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skeptics and true believers

Page history last edited by Bloody Mary 10 years, 8 months ago

skeptics and true believers

Posted by Caitlin at 11:03 PM

Slightly edited to omit something that was a bit off-color. If you want to read the original, it's at this link. Enter at your own risk.

I think I was born at exactly the right time to grow up using computers. Because they've always been a part of my life, and because my father makes a living fixing the ones people screw up, I've got a sense about how to use them.

When you've been using email since 1997, you come across the same chain letter a time or two (or twenty.) And then at some point, you learn about Snopes. And then you innately Google anything the second it crosses your mind or visual field. These things have helped me do one of the things I enjoy so much - prove people wrong.

We all know by now that you don't send money to a Nigerian prince. And we know that Microsoft won't pay a nickel for everyone who forwards an email with a sick child's name. But I'm here to tell you that email Amber Alerts and robbery schemes are NOT LEGIT.

I have a cousin, a few years older than me, completely sweet, wouldn't hurt a fly. She sends an Amber Alert to everyone in her address book. I, being curious, Google a line from the email. And Snopes is the first result, calling the entire letter a hoax. A few months later, I get another Amber Alert email from someone else and I google that kid's name. Another hoax, complete with a news article from the police department mentioned in the email saying not to call the police department because it wasn't true.

There's a McDonald's email I get constantly at work talking about the meat coming from other countries and to boycott the whole chain. So I Googled the supposed author and found his UT faculty page. His credentials check out, but there's a convenient link on his page that takes you to a letter he actually wrote saying he has nothing to do with the McDonald's email.

Yesterday I got an email from my boyfriend's mom about the latest robbery tactic - people throw eggs at your windshield, and when you turn on the wipers, the yolk turns opaque and you have to pull over, wherein lies the robbery. Guess what? I copied and pasted some of it into Google, and while I didn't find a definitive hoax link, I did learn that this style of robbery is possible, but there are no actual known cases of it happening. I don't suppose robbers really want to have to stop at the grocery store to pick up a dozen Grade A large eggs before robbing some random car on the side of the road. So today, my boss gets the same email and reads it aloud to everyone, along with her 'humorous' reply to the person she got it from. Let's just say it closed with "I'll scramble their ass!" So I briefly mentioned (any logic in the office is futile, you know) that I got the email and repeated what I learned - that it hasn't actually become a widespread form of robbery. She went on to talk about how shady Baton Rouge is. Beyond my realm of caring. Earbuds back in.

And how long did it take me to refute each of these four instances? TWENTY SECONDS.

Listen people, if you still get email forwards from other suckers, do yourself, AND ME, a favor and Google part of it. All of this crap has been around for ten years, it's not new, and it's 99% of the time not real. It only takes 20 seconds and you'll find out if that email is true and spare everyone the annoyance of reading a forwarded email.

Swear it's still 1997 up in here. Don't believe chain emails! Never mind that it was only a year ago someone (in Mississippi...says it all) explained to me over the phone what the @ symbol is. It's the little a with the circle around it, if anyone ever asks you. And by anyone, I mean your three-year-old nephew. Or your 95-year-old grandmother.

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