When I first became a graduate student in Physics, I was surprised to find that my inbox was periodically flooded with pseudo-scientific e-mails written by crackpots and religious nutters both Christian and Islamic. I’m not sure precisely what these people hoped to accomplish by randomly e-mailing people off of a departmental website. I suppose that they were expecting that one or two of us would read it and suddenly have an epiphany: “Why yes! My eyes have been opened! This letter, with its mangled syntax and multiple different colours of text has convinced me that the sun really is the only luminous body in the universe and that space as we know it is just a giant mirror! Thank you, mysterious stranger, it’s so obvious now! We award you all of the Nobel Prizes!”
In any case, this trend seems to have died down somewhat of late. Now, however, a new menace has emerged: solicitations for papers from academic journals and conferences which are obviously scams. There’s one company in particular, called Lambert Academic Publishing, which specializes in trawling around the Internet looking for unsuspecting recent graduates to have their thesis published by a vanity press.
Of course, none of this is any more than a minor problem, but it has made me realize that I should probably try re-writing my thesis results as a couple of papers and get them published in a legitimate academic journal. I’m also starting to think that maybe I should write the first “popular-science” monograph on the subject of analogue gravity, since this subject seems largely untouched outside of academic papers.