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Spam Back Up To 94% of All Email

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the rust-never-sleeps dept.

Spam 330

Thelasko writes "A NYTimes blog reports that the volume of spam has returned to its previous levels, as seen before the McColo was shut down. Here is the report on Google's enterprise blog. Adam Swidler, of Postini Services, says: 'It's unlikely we are going to see another event like McColo where taking out an ISP has that kind of dramatic impact on global spam volumes,' because the spammers' control systems are evolving. This is sad news for us all."

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Who is John Galt? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408065)

For twelve years, you have been asking: Who is John Galt? This is John Galt speaking. I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values. I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world, and if you wish to know why you are perishing-you who dread knowledge-I am the man who will now tell you.â The chief engineer was the only one able to move; he ran to a television set and struggled frantically with its dials. But the screen remained empty; the speaker had not chosen to be seen. Only his voice filled the airways of the country-of the world, thought the chief engineer-sounding as if he were speaking here, in this room, not to a group, but to one man; it was not the tone of addressing a meeting, but the tone of addressing a mind.

"You have heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis. You have said it yourself, half in fear, half in hope that the words had no meaning. You have cried that man's sins are destroying the world and you have cursed human nature for its unwillingness to practice the virtues you demanded. Since virtue, to you, consists of sacrifice, you have demanded more sacrifices at every successive disaster. In the name of a return to morality, you have sacrificed all those evils which you held as the cause of your plight. You have sacrificed justice to mercy. You have sacrificed independence to unity. You have sacrificed reason to faith. You have sacrificed wealth to need. You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial. You have sacrificed happiness to duty.

"You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality in its full and final perfection. You have fought for it, you have dreamed of it, and you have wished it, and I-I am the man who has granted you your wish.

"Your ideal had an implacable enemy, which your code of morality was designed to destroy. I have withdrawn that enemy. I have taken it out of your way and out of your reach. I have removed the source of all those evils you were sacrificing one by one. I have ended your battle. I have stopped your motor. I have deprived your world of man's mind.

"Men do not live by the mind, you say? I have withdrawn those who do. The mind is impotent, you say? I have withdrawn those whose mind isn't. There are values higher than the mind, you say? I have withdrawn those for whom there aren't.

"While you were dragging to your sacrificial altars the men of justice, of independence, of reason, of wealth, of self-esteem-I beat you to it, I reached them first. I told them the nature of the game you were playing and the nature of that moral code of yours, which they had been too innocently generous to grasp. I showed them the way to live by another morality-mine. It is mine that they chose to follow.

"All the men who have vanished, the men you hated, yet dreaded to lose, it is I who have taken them away from you. Do not attempt to find us. We do not choose to be found. Do not cry that it is our duty to serve you. We do not recognize such duty. Do not cry that you need us. We do not consider need a claim. Do not cry that you own us. You don't. Do not beg us to return. We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.

"We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.

"There is a difference between our strike and all those you've practiced for centuries: our strike consists, not of making demands, but of granting them. We are evil, according to your morality. We have chosen not to harm you any longer. We are useless, according to your economics. We have chosen not to exploit you any longer. We are dangerous and to be shackled, according to your politics. We have chosen not to endanger you, nor to wear the shackles any longer. We are only an illusion, according to your philosophy. We have chosen not to blind you any longer and have left you free to face reality-the reality you wanted, the world as you see it now, a world without mind.

"We have granted you everything you demanded of us, we who had always been the givers, but have only now understood it. We have no demands to present to you, no terms to bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you.

"Are you now crying: No, this was not what you wanted? A mindless world of ruins was not your goal? You did not want us to leave you? You moral cannibals, I know that you've always known what it was that you wanted. But your game is up, because now we know it, too.

"Through centuries of scourges and disasters, brought about by your code of morality, you have cried that your code had been broken, that the scourges were punishment for breaking it, that men were too weak and too selfish to spill all the blood it required. You damned man, you damned existence, you damned this earth, but never dared to question your code. Your victims took the blame and struggled on, with your curses as reward for their martyrdom-while you went on crying that your code was noble, but human nature was not good enough to practice it. And no one rose to ask the question: Good?-by what standard?

"You wanted to know John Galt's identity. I am the man who has asked that question.

"Yes, this is an age of moral crisis. Yes, you are bearing punishment for your evil. But it is not man who is now on trial and it is not human nature that will take the blame. It is your moral code that's through, this time. Your moral code has reached its climax, the blind alley at the end of its course. And if you wish to go on living, what you now need is not to return to morality-you who have never known any-but to discover it.

"You have heard no concepts of morality but the mystical or the social. You have been taught that morality is a code of behavior imposed on you by whim, the whim of a supernatural power or the whim of society, to serve God's purpose or your neighbor's welfare, to please an authority beyond the grave or else next door-but not to serve your life or pleasure. Your pleasure, you have been taught, is to be found in immorality, your interests would best be served by evil, and any moral code must be designed not for you, but against you, not to further your life, but to drain it.

"For centuries, the battle of morality was fought between those who claimed that your life belongs to God and those who claimed that it belongs to your neighbors-between those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of ghosts in heaven and those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of incompetents on earth. And no one came to say that your life belongs to you and that the good is to live it.

"Both sides agreed that morality demands the surrender of your self-interest and of your mind, that the moral and the practical are opposites, that morality is not the province of reason, but the province of faith and force. Both sides agreed that no rational morality is possible, that there is no right or wrong in reason-that in reason there's no reason to be moral.

"Whatever else they fought about, it was against man's mind that all your moralists have stood united. It was man's mind that all their schemes and systems were intended to despoil and destroy. Now choose to perish or to learn that the anti-mind is the anti-life.

"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch-or build a cyclotron-without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.

"But to think is an act of choice. The key to what you so recklessly call 'human nature,' the open secret you live with, yet dread to name, is the fact that man is a being of volitional consciousness. Reason does not work automatically; thinking is not a mechanical process; the connections of logic are not made by instinct. The function of your stomach, lungs or heart is automatic; the function of your mind is not. In any hour and issue of your life, you are free to think or to evade that effort. But you are not free to escape from your nature, from the fact that reason is your means of survival-so that for you, who are a human being, the question 'to be or not to be' is the question 'to' think or not to think.'

"A being of volitional consciousness has no automatic course of behavior. He needs a code of values to guide his actions. 'Value' is that which one acts to gain and keep, 'virtue' is the action by which one gains and keeps it. 'Value' presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what? 'Value' presupposes a standard, a purpose and the necessity of action in the face of an alternative. Where there are no alternatives, no values are possible.

"There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or non-existence-and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not; it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and-self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it does; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of 'Life' that makes the concept of 'Value' possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.

"A plant must feed itself in order to live; the sunlight, the water, the chemicals it needs are the values its nature has set it to pursue; its life is the standard of value directing its actions. But a plant has no choice of action; there are alternatives in the conditions it encounters, but there is no alternative in its function: it acts automatically to further its life, it cannot act for its own destruction.

"An animal is equipped for sustaining its life; its senses provide it with an automatic code of action, an automatic knowledge of what is good for it or evil. It has no power to extend its knowledge or to evade it. In conditions where its knowledge proves inadequate, it dies. But so long as it lives, it acts on its knowledge, with automatic safety and no power of choice, it is unable to ignore its own good, unable to decide to choose the evil and act as its own destroyer.

"Man has no automatic code of survival. His particular distinction from all other living species is the necessity to act in the face of alternatives by means of volitional choice. He has no automatic knowledge of what is good for him or evil, what values his life depends on, what course of action it requires. Are you prattling about an instinct of self-preservation? An instinct of self-preservation is precisely what man does not possess. An 'instinct' is an unerring and automatic form of knowledge. A desire is not an instinct. A desire to live does not give you the knowledge required for living. And even man's desire to live is not automatic: your secret evil today is that that is the desire you do not hold. Your fear of death is not a love of life and will not give you the knowledge needed to keep it. Man must obtain his knowledge and choose his actions by a process of thinking, which nature will not force him t9 perform. Man has the power to act as his own destroyer-and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.

"A living entity that regarded its means of survival as evil, would not survive. A plant that struggled to mangle its roots, a bird that fought to break its wings would not remain for long in the existence they affronted. But the history of man has been a struggle to deny and to destroy his mind.

"Man has been called a rational being, but rationality is a matter of choice-and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal. Man has to be man-by choice; he has to hold his life as a value-by choice: he has to learn to sustain it-by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues-by choice.

"A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality.

"Whoever you are, you who are hearing me now, I am speaking to whatever living remnant is left uncorrupted within you, to the remnant of the human, to your mind, and I say: There is a morality of reason, a morality proper to man, and Man's Life is its standard of value.

"All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil.

"Man's life, as required by his nature, is not the life of a mindless brute, of a looting thug or a mooching mystic, but the life of a thinking being-not life by means of force or fraud, but life by means of achievement-not survival at any price, since there's only one price that pays for man's survival: reason.

"Man's life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose. If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man-for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life.

"Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate and contradict the fact of his own existence, running blindly amuck on a trail of destruction, capable of nothing but pain.

"Happiness is the successful state of life, pain is an agent of death. Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values. A morality that dares to tell you to find happiness in the renunciation of your happiness-to value the failure of your values-is an insolent negation of morality. A doctrine that gives you, as an ideal, the role of a sacrificial animal seeking slaughter on the altars of others, is giving you death as your standard. By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man-every man-is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.

"But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he lives as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.

"Sweep aside those parasites of subsidized classrooms, who live on the profits of the mind of others and proclaim that man needs no morality, no values, no code of behavior. They, who pose as scientists and claim that man is only an animal, do not grant him inclusion in the law of existence they have granted to the lowest of insects. They recognize that every living species has a way of survival demanded by its nature, they do not claim that a fish can live out of water or that a dog can live without its sense of smell-but man, they claim, the most complex of beings, man can survive in any way whatever, man has no identity, no nature, and there's no practical reason why he cannot live with his means of survival destroyed, with his mind throttled and placed at the disposal of any orders they might care to issue.

"Sweep aside those hatred-eaten mystics, who pose as friends of humanity and preach that the highest virtue man can practice is to hold his own life as of no value. Do they tell you that the purpose of morality is to curb man's instinct of self-preservation? It is for the purpose of self-preservation that man needs a code of morality. The only man who desires to be moral is the man who desires to live.

"No, you do not have to live; it is your basic act of choice; but if you choose to live,. you must live as a man-by the work and the judgment of your mind.

"No, you do not have to live as a man; it is an act of moral choice. But you cannot live as anything else-and the alternative is that state of living death which you now see within you and around you, the state of a thing unfit for existence, no longer human and less than animal, a thing that knows nothing but pain and drags itself through its span of years in the agony of unthinking self-destruction.

"No, you do not have to think; it is an act of moral choice. But someone had to think to keep you alive; if you choose to default, you default on existence and you pass the deficit to some moral man, expecting him to sacrifice his good for the sake of letting you survive by your evil.

"No, you do not have to be a man; but today those who are, are not there any longer. I have removed your means of survival-your victims.

"If you wish to know how I have done it and what I told them to make them quit, you are hearing it now. I told them, in essence, the statement I am making tonight. They were men who had lived by my code, but had not known how great a virtue it represented. I made them see it. I brought them, not a re-evaluation, but only an identification of their values.

"We, the men of the mind, are now on strike against you in the name of a single axiom, which is the root of our moral code, just as the root of yours is the wish to escape it: the axiom that existence exists.

"Existence exists-and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.

"If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.

"Whatever the degree of your knowledge, these two-existence and consciousness-are axioms you cannot escape, these two are the irreducible primaries implied in any action you undertake, in any part of your knowledge and in its sum, from the first ray of light you perceive at the start of your life to the widest erudition you might acquire at its end. Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.

"To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of non-existence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes. Centuries ago, the man who was-no matter what his errors-the greatest of your philosophers, has stated the formula defining the concept of existence and the rule of all knowledge: A is A. A thing is itself. You have never grasped the meaning of his statement. I am here to complete it: Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.

"Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A. Or, if you wish it stated in simpler language: You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

"Are you seeking to know what is wrong with the world? All the disasters that have wrecked your world, came from your leaders' attempt to evade the fact that A is A. All the secret evil you dread to face within you and all the pain you have ever endured, came from your own attempt to evade the fact that A is A. The purpose of those who taught you to evade it, was to make you forget that Man is Man.

"Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind.

"All thinking is a process of identification and integration. Man perceives a blob of color; by integrating the evidence of his sight and his touch, he learns to identify it as a solid object; he learns to identify the object as a table; he learns that the table is made of wood; he learns that the wood consists of cells, that the cells consist of molecules, that the molecules consist of atoms. All through this process, the work of his mind consists of answers to a single question: What is it? His means to establish the truth of his answers is logic, and logic rests on the axiom that existence exists. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. A contradiction cannot exist. An atom is itself, and so is the universe; neither can contradict its own identity; nor can a part contradict the whole. No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one's thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one's mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.

"Reality is that which exists; the unreal does not exist; the unreal is merely that negation of existence which is the content of a human consciousness when it attempts to abandon reason. Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man's only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.

"The most depraved sentence you can now utter is to ask: Whose reason? The answer is: Yours. No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it. It is only with your own knowledge that you can deal. It is only your own knowledge that you can claim to possess or ask others to consider. Your mind is your only judge of truth-and if others dissent from your verdict, reality is the court of final appeal. Nothing but a man's mind can perform that complex, delicate, crucial process of identification which is thinking. Nothing can direct the process but his own judgment. Nothing can direct his judgment but his moral integrity.

"You who speak of a 'moral instinct' as if it were some separate endowment opposed to reason-man's reason is his moral faculty. A process of reason is a process of constant choice in answer to the question: True or False?-Right or Wrong? Is a seed to be planted in soil in order to grow-right or wrong? Is a man's wound to be disinfected in order to save his life-right or wrong? Does the nature of atmospheric electricity permit it to be converted into kinetic power-right or wrong? It is the answers to such questions that gave you everything you have-and the answers came from a man's mind, a mind of intransigent devotion to that which is right.

"A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest-but if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.

"That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call 'free will' is your mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character.

"Thinking is man's only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one's consciousness, the refusal to think-not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment-on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict 'It is.' Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say 'It is,' you are refusing to say 'I am.' By suspending your judgment, you are negating your person. When a man declares: 'Who am I to know?'-he is declaring: 'Who am I to live?'

"This, in every hour and every issue, is your basic moral choice: thinking or non-thinking, existence or non-existence, A or non-A, entity or zero.

"To the extent to which a man is rational, life is the premise directing his actions. To the extent to which he is irrational, the premise directing his actions is death.

"You who prattle that morality is social and that man would need no morality on a desert island-it is on a desert island that he would need it most. Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop into his mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed today-and reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it.

"If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.

"My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists-and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason-Purpose-Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge-Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve-Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living. These three values imply and require all of man's virtues, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride.

"Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking-that the mind is one's only judge of values and one's only guide of action-that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise-that a concession to the irrational invalidates one's consciousness and turns it from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality-that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind-that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wish for the annihilation of existence and, properly, annihilates one's consciousness.

"Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it-that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life-that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.

"Integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness, just as honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence-that man is an indivisible entity, an integrated unit of two attributes: of matter and consciousness, and that he may permit no breach between body and mind, between action and thought, between his life and his convictions-that, like a judge impervious to public opinion, he may not sacrifice his convictions to the wishes of others, be it the whole of mankind shouting pleas or threats against him-that courage and confidence are practical necessities, that courage is the practical form of being true to existence, of being true to one's own consciousness.

"Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud-that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee-that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling-that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.

"Justice is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men as you cannot fake the character of nature, that you must judge all men as conscientiously as you judge inanimate objects, with the same respect for truth, with the same incorruptible vision, by as pure and as rational a process of identification-that every man must be judged for what he is and treated accordingly, that just as you do not pay a higher price for a rusty chunk of scrap than for a piece of shining metal, so you do not value a totter above a hero-that your moral appraisal is the coin paying men for their virtues or vices, and this payment demands of you as scrupulous an honor as you bring to financial transactions-that to withhold your contempt from men's vices is an act of moral counterfeiting, and to withhold your admiration from their virtues is an act of moral embezzlement-that to place any other concern higher than justice is to devaluate your moral currency and defraud the good in favor of the evil, since only the good can lose by a default of justice and only the evil can profit-and that the bottom of the pit at the end of that road, the act of moral bankruptcy, is to punish men for their virtues and reward them for their vices, that that is the collapse to full depravity, the Black Mass of the worship of death, the dedication of your consciousness to the destruction of existence.

"Productiveness is your acceptance of morality, your recognition of the fact that you choose to live-that productive work is the process by which man's consciousness controls his existence, a constant process of acquiring knowledge and shaping matter to fit one's purpose, of translating an idea into physical form, of remaking the earth in the image of one's values-that all work is creative work if done by a thinking mind, and no work is creative if done by a blank who repeats in uncritical stupor a routine he has learned from others- that your work is yours to choose, and the choice is as wide as your mind, that nothing more is possible to you and nothing less is human-that to cheat your way into a job bigger than your mind can handle is to become a fear-corroded ape on borrowed motions and borrowed time, and to settle down into a job that requires less than your mind's full capacity is to cut your motor and sentence yourself to another kind of motion: decay-that your work is the process of achieving your values, and to lose your ambition for values is to lose your ambition to live-that your body is a machine, but your mind is its driver, and you must drive as far as your mind will take you, with achievement as the goal of your road-that the man who has no purpose is a machine that coasts downhill at the mercy of any boulder to crash in the first chance ditch, that the man who stifles his mind is a stalled machine slowly going to rust, that the man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap, and the man who makes another man his goal is a hitchhiker no driver should ever pick up-that your work is the purpose of your life, and you must speed past any killer who assumes the right to stop you, that any value you might find outside your work, any other loyalty or love, can be only travelers you choose to share your journey and must be travelers going on their own power in the same direction.

"Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man's values, it has to be earned-that of any achievements open to you, the one that makes all others possible is the creation of your own character-that your character, your actions, your desires, your emotions are the products of the premises held by your mind-that as man must produce the physical values he needs to sustain his life, so he must acquire the values of character that make his life worth sustaining-that as man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul-that to live requires a sense of self-value, but man, who has no automatic values, has no automatic sense of self-esteem and must earn it by shaping his soul in the image of his moral ideal, in the image of Man, the rational being he is born able to create, but must create by choice-that the first precondition of self-esteem is that radiant selfishness of soul which desires the best in all things, in values of matter and spirit, a soul that seeks above all else to achieve its own moral perfection, valuing nothing higher than itself-and that the proof of an achieved self-esteem is your soul's shudder of contempt and rebellion against the role of a sacrificial animal, against the vile impertinence of any creed that proposes to immolate the irreplaceable value which is your consciousness and the incomparable glory which is your existence to the blind evasions and the stagnant decay of others.

"Are you beginning to see who is John Galt? I am the man who has earned the thing you did not fight for, the thing you have renounced, betrayed, corrupted, yet were unable fully to destroy and are now hiding as your guilty secret, spending your life in apologies to every professional cannibal, lest it be discovered that somewhere within you, you still long to say what I am now saying to the hearing of the whole of mankind: I am proud of my own value and of the fact that I wish to live.

"This wish-which you share, yet submerge as an evil-is the only remnant of the good within you, but it is a wish one must learn to deserve. His own happiness is man's only moral purpose, but only his own virtue can achieve it. Virtue is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward or sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil. Life is the reward of virtue-and happiness is the goal and the reward of life.

"Just as your body has two fundamental sensations, pleasure and pain, as signs of its welfare or injury, as a barometer of its basic alternative, life or death, so your consciousness has two fundamental emotions, joy and suffering, in answer to the same alternative. Your emotions are estimates of that which furthers your life or threatens it, lightning calculators giving you a sum of your profit or loss. You have no choice about your capacity to feel that something is good for you or evil, but what you will consider good or evil, what will give you joy or pain, what you will love or hate, desire or fear, depends on your standard of value. Emotions are inherent in your nature, but their content is dictated by your mind. Your emotional capacity is an empty motor, and your values are the fuel with which your mind fills it. If you choose a mix of contradictions, it will clog your motor, corrode your transmission and wreck you on your first attempt to move with a machine which you, the driver, have corrupted.

"If you hold the irrational as your standard of value and the impossible as your concept of the good, if you long for rewards you have not earned, for a fortune, or a love you don't deserve, for a loophole in the law of causality, for an A that becomes non-A at your whim, if you desire the opposite of existence-you will reach it. Do not cry, when you reach it, that life is frustration and that happiness is impossible to man; check your fuel: it brought you where you wanted to go.

"Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy-a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.

"Just as I support my life, neither by robbery nor alms, but by my own effort, so I do not seek to derive my happiness from the injury or the favor of others, but earn it by my own achievement. Just as I do not consider the pleasure of others as the goal of my life, so I do not consider my pleasure as the goal of the lives of others. Just as there are no contradictions in my values and no conflicts among my desires-so there are no victims and no conflicts of interest among rational men, men who do not desire the unearned and do not view one another with a cannibal's lust, men who neither make sacrifice nor accept them.

"The symbol of all relationships among such men, the moral symbol of respect for human beings, is the trader. We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit-his love, his friendship, his esteem-except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect. The mystic parasites who have, throughout the ages, reviled the traders and held them in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of their sneers: a trader is the entity they dread-a man of justice.

"Do you ask what moral obligation I owe to my fellow men? None-except the obligation I owe to myself, to material objects and to all of existence: rationality. I deal with men as my nature and their demands: by means of reason. I seek or desire nothing from them except such relations as they care to enter of their own voluntary choice. It is only with their mind that I can deal and only for my own self-interest, when they see that my interest coincides with theirs. When they don't, I enter no relationship; I let dissenters go their way and I do not swerve from mine. I win by means of nothing but logic and I surrender to nothing but logic. I do not surrender my reason or deal with men who surrender theirs. I have nothing to gain from fools or cowards; I have no benefits to seek from human vices: from stupidity, dishonesty or fear. The only value men can offer me is the work of their mind. When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.

"Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate-do you hear me? no man may start-the use of physical force against others.

"To interpose the threat of physical destruction between a man and his perception of reality, is to negate and paralyze his means of survival; to force-him to act against his own judgment, is like forcing him to act against his own sight. Whoever, to whatever purpose or extent, initiates the use of force, is a killer acting on the premise of death in a manner wider than murder: the premise of destroying man's capacity to live.

"Do not open your mouth to tell me that your mind has convinced you of your right to force my mind. Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins. When you declare that men are irrational animals and propose to treat them as such, you define thereby your own character and can no longer claim the sanction of reason-as no advocate of contradictions can claim it. There can be no 'right' to destroy the source of rights, the only means of judging right and wrong: the mind.

"To force a man to drop his own mind and to accept your will as a substitute, with a gun in place of a syllogism, with terror in place of proof, and death as the final argument-is to attempt to exist in defiance of reality. Reality demands of man that he act for his own rational interest; your gun demands of him that he act against it. Reality threatens man with death if he does not act on his rational judgment: you threaten him with death if he does. You place him into a world where the price of his life is the surrender of all the virtues required by life-and death by a process of gradual destruction is all that you and your system will achieve, when death is made to be the ruling power, the winning argument in a society of men.

"Be it a highwayman who confronts a traveler with the ultimatum: 'Your money or your life,' or a politician who confronts a country with the ultimatum: 'Your children's education or your life,' the meaning of that ultimatum is: 'Your mind or your life'-and neither is possible to man without the other.

"If there are degrees of evil, it is hard to say who is the more contemptible: the brute who assumes the right to force the mind of others or the moral degenerate who grants to others the right to force his mind. That is the moral absolute one does not leave open to debate. I do not grant the terms of reason to men who propose to deprive me of reason. I do not enter discussions with neighbors who think they can forbid me to think. I do not place my moral sanction upon a murderer's wish to kill me. When a man attempts to deal with me by force, I answer him-by force.

"It is only as retaliation that force may be used and only against the man who starts its use. No, I do not share his evil or sink to his concept of morality: I merely grant him his choice, destruction, the only destruction he had the right to choose: his own. He uses force to seize a value; I use it only to destroy destruction. A holdup man seeks to gain wealth by killing me; I do not grow richer by killing a holdup man. I seek no values by means of evil, nor do I surrender my values to evil.

"In the name of all the producers who had kept you alive and received your death ultimatums in payment, I now answer you with a single ultimatum of our own: Our work or your guns. You can choose either; you can't have both. We do not initiate the use of force against others or submit to force at their hands. If you desire ever again to live in an industrial society, it Will be on our moral terms. Our terms and our motive power are the antithesis of yours. You have been using fear as your weapon and have been bringing death to man as his punishment for rejecting your morality. We offer him life as his reward for accepting ours.

"You who are worshippers of the zero-you have never discovered that achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. Joy is not 'the absence of pain,' intelligence is not 'the absence of stupidity,' light is not 'the absence of darkness,' an entity is not 'the absence of a nonentity.' Building is not done by abstaining from demolition; centuries of sitting and waiting in such abstinence will not raise one single girder for you to abstain from demolishing-and now you can no longer say to me, the builder: 'Produce, and feed us in exchange for our not destroying your production.' I am answering in the name of all your victims: Perish with and in your own void. Existence is not a negation of negatives. Evil, not value, is an absence and a negation, evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us. Perish, because we have learned that a zero cannot hold a mortgage over life.

"You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.

"You, who have lost the concept of the difference, you who claim that fear and joy are incentives of equal power-and secretly add that fear is the more 'practical'-you do not wish to live, and only fear of death still holds you to the existence you have damned. You dart in panic through the trap of your days, looking for the exit you have closed, running from a pursuer you dare not name to a terror you dare not acknowledge, and the greater your terror the greater your dread of the only act that could save you: thinking. The purpose of your struggle is not to know, not to grasp or name or hear the thing. I shall now state to your hearing: that yours is the Morality of Death.

"Death is the standard of your values, death is your chosen goal, and you have to keep running, since there is no escape from the pursuer who is out to destroy you or from the knowledge that that pursuer is yourself. Stop running, for once-there is no place to run-stand naked, as you dread to stand, but as I see you, and take a look at what you dared to call a moral code.

"Damnation is the start of your morality, destruction is its purpose, means and end. Your code begins by damning man as evil, then demands that he practice a good which it defines as impossible for him to practice. It demands, as his first proof of virtue, that he accept his own depravity without proof. It demands that he start, not with a standard of value, but with a standard of evil, which is himself, by means of which he is then to define the good: the good is that which he is not.

"It does not matter who then becomes the profiteer on his renounced glory and tormented soul, a mystic God with some incomprehensible design or any passer-by whose rotting sores are held as some inexplicable claim upon him-it does not matter, the good is not for him to understand, his duty is to crawl through years of penance, atoning for the guilt of his existence to any stray collector of unintelligible debts, his only concept of a value is a zero: the good is that which is non-man.

"The name of this monstrous absurdity is Original Sin.

"A sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold, as man's sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold man's nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched. Yet that is the root of your code.

"Do not hide behind the cowardly evasion that man is born with free will, but with a 'tendency' to evil. A free will saddled with a tendency is like a game with loaded dice. It forces man to struggle through the effort of playing, to bear responsibility and pay for the game, but the decision is weighted in favor of a tendency that he had no power to escape. If the tendency is of his choice, he cannot possess it at birth; if it is not of his choice, his will is not free.

"What is the nature of the guilt that your teachers call his Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge-he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil-he became a mortal being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor-he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire-he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which they damn him are reason, morality, creativeness; joy-all the cardinal values of his existence. It is not his vices that their myth of man's fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors that they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was-that robot in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love-he was not man.

"Man's fall, according to your teachers, was that he gained the virtues required to live. These virtues, by their standard, are his Sin. His evil, they charge, is that he's man. His guilt, they charge, is that he lives.

"They call it a morality of mercy and a doctrine of love for man. No, they say, they do not preach that man is evil, the evil is only that alien object: his body. No, they say, they do not wish to kill him, they only wish to make him lose his body. They seek to help him, they say, against his pain-and they point at the torture rack to which they've tied him, the rack with two wheels that pull him in opposite directions, the rack of the doctrine that splits his soul and body.

"They have cut man in two, setting one half against the other. They have taught him that his body and his consciousness are two enemies engaged in deadly conflict, two antagonists of opposite natures, contradictory claims, incompatible needs, that to benefit one is to injure the other, that his soul belongs to a supernatural realm, but his body is an evil prison holding it in bondage to this earth-and that the good is to defeat his body, to undermine it by years of patient struggle, digging his way to that gorgeous jail-break which leads into the freedom of the grave.

"They have taught man that he is a hopeless misfit made of two elements, both symbols of death. A body without a soul is a corpse, a soul without a body is a ghost-yet such is their image of man's nature: the battleground of a struggle between a corpse and a ghost, a corpse endowed with some evil volition of its own and a ghost endowed with the knowledge that everything known to man is nonexistent, that only the unknowable exists.

"Do you observe what human faculty that' doctrine was designed to ignore? It was man's mind that had to be negated in order to make him fall apart. Once he surrendered reason, he was left at the mercy of two monsters whom he could not fathom or control: of a body moved by unaccountable instincts and of a soul moved by mystic revelations-he was left as the passively ravaged victim of a battle between a robot and a dictaphone.

"And as he now crawls through the wreckage, groping blindly for a way to live, your teachers offer him the help of a morality that proclaims that he'll find no solution and must seek no fulfillment on earth. Real existence, they tell him, is that which he cannot perceive, true consciousness is the faculty of perceiving the non-existent-and if he is unable to understand it, that is the proof that his existence is evil and his consciousness impotent.

"As products of the split between man's soul and body, there are two kinds of teachers of the Morality of Death: the mystics of spirit and the mystics of muscle, whom you call the spiritualists and the materialists, those who believe in consciousness without existence and those who believe in existence without consciousness. Both demand the surrender of your mind, one to their revelation, the other to their reflexes. No matter how loudly they posture in the roles of irreconcilable antagonists, their moral codes are alike, and so are their aims: in matter-the enslavement of man's body, in spirit-the destruction of his mind.

"The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive-a definition that invalidates man's consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence. The good, say the mystics of muscle, is Society-a thing which they define as an organism that possesses no physical form, a super-being embodied in no one in particular and everyone in general except yourself. Man's mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God. Man's mind, say the mystics of muscle, must be subordinated to the will of Society. Man's standard of value say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure 0f God, whose standards are beyond man's power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith. Man's standard of value, say the mystics of muscle, is the pleasure of Society, whose standards are beyond man's right of judgment and must be obeyed as a primary absolute. The purpose of man's life, say both, is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question. His reward, say the mystics of spirit, will be given to him beyond the grave. His reward, say the mystics of muscle, will be given on earth-to his great-grandchildren.

"Selfishness-say both-is man's evil. Man's good-say both-is to give up his personal desires, to deny himself, renounce himself, surrender; man's good is to negate the life he lives. Sacrifice-cry both-is the essence of morality, the highest virtue within man's reach.

"Whoever is now within reach of my voice, whoever is man the victim, not man the killer, I am speaking at the deathbed of your mind, at the brink of that darkness in which you're drowning, and if there still remains within you the power to struggle to hold on to those fading sparks which had been yourself-use it now. The word that has destroyed you is 'sacrifice.' Use the last of your strength to understand its meaning. You're still alive. You have a chance.

"'Sacrifice' does not mean the rejection of the worthless, but of the precious. 'Sacrifice' does not mean the rejection of the evil for the sake of the good, but of the good for the sake of the evil. 'Sacrifice' is the surrender of that which you value in favor of that which you don't.

"If you exchange a penny for a dollar, it is not a sacrifice; if you exchange a dollar for a penny, it is. If you achieve the career you wanted, after years of struggle, it is not a sacrifice; if you then renounce it for the sake of a rival, it is. If you own a bottle of milk and gave it to your starving child, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to your neighbor's child and let your own die, it is.

"If you give money to help a friend, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to a worthless stranger, it is. If you give your friend a sum you can afford, it is not a sacrifice; if you give him money at the cost of your own discomfort, it is only a partial virtue, according to this sort of moral standard; if you give him money at the cost of disaster to yourself that is the virtue of sacrifice in full.

"If you renounce all personal desire and dedicate your life to those you love, you do not achieve full virtue: you still retain a value of your own, which is your love. If you devote your life to random strangers, it is an act of greater virtue. If you devote your life to serving men you hate-that is the greatest of the virtues you can practice.

"A sacrifice is the surrender of a value. Full sacrifice is full surrender of all values. If you wish to achieve full virtue, you must seek no gratitude in return for your sacrifice, no praise, no love, no admiration, no self-esteem, not even the pride of being virtuous; the faintest trace of any gain dilutes your virtue. If you pursue a course of action that does not taint your life by any joy, that brings you no value in matter, no value in spirit, no gain, no profit, no reward-if you achieve this state of total zero, you have achieved the ideal of moral perfection.

"You are told that moral perfection is impossible to man-and, by this standard, it is. You cannot achieve it so long as you live, but the value of your life and of your person is gauged by how closely you succeed in approaching that ideal zero which is death.

"If you start, however, as a passionless blank, as a vegetable seeking to be eaten, with no values to reject and no wishes to renounce, you will not win the crown of sacrifice. It is not a sacrifice to renounce the unwanted. It is not a sacrifice. It is not a sacrifice to give your life for others, if death is your personal desire. To achieve the virtue of sacrifice, you must want to live, you must love it, you must burn with passion for this earth and for all the splendor it can give you-you must feel the twist of every knife as it slashes your desires away from your reach and drains your love out of your body, It is not mere death that the morality of sacrifice holds out to you as an ideal, but death by slow torture.

"Do not remind me that it pertains only to this life on earth. I am concerned with no other. Neither are you.

"If you wish to save the last of your dignity, do not call your best actions a 'sacrifice': that term brands you as immoral. If a mother buys food for her hungry child rather than a hat for herself, it is not a sacrifice: she values the child higher than the hat; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of mother whose higher value is the hat, who would prefer her child to starve and feeds him only from a sense of duty. If a man dies fighting for his own freedom, it is not a sacrifice: he is not willing to live as a slave; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of man who's willing. If a man refuses to sell his convictions, it is not a sacrifice, unless he is the sort of man who has no convictions.

"Sacrifice could be proper only for those who have nothing to sacrifice-no values, no standards, no judgment-those whose desires are irrational whims, blindly conceived and lightly surrendered. For a man of moral stature, whose desires are born of rational values, sacrifice is the surrender of the right to the wrong, of the good to the evil.

"The creed of sacrifice is a morality for the immoral-a morality that declares its own bankruptcy by confessing that it can't impart to men any personal stake in virtues or value, and that their souls are sewers of depravity, which they must be taught to sacrifice. By his own confession, it is impotent to teach men to be good and can only subject them to constant punishment.

"Are you thinking, in some foggy stupor, that it's only material values that your morality requires you to sacrifice? And what do you think are material values? Matter has no value except as a means for the satisfaction of human desires. Matter is only a tool of human values. To what service are you asked to give the material tools your virtue has produced? To the service of that which you regard as evil: to a principle you do not share, to a person you do not respect, to the achievement of a purpose opposed to your own-else your gift is not a sacrifice.

"Your morality tells you to renounce the material world and to divorce your values from matter. A man whose values are given no expression in material form, whose existence is unrelated to his ideals, whose actions contradict his convictions, is a cheap little hypocrite-yet that is the man who obeys your morality and divorces his values from matter. The man who loves one woman, but sleeps with another-the man who admires the talent of a worker, but hires another-the man who considers one cause to be just, but donates his money to the support of another-the man who holds high standards of craftsmanship, but devotes his effort to the production of trash-these are the men who have renounced matter, the men who believe that the values of their spirit cannot be brought into material reality.

"Do you say it is the spirit that such men have renounced? Yes, of course. You cannot have one without the other. You are an indivisible entity of matter and consciousness. Renounce your consciousness and you become a brute. Renounce your body and you become a fake. Renounce the material world and you surrender it to evil.

"And that is precisely the goal of your morality, the duty that your code demands of you. Give to that which you do not enjoy, serve that which you do not admire, submit to that which you consider evil-surrender the world to the values of others, deny, reject, renounce your self. Your self is your mind; renounce it and you become a chunk of meat ready for any cannibal to swallow.

"It is your mind that they want you to surrender-all those who preach the creed of sacrifice, whatever their tags or their motives, whether they demand it for the sake of your soul or of your body, whether they promise you another life in heaven or a full stomach on this earth. Those who start by saying: 'It is selfish to pursue your own wishes, you must sacrifice them to the wishes of others'-end up by saying: 'It is selfish to uphold your convictions, you must sacrifice them to the convictions of others.

"This much is true: the most selfish of all things is the independent mind that recognizes no authority higher than its own and no value higher than its judgment of truth. You are asked to sacrifice your intellectual integrity, your logic, your reason, your standard of truth-in favor of becoming a prostitute whose standard is the greatest good for the greatest number.

"If you search your code for guidance, for an answer to the question: 'What is the good?'-the only answer you will find is 'The good of others.' The good is whatever others wish, whatever you feel they feel they wish, or whatever you feel they ought to feel. 'The good of others' is a magic formula that transforms anything into gold, a formula to be recited as a guarantee of moral glory and as a fumigator for any action, even the slaughter of a continent. Your standard of virtue is not an object, not an act, not a principle, but an intention. You need no proof, no reasons, no success, you need not achieve in fact the good of others-all you need to know is that your motive was the good of others, not your own. Your only definition of the good is a negation: the good is the 'non-good for me.'

"Your code-which boasts that it upholds eternal, absolute, objective moral values and scorns the conditional, the relative and the subjective-your code hands out, as its version of the absolute, the following rule of moral conduct: If you wish it, it's evil; if others wish it, it's good; if the motive of your action is your welfare, don't do it; if the motive is the welfare of others, then anything goes.

"As this double-jointed, double-standard morality splits you in half, so it splits mankind into two enemy camps: one is you, the other is all the rest of humanity. You are the only outcast who has no right to wish to live. You are the only servant, the rest are the masters, you are the only giver, the rest are the takers, you are the eternal debtor, the rest are the creditors never to be paid off. You must not question their right to your sacrifice, or the nature of their wishes and their needs: their right is conferred upon them by a negative, by the fact that they are 'non-you.'

"For those of you who might ask questions, your code provides a consolation prize and booby-trap: it is for your own happiness, it says, that you must serve the happiness of others, the only way to achieve your joy is to give it up to others, the only w

Re:Who is John Galt? (-1, Offtopic)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408267)

Shit man...

What the FUCK is this?

Re:Who is John Galt? (-1, Offtopic)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408333)

Never mind... its not origina.

Had me going for a while.

Cool. Ann Rynd

Re:Who is John Galt? (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408873)

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year oldâ(TM)s life: âoeThe Lord of the Ringsâ and âoeAtlas Shrugged.â One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408111)

Spam is only about 5% of my email. So someone out there must be getting about 185% of their email as spam to average us out.

Re:Hmmm (2, Funny)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408767)

In other news, 94% of Slashdot comments are spam or spam-equivalent.

Oh wait.

Re:Hmmm (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408785)

I agree. I get zero spam and have been that way for years. I have a throw away account that I never use (hotmail), and my primary. I actually do give out my primary depending on what I'm signing up for but I actually do read the privacy policies and research the site.

I also have to assume that my primary e-mail accounts do their own filtering. Spam for me has been a non-issue for 3-4 years.

Well, we will just have to (5, Funny)

microbee (682094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408113)

send more _useful_ emails to offset that.

Re:Well, we will just have to (5, Funny)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408173)

Well, I have this brand new product that increases the size of a body part which 95% of men would prefer larger. Perhaps I should inform people of it?

Re:Well, we will just have to (5, Funny)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408205)

It's up to you to guess if the product is to be used by men or women.

Re:Well, we will just have to (2, Funny)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408241)

Well, I have this brand new product that increases the size of a body part which 95% of men would prefer larger. Perhaps I should inform people of it?

95%? What are the other 5% already swinging meat-picks?

Re:Well, we will just have to (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408509)

i thought he was referring to the size of your ears O.o *sarcasm* on a side note, the amount of bulk email that gmail has been filtering out has gone up by 1000-1500% for me, which is why i'm so glad that gmail is good at removing bulk email. On a second side note, 35% of my bulk email is in some random language i don't recognize.

Re:Well, we will just have to (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408203)

Your solution advocates a

[x] stupid

solution to the problem of spam (might as well get it in now...)

Re:Well, we will just have to (4, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408373)

send more _useful_ emails to offset that.

(With apologies to whomever it was I ripped this off of)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative (X) market-based (X) vigilante ( ) form-based

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
(X) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
(X) Users of email will not put up with it
(X) Microsoft will not put up with it
(X) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(X) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(X) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business
(X) The meme is tired and worn out and I'm just as likely to get a -1 troll as a +5 funny.

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(X) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of spam
(X) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(X) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
(X) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
(X) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
(X) Sending email should be free
(X) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatibility with open source or open source licenses
(X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
(X) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:Well, we will just have to (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408383)

no such thing

Re:Well, we will just have to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408625)

So this is saying that only 6% of people use email... i guess spam is keeping it alive

Re:Well, we will just have to (2, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408733)

send more _useful_ emails to offset that.

Damn straight! I'm having a hard time now and I really need some business opportunities to come my way! I really need something that will allow me to get rich quick.I lost this email from this Nigerian Prince that needed help. I'll be doing someone a favor and all I have to do transfer some money and he said he'd give me a million dollars.

Then, when I make it big, I can get some penis enlarging pills! Then I won't have to buy that Ferrari or Porsche!

The enigma is.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408125)

..to whom are they sending all the spam?

I have barely seen any in the last 3 or 4 years.

Re:The enigma is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408185)

I filed quite a few bug reports. It's so easy to get spammed this way.

Re:The enigma is.. (4, Interesting)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408187)

As near as I can figure, every email address with my actual name in it has gotten about 500 spam / month after just a few weeks of existence--usually it goes to the spam folder and is not really noticed. Since they took down the spam server, I have noticed an increase in spam in my inbox... spam I notice has become a problem.

Every email address that is not an actual word doesn't seem to have any problem with spam for a number of years until I inadvertently have myself logged in when visiting one of those cookie catcher sites... generally with lots of chinese letters and related to a recently released mainstream movie... stopped doing that when I realized if I started being patient I could just get it at redbox.

Re:The enigma is.. (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408367)

As near as I can figure, every email address with my actual name in it has gotten about 500 spam / month after just a few weeks of existence

I have a domain name that I registered in the "EU" TLD. I was the first registrant of this domain name, and I use it very infrequently, yet it gets emails to the most unlikely addresses -- adresses that I can say without a shadow of doubt have never been used. These addresses are not words or names, so it is not a dictionary attack -- in fact, I see emails to the same small number of addresses over and over again.

Re:The enigma is.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408507)

maybe random people have entered random addresses in contact forms to get their "free ringtone"?

Re:The enigma is.. (-1, Troll)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408481)

I don't run spam filtering. I've been using the same email address, which has my last name and first initial, since 1998. It's been used without even @ removal on slashdot, usenet, hundreds of web forums, etc. I get 5-7 spams a day, all of which are obvious and get an instant deletion. Unless you're famous or run a major website, if you're getting more than a dozen or so spams a day you're doing something wrong.

Re:The enigma is.. (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408647)

I think where you have your e-mail address at is a big factor as well. My primary e-mail is associated with my CPAN account and a few mailing lists and it seems like that's the primary source of all my spam (somewhere between 100 and 1000 a day, it varies). Of course even e-mail accounts that are brand new get the odd spam from time to time. I recently started a new project and received an e-mail account on a network belonging to a military installation and within 2 months I've already received 4 spam e-mails even though the account has never been mentioned or used outside of the local network (and I'm not the only one).

Re:The enigma is.. (5, Interesting)

urbanheretic (1138845) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408215)

Just because your ISP is filtering the email sent to your inbox, doesn't mean that it's not been sent. Spam messages are congesting the ISP -> ISP links, and that hurts the companies delivering the email services.

Re:The enigma is.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408229)

They send it to the spam filter programs. Have you ever seen how small penises they have?

Re:The enigma is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408485)

My spamassasin has a huge penis you insensitive clod.

Re:The enigma is.. (1, Redundant)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408635)

I use Gmail [google.com] and barely see any spam myself. The spam filter is top notch (although occasionally it catches a few legitimate messages, too). I wish spammers would realize that 99.999997% of the messages they send aren't even seen by anyone,... but sadly, based on the law of averages, it's that 0.000003% of messages that are seen and responded to that make it worthwhile for them to send their crap.

Anyone Still Have Spam? (3, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408169)

Maybe I am a freak, but to quote Davork, I get no spam. Gmail's filter catches pretty much everything. Once on a blue moon one will slip through, but I can tolerate one penis pump add every month or two. It might be true that a lot of spam is passing back and forth across the networks, but from a user point of view, it never makes it to me.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (4, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408249)

If it's slowing down networks, then it does effect you.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (2, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408627)

If the slowdown isn't noticible, it doesn't.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (2, Insightful)

izomiac (815208) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408951)

A) How do you know it's not noticeable? It's not like you can ask spammers to stop for a moment while you test that.

B) Even if you don't notice the difference, chances are that filtering out all that spam and upgrading pipes are causing your ISP (or theirs) to charge a bit more. In the case of free webmail, that would translate to more ads and less time/money to add non-spam related features.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408989)

Would you notice if a slowed down network is 'business as usual'? Perhaps we will all be amazed at the speed we get when spam spontaneously evaporates due to some currently unknown magic bullet.

I sincerely hope the magic bullet targets spammer hippocamuses (hippocampii?)

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408629)

Spam effects me in real life. My fax machine gets an offer nearly everyday. Considering the toner to this combo color scanner/fax/printer is rather expensive, it's downright insulting. I wish I knew how to get rid of these idiots, or at least find a cheap, real life digital service or device where I could log into and view the faxes and retain my existing fax number.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408717)

Faxing spam has been illegal a lot longer then email spam. This is illegal by law today, report the incidents to your Better Business Bureau. The phone company should also have those unlisted numbers in their records. Phone Numbers like IP Address help track down these people.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (3, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408971)

I know it's illegal, by the TCPA from 1991, although the amendments from 2005 turned it into a nightmare (political and prior business association exemptions). It just seems they loophole around or ignore court orders/judgements because they are out of state, out of jurisdiction:
http://www.junkfax.org/_vti_bin/shtml.exe/fax/action/stop.html [junkfax.org]

Like email spammers, they just find ways around every discovered solution. One day, a version 2.0 has to come out and they have to be addressed on a technological level, perhaps protocol. I know that someone probably wants to reply with "Your solution will not work because..." list, but all it requires is critical mass on the part of companies tired of spending money and resources on this crap. Even a legislative solution of no caller id blocking would help tremendously (if you're going to communicate with the person, what's the legitimate use of hiding the number right up to the call/fax?)

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408775)

Whats more impressive is the fact that there is someone on /. still using fax. Also, a cursory google search locates dozens of virtual fax machines e-faxes w/e.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408915)

PC + Phoneline Modem (yes, old 56K will do) + Software. I've sent and received PDF's to faxes many times.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (5, Informative)

Paul Slocum (598127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408641)

affect

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (3, Insightful)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408257)

Maybe I am a freak, but to quote Davork, I get no spam. Gmail's filter catches pretty much everything.

Yet Google (and all other email systems) are paying for 17x as much bandwidth and infrastructure as they would otherwise need (plus filtering costs)

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (5, Insightful)

Cube Steak (1520237) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408283)

That you aren't actually receiving the spam doesn't mean it's not still being sent to your address. The fact that your ISP or Google or anyone else is having to spend a huge amount of resources to combat all this spam is the problem.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408895)

Also, let's say that your ISP does catch all the spam. What valid emails aren't you getting because of false positives? What valid emails are you sending that the recipients aren't getting because of false positives?

Not getting spam is only half the battle. Getting all valid email is the other half. Winning the war decisively is an additional problem on top of that.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (2, Informative)

cswiger (63672) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408389)

I don't have a gmail account, but the people I know who do seem to agree with you; also, to their credit, Google is quite proactive about dealing with spamming involving gmail accounts as a destination.

Anyway, if you ever administer mail systems for various companies (lets say you are a sysadmin consultant: filesharing, email, and web access are the big three of network oriented stuff -- order may vary), you'll have to deal with spam to some extent, just to have samples of spam to train stuff with, and any false positives which you ought to feed as "ham" to your Bayesian classifier (ie, gmail, SpamAssassin, bogofilter, others). But first, you should try to do cheaper things like MTA HELO-time checking (greylisting, RBLs, policy checking [ie, stuff like policyd-weight, amavisd]) first, then virus-scanning, and finally Bayesian scoring.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (5, Insightful)

chromatic (9471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408405)

I get no spam.

I've never had malaria. What's the fuss?

Does your ISP let through spam? (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408425)

I'm with you in that I hardly ever see a single spam email these days. There was a time when the Junk folder in my Mail app held a pretty consistent ~3000 spam emails. Today it just has 2 !

It's tempting to wonder why the spammers even bother anymore, except we know that they only do it because enough people respond to generate plenty of profit for them all.

So the only conclusion we can draw from this is that not all Mail services are created equal. Google is the king in my book, but there must be others that are lousy.

Who are the bad boys out there? They need to be named and shamed.

Re:Does your ISP let through spam? (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408825)

Who are the .0001% of the people who respond, therefore making spam economically viable?

*They're* the ones who need to be named and shamed.

Re:Does your ISP let through spam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408889)

Let's see.

Microsoft Live adds spam to the end of it's emails.
Along with many others.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408461)

Others have covered the "big picture" reasons why filtering isn't a perfect answer; but even ignoring that, and conceding that filtering improves the user experience (relative to receiving 94% spam), I would still say that filtering for spam also creates a significant problem with my user experience (relative to not having a spam problem to start with).

Why? Well, I agree that false negatives are relatively rare -- though for me that still means one every couple days, and it seems to be increasing. And rare false negatives aren't a problem.

False positives are also pretty rare, but they can be a big problem even when they are rare. I recently had a time-sensitive transaction delayed by several days because I thought I hadn't received an invoice. Eventually I found the invoice in my spam folder. I'll know in a week or so whether the transaction is still able to complete in time.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408639)

Maybe I am a freak, but to quote Davork, I get no spam. Gmail's filter catches pretty much everything. Once on a blue moon one will slip through, but I can tolerate one penis pump add every month or two. It might be true that a lot of spam is passing back and forth across the networks, but from a user point of view, it never makes it to me.

Was just about to say the same thing. Gmail's filter is godly, 1 to 2 spam a month max, and I've been using it for a while

I had yahoo before gmail, in yahoo everything gets through

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408809)

i still am trying to get gmail labs to add an auto delete function to the spam folder. then g mail will be great.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408843)

Because of spam they have to filter ( $ ) because of the spam they have to filter it wastes bandwidth ( $ ) and storage and server resources to push it around.

Ya, it effects you, just not directly.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408901)

Lucky you.

I seem to get spam in, hmm, waves. Every once in a while a large number slip through, then for a while, nothing. Odd?

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408921)

There will be 100 responses to your post saying but Google gets spam and has to filter it. I say, SO WHAT? Companies that can filter incoming spam will also kill in its tracks outgoing spam. Once this becomes the industry standard then spam will die. Sure you could find some ISP on africa that doesn't give a shit but so what? If your spam reaches nobody or atleast reaches no one in north america there is no longer a point to spamming. Maybe 1/10000 spam mails get through (based on my gmail experience) and the chance of someone reading it might be 20% the chance of someone going through with a purchase 1% of that. It will be no longer sensible to spam people as advertising.

Re:Anyone Still Have Spam? (1)

JezmundBerserker (1357805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408973)

"..but I can tolerate one penis pump add every month or two" Actually I don't think it's spam if a company emails one of its customers.

More data please (5, Insightful)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408183)

The article seems to be counting whole e-mails, but what about bytes? And what percent of global IP traffic is E-mail? I'm just wanting to get a feel for how much spam is clogging the backbones and not just how much it is clogging the mailservers.

Re:More data please (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408909)

While i cant give you exact, my personal mostly obscure domain sees over 100 mb a month in email traffic. So a low estimate is 95 mb a month, for me. 3000 a day of garbage is not uncommon ( mostly the 'return receipts' of spoofed addresses )

At the office we were up to 10000 messages a SECOND of incoming spam at one point last year, on a rather public domain.

G N A A (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408195)

GNAA welcomes our newest member, Barack Obama, yes, the messiah himself.

G N A A

The light [goatse.fr] at the end of the tunnel may be an oncoming dragon.

Re:G N A A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408463)

Wow, you got Obama? That's a big time coup! I wasn't interested in joining your group, but now I am!

Tell me, do you have to be gay or black to join? I'm neither, but I am willing to undergo homo/melanistic surgery so long as it's paid for by American taxpayers.

Mail servers (4, Interesting)

linuxci (3530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408197)

I'm personally glad I don't have to run my own mail server anymore. Having to fight the constant battle against spam can seem like an uphill battle. I'm happy enough with Google Apps, very little spam gets through the filters and it's very rare to get a false positive.

Despite the fact that my mail email address is not published online anywhere and I'm very careful who I give it to (I use different addresses for completing forms online) the amount of spam that Google filters out is still amazing.

There must be a lot of stupid people out there that respond to this stuff, it wouldn't exist if it wasn't profitable.

Re:Mail servers (3, Insightful)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408363)

You don't need a lot of people. Spamming is cheap. You only need one reply from a shitload of spams and it'll still be profitable.

Re:Mail servers (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408491)

Where were you for the story about the woman that sent thousands and thousands of dollars to those people running the Nigerian spam scam? One really stupid person with a lot of money makes spam worthwhile. It's practically free for them to send that garbage out and it only takes a handful of responses to make a living off of it.

Re:Mail servers (0)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408597)

Despite the fact that my mail email address is not published online anywhere and I'm very careful who I give it to (I use different addresses for completing forms online) the amount of spam that Google filters out is still amazing.

The problem here are the retard acquaintances that put you on their mailing list along with 200 other of their acquaintances and then send every stupid little lolcat they find, latest joke they heard, or latest outrage in the news to everyone on that list and then your name is carried adinfinitum as it gets forwarded down the line. I'm sure those chain emails find their way to someone who loves to compile lists and gets a nice treasure trove one comes his way, with all the past recipients. Perhaps they even start those emails (shrugs)?

I don't know if bcc would fix this, rather than putting it in the "To:" or "CC:" line, from what I read it's very implementation specific but perhaps someone can tell me. The only other way I found to limit email is to have several accouts I can just kill on a whim and one close friends/immediate_family account. Truly unimportant sign-ups go straight to mailinator.

Re:Mail servers (3, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408753)

I also think it's the folks who sell the spamming software and whatnot. They sell this "Get Rich Quick with Mass Email Marketing" to folks who plunk down their life savings and they start doing the actual spam. I compare it to selling pans and picks to mine gold to someone in NY City.

Re:Mail servers (5, Insightful)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408897)

Sad thing is, our users have grown accoustom to the hard work we do to prevent spam that when they get a single spam message in their inbox, they pick up the phone and call the help desk, who then create a ticket and forward it to me so that I can "check the spam filter to make sure its working".

Seriously? Fuck you... press the delete button and get on with your life. How about I just create a catchall and forward it to your inbox - then you can see all the crap we're blocking first hand.

does not need to be (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408201)

Where I work, we use the IronPort spam filter, and I almost never (once per month?) see spam.

Of course, I don't know if any legit mail is getting filtered, and our spam filter may become worthless if it becomes mainstream (spammers will refine their code against it). Spam filtration is an arms race, but you can buy yourself a seat on the lead arm if you have the money :-)

filters will never win... (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408343)

Spam filtration is an arms race

That part I agree with.

However, I still say that spam filters will never solve the problem. Spammers will just keep finding new ways around them, and all the while we will continue having to pay the costs of transporting and filtering the junk email (in terms of bandwidth and cpu costs, in particular).

The only way to stop spam is to remove the reason why it exists in the first place:

  • Profit

If spammers can't make money off of sending out spam, they won't send it out to begin with.

Re:filters will never win... (1)

davecb (6526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408525)

In theory, companies who call people on the do-not-call registry are subject to fines and lawsuits, as are the call centers they hire to do the work.

In practice, there are leaks: one company in the U.S. got away with calling Canadians for a while before they were stopped.

If we had the will to apply the same rules to email as to voice, and the same willingness to work with foreign police forces, we could take the profit margin away from the spammers.

--dave

Re:filters will never win... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408595)

willingness to work with foreign police forces

Is where that plan falls apart. Considering how many countries are involved in one average spam email -

  • the country where the mail relay is
  • the country where the spamvertised business claims to be
  • the country where the spamvertised business is hosted
  • the country where the spamvertised business actually operates
  • the country where the spam is received

That could potentially be five different countries. And of course spoofing most or all of that is often pretty trivial.

Re:filters will never win... (1)

tjonnyc999 (1423763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408547)

If spammers can't make money off of sending out spam, they won't send it out to begin with.

You're right. Unfortunately, all it takes is 0.01% of idiots who do click on those links / buy penny stocks / try the male-enlargement cream - and the spammers have a profit. And 0.01% of 10,000,000 E-mails is 1,000 actions (sales/registrations/infocaptures/whatever).

Spam will not be stopped until one or both of the following things happen (either one will destroy the profit scheme):

  • The general population gets smart enough that no one ever again clicks on a link in a spam E-mail.
  • A postage-based E-mail solution is implemented globally. (Postage being anything from actual money, to virtual tokens, to hash-calcs eating up CPU cycles, etc.).

Nice in theory, but it's a pretty close call between which of the 2 items listed above has a worse chance of happening.


P.S.

You're also right on "Obama Administration" and "Communism" not being synonymous. Forgot the "yet", though.

Re:filters will never win... (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408705)

Spam filtration is an arms race

That part I agree with.

However, I still say that spam filters will never solve the problem. Spammers will just keep finding new ways around them, and all the while we will continue having to pay the costs of transporting and filtering the junk email (in terms of bandwidth and cpu costs, in particular).

The only way to stop spam is to remove the reason why it exists in the first place:

  • Profit

If spammers can't make money off of sending out spam, they won't send it out to begin with.

You're correct, of course, but removing the profit is not a simple proposition.

Technical solutions for making spam more expensive to send haven't worked, and they never will. Congress managed to define spam well enough that all current spam is clearly illegal while legitimate e-mail is OK (if you jump through the required hoops), but there's no enforcement at all, and of course US law doesn't apply overseas.

It's not just a matter of convincing people not to buy products that are advertised in spam; the vast majority don't anyway. Spammers don't just make their money from stupid people buying advertised products; spammers make their money by following Rule #1 [pennypacker.org] . They don't have to actually convince people to buy their product, as long as they can convince someone to pay them to advertise it via a "legitimate double-opt-in targeted mailing list" (actually just a bunch of addresses scraped off the web). There's a sucker born every minute, so by the time the client figures out the spam didn't generate any new sales and their existing customer base hates them now, the spammer has a new client lined up.

So what do you suggest? Personally I see the only effective course of action being to lobby Congress to earmark funding for law enforcement, but because our filtering techniques have gotten so effective, the scale of the problem isn't widely understood, and I don't expect Congress to be particularly sympathetic to the cause. However, if that happened, we should see an immediate drop in spam volumes again as the FBI picks the low-hanging fruit, then we can turn to international diplomacy to get other countries to do the same. After that point, we can re-evaluate the situation and figure out what to do next.

There is a worse spam mail problem (3, Interesting)

microbee (682094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408211)

When can we filter out all the paper junk mails stuffed in my real mailbox?

Re:There is a worse spam mail problem (5, Informative)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408449)

You can go to your post office and request a form to have spam snail mail stopped. There was a story several years ago about a postal working got fired for telling people about the form. I would have given him a raise.

Re:There is a worse spam mail problem (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408565)

stupid english. Should be postal worker who got ...

Re:There is a worse spam mail problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408521)

Doesn't look like this will happen any time soon, for better or worse. In fact, commercial (junk) mail seems to be one of the bright spots on the USPS' troubled balance sheet (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100293156).

Re:There is a worse spam mail problem (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408805)

When can we filter out all the paper junk mails stuffed in my real mailbox?

When you're ready to shut down the US Postal Service, which would cease to be a financially viable enterprise if junk mail were eliminated.

News? (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408217)

What, do you think us BOFHs were all havin' beers celebratin?

Its Never Going to End!

Never

NEVER!

Fox News Reporting (-1, Flamebait)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408223)

Fox News reporter Brit Hume here: up next on the fair and balanced network: "Spam increases dramatically in response to Obama administration's Soviet style policies. The spamlords have spoken."

Raise your hand if you're surprised by this... (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408227)

...so I can come and smack you upside the head.

Obviously, shutting down an ISP would have a negligible long-term effect on spam. Intelligent people realize that the people behind spam are themselves intelligent (at least intelligent enough to almost never get caught). Obviously they have contingency plans. If you shut down one mail relay they go to another. If you shut down one ISP they go to another. If you shut down one web hosting company they go to another.

If you shut down their favorite registrar they go find another.

Anyone who thought that shutting down one ISP would have any meaningful, long-term effect on the spam problem needs to read up on how spam works, and why it exists. In short, spam works because it is profitable. Spammers don't sent out spam just because it annoys people, they send it out because they make money off the products that they push through spam. Hence they will find new ways to push out spam, as long as they can still make money.

Re:Raise your hand if you're surprised by this... (1)

cswiger (63672) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408603)

What you say is true, it certainly wasn't enough to just reject 66.103.128.0/18 netblock, but work with me here: ever see Aliens 2?

Spam is like those alien eggs, which'll do the "spider wasp" thing on trapped humans, which then become full-flavored adult aliens. Adult aliens are like the spam/viral messages which make it through your spam filter: they're actively dangerous, especially to an idiot (of which there are plenty around).

McColo was like the big queen alien, in that it was a central control center and reproductive source for new waves of spam, ie, the zombie control master rather than the horde (or is a botnet a "herd"?). Killing McColo (by ejecting it into the Internet void) didn't eliminate all of the spam sources or control mechanisms, any more than killing the queen eliminated the alien threat, but it was well worth doing, regardless.

Re:Raise your hand if you're surprised by this... (1)

tjonnyc999 (1423763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408731)

zombie control master rather than the horde (or is a botnet a "herd"?).

IMHO, the proper term is indeed "herd", since it's mostly composed of sheeple who think that AOL will protect them from the evils of the Internet.

Re:Raise your hand if you're surprised by this... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408887)

McColo was like the big queen alien, in that it was a central control center and reproductive source for new waves of spam

I disagree with your analysis. McColo controlled some spam, but by no stretch of the imagination was it a significant portion of all spam. Indeed, the decentralization of spam is part of what makes it so strong; you can't just kill one operation and watch the rest die.

but it was well worth doing, regardless

Maybe. You can't study criminal activity in a vacuum. We know that spam loads are back to around where they were before it was taken down. The question we cannot answer is where would it be if we had left it alone? Would we be facing more spam right now, or about the same amount? In other words, did the botnet take in new systems in response to losing McColo, or was it doing that anyways?

hey nntp, smtp here (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408243)

could you scoot over in that coffin there? thanks

time to shuffle off this mortal cat cable

Re:hey nntp, smtp here (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408587)

As long as we have communication we will have spam. Seriously, if facebook was our only way to send messages then spammers would use facebook.

wrong (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408633)

the point with nntp and smtp in the same thought is that both protocols were designed in a kindler gentler time, in which spam, literally, did not exist yet

absolutely will spammers always do their thing. any system designed by a man, can be broken by a man. but there is a difference between breaking into fort knox, and strolling into the local 7-11. smtp was not designed without any security, really, whatsoever. any protocol designed with security in mind, meanwhile, will still get spam, but no where near the degree and with such ease as we see on our old naive protocols from the dawn of the internet

Re:wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408957)

I'm confused as to whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with him, cus you sound like you're disagreeing yet seem to be proving his point. So there is less ease with which to send spam through a more modern protocol, big whoop, people still do. The point he is making is remove the easy route, and people will make the hard route easier!

Re:hey nntp, smtp here (3, Informative)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408643)

I work for a university, and for many of my students, Facebook is the only way to send messages, unless you count text messaging.

Re:hey nntp, smtp here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408759)

Dude, nntp doesn't transfer email, smtp does! Whilst nntp may be full of spam too, this article is about emails not newsgroups!! Hence, this article is talking about smtp and how bad the spam on it is. The general public doesn't use nntp anymore because as the rule goes, you do not talk about u****t... :-P

Srsly (-1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408423)

You know, if spam is that high, let's just ditch email. It kinda sucks anyway. There're plenty of alternative services suchas SMS, Twitter, IM, Facebook, etc. Maybe someone knows why that wouldn't be a good idea, but I can see some disadvantages to spammers compared to email. I mean, seriously, we either need an "email 2.0" protocol that deals with spam effectively, or we need to gradually stop using email in favor of protocols/services that address email's shortcomings.

Re:Srsly (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408559)

1) Those services are not suitable for some types of communication.

2) All of those media are susceptible to spam. As soon as email spam becomes less profitable (e.g. if email were to disappear off the face of the Earth), this will become evident. Even today I get SMS spam.

There is no spam free medium that works for every (1)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408667)

Every popular communications medium since history began has been infiltrated by spam. From solicitors on public walkways, to signs on utility poles, to pirates broadcasting radio from boats, to junk mail, to telemarketers, to e-mail spam. As far as I know, nobody has ever come up with a communications medium which offers all of the following:
1* reliable
2* anybody can contact
3* no spam

Every solution so far is a compromise. By having a private e-mail address (or private social networking page) you can eliminate #3 at the cost of #2. With spam filters, you significantly improve #3, but also slightly cut #1.

Social networking sites might have some improvements over e-mail (such as no forging allowed) but the only reason they might have less spam is because they are not as popular.

Thank you Google and Yahoo! (3, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408451)

Google and Yahoo have inadvertently created a goldmine of email addresses. While I get a lot of spam from various domains, it is these two sites that I have a problem with. See, they use domain keys, which elevates the message above spam filters (or at least helps to). So spammers have cracked the google chacpta (sp?). There is no easy way to report these addresses for abuse. The providers need to somehow only allow domain keys on VERIFIED accounts, or have multi-level domain keys.

I think that a craigs-list moderation style of X spam reports and you're cut off is the way to go. Of course, these reports should only be counted from existing VERIFIED accounts, with the reporting mechanism built into the interface.

Re:Thank you Google and Yahoo! (4, Insightful)

piojo (995934) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408605)

I think that a craigs-list moderation style of X spam reports and you're cut off is the way to go. Of course, these reports should only be counted from existing VERIFIED accounts, with the reporting mechanism built into the interface.

That currently gets abused. I have heard that anybody trying to sell an animal, for example, gets flagged as abuse by PETA assholes. Could the same happen to mailing lists? If one wants to sink a mailing list, they subscribe to it with all their e-mail addresses, and tell each e-mail provider that it is spam...

Re:Thank you Google and Yahoo! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408749)

abuse@yahoo.com and abuse@google.com seem to work some of the time (they want full text forwards though).

Re:Thank you Google and Yahoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408755)

chacpta?

I'm guessing that you fail the CAPTCHA check 94% of the time...

3

The problem is Microsoft - The illegal monopoly (0, Offtopic)

AppleTwoGuru (830505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408475)

Even though good law and experience has shown that, leaving an industry to select few increases chaos, and decreases quality and innovation. It is no different here. The laws on the books said close down Microsoft, but Microsoft money paid to political election funds and special interest groups bought and locked in their illegal hold on the market. Thus, the platform that was designed to be a stand-alone system and not networked is the worst offender with spam-bot networks generating oodles of spam. You won't see the proof, because like all politics, Microsoft controls the tech media, blaming strong tried and true Unix and more specifically Linux, for the blame of IT follies.

Re:The problem is Microsoft - The illegal monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408541)

bite me applefag

Remove the incentive.T (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408615)

If the incentive to send out spam was removed spam would slow down to a tiny trickle. Right now its just easy money with all to little effort and next to no chance of getting caught. The only way to stop spam is targeting the companies behind it. Seize all goods sold by spam at the border and charge any company affiliating with spam. If you can hunt filesharers around like dogs it should be no problem finding people hacking thousands of computers and sending millions of spam a day.

send manufacturers a nice contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408657)

I have stopped some 90% of the spam, sending contracts to the manufacturers of the "goods" advertised, charging them 5,000 bucks per e mail received/read, and a penalty fee of 2,000 dollars a day for each day of not receiving payment...so far the only ones that are not reading their Inbox are Pfizer ( they owe me about 150 grand) and Sears, which just today has passed the 25 grand barrier...my lawyer will buy a nice jaguar with the settlements....

The arms race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27408841)

Spam is an arms race, and the more weapons in your arsenal, the less of a problem it becomes. For mine, the biggest problem I have with spam comes from the *email required field on almost all online forms. My weapon of choice for this? www.mailinator.com

Internet license Anyone? (1)

End Program (963207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408947)

FTFA: "When gullible users click on a link in a spam message, they are directed to a Web page that contains a fake news headline and a purported video describing a nearby crisis, using the userâ(TM)s I.P. address to identify the nearest major city."

I think this is a good argument for an Internet license. You have to study for and pass a test before you are allowed to go online.
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