Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Journal EnlightenmentFan's Journal: Spam, phone spam, and "wasting time" in the public interest 4

My hat is off to those who spend time stopping spammers, or making trouble for misleading telemarketing companies. But I don't think everybody who gets a spam email or call is morally obliged to drop everything and go after the perpetrator.

Ideally, better laws will shut these parasites down. It took a century to stop factories from pouring toxic waste into rivers, and even longer to stop cities doing the same thing with untreated sewage.

On Sunday, I was heading toward NH to have lunch with my brother when I saw a dazed driver wandering out into Route 93 from his newly-smashed car. In a situation like that, nobody would complain about "wasting time" to lend a hand. The problem was clear, what I could do about it was clear, and the stakes were very high. If spam were like that I wouldn't whine about wasting my time to stop it. But as it is, I just delete the ads for Viagra and horny teen farmgirls, or hang up on the autodialer, or reply to "How are _you_ today?" with "Please put me on your don't-call-list."

Yes, I did get the guy off the road, eventually, but I was darn glad when the ambulance arrived to take over.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Spam, phone spam, and "wasting time" in the public interest

Comments Filter:
  • Any idea what caused the accident?

    I, too, am too lax at hunting down spammers. Seeing spam every single friggin day has gottem me somewhat numbed to it (which is kinda good for spammers). Accidents, on the other hand, are unusual, and therefore much more interesting -- especially if one can get a lesson in how to avoid the same problem.
    • Two cars were headed north on I-93, which is 4 lanes in each direction. The nice-old-lady-driver was following her son's car, although for some reason she was in one of the "passing lanes" and he was in the far-right lane. Suddenly, her son took an exit off the right lane of the highway, catching her by surprise, so (without signalling or looking) she swerved right to try to get off at the same exit. A young-man-in-a-red-shirt, who was in the lane she had decided to cross, hit her car's rear end, sending both cars out of control. She was lucky enough to steer her car to the shoulder, but his car, for some reason, ended up stopped in lane #2.

      As I came over a hilltop, going the usual 60 mph in lane #2, I couldn't help noticing that 1) his car was stopped in my lane and 2) he was standing next to it looking dazed! Boy, was I scared!

      So I stopped on the shoulder, far enough past the wreck that I hoped no future car would push the wreckage into my car, told my daughter to get out of my car and call 911, and started running up the highway waving my arms to alert oncoming drivers, and yelling at Mr. Redshirt to get off the road. I must have looked pretty goofy, but it did work, and nobody hit his car or him. Nobody was injured, so they were lucky--both cars were wrecked. One other driver also stopped to help, so he was comforting the upset woman, and I was trying to calm down the upset young man and to stop him from running back to his still-endangered car to get stuff out of it. The ambulance/firetruck got there in about 5 minutes.

      • Sounds like the moral is: if you don't know whre you're going, stay in the lane of the car you are following (even if cars get between you). Or maybe just: stay out of the passing lane.

        Must have been a trauma for everyone. Glad no one was too badly hurt.
        • An excellent moral!

          A related good moral is that our built-in "full focus on sudden emergency" response doesn't work well behind the wheel of a car. For example, if you suddenly realize you missed an exit...or you get stung by a bee...or (like the guy whose car hit Stephen King) a dog starts trying to get at the steaks in your cooler.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments