An email from Ryan and Jacob

posted by Jason Kottke Jul 01, 2002

I just got an odd piece of email (full text). The email, sent by a person named Otello Danism (anagram?) starts out thusly: "There is something extremely wrong with every single person in this world. They seem to be part of a pointless simulation." The email then goes on to say that everyone in the world is a fake...except for the author of the email and a friend (Ryan and Jacob) and details a way to get in touch with them by searching for certain combinations of words on certain search engines.

A bit of research reveals that other folks have gotten similar emails: Jonah, Cam, Alexander West, and a bunch of people searching on Lycos.

After more digging, I came across Ryan and Jacob's Web site: eternalambition.com. More wackiness about logic and aimless existence. The site is hosted at Yahoo! and is registered by an Anthony Bourov, who appears to work for a Web hosting company called addr.com.

So what's going on here? A few possibilities:

- It's a hoax. This is probably the most likely explanation, a person or a group of people playing around with email.

- Ryan and Jacob actually exist and they actually write this stuff and mean it. This explanation is less likely, but still possible.

- It's part of a larger online game, perhaps for a movie or television show, a la last year's AI game. This is the least plausible explanation, but the one I want most to be true.

Reader comments

jonJul 01, 2002 at 9:57AM

As long as I can remember caring about philosophy and morality, there have been people who seem to want very much to not-exist; that is - they are excited, almost happy about wondering if maybe .. maybe we are a dream! or maybe we are just someone's thoughts! .. I find it rather offensive, but mostly just annoying. As much as this world is filled with pain, I like existing. I like it for me - I like being able to have a wonderful wife, eat delicious food, and have moments of happiness.

*pushes annoying email into the trash*


timoJul 01, 2002 at 11:17AM

Sounds like a meme itself (and the beginning of cult thinking): "Those that join us must see every other person occupying this planet as the enemy, and us as their only allies. Like us they must have dedication only to taking the most logical action, and to nothing else."

Exclusion of others when forming belief systems has caused a lot of pain, strife and war in this world.

GrahamJul 01, 2002 at 11:18AM

I got it back in May and made the mistake (depending how you look at it) of quoting most of it in a blog entry. Now I'm the top google hit (even though google is bizarrely absent from the list of approved search engines) for "perfect, final, endless, perpetual, driving, eternal, logical" and various other phrases from their screed. Half of my traffic in the last week has been from R-and-J related searches.

My favorite comments on the spam are from the people who triumphantly point out "logical" errors in the missive, thinking that poor R-and-J, humiliated by their defeat, will worship their defeater, fake or no. Or something.

npJul 01, 2002 at 11:19AM

The shooting of the two new Matrix films is finished - now they are cutting, post-processing the films. Maybe somebody else also read the news.

kimmieJul 01, 2002 at 11:37AM

Yeah, I got the same spam. I try not to quote spam in my blog anymore since the last weird spam I posted got me a ton of hits from Google as well.

walJul 01, 2002 at 11:55AM

Any know the origin of the mailing list for this spam?

benJul 01, 2002 at 12:22PM

VERY interesting:

compare www.eternalambition.com with www.singlegoal.com/

Both can be found by searching for those terms, both are written by a Russian and a German, and they are of approximately the same age (if the eternalambition site was created one year ago, the ages would comply with the year of births stated on singlegoal.com). They provide different names, however. Discuss.

jonJul 01, 2002 at 2:05PM


adding to the strange coincidence is this:


What do you make of that?

AndreJul 01, 2002 at 4:58PM

I remember encountering this concept in one of the early Kurt Vonnegut books. I enjoyed it a lot at the time as it seems to be based on a common doubt embedded in the human archetype...

Much like "reality is only a product of imagination", this one is more specific "Only I perceive reality, and others are a product of my imagination/there to make it fun for me."

I know this is irrelevant to the little investigation going on -- I just wanted to share :)

-- Andre

kyotonilsJul 01, 2002 at 5:04PM

There is a recognized psychiatric disorder (I can't come up with the name, sorry) whereby a person believes that people around him/her have been replaced by evil impostors. Interesting thing is, many doctors believe it is caused by an actual lesion on the brain, tho not identified yet. I edited a medical report on the subject last week. This poor guy, his wife kept accusing him of being an evil doppleganger for her hsuband, and getting hysterical. He has to leave the room and come back, saying he's her real husband, and then calm her down.

donJul 01, 2002 at 5:15PM

Psychiatric disorder? And who ordered you to tell that lie? You cruel dogs have to stop this!

benJul 01, 2002 at 6:27PM


Interesting little comic ya got there. I'll take it into consideration.

samffJul 01, 2002 at 8:51PM

Otello Danism = A Stolid Lemon?

~brianJul 01, 2002 at 9:04PM

I got the same email. Bounced it back to them with Apple's Mail.app. Didn't receive a bounce back, so the email isn't faked. I know this isn't a lot of groundshaking, added information.

marisaJul 01, 2002 at 10:18PM

Otello Danism = I, one small dot?

cameronJul 01, 2002 at 11:19PM

The mystery continues...

My copy, dated Friday, June 28th comes from the sender 'Bucerotidae Attic,' which appears upon further inspection to be the sum of two random words from a dictionary (or alternatively the top story of a hornbill).

If I was going to track a meme, I would give each one i sent an identifier, like say, the unique combination of two words from a dictionary. Of course if I wanted to perplex people, and make them think there was some hidden meaning in the 'from' field of my message, I'd do the same thing.

leeJul 01, 2002 at 11:43PM

for less dated insight (modern) you might consult
ideas found in buddhist texts, as well as the psych
literature. "the world exists, but is not real", and so
forth. whenever i think about it, nothing comes close
to what they did in india (et al) 2,000 years ago,
regarding radical subjectivity with a consistent,
empirically satisfying provability.

newer embodied realism doesn't contradict anything
there either.

note to self: sharpen thy occam's razor.

tomJul 02, 2002 at 12:18AM

kyotonils, you're thinking of the Capgras delusion, and that does not seem to be the case, as it is almost exclusively visual, as I understand it. People on the internet or on the phone would not seem like impostors.

BenJul 02, 2002 at 1:50AM

These ideas may well be symptoms of a psychiatric illness, but they are also the product of of an active and usually adolescent mind. I and most people I knew used to have these ideas when we were kids. Most people did at some point, which is one of the reasons fo the popularity of the Matrix.

SimonJul 02, 2002 at 2:45AM

Kyotonils & Ben

You may (if you haven't already) want to read Oliver Sacks books on neurology. I know it sounds heavy, but they can be viewed as fascinating, quirky, real life short stories. I think it's in The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat that there's a case of a someone whose brain didn't make the connection between seeing someone and the emotions that would normally be there (ie love/hate/etc.) Fascinating books.

James RussellJul 02, 2002 at 3:23AM

Oddly enough I got this exact same email this morning myself, albeit from "Quercus Mithra". Thanks for saving me the effort of trying to track down their website :)

Gary FarberJul 02, 2002 at 3:26AM

As I see some of the other commenters have implied, schizophrenia and other brain disorders are not at all uncommon. I don't follow why you consider this, apparently, "less likely" than a hoax, but perhaps you've not had much experience with peope suffering such maladies, which don't affect intelligence in the slightest (as witness a recently famous Nobel Prize winner).

CraniacJul 02, 2002 at 4:39AM

The old soviet union used to send dissidents to insane asylums on occasion. I am betting this is a matrix promotion.

pkJul 02, 2002 at 6:14AM

it smacks of a Matrix promotion.

It has all the right ingredients and is spreading like a wild fire.

Lets wait and see eh?

bruceJul 02, 2002 at 7:27AM

One more thought: on what evidence do we base the belief that WE are "real"? Decartes considered thought as a sufficient justification ("I think, therefore I am"). But this is really an article of faith and many religious traditions (Buddhism comes to mind) teach that the "self" is illusory.

It may be just as rational to assume that WE ourselves are unreal and illusory as it is to assume that everyone and everything we perceive external to ourselves is fake.

The tone of the original email which sparked this thread seems a bit desparate to me. The world we can observe and agree on ("consensus reality") has it's mechanistic aspects, yes. Do we have free will? Or are we merely yanked about be cultural memes and biological, instinctual imperatives? Well, everything has a substrate, a foundation. Is a medieval cathedral merely a bunch of stones? It surely is built from stones, but are the stones the significant, or interesting part of the story of the cathedral? Only if one is a geologist!

Human behavior is determined by the interaction of environment, genotypes, and phenotypes.

And free will? Consider this paradox: take one of your worst, most destructive habits. Convince yourself that you DO NOT HAVE FREE WILL. Does this mean you cannot change your habit? If you decide to take the easiest course and, for example, continue smoking cigarettes, was this a free will decision? Or determined by the factors I cited above?
And if you fight through withdrawal and become one of the statistically few individuals who quit smoking, was this a free will decision? Or were you just doing what environment and genetics predisposed you to do in the first place?

BUT.......if you convince yourself that you HAVE NO FREE WILL, you will be very unlikely to every quit. You will take a fatalistic attitude and never even try!

Logic breaks down. I think I'll simply assume, as an operating principle, that I am conscious and real and that all beings I interact with are also conscious and real. And so I will try to treat them with compassion and respect. If they prove to be unreal or I prove to be unreal, my experience in life will still prove to be a happier one.

jkottkeJul 02, 2002 at 9:07AM

Wow, I didn't imagine the conversation would head in this direction. The concept of living in a "fake" world is obviously an old one, predating the Matrix by quite a few thousand years. The idea of an afterlife can be thought of in that way: people living this fake life are promised a more real existence in heaven or Valhalla...so long as you behave.

But back to the issue of what Ryan and Jacob are up to, my bullshit meter is going off...I still think it's a hoax of some sort, but I'm not convinced it's commercial in nature. There's just something about all this that's too organized and polished to be authentic.

PhilJul 02, 2002 at 9:10AM

He works for addr.com? This explains why I can never get any customer service; they're busy writing intricate web hoaxes.

kyotonilsJul 02, 2002 at 9:11AM

Thanks, Tom, that's right, the Capgras delusion.

I really didn't mean to suggest that I believed this disorder to be involved here. I just thought it was an interesting possibility.

I don't know about you, but when I was a kid there were many times that I speculated that all the world was a put on for my benefit, sort of like the Truman Show.

AndreJul 02, 2002 at 9:52AM

I know what's going on!
You are all mad because you're all fake!


J. LawlessJul 02, 2002 at 10:08AM

{I knew it'd be a matter of time since JK went to MT that we'd be seeing regular comments}

Possible anagrams of "Otello Danism":

Metalloid Son
Stallion Mode
Toilsome Land
Almost End Oil {for you global watchers}
Damsel Lotion {for the rest of you watchers}
Dismal Net Loo {for 'net pundits}
Molest And Oil

and, perhaps the most scary:

Alien, Most Old

vacapintaJul 02, 2002 at 11:28AM

no, no, no. These aren't anagrams, they are crossword puzzle clues. You guys are thinking like programmers. :)

bucerotidae attic = the mind of a hornbill; Zazu from The Lion King is a hornbill.
otello danism = Otello is italian for Othello, the play and opera; Danism is a philosophy which condemns violence; Othello + Violence =Iago

So, the answer is that we all live in the enchanted Tiki Room of Iago and Zazu!

yiJul 02, 2002 at 2:08PM

r & j are the 21st century's raskolnikovs. also their html is generated by frontpage. they are not to be trusted.

mantrucJul 02, 2002 at 3:04PM

Nice discussion! here's my 2 cents:

There's a Biologist called Humberto Maturana, who explored the problem of reality vs. illusion by studying the nervous system. He started asking himself this question at age 10.

By studying the ocular system of a pigeon, he found out that perception does not lie either outside of the observer nor in his brain, but in the midle point. Our perception of the world is created inside our sensory organs. The observer in not independent of what is being observed, they are codependent. In his book The Tree of Knowledge, he demonstrates the proncipe explained before through an optical illusion of color persistence in the retina, and questions the classical theory of color perception from physics.

The extension of these principles led him to question the basical notion of objectivity and put it in between parenthesis, exlaining that all the visions of the world are unavoidably tainted by the oberver, and are all equally valid.

He's definately an interesting author to study. I had the fortune to take a full year course and I really think his work has something to teach us all.

In short: We are not (biologically) capable of making a distinction between reality and illusion.

PhilJul 02, 2002 at 3:09PM

OK so I'm a simulation. I think I can accept that. When do I get out of beta?

jimboJul 02, 2002 at 4:17PM

Um. Why would matrix need to promote itself. Its almost like a surefire 5-cover-EW top10 movie debut first weekend hit.

kathrynJul 02, 2002 at 7:54PM

i received this piece of mail, too, today from a "Bennet Angeleno," also using a Yahoo! address -- wouldnt2nooser@yahoo.com.

Kevin McGeheeJul 03, 2002 at 8:38AM

If were a simulation, I would have crashed by now. Q.E.D.

jedwardsJul 03, 2002 at 3:34PM

I got another one from "Apostolian Julidae."

Seems to me they maybe want to befriend a ten-line Perl script.

From the little I've read, seem to me they're looking for people willing to follow directions who feel alienated by society. Go cult!

george mincuJul 03, 2002 at 10:44PM

If they really mean it, I strongly suspect they are solipsists. Look at the presumptions they make: "no action has ever been taken" based on a certain philosophy, s/he is the only person free of these thoughts, his/her logic must be universal, et c. Of course, following what a solipsist says is oxymoronic, so their dicta can be safely ignored.

Either that or they just haven't thought their argument out that well.

mirlaJul 04, 2002 at 6:02AM

They're posting responses. They're probably "real" (whatever that means).

They're two men in their very early 20's. Nuff said.

AvaJul 04, 2002 at 9:58PM

I got one from a Herminone Illoricata the address is

johnJul 07, 2002 at 9:03AM

My humble opinion is that they are searching influenceable people to start their own sect...hm?

sigmundJul 07, 2002 at 9:06AM

You could be right John, and they wouldn't be able to contact anyone else 'cause they're "ennemies"

Michelle Kinsey-ClintonJul 08, 2002 at 11:49AM

I got one of these too, last week. But it was addressed to a work-related email address which attracts vast quantities of email from conspiracy theorists and other psychoes... so I thought it was a one-of-a-kind.

Compared to some of my *other* email it was almost sane-sounding, so I didn't save it, or else I could compare originating email addresses with everyone else.

jonJul 09, 2002 at 2:31PM

I got the spam - google lead me here. I had a dream a long time ago. I was sent by NASA to Venus, where everyone was a robot. I was the only real one - NASA personnel blathered into my ear about what to do.

It was absolutely wonderful.

"Venus" had a "ring" around it - this ring was a giant alphabetic bracelet like infants get at the hospital.

alexJul 10, 2002 at 4:22PM

I enjoyed the wit and thoughts above, especially the crossword puzzle clues! I too came here via google on ryan and jacob. I just wanted to add the splendid spam pseudonym "Jhuria Gelidium" to the pile, in case some kind of pattern emerges... However, I have found that _all_ the words used so far are in this 3Mb dictionary file:
(Download to search it is easier than in the huge browser page).
I don't think this dict file in particular is special. But I must admit the mellifluous and arcane sounding names tickle me... were they entirely random, or hand-picked?

As for Ryan & Jacob / Michael & Dima / Anthony & ? themselves, I'm sure they're sincere. They epitomize everything that is wrong with joyless, rationalist, colonial Western capitalism. A couple of insecure, over-privileged brats -- the totalitarians of tomorrow -- here's hoping they never wield any reigns of power. It's quite sad to read their pompous criticisms of their potential friends, who open up to them but end up getting driven away. Reminds me of little boys in grammar school who always have to prove they're riight, they're smarter. I knew a Russian `futurist' with similar ideas -- trying to squeeze the whole human and emotional world into logic and maths. Such critical anger and nastiness. They really need some therapy. Or a jolt of deconstructionism, or some weed... (Probably all 3 together)

It's funny: their first website opens like business motivational material (of the kind elegantly parodied by eg http://www.despair.com/elitism.html ).

Or a Lexus ad...

Keep up the anagrams!

neil rJul 13, 2002 at 5:03PM

It is a rather weak explanation, and a bit paranoid sounding, but essentially sound based on our cuttent understanding of quantum mechanics. All that exists is the observer,,,,everything else just "probably exists"

BilyBob NYCJul 13, 2002 at 10:34PM

I think it must be a promotion for the Matrix. Nobody would have the time to change their outgoing email address (to create a unique identifier) before every email. Especially considering the number of these emails that have gone out. This is a custom script that Yahoo!'s been paid to run. Whoever's doing this has good money. Must say, it was a relief to find this page right away instead of trolling all over hoping to find www.eternalambition.com .

TristanJul 13, 2002 at 11:27PM

Another that's received the mail, this time from Jakob Leiter, (Jacob Ladder in german).

Gotta say i kinda like the idea of living in some AR (augmented reality), wonder if i can find a way to hack it and get myself that great job and gorgeous brunette wife that never ages, heh.

Above all i'm glad i found this page, i've really enjoyed the discussion going on here.

TristanJul 13, 2002 at 11:49PM

Jus to add, I went along to eternalambition.com and for a moment i was tempted to fill it all in to see just what would happen, then suddenly i got kinda scared, the questions they were asking and the idiocincracies in the text alarmed me in a way i find hard to explain.

Maybe it's part of some huge free give away for matrix 2 tickets, but then again maybe somewhere out there are people that do actually want to start a cult, or perhaps is a government set up thing looking for the terrorists within?

I'm gonna steer clear and stick to the philosophical questions being discussed here, somehow i don't see how that will bring me to any harm, on the other hand that site, with that i'm not so sure.

AnnonymousJul 14, 2002 at 4:12AM

Ryan and Jacob sure has a lot of people speculating and using LOTS OF ENERGY on them and their activities.


rudyJul 14, 2002 at 6:13AM

"Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is mearly energy condensed through a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, life is only a dream and we are the imaginations of ourselves."Here's Tom with the weather."Bill Hicks

JamesJul 14, 2002 at 6:25AM

Just received the droll spam today. Has anyone bothered to determine their MO? That is to say, is there a method to the selection of persons on which Ryan and Jacob would foist their madness?

The whole thing sounds vaguely 13ish. We against the world. I was there at 11-14.

Anyway, I would say that number two of the 'theories' would be the most likely from what I've seen of it so far. They are real, just perhaps, too young to know that their methods are *not* logical or even intelligent.

But, perhaps, like so many things, it is just a necessary phase in development, a means to learn the fallacy in utiliing cult mentality to point out out and react to the cult mentality of concensus reality.

Ryan and Jacob, if your listening:

What have you learned?

over and out,


CarolJul 14, 2002 at 7:39AM

I got this same eccentric email today, from Valerianella Angelicanum. It came to one of my sites which gets a lot of crap emails. It's certainly a cut above all the hot sex, cheap mortgage, work at home and get extra cash from banks in Nigeria emails!

I found it weird enough to google rather than instantly delete, but after two brief tries of their keywords, I realized that if I just search on 'Ryan and Jacob' I'd find it a whole lot faster. And here you are. Not the first time I've landed on kottke, either!

I have no idea if they're sincere, or just having fun. I hope it's the latter, because sincere would ... well, you've all covered that possibility quite nicely already.

But hey. It gave me a new surf for Sunday morning. I haven't even gone to their website yet; I'm having too much fun reading here!

So, it can't be all bad. We've all had fun with it.

My theory? Well, I agree, using Frontpage is =definitely= a clue to their untrustworthiness!

Add to that the very fact that they have the net knowledge and/or bucks to get their email out in this volume belies their claim of tragic loneliness against the machine. . .

they ARE the machine.


MelysniJul 14, 2002 at 12:00PM

Deciding that it would be silly to search for two-word combinations, I simply pasted a sentence from the e-mail received into a search engine.

*cries* It seems I'm one of very, very many. I thought I was special.

Gee whiz.


fakenameJul 14, 2002 at 4:52PM

And what about this link that you probably found as well? A young American named Ryan Jacob and a Russian friend, both wiz kids making a fortune out of the Internet? Any links with our subject?

And read the related stories to find out more...

I think it is pretty obvious that we would not waste our time searching on the words they gave us. We all first looked at Jacob and Ryan, then the two words in the From field. And somehow we all found this website. I believe that the two words in the From field are there to make every email of their bulk list different and identifyable. By saying the two words taken in databases of words not usually used, they know to whom that email has been sent. A lot of careful thought has been put into this and the identity of the senders has been well kept. Still, for Lycos to mention a lot of people searching on those words means that not only a lot of people received that email, but a lot of them answered (usually nobody bothers, the email sounds too much like junk mail to be looked into in details). I agree that a lot of money, time, effort and thinking has been put into this. And the purpose could be the one mentioned on the singlegoal.com website. Very interesting mystery. Perhaps there is an underlying puzzle to get back to another website other than the ones we found. To get to the truth and prove our worthiness.

fakenameJul 14, 2002 at 5:00PM


The link did not appear in my first message. I have put it in the URL field when you send this message and in the comments without using the link feature.

It is on money.cnn.com, search for (in the second search box, not the top one): Jacob Internet Fund debuts

wispyJul 15, 2002 at 4:33AM

Just to add to the list of froms - I just got it (again!), this time from Lethean Deipara.

speedwellJul 15, 2002 at 7:52AM

I got mine! From: Orthoptera Chimmesyan (interpretable as a Northwest Indian of a grasshopper-totem tribe).

I'm disappointed. I like "lethean deipara" better, even if it is a little, say, Art Nouveau.

Cults have been started on less, you know... vide Scientology, that silliest of space-alien/Satanism schemes.

Anyone ask "Ryan and Jacob" or whoever they are WHY they're doing this if they in fact have no wants or needs? Why do they want us to join them if everyone but "I" and "my ally" are "fakes?" LOL. I prefer my "friends," "family," "loved ones," "comrades," and "fellow-thinkers," not some Borg-sounding "ally."

hey, I just had an idea. Suppose we form an opposing cult, "Fakes," or "Those who have Seen The Truth about the Message?"

needed the smile this morning, guys... thanks :)

TeriJul 15, 2002 at 8:43AM

I have gotten several versions of this email. The latest one was sent by Learchus Jove [tadousacorvietan2@yahoo.com] and reads nearly identical to previous ones with a slightly different intro paragraph.

It's a fun puzzle, nevertheless.

Jerry ScovelJul 15, 2002 at 9:26AM

Ryan and Jacob have found out a few basic truths, god does not exist and memes have the power to destroy. Unfortunately they lack the glial capacity formulate a coherent reason as to why they are so alone in their little world. They perceive everyone that does not fit their narrow profile as an enemy. I do not think that they are promoting the matrix but rather they believe that they are trapped in it. They will continue to try to draw others into their delusion as they need to justify their own existence to others. In 30 years they will hopefully have evolved into ubernerds and will realize that it is not enough to form an opinion on limited information.

haventaclueJul 15, 2002 at 9:35AM

I didn't get an email. Now I really feel like a nobody. I had to find out about this hoax from a friend of mine.

bagelJul 15, 2002 at 9:47AM

i have received a copy of this mail on saturday. sender: bretwaldaship cowlitz. since then i try to make sense out of it. to tell you the truth, i haven' come very far yet. all i can say is, that i don't think that this is a matrix-promotion. why? because, if you want o start a mystery or a secret and if you try to make people speculate, would it be clever to reveal it only in the second paragraph???

Sumit BhargavaJul 15, 2002 at 10:29AM

I got my version of this mail today from Leptostraca Khaldian . I think this is totally absured and waste of time to work on this. Someone is playing a bad joke. Might also be a new virus. It came on my email address which is kind of private or I give to few people. I think, this is a kind of mass emailing program. Its my personal views :-)

Random ThoughtsJul 15, 2002 at 12:21PM

I got mine today! from Callianassa Oedogoniales [earlyoutdraw62@yahoo.com] and Google search lead me here. I am delighted to see the intelectually stimulating discussions taking place. We may not want to take Ryan and Jacob seriously. However, we can take the questioning of 'relaity' seriously. And it is not a new subjact by any means ! As far as my knowledge is concerned Siddartha Gawthama of India (500 BC) is the most notable person to question the concept of reality and come up with a facinating philosiophy which we now call 'Buddhist Philosophy'. The concept (it is wrong to call it a concept anway) of Nirvana is one of the most attractive things I have ever come across. However, I am not taking any of this too seriously. Being able to be happy and make others happy is the most important item in my agenda today and it is certiantly lot of fun to study little bit of philosophy and I do that in my spare time and also post my thoughts in http://www.geocities.com/randomthoughtspm. May be you can have a peek when you don't have nothing better to do which makes you happy. Be happy! anyways becase that is what is important. As the biologist Humberto Maturana suggests we are not biologically capable of dteremining between an illusion and relaity (what ever the term reality means). Also all these concepts inluding the notion of 'reality' is man made. For me, it is pradoxical to question one man (or woman) made concept using another!!

Random ThoughtsJul 15, 2002 at 12:36PM

Those who like to contribute to the efforts of refining the thoughts of a Fake life form from Island of Sri Lanka (that is me :-) Please visit Random Thoughts Web Site. I accept any man/woman made ideology but subscribe to very few. One of the few idiologies I subscribe to is the nothion of 'importance of being happy and trying to make other happy!'

George IIIJul 15, 2002 at 12:44PM

You should know that this fella is a known internet hoaxer and is trying to gain a certain infamy over the internet. I know of him well.

My advice? Avoid him at all costs if you have half a brain. Even by giving him a mild amount of attention you'll be contributing to his internet scam whose modus operandi goes thusly:

Create an internet mystery that there is a *secret organization* who has *hidden knowledge* about--I kid you not--interdimensional travel. And if you follow their trail closely you MAY find them. The guy has an ultimate goal. Make big $$$ off the internet.

It's all the brilliant ploy of a lifeless moron who really, really needs to get laid more than once a year! He's (roughly) a human being except with no redeeming qualities except that his ego should be declared a country in its own rite.

Play his game and guess what? YOU LOSE!


fake nameJul 15, 2002 at 1:03PM

Just want to say I got one of these, the from address is Buphthalmum Phigalian . I found this site (like many other people) by searching Google for "ryan and jacob", rather than following the letter's instructions.

I figure it is some sort of hoax to visit their web site, perhaps they want to know the sender and it is being used to confirm email addresses as belonging to people who are interested in such puzzles enough to do the search.

another fakeJul 15, 2002 at 2:54PM

Just for the anagram-seekers:

Got the email from

Luffa Ettarre

FinalCutJul 15, 2002 at 3:06PM

I too received this email. I visited his page (after, much like the rest of you, searching for Ryan and Jacob)

The email came to me from:
Pluto Ascochyta

I don't believe this is a hoax or even an advertising scheme for any movie. The website is far too cheap looking.

I also don't believe this took much money - or time - to do. Im sure with a little effort someone could create an easy script that would create multiple yahoo accounts. It is also not too tough to write a script that searches through websites grabbing email addresses and filing them away.

My email came to my old university email address - and which basically serves as a spam magnet.

They claim they choose people to email randomly. I would take that for what its worth and not really give the "pair" further thought.

FinalCutJul 15, 2002 at 3:08PM

ahh just mean to add Ascochyta is a plant disease you can learn more about it at:
Chick Pea Ascochyta

somaJul 15, 2002 at 3:17PM

well, i too got one today...a "Daniele Beaumontia" from . as i kindly told ryan and jacob, there is no reason to inform me the world is full of fakes, i attend texas a&m university. forgive me if you disagree, but i've seen far too many blonde haired girls with black roots and their daddies credit cards. *sigh* i do however, giggle with giddiness at the banter here. thanks for the fun. i'll tell you if the omnipotent ones reply.

DavidJul 15, 2002 at 3:51PM

Got mine this morning....from..."Acetobacter Doliolidae"

Nice list...first time on it...some very good discussion and terrific thinking...see, we're NOT alone!


DavidJul 15, 2002 at 3:55PM

I am...therefore I have the potential to think...Husserl wanted to bracket the physical body in his search for "pure consciousness"...never could figure out why since consciousness isn't consciousness unless "intent" on an object (even an idea).

Just having fun with fellow thinkers....thanks for all the "mind gum"


DavidJul 15, 2002 at 3:57PM

Ok...one more...dummy me...what's a meme?

another fakeJul 15, 2002 at 4:10PM

the dictionary file located by alex (see above),

http://www.mit.edu/afs/sipb/user/yonah/dict/all ,
indeed contains all the senders' names. There are 280,359 words in this dictionary, all of them names, all starting with a capital. I guess a lot of possibilities to form unique combinations with two words:
78,601,168,881. Over 78 billion. 13 times world population (or alternatively, about one for every 2$ of U.S 2002 budget deficit).
They have so much names that they can send their messages to some aliens too. Maybe the aliens have a smaller than 99.9999999% percentage of fakes.

David M. ChessJul 15, 2002 at 4:24PM

I've gotten two; they came from "Eryngium Hylomys" and "Reduvius Nizam". Gotta love the name generator!

another fakeJul 15, 2002 at 4:26PM

By the way:

If Ryan and Jacob's numbers are right, and indeed 99.9999999% of us are fake, they indeed have to send out 78 billion emails. In this case, they will reach 0.0000001% x 78 billion = 79 'true' believers.
If they limit their emails to earthlings, they will find
0.0000001% * 6 billion = 6 true believers. Minus themselves of course, so that would be the other 4 'true ones'. Pretty exclusive group...
I hope for R & J all four have an email-address.

sidJul 15, 2002 at 8:15PM

Very interesting read. Like one said, good brain gum.

However, the media spreads rumor of "terrorist attack" by way of the internet. Didn't anybody give that a thought? The message is obscure. I don't understand a whole lot about anything, but a society whose memes is steaped in egotism is driven by craving and desire.

Aren't we all looking for a teacher that could show us how to live lives that don't increase suffering in the world, don't foster hate or greed or selfishness and result in a life without fear of dying?

"...we have every right to be happy and to use different methods or means to overcome suffering and to achieve happier lives. It is worthwile to think seriously about the positive and negative consequences of these methods..."

Bertram WoosterJul 15, 2002 at 8:35PM

I'm curious as to how the addressees are chosen. I mean, the intention is clearly to put the victim (I can't think of a better word) on the defensive, to make him/her prove he/she is not a fake. It reminds me a great deal of a con game, except there seems to be no financial aspect. (The confidence trick being named for the ploy in which the con artist has his victim prove his loyalty and confidence in the con artist by pooling his money with that of the con artist.)

It also displays a certain depersonalizing attitude sometimes found in serial killers, one of the more eerie aspects of all this, to me.

However, I asked, essentially, why people think they may have been chosen for this "honor". I can't thnk of why. I don't have a prominent (or a non-prominent) website; my name is probably on the Web in quotes from UseNet posts and a mailing list or two. The only other thing I can think of is that I am a known subversive. At least, that's my understanding. I belong to an international club of fairly silly medieval and renaissance history buffs who like to dress up in funny clothes and hit each other with sticks. At some point this club I belong to was identified by the FBI as a subversive organization. Hey, we're incorporated in California!

I was struck by a certain sense of "Why me???", and then I realized that several months ago I received another peculiar e-mail from somebody who wanted to meet anyone who could help him travel through time. Essentially offering a bounty of fun, money and prizes to any actual time travellers who could help this guy, within the sound of his e-mailed voice, so to speak.

So. I wonder what I might have in common with others reading this peculiar but interesting web page... other than too much free time, that is...

TobsJul 16, 2002 at 12:42AM

I have just received the email, and like many others found this first. The email is from Englifier Cronian. I also received the time travel email as well as Bertram, which - like this one - I thought was odd and deleted it...

Many thanks for an interesting morning read though!

Mo AlJul 16, 2002 at 12:44AM

I have recieved the same mail. The name of the sender was Geonoma Genny and the email address was bluntish666no@yahoo.com.

I the email and the senders themselves are not fake themselves, they sure are paranoid.

SteveJul 16, 2002 at 6:46AM

I also received this email this morning and was quite curious of its origins. So I looked in the headers to get an originating IP address:

Received: from [] by web21201.mail.yahoo.com via HTTP; Mon, 15 Jul 2002 **:**:** PDT

Looks like they've used the Yahoo! webmail service from an IP address owned by Time Warner Telecom. A traceroute to the address revealed the last few routers to it as:

core-01-so-2-1-2-0.nycl.twtelecom.net (
dist-01-so-3-0-0-0.bngh.twtelecom.net (
dist-01-so-3-3-1-0.roch.twtelecom.net (
tagg-01-so-5-0-0.roch.twtelecom.net (
207-250-127-210.gen.twtelecom.net (
64-132-223-130.gen.twtelecom.net (

Hmm .. nycl, bngh, roch, gen .. looking at a map of the New York area it seems like it might go to New York, then Rochester and end up in the town of Geneosa.

Although the whois info for eternalambition.com was mostly false (1011 Binary Lane, and phone number in powers of two) the state was listed as CA, and 'Author 2' claims he lives in CA. So assuming that this is correct, it may be that Geneoso, NY is the home of 'Author 1'.

However, a portscan revealed the following:

21/tcp open ftp
22/tcp open unknown
25/tcp open smtp
53/tcp open domain
80/tcp open unknown
110/tcp open unknown
143/tcp open unknown
443/tcp open unknown
993/tcp open unknown
995/tcp open unknown
3306/tcp open unknown
8443/tcp open unknown
9876/tcp open unknown

This appears to be a webserver set up with Plesk. Connections to various ports revealed that it has been set up with the hostname tweety.nixns.net, which is odd, as tweety.nixns.net doesn't resolve to any IP address, but www.nixns.net does - - and connections suggest that it is also named tweety.nixns.net but is running a later version of Plesk. A traceroute also suggests that www.nixns.net is located near the Rochester, NY area.

Curiously, and are set up in exactly the same way. Perhaps it is the same computer using these three different IP addresses.

I was wondering if he had just been using these machines as proxy servers. This seems quite possible given that these machines seem to be owned by instaspace, a web hosting company. I couldn't find any way of doing it from the outside, but if he has an account with them, or works there, then ..

I'd be interested in knowing what other locations these emails are sent from so we can track this guy down!

paulJul 16, 2002 at 7:51AM

shit, ever since i posted that email on my site (with my snide comments), my site is the one that comes up when people search for it! i think i broke their system...i've even got a couple hate mail flames because have thought i wrote it...

VertigoJul 16, 2002 at 10:01AM

I've compiled a list of all the pseudonyms mentioned above, and added at the bottom the name on the e-mail when I received a copy, some hours ago. (A couple of the names here are derived from other Web sites where people posted the spam.)

Otello Danism
Bucerotidae Attic
Tangaloa Tao
Quercus Mithra
Bennet Angeleno
Apostolian Julidae
Herminone Illoricata
Jhuria Gelidium
Jakob Leiter
Valerianella Angelicanum
Orthoptera Chimmesyan
Learchus Jove
Bretwaldaship Cowlitz
Leptostraca Khaldian
Callianassa Oedogoniales
Buphthalmum Phigalian
Luffa Ettarre
Pluto Ascochyta
Daniele Beaumontia
Acetobacter Doliolidae
Eryngium Hylomys
Reduvius Nizam
Englifier Cronian
Geonoma Genny
Mpondo Algic
Chud Eupatorium

RobinJul 16, 2002 at 10:05AM

I got the mail a couple of days ago. I was told to type a number of endless words into a search engine, but instead I just typed their names and was taken here. That tells me just how serious they are.

ElassieJul 16, 2002 at 10:17AM

I got mine at work yesterday from Kalmuck Jurassic, address is pliosaurbad61@yahoo.com. Everyone here tells me it would be a bad idea to ask them their favorite Jell-o recipe. I just want to see if it exists in their world.

I used the same method Robin used, type in their names in Google and I'm here. Thanks for the answer to their site!

George (not the 3rd)Jul 16, 2002 at 11:53AM

Their possible motive:
They are gathering the data for their doctorates. If so, is it something to do with the 6 degrees of separation? Or are they profiling the responders to learn which profile responds to what stimulus in order to produce more effective ads?

Barbour seems to have the latest insight. I dare say they would not be happy if he were to prove to be right.

KrisJul 16, 2002 at 12:00PM

Couple of kids with a Fight Club complex and access to Border's DVD and Philosophy sections, I think. That's all it is.

Let's just hope they're not dangerous. I'd hate to have to shoot someone in the face in self defense.

Neo-phyteJul 16, 2002 at 12:56PM

What I would like to know is this - if I went to the Matrix website clicked around, and downloaded the teaser trailer would it be possible for said site to collect information from my computer - like say... an email address?

thanks to Steve we know they've used the Yahoo! webmail service from an IP address owned by Time Warner Telecom - and Time Warner owns Warner Bro.s owns the Matrix movies. A.I. is also a Warner Bro.s movie.

and my pseudonym is Casuariidae Pedunculata
Casuariidae (Cassowary - a flightless bird whose habitat is Australia)
Pedunculata ("having a peduncle", a reference to the long flower stalks which are typical of the species; a small shrub occurring naturally in Australia).

so I'm thinking they are filming the movies in Australia - spending months and months there - so it would make sense to hire an Australian Company to come up with a A.I. type web promo, and let's say that company needed some quirky, catchy pseudonyms that would be just interesting enough to keep you and I from deleting an email straight away, so for starters someone grabbed a book of S. Asian flora and fauna.

and what about you and I?! Not everyone would be curious enough to check out the email. I didn't read the whole thing - got bored, but I scrolled down and spotted the list (what's this!?!?) Scrolled back up to see an invitation to a little game! (oh, I like that!) but it's a silly game so we cheat a little and find ourselves here. I am guessing we all fit the Matrix demographic.

not to mention this whole Plato's Allegory of the Cave/Matrix connection is old news. http://www.geocities.com/larkspur10/neo/matrixplatoscave.html

well I'll tell you what! If it is a promotion it had better sacrifice a little of the esoteric, and pile on a whole lot more fun or I'm going to end up feeling like Ralphie in the bathroom using his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring to decipher a commercial for Ovaltine.

"I know what you've been thinkin', cause you've been thinkin' it ever since I got here. Why, o, why, doesn't she take the blue pill..."

DarrenJul 16, 2002 at 1:08PM

Hey Steve,

Mine (from Muntiacus Angka) came from the same IP Address:

Further, nixns.net gives the following WHOIS:

Domain Name: nixns.net

27- nixns
ma, ma 54679
United States of America
Created on .............FRI AUG 31 09:03:19 2001
Expires on .............SAT AUG 31 12:03:18 2002
Record last updated on .TUE JUL 02 11:41:30 2002

Administrative Contact:
nixns nixns
27- nixns
ma, ma
54679, US
( )5464613244

Technical Contact:
nixns nixns
27- nixns
ma, ma
54679, US
( )5464613244

Billing Contact:
nixns nixns
27- nixns
ma, ma
54679, US
( )5464613244

Domain Name Servers:

(Instaspace is a domain reseller)

It certainly is a curious set of emails.

DarrenJul 16, 2002 at 1:11PM

Another, more conspiracy driven idea:

An article was bandied about a couple days ago about how Search Engines aren't really disclosing information about their advertising methods and what-not.

Could this just be a ply by the major search engines to bring in extra ad revenue?

George IIIJul 16, 2002 at 1:47PM

Vertumnus: firstly, I really enjoyed your post, it was intelligent and objective. I have to quote you since it's worth reading for other posters:

"Finally, I found the examples they posted amusing. They claimed that they were the best responses they've received which means that either the smart people aren't responding or these two aren't quite as logical as they imagine themselves to be. LOL!"

Wonderful!! And true!!

Regarding whether I have proof. No. Just circumstantial evidence. I have a friend who is a consummate researcher in internet hoaxes such as this, and this person is STRONGLY suggesting that all the fingerprints are there, including the name-generator electronyms, the "character breakdowns" of the boys, Ryan and Jacob, using the Matrix, NOT AS METAPHOR FOR INTERNAL PROCESSES, but instead, LITERALLY. (How foolish!) Like there are some beings "out there" who keep us all imprisoned on this planet in order to suck our energy. Of course, that notion is rather infantile, and is an enabling factor in creating a justification for believing that everyone "out there" is a fool and a drone, but they--of course, are immune to drone-hood. The sad thing, of course, is that the prison keepers are characters in their own minds.

I would mention the website that the person I cited has created, but if I do, I'll be advertising the meme he wants to set up, thereby promoting his work. That, I will not do. I am involved in a BBS that is dealing with this subject and also matters of science/mysticism and how it REALLY may apply to modern times. We've been discussing the Ryan and Jacob meme since it became noticeable.

Sadly, because of all the people who are *reacting* to this venture, without knowing it, all of us (including myself) are feeding the meme.


TomJul 16, 2002 at 2:15PM

The reason I doubt it is a promotion for the Matrix is that it is really inconsistent with the movie and can't really lead anywhere. The world of the Matrix consists of the world inside and outside the Matrix, and obviously these two "characters" would live inside the Matrix with the fakes. But their conclusions aren't consistent with the Matrix. The problem wit hthe Matrix is not that people are't logical, or believe in things like morality, it's that they're not real. So the whole fake/real thing would work with the movie, but not the rest of the email or website.

Also, since the movie is getting so much attention already and already has a following (unlike AI, Blair Witch, Memento or other internet campaign movies), so the campaign should be extrmeely compelling, not just attract attention to the movie eventually.

So anyway, that's my two cents on why I think this would be a poorly done and poorly timed campaign if it were one which would not attract the type of attention Matrix would need.

This might have been interesting if it didn't make reference to the actual movie which prevents Jacob and Ryan from being characters inside the movie the Matrix.

Any other thoughts on this theory?

CyburbiaJul 16, 2002 at 2:56PM

Posted in various Usenet newsgroups:


From: "Thinkit"
Newsgroups: alt.sports.baseball.sea-mariners
Subject: Baseball matters not now...
Lines: 30
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
X-Complaints-To: abuse@attbi.com
X-Trace: rwcrnsc53 1026073881 (Sun, 07 Jul 2002 20:31:21 GMT)
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sun, 07 Jul 2002 20:31:21 GMT
Organization: AT&T Broadband
Date: Sun, 07 Jul 2002 20:31:21 GMT

These two are close http://singlegoal.com http://eternalambition.com . But
this is what they need. That's everything. There is no more.


--The meaning of a conscious being is to pursue one of two goals.

Among the criteria listed below, only LOVE part 2 is achievable.

In each goal, conscious beings:

1. Control reality.

2. Know reality.

3. Have mastery of potential reality.

4. Have mastery of the abstract plane.


1. Exactly two conscious beings exist for all time and space.

2. A seed of love binds the two.


1. Exactly one conscious being exists for all time and space.


Very good, Ryan und Jacob. I'm glad you two have well developed English language skills. Looks like you've also read a few days of the alt.postmodern feed, too. I think you should take that Fight Club DVD back to Blockbuster, though, before you rack up even more late fees.

Let's see what that singlegoal.com site says ....


In year 2006 a small group of people will join together to attempt a social experiment that has never been tried before. A society based on principles never applied before, and ideals not present in any existing structure. The society will be based on completely rationalist views, completely governed by reason and logic. It will abolish aimless competition and will give structure to human existence. It will seek scientific knowledge and aim toward revealing who we are and why we are here.


The's'at katra k'tei i'k'therie -
In' k'tmneri a'nailara laikani'he.
The's'at katra - a'ri'nailara.

Live long and prosper, dudes.

DoohickeyJul 16, 2002 at 3:00PM

I'm not special enough to get the email!
I have to find out about it from other people.

Ah well.

Nick!Jul 16, 2002 at 4:41PM

My God, this is even better than TimeCube, because parts of it actually make sense! Though it sounds like an impressionable teenager who just finished "The Fountainhead". Not surprisingly, "Ryan And Jacob" can be easily arranged into "Ayn Rand", and the "Jacob" could perhaps be a reference to Jacob Bronowski. Just a thought.

JimmiJul 16, 2002 at 5:09PM

Anthony Bourov doesn't just work for addr.com, he isone of the founders. You'd think in that case that eternalambition.com and singlegoal.com would be hosted by them huh?

MeJul 16, 2002 at 6:33PM

I thought I was clever in searching on "Ryan and Jacob" to satisfy my curiosity without playing their game- guess I'm just another fake after all.

I don't think it's a promotion for the Matrix- I don't think it would have mentioned The Matrix if it was. (Babblefish logic, I know, but there you have it).

I was considering that it was a promotion for a movie or internet-game, except that they would have had to pay$$$ to mention The Matrix, and they don't use it well enough to justify that.

I was also intrigued by Tristan's idea that it may have been set up by the government to look for potential terrorists- but after looking at the site, I think that if this were the case, there would have been some less veiled indication of violence...

...although references to "refusing to tolerate the beleifs of others", "viewing all people as the enemy", and "we will outnumber and replace the fakes" are frighteing enough.

We may be being too generous to assume these guys are even as old as early twentys- teenagers wouldn't surprise me, I'd even bee suspicious they were more like 13 if it wasn't for the part about "forming a society in 2006"- that sounds less like a 13-year old.

I suspect they really are serious about starting a cult and "forming a new society". Let's just hope this means hiding in a cave waiting for the end of the world, rather than trying to bring it about. (but I wouldn't count on it- that would be too "tolerant")

I received mine yesterday (July 15) from "Adin Petrarchistic" .

Dictionary.com describes adin as either "effeminate" or "decorated". It does not contain Petrarchistic, but this word DOES appear in the MIT dictionary file mentioned above. Trying to guess the meaning of Petrarchistic by comparing it to words that *are* in my dead-tree dictionary, I deduce that it may mean something like "ancient ruin of a city" or something. (from your department of redundancy department)

(Thanks, anagram sever at wordsmith.com)

But, I doubt these guys are really clever enough to put anagrams or crypic crossword clues into these things- I think that they're just randomly generated from an obscure words list, as someone else suggested.

The real question is- why the heck are we all so interested, when we usually delete this stuff right off? Maybe because of the question "are these guys serious, or is it a joke? If they're serious, what are they up to? Just how kooky *are* they?" it doesn't have the obvious finiantial aspects that the web promotions and the Nigerian banks do... You know what they say, about curiosity and the cat... good thing us cats have nine lives, huh?

VertumnusJul 16, 2002 at 7:19PM

Another thought came to mind: I was wondering if their thought processes bear any resemblance to those of the killers of such schools as Columbine in Denver, CO and the one in Germany, as well as other schools that have been hit by these copy-cats of Columbine. If so it seems these two are less suicidal than the mass murdering teens.

Again, is everyone who's reading this getting emails at major servers like Hotmail and Yahoo! or is anyone getting hit on relatively unknown servers in the US or, perhaps, in other countries?

Why are we interested? Because, despite the mistakes in their thinking, and the coldness of their rhetoric, there is something that appeals to us or, at least, pokes our curiosity out of its slumber.

Then there are those that want to save these poor souls (ala the poor Mormon who responded to them) from their own deluded ways, others who either have a poor grasp of English (such as another respondent on eternal ambition) and so need clarification, or a few that simply want to debate them and grind their false logic into the dust.

While I tend to think of life as an illusion it's one that we're not capable of escaping. The goal, then, is not escape but to learn, grow, and love. That's how I think of life, anyways. Of course, some believe you can transcend this mortal reality via psychotropics, OOBE, hypnosis and others so who am I to say they are wrong?

I'm just enjoying the brain candy, really. :)

Hey, George III, thanks for the compliment but try not to bloat my ego, ok? My skull isn't big enough for an internal expansion. ;) hehehe

Any psych majors out there that want to diagnose what mental neuroses or psychoses these two suffer from?

Let's just hope their disassociation from the world never becomes severe enough that they truly become serial killers...Or maybe they already are and want to form a cult of said killers? Serem!

Sampai jumpa!

Stuart WoodwardJul 17, 2002 at 6:30AM

Got mine from:
Dorask Turkophile
who posted from 64-132-223-130.gen.twtelecom.net []

anotherfakeJul 17, 2002 at 7:36AM

another version?

and what about this...

could this make the beginnings of a beautiful friendship for Ryan "The fact that I've had people tell me I'm a scary individual makes me chortle." and Jacob "the Neurotic Little Monkey"?

"Work. Get a burrito for dinner and run into Jacob and Joe on their way back from watching Tomb Raider. Go out with Jacob to be amused, entertained, and marginally frightened by his world view."

Tony MeehanJul 17, 2002 at 8:08AM

Whatever the motives, alternative theories - whether they be philosophically or promotionally driven stimulate thought and discussion.
Our bastardised view of history and negligible knowledge of science, in particular the potential of the brain and its as yet undiscovered links to the universe should be constantly challenged. The concepts of today shape our views and expectations of the future. Our only perception of progress is formed by our concepts of the past.

We know nothing yet.


Shane M CoughlanJul 18, 2002 at 11:11AM

I got my version of the email from a Bea Nemean and the email it came from was hopiingkill7@yahoo.com. Like many others I put their names - "Ryan and Jacob" - into google and came here.

Some people are giving a lot of credit to Ryan and Jacob for being cult mongers or people with the skill to influence people in a dangerous way. This is a little premature. Two guys buy two web domains and post a lot of ideas that are stolen, borrowed or half-remembered from other sources. They use a email program to send us mail...perhaps all of these accounts that the mail originate are real. Prehaps they are shadows..they are real addresses being used by someone else and are falsely listed as being the email address the mail originates from.

Anyway, we still end up with two kids and not a lot of impact. Well, not a lot of impact apart from getting us talking. We're all relatively intelligent people with a facination for the unknown. That's why we are here, and that's why we followed the links. We don't fit Ryan and Jacob's profile though. We're just too critical. We're not going to listen to someone tell us everything is a lie and then tell us to believe them.

I do not think this email is a promo, because it is just too shaky...it is too localised. While you get net ghosts like us talking about it, the whole thing will alienate most people. Public Relations, especially in mass entertainment, is about the largest catchment possible with the least expense. We're all going to see the Matrix anyway. It's stupid to waste money selling it to us. They need to sell it to the people who don't even like that sort of movie.

For what my opinion is worth I would guess Ryan and Jacob are real, though not organised. It's two kids who don't get enough sex, cannot access enough porn to satisfy themselves, and are trying to gain some additional self-importance with an alternative theory of being. R. Barthes and Mytos comes into this. The kids are creating their own myth of the world. Sadly the only thing they are getting out of it is us taking them apart. Poor children.

In the spirit of the thing I'm going to add my own theory of the world (I just made it up). It's shorter than their version.


1) There was nothing
2) Now there is something
3) We mostly get billed for it

ToleranceAcceptanceJul 18, 2002 at 11:49AM

Young R & J should remember (or perhaps learn) that perceptions change, that truth depends on where one stands and that there is more than one right answer for most questions.

Peter WJul 18, 2002 at 4:14PM

One thing that's still bothering me is how could these kids send out so many emails in so short of time, all to different addresses. I mean, there's all of us here who have gotten the email, and think of all the others who must have received it and trashed it or were not able to come here and tell us they got it.

A quick count tells me there are approximately 100 different people here who have received the email. That's in a period of 18 days. Now, think of all the others who have also received it but have not come here. Two of my five roommates got this email but have not been here. Coincidence, or are 2 out of 5 people receiving this email everywhere? Assuming there are, we're talking over 1000 emails sent out every day. But, let's just say 100 emails a day, so we can give R&J the benefit of a doubt. Between two people, each could send 50 emails a day. But--from a different address, each time? I've signed up for a Yahoo email account, and that was painful enough to do that I quit after the first time. All right, so we'll say they have some program running that can do this for them. Wouldn't the server admins at Yahoo think something was up when they saw 100+ emails being pumped out for at least 18 days straight, all being signed up from the same address? Also, every R&J email address that I've looked up a profile for profiles.yahoo.com doesn't exist.

Okay, all that rambling brings about two conclusions:

Conclusion One (very unlikely): Ryan and Jacob have a program that has, for the past 18 days, been sending out 100+ emails per day that have gone unnoticed by Yahoo server admins, and the accounts for each is somehow being deleted after the email is sent. Meaning, R&J have a high possibility of being legit (well, legitimate in their own sense at least).

Conclusion Two (also, unfortuneately, very unlikely): Someone earlier said that it could be a promo for something, and they are paying Yahoo to use their email server to send out these mass emails. This explains why 1) Yahoo hasn't stopped them and 2) why the accounts don't seem to exist on Yahoo Profiles.

meJul 18, 2002 at 5:58PM

Re: Those who have indicated that we should be more tolerent of two lost kids searching for truth.

Yeah, y'all have a point. They hit my weak spot: I'm one of those tolerant-of-anything-but-intolerace kind of people- so I'm usually very patient with other peoples ideas even if they seem crazy to me (hey, I don't know everything, after all), and enjoy discussiong the philosophy behind them. But they hit my off-switch with the "view all people as the enemy" and "refuse to tolerate the beleifs of others" stuff.

It's kind of ironic that intolerance makes me intolerant- since it kind of means that encountering intolerance makes me a hypocrite.

And yes, their theory does sound far-out and juvinile to me- closer to something I might have felt at age 13 than now- I can't claim that my own view of life, the universe, and everything *really* makes more sense than theirs- I also have some rather odd ideas about the nature of reality, for instance.

And they do raise interesting questions- even if they seem to be looking for answers in the realm of the nihilist and juvinile. How do you know what is real, and what is illusion? What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of my life? In a world full of phoney and fake, how does one be genuine? What does "fake" mean? what does "genuine" mean? Is it possible to form a society free of the societal problems we see so often around us?

Questions that will probably be debated until the end of time...

aMusedJul 18, 2002 at 10:01PM

Peter, all good points except one: Yahoo.

Have you ever dealt with Yahoo? I have and they simply do not care. Their only interest is in their paying customers - and they make no qualms about it. If you can FIND a customer service number and call it, the recorded message basically says, "don't bother us unless you have a premium account". Those with freebie email accounts are not privy to any level of service, even if a site or account is hacked. They haven't the time nor inclination to monitor the free web accounts.

Even so, with the lowest level "premium" account - a subscriber can get up to 10 email addys, which all forward to an established email account. Don't bother complaining. All you will receive is an automated response and nothing more.

As to the email addresses, these can be purchased from various on-line companies for a minimal cost and can also be gleaned from public discussion boards and on dejanews (now Google).

I think the most important thing said is this: Ryan and Jacob (or whoever) are creating their own mythos. At least in their own minds.

Great insight and well-thought analysis by all who posted here. So refreshing.

Jason, PLEASE put the link back on your home page! I look forward to hearing others thoughts on this.

P.S. Vertumnus, hope to hear more from you. I also wondered if Kottke was "in on" this whole thing.

The Original Fake NameJul 19, 2002 at 3:15PM

Let's not forget that they were clever enough to have built singlegoal, then, created eternalambition. That is very interesting and certainly shows us that they are clever enough to have understood that some people would fall for a website full of info like singlegoal, but other people would fall for something much more simpler and to the point like eternalambition.

Also, some of you received a puzzle quite complicated with letters and numbers that I did not get. They have tried many different ways of reaching to us and I agree that we can bring Roland Barthes in this. They are clever enough to change their approach and their language, even, they showed us they are quite interested in language and numbers. This suggests that if they sound childish, it does not mean that they are.

And think about it, all this without a single clue about who they are. In this day and age, this is an achievement. They could be more clever than we think, manipulating their language in order to really screen people.

The descrition of their normal days and normal jobs could be fabricated easily to reassure the reader. The clue about: "are you willing to kill?" suggests that they are looking for people who might be willing to do that. Now, who would have interests in recruiting such people? Someone ready to kill fakes, when everybody or almost everybody are fakes, is a frigthening thought. If you truly believe that people are fakes, why would you have a problem in killing them? Why would you have a problem in eliminating the rest of the planet but your own little group in order to form a new humanity? And how would you go in recruiting people like that today? The way they do...

It is obvious that the only thing they can get from all this is finding the right persons. And their questions are there for the screening. Now, is what they say it is for, true? Perhaps, perhaps not. We might never know. If these people get a couple of millions thrown at their head, I am not sure if I want to know what they could do with it.

Cults and fanatic secret societies have always been very good at recruiting famous, rich and/or intelligent people. Create an association for anything, open a website, and I am sure, no matter how crazy your idea is, you will find a lot of members almost instantly. I guess you would need to track down some rich people stupid enough to follow you, that you could manipulte quite easily. And there you go, you can create your own new humanity from an isolated island.

VertumnusJul 22, 2002 at 8:50AM

Just wanted to add that I read the Art of Defiance website. Most of it is drivel. While I agree that schools are filling students with a lot of useless crap and teaching us how to think like sheep rather than how to succeed in life I disagree with their assessment of the lack of worth of everything school-related and most of their other comments.

Oh well, 2 good sites out of five isn't bad, I guess.

I have to say that there's one section on Defiance that I found to be good but, then, maybe because it's not related to school but gives a brief outline of their modus operandi.

I guess everyone else's bored with this topic. Can't say I blame you for being tired of listening to me. ;)

VertumnusAug 03, 2002 at 2:01AM

I just wanted to advise you to make sure your firewall and antivirus programs are up-to-date. I noticed a large number of attempts to hack my computer around the time I received the R&J letter and started coming here and reading the R&J sites.

PhilippAug 05, 2002 at 6:58AM

The riddle was very easy. I managed it!

TristanAug 09, 2002 at 2:03AM

To the guy asking about servers, my mail server is based at a friends house (In the Austrian Alps), about as far from commercial as you can get.

To Vertumnus, same here, they stopped after a day or so of visiting singlegoal.com.

Here's a thought for you, presumeably the guys that did this are keeping track of it, assuming they're using google et al to do this, they've most likely been by this page a good few times.

TristanAug 09, 2002 at 2:31AM

Just randomly looking around the net and i happened upon this site, it smacked as something familier, hmmm, favourite site singlegoal.com, hmmm. And yeah, i think i found what you could call a personal site made by the guy that made singlegoal et al.

So it would seem he's called Tim Clark, and is married, and working for Lucent Technologies (perhaps a play on the word lucid?). I guess at the least he didn't use frontpage this time, oh no, nothing but the very best (Yahoo! PageWizards)

And oh, look, there's an email / !Y pager address: nsgansga@yahoo.com.

Luther BlissetAug 10, 2002 at 9:19AM

While tangential to the debate on the philosophy of Ryan and Jacob, the array of pseudonyms used by the pair remind me of Neoist naming practice:


For my money, this isn't a marketing scam: some kids turn get outlandish piercings, some kids get into far right politics, some kids set up needlessly complicated web-based cod-philosophical honey-traps for other kids. I think i like the last type of kid best - they've certainly generated an interesting debate on this site.


Luther Blisset

Karen ElliotAug 10, 2002 at 11:21PM

Ah, Luther Blisset[t]. It's been far too long since I've ever that name.

linzerAug 11, 2002 at 1:26PM

i totally agree with the email
i also thought about that, kind of the same way.
maybe we human beings should think more about that,
because rules are just made by some people who called themself rich n mighty, a long time ago.

linzerAug 11, 2002 at 1:32PM

...but now ive read the site....
i dont agree!

supercucuAug 11, 2002 at 9:57PM

Not having delved into the matter that much, every time I get to reading these pages you are talking, my conclusions are:
1) those who might find them conceptually interesting can only be teenagers
2) Currently there are programs that not only can spam but continually send spam from different adresses
3) way too cheap to be part of a promotion that the Matrix would require
4) whether they do it on purpose or as a joke, is irrelevant because the sites are neither serious nor funny
5) the funny part was this entertaining discussion
6) we mostly care for this phenomenon because it has never occurred, it involves many people around the world very quickly and rather than be a very clever strategy it ends up becoming the talk of the town because of the Internet (like the Chagri effect, tourist guy, etc.)

Luther BlissettAug 12, 2002 at 2:33AM

Re: "1) those who might find them conceptually interesting can only be teenagers "

I find it interesting that the underlying philosophies of the Ryan and Jacob project have been repeatedly dismissed as juvenile by contributors to this discussion. Of course, they espouse ideas that dovetail neatly with the concerns of your average alienated teen, but that doesn't mean that what they say is by definition puerile. As has been pointed out above, everyone from ancient skeptics to investigators into the vagaries of quantum physics have alighted on the concepts on which R and J rest their peculiar argument. I don't 'agree' with R and J (assuming it is possible to glean any cogent philosophy from their ramblings to agree with), but a complete dismissal of the skeptic worldview on the basis that it tallys with the hormone-raddled insularity of young people strikes me as rather unfair. Whatever, maybe it's just me: I've always had a soft spot for Diogenes of Sinope.

Re: "(5) the funny part was this entertaining discussion"

I couldn't agree more.


Luther Blissett

P.s. Greetings, Karen Eliot -- give my regards to Monty Catsin.

Monty CantsinAug 13, 2002 at 3:46AM

Re: 2 (a)

A minor point: By definition (or, more properly, the lack thereof) for Luther Blissett, Monty Catsin, Karen Eliot et al no channel of communication can reasonably be said to be new nor unexpected.

To quote from the Neoist Path:

'Become a Neoist today simply by saying that you're a Neoist and by using the name of Monty Cantsin. Monty Cantsin is an open artist. Anybody can be Monty Cantsin. But do not imaging for a minute that by becoming Monty Cantsin that you become any different from anybody else. Monty Cantsin is a very ordinary person, with very ordinary views. In fact, he is no different from you and me which is why it is possible for all of us to become Monty Cantsin at will.'

Given Monty Catsin's unique status (or, rather, his unique lack of unique status) it seems reasonable to suppose that all veins of communication have been, are being, or will be used by Monty Catsin, and that few things are less surprising than finding Monty Catsin posting to, for example, this internet discussion.

Speaking as the person currently speaking as Monty Catsin, 'my' apologies for cluttering up your debate of the Ryan And Jacob debacle with such trifles.

johnSep 03, 2002 at 10:28AM

If anything is a disease, it's not fakes, it's nihilists. You want a problem with society, how about the fact that insane nihilists are being mistaken for creative individuals and are being too accepted. There is a purpose for dreams, religion, morality, etc. and that is to make sure that we, as a society do not self-destruct. So this Heaven's Gate site can go to hell, or in their language, "wake up."

not amusedSep 09, 2002 at 10:53PM

I hate to join the long list of respondees, especially since it is doubtful that anyone will scroll down this far, but what the hell.
I responded to the email (from Diosma Lao) because it sounded just like the objectivist crap that my ex-boyfriend, Ryan, used to spout. I actually thought that it was him at first because of the name coincidence. I found this site typing in HIS name, not R and J. He's even in his early 20's, so it fits the profile. I was relieved to find out that most likely, it was not him, although I am not fully convinced.
For those who wonder if these guys could be serious- I say from personal experience- they ARE. They are deadly convinced that they are right and that we are all wrong. They really do have disgusting egos and superior attitudes, and if we do not agree with them, then we must lack the intellect to comprehend their arguments. These guys feed on criticism as well as praise- anything to reinforce how superior they are.
And they ARE cultlike- no question. It is scary and unnerving to think about it. But I do believe that they don't mean any harm. They don't want to change us because we aren't capable of change, so attacking society in the form of violence serves no purpose for them.
I think the saddest thing is that, in some ways, these guys are looking for acceptance of their ideas (and themselves). Notice that one of them (michael?) posted his college papers? As though random internet surfer x would care?
I suppose saddest of all are the poor souls who wrote these two, hoping that they would be accepted, only to be rejected and stomped on by their mentors.
I could write for hours. I'll just end with: this whole thing is very real, and very sad.

TamaraSep 15, 2002 at 7:11PM

Dear Ryan and Jacob,
i wish there was a way for me to start this email that could describe to you how badly i feel for you. You say that all these people who are so called "fakes" have no point to there lives except to follow something that has been past down and changed and believed for many years. Well let me ask you a question, what do you think that the purpose of life is than, what is the point? To me all the things that you say make people "fakes" only make people, people. If you believe that a world without morals and without something that people should believe in and "follow" as you would say, is just sad. And hypocritical. Did you ever think that your endless and pointless theory that 99.99999% of all people are fakes, is something that you believe and shapes you as well? I think that it is a very sad world when people have to say that they are the only normal and real people in the world when each person is individual and real. Just because I believe that there is a God, and that I have morals that help govern my life does not make me fake, or anyone else who lives there life in this manner. In fact, it makes me unique and more real than a person who thinks to be real must not follow anything. i think that all you are doing is cutting yourself off from a world of things that make people real, and smart and have personalities that make them not "fake". I could go on for hours about how mixed up your ideas are, and how people like me, and all the other 99.999999% of this world, could say that you are being fake, because, there is obivously somthing that you believe in and follow, just like that rest of us.


TCSep 15, 2002 at 7:17PM

oh just a hint, all it took to find this site was one search for the pointless theory of ryan and jacob.
its no that difficult to find.

SandraSep 17, 2002 at 11:13AM

Does this remind anyone of Spock, you know, the Vulcan from Star Trek???
All logic, no wants or desires, etc., etc.

MSep 17, 2002 at 12:07PM

Just got a ryan and jacob letter (courtesy of aggregatae amelanchier). Took me all of 2 seconds to find this page, and the link to their page. What a bunch of morons.

brettSep 21, 2002 at 5:38PM

I definitely think it's a Matrix viral marketing thing. My email, from Gabunese Wezen, didn't have the 'Ryan and Jacob' at the end. I bet people were finding the site too easily by searching for the names. The problem with this theory is that the sites are a little too weird... They go well beyond the philosophical underpinnings of the Matrix and get into the whole objectivist/Ayn Rand thing too much for people to get into it. Still, that would be the coolest explanation.

The Fake LarvetteSep 21, 2002 at 11:30PM

Is a new round starting? I just got one today from "Cavia Helianthium" (Guinea Pig Sunflower) [chortle] at my college address that usually gets very little spam. No "Ryan and Jacob" at the end, but I found their site by typing the first 10 words into Google which led me to

and after a couple of seconds it dawned on me that I should search on "Eternal Ambition" as per the header. And Voila!

I'm interested to note that this nonsense has not shown up on Snopes or the AFU sites yet.

Enjoying the discussion. Keep those pseudonyms coming in!

The Fake LarvetteSep 21, 2002 at 11:32PM

That would be:


ErinOct 05, 2002 at 5:21PM

I got one today at my school emial, which i NEVER give out, to easy to trace me with. And is NEVER published anywhere.

I am also the only person in any of my school lists to have gotten it.

Has anyone figured out how they are getting email addresses?

Mercury S.Oct 07, 2002 at 4:14PM

I know I was wondering how they got mine as well, since I use an obscure little server that few people have ever heard of.
I'm alsio wondering if anyone has actually managed to find these poeple's website. I'm intrigued as to just what it is they're on about...

VertumnusOct 08, 2002 at 8:40AM

Ahem...If you guys have to ask these questions you haven't read everyone's comments.

Myself and several others commented on some of the techniques they can use to obtain email addresses. We've also posted the links to some of their websites.

Wake up and smell the bacon! :)

You can also learn quite a bit about their websites by reading what some of us have written.

StaceyNov 05, 2002 at 10:50AM

Yeah, I got that spam letter once last May. I dont' have time to search for nonsense words on a search engine. I have a Life. It sounds like this Ryan and Jacob have no life and are depressing people. I don't like it that it sounds like in that email to me is like attaching on my views on life. Their fake name they used was Lepidosiren Ricciaceae, shode666no1@yahoo.com. I don't like that email they sent to me. I checked out that website that is mentioned on this site. I can see that those two people just like to push people buttons. I don't even know how they found my email address. It's my school email address. Whoever Ryan and Jacob are, I hope you get a life. Have a nice day! :D

JimmyNov 07, 2002 at 1:50AM

Maybe I found the real Michael/Ryan?

As well as eternalambition and singlegoal, I assume you've seen:

Searching for "vicecue" yeilds this site:
(Look at the post by Marius Pauer. Sounds very

According to the following posts, there really does
seem to have been a Marius Pauer at
the University of Arizona:
An editorial
A reference to a real Marius Pauer and the group he was in

Also, if his bio is true, he states that he won the
California MathCounts competition in 1988:
Seems like it would be easy enough to contact
MathCounts and track this down. But I'm too
much of a lazy fake :-).

xeuMar 17, 2003 at 9:43PM

Of course. If one sends an email outlining a 'radical' and 'unheard of' philosophy, of course it must be some hoax. Of course it must be some sick mind trying to gain an infamous ego...certainly couldn't be somebody actually making a point... /sarcasm

How well you all have been taught to mindlessly reject anything that goes beyond your programming. Let me set some things straight.

This is not a cult. At least not the way you think of the word. It is not a small group of people under some mental disorder that are out to kill you or ruin your life. They are not on an ego trip, and are not spamming for kicks.

They are the minuscule fraction of the population that has escaped social indoctrination and are in a lifelong struggle to find anything and everything that is relevant, and to remain completely ignorant of anything else. Does this intimidate you? That is the problem. 99% of the people who read that letter will reject it and hide under their safety blanket.

The problem with today’s society is in our memes. From fashion trends to the values of freedom, love and liberty, every idea we are taught is a meme. They spread like parasites, competing with one another to gain dominance. The selected memes are completely random and chaotic, without aim.

The idea of this philosophy is to create a single aim (the pursuit of purpose, the pursuit of relevance), and accept only the memes that help them achieve this aim. This means weeding out all the memes that have no relevance to their goal, which is exactly what ‘defying society’ and ‘treating others as an enemy’ is all about. Singlegoal, Impartiality, StrategicEmotion, whatever you want to call it, radical or not, unrealistic or not, isn’t violent or sick. It’s intentions are simple and clear, if you would only allow it to be understood without placing personal biases on it and referencing it to the typical corrupt regimes of the past. We are nothing of the such.

SproutMar 28, 2003 at 8:04PM

I just want to let all you ppl know how sad I am....I received the email last May or June and saved it and when I get time....like now I search for it....I know SAD!!! But every now and then I would think about it, I couldn't get the weird little email outta my head...So thank you for your site:)

carlaAug 30, 2003 at 8:16AM

This is fucking in sain!

TeqnoHaxorSep 13, 2003 at 11:34AM

Ryan and Jacob are the same person, and neither is his/her real name. It's no marketing ploy by any search engine or film producers. The majority of you cannot begin to comprehend the infinite possiblities of our existence, and are thus null and void.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.