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Dear LM_NET Colleagues,

Toungue in cheek neede in order to read for maximum effectiveness.

Reposted with permission of Dan Galvin and Dave Lewis:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 04:03:00 -0500
From: Dan Galvin <galvin@unix.tamu.edu>
Subject: Thought for Wednesday, Apr 28, 1999

Gullibility Virus Spreading over the Internet!

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Institute for the Investigation of Irregular Internet
Phenomena announced today that many Internet users are becoming infected by a
new virus that causes them to believe without question every groundless story,
legend, and dire warning that shows up in their In Box or on their browser. The
Gullibility Virus, as it is called, apparently makes people believe and forward
copies of silly hoaxes relating to cookie recipes, E-Mail viruses, taxes on
modems, and get-rich-quick schemes [perhaps conspiracy theories should be
included here].

"These are not just readers of tabloids or people who buy lottery tickets
based on fortune cookie numbers," a spokesman said. "Most are otherwise
normal people, who would laugh at the same stories if told to them by a
stranger on a street corner." However, once these same people become
infected with the Gullibility Virus, they believe anything they read on
the Internet.

"My immunity to tall tales and bizarre claims is all gone," reported one
weeping victim. "I believe every warning message and sick child story my
friends forward to me, even though most of the messages are anonymous."

Another victim, now in remission, added, "When I first heard about Good
Times, I just accepted it without question. After all, there were dozens
of other recipients on the mail header, so I thought the virus must be
true." It was a long time, the victim said, before she could stand up at a
Hoaxes Anonymous meeting and stated, "My name is Jane, and I've been
hoaxed." Now, however, she is spreading the word. "Challenge and check
whatever you read," she says.

Internet users are urged to examine themselves for symptoms of the virus,
which include the following:

* the willingness to believe improbable stories without thinking
* the urge to forward multiple copies of such stories to others
* a lack of desire to take 3 minutes to check to see if a story is true

T.C. is an example of someone recently infected. He told one reporter, "I
read on the Net that the major ingredient in almost all shampoos makes
your hair fall out, so I've stopped using shampoo." When told about the
Gullibility Virus, T.C. said he would stop reading e-mail, so that he
would not become infected.

Anyone with symptoms like these is urged to seek help immediately. Experts
recommend that at the first feelings of gullibility, Internet users rush
to their favorite search engine and look up the item tempting them to
thoughtless credence. Most hoaxes, legends, and tall tales have been
widely discussed and exposed by the Internet community.

Courses in critical thinking are also widely available, and there is online
help from many sources, including

* Department of Energy Computer Incident Advisory
Capability at <http://ciac.llnl.gov/ciac/CIACHoaxes.html>
* Symantec Anti Virus Research Center at
* McAfee Associates Virus Hoax List at
* Dr. Solomons Hoax Page at
* The Urban Legends Web Site at <http://www.urbanlegends.com>
* Urban Legends Reference Pages at <http://www.snopes.com>
* Datafellows Hoax Warnings at

Those people who are still symptom free can help inoculate themselves
against the Gullibility Virus by reading some good material on evaluating
sources, such as

* Evaluating Internet Research Sources at
* Evaluation of Information Sources at
* Bibliography on Evaluating Internet Resources at

Lastly, as a public service, Internet users can help stampout the
Gullibility Virus by sending copies of this message to anyone who forwards
them a hoax.

Forward this message to all your friends right away! Don't think about it! This
is not a chain letter! This story is true! Don't check it out! This story is so
timely, there is no date on it! This story is so important, we're using lots of
exclamation points!!! For every message you forward to some unsuspecting
person, the Home for the Hopelessly Gullible will donate ten cents to itself.
(If you wonder how the Home will know you are forwarding these messages all
over creation, you're obviously thinking too much.)

                      -Received from Dave Lewis
                       (However tftd is not sure of its
                       authenticity since it came without
                       six pages of address headers indicating
                       how much it had already been distributed.)

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