Monday, May 15, 2006

These Dreams...

Most of us probably have strange dreams every now and then. My dreams may be a bit stranger than most, but, as I am fond of saying, if you do a log transformation, I am not that much of an outlier. ;)

This week-end, I dreamed that former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms was taking one of my classes at George Washington University. The timeline involved is not clear.

Recently, I dreamed that an American student wanted to make a call to France from a landline phone in a classroom during class and--to add insult to injury--wanted the class to be quiet during the conversation!

Sometime ago, I dreamed that my sister Anette, a veterinarian, had been appointed Secretary of the Interior (despite the fact that she is probably even more liberal than I am, making a Bush nomination unlikely).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Spammers, Mistarget Marketing, and Streamlined Bigamy

One of the spammers' newest tools to escape e-mail spam filters is sending an e-mail whose visible text actually takes the form of a graphic--thus, current spam filters can't catch references to aphrodesiac substances, mortgage refinancing, and other popular spam topics. (These messages probably contain some text to confuse the filters, but this text--if it is present--is not readily visible.)

These spam messages usually contain some rather strange subject lines. I recently received one ostensibly about "streaml[ining] bigamy." I admit I am rather curious about what this idea entails, let alone how it can be done. Yet, sending this type of message to a prude like me seems like a gross instance of mistarget marketing. It is almost as wasteful as the times when a disgusting, sleezy outfit calling itself Adam and Eve has offered to send me its filthy catalog! Yet, of course, efficiency is not important to most spammers.

This is the second time I have received a graphic (literally, not figuratively) message whose subject heading contained the word bigamy. One hypothesis is that words that occur in the news may be more likely to get through spam filters since a lot of people now subscribe to news alerts.