest gains.  Investors did receive payouts each day, and flocked to social media to recruit friends into climbing aboard.

The cultural difference between BitConnect and BitSequence artwork is notable, along with the stories of their shut-downs. BitConnect was shut down after approximately two years of operation, on the same day that China had downgraded its credit rating of the US / USD.  The artwork on the BitConnect website had a distinctly Asian appearance and was based in China, while BitSequence targeted mostly Western countries and was based in the UK.

BitConnect’s downfall arrived shortly after two separate cease and desist demands were issued from securities regulation agencies in North Carolina and Texas, with more orders expected to arrive from other states. 
NC: https://www.sosnc.gov/vs2010/Soskb.Web.Content/media/1033/admin_order_bit_connect.pdf
TX: https://www.ssb.texas.gov/news-publications/4-billion-crypto-promoter-ordered-halt-fraudulent-sales

BitConnect suddenly started shutting down access to the site for hours at a time, citing “maintenance” work – presumably recoding the website to stabilize the platform and shield against DDOS attacks and, in the end, deal with urgent and unexpected “maintenance” of the servers.  Next, BitConnect claimed that the site had been under DDOS attacks.  Finally, a notice of pending shut-down issued forth, and BCC values bottomed-out and held out to close to $20 per BCC and then fell to less than $10 on various exchanges.

After the shut-down, BCC holders were offered a favorable buy-in rate to a new cryptocurrency, BitConnect X.  Interestingly, these ICO offers included a restriction specifically against US citizens.  See: https://bitconnectx.co/#faqs

BitConnect ceased operations (payouts, specifically) as of Jan 15, with BitSequence shutting down and completely disappearing approximately eleven days later, on January 26, 2018.  It appears that BitConnect was the canary in the coal mine, leaving BitSequence the choice between sticking around to be sued or disappearing with investors’ money. It is a wonder that no law firm has announced any investigations into the disappearance of BitSequence.

BitConnect became subject to litigation by Silver Miller, a class action law firm, and the lawsuit is limited to investors with losses over $250,000 USD, according to an email update notice regarding the case.  For more information on the class action lawsuit, Silver Miller has posted a landing page. See: https://www.silvermillerlaw.com/current-investigations/bitconnect/

This story is far from over; more information will be posted as it is discovered.

12 Feb 2018

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