Author Topic: SGU 5x5 #20  (Read 3256 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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SGU 5x5 #20
« on: May 21, 2008, 08:22:07 AM »
Podcast #20    SPAM Chainletter e-mails do not spread as virally as thought.
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Offline MisterMarc

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 01:20:31 AM »
Am I the only person who was confused by this episode? "They don't spread virally, they spread from person to person." What? ???

Offline Anders

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 02:58:58 AM »
Virally would mean that it spread from one person to two persons to four persons, etc. Instead it's a linear spread - from one person to one person to one person... You don't get exponential growth.
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Offline mddawson

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 05:56:23 AM »
Virally would mean that it spread from one person to two persons to four persons, etc. Instead it's a linear spread - from one person to one person to one person... You don't get exponential growth.

What about those emails that say you must send this onto 10 more people.  If everyone who got this email did this then you would get exponential growth.
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Offline Anders

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 07:09:28 AM »
Yep, but apparently people don't. Otherwise the mail would never get past the seventh or eighth posting...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” Charles Darwin

Offline Ted

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 09:17:44 AM »
It had been a while since I had seen some of these older spams, but a few years ago someone forwarded the 'Bill Gates is giving away his fortune' spam to the ENTIRE US NAVY.  Crashed the whole system as the East Coast logged on.  Some people did reply that it was not real, but used the 'reply all' function.  Total mess all morning until someone finally went in and deleted everything.

That particular spam already bugged me.  I did know some people who thought it was real, and I had to ask them "Do you really want Microsoft to know everyone you send an email to?"
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Offline Damian Yeung

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008, 09:52:55 AM »
Email says send to 10 people. If you don't you will have an eternity of bad luck

Person: HOLY CRAP!................ehhhhh...ill just send this too one of my friends.

Why would someone who believes in this then not do exactly what the instructions

Offline Anders

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 10:29:48 AM »
I would rather believe that they send it as a "Hey, look at this funny piece-of-crap I got!"

Over the years, the versions that become better at eliciting this response will flourish. Memetics in the making!
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” Charles Darwin

Offline MisterMarc

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2008, 02:41:31 PM »
I guess that makes sense. Though I have to say I've never gotten a single forwarded email that was only addressed to me.

Also, were there five skeptics in this 5x5 episode?  ;)

Offline Rueful Rabbit

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2008, 03:48:14 PM »
Am I the only person who was confused by this episode? "They don't spread virally, they spread from person to person." What? ???

I reacted the same way at first.  "Not virally but primarily from one person to the next" - huh?  I reckon it means that 90% of forwardings are to just one person - but it only needs the remaining 10% to send to many people for the virus to spread.  But I'd still call that viral.  Could someone provide a reference to the original research?

Offline diabhal

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2008, 06:46:18 PM »
So is SGU running out of skeptical topics or what..? This just seemed like a bit of barrel-bottom-scraping to me... I don't know, maybe some of you genuinely find this bit intriguing.

Offline Mike

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2008, 07:36:24 PM »
Also, were there five skeptics in this 5x5 episode?  ;)

Yep. I was the 5th.  ;)  I was the one with the noticeably crappier audio.
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Offline MisterMarc

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2008, 07:47:33 PM »
Also, were there five skeptics in this 5x5 episode?  ;)

Yep. I was the 5th.  ;)  I was the one with the noticeably crappier audio.

Hmm....I heard you, but I only heard Jay, Steve and Evan besides you. Eh, I always mix up Jay and Bob....maybe both of them spoke and I missed it.

Offline Hanes

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2008, 08:13:21 PM »
Ya, I mess up the brothers as well.  The only reason I can tell Steve is because he's the one speaking with a godlike, omnipresent, booming voice of reason that resounds from the pit of my soul to the tips of my fingers.

Ted, love the avatar. :P

Offline Mrs B

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Re: SGU 5x5 #20
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2008, 03:45:37 AM »
Ya, I mess up the brothers as well.  The only reason I can tell Steve is because he's the one speaking with a godlike, omnipotent, booming voice of reason that resounds from the pit of my soul to the tips of my fingers.
Fixed  :D
It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him into possession of the truth---John Locke (1632-1704)

 

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