Winner of the Best Documentary Feature at the last Academy Awards.
The film has received very positive reviews, earning a 98% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes website, which compiles reviews from multiple critics. One viewer-reporter characterized the film as “rip-snorting [and] indignant [with] support from interviews with Nouriel Roubini, Barney Frank, George Soros, Eliot Spitzer, Charles R. Morris and others. But the most effective presence,” he continues, “may be the trusted voice of all-American actor Matt Damon, who narrates the furious takedown of the financial services and the government. It’s a fairly bold move by the actor.”
It was selected for a special screening at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. A reviewer writing from Cannes characterized the film as “a complex story told exceedingly well and with a great deal of unalloyed anger. [It] lays out its essential argument, cogently and convincingly, that the 2008 meltdown was avoidable. Less familiar faces, including a brothel madam and a therapist who each catered to Wall Street in the bubble years are also seen, and the movie ends not long after Robert Gnaizda, formerly with the Greenlining Institute, a housing advocacy group, characterizes the Obama administration as ‘a Wall Street government’, a take Mr. Ferguson clearly endorses.”
Most of us have recieved a 419 scam in our e-mail at least once. It’s the classic ‘Nigerian Prince’ e-mail, where you’re promised a big payoff if you front them some money first. (You don’t get the payoff.) Ars Technica has a fascinating piece about people who come together to waste the time of those scammers, sending them on wild goose chases or supplying them with ridiculous misinformation, with the idea that every minute the scammer wastes with that is a minute they’re not tricking someone into giving up their money. From the article:
Who are these people? As it turns out, the scam-baiter demographic is more diverse than one might think, though much of the reasoning for participating is the same. “My initial reason for baiting was to give myself an outlet for the practical jokes that I am ‘too old’ to play on my dog/little sister/friends/neighbor’s cat,” a 32-year-old baiter who goes by blah told Ars. “But after I joined 419eater, I realized that we actually do make an impact on the entire scamming business by running interference and wasting these scammer’s time.”
Other scam baiters we spoke to (all of which wished to remain anonymous for their own safety) echoed this sentiment, many relaying feelings of boredom or frustration with scammers. They also had heard humorous stories from experienced baiters and wanted to get involved. And, of course, there’s always those who simply do it because they feel like it’s payback. “I’m an absolute stickler for justice and hate any form of abuse,” a UK production company owner who goes by Paddy told Ars.
The things baiters do to scammers range from “boring,” menial tasks like seeding false information or questionable wording into the scamming community (tasks that don’t necessarily bring the glory, but are equally necessary) to sending scammers on full-on safaris across Africa—or sometimes, the globe—in search of money that will never come. The baiters we spoke with said that they spend anywhere from a an hour per day (usually arranged around other things, like TV or just casual Internet surfing) to a full 8 to 10 hours per day, especially if they are working on a collaborative safari. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Baiting Nigerian Scammers for Fun (Not so Much for Profit) [ArsTechnica]