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Wednesday, January 23 12:00 AM ET

BBspot Mailbag

Now you too can enjoy my Inbox without the annoying spam. Every week I get some amazing e-mail. Some amazing because of the sheer cluelessness of the sender, some because of the time and energy that went into crafting them and some are just simply amazing.


Last week, I posted an email from a guy who wanted to contact Esenam Ayele, the Nigerian Billionaire. In the email the guy put his bank account information. I replied that Esenam was ill and couldn't donate any more. I sent the message from my address and got this reply...

From: Agustinus
Date: Jan 14, 2008 3:34 AM
To: Brian Briggs

dear mr.briggs,

since u r not the billionaire who can help me, pls keep my personal informations just for your eyes only, and do not publish my email for my security precautions, because i already have enough trouble with those filthy nigerian hanging around in indonesia try to fool everybody.


PS : in fact i meet some of them and when i pull out my handycam to shoot them, they just running away like a dog.....wuahahahaha

I decided just to let it go, but this guy was persistent. He sent several more email messages to Esenam (at least four), and even more to Esenam's MySpace account (at least eight). Most were just repeats of the same bank account information, but not all...

today i saw your status is online sir, but i'm not able to contact you, pls contact me at.... maybe you have another email address? i just want be your friend and have a correspondent with you sir

hallo are you sir? i hope everything just fine

how are u sir? i hope everything just going well, so you can proceed what you already done, by giving hope for others, and make their life cheerful.

sir, i need your me at my private email at, i do really need your help, and we can correspondent to know each others well. pls contact me

Not only was he pelting me with messages, but also friends of Esenam on MySpace. Here's the message he sent to another BBspotter who had befriended Esenam...

sory for disturbing you, i've got your contact from mr.ayele's blog, i'm now really want to talk to him, i just wonder maybe you can assist me where to contact mr.ayele? all i want is just ask a little favor from him,but can be a major changes for my life, can you help me? like the way he help you?

I knew action had to be taken, so I sent him an email using the Esenam Ayele gmail account...

From: Esenam Ayele
Date: Jan 21, 2008 8:13 AM
To: Agustinus

Greetings, I am sorry for the delay in response. I have been out of country for several weeks investigating investment opportunities. I am unable to send any charitable contributions at this time. I know about unscrupulous Internet folks, and it is unwise to send your bank information to anyone on the Internet. I would advise that you do not do that in the future. Best of luck to you.

Yeah, I know, I'm too damn nice, but on the off chance that this guy was legitimately in trouble, I didn't want to crush him. I also hoped this would end the endless emails...

sir, thank you for your response, i do now believe that you are really exist, but i have a question if you don't mind to answer, are you really do that ( a charitable things in the past? ).. i live in a believe that you will help me some how, and in your email you mentioned that i are not able to do that anymore, it's fine with me, but pls remember me when you want to do that again, i'm not proud with i'm doing, but a hope is what i need right now. it's an honour to know you sir. if someday you have a paln to go to indonesia, pls don't hasitate to contact me, i'll be more than happy to escort you.

This guy will never give up.

This guy isn't a true BBeliever, but he does have a good story about our story on "science stories being filled with scientific errors"...

From: Luis
Date: Jan 17, 2008 4:12 AM
Subject: Re: Study Shows over 68% of Science Stories Have Scientific Errors

Ok, this may be just me desperately trying to appear in the mailbag thing, but let me, just this one, pleeeeeease ask you, are some of the mistakes on that article true, I mean, are they real mistakes?

The reason for my question (and my risking being ridiculed in the mailbag) is that I work for a newspaper here south from your border (did that sounded nasty in english?), and mistakes like that are extremely often, it's very, very sad.

Just the other day, there was a moon eclipse, so the put some nice photos of the moon on the newspaper, in the front page, the thing is, one of the photos had a... how do you call it? a flare (is that right?, you know, when the light reflects and creates like a ghost image of the source of light). Anyway, there was the moon half covered, and a ghost image of the moon by the side. So the editor wrote on the caption that, thanks to the eclipse, we had been able to see Mars... yep, Mars was the nice flare of the moon on the lens, so yes, we had a beautiful moon eclipse, and the chance to see mars at about three quarters the size of the moon...

I guess that was the day when the world ended, remember that? when mars collapsed against earth?, yeah, that was fun wasn't it. Good luck for us dolphins got us a new earth. Anyway, nobody, not a single reader complained about that, and we have readers that complain if we misspell the name of Shakira. That one, and the lot of ones where mad cows disease is caused by bacteria, salmonella is caused by virus, and aids is also a bacterial disease. So, that's the reason behind my question, that and I was desperate to tell that anecdote to someone who could understand.

Yes, I definitely understand your pain. I'm doing my part with my kids and science, but sometimes I feel it's a losing battle.


My review of Cloverfield here and here generated quite a bit of email. Not surprising since I went against the geek mainstream by not recommending it. Here's a typical message...

From: Andrew K
Date: Jan 21, 2008 10:55 AM
To: Brian Briggs <>

Ok so maybe the all-caps subject was a little over-the-top. I really like this movie, I thought it was really different. It was too much drama and not enough action (reminded me a lot of ABC's Lost), and the actors kinda couldn't pull it off, but the way this movie was marketed (mysterious trailers) and put together was really cool and I think you should have changed your "see" recommendation.

I have an idea for the sequel: a National Guardsman attaches a video camera to his helmet and then is called to the scene. We see the attack on NYC from his perspective, with less annoying commentary (seriously, Hud was such a dork), more action and looking at the monster, less drama, and hopefully actually having a fulfilling ending. If they wanted to get sappy, this same Guardsman finds the camera for the first Cloverfield in Central Park. On the same lines, how did the Guard get heavy artillery in this area so quickly?


From: Maurice
Date: Jan 22, 2008 10:00 AM
Subject: Cloverfield
To: Brian Briggs <>

I saw Cloverfield over the weekend, and I must say for once I disagree with you. I didn't find the movie cheesy or completely unbelievable. Yes, there were some things that were obviously wrong (the "impaled" part you mentioned), but I went into the movie expecting an interesting monster matinee and I got just that. Nothing more, nothing less. As much as you talk about avoiding hype, you seem to have bought into it on this one by thinking that you would see something *more* than an entertaining (if flawed) sci-fi romp. I can't believe you'd follow up a Uwe Boll movie with this one and not feel elated at the relative lack of suck.

Of course, I'm as opinionated as you are and you're perfectly welcome to voice yours. I don't want to come across like I'm defending the movie; I just wanted to say that my experience was a great deal more positive.

I agree with the emails, but I don't base my recommendations on the marketing of the movie, or the hype it generates. I want to restate that it was a very close call, but I have to be honest with my readers, or I'd be the same as all those other sites that I despise. Those sites that are entertainment "news" sites, but are just marketing whores for Hollywood. You know the ones I mean.

My Kid Is Geekier than Yours

From: David
Date: Jan 15, 2008 12:51 AM
Subject: I may have you one upped in the "my kid is geekier than yours" race
To: Brian Briggs

I'm watching the Sarah Connor chronicles with my now 12 year old daughter this evening, and John Connor is leaving a computer store. The address on the door says 1337 and I say the number out loud and my daughter says "oh, leet." I almost jumped up and hugged her.

My 12-year-old daughter would not have made that connection. I need to get on that. I applaud the efforts of embracing geekiness though, and passing it down to the next generation.

Weekly Limerick

The winner of the 2003 and 2006 Geek Limerick contest has volunteered to write a weekly limerick for BBspot. Seth also has a new book coming out that you should take a look at..

From: Seth

Scotland's angry that haggis is banned,
U.S. keeps out those sheep's innards canned.

 But although ewe is nigh,
 There was no hue and cry;
Could it be there was not much demand?

Story Options:

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