This Just In: Even Spam has a Carbon Footprint!

By Catherine Potts | Apr 15, 2009
More Articles by Catherine


Before I get started…

Goog-411 is Not a Translating Service for Baby Talk

Imagine my surprise this weekend when a friend of mine told me about a free Google service called Goog-411. A free information service you can call from you cell or home phone. And here I’ve been paying for 411 the whole time! You can check out the video about the service here. So I tested it out from my work desk phone. Our phones are internet phones so I was curious to see if it worked the same. Sure enough! I’m not trying to pitch for Google, but I must say. This is a cool service! I was able to call on the speaker phone, I never touched the dialing pad (except to dial the first number) and 99% of the actions were understood by the system. It’s pleasant and very easy to navigate.

They only do business listings but, if you say the city and state and category, it gives you a #1 pick and the option to connect to that pick. If you don’t like it, you can ask for more options. It was just really cool. You can receive map and directions information via text or email as well. Apparently I was totally out of the loop on this one.

On to the main topic…

Spam Email Sucks Power Not Only from My Soul-Also from the Grid

I can’t even begin to impress upon you how much spam email I receive every day. It’s ridiculous. We even have a new spam filter that requires all users to both monitor Outlook’s junk folder and a new web-based one. Anything to make it better, I say. However, with all the security we have in place, A LOT of spam emails get through. At a certain point last year, I started even getting spam from myself. Huh? So exactly how do you block THAT out?! I had to block myself from my email. I resisted for awhile but finally had to just block me. I was just being obnoxious.

It boggles the mind at how much effort this must all take-and for what? They’re not getting anything from me. They don’t have my credit card information. Exactly how does sending me 100 emails (all with the same subject line) do anybody any good? It’s not like I’m going to USE the product!

On a side note, how… after allllll this time, have we not been able to keep this stuff out of Outlook? I have tried to set Lord knows how many rules to avoid the build up but the spammers are just always working at finding different ways in. Where does one become a spammer anyway? Is there a job fair?

What is it about “Get all your Controlled Drugs Here <details Inside>” in the subject line that doesn’t raise the big red warning flag? Or “Try It Risk Free 30days <details Inside>?” Ridiculous. OK, sorry for the rant.

Over at The Guardian Richard Wray writes about the sheer amount of power it takes to actually send and deal with spammy emails:

More than 80% of the world’s email traffic is now spam and the transmission and receipt of unwanted email gobbles up 33bn kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, according to anti-virus software specialist McAfee. That is the equivalent of the electricity used by 2.1m US homes… More than 80% of the world’s email traffic is now spam and the transmission and receipt of unwanted email gobbles up 33bn kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, according to anti-virus software specialist McAfee. That is the equivalent of the electricity used by 2.1m US homes.

Spam has a carbon footprint?

McAfee estimates 62tn spam messages were sent globally last year. The greenhouse gases involved in providing enough electricity to generate, send and then delete this unwanted traffic was the same as the emissions from 3.1m cars, according to McAfee’s Carbon Footprint of Spam report, published today.

Will this Earth every catch a break from the greedy humans? Probably not. Until the day comes we can find a solution (yeah right!) I shall always be known as Catherine Potts, Email Au Pair (hmmm was that too much?)

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