What Are Spammers Thinking?

I’ve noticed that from time to time normal, rational people comment on my blog posts. Unfortunately, their comments are usually lost in the noise. Where is the noise coming from?

Well, spammers.

Spam on blog posts is one of the most bizarre human or computer behaviors I have ever seen. And frankly, it makes no sense at all.

When some computer fills up one or two paragraphs with wildly random characters or words, I think it’s a good bet that no intelligent life form is behind the keyboard. If I had a monkey, it could probably do a better job.

And though I appreciate it when some comments praise my work, when they quickly lead to an ad for Viagra I become suspicious that they aren’t actually insinuating that my posts are leaving the readers flat. I suspect they haven’t read a word, and some computer is inserting an ad which the programmer hopes will automatically get posted. I hate to disappoint, but my posts have nothing to do with the pharmacology of impotence, and therefore such obviously slanted ads will get no traction with me.

As a matter of fact, any reader with more than a microwatt brain will notice two things. 1) there are no ads on my site, and I strongly resist any outside efforts to get me to “monetize” my website. I figure if I can’t afford to keep the website up without selling ads, then I’ll shut it down. 2) The name of the blog strongly implies I am a man, and upon reading a few posts you see that I have an attraction to men’s toys. So why do I see a preponderance of spam trying to get me to push handbags and women’s boots?

If I was going to push ads, they would be for man-toys like motorcycles, airplanes, high definition video cameras, arctic survival gear, wingsuits, and diving gear. You know, guy stuff. But the purveyors of those specialty items have the good sense and integrity not to spam me. Fur-lined boots and handbags do not occupy even a cubic nanometer’s worth of space in my brain. So why would I link to spam sites selling those things?

You would think that the fact that I have dumped thousands of spam attempts for completely unnecessary fashion accessories would catch someone’s attention in the respective marketing departments. Their money is being wasted. But that fact is seemingly never appreciated by the spammers.


Also not appreciated is that I never publish anything in Japanese. I have been to Japan, but I can’t read or write kanji or hiragana. In fact, one of the most disorienting experiences of my life occurred in a Japanese bus station where there was not a single character from the Latin alphabet. So why would spammers send me lengthy spam in Japanese writing? Are they completely clueless? Or do they think I’m a renaissance man who acquires languages like some people acquire DVDs? I’ll confess, I’m not that man. I have a hard enough time with American English.

The irony of it is that before long I’ll likely receive one or more spam comments based on this posting. It will probably read something like this:

“You hit the actual fingernail in the head regarding this gleam… This information is so hard to find I will link to your feed and tell my friends who have been searching. Buy Viagra cheap online.”

How about that for a non sequitur!

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If you have an interest in the psychology of spammers and spamming, there are a couple of articles, one scientific and one lay press that I can recommend. Another article, classified by Google as being scholarly, reportedly has a bad habit of infecting computers with viruses and other malware. According to the recommendations of my security software, I will not be recommending that site.

Spammer Image Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

The Dinosaur in the Window

Result of a FreakingNews Photoshop contest. Image credit: Matro1. Click for original link.

Even a child can appreciate the strangeness of watching the broad, glistening side of a dinosaur lumbering past the bedroom window. Fortunately the creature paid me no heed; it didn’t pause to look in the window, just kept moving on, quickly disappearing from view.

I lay there, frightened I suppose, but all I remember in detail very many years later is the remarkable sight of that moving mass of ponderous flesh. I didn’t see its head or its tail, just its massive hulk of a body sliding along the side of the house as close as could be without touching the house wall, or ripping off the roof. I sensed somehow that the dinosaur was not carnivorous; likely a plant eater, perhaps a brontosaurus, and thus no immediate threat to me.

I frankly cannot tell if that image was a flash of a dream, or a waking hallucination.

I was maybe seven and much more interested in cowboys and Indians than dinosaurs. I was not a toy dinosaur collector, and neither were my friends. In fact, I think this was long before kids, or adults, knew enough about dinosaurs to be fascinated with them. And yet there it was, gliding quietly and smoothly past my bedroom window.

That image lasted maybe four seconds, and yet those four seconds have lasted a lifetime — literally.

If my brain is at all typical, then it seems to me that visual images occurring spontaneously and transiently in six and seven year olds are perhaps associated with a growing and rewiring brain. However, as an adult my most remarkable memories are of similar dreamlets, extremely vivid dreams lasting but a few seconds, just as did the imagery of the dinosaur walking past the window.

Due to my being an adult I can’t explain them by remodeling of my brain. So perhaps there is something unique about them that has nothing at all to do with age.

They are certainly varied, and seem to have nothing whatsoever in common with my actual life. For instance, one dreamlet was of launching off a tall spire in a crystal city, and gliding on wings in an obviously nonhuman form, in a non-Earthlike place. That was probably the strangest, and yet most interesting five seconds of my life.

Another dreamlet, hypnagogic in that I was falling asleep, lasted maybe only a second. In it I clearly saw a white car veer directly into the path of my car, and what had to be an unavoidable head-on collision.

For some time I was on the lookout for white cars (Do you have any idea how many white cars there are?), but years have passed since then and I am still very much alive.

I’m well aware that no one wants to hear about someone else’s dreams, unless they’re being paid to do so. But that is not what this writing is about. Instead it’s about the strange events called dreamlets, moving images that pop into our heads when we are not concentrating on anything in particular.

I suspect we all have them, but due to their brevity few people talk about them. They really aren’t open to interpretation, at least in the same manner as more prolonged dreams which have been interpreted by psychoanalysts like Jung and Freud, and a host of modern day analysts.Dr_-Charles-T_-Tart

Arguably, the most modern discussion of these dreamlets is by Professor Charles Tart who has built a world-wide reputation on such matters. And yet he, like me, is reduced to only asking questions. In a recent blog posting he mentions a few potential explanations for dreamlets, some of which would be considered bizarre by most readers, but admits that none of them seem to match his experiences completely.

What interests me about his writing, however, is the fact that what he experiences during meditation and what I’ve experienced spontaneously share points in common. That leads me to believe these events are generalized throughout the human population. In other words, you may remember events similar to the dinosaur passing by your window, and may wonder what that was about. This posting, then, is to tell you that you are not alone. Unfortunately no one has authoritative answers for you.

If you have an interest in learning more about these brief events, then you may find Dr. Tart’s blog stimulating.