Answers to All Questions Iranian
Stanford University
05-Jan-2011 (one comment)

Every few weeks I get an email from someone claiming to live in Iran. They usually have a Hotmail account or Yahoo mail account; some even managed to get a gmail account. They have a question for me, ranging from technical ("Is it true that all grammars can be put in an unambiguous form?", "Is there a theory that information can be neither created nor destroyed?") to the political ("Why did the US shoot down an Iranian airliner/take land from Native Americans/Depose Mossadegh, etc. etc.?", or "How do I justify 'Zionist crimes', etc.?").

I'm not sure why I get these, or whether other academics get them as well. I have a theory that there is a concerted attempt by some Iranian group to probe for friends in the US or elsewhere. I would be interested to know if others have experienced the same sort of email-writing campaign that I have. Possibly, the Article on Fundamentalism that I wrote is circulated in Iran. One correspondent commented "It is well known that I hate Iranians," even though the article doesn't mention Iran explicitly, and I actually have no such feelings. I do believe that the fundamentalist government of Iran is a huge problem, both to its own people and to the world. But the people are just fine, when allowed to participate in a free society.

So in order to save everybody a lot of time, I'm going to write down the answers to representative questions.

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Jeffrey Ullman

by bahrani-bigdeli-mehmandoost on

His name is Jeffrey Ullman and has been a Google consultant since 1998!