I'm just back from the British easter SF convention — last weekend, in Chester — and one of the things that irritated me while I was away was the level of spam I was having to mop out of my email account.
I did a little experiment yesterday; I emptied my trash then began letting it build up. As I normally archive all "real" email, this allowed the spam to build up. As of 24 hours, there are 796 items of bulk unsolicited email in the trash can. About 70% of it is in non-western character sets — among the ones I recognize are Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, Russian, and Japanese, along with what I suspect is a metric ton of Chinese — and of the stuff that's readable, most of the headers appear to be preoccupied with (illegal non-prescribed sales of) drugs for weight loss and sexual dysfunction, attempts to persuade me that I've won a lottery I never entered or that an online bank account I don't have has been compromised, offers of financial help from Nigerian clergymen's widows, attempts to sell me software for an operating system I don't use, and rather dodgy hardcore pornography.
... And Kurt Vonnegut is still dead.
Meanwhile, just what's happened while I've been away? (I mean, aside from the usual political posturing over Iran, the unfolding train wreck in Iraq, Tony Blair doing his best to ensure that his place in the history books is not the one he was hoping for, and George Bush making people nostalgic for Richard Nixon.)
Days after the system went live, the operators of a talking CCTV surveillance system in Middlesborough are having to apologize over a case of mistaken identity for yelling at the wrong person in public.
It's beginning to look like there might be an extra EU member state shortly after the May 1st elections in Scotland.
... And the world is about to be menaced by the dire spectre of Bill Gates in Spaaaace!.
Damn, I wish Kurt was around and writing. He'd be sure to have something to say about all this.