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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

{Hi|Howdy|Hello}, You’re a {Moron|Chowderhead|Boob}!

(You can’t slow down science. And that includes Secondhand SCIENCE. This week, the topic is double-slit experiments.

No, seriously. It’s a physics thing. I didn’t make a single sex joke in the whole piece.

I know. I can’t believe it, either. Go see.)

Spammers are such a bunch of weenies.

I think of people who barf spam into the world in the same way as a greasy old guy with a combover hitting on every young chick who walks into a bar. I mean, sure — there’s a shot at a big payoff.

A minimal shot. Infinitesimal. Like, a girl would have to walk in, be struck blind, down a party ball full of peppermint schnapps and swallow the keys to her house before she’s going home with this hosebag. But technically, yes, there’s a piddly-assed tiny chance.

Fine. That makes it “possible”. But it doesn’t make it right.

The problem is, these things take so little effort. Some sleazeball can leer, “how you doin’?” to a dozen skeeved-out women, without even breaking a sweat.

Although let’s face it. He’s probably sweating. Only for… other reasons. Ew.

At the same time, some other sleazeball can push a button and send fourteen million sweaty email ads for peener stretchers or Albanian sex pills or naughty iguana chat lines, with no exertion whatsoever. He doesn’t even need to stop to towel off his mouse.

Though he might, anyway. Because, ew.

Both forms of assholishness work on the same principle: if you throw enough darts, eventually you’ll hit something. And since the analogy sadly doesn’t include the possibility of all those “missing” darts getting shoved their ass, there’s little downside. And so we get spammed.

(And some people get hit on. Not me. But people. I’ve heard stories.

Combover stories.)

Because it’s so simple, spamming is (obviously) wildly popular. It’s the ultimate low-risk, low-reward, nearly-no-effort, don’t-even-bother-putting-down-the-joint kind of work. And it’s idiotproof. You’d have to be practically brain-dead to cock it up.

“Sex sells, I guess. And if all else fails, there’s always knockoff Prada.”

Which makes it so much fun when they cock it up — bless their greasy shrunken little idiot hearts. And the cock-up I got today might be my very favorite.

I get spam comments on my sites all the time. These work like spam emails, more or less, only they’re not particularly designed to get people to click the links in them. Rather, it’s part of a Goldbergian plot to get links (to porn sites, mostly) onto blogs (which aren’t porn sites… mostly), which will then entice Google to index those (mostly porn sites) higher in searches (which are, obviously, for porn sites, mostly) than the other (mostly porn) sites who don’t do this sort of insane tangential marketing.

(Also, handbags come up a lot. I don’t know why purses are, like, number two with a bullet, right up there with the wang pills and “loose lady bus drivers waiting for you!” ads, but there it is.

Sex sells, I guess. And if all else fails, there’s always knockoff Prada.)

Anyway, this shady sham shit is years old, and apparently Google has figured out the game and wipes these jerkholes out of search results already. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the spammers. Because it’s so easy.

But to try and get around the Big Goog’s algorithms — and to fool spam filters that blogs put up to weed them out — the “spammenters” do rely on a couple of tricks. The big one being: sound conversational. Surround those website links with something that seems genuine, and has reasonable words in most of the right places to plausibly be a real message typed by a person, rather than some subhuman smudge of genetic filth programming a spambot in a dark alley.

Also, don’t say exactly the same thing in every message. Mix up a word here and there, so the filters don’t get too wise to a certain phrasing and ban you. These are the things spammers think about, and eventually they build little templates for themselves, to make things even easier. All they have to do is plug these snippets of chatter into some script, and it will chop up the phrases, parse some options and blat semi-coherent spam onto millions of servers.

How do I know?

Because some godforsaken idiot couldn’t even do that, and left a comment with the template.

(I sincerely hope that spammer is out there somewhere, wearing a very well-padded helmet.

Also, I hope a bus runs him over. But until it does, I think his clearly-soft skull deserves a little protection. It’s not well.)

Here’s a sample of what this thing looks like:

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours today,

yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

I’ve gotten spam comments crafted out of this stupid template — thousands of them. In the right (sweaty, combovered) hands, it looks like a sentence. One option out of each set of brackets gets printed, and it becomes more-or-less English. Usually followed by a link to growyourjunktilitdragsontheground.com. Or worse.

But this failwipe couldn’t manage that. He just spewed the entire set of hundreds of sentences — a whole spammers’ playbook, in one heaving hurl — into my comment section. Gems like:

I’m {bored to tears|bored to death|bored} at work

so I decided to {check out|browse} your {site|website|blog} on my iphone during lunch break.

(Hey, screw you, man. You know three kinds of “bored”, but an iPhone is the only device in the world? Shove a turtleneck in it, spammo.)

Also:

{I’m|I am} not sure where {you are|you’re} getting your {info|information}, but {good|great} topic.

(At a certain point, it’s impossible not to read these as choices on a T-1000 Terminator screen. Spamma la vista, baby.)

And for the geography fans:

Greetings from {Idaho|Carolina|Ohio|Colorado|Florida|Los angeles|California}!

(This seems about right. Any time Ohio and Florida show up in a list together, you know it’s a shitshow.)

I haven’t been this entertained by spam since a certain Viking-filled Monty Python sketch. It ain’t Shakespeare — but it’s better than Canadian Viagra ads.

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Highlights
Me on Film 'n' Stage:
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Me on Science (silly):
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  Meta Science News


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Favorite Posts:
30 Facts: Alton Brown
A Commute Dreary
A Hallmark Moment
Blue's Clues Explained
Eight Your 5-Hole?
El Classo de Espanol
Good News for Goofballs
Grammar, Charlie-Style
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How I Feel About Hippos
How I Feel About Pinatas
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  09/06/04: Connection

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