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How Darwin Managed His Inbox

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the not-easy-when-there-is-no-reply-all dept.

Communications 214

An anonymous reader wrote to mention an MSNBC article on how Darwin and Einstein managed their inboxes. From the article: "A new study finds that the correspondence of Albert Einstein, as well as that of Charles Darwin, followed patterns similar to modern e-mail communication. Einstein sent more than 14,500 letters. But he received more than 16,200, and responded to only a quarter of them. Darwin mailed more than 7,500 letters. He responded to 32 percent of the roughly 6,530 letters he received."

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Frist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888678)

psot?

Re:Frist (1)

utnow (808790) | about 9 years ago | (#13889101)

"Einstein sent more than 14,500 letters. But he received more than 16,200, and responded to only a quarter of them."

I'll admit that my math isn't the best around... but I'm pretty sure that 1/4 of 16,200 is less than 14,500...

Re:Frist (3, Insightful)

lantenon (867508) | about 9 years ago | (#13889120)

I think the assumption that each of the 14,500 letters he sent was a response to one of the 16,200 he received might not be correct ;)

Re:Frist (1)

usernotfound (831691) | about 9 years ago | (#13889195)

Some people write letters on their own initiative. It may be safe to assume 1/4 of the letters he wrote, he recieved a response to, and didn't require response from himself, again. So in theory a whole quarter of those recieved could been "Gee thanks Einstein" and required to response. So only half the letters that could have warrented a response were not responded to. Leaving 1/2 Fully unresponded. I think somewhere in here is a related rates problem, but i'm too lazy to do it. +mod for who does.

Value for money (3, Funny)

fm2503 (876331) | about 9 years ago | (#13888682)

But how many Rolexs did each of them buy via special offer correspondance, and did anything that turned up in the post make their wife any happier?

Just think (1, Funny)

Saiyine (689367) | about 9 years ago | (#13888683)


Just think how the world would be should Einstein had a gmail account!

Re:Just think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13889175)

We'll - we would have no record of anything he sent. After three months of being dead his account would have been deleted.

So, in answer to your question, shitter.

Re:Just think (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13889227)

If you tell me his yahoo address, I can send him an invite... I have a lot!

hmm... am I missing anything?

I didn't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888684)

...what a spammer!!

only? (1, Insightful)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | about 9 years ago | (#13888686)


Einstein sent more than 14,500 letters.

That's in his lifetime. Since 1998, I sent 27,171 emails (granted, an e-mail is much easier to sent than a snail mail letter). It's hard for me to count how many I received (counting spam it's probably in the millions).

Re:only? (0, Flamebait)

chrpai (806494) | about 9 years ago | (#13888743)

But somehow I doubt that anyone will care about your 27,171 emails in a hundred years.

Re:only? (4, Insightful)

Narcissus (310552) | about 9 years ago | (#13888877)

How many of those, though, were really just multiple parts of a 'conversation'?

I know I can rack up dozens of emails when I start using it like an IM service. However I doubt Einstein would write something like "So, what time do you want me to come around on Friday?" and then wait for a reply before continuing with "and do you want me to bring anything?"

Re:only? (4, Funny)

xs650 (741277) | about 9 years ago | (#13888991)

It's all relative.

Re:only? (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | about 9 years ago | (#13889196)

10 emails per day? Jesus, I've sent 1721 since 27-02-2002 (1 per day), and I spent way too many hours at my computer...

Spam? (5, Funny)

strazzere (882662) | about 9 years ago | (#13888687)

Yea... But come on - how many of them asked him to sign up for a credit card...

Re:Spam? (5, Funny)

MyIS (834233) | about 9 years ago | (#13888787)

Hello, good sir!

For an agre3able sum of 6 farth1ngs, You could be a happy recipient of Dr. Tomson's Fantastic Marriage Rev1ver 0il. The said amazing Substance is to be applied on Members involved; the forthcoming result may be hard to conceal even with a top hat, and your better half will quite soon be cured of that blasted Headache that has, undoubtedly, been plaguing the good woman every night for the past years.

Caution: mis-use shall certainly ruin a dinner party.

Re:Spam? (0, Offtopic)

conJunk (779958) | about 9 years ago | (#13888878)

interesting??? that got modded interesting? ai-yee, slashdot!

Re:Spam? (3, Informative)

Pxtl (151020) | about 9 years ago | (#13889130)

Interesting gives karma, funny doesnt, hence people mod interesting instead of funny to approve of funny stuff. And that certainly deserves the honour - it kicked loads of ass.

Spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888691)

I really wonder what they used as spam filters? As I am sure Google will come running to their feet for the tech. And it wont be long for half a dozen open source implication to show up.

Re:Spam (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 9 years ago | (#13888703)

They used the cost of postage as a spam filter.

If I could charge spammers the cost of a stamp for each spam I received, I'd be quite happy.

Re:Spam (1)

drkstrm (921693) | about 9 years ago | (#13888748)

good grief.. I could retire next week if that were the case..

Re:Spam (1)

novus ordo (843883) | about 9 years ago | (#13888833)

On another note, I have never received any spam through snail mail...Oh wait.

Re:Spam (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 9 years ago | (#13888922)

Imagine how much more you'd receive if paper and delivery were free?

At least with snail mail spam, you know someone's invested some real coin to get it to you. When was the last time you received an offer for a Rolex, or a "warning - your mailbox has a virus" or a "get lots of porn for free" offer in your snail mail?

Re:Spam (2, Interesting)

Nuklearwanze (693728) | about 9 years ago | (#13889082)

i just compared the amount of spam i get "snail-mailed" to that i get by email: i get like 1 letter (usually bills or finacial stuff) every other day, but i get about six "spam-snail-mails" a day. that's a ratio of 1:12 - looking at the emails i got this week i have to say that my elecronic inbox doesn't recieve that much spam: i got 332 "normal" emails since monday, plus 150 spam mails - ratio 2:1! my email inbox receives 24 times less spam than my postal inbox. i'm pretty sure the "survey" did not take the amount of spam einstein and darwin recieved into account - and im absolutely certain that they too did get spam-mails... (THAT survey would actually be much more interesting!)

Re:Spam (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | about 9 years ago | (#13888923)

He likely had one or more secretaries.

As all the fundies ask - (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888692)

Quickly followed by all the xian fundies asking "How did JESUS sort his inbox?!?!?!" ...

Re:As all the fundies ask - (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888849)


"How did JESUS sort his inbox?!?!?!"

Maybe sorting through spam for Jesus is one of the torments in hell?

Re:As all the fundies ask - (2, Funny)

Andrewkov (140579) | about 9 years ago | (#13888966)

And unbeknownst to historians, Darwin invented the first spam filter, based on his patented Natural Selection algorithm.

Darwin's Inbox? (5, Funny)

falzer (224563) | about 9 years ago | (#13888697)

He used Evolution, of course.

Re:Darwin's Inbox? (4, Funny)

Eric Giguere (42863) | about 9 years ago | (#13888831)

But how would he explain the existence of Thunderbird [mozilla.org] ?

Eric
Read one of the best AdSense blogs [memwg.com] around (runs on blojsom [blojsom.com] )

Re:Darwin's Inbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888867)

Spammer

Re:Darwin's Inbox? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13889021)

Darwin uses iMail.

Except they were doing real work... (5, Funny)

LexNaturalis (895838) | about 9 years ago | (#13888698)

It's much easier to read/respond to e-mail when you're slacking off at work and reading /. (not that I'd ever do that, boss!) but when you're on a boat studying birds on a far away island or working on important and complex physics problems it's a little more difficult to sit down and read through a letter and actually pen a response. The more interesting thing to note is that they actually did write 1,000s of letters that were probably well-written and well-formatted, unlike most modern e-mails (Or /. comments)

However, if their letters had really been like modern inboxes, they'd be getting letters like "Is your chalk too soft? Take c1al1s to harden it up!!" or "Do you want to refinance your home, the Beagle?" or "Hot Physics action here!"

Re:Except they were doing real work... (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 9 years ago | (#13888742)

when you're on a boat studying birds on a far away island or working on important and complex physics problems it's a little more difficult to sit down and read through a letter and actually pen a response.
On the contrary, Darwin must have had ages to write all those letters during his long voyage... bird watching was only a small portion of the time spent, for the rest it was a long and boring sea voyage.

Re:Except they were doing real work... (5, Funny)

jiushao (898575) | about 9 years ago | (#13888805)

Not to mention the time they spent circling around trying to find a mailbox on the Galapagos.

Re:Except they were doing real work... (1)

nathanh (1214) | about 9 years ago | (#13888769)

The more interesting thing to note is that they actually did write 1,000s of letters that were probably well-written and well-formatted, unlike most modern e-mails (Or /. comments)

Admittedly I browse at +3 but despite that I'm often pleasantly surprised with the quality of /. comments. I rarely see ppl whu rit lik ths u no. Sometimes the poor spelling can be rediculous and occasionally, the, grammar can! slip. However on the whole I find it to be a higher standard than I receive in the office, where it's not abnormal to receive entire e-mails that are entirely illegible.

Yay! (5, Funny)

DonJoe (888954) | about 9 years ago | (#13888699)

If you're like Einstein, you respond to some e-mails immediately and let others wait. And, of course, some you never answer.

Yay! I'm like, Einstein!

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13889167)

But how can you not act in the way described. Is it really incredible that some mail required immediate attention, yet others didn't? Shock!

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13889251)

But how can you not act in the way described. Is it really incredible that some mail required immediate attention, yet others didn't? Shock!

That's the joke idiot.

What a surprise (5, Insightful)

Da Fokka (94074) | about 9 years ago | (#13888702)

"Their timely responses to most letters show that they were both aware of the importance of this intellectual intercourse,"

Of course they were, they are respectively the most important Physicist and Biologist ever. If they had the intelligence to conceive their theories, it should be rather obvious that sorting their mail was not outside the realm of their wit.

Re:What a surprise (1)

hackstraw (262471) | about 9 years ago | (#13888848)

Of course they were, they are respectively the most important Physicist and Biologist ever.

Someday, maybe a physicist will create a portable way of sharing text and graphical information on computers via a network. Hmm. [w3.org]

Re:What a surprise (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 9 years ago | (#13889024)

Someday, maybe a physicist will create a portable way of sharing text and graphical information on computers via a network. Hmm.[link to Tim Berners-Lee]

TBL is a smart dude, but having the idea to make hypertext available over a TCP/IP network doesn't really compare to evolution or relativity. For every Copernicus, Newton, or Einstein there are scores of Ben Franklins, James Watts, and Nikola Teslas. TBL is more appropriately a member of the latter group.

besides that (4, Funny)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | about 9 years ago | (#13888856)

"Their timely responses to most letters show that they were both aware of the importance of this intellectual intercourse," Of course they were, they are respectively the most important Physicist and Biologist ever. If they had the intelligence to conceive their theories, it should be rather obvious that sorting their mail was not outside the realm of their wit.

Beisdes that, since they were nerds, what other type of intercourse could they get?

Re:besides that (2, Funny)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | about 9 years ago | (#13888896)

Well, if you talk to yourself about a problem, wouldn't that be intellectual masturbation?

Re:besides that (1)

MicktheMech (697533) | about 9 years ago | (#13889235)

Well, if you talk to yourself about a problem, wouldn't that be intellectual masturbation?

But wouldn't that make Slashdot some kind of giant 24/7 orgy?

Re:What a surprise (1)

andreMA (643885) | about 9 years ago | (#13889173)

Of course they were, they are respectively the most important Physicist and Biologist ever. If they had the intelligence to conceive their theories, it should be rather obvious that sorting their mail was not outside the realm of their wit.
More relevant, I think, is the simple fact that they were prominent. As such, they attracted [snail] mail from strangers at a far greater rate than the average person of their time. Some, no doubt, from crackpots and autograph collectors.

Their experiences don't parallel the modern email user; it cost far more money and effort for the random strangers mailing them than it costs the people generously offering me a mortgage on my newly enlarged penis.

The lack of free mailing lists in that day is also a smaller factor in total mail load, I think. I doubt many/any of those were (aside from aggregate bandwidth) free to the end users.

Why not reply to more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888704)

So why didn't he reply to all?

Oh, he didn't have time?

Boy, this strange system sure takes an Einstein to understand!

only the strongest email will survive (2, Interesting)

pintomp3 (882811) | about 9 years ago | (#13888705)

the heading threw me off. i was thinking some kind of new spam filtering technology in which good emails with non-spammy qualities get through to the inbox. i imagined a darwinian inbox that shrinks on it's own as crapy messages are deleted in favor of good ones. guess i gotta stop smoking early in the morning.

I thought Al Gore invented mail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888708)

and Inboxes too!

Re:I thought Al Gore invented mail? (1)

halivar (535827) | about 9 years ago | (#13889143)

Stick, meet dead horse. Dead horse, meet stick. Now go run along and play.

How does this compare? (5, Insightful)

Dekortage (697532) | about 9 years ago | (#13888713)

This is just celebrity research. So Darwin and Einstein handled paper mail like we handle electronic mail. Guess what? I handle paper mail that way too. I bet most people do, and pronbably always have. The article doesn't talk about that, however.

Re:How does this compare? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888789)

Freud pronbably did it that way to!! ;-)

Re:How does this compare? (1)

Dekortage (697532) | about 9 years ago | (#13889006)

Hey, are you making furn of my tynping?!?

Re:How does this compare? (2, Funny)

char1iecha1k (888756) | about 9 years ago | (#13888858)

Perhaps one of them actually invented the first forms of bayesian filtering but the article forgot to mention it?

Nigerian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888716)

yeah but how many did they receive from friendly nigerian businessmen asking for help to move millions out of the country?

Dear Albert, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888718)

As a lawyer working for Bohr & Associates, we recently discovered the sum of 8*10^16 Joules held inside 1g of Uranium 237. If with your help, we can free this energy, through a fission reaction, you will receive 0.1% of it in the form of heat, which can be used to drive turbines.

Wishing you long life,
Asumemwe Obugo,
Lawyer
Nigeria

LOL I love nerd jokes! :) - NT (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 9 years ago | (#13888779)

ROFL!

Re:LOL I love nerd jokes! :) - NT (3, Funny)

gowen (141411) | about 9 years ago | (#13888854)

Fortunately, no-one's noticed that I got the energy wrong... It's out by a factor of 10^3 because I used m=1 in E=mc^2, which is, of course, a kilogram, not a gram.

D'oh.

Re:LOL I love nerd jokes! :) - NT (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 9 years ago | (#13888932)

Physics was never my strong suit. I didn't bother to check any of the formulas and it doesn't really matter anyway, because only real big fat loser nerds would have seen that mistake and been like "He made a mistake in his calculations".

I am thinking Professor Frink from the Simpsons of course :)

Re:LOL I love nerd jokes! :) - NT (1)

adavies42 (746183) | about 9 years ago | (#13888945)

Also the atomic weight of Uranium. You want either U-235 or U-238 (presumably the former). U-237 is an artifical isotope with no practical use.

They used the ancient mail filtering technique (4, Funny)

tezza (539307) | about 9 years ago | (#13888719)

Anything that started with:

To Albert Einstein,

Gr0w ur p3n1s with ...

Was not replied to.

Slow News Day (3, Funny)

kevin_conaway (585204) | about 9 years ago | (#13888729)

Umm, so they both sent and received mail. Both only replied to some of the mail they got? ME TOO! I wonder what else we have in common. Perhaps they enjoyed watching The Simpsons in their underwear as well.

Thats what it takes to get a story on MSNBC these days?

Re:Slow News Day (should this been been on FARK?) (1, Insightful)

Deffexor (230167) | about 9 years ago | (#13888853)

After reading this article, I closed the window and wondered where my browser with FARK.com had gone. I was sure the "obvious" tag had trumped "amusing" or "interesting". I was genuinely shocked to find this post on Slashdot (but not so suprised to find it coming from MSNBC...) Seems this one was too obvious to make it even to Fark. Maybe it will show up later in the day, though... Heh.

Re:Slow News Day (2, Insightful)

LeonGeeste (917243) | about 9 years ago | (#13889028)

The Simpsons hadn't started airing during their lifetimes.

*someone mod this insightful*

Re:Slow News Day (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 9 years ago | (#13889185)

Umm, so they both sent and received mail. Both only replied to some of the mail they got? ME TOO!

Damn it's good to be among peers.

Note to self: Exercise frowning less obviously upon plain individuals on /.

So wait... (0, Redundant)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 9 years ago | (#13888738)

I reply to nearly 100% of legit messages.

Did Darwin and Einstein get mail telling them they could improve their penis size too, that they didn't respond to?

Re:So wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888796)

Darwin and Einstein didn't need mail telling them they could improve their penis size. (That's some awkward wording, eh? "Their penis" ... I guess they shared one. But I digress.) They didn't need mail telling them how to do something that they both already knew. Darwin, of course, evolved a bigger penis. Einstein shoved his in a black hole to accelerate it fast enough to make time stand still and seem like it was bigger because it took longer to look at.

Posting anonymously because I respect both men and fear they'll read Slashdot from the grave and come back to get me.

Email filters... (1)

Vexler (127353) | about 9 years ago | (#13888747)

At least back then Nigeria 419 did not exist, and spam was a common household dinner... As for viagra and cialis, well, *real* men are geeks and they don't use "enhancements".

Re:Email filters... (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | about 9 years ago | (#13888782)

real geeks don't use any sexual organs.

I disagree (5, Funny)

xdroop (4039) | about 9 years ago | (#13888754)

The upshot: Einstein and Darwin exhibited a "fundamental pattern of human dynamics" that plays out every morning when you check your inbox.
Nahh, it must have been Intelligent Design.

Re:I disagree (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | about 9 years ago | (#13888809)

Honestly, some people were created to keep order, and do it exceptionally well, and some others... well, not as much. The wants and desire of man to move material to suit his needs goes well beyond Einstein or Darwin.

Re:I disagree (1)

Nept (21497) | about 9 years ago | (#13889141)

Nahh, it must have been Intelligent Design, but I'm probably talking out of my ass.

You're right... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 9 years ago | (#13889223)

Nahh, it must have been Intelligent Design.

You're right, I mean, it's not like God throws dice [wikipedia.org] or anything...

Valium & Viagra available with no prescription (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888757)

And penis enhancements were cheap and plentiful and could be performed by barbers. And Nigeria was still a British colony. There was just much less need for spam back then.

einstein hoax (2)

Jamu (852752) | about 9 years ago | (#13888760)

Most of Einstein's mail was probably from a crackpot claiming Relativity was a hoax and that in all the months he'd been writing to Einstein, Einstein hadn't provided a reply he liked.

Re:einstein hoax (3, Funny)

Smallest (26153) | about 9 years ago | (#13888984)

http://home.pacific.net.au/~t_rout/Gravity%20waves .htm [pacific.net.au]

All peoples should be exceedingly surprised to learn that Einsteins' concept of TIME, which he assigned as the 4th Dimension, and the speed of light are one and the same. It means by altering either one then the other one must remain unchanged; be declared a constant. Einstein could have made TIME the constant and the speed of light alterable. I will demonstrate this by using a high speeding spacecraft in which the speed of light within the spacecraft has halved to 150,000 k.p.sec. then the TIME, it is relative to, has to be made Stationary Time the constant and the speed of light alterable. We could use our, not so quite, stationary TIME on Earth. Now I will do it the other way by making TIME in the spacecraft as the variable and halving it, but the speed of light MUST become the constant and be related as 300,000 k.p.sec., which is the common everyday way it is stated, explained, understood and taught. What I have now done is to prove and explain more easily that I had and have proven the Speed of light is ALTERABLE. It is under my non-exclusive copyright.

A decade or more ago I stated Black Holes should be stationary. I also stated the speed of light within Black Holes has slowed and the previous paragraphs' data proves I had and have proven my statement was true and correct. With Black Holes being stationary then the speed of light within them is relative to Stationary Time making the speed of light slower due to the Black Holes massive mass and the resulting massive gravity. The speeding spacecrafts' mass increases with its' speed increasing. So an increased mass causes an increase in gravity and a slower TIME or rather a slower speed of light.

A major problem has been that the World Science Establishments, Educational and Political Systems and the colluding Media Establishments wrongly believing that the speed of light is unalterable. All this would be of great surprise to the World Science Establishments and an enormous surprise for the public to know of their surprise due to Science, Scientists and Physicists Internationally not understanding Relativity. They all have not understood Einsteins' Relativity since it's release in 1905. Maybe Spacetime's 4th Dimension being defective and deficient can take some of the blame, but only part of the blame for it is their weak minds and poor reasoning powers and arrogance that is at fault. I again have demonstrated and proven my Intellectual and Scientific superiority and again I am being denied credit, recognition, and public awareness so depriving me of financial remuneration which hinders and stops me from getting my major Fusion and Space projects underway in Australia with International involvement. The Media deceives and confuses the Public of the credibility of my achievements with its' silence.

Re:einstein hoax (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 9 years ago | (#13889033)

Somebody forgot to take their Wellbutrin.

Re:einstein hoax (1)

somersault (912633) | about 9 years ago | (#13889133)

that page hurts my eyes :s it was fine reading your excerpt, but what's with all his bold and underlining :s

How Darwin managed his imbox (1)

tbcpp (797625) | about 9 years ago | (#13888793)

You mean to tell me he didn't use iMail or somthing like that?

Really, it's sad when I see Darwin and think Mac.

Replies Not Necessary (4, Insightful)

Mean Variance (913229) | about 9 years ago | (#13888794)

What is the point of saying he responded to "only" 32% of the letters. Many communications I get in email do not warrant a response. Granted, it's quite simple that I will respond with a "thanks" message. But if it were sent in a letter, I don't think I would bother to write (literally) back with an acknowledgement if it didn't extend the context of the message.

HALLO BELOVED MR EISENSTEIN (1)

S. Baldrick (565691) | about 9 years ago | (#13888813)

My name is Olunjwe Ramanujan son of late Mr. Srinivasa Ramanujan of Madras. Shortly before his death he confided to me the location of $1,000,000 (US) and some mathematical equations. In order of recovering this moneys I am in the need a Spiritual Christian Gentleman to represent me at my account. Please if you can assist me send your bank account number and steamer tickets

Dear Charles, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13888814)

I wish to propose to you an alternative version of evolution that I wish to call My Design. Now we all know thanks to you that beaks of some birds are different. Well whopty-doo. I was hiding in the forest changing the beaks of different birds to fool you. Gotcha!

God.

P.S. you will die on 19 April 1882.

C'mon (1)

patman814u (887537) | about 9 years ago | (#13888816)

So, is this news for nerds or stuff that matters? Maybe they also coined the practice of hitting the alarm just one more time in the morning.

Fascinating? (2, Insightful)

DarkIye (875062) | about 9 years ago | (#13888820)

"In both Darwin's and Einstein's correspondence and today's email we find that most responses take short time, but sometimes the responses take a very long time, Oliveira told LiveScience. "In other words, for both email and mail communication, the response times exist in a very broad range of values, and there is no typical response time for which we could say that all response times are around (and close to) that value."

Well, well. This really is specific stuff. I mean, usually these such stories, you get a fake statisic or two thrown in, but this is pushing it.

The upshot: Einstein and Darwin exhibited a "fundamental pattern of human dynamics" that plays out every morning when you check your inbox.

Oh, I suppose Einstien was 'just like me(tm)'? Who really gets 16,500 legitimate emails, even in their entire lives? Let alone sends 14,500?
I don't reckon this should really go into the science category.

This is inspired journalism... (5, Funny)

rustbear (852420) | about 9 years ago | (#13888824)

From TFA:

If you're like Einstein, you respond to some e-mails immediately and let others wait. And, of course, some you never answer.

In other news, if you're like Einstein, you eat breakfast early sometimes, sometimes you eat breakfast late. And, of course, sometimes you don't eat breakfast at all.

Re:This is inspired journalism... (3, Funny)

LordEd (840443) | about 9 years ago | (#13888914)

Then i guess i'm not like Einstein... I also eat my breakfast on-time some days.

Speaking of which... time to eat.

They died pennyless (0, Redundant)

DangerSteel (749051) | about 9 years ago | (#13888860)

And the reason they both dies pennyless is because of a response they mailed back to a certain african fellow whose inheritance was in jepoardy of being taken by the government... (Ok they didn't really die pennyless...lighten up)

Actual Statistics? (2, Interesting)

adavies42 (746183) | about 9 years ago | (#13888889)

I'd like to see the real statistics involved (number of letters in various times to reply). It sounds like it might be a power-law distribution, but with coverage this lame, it's hard to tell.

Darwin and Spam??? (1)

spect3r (909619) | about 9 years ago | (#13888897)

Hmm... Then Ill bet Darwin started the whole...

Full evolution
Long duration of species
No prescription required!!1
ALL Natural Pr0ducts!
The women will think you have evo1ved

2 popular med!cines:
BE FITTIA - http://www.darwin.biz/survive/ [darwin.biz]
ENLARGENIAS - http://www.darwin.biz/enhance [darwin.biz]

Discreet packaging - EVOLVE NOW!

Lazy (1)

exes (853401) | about 9 years ago | (#13888898)

So, this means that mankind got lazy and then we created email to compensate?

Response time (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 9 years ago | (#13888952)

> If you're like Einstein, you respond to some e-mails immediately and let others wait.

It depends on how fast it's moving relative to my frame of reference.

Millionaire (1)

Fek'Lar (804674) | about 9 years ago | (#13888964)

I wonder how many of those letters Einstein received were from Ed Mcmahon. I get lots of letters, too. I trash most of them. Fek

How Darwin Managed His Xbox (2, Funny)

rubberbando (784342) | about 9 years ago | (#13889044)

He didn't....

Monkeys don't have thumbs! ;-)

Phishing (1)

Entanglebit (882066) | about 9 years ago | (#13889051)

Darwin had a particular interest in phishing letters.

Just like the rest of us (2, Insightful)

Nerdposeur (910128) | about 9 years ago | (#13889125)

In other news, historians have discovered that both Einstein and Darwin favored the Non-simultaneous Leg Insertion method for putting on their pants - much like you and I.

the theory of everything (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13889166)

If you read between the lines in TFA, you'll discover that Darwin and Einstein were working on a magnificent unified theory of everything (which they sometimes referred to as mute in their correspondence). According to this controversial theory, everything is relative even evolution. Darwin originally conceived the idea when he read Einstein's paper on relativity. He wrote, "Dearest Al, after our previous correspondence, I will have read your paper on relativity, and I agreed completely. Clearly evolution and relativity were related: every offspring has been related to its biological parents. I shall leave it up to you to release this information in your own time. Sincerely, Charlie." Obviously, Darwin was a tad confused by the time machine, and unfortunately, it also looks like this is one of the letters Einstein forgot to read (either that or it routed to the wrong century by the time machine). Either way, I think mute fell on deaf ears.

p.s. The dates of their deaths are eerily similar.

Charles Darwin - b. 12 February 1809, d. 19 April 1882.
Albert Einstein - b. 14 March 1879, d. 18 April 1955.

You can only imagine.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13889182)

..what emails they would get.

"Mr Einstin,

plz xplain theori of relativaty 4 me as i hav midterm 2morow morn and i skipd all my classs 2 hang wiv a gurl in my dorm(i culd giv u her myspace lnk if u wan??? she has nudez up lol).

thx,

killin_burd9123"

Non Sequitur (1)

catdevnull (531283) | about 9 years ago | (#13889198)

What sort of nonsense article is that? I mean, so what? It's silly to infer that they were so far ahead of their time. They got an butt-load of mail and they answered it like ANYONE else who gets lots of mail--electronic or post.

Albert Einstein probably received letters like this:


Dear Albert,

Your theory of relativity rocks, dude. You da man. I've got some good absinthe and some opium. Maybe we can hang out some time?

Joe Nobody


Would you answer that? (Well, some of you would...)

Weird... (3, Insightful)

DJCater (877532) | about 9 years ago | (#13889207)

Study suggests modern e-mail habits similar to older, letter-writing ones

It's almost as if modern e-mail was created as an electronic replacement to mail!

Many Posters Missing the Point (3, Interesting)

awol (98751) | about 9 years ago | (#13889215)

Many of the posters here are say in various ways, "Big Deal, they responded to mail the way we respond to email, so what?". But it is an interesting finding.

But there are many components of the analysis that need to be understood. First, assuming that the mail was from their celebrity period then we should ask does pre-email celebrity present a parallel to email in terms of unsolicited incoming messages. If so does it present a way of trying to manage it.

Second, the fact that people in the pre-email days are responding to the same kind of fractions as we are with email then we can try and understand if email is a complete parallel for regular mail. In which case many things follow, for exampl the question about whether the "massive" penalties for mail interference should be extended to email.

Then we could think about the social impact of mail. Is the proportion of responded email a "guilt" thing or a measure of the relevance of the mail. In otherwords do we reply to X% of our mail because to do less makes us feel bad and if we bump up the number of incoming does the amount of responding increase, or do we settle for a lower X.

These are all interesting questions and historical data from a parallel, perhaps corellated, source is a worthy place to do analysis.
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