Joe Cherner, the former bond-trader whiz who’s devoted the last decade of his life to helping the world’s public spaces go smoke-free, finds spam — the unsolicited junk e-mail most of us get — almost as annoying as smoke.
He proposes the following simple solution:
- Anyone could send spam, but it would all have to have the words “Unsolicited Mail” in the subject heading.
- E-mail providers would provide users — you and me — with a filter option to refuse mail with “Unsolicited Mail” in the subject heading.
- “Unsolicited Mail” would be further broken down into categories: “Unsolicited Mail-Products,” “Unsolicited Mail-Services,” “Unsolicited Mail-Pornography,” “Unsolicited Mail-Make Money,” and “Unsolicited Mail-Advocacy.”
- Unsolicited Mail could be further broken down into sub-categories so people interested in motorcycles can receive spam about motorcycles without receiving other spam.
- A typical spam subject heading would look like this: “Unsolicited Mail Products: Computer Software.”
The e-mail filter choices we’d have would allow us to accept all unsolicited mail, none of it, or some of it, tailored to our interests; e.g., no pornography or make-money spams, but products and services and advocacy. And within products, only spams about motorcycles and stereo equipment. Or within advocacy, only those on issues of . . . well, in Joe’s case, smoking.
Incidentally, I know the heir to the Spam fortune — the physical Spam that you eat — and he is as nice a guy, and as generous, as they come. Who knows? If cigars, which are disgusting and bad for you, can make a comeback, maybe Spam — which is far less disgusting and may not be bad for you at all — is poised for resurgence, too. Can’t you just see Schwarzenegger on the cover of Canned Meat Aficionadogrinning over a tin of Spam?
Anyway, isn’t Joe’s idea a good one? What are we missing here?
Quote of the Day
It was only 80 years from the time Darwin published ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES until we detonated the first nuclear bomb. In the lifetime of one person, we went from figuring out where we came from to figuring out how to get rid of ourselves.~Paleontologist Jack Horner
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