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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
If at first you don't succeed, revise your definition of success
This was emailed to webmaster:
I'm a sudanees man graduated from sudan
university of scince and technology department
aircraft engineering deploma. My dream is
travelling by high speeds throug glaxies, and my
idea by using protons. the problem here in sudan
i can not try my idea so i hope to help me please
and sory for my bad languege.

We didn't reply, of course. We then got a followup email (quoting the RT ticket number that the original message had been allocated, which is more than most users manage) from the same person two days later:
In fact it's not faster than light, but it may be more than 10,000Km/s.

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juggzy From: juggzy Date: November 18th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
You have to let somebody talk to him. You *must*.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: November 18th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
It depends. Your role in this narrative might well be to be the respectable mainstram institution that turns him down in the opening chapters so that he can go off in a huff, develop his revolutionary new space drive in his garden shed, and then spend thirty chapters having adventures before he comes back to say he told you so.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 18th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tell you what, I'll give you his email address, you can talk to him.
juggzy From: juggzy Date: November 18th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, no. I don't have the resources to be able to help him, so all I would be able to do is poke fun at him, and you're doing that already.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 18th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't tell if you're getting at me for poking fun at him.... Just in case: I think his email is both hilarious and incredibly sad, which is why I shared it. I wish we could help him, but the help he needs is money, and we can't really give money to everybody who comes and asks for it. Maybe we should. Maybe the world would be a better place if universities just gave money to dreamers. To be honest, I'd rather they did that than, say, spending $millions on useless Microsoft software (to pick an example out of the blue, hem hem), or creating ridiculous useless courses to meet the ridiculous demand for useless degrees. Talking of which, I saw the Socialist Worker folks out on the streets today with "F*CK FEES" banners. Well, I say "banners", I mean "shitty fanziney A4 photocopies", but, you know. If they know where the magic money will come from to abolish tuition fees while maintaining 75%+ university attendance, maybe they could give some of it to Mr Speed-of-Light. In fact, if they can help him invent his machine, then they could go back to 1970s levels of university attendance by actually going back in time to the 1970s, and we'd all win. Er, I think. More research needed.
juggzy From: juggzy Date: November 18th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
See next post. I was cross because you seemed to dismiss him as a crazy, but on reflection, I realised that given my background, I'm probably more able to read between the lines of an email like that, and if he is serious about this dream of his, there are avenues that he can pursue for money (British Council, mainly - my next employers work very closely with the British Council). It is a hilarious and extremely sad email at the same time, but the follow up is the killer; it's like Mick would think for three days about something, very seriously, and then come back and say "actually, no, it's 2*pi" or whatever and expect me to have followed it through. Although it's funny and eccentric, that second email has *something* that would make me want to take him more seriously.

i.e. he's thought about it and realised that you may think he's a crazy and wants to go faster than the speed of light and he is reassuring you that he doesn't and he isn't crazy at all.

Edited at 2009-11-18 06:07 pm (UTC)
juggzy From: juggzy Date: November 18th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK, I'll try to show you where I'm coming from. If you look closely at his grammar, it indicates someone who is translating from Arabic to English in his head - he isn't operating in English as second language, he's speaking English as a foreign language. He says he's an engineer which may mean that he's not very good at languages in the first place.

Secondly, if you research the University he says he comes from (which I had heard of before), you come up with this. This is similar to the sort of University that my dad had a hand in creating in the Arabic world, and is a reputable place. It teaches in Arabic, mostly, and in the engineering departments while they may access English text books, mostly they'll be following numbers and engineering speak, so he wouldn't have learnt any more English there. If you look at the introductory wotsit to the college of engineering, here, you'll see that the English style is similar. I haven't tracked down the department in the engineering department that offers an aircraft engineering qualification, but given the shaky command of English shown in the rest of the post it may well be that what he means by diploma is 'degree'.

So, if he is not lying about his qualifications, he comes from a reputable institution, if not a rich one.

I suspect that he may actually be asking about how he could apply to study further in Oxford or Cambridge, because he has this, as you say, 'crazy' idea that just isn't being pursued in Sudan because they have, well, more pressing problems to deal with.

And actually, it's not necessarily a crazy idea. I mean, he's not saying 'travel at high speeds through galaxies using the power of thought', for example, and a plasma fusion drive (which would involve protons) is certainly not something totally crazy (only of course we have no way of holding the plasma, which is a big problem, but energy release involving protons is certainly something that engineers and scientists would like to crack).

He's got a computer, so he could certainly have looked this next bit up for himself, if that's what he wants, so that's a negative, but he needs to go talk to the British Council about ways that he could apply to study in England, at Oxford, that University he has heard so much about.

So send him here and suggest that he goes talks to someone in the British council about what he needs to do to get one of these scholarships.

Edited at 2009-11-18 06:18 pm (UTC)
lnr From: lnr Date: November 18th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I work in an engineering department, and our operators would ignore that sort of email if they got it. If he can't manage to send it to someone actually more *appropriate* than *webmaster* of the whole university then I really don't think it's webmaster's job to go looking around to find out who he should actually have emailed instead.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 18th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not my job to post to LiveJournal either, so I'd feel a bit guilty claiming it wasn't my job to find out who to forward things on to... :-}

On the other hand, as far as I know we don't have a Faculty of Crazy.
lnr From: lnr Date: November 18th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think the department of crazy would particularly thank you for forwarding it, either :)
pjc50 From: pjc50 Date: November 18th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, this is the physics version of "please send me the codes" .. I don't really understand the thought process that leads to it.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 18th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the thought process is "I need money. Oxbridge have money. I will email Oxbridge." (We got similar emails at the other place, too.)
d_floorlandmine From: d_floorlandmine Date: November 18th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
quoting the RT ticket number that the original message had been allocated
Now, that is the truly impressive bit!
ewx From: ewx Date: November 18th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 18th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
We used to get these at the rate of one every ten days. At my current POW we get one every few months. Some are sadder than others. you're not doing the wrong thing to do nowt, it's not your job to respond, but if you like as a non-involved person e-mail me his details and I'll send him Jggzy's link, which is the hivemind at work. There is no knowing the final end of what one does, whatever you do, so you can flip it out to us w/o compunction...
barnacle From: barnacle Date: November 18th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am a Sudanese man of a Sudanesey temp'rament
From university of scince and technology department
I know the engineering of the aircraft with my deploma
I travel at high speeds throug glaxies in an LSD coma

I'm well acquainted too with protons and the quarks that live inside
The problem here in Sudan is we've had a proton genocide
In short I hope to help me and our proton shortfall circumvent
By filling up this email with my Sudanesey temp'rament
barnacle From: barnacle Date: November 18th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

Two days later...

(Although regarding supralight velocities I must relent,
I still possess a nimble-footed Sudanesy temprament)
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