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usefaq.txt

Found at: 0x1bi.net:70/textfiles/file?internet/usefaq.txt


Archive-name: usenet-faq/part1
Original-author: jerry@eagle.UUCP (Jerry Schwarz)
Comment: enhanced & edited until 5/93 by spaf@cs.purdue.edu (Gene Spafford)
Last-change: 25 Apr 1993 by spaf@cs.purdue.edu (Gene Spafford)

		   Frequently Submitted/Asked Items

This document discusses some questions and topics that occur
repeatedly on USENET.  They frequently are submitted by new users, and
result in many followups, sometimes swamping groups for weeks. The
purpose of this note is to head off these annoying events by answering
some questions and warning about the inevitable consequence of asking
others.  If you don't like these answers, let the poster of thie
article know.

Note that some newsgroups have their own special "Frequent Questions &
Answers" posting.  You should read a group for a while before posting
any questions, because the answers may already be present.
Comp.unix.questions and comp.unix.internals are examples -- Steve Hayman
regularly posts an article that answers common questions, including
some of the ones asked here.

This list is often referred to as FAQ -- the Frequently Asked
Questions.  If you are a new user of the Usenet and don't find an
answer to your questions here, you can try asking in the
news.newusers.questions group.  You might also read through other FAQ
lists, cross-posted to the news.answers group.


			       Contents
			       ========

 1.  What does UNIX stand for?
 2.  What is the derivation of "foo" as a filler word?
 3.  Is a machine at "foo" on the net?
 4.  What does "rc" at the end of files like .newsrc mean?
 5.  What does :-) mean?
 6.  How do I decrypt jokes in rec.humor?
 7.  misc.misc or misc.wanted: Is John Doe out there anywhere?
 8.  sci.math: Proofs that 1=0.
 9.  rec.games.*: Where can I get the source for empire or rogue?
10.  comp.unix.questions: How do I remove files with non-ascii 
     characters in their names?
11.  comp.unix.internals: There is a bug in the way UNIX handles
     protection for programs that run suid, or any other report of
     bugs with standard software.
12.  Volatile topics, e.g., soc.women: What do you think about abortion?
13.  soc.singles: What do MOTOS, MOTSS, and MOTAS  stand for?
     What does LJBF mean?
14.  soc.singles and elsewhere:  What does HASA stand for?
15.  sci.space.shuttle: Shouldn't this group be merged with sci.space?
16.  How do I use the "Distribution" feature?
17.  Why do some people put funny lines ("bug killers") at the beginning
     of their articles?
18.  What is the address or phone number of the "foo" company?
19.  What is the origin of the name "grep"?
20.  How do I get from BITNET to UUCP, Internet to BITNET, JANET etc. etc.?
21.  Didn't some state once pass a law setting pi equal to 3 ?
22.  Where can I get the necessary software to get a "smart"
     mail system running on my machine that will take advantage
     of the postings in comp.mail.maps?  (E.g., pathalias, smail, etc.)
23.  What is "food for the NSA line-eater"?
24.  Does anyone know the {pinouts, schematics, switch settings,
     what does jumper J3 do} for widget X?
25.  What is "anonymous ftp"?
26.  What is UUNET?
27.  Isn't the posting mechanism broken?  When I post an article to both
     a moderated group and unmoderated groups, it gets mailed to the
     moderator and not posted to the unmoderated groups.
28.  comp.arch and elsewhere:  What do FYI and IMHO mean?
29.  Would someone repost {large software distribution}?
30.  How do I contact the moderator of an Internet mailing list rather than
     post to the entire list?
31.  I see BTW (or "btw"), wrt and RTFM in postings.  What do they mean?
32.  Are there any restrictions on posting e-mail someone sends to me?
33.  What's an FQDN?
34.  How do you pronounce "char" in C, "ioctl" in UNIX, the character
     "#", etc., etc.?
35.  How do you pronounce "TeX"?
36.  What is the last year of the 20th century A.D.?
37.  I heard these stories about a dying child wanting
     postcards/get-well cards/business cards to get in the Guinness Book
     of World Records.  Where can I post the address for people to help?
38.  I just heard about a scheme the FCC has to implement a tax on
     modems!  Where can I post a message so everyone will hear about
     this and do something to prevent it?
39.  Is there a public access Unix system near me?  How can I get
     access to system for news and mail?
40.  In rec.pets: My pet has suddenly developed the following symptoms
     .... Is it serious?  In sci.med: I have these symptoms .... Is it
     serious?
41.  I have this great idea to make money.  Alternatively, wouldn't an
     electronic chain letter be a nifty idea?
42.  Where can I get archives of Usenet postings?
43.  Is it possible to post messages to the Usenet via electronic mail?
44.  Is it possible to read Usenet newsgroups via electronic mail?
45.  How do I get the news software to include a signature with my
     postings?
46.  I'm on Bitnet -- can I connect to the net?


			Questions and Answers
			=====================

 1.  What does UNIX stand for?

     It is not an acronym, but is a pun on "Multics".  Multics is a
     large operating system that was being developed shortly before
     UNIX was created.  Brian Kernighan is credited with the name.

 2.  What is the derivation of "foo" as a filler word?

     The favorite story is that it comes from "fubar" which is an
     acronym for "fouled up beyond all recognition", which is supposed
     to be a military term.  (Various forms of this exist, "fouled"
     usually being replaced by a stronger word.) "Foo" and "Bar" have
     the same derivation.

 3.  Is a machine at "foo" on the net?

     These questions belong in news.config (if anywhere), but in fact
     your best bet is usually to phone somebody at "foo" to find out.
     If you don't know anybody at "foo" you can always try calling and
     asking for the "comp center."  Also, see the newsgroup
     comp.mail.maps where maps of USENET and the uucp network are posted
     regularly.  If you have access to telnet, connect to nic.ddn.mil
     and try the "whois" command.  (See also the answer to question
     #7, below.)

 4.  What does "rc" at the end of files like .newsrc mean?

     It is related to the phrase "run commands." It is used for any
     file that contains startup information for a command.  The use of
     "rc" in startup files derives from the /etc/rc command file used
     to start multi-user UNIX.

 5.  What does :-) mean?

      This is the net convention for a "smiley face".  It means that
      something is being said in jest.  If it doesn't look like a smiley
      face to you, flop your head over to the left and look again.
      Variants exist and mean related things; for instance, :-( is sad.

      Collections of smileys are posted to various newsgroups from
      time to time. One was posted to comp.sources.misc in v23i102.

 6.  How do I decrypt jokes in rec.humor?

     The standard cypher used in rec.humor is called "rot13."  Each
     letter is replaced by the letter 13 farther along in the alphabet
     (cycling around at the end).  Most systems have a built-in
     command to decrypt such articles; readnews and nn have the "D"
     command, emacs/gnus has the "^C^R" combination, rn has the "X" or
     "^X" commands, notes has "%" or "R", and VMS news has the
     read/rot13 command.  If your system doesn't have a program to
     encrypt and decrypt these, you can quickly create a shell script
     using "tr":
	tr A-Za-z N-ZA-Mn-za-m
     On some versions of UNIX, the "tr" command should be written as:
	tr "[a-m][n-z][A-M][N-Z]" "[n-z][a-m][N-Z][A-M]"

 7.  misc.misc or misc.wanted: Is John Doe out there anywhere?

     I suspect that these items are people looking for Freshman room-
     mates that they haven't seen in ten years.  If you have some idea
     where the person is, you are usually better off calling the
     organization.  For example, if you call any Bell Labs location and
     request John Doe's number they can give it to you even if he works
     at a different location.  If you must try the net, use newsgroup
     soc.net-people *NOT* misc.misc or misc.wanted.  Also, you can try
     the "whois" command (see item #3).  There is a periodic posting
     in the news.newusers.questions and news.answers newsgroups that
     gives information on other ways to locate people.

 8.  sci.math: Proofs that 1=0.

     Almost everyone has seen one or more of these in high school.
     They are almost always based on either division by 0, confusing
     the positive and negative square roots of a number, or performing
     some ill-defined operation.

 9.  rec.games.*: Where can I get the source for empire or rogue?

     You can't get the source of rogue.  The authors of the game, as is
     their right, have chosen not to make the sources available.
     However, several rogue-like games have been posted to the
     comp.sources.games group and they are available in the archives.

     You can obtain the source to a version of empire if you provide
     a tape and SASE *plus* a photocopy of your UNIX source license.
     To obtain further info, contact mcnc!rti-sel!polyof!john.
     You can also call John at +1 516 454-5191 (9am-9pm EST only).

     Sites with Internet access can ftp several versions of empire
     from site g.ms.uky.edu

     Also, please note that the wizards' passwords in games like these
     are usually system-dependent and it does no good to ask the
     net-at-large what they are.

10.  comp.unix.questions: How do I remove files with non-ascii
     characters in their names?

     You can try to find a pattern that uniquely identifies the file.
     This sometimes fails because a peculiarity of some shells is that
     they strip off the highorder bit of characters in command lines.
     Next, you can try an rm -i, or rm -r. Finally, you can mess around
     with i-node numbers and "find".

     Some Emacs editors allow you to directly edit a directory, and
     this provides yet another way to remove a file with a funny name
     (assuming you have Emacs and figure out how to use it!).

     To remove a file named "-" from your directory, simply do:
     rm ./-

11.  comp.unix.internals: There is a bug in the way UNIX handles
     protection for programs that run suid, or any other report of
     bugs with standard software.

     There are indeed problems with the treatment of protection in
     setuid programs.  When this is brought up, suggestions for changes
     range from implementing a full capability list arrangement to new
     kernel calls for allowing more control over when the effective id
     is used and when the real id is used to control accesses.  Sooner
     or later you can expect this to be improved.  For now you just
     have to live with it.

     Always discuss suspected bugs or problems with your site software
     experts before you post to the net.  It is likely that the bugs
     have already been reported.  They might also be local changes and
     not something you need to describe to the whole Usenet.

12.  Volatile topics, e.g., soc.women: What do you think about abortion?

     Although abortion might appear to be an appropriate topic for
     soc.women, more heat than light is generated when it is brought
     up.  All abortion-related discussion should take place in the
     newsgroup talk.abortion.  If your site administrators have chosen
     not to receive this group, you should respect this and not post
     articles about abortion at all.

     This principle applies to other topics: religious upbringing of
     children should be restricted to talk.religion.misc and kept out
     of misc.kids.  Similarly, rape discussions should be kept to
     talk.rape and not in soc.singles, alt.sex and/or soc.women,
     Zionism discussions should be kept to talk.politics.mideast and
     not in soc.culture.jewish; likewise, evangelical and
     proseletyzing discussions of Jesus or of religions other than
     Judaism should go to newsgroups for the appropriate religion or
     to talk.religion.misc or alt.messianic.  Any attempts to
     proselytize any religious view belongs in talk.religion.misc, if
     they belong on the net at all.  Discussions on the merits of
     Affirmative Action and racial quotas belong in a talk.politics
     subgroup or alt.discrimination, not in
     soc.culture.african.american.  Discussions about evolution vs.
     creationism should be confined to the talk.origins group.

     USENET newsgroups are named for mostly historical reasons, and
     are not intended to be fully general discussion groups for
     everything about the named topic.  Please accept this and post
     articles in their appropriate forums.

13.  soc.singles: What do MOTOS, MOTSS, MOTAS, and SO stand for?
     What does LJBF mean? 

     Member of the opposite sex, member of the same sex, and member of
     the appropriate sex, respectively.  SO stands for "significant
     other."

     LJBF means "Let's just be friends."  This phrase is often heard
     when you least want it.

14.  soc.singles and elsewhere:  What does HASA stand for?

     The acronym HASA originated with the Heathen and Atheistic SCUM
     Alliance; the Hedonistic Asti-Spumante Alliance, Heroes Against
     Spaghetti Altering, the Society for Creative Atheism (SCATHE),
     SASA, SALSA, PASTA, and many others too numerous to mention all
     followed.  HASA started in (what is now) talk.religion.misc and
     also turns up in soc.singles, talk.bizarre, et al. because members
     post there too.

15.  sci.space.shuttle: Shouldn't this group be merged with sci.space?

     No.  sci.space.shuttle is for timely news bulletins.  sci.space is for
     discussions.

16.  How do I use the "Distribution" feature?

     When your posting software (e.g., Pnews or postnews) prompts you
     for a distribution, it's asking how widely distributed you want
     your article.  The set of possible replies is different,
     depending on where you are, but at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New
     Jersey, possibilities include (for example):
	local	local to this machine
	mh	Bell Labs, Murray Hill Branch
	nj	all sites in New Jersey
	btl	All Bell Labs machines
	att	All AT&T machines
	usa	Everywhere in the USA
	na	Everywhere in North America
	world	Everywhere on USENET in the world 
     Many of the posting programs will provide a list of
     distributions, if your site admin has kept the files up-to-date.

     If you hit return, you'll get the default, which is usually
     "world.".  This default is often not appropriate -- PLEASE take a
     moment to think about how far away people are likely to be
     interested in what you have to say.  Used car ads, housing wanted
     ads, and things for sale other than specialized equipment like
     computers certainly shouldn't be distributed to Europe and Korea,
     or even to the next state.

     It is generally not possible to post an article to a distribution
     that your own machine does not receive.  For instance, if you
     live in Indiana, you can't post an article for distribution only
     in New Jersey or Germany unless your site happens to exchange
     those particular distributions with another site.  Try mailing
     the article to someone in the appropriate area and asking them to
     post it for you.

     If you cannot determine what distributions are valid for your
     site, ask someone locally rather than posting a query to the
     whole network!

17.  Why do some people put funny lines ("bug killers") at the beginning
     of their articles?

     Some earlier versions (mid-80s) of news had a bug which would
     drop the first 512 or 1024 bytes of text of certain articles.
     The bug was triggered whenever the article started with
     whitespace (a blank or a tab).  A fix many people adopted was to
     begin their articles with a line containing a character other
     than white space.  This gradually evolved into the habit of
     including amusing first lines.

     The original bug has since been fixed in newer version of news,
     and sites running older versions of news have applied a patch to
     prevent articles from losing text.  The "bug-killer" lines are
     therefore probably no longer needed, but they linger on.

18.  What is the address or phone number of the "foo" company?

     Try the white and yellow pages of your phone directory, first; a
     sales representative will surely know, and if you're a potential
     customer they will be who you're looking for.  Phone books for
     other cities are usually available in libraries of any size.
     Whoever buys or recommends things for your company will probably
     have some buyer's guides or national company directories. Call or
     visit the reference desk of your library; they have several
     company and organization directories and many will answer
     questions like this over the phone.  Remember if you only know
     the city where the company is, you can telephone to find out
     their full address or a dealer.  Calls to 1-800-555-1212 will
     reveal if the company has an "800" number you can call for
     information.  The network is NOT a free resource, although it may
     look like that to some people.  It is far better to spend a few
     minutes of your own time researching an answer rather than
     broadcast your laziness and/or ineptitude to the net.

19.  What is the origin of the name "grep"?

     The original UNIX text editor "ed" has a construct g/re/p,
     where "re" stands for a regular expression, to Globally
     search for matches to the Regular Expression and Print the
     lines containing them.  This was so often used that it was
     packaged up into its own command, thus named "grep".  According
     to Dennis Ritchie, this is the true origin of the command.

20.  How do I get from BITNET to UUCP, Internet to BITNET, JANET etc.?

     There are so many networks and mail systems in use now, it would
     take a book to describe all of them and how to send mail between
     them.  Luckily, there are a couple of excellent books that do
     exactly that, and in a helpful, easy-to-use manner:

         "!%@:: A Directory of Electronic Mail Addressing & Networks"
         by Donnalyn Frey and Rick Adams, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc,
         2nd edition 1990.

         "The Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems
         Worldwide" by John Quarterman, Digital Press, 1990.

     Another excellent book to have on your bookshelf (to keep those
     two company) is "The User's Directory of Computer Networks" edited
     by Tracy LaQuey, Digital Press, 1990.

21.  Didn't some state once pass a law setting pi equal to 3 ?

     Indiana House Bill #246 was introduced on 18 January 1897, and
     referred to the Committee on Canals "midst general cheerfulness."
     The text states, "the ratio of the diameter and circumference is
     as five-fourths to four", which makes pi 3.2 (not 3), but there
     are internal contradictions in the bill as well as contradictions
     with reality.  The author was a mathematical crank.  The bill was
     passed by the state House on 5 February, but indefinitely tabled
     by the state Senate, in part thanks to the fortuitous presence
     on other business of a Purdue professor of mathematics.

     For details, including an annotated text of the bill, read the
     article by D. Singmaster in "The Mathematical Intelligencer" v7
     #2, pp 69-72.

22.  Where can I get the necessary software to get a "smart"
     mail system running on my machine that will take advantage
     of the postings in comp.mail.maps?  (E.g., pathalias, smail, etc.)

     There are a couple of packages available through the supporters of
     the comp.sources.unix archives.  If sites next to you don't have
     what you want, contact your nearest comp.sources.unix archive, or
     the moderator.  Information on archive sites, and indices of
     comp.sources.unix back issues are posted regularly in
     comp.sources.unix and comp.sources.d.

23.  What is "food for the NSA line-eater"?

     This refers to the alleged scanning of all USENET traffic by the
     National Security Agency (and possibly other intelligence
     organizations) for interesting keywords.  The "food" is believed
     to contain some of those keywords in the fond hope of overloading
     NSA's poor computers.  A little thought should convince anyone
     that this is unlikely to occur.  Other posters have taken up this
     practice, either as an ambiguous form of political statement, or
     as an attempt at humor.  The bottom line is that excessive
     signatures in any form are discouraged, the joke has worn stale
     amongst long-time net readers, and there are specific newsgroups
     for the discussion of politics.

24.  Does anyone know the {pinouts, schematics, switch settings,
     what does jumper J3 do} for widget X?

     These postings are almost always inappropriate unless the
     manufacturer has gone out of business or no longer supports the
     device.  If neither of these is the case, you're likely to get a
     better and faster response by simply telephoning the
     manufacturer.

25.  What is "anonymous ftp"?

     "FTP" stands for File Transfer Protocol; on many systems, it's
     also the name of a user-level program that implements that
     protocol.  This program allows a user to transfer files to and
     from a remote network site, provided that network site is
     reachable via the Internet or a similar facility.  (Ftp is
     also usable on many local-area networks.)

     "Anonymous FTP" indicates that a user may log into the remote
     system as user "anonymous" with an arbitrary password.  A common
     convention is that some sort of identification is supplied as the
     password, e.g. "mumble@foo".  This is sometimes useful to those
     sites that track ftp usage.  Also note that most sites restrict
     when transfers can be made, or at least suggest that large
     transfers be made only during non-peak hours.

26.  What is UUNET?

     UUNET is a for-profit communications service designed to provide
     access to USENET news, mail, and various source archives at low
     cost by obtaining volume discounts.  Charges are calculated to
     recover costs.

     For more information send your US mail address to
     info@uunet.uu.net (uunet!info).

27.  Isn't the posting mechanism broken?  When I post an article to both
     a moderated group and unmoderated groups, it gets mailed to the
     moderator and not posted to the unmoderated groups.

     This is a question that is debated every few months.  The answer
     is "No, it was designed to work that way."  The software is
     designed so that the moderator can crosspost the article so it
     appears in the regular groups as well as the moderated group, if
     appropriate.  If the article were to be posted immediately to the
     unmoderated groups, the moderated group name would have to be
     deleted from the header and you would lose the crossposting.

     Whether or not this is correct behavior is a matter of opinion.
     If you want your article to go out immediately to the unmoderated
     groups, post it twice -- once to the unmoderated groups and once
     to the moderated groups.

28.  comp.arch and elsewhere:  What do FYI and IMHO mean?

     Those are abbreviations for common phrases.  FYI is "For Your
     Information" and IMHO is "In My Humble Opinion" or "In My
     Honest Opinion."  This is used sarcastically as often as not.

29.  Would someone repost {large software distribution}?

     This question should never be posted unless you are reporting a
     widespread problem in article propagation. Lamentably, there ARE
     occasional glitches in article transport. Large source or binary
     postings, by their sheer size, are an inviting target.

     If the problem is isolated, it is much better to take it upon
     yourself to obtain the bad portions of the program than to ask
     thousands of sites to spend thousands of dollars to needlessly
     move several hundred kilobytes of code. There are archive sites
     around the net that make most source/binary newsgroups available
     via anonymous FTP and UUCP. If you get desperate, you can always
     mail the author a blank disk or magnetic tape with provisions for
     return postage.

30.  How do I contact the moderator of an Internet mailing list rather than
     post to the entire list?

     To do this you should know that there are, by convention, two
     mailing addresses for every mailing list (except where noted by
     the List of Lists):

	     list@host		(e.g. xpert@expo.lcs.mit.edu)
	     list-request@host	(e.g. xpert-request@expo.lcs.mit.edu)

     When you have something for everyone on the mailing list to read,
     mail to the list@host address. HOWEVER, if you have an
     administrative request to make (e.g. "please add me to this list",
     "please remove me from this list", "where are the archives?",
     "what is this mailer error I got from sending to this list?"), it
     should be directed to the list-request@host address, which goes
     only to the mailing list administrator.

     It is considered to be in bad taste to send administrative
     requests to the entire mailing list in question, and if (as is
     often the case) the administrator does not read the mailing list
     (i.e. he just takes care of the admin tasks for the list), he will
     not see your request if you don't send it to the right address.

31.  I see BTW (or "btw"), wrt and RTFM in postings.  What do they mean?

     BTW is shorthand for "by the way."  WRT is "With respect to".

     RTFM is generally used as an admonition and means "read the f*ing
     manual" (choice of f-words varies according to reader).  The
     implication is that the answer to a query or complaint is easy to
     find if one looks in the appropriate location FIRST.  Most FAQ
     postings (Frequently-Asked Questions) that answer these questions
     may be found cross-posted in news.answers.

32.  Are there any restrictions on posting e-mail someone sends to me?

     At a minimum, it is only polite for you to contact the author of
     the letter and secure her or his permission to post it to the net.

     On a more serious note, it can be argued that posting someone's
     e-mail to the net without their permission is a violation of
     copyright law.  Under that law, even though a letter was
     addressed to you, it does not grant you the right to publish the
     contents, as that is the work of the author and the author
     retains copyright (even if no explicit copyright mark appears).

     Basically, your letters are your intellectual property.  If
     someone publishes your letters they are violating your copyright.
     This principle is well-founded in "paper media," and while
     untested in electronic forums such as Usenet, the same would
     probably apply if tested in court.

33.  What's an FQDN?

     A fully-qualified domain name.  That is, a hostname containing
     full, dotted qualification of its name up to the root of the
     Internet domain naming system tree.  Example: uiucuxc is the
     single-word hostname (suitable for, e.g., UUCP transport
     purposes) of the machine whose FQDN is uxc.cso.uiuc.edu.

34.  How do you pronounce "char" in C, "ioctl" in UNIX, the character
     "#", etc., etc.?

     Opinions differ.  Pick pronunciations close to what your
     colleagues use.  After all, they're the ones you need to
     communicate with.

35.  How do you pronounce "TeX"?

     To quote Donald Knuth, the creator of TeX: "Insiders pronounce
     the X of TeX as a Greek chi, not as an 'x', so that TeX rhymes
     with the word blecchhh.  It's the 'ch' sound in Scottish words
     like loch or German words like ach; it's a Spanish 'j' and a
     Russian 'kh'.  When you say it correctly to your computer, the
     terminal may become slightly moist."  [The TeXbook, 1986, Addison
     Wesley, page 1]

36.  What is the last year of the 20th century A.D.?

     The A.D. (Latin, Anno Domini, In the Year of Our Lord) system was
     devised before "origin 0 counting" was invented.  The year during
     which Jesus was (incorrectly) assumed to have been born was
     numbered 1.  (The preceding year was 1 B.C.)  So the 1st century
     was 1 to 100, the 2nd was 101 to 200, the 20th is 1901 to 2000.
     This is standard terminology no matter how much some of you may
     dislike it.  However, "a" century is any span of 100 years; so if
     you want to celebrate the end of "the century", meaning the
     1900's, on December 31, 1999, nobody will stop you.  It just
     isn't the end of the "20th century A.D.".

37.  I heard these stories about a dying child wanting
     postcards/get-well cards/business cards to get in the Guinness
     Book of World Records.  Where can I post the address for people to
     help?

     Post it to "junk," or better yet, don't post it at all.  The
     story of the little boy keeps popping up, even though his mother
     and the agencies involved have been appealing for people to stop.
     So many postcards were sent that the agencies involved in the
     effort don't know what to do with them.  The Guinness people have
     recorded the boy, Craig Shergold, as the record holder in the
     category.  However, they will not accept claims for a new try at
     the record.  For confirmation, you can see page 24 of the 29 July
     1990 NY Times or call the publisher of the Guinness Book (in the
     US, call "Facts on File" @ 212-683-2244).

     According to the 1993 edition of the GBWR, on page 213:
	Craig Shergold (born 1979) of Carshalton, Surrey when
	undergoing cancer chemo-therapy was sent a record 33
	million get-well cards until May 1991 when his mother
	pleaded for no more.  A successful 5 hour operation on
	a brain tumour by neurosurgeon Neal Kassel at Virginia
	University, Charlottesville, USA in March 1991 greatly
	improved his condition.

     If you want to do something noble, donate the cost of a stamp and
     postcard (or more) to a worthwhile charity like UNICEF or the
     International Red Cross (Red Crescent, Red Magen David).  There are
     tens of thousands of children dying around the world daily, and
     they could use more than a postcard.  

38.  I just heard about a scheme the FCC has to implement a tax on
     modems!  Where can I post a message so everyone will hear about
     this and do something to prevent it?

     Post it the same place as the articles in response to #37, above.
     This is an old, old story that just won't die.  Something like
     this was proposed many YEARS back and defeated.  However, the
     rumor keeps spreading and people who hear about it for the first
     time get all upset.  Before posting stories like this, check with
     the organizations involved (like the FCC) to see if the story is
     true and current.

39.  Is there a public access Unix system near me?  How can I get
     access to system for news and mail?

     Phil Eschallier posts a list of open access Unix sites (he calls
     them "Nixpub" sites) on a regular basis to the following
     newsgroups: comp.misc and alt.bbs.   Check his posting
     for information on sites you can contact.

     Furthermore, a list of open access sites that are not necessarily
     Unix sites is posted regularly in alt.bbs.lists; see the postings
     entitled "NetPub listing" for more information.

40.  In rec.pets: My pet has suddenly developed the following symptoms
     .... Is it serious?  In sci.med: I have these symptoms .... Is it
     serious?

     Could be.  The only way to tell for sure is to see an expert.  The
     network reaches a vast audience with considerable talent, but that
     can never replace the expert observation and diagnosis of a
     trained professional.  Do yourself or your pet a big favor -- if
     there is a problem, go see an appropriate practitioner.  If there
     is a serious problem, it is important that it is dealt with promptly.

 41. I have this great idea to make money.  Alternatively, wouldn't an
     electronic chain letter be a nifty idea?

     In a few words: don't even think about it.  Trying to use the net
     to make vast sums of money or send chain letters is a very bad
     idea.  First of all, it is an inappropriate use of resources, and
     tends to use up vast amounts of net bandwidth.  Second, such
     usage of the net tends to produce extremely negative reactions by
     people on the net, adding even more to the volume -- most of it
     directed to you.  Users, particularly system admins, do not like
     that kind of activity, and they will flood your mailbox with
     notices to that effect.

     And last, and perhaps most important, some of this activity is
     against the law in many places.  In the US, you can (and will) be
     reported by hacked-off system administrators for suspicion of wire
     fraud or mail fraud.  In one incident, at *least* a half dozen
     people reported the poster to Postal Service inspectors; I'm not
     sure what the outcome was, but it probably was not a nice
     experience.

     Bottom line: don't try clever schemes to sell things, solicit
     donations, or run any kind of pyramid or Ponzi scheme.  Also,
     don't start or support electronic chain letters.

 42. Where can I get archives of Usenet postings?

     Most Usenet newsgroups are not archived in any organized fashion,
     though it's likely that if you look hard enough someone will have
     kept much or most of the traffic (either on disk or on some tape
     gathering dust somewhere).  The volume on Usenet is simply too
     high to keep everything on rotating magnetic media forever,
     however.  The signal-to-noise ratio is too low in many groups to
     make them good candidates for archiving.

     One person's signal is another person's noise; if you're lucky,
     you'll find someone who has been keeping the good parts of a
     particular newsgroup in their own personal stash to save up for
     later.  How to get access to a group that *is* archived depends
     on what kind of group it is:

     * The "sources" and "binaries" groups are generally archived at
       multiple sites; for more information about getting access to
       them, see the posting entitled "How to find sources" in
       comp.sources.wanted.

     * Some non-source newsgroups can be found by asking "archie"
       about the group name.  See the comp.sources.wanted posting
       mentioned above for information about how to use "archie."

     * In other groups, if the group has a Frequently Asked Questions
       posting or another periodic posting about the group, check that
       posting to see if it mentions where the group is archived.  If
       not, then you'll have to post a message in the newsgroup and
       ask if it is archived anywhere.

 43. Is it possible to post messages to the Usenet via electronic mail?

     There are a few sites on the Usenet that offer a full-scale mail
     to news gateway, so that you can post via E-mail to any newsgroup
     support.

     One of them is decwrl.dec.com.  To use its gateway, you mail the
     message you wish to post to newsgroup.name.usenet@decwrl.dec.com.
     For example, to post to news.newusers.questions, you would send
     your message to news.newusers.questions.usenet@decwrl.dec.com.

     Mail-to-news gateways of this sort tend to be overloaded.
     Therefore, please do not use this gateway or any other similar
     gateway if you have other posting access to the Usenet.

 44. Is it possible to read Usenet newsgroups via electronic mail?

     Most Usenet newsgroups do not correspond to any mailing list, so
     the conventional answer to this question is "no" for most groups.
     However, there are some newsgroups that are gatewayed to mailing
     lists.  For a list of them, see the "List of Active Newsgroups"
     posting in news.announce.newusers.

     If you know a Usenet site admin who is willing to act as a
     personal gateway for you, you might be able to get him/her to set
     up his/her system to forward messages from individual newsgroups
     to you via E-mail.  However, most admins don't like to do this
     because it adds to the outgoing traffic from their site, so don't
     post messages to the net saying, "Hey, is there someone willing
     to gateway newsgroups to me?"

 45. How do I get the news software to include a signature with my
     postings?

     This is a question that is best answered by examining the
     documentation for the software you're using, as the answer
     varies depending on the software.

     However, if you're reading news on a Unix machine, then you can
     probably get a signature to appear on your outgoing messages by
     creating a file called ".signature" in your home directory.  Two
     important things to remember are:

     1. Many article-posting programs will restrict the length of the
        signature.  For example, the "inews" program will often only
        include the first four lines.  This is not something you
        should be trying to find a way to defeat; it is there for
        a reason.  If your signature is too long, according to the
        software, then shorten it.  Even if the software does not
        complain, keep your .signature under four lines as a courtesy
        to others.

     2. Under some news configurations, your .signature file must be
        world-readable, and your home directory world-executable, for
        your signature to be included correctly in your articles.  If
        your .signature does not get included, try running these
        commands:
           chmod a+x $HOME
           chmod a+r $HOME/.signature

 46. I'm on BitNet -- can I connect to the Usenet?

     Many BitNet sites also have connections to other networks. Some
     of these sites may be receiving Usenet with NNTP or by other
     methods. IBM VM/CMS sites which only have a connection to BitNet
     may still gain access to Usenet if they get a software package
     called NetNews, which is available from Penn State University at
     no charge. The PSU NetNews software allows sites to receive
     Usenet news over BITNET.  Talk to your local site administraters
     to find out if your site has this software installed and how to
     access it from your account. Also, contact your favorite BITNET
     LISTSERV and get the list NETNWS-L.  That list carries info on
     the necessary procedures and software.



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