UCLA Prof Earns Doctorate in Self-Defense

Things can get nasty in the highly competitive world of theoretical academics. But rarely do they escalate to the level of identity theft, defamation and criminal investigation as outlined in Tom Tugend’s highly entertaining investigation in the Jewish Journal.

Under the Steven Soderbergh-like headline “Slander, Lies and the Dead Sea Scrolls”, the reporter details a three-year battle waged between UCLA adjunct professor Robert Cargill (pictured) and an unknown cyber-assailant hellbent on taking down his VR theories about the origins of the sacred Jewish document.

It would be tempting to give away the recent November 18th resolution to this high-IQ throwdown. But that would spoil the pleasures of Tugend’s well-researched article. So instead, here’s a little non-spoiler taste. When you have a moment, grab a cub of coffee and read through the whole thing. It’s well worth it.

Over the next two years, the [accusatory] posts escalated in volume and harshness. “At UCLA, all my departmental faculty, the provost and chancellor started getting e-mails, as did potential employers at other universities, attacking my qualifications to receive a Ph.D.,” Cargill said in a phone interview… Eventually, Cargill concluded that one person, whom he dubbed the “Puppet Master,” was orchestrating a defamation campaign, using some 80 aliases.