January 20, 2007

Presentation of Intelligible Content

Recently I was getting spam whose subject lines were real news headlines, such as "Iranian officials detained in Iraq, U.S. officials say" and "Madonna Defends Rosie." Though these subject lines were by no means intended to convey information, I nevertheless believed them; though I'm not sure whether this was because of an inclination to think that the spammers would use real headlines or because I induced from the ones I already knew had happened. (Guesses as to which they were will be ignored.)

In the last couple of days, though, the spammers have started making the headlines more alarmist by Madlibbing key elements: "Russian missle shot down USA satellite," "Russian missle shot down Chinese satellite," "U.S. Southwest braces for another winter blast. More then 1000 people are dead." I don't know whether this is supposed to help get around the spam filters (it's not working) or just to make sure that I get no utility whatsoever out of the spam. In any case, because of the reliability of the past spam, I was mildly concerned by some of this until I figured out what was going on. (The winter blast is in fact happening, but I didn't need spam to tell me.)

About an hour and a half ago I received spam with the subject line "Third World War have been declared." I'm glad that I stopped trusting the spam before then.

Posted by Matt Weiner at January 20, 2007 01:31 PM

Third World War have been declared.

I wonder if this would mean World War III, or war in the third world.

Posted by: Matt F at January 20, 2007 02:35 PM

The next one [update for clarity: the next obviously false spam subject line] was "The Supreme Court has been attacked by terrorists. Sen. Mark Dayton dead!" Pff. I know there's no Sen. Mark Dayton. [Since he was just replaced by Amy Klobuchar.]

Posted by: Matt Weiner at January 20, 2007 10:25 PM

Looks like the bot-nets have been expanded to include adjacent universes.

Posted by: mcmc at January 21, 2007 09:58 AM

five reasons not to open these emails, and particularly not the EXE's atatched to them... - 1) people who know me can spell. 2) people who know me and would send me things, wouldn't send me EXE's. 3) people who know me know to put "Nicky" in the subject line. 4) i don't care about current events.5) i'm not daft.

Posted by: Nicky at January 21, 2007 11:16 AM