Solar Email Rage, I Got Some


I’m no stranger to abusive emails, but I thought I’d share a run-in I had with a particularly angry reader during the week.

Now, why would I be receiving hate mail? You might think it has something to do with my campaign of 2012 smack-downs last year… perhaps it’s an angry author of a doomsday book? Or a prominent religious figure with an axe to grind? Perhaps it’s the guys who think the LHC is going to put a continental-sized divot into Europe?

No, no and nope (although the last one would have been fun, I haven’t heard from them for ages; it’s as if I’ve lost touch with an old friend).

Actually, this particular example of email rage came from a very rare subset of Internet critic, the determined-and-possibly-half-way-intelligent-troll. Not content with flinging abuse around in blog comment boxes, this type of individual will read something, and then come hell or high water, they will hunt the author down to give them a piece of their mind.

The reason why I think this guy is possibly-half-way-intelligent is because he can spell. And he doesn’t spout his alternative theory or type in all-caps. Plus, he uses few exclamation marks. His message was short, sweet and left me in no doubt of what he thought about me:

Subject: The sun is BORING!?

Next time you write about the sun, can you try not to sound like a 15 year old? And thanks for educating me on global warming, I’m sure the sun has a negligible effect on the Earth’s climate…

Actually, next time you write about the sun, DON’T.


Now Aaron, tell me how you really feel.

I hold my hands up in defence. Yes, I did say the Sun was being boring, but that’s not quite the same as me saying, “the Sun is boring!” now is it. I’m not going to throw down the ‘but I’m a solar physicist and I actually have a clue card’… oh, I think I just did.

Although I usually assign these kinds of messages to the trash (when I was in my 2012 prime, I was getting up to 10 of these types of email a day, only with f-bombs, and “!!!!!!1“s), I found this one curious.

It was obviously relating to the op-ed article I did for the Discovery Space Wide Angle this week, but this guy had to do his research to find and consequently use my email form. Is this a new mainstream breed of critic that I haven’t been exposed to before? Do people really have this much time on their hands?

So my conclusion is, I don’t think he liked my opinion about global warming, or he really does think I write like a 15 year old. Well, it takes one to know one. When you grow up to be a 16 year old Aaron, read my articles again will you? And yes, I do forgive you, it’s okay, consider this strike one.

8 thoughts on “Solar Email Rage, I Got Some”

  1. OMG! Amazing how a little knowledge can make one so ignorant, huh? Wonder when he'll graduate from High School?

  2. For some reason, on the web, everybody's an expert in everything.And those who are the least coherent seem to have the most disdain for real experts or people who cite them.

  3. Oh dear… Ohhhh dear…What's the World coming to!?Now, if you'd said someone was complaining about your incorrect statement on Discovery Science of being well in Solar Cycle 24 I could defend them. However, as the obvious insult seems to be for something totally different, then this person I'm afraid is undefendable since I for one know you do not write like a 15-year old – I'd day at least 17… 😉 Of course I jest, I know Dr. Ian O'Neill, MPhys (Hons) (Wales), Ph.D. (Wales), can certainly write some excelent science and this Aaron dude should probably read a lot more of Ian's work before coming to any sort of premature conclusion!Nice one for being very good about these things Dr. O'Neill, I congratulate you!Your friend and collegue,Dr. Mario M. Bisi.

  4. He might just be pondering the irony of the situation, if out of a clear blue sky a solar flare was hurtling toward his house. Then you have to ask the question “is the sun boring?”

  5. I think Google has an app that Aaron could use to prevent himself sending inane emails when he's drunk. It works by making you solve a few simple math or word problems before it sends….

  6. No one spends X years working on a PhD on something they find BORING. Nor does one write like a 15 year old on their thesis topic. Wow.

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