Category Archives: Scams

ET EXTRA: You’re Simply The Best (Now Send Us $)

Beware of “award” notifications from firms such as US Commerce Association.

This is a vanity scam, where a company such as US Commerce Association provides you a handsome award — for a price. A reputable organization will never ask you to pay for an award.


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ET EXTRA: Is Social Security A Ponzi Scheme?

fire Engineering Thinking Extra Is A Short Review Of A Current Hot Topic
Analysis: Using the generally-accepted definition of a Ponzi Scheme from this article…

The Williams plan to avert Social Security disaster” by Walter Williams, 10/03/11,¬†

…and considering the following data from the article…

According to a 2002 Congressional Research Service report titled “Social Security Reform” by Geoffrey Kollmann and Dawn Nuschler, workers who retired in 1980 at age 65 got back all they put into Social Security, plus interest, in 2.8 years.

Workers who retired at age 65 in 2002 will have to wait a total of 16.9 years to break even. For those retiring in 2020, it will take 20.9 years. Workers entering the labor force today won’t live long enough to get back even half of what they will put into Social Security.

…then yes, it is reasonable to refer to Social Security as a Ponzi Scheme.

-Ed Walker


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Should You Fire Your Investment Adviser?

In previous posts we’ve described the basic elements of engineering thinking. Properly applied, ET gives you a significant advantage in life, by helping you to avoid emotional blockages and to apply logical thinking.

As mentioned previously, ET does not guarantee the best decisions, but it does greatly improve the odds for very good decisions. For human beings, that’s about as good as it gets. ET can help you avoid potential scams, improve relationships, and even protect your health and your life.

Since we’ve previously established the basic principles of ET, we’re going to provide more practical ET applications. To start, let’s consider investments. The advice below may save you a bundle.

Should You Fire Your Investment Adviser?

If your investment adviser uses charts, graphs, and other “technical indicators” to make investment decisions, you may as well fire him/her and throw darts at a list of stocks in the Wall Street Journal.

Why? Because there is no scientific evidence to support the belief that prior performance (as displayed in graphs) has anything to do with future performance.

There are no sure things. There is no way to absolutely predict success in an investment. All you can do is play the odds, but not random or casino odds. The odds you want to play should be based primarily on the inherent value of the stock, which includes a lot of factors, but not graphs or charts of its prior price.

So if your investment adviser Charlie calls you up and says something like, “You should buy stock XYZ! It’s just experienced a double top point and breakout, which means its price is about to explode, blah blah blah..,” ET recommends: fire him.

-Ed Walker


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ET EXTRA: Is EasyWater (The “No Salt Water Conditioner”) A Scam?

fire Engineering Thinking Extra Is A Short Review Of A Current Hot Topic


Define the problem and set the goals: Hard water. Want to find a water conditioner at a reasonable price. Said conditioner should remove/prevent scale, prevent spotting, and make water feel good to the touch. A no-salt device as claimed by EasyWater would be a plus.

Do the research: Check some sites by knowledgeable chemistry professionals. Gallery of water-related pseudoscience has this to say about EasyWater: “They have toned down their previous silly hype, and now just give the usual dubious stuff about electromagnetic scale control.”

Analyze & test: Check if the EasyWater web site presents independent third-party testing that supports its claims. As of this post it doesn’t. The site is full of anecdotal comments of unknown validity, and what engineers call “hand waving”; technical mumbo jumbo meant to impress those without a science background. Amazingly, the site’s FAQ section clearly states that the product does not achieve the goals of a conventional water conditioner. But hey, it doesn’t use salt.

Conclusion:¬† Avoid this company until they present some solid third-party test evidence that their product provides benefits associated with “water conditioning,” which would include substantial scale removal/prevention.

Note to EasyWater: If you have any independent verifiable scientific evidence that quantifies the amount of scale removed or prevented by your products as compared to a conventional salt-based water conditioner, please submit. I will be happy to post.

-Ed Walker


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