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Thanks to Danny Yee for passing excerpt of a posting by Gene Spafford on to me:

In closing, I'd like to repost my 3 axioms of Usenet. I originally posted these in 1987 and 1988. In my opinion as a semi-pro curmudgeon, I think they've aged well:

Axiom #1:
"The Usenet is not the real world. The Usenet usually does not even resemble the real world."
Corollary #1:
"Attempts to change the real world by altering the structure of the Usenet is an attempt to work sympathetic magic -- electronic voodoo."
Corollary #2:
"Arguing about the significance of newsgroup names and their relation to the way people really think is equivalent to arguing whether it is better to read tea leaves or chicken entrails to divine the future."
Axiom #2:
"Ability to type on a computer terminal is no guarantee of sanity, intelligence, or common sense."
Corollary #3:
"An infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of keyboards could produce something like Usenet."
Corollary #4:
"They could do a better job of it."
Axiom #3:
"Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap) applies to Usenet."
Corollary #5:
"In an unmoderated newsgroup, no one can agree on what constitutes the 10%."
Corollary #6:
"Nothing guarantees that the 10% isn't crap, too."

Which of course ties in to the recent:

"Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea -- massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind-boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it." --spaf (1992)

"Don't sweat it -- it's not real life. It's only ones and zeroes." -- spaf (1988?)

Gene Spafford, COAST Project Director
Software Engineering Research Center & Dept. of Computer Sciences
Purdue University, W. Lafayette IN 47907-1398
Internet: spaf@cs.purdue.edu phone: (317) 494-7825

A FEW WEEKS AGO we noted the crisis of faith revealed by an Internet browser when it was asked to find the address www.god.com and replied that the host wasn't available (10 July). Now Richard Gibbons writes to tell us of the commendable religious modesty of an IBM mainframe using the Phoenix system, which he once worked with at the University of Cambridge. When, in a moment of desperation, he typed in "Help, God", the computer replied: "Deities must be invoked directly and not via Phoenix MVS."

-- Feedback Column in New Scientist, 11 Sept 1999.

From Raven's Memorable Quotes from Alt.Sysadmin.Recovery:

... More quotes from alt.sysadmin.recovery in - Microsoft Forlorn and - Programming Quotes

From The Artful Universe by John D. Barrow (Oxford University Press, 1995):


"I wish you hadn't waked me," he muttered at the sleeper. "I'm not on duty. I don't want any calls. Just put me back to sleep."

"But, sir!" the machine reproved him sulkily. "You can't ignore this message. The sender rated it urgent. The index code implies crisis on an interplanetary scale, with probable danger to billions of your fellow human creatures."

"Great Almalik!" He blinked at the pink folds of pulsating plastic. "Where's the message from?"

"The central zone," the sleeper said. "The local address is Planet 3, Star 7718, Sector Z-989-Q, Galaxy 5 ..."

"That's Earth!"

"A local name perhaps," the sleeper said. "We don't record such unofficial designations."

-- Fred Pohl & Jack Williamson: Rogue Star

Technology II

It was the computer's revenge. In rage, in frenzy, he turned us into monstrosities, imprisoned deep inside his endless banks. Now I am a great soft jelly thing.

I have no mouth. And I must scream.

-- Quote or blurb about Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream from an ad for the Science Fiction Book Club on the back of an old Analog magazine.

Technology III

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted and the interrupt's not caught
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

Thanks to David Radcliffe tracking down the original, complete poem by Gene Ziegler.

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