Throughout the ongoing recession we have seen numerous examples of desis in finance acting as if being fabulously wealthy and having a secure financial future is not enough and thus seek additional wealth and influence/prestige/etc through questionable means. We have also seen desi scientists brought low by their own hubris. How then would you categorize a man who lectures at MIT, obviously an intelligent fellow who apparently began programming impressively at an early age, who makes claims unsupported by even the most charitable interpretation of the chronology of developments in electronic messaging? Gizmodo’s Sam Biddle picks up the story of Shiva Ayyadurai after his supposedly acrimonious ouster at an R&D outfit backed by the Indian government:
So Ayyadurai did flee, returning to MIT, where he’s generally described by his colleagues as a nut and fraud—the terms “asshole,” and “loon” were tossed around freely by professors who were happy to talk about their coworker but prefer to remain anonymous. “Don’t know him, but [he] didn’t invent email. If he claims to have done so he’s a dick,” said one MIT brain.
Ayyadurai is convinced the Indian government isn’t through with him. He claims that it hired a team of “bloggers” and PR hatchet men to smear him across the internet. Target number one? His claim to be the father of email.
Why do bright people make demonstrably false claims? Perhaps because they can expect instant validation from less intelligent people and flabby bureaucracies eager to scoop a story or curate history that will elevate their status relative to others.
*Bernard Bosanquet bowled what is considered to be the first googly.