A better class of spam
Just got hit with someone promoting an article they’ve just written in an area about which I know passing little, and which may be total bollocks — though its so far out of my area of interest right now I’m not even going to dig deep enough to check.
This happens quite a bit — probably to anyone hanging in the blogosphere (certainly the science end of it). Everyone who pops their prairie-dog head even a little bit above the surface of public conversation gets these.
For me, having made films and written about Einstein — a true lightening rod — most of what I receive are fundamental theories of the universe (or the universe-and-spirit) that somehow have failed to gain traction in the hidebound and corruptly closed world of professional physics.
Back at the dawn of time, when I still used a chisel and slate whilst workign at NOVA, we used to put the most wackily wonderful of the then-snail-mail delivered breakthroughs up in a special corner of the hall bulletin board.
Now it’s all email, of course, complete with links to websites or pdfs. Not all of it is crazy stuff, though most is. Sometimes its just someone trying to get traction, blasting out news of something or other — not much different, I suppose, than putting up stuff on a blog…except for the distinction between pull and push media.
The one curiousity that comes from this new email mode of shouting in the middle of the stage “attention must be paid!” is you get to see who else your sender thinks belongs in the crowd of those who could help him or her. And this latest is nice company, if a rather — make that “very” — odd mix. I didn’t recognize many of the fifty odd receipients listed, but Jared Diamond was there, and so was Frances Fukuyama, (see what I mean about an odd combo?), Jerry Coyne and Jeffrey Sachs and a bunch of other hugely disparate notables. How I got on such a list I have no idea, but if one is to be distracted, even for a moment, by such random blasts from the cosmos, the frisson of synchronicity with all those grand pooh-bahs provides a chuckle.
Image: A fused quartz gyroscope for the Gravity Probe B experiment which differs from a perfect sphere by no more than a mere 40 atoms of thickness as it refracts the image of Albert Einstein in the background.