Sometime around 1997 I started getting a lot of spam from Brazil. I don’t mean relayed through Brazil, everyone gets that these days, I mean spam from businesses and groups in Brazil, in Portuguese, intended for a Brazilian audience. I don’t know how they came up with my address, although I suspect an unscrupulous ISP picked up on it when someone emailed me about translating my Flash site that summer.

Usually I just toss them, but every once in a while I try to puzzle them out (especially since I took some Spanish classes a few years ago – the languages are just similar enough I can usually catch the gist). This one was interesting:

Novidade na pesquisa dos discos voadores no Brasil

Visite o site da Revista UFO e conheça o movimento nacional que os ufólogos estão promovendo desde abril para pedir o reconhecimento oficial da Ufologia. Trata-se da campanha UFOs: LIBERDADE DE INFORMAÇÕES JÁ, que já conta com um abaixo-assinado popular com mais de 3 mil assinaturas. Todas as pessoas interessadas no assunto podem participar do movimento e assinar a petição, que será entregue às autoridades federais com um pedido de abertura de seus arquivos secretos contendo registros de observações de UFOs em nosso Território.

It’s about an online UFO magazine, and an effort to petition the Brazilian government to release classified information about UFO sightings and close encounters in Brazil. I got about this far before I decided to try Google’s translation service, and I’ll try to provide a tidied up version:

New in flying saucer research in Brazil [Google translated “discos voadores” as “flying records,” which conjured up interesting images.]

Visit the site of UFO Magazine and learn about the national movement ufologists have been promoting since April to ask for official recognition of ufology. About the UFO campaign “Freedom of Information Now,” that already counts more than three thousand signatures. All people interested in the subject can participate in the movement and sign the petition that will be delivered to the federal authorities with a demand to open its classified records [Google suggested “private archives”] on UFOs in our territory.

It then goes on for another paragraph about the magazine’s history, and talks about “UFO sightings in our airspace and direct contact between humans and extraerrestrial civilizations that have visisted us” (I’m pretty sure that’s what it says, anyway).

Amazingly, the message footer contains the line “Essa mensagem não é spam.” — literally, “This message is not spam.” It seems that some aspects of spam are universal.

I mean, seriously, how do you take “Brazilian UFO enthusiasts” as your criteria and come up with an English-speaking California native whose website deals with comic books, creative writing, photography, and Linux? No, they just got my address off of the same list that’s been passed around Brazil for the past seven years.

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