Email from the Future

I’ve recently begun receiving a spate of email from Mon, January 18, 2038. You’ll be as disappointed as I was, no doubt, to learn that in the future people are mostly concerned with financing rates, mortgages and sexual disfunction.

But seriously, I recall learning, during the whole Y2K hullabaloo, that in 2038 systems that ran Unix (and possibly Unix derivatives) would have an issue as the date field would fill up. Are these spam emails suffering from a Unix buffering problem of some sort? Or are they truly emails from the future, sent to warn me of pending catastrophe?

Most likely the latter, although the nature of the catastrophe seems to be centered on either your savings account or your penis.

I expect, in 2038, penis ensues.

Sorry, more sensibly: that is the unix rollover date (well it’s the next day but depending on the actual time and timezone it’s close enough to be significant). See here for details.

I’m going to guess that these e-mails are generated with that date so that they stay at the top of your inbox (if you’re sorted by date) and that happens to be the highest date the spammers mailer system can generate.


I thought it was intentional - because in most e-mail clients the most recent e-mails get put at the top. So the spammers are trying to make their e-mails be at the top of the inbox. I get plenty of spam from 2038 through 2009.

Seems like a super easy way for the ISP to filter them out. Spoof the date and the email get’s dumped. Period.

I also always figured they did that so they’d appear at the top of your inbox if you sorted by descending date. I’ve seen the same tactic in newsgroups spam.

I used to get a lot of spam from like 1969.

Specfically, Dec. 31, 1969, at some time in the evening (depending on your time zone). If you’re Eastern, it’d be 7:00 PM. That’s midnight January 1 1970, Greenwich time, which is t=0 for many computer systems, and therefore the earliest time that an e-mail can have.



CH34P L@V@ L@MP REF1LL5 - LOOK!!!**

That made me giggle like a little child. Thanks.