Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

How to Reduce Junk Mail

While junk email is harder to deal with, the much older problems of junk mail are slightly more within our control in the US. While the steps below will not reduce your junk mail load to zero, it will make a difference. It has for me and the “Federal Trade Commission recommends them”: as well.

* If you receive tons of unsolicited credit card offers in the post, the trouble is that the credit reporting agencies have sold your information to whoever would pay. The government has had them set up a “web site to opt out”: of all such offers forever (or opt-in, if you have lost your mind). The strange thing is that the agencies actually “commissioned a study [pdf]”: – for the benefit of the FTC and consumers, I suppose- that demonstrates that the unsolicited offers are actually _beneficial to consumers_ and more importantly, _beneficial to corporations_. If you are skeptical of giving your information to that web site- and you should be- know this: the “FTC recommends it”: and make sure the URL says ‘’ and has ‘https://’ preceding it instead of a regular ‘http://’.
* The rest of the junk mail is trickier. While it is impossible to stop it all, you can make a dent. Among the direct mail marketing companies, some of them have chosen to self-regulate themselves; probably in fear of government intervention. The have formed the Direct Marketing Association and allow you to opt out of all direct post _that is sent by their members_. This is clearly not all junk mail, but a significant amount. So, you can “go to the DMA web site”: and get yourself off the list. Except, there is a catch. You have to do it by post, if you want to do it for free. If you want to do it online, _they charge you $5_. Outrageous, but at least it is possible to do it at all.
Enjoy! [thanks to Get Rich Slowly]

Our First Birthday

Last June, “I started this blog”: to talk about the things I was interested in: technology, science, some politics (mainly concerning technology and science). Maybe it is a sign of the times, but the focus has been fine-tuned towards “civil liberties”:, “privacy”:, “open standards”: and “new energy”: while still introducing the occasional “geek project”: or “humorous”: outburst.

“Two”: “Slashdots”: and a “Digg”: later, the blog is older and wiser. I am learning to focus on fewer things in more detail as I try to build a repeat readership. So far, a vast majority of the readership surfs in and out through links found on Digg, Slashdot, other blogs and mainly, search.

So thanks to all those who have surfed in; even more thanks to those who stick around. Add “SA to your RSS reader”: and come back often.

The Energy Blog

I just added “The Energy Blog”: to my Blogroll in the sidebar. This is a great blog run by James Fraser, a veteran of the energy industry and energy-related arms of the government. The emphasis of his blog is on technologies that can replace oil. Unlike many on the Internet, he knows his subject matter extremely well. In his own words, _The Energy Revolution has begun and will change your lifestyle_.