Someone out there is SANE!
1. Big companies don't do business via chain letters. Bill Gates is not giving you $1000, and Disney is not giving you a free vacation. There is no baby food company issuing class-action checks. Procter and Gamble is not part of a satanic cult or scheme, and its logo is not satanic. MTV will not give you backstage passes if you forward something to the most people. You can relax; there is no need to pass it on "just in case it's true". Furthermore, just because someone said in a message (four generations back) that "we checked it out and it's legit," does not actually make it true.
2. There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is waking up in a bathtub full of ice, even if a friend of a friend swears it happened to their cousin. If you are hell-bent on believing the kidney-theft ring stories, please see http://urbanlegends.tqn.com/library/weekly/aa062997.html And I quote: "The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for actual victims of organ thieves to come forward and tell their stories. None have." That's "none" as in "zero." Not even your friend's cousin.
3. Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe. And even if they did, we all have it. And even if you don't, you can get a copy at http://www.bl.net/forwards/cookie.html Then, if you make the recipe and decide the cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass the recipe on.
4. If the latest NASA rocket disaster(s) DID contain plutonium that went to particulate over the eastern seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would reach the public via an AOL chain letter?
5. There is no "Bad Times" virus. In fact, you should never, ever, ever forward any e-mail containing any virus warning unless you first confirm that an actual site of an actual company that actually deals with viruses. Try http://www.norton.com (http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html) or http://www.mcafee.com (http://vil.mcafee.com/hoax.asp). And even then, don't forward it. We don't care. And you cannot get a virus from a flashing IM or email, you have to open the attachment...ya know, like, a FILE! So the best way to prevent from getting a email virus, is NOT to open any attachments in a message that you don't know about!
6. Decorative Magnets on your Refrigerator will not cause radiation or cancer. While there has been ongoing debate about the possible health effects of electromagnetic radiation such as that generated by power lines and mobile phones, permanent magnets have been used for a great variety of purposes over many years, and there is no scientific evidence linking them to cancer or other human health problems.
7. You will NOT be informed you just won the lottery in an email. In fact, the promised prize is nothing more than the bait designed to hook hapless victims into sending their money and personal information to Internet criminals. Those who fall for the ruse and contact their bogus "agent", will soon be asked to send upfront fees that are supposedly required to allow the release of the entirely imaginary "winnings". The scammers will claim that these fees are required to cover such obligations as insurance, transfer taxes or bank fees and they will insist that the fees cannot, under any circumstances, be deducted from the prize itself.
8. If you still absolutely MUST forward that 10th-generation message from a friend, at least have the decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone else who's received it over the last 6 months. It sure wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the ">" that begin each line either. Besides, if it has gone around that many times we've probably already seen it.
9. Craig Shergold (or Sherwood, or Sherman, etc.) in England is not dying of cancer or anything else at this time and would like everyone to stop sending him their business cards. He apparently is no longer a "little boy" either.
10. The "Make a Wish" foundation is a real organization doing fine work, but they have had to establish special toll-free hot line in response to the large number of Internet hoaxes using their good name and reputation. It is distracting them from the important work they do.
11. If you are one of those insufferable idiots who forwards anything that "promises" something bad will happen if you "don't," then something bad will happen to you if I ever meet you in a dark alley.
12. Women really are suffering in Afghanistan, and PBS and NEA funding are still vulnerable to attack (although not at the present time) but forwarding an e-mail won't help either cause in the least. If you want to help, contact your local legislative representative, or get in touch with Amnesty International or the Red Cross. As a general rule, e-mail "signatures" are easily faked and mean nothing to anyone with any power to do anything about whatever the competition is complaining about.
13. IBM is not giving away free computers because Netscape bought AOL.
14. A little dog (or any picture) is not going to pop up on the screen if you forward an e-mail to any number of people.
15. I know this is a touchy one for some of you, and you and you alone know your relationship with the Almighty, but you will not go to hell or suffer some catastrophic event if you break the prayer circle.
16. There is no bill pending before Congress that will allow the Post Office to charge you for using E-Mail.
Bottom Line ... Composing e-mail or posting something on the Net is as easy as writing on the walls of a public restroom. Don't automatically believe it is true until it's proven false - BELIEVE it's false, unless there is proof that it's true!
Now...Forward this to ten friends, and you will win the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes.
I will now step off of my soapbox!
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