Huffington Post Doubles Down, Has MIT Professor Spread Blatant Falsehoods About Creation Of Email

from the really-now? dept

We already covered the bizarre situation in which one of the biggest names in PR has "teamed up" with the Huffington Post to write an entirely bogus "series" of stories on the "history of email" that is nothing more than a PR campaign for a liar. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai claims to have invented email. He did not. We went into great detail on this on Tuesday, so you can check out the history there.

Despite my requests to both Huffington Post and Larry Weber (the PR guy who kicked off the "series"), neither has responded and explained if any money is changing hands here. That means either it is, and Huffington Post is violating FTC rules concerning "paid" posts, or Huffington Post just made it clear that it is willing to post pure bullshit without the slightest bit of fact checking. I'm still not sure which is worse.

Instead, it appears that they've gone forward and posted the latest in the series. Incredibly, they've convinced an MIT professor, Deborah Nightingale, to destroy her own credibility by writing a piece that is supposedly "debunking" the "myths" that everyone puts forth in proving that Ayyadurai is simply wrong in claiming to have invented email. Except the "myths" are not myths, and her debunking does not debunk anything. It just repeats the same false claims (using nearly identical language) as Ayyadurai and his friends in their original posts.

Nightingale cherry picks a few things, presents them in a misleading way, repeats the entirely bogus story about Dave Crocker claiming interoffice email was impossible (which is not at all what he actually said), and then just repeats (almost word for word) Ayyadurai's previously disproven claims. It's clear that the only way they think they can win this debate is to redefine what email is in such a narrow way to pretend that Ayyadurai's specific implementation was the "invention" of email. It's not. It's ridiculous. Here's their definition, according to Nightingale, though more or less repeated word for word by the other posts in the series.
"first full-scale electronic replication of the interoffice mail system consisting of the now-familiar components of email: Inbox, Outbox, Folders, Attachments, Memo, Address Book, Forwarding, Composing, etc.,"
Again, as noted in our post yesterday, nearly all of that was done previously by others (often many years earlier). But Ayyadurai, Weber and Nightingale are pretending that none of that was truly email because it didn't have every single component that Ayyadurai's app had. That's ridiculous. Email is an ever-evolving set of standards. You could just as easily make an equally ridiculous claim that "email" didn't really exist until it also had color highlighting. After all, the offline interoffice mail system had the ability to highlight with colored pens, and email didn't include color highlighting until years later. But, of course, that's ridiculous, because color highlighting doesn't make email.

Email was very much in place long before Ayyadurai's app. It included all the basic concepts of email, including an inbox, folders, to:, from:, subject, cc:, bcc:, etc. Ayyadurai may have written a wonderful new form of electronic messaging, but he didn't "invent" email.

The thing that's amazing here is that Ayyadurai is using one of the oldest trolling tricks in the book, in pretending that everything that he is actually doing is actually being done nefariously against him. Almost everything that he claims people are doing to him are things that he is actually doing himself:

He claims that the attacks are because Raytheon/BBN's entire "identity" is built off of its fake claim to have invented email.

First off, that's not true. Raytheon is a giant multi-billion defense contractor. It doesn't care about who invented email. BBN has a long and well-documented history of a whole bunch of innovations concerning the internet and networked computing. If it didn't invent email (and no one there really claims to have "invented" email anyway -- they say, rightly, that it was a group evolution by a bunch of folks, some at BBN and some elsewhere), its legacy as the core innovators of the internet would still be in place. Instead, the only one whose entire "identity" is built off a fake claim to have invented email is... Ayyadurai. Here's his Twitter page:
His entire Twitter stream is about him claiming to have invented email. Tweet after tweet after tweet are just about those claims.

He has an entire website called "the inventor of email." He's written a book about email, which claims on the front page that he's "the inventor of email":
Oh, and notice the "blurb" on the cover of the book? It's from Larry Weber. Gee...

He claims that others "fabricated a controversy" to deny him his rightful place in history

The only fabricated controversy is by him. There is no controversy. He didn't invent email. But he sure trades off of the claim that big powerful interests are trying to silence him.

He claims that those of us debunking his bogus claim refused to look at the primary documents

This is untrue. We went through the documents in detail and explained why they actually debunk Ayyadurai's own claims. Their "smoking gun" is a paper by David Crocker at RAND from December 1977, in which they falsely claim he said that an interoffice email system was impossible. Yet they never point you to the paper. go read it here. Go read the primary documentation and you'll see that not only did Ayyadurai and his friends/colleagues totally take Crocker out of context, they pulled two totally unrelated sentences from different parts of the report, excised from context, to pretend he said something he did not. Read the whole report and you'll actually see that not only were email systems quite common, lots of folks were developing all sorts of components of an electronic interoffice mail system. Crocker's paper is about one such version, but notes that many others are doing the same, and it includes screenshots of messages that clearly look like email today.

He claims that everyone is trying to rewrite history

He and his friends are the only ones doing so. The history is clear. There is no controversy other than the one that he's manufacturing.

What's bizarre is that the Huffington Post is a willing accomplice in perpetuating this myth -- and why the company won't comment on this, and the nature of its relationship with Weber and Ayyadurai. Again, either the Huffington Post is running a sponsored series without disclosing it (in violation of FTC rules) or it has been totally duped. I've heard from some folks suggesting that this is just the "blogging" side of Huffington Post, where there are no real editorial controls, but that doesn't explain HuffPost Live's multiple segments on this issue, including its bizarre interview with Ayyadurai. That is a journalistic endeavor (or purports to be) that appears to have been totally duped. The series still promises one more article, by Ayyadurai himself, and we expect more of the same rewriting of history, using the exact same phraseology. The question is whether or not Huffington Post will recognize that it's being used as part of an effort to drum up a faux controversy over something that is blatantly untrue.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:40am

    ...wasn't the first thing recognisable as an e-mail sent in 1970?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    hij (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:52am

    No, No, it was me!

    They have it all wrong. I invented email, and so did my wife.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Thomas Haigh, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:54am

    Keep up the good work

    As a professional historian focused on the history of information technology I have been maintaining a detailed summary and evaluation of Ayyadurai's changing claims at http://www.sigcis.org/ayyadurai. SIGCIS is the scholarly organization (or, as Ayyadurai puts it, "cabal") for historians of information technology. My analysis gives a full sense of why Ayyadurai's claim to have invented email is deeply misleading. As Mike's earlier story pointed out, the difference between patent and copyright is crucial.

    BTW, it is surprising to see the "research" published on Huffington Post under the name of Deborah J. Nightingale when it is in large part a variation on a document ("False Claims About Email") previously published without any reference to her on Ayyadurai's website and in his book.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:59am

    ....Huffington Post to write an entirely bogus "series" of stories on the .....

    Sounds like huff. what did you expect? They exist for the clean snow and white washing campaigns

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:03am

    Re: Keep up the good work

    I recommend reading http://www.sigcis.org/ayyadurai -- it's fascinating. Equally fascinating is Craig Partridge's excellent The Technical Development of Internet Email, which reminded me of much I'd forgotten and taught about several things I never knew.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Guardian, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:05am

    serioiusly who goes to huffington post?

    they cant even make a actual webpage

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Jim Schmidt, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:07am

    Re: No, No, it was me!

    Morgan Fairchild?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:08am

    It gets even better.

    Plus, to top it all off they used Chomsky as their authority to appeal to.

    While he's well known for his work contributing to computer science, he's not actually a CS professor. He's also a raving crackpot. Describing him as lunatic fringe may be putting it mildly. If you actually know about him, he's the LAST person you would trust to say anything outside of his speciality (which is linguistics).

    They probably threw him in there as an "MIT professor" to try and diffuse the fact that real computer scientists at that institute did earlier work on email.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Trevor, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:09am

    I can do it, too!

    Take this Tweet posted 9/2/2014 at 8:44 P.M. by Mr. Ayyadurai:

    https://twitter.com/va_shiva/status/507011123678158848

    Here's the text:

    "VA Shiva Ayyadurai
    VA SHIVA
    The 5 LIES ABOUT EMAIL'S HISTORY Dr. Debbie Nighingale Exposes Raytheon/BBN huffingtonpost.com/deborah-j-nigh... and who invented email!"

    Using Mr. Ayyadyrai and Huffington Post's editing standards, Mr. Ayyadyrai just admitted to lying about inventing email!

    Just look at his Tweet posted at 8:44 p.m. on 9/2/2014, which says "VA Shiva Ayyadurai ... LIES ABOUT ... who invented email! huffingtonpost.com/deborah-j-nigh..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:11am

    Re: Keep up the good work

    Even more interesting, Deborah Nightingale, from here MIT page is:-
    Professor of the Practice of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems
    Director, Sociotechnical Systems Research Center
    Co-Director, Lean Advancement Initiative
    #

    She seems well qualified to support the claim about the invention of Email.
    /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    JDLambert (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:25am

    Establishing a base for a wiki fraud?

    Perhaps Ayyadurai is trying to establish 3rd party references to mount an assault on the Wikipedia entry for "email."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:26am

    I can clear all of this confusion up with a simple history lesson

    But Ayyadurai, Weber and Nightingale are pretending that none of that was truly email because it didn't have every single component that Ayyadurai's app had. That's ridiculous. Email is an ever-evolving set of standards. You could just as easily make an equally ridiculous claim that "email" didn't really exist until it also had color highlighting.

    If that is the case, then I nominate as the "real" inventor of email: Gary Thuerk, because as everyone knows "you can't have email without SPAM"

    I did my research, so when do I start my new job at Huffington Post???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:29am

    I can't decide...

    Ayyadurai: Crackpot or con artist?

    Either way, he deserves full scorn and ridicule for trying to rewrite history. Especially for something as trivial as personal aggrandizement.

    One would think that the Huffington Post would be a bit concerned about having their reputation dragged even lower by their misreporting on this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:30am

    I have bad news for you...

    In 20 years, he'll be in your kids' history book as the inventor of e-mail and there will be nothing you can do about it. You will know the truth, but all the kids will tell you you're wrong because they have a book and you don't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:37am

    Re: I have bad news for you...

    Dear God, that means that a Cracked.com listicle will be our only hope...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:40am

    Nightingale's paper is hilarious

    In addition to the criticisms of it in this article, there is one point she makes that actually made me laugh out loud: Email couldn't have existing prior to 1978 because the term "email" did not exist prior to 1978.

    That's funny all by itself, but when you combine it with her legalistic gymnastics in the piece itself (she effectively redefines "email" as purely "what Ayyadurai did") in a misguided attempt to make it true by definition) the result is a pure belly laugh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:43am

    Re: I have bad news for you...

    Sadly, this is not unlikely. Look at all the other inventions that we attribute to the wrong people just because they kept making a huge enough stink.

    This is why it's important that we don't let this go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:43am

    Re: I have bad news for you...

    20 years from now, kids won't be learning from books. 20 years from now, kids will be able to judge sources by reputation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:46am

    Nightingale and Ayyadurai

    There are other connections between Nightingale and Ayyadurai. A recent press release from International Center for Integrative Systems (Ayyadurai is founder and executive director of this) touts a paper on alternative Indian medicine by Ayyadurai (of course). The release has a blurb by Deborah Nightingale that begins "This is a seminal paper…" Going to the paper itself, Ayyadurai lists an affiliation with the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center at MIT, which Nightingale is (according to her linking account) or was (according to the press release) the director of.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Keep up the good work

    That is some well-done work by mr. Partridge. Thanks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:02pm

    Re: It gets even better.

    w-e-l-l, i would *certainly* put this in the category of 'smart guy talks out his butt about shit he doesn't know about', but to say chomsky is some sort of 'fringe' nutball shows how little YOU know about him...

    i have no doubt he has been hoodwinked by a charlatan with semi-plausible -and semi-real- claims, AND he has ZERO clue about any of the attendant technical issues; BUT it is actually kind of instructive in terms of the manner he typically analyzes contemporary media and shows how IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE CONTEXT, you don't know what you don't know...
    that is his problem in this situation...

    again, i have problems with chomsky's approach on a lot of REAL conspiracies in our his story (he essentially either dismisses then outright as impossible, or dismisses them as having no significant impact on his story), BUT i would -as a matter of general principle- subscribe to his take on most anything he puts some thought to analyzing...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:03pm

    Takedowns

    So I wonder when the formerly unacknowledged genius is going to start flinging around DMCA takedown demands to eliminate all the spurious factual history out there. So far he's only been rewriting history, now he has to eliminate the competition surely. 3..2..1

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: I have bad news for you...

    quid custodiet ispsos custodes? The evaluation of reputation has to come from somewhere...

    The alternative would be watcher of the skies unwatcheable, but who likes Genesis over Socrates?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: I have bad news for you...

    Alternatively, they will only have one book, the Bible, if the intelligent design (creationists) people get their way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    OldMugwump (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    MIT has egg on their face

    I thought I remembered using email at MIT prior to 1977.

    I wasn't sure, but a little Googling turned up this:

    http://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=V3/man/man1/mail.1

    It's the Unix 'man' page for the mail program. Dated October 1972.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    Re: I can clear all of this confusion up with a simple history lesson

    First, the correct term is "spam" -- never "SPAM", as that is a product of the Hormel Corporation.

    Second, at the time of that incident, we hadn't yet coined the slang term "spam"; several synonyms for it were in use, most notably "mass mail abuse". It took us years to figure out that the problem wasn't going to go away quite so easily and so perhaps we might want a handy term to refer to it by.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Takedowns

    Oh, please please please let him do this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    Re: I have bad news for you...

    That's cute you think kids will read books in 20 years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:15pm

    Re: MIT has egg on their face

    That's right. IIRC, it was part of Unix when Unix was first created in 1969. Also, I cut my teeth on RSTS, created in 1970, that had its own full-fledged email system that included pretty much all of the "advanced" features that Ayyadurai included in his project.

    The really sad thing about this whole debacle is that what Ayyadurai did was actually an accomplishment. His name should be mentioned in the history of the industry. Just not as the "inventor of email" because that's provably, stupidly, wildly incorrect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    johnny, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    al gore invented the internet

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    OldMugwump (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    Yup. I was only a kid at the time, but I still remember using bang paths to route email - at the time the user@host notation was still new and a lot of people didn't use it yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re: MIT has egg on their face

    Oh, and as long as we're counting, Unix' predecessor, Multics, also included email.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    OldMugwump (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: MIT has egg on their face

    Oops - my post below about bang paths was meant as a reply to you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:22pm

    Re:

    Yes, you're talking about the UUCP addressing system that was used pre-internet. I remember the war that erupted when the dot notation came around. Good lord, I'm old.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    R. Bohn, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:26pm

    HuffPo has been little more than gossip for years.

    They now have a mealy-mouthed amendment, saying that "electronic messaging" existed before 1978 - going all the way back to the telegraph! Their comments also appear to be blocked.
    Great find from 1972 MIT. I dropped out of college in 1973 and worked for a time sharing company that had, running for several years, a full email system, linking customers and employees around the country. To: From: Cc: (probably bcc, I don't remember), forwarding, reply, time stamps, passwords, etc. I don't recall if we had attachments. It's a shame to see an MIT prof put her name on a ghost-written piece of nonsense like this. And, this series would seem to violate FCC rules about comments, except that they are not "reviewing a product."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Takedowns

    Yes, it'd be a really good idea to trifle with the people who built the Internet. I do so hope he obliges, I have plenty of popcorn on hand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

    You know, this profoundly idiotic comment gets repeated a lot in feeble and misguided attempts by ignorant people to blame Al Gore for claiming credit...which he didn't. I suggest engaging in some remedial education here:

    http://metaphorical.wordpress.com/2007/02/20/how-a-journalist-invented-that-al-gore-invented-th e-internet/

    and here:

    http://sethf.com/gore/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Vidiot (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 12:42pm

    His book cover is accurate

    Don't forget that by titling his computer program "EMAIL", he can rightly claim to have "...invented EMAIL". Meaning that one application.

    And now, dear friends, I'll return to authoring a grocery-list app called "FOOD". And when I'm done, you may all worship me, saying, "You invented FOOD." And you'll be right!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 1:30pm

    Re: His book cover is accurate

    Curse you Vidiot!

    You FOOD invention gave me cramps and runs for a week, what a crappy invention!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Tom Betz, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Nightingale's paper is hilarious

    The word "email" certainly did exist before 1978. It meant "to put on chain mail armor". The original term for electronic mail was "e-mail".

    "The first use of e-mail was in 1971 on the ARPANET (see also “Internet,” p. 34). It was developed by Ray Tomlinson (b. 1941)." http://bit.ly/valies

    For some reason, the hyphen was lost during the 80's; but I still can't help typing it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    I'm gonna have a kid and name him EMAIL

    so then I can claim to have invented EMAIL!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 2:05pm

    No, *I* invented email in 1993 when I made my first email account. I put my claim in my resume and all over my website, so you know it's true! No email existed before then and only those who conspire to take credit for my invention claim otherwise.

    Once my PR company repeats my claims on FOX News enough times, the record will be clear that I invented email... and the internet! Al Gore can't take that title away from me!

    (They're coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    connermac725 (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 2:15pm

    HUFFINGTON POST

    someone has definitely been huffing something over there
    are they another national enquirer

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:05pm

    Re: I'm gonna have a kid and name him EMAIL

    no you generated email...hope it doesn't turn out to be spam

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    DB (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Hmmm, looking at
    http://ssrc.mit.edu/people
    I don't see Deborah Nightingale listed.

    There appear to be a half-dozen "directors" listed. You can apparently be a "director" without being MIT faculty, just MIT affiliated.

    Her info page also lists her as being (present tense) a co-director of the Lean Advancement Initiative. The info page lists that consortium as being inactive as of 2012.

    She also claims to be affiliated with MIT's Aero-Astro program. Yet her name doesn't appear on the faculty list.

    http://aeroastro.mit.edu/faculty-research/faculty-list

    Apart from her self-written bio (hmmm, a theme), where is there evidence of what she has actually done?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Spiny Norman, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:09pm

    It is important that we should know WHO TO BLAME FOR EMAIL so that we may decide HOW THEY SHOULD BE PUNISHED FOR THEIR CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    John85851 (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    More BS stories that fooled your friends

    Why does anyone believe anything that comes from the Huffington Post? Okay, I may be exaggerating, but Cracked.com has run at least 25 articles called "BS News Stories That Fooled Your Friends". And almost every topic on almost every one of their articles mentions how the Huffington Post either originated the story or how their "reporters" fell for the lack of sources and published the story anyway. Because, obviously, there's no room for journalistic rules like "verify your sources" when sites are fighting to get the most clicks and views.
    http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/6-bs-stories-that-fooled-you-facebook-real-life-purge/

    Perso nally, I think HuffPo runs stories like this just so they can get attention for printing inaccurate information. After all, the average person isn't going to go look for the correct history or even go looking for verifiable sources. And see, it worked- look how much coverage you gave them for their latest BS story. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    DB (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:16pm

    Oh, a little more from Google on Nightingale:

    http://government-contractors.findthebest.com/l/270482/Deborah-Nightingale-in-Boston-MA

    A pparently she is currently an independent contractor, getting a $39K contract from the Dept of Veteran Affairs as a for-profit 'SBA Certified Small Disadvantaged Business' -- definitely not through MIT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Nightingale's paper is hilarious

    In addition to the criticisms of it in this article, there is one point she makes that actually made me laugh out loud: Email couldn't have existing prior to 1978 because the term "email" did not exist prior to 1978.

    And there were no black holes before 1964!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:26pm

    The Huffington Post is not a news organization. It's more like a...stylized reddit which is a stylized message board forum. Something are true. Some writers are good while others are bad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:28pm

    Re:

    The more I learn about the people who are stepping up to energetically defend him, the worse Ayyadurai looks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    DB (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 3:59pm

    More on Nightengale -- she is (was?) essentially a lecturer at MIT, not a tenured or tenure-track professor. She is a "Professor of Practice" (although I thought that MIT didn't have that position).

    She co-lectured a course in 2004, probably with the title 'lecturer'. The 'Professor of Practice' title appears to have been added when she taught MIT-branded summer weekend courses 2010 and 2012.

    Apart from a book, which seems to have been written primarily to promote her consulting business, the is little in the way of academic activity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    JesseJ (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 4:36pm

    And, Al Gohr invented the internet

    Somehow, these little myths seem to persist in spite the facts. Have no idea why this is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 4:40pm

    Re:

    DINSDALE!
    DINSDALE?

    Anyway, I have a feeling that Mr. Weber has been whispering about MONEY into Ayyadurai's little ears. Money, lots of money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 5:23pm

    Re:

    She's listed here: https://esd.mit.edu/Faculty_Pages/nightingale/nightingale.htm So she is certainly "faculty," but, yes a "professor of practice" as opposed to a tenure track position.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 5:24pm

    Re: It gets even better.

    You mean the MIT Professor Emeritus who has authored over 100 books and was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 pol ..... you mean that Chomsky?

    Seems you have not supported your argument, at all. Why should I not think that it is you who are the raving crack-pot?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: I have bad news for you...

    American Taliban are on the march.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re: His book cover is accurate

    "You FOOD invention gave me cramps and runs for a week, what a crappy invention!'


    Did it cause a core dump?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    tobias d. robison (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 6:09pm

    email functioning in 1967

    Applied Logic Corporation of Princeton, NJ had a fully functioning email system, used nationwide, in 1967.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    Jeff Green (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 7:05pm

    The Queen (Elizabeth II of the UKas opposed to any other)

    Our Queen rather famously sent her first E-mail in 1976 ...

    But maybe monarchs can time travel!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    cc young (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 7:18pm

    Huffpost fabricated news

    as a progressive-liberal, have been (lightly) following huffpost since its inception. it's a corporate-liberal rag that has no hesitation in selling its soul.

    for years huffpo has been a microsoft proxy, for example, reporting as facts any astro-turf anti-google campaigns as if fact, while ignoring ms being caught with hands in the cookie jar. they have always pandered to bill gates as if he were an ethical and wise person.

    of course, one of ms lead attorneys was on the huffpost board, so I don't know if this influence was paid for with cash or buddy-buddy.

    I emailed huffpo several times on this relationship, never receiving a reply. I posted to corrections to comments, to the best of my recollection several of these comments being deleted.

    of course, John Oliver nails it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_F5GxCwizc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Thomas Haigh, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Re:

    Nightingale is NOT an MIT faculty member then, just part of the instructional staff. MIT defines "professor of the practice" as an alternative and rather pretentious way to say "adjunct professor." That's a someone on a temporary contract, typically there a part timer to teach a class or two a year, who is not a permanent part of the institution.

    I became familiar with these definitions back in 2012 when Ayyadurai claimed to be an MIT faculty member but in reality was just a visiting lecturer. If her claim in the article to have "served on the faculty in MIT's Engineering Systems Division for over 17 year" is based on a position as "Professor of the Practice" it is equally bogus. And that position is all she mentions in the online bio linked from the article.

    2.3.2 of the MIT Polices and Procedures states "Appointments to the rank of "Adjunct Professor of _____" and "Professor of the Practice of _____" are equivalent." The same section states "An appointment as an adjunct professor or professor of the practice carries no implication of academic tenure or of membership on the Faculty."

    Confirming this, 2.1 of the MIT Policies and Procedures states that "Appointments to faculty positions are made at the following ranks: assistant professor, associate professor without tenure, associate professor with tenure, and professor." Only people with those titles are faculty members. Apparently that doesn't include Nightingale.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Establishing a base for a wiki fraud?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Establishing a base for a wiki fraud?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 9:53pm

    So the more I read through all the articles from HuffPo and the ones cited in the Wikipedia entries for Ayyadurai and email, Ayyadurai and his supporters are basically arguing a no true Scotsman. The electronic mail systems that preceded his system weren't "email" to him, so they don't count.

    He also keeps using the comparison of his system to a physical world inter-office mail system, but that doesn't actually mean anything unless you solely define email as an electronic analog of a physical world inter-office mail system.

    Saying he "invented" email is equivalent to saying that Columbus "discovered" America or Steve Jobs and Apple "invented" smartphones, touch screens, and tablets. Doing something of historic note in the field is not the same as being the first or most important person to have contributed to it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Editor-In-Chief, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:00pm

    Had never heard of the little fellow till now...

    30 years and this fellow has only just appeared on my radar. Cannot say he has made any impact regardless of what his own opinion might be.

    Appears to me as if he is simply a fame-hungry little man. May have done something significant in one small area at one time, but has had no impact since. I think you will find that Mathai Joseph, V.R. Prasad and N. Natarajan have had more impact than this fellow has. Even David Holzgang is more familiar to me.

    His attitude could be likened to someone saying Bill Gates was the original creator of multi-user multi-tasking operating systems and leaving out the history of Multics, Unix, TOPS-10, TOPS-20, etc.

    David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Roger, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:05pm

    Re: No, No, it was me!

    I think they call that buttsecks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:25pm

    Re: No, No, it was me!

    Me and my wife are Brian.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 10:29pm

    The thing that's amazing here is that Ayyadurai is using one of the oldest trolling tricks in the book, in pretending that everything that he is actually doing is actually being done nefariously against him

    Has this actually ever worked?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Establishing a base for a wiki fraud?

    Looks like one of Ayyadurai's supporters tried to 'fix' the wikipedia entry, and even tried to claim that their 'fixes' deserved to stay in place while the matter was discussed. Thankfully it seems the other editors shot down that idea pretty quickly, and are striving to cover the controversy over the matter in a neutral matter.

    Also sounds like it's not the first time such 'fixing' has occurred, both on the email entry and the one for Ayyadurai himself. Someone's certainly been trying to control what's presented, and how it's presented it seems, contrary to how wikipedia articles are supposed to work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 1:50am

    Re:

    No, you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 2:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Establishing a base for a wiki fraud?

    It strongly appears the Wikipedia edits, along with the bullshit articles in HuffPo, are part of a concerted effort to scam the system and perpetrate fraud on the Internet.

    But why now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Re: I have bad news for you...

    Well, I for one prefer it, if only because I've never seen Socrates in a gorilla suit playing the drums. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Establishing a base for a wiki fraud?

    Because he has a new book out that he's promoting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 4th, 2014 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    Yes, it actually works quite often. Not always, but often enough that it's a common tactic. You see it all the time in politics and other criminal endeavors: when you know something scandalous is going to be revealed about you, you get ahead of the game and accuse your opponent of the same scandalous thing. Even if people don't forget that you've done the scandalous thing as well, at least their attention is split so it's not entirely on you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Coyoty, Sep 4th, 2014 @ 9:17pm

    Telegraphing a myth

    It seems to me that true email, with addressing and independence of a one-to-one direct line, was invented by Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1833.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Techdirt Reading List
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.