Date: Mon 24 Apr 03:20:15 EDT 2006
Add To Address Book This is Spam
Subject: Please Review The Following Message!
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I nearly panicked and flew over to my Ebay account to read my important message that was waiting, except that I don't have an Ebay account. I use Father Dear's Ebay account, and his Ebay messages go to a Juno e-mail account, not my UGA mail account. You'd think they could at least spell all of their words correctly if they're going to try to scam people. Make it look official, people!
My UGA account sort of serves as a junk mail account right now, as evidenced by the enormous volume of crud that fills that inbox everytime I check it - mainly ads for unmentionable products. In addition to "Ebay" e-mails, in times past I've also received e-mails about my (nonexistant) Paypal account, various bank accounts from banks unafilliated with me, and at least one that claimed to be from my bank. Oh, and many e-mails from people in Africa requesting my help in securing an inheritance. All they ask for is my bank account number to deposit the money, then we can go halvsies on the spoils. What a deal! (I might add here a disclaimer admitting that there was a time when I was a bit less cynical with regards to such e-mails, and even held out hopes of making a profit from Microsoft's new e-mail tracking software :). I've wised up a bit since then, though, thanks to Brother Dear.)
Really, don't people have better things to do than make up bogus e-mails in the hopes of scamming people out of money? Get a real job! My name is Bob, and I'm a professional spammer. That'll impress the ladies. Really, have some self-respect.
I may chuckle when I get an Ebay notice, since I don't have an Ebay account, but many other people who received that same e-mail do have an Ebay account, so they may believe it. If you get an e-mail from a site you are signed up with, you may think that of course it's from them, after all you do have an account with them. They may even call you by the correct username. This means absolutely nothing, though. The genius behind spam is that statistically, it will always apply to someone. I am reminded of an episode from the greatest educational show ever produced: Square One TV. The show was on - you guessed it - math!
One portion of the show was called Mathnet (get the pun?). Mathnet was a detective series that detailed the antics of George Frankly and Kate Monday (later replaced by Pat Tuesday) as they solved day-to-day detective cases with the help of mathematics. At the beginning of each episode they would whip their calculators out of their arm holsters, punch buttons to "prime them" (?), and then they were ready to wield their deadly math knowledge in their fight against crime. It was great.
Mathnet. The story you are about to see is a fib, but it's short. The names are made up, but the problems are real.
Then comes the opening music. Dum, dum-dum-dum. Dum, dum-dum-dum. Dum, dum-dum-dum. Dum!
In one of the cases they solved, a woman claimed to be able to make predictions. She gained popularity and trust from people by relying on statistics. By predicting something that would apply to a portion of people, she would gain trust from those to whom it applied. She narrowed down her target group gradually, knowing that some of her followers would fall away with each prediction (since each prediction would not apply to everyone), but also knowing that her predictions would continue to ring true for a portion of the people she targeted. In the end she had a small group of people that believed her every word because she had predicted things about them (by statistics, not by foreknowledge). If Square One TV had been filmed in the days of computers, no doubt the woman would have gained followers by e-mail forwards.
Square One TV ran on PBS during my elementary school years, and I was a regular viewer. I even "starred" in many reenactments of the show :-D. I've known my Dear Friend Ashley for a long time; we first met at church when I was in first grade and she and Brother Dear were in second grade. I admire the fact that she has an appreciation for the finer things in life ;), including Square One TV. Many years ago, she participated in the solving of many exciting Mathnet cases with Brother Dear and me. Boy played George Frankly, and Ashley and I took turns playing Kate Monday (Did we also play Pat, Ashley, or did she come on the show after you moved?) and Jessie, the secretary. Good times :-D.
Each episode of Square One TV was a collection of short skits about various math concepts - always ending the show with an episode of Mathnet. Forever embedded in my brain will be a vision of the surgeons at General Mathpital operating on that giant "L", the Fat Boys singing "One Billion" (one thousand times one million, that's one billion. . . ), the Adding Family attempting to mentally add the numbers 1 to 100 in less than 3 minutes, and of course the Mathnetters discovering the Fibonacci sequence on the side of a brick mansion.
My favorite Square One TV song of all time is "The Mathematics of Love." It's kind of hard to forget the image of that guy in a toga singing, "I night, the starts were shining, II hearts, were intertwining. . . " It was great, and the background singers swinging to-and-fro with shiny togas and gold leaves in their hair just make the skit. For that great clip and more, check out this site that hosts some old Square One clips. Unfortunately no significant attempt has yet been made to release the old episodes to DVD :( , so loyal fans have attempted to preserve the memory of Square One via online clips.
*sigh* They just don't make great TV shows like they used to.