Cranks

September 5, 2011 at 4:03 am 2 comments

| Gabriel |

Every other week or so I get mail from cranks. By “crank” I don’t mean somebody who has a reasonable but disputable point of view. For instance, I wouldn’t count the people who try to get me to show propaganda films to my students or recruit them to work as signature gatherers. I generally ignore such messages, but I don’t think they’re nuts.

Rather, by cranks I mean people with policy and/or scientific ideas that are clearly nuts. Specifically, I’m thinking of Be\/erly Hi||s Times, Leonard Ma||o, and Jaime-P0zeu|o M0ntf0rt. (I’ve used spam style spelling to avoid giving them attention). The first of these is some kind of pseudo-science crank with a grand unified theory of everything and the latter two are utopian world government cranks. All three of them occasionally send me messages that have a list of “endorsements” that they don’t realize are actually polite brush-offs (e.g., “The project looks very interesting.”).

Anyway, just wondering what kind of crank mail y’all get, or if it’s just me? In particular I’m kind of curious if these folks particularly target faculty or if they just use regular old spam mailing lists.

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2 Comments

  • 1. j. randi  |  September 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Actually, it is just you.

  • 2. drschweitzer  |  September 15, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Nope, not just Gabriel. Trying being a transportation expert. The HSR people, the podcar people, the bike people—there are normal, sane people in all those groups, but mixed in there are those who think that whatever their pet idea is will completely transform the planet into future utopia, and by gum, a professor ally would bring me a dedicated of students willing to carry my vision to the masses for free free free! (after all, I already pay taxes, so the university is there to provide free research support to me me me.). This professor, if I only beg to meet with them a dozen times, will then agree to conduct my advocacy campaign for free free free!

    Yes, IOW, I know. Every time I publish something in the LA Times or in the popular press, I get a ton of these.


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