Fun_People Archive
24 May
Ask Dr. Internet!

Date: Wed, 24 May 95 23:37:02 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Ask Dr. Internet!

Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Berry Kercheval <>
Forwarded-by: Vicki Brown <>

  1.  How big is the Internet?  When did it start?  How did it grow?

      The Internet is actually much smaller than most people think.  It
      is primarily composed of fiber optic cables no thicker than a human
      hair, which can be conveniently rolled up and stored in a foot
      locker.  Janitors at the National Science Foundation do this on the
      third Tuesday of every month when they wax the floors.

      Since fiber optics are the size of human hairs, they also make
      attractive wigs.  The next time you watch a Sprint commercial,
      you'll see that Candice Bergen's alleged hair is really the T4

      The earliest origins of the Internet can be traced to Ancient
      Greece, where a loosely connected set of networks was used to
      discuss exploration in the Black Sea.  The Argonets, as they were
      then called, were entirely subsidized by the government, and won
      one of William Proxmire's first Golden Fleece awards.

      The Internet grows hyperbolically, but is usually described

  2.  Who owns the Internet?

      There is no one person or agency that owns the Internet.  Instead,
      parts of it are owned by the Illuminati and parts are owned by Free

  3.  What do the Internet addresses mean?

      Precise meanings are often hard to determine.  The address -- which is sometimes written -- seems to refer to a computer either
      owned by a baker or by someone named Baker.  This can be deceiving
      however; names like this actually refer to where a computer is
      located.  This one is on top of Mt. Baker.

      In addition to names, computers on the Internet also have numbers.
      This is part of the whole right brain/left brain thing.

  4.  Tell me how to get on and off various lists and discussion groups.

      Getting off on various lists is currently the subject of pending

  5.  What is "Netiquette?"

      "Netiquette" is one of many cutesy neologisms created by combining
      two other words.  In this case, "network" and "tourniquette" combine
      to describe a program that shuts down a computer if it starts
      transmitting information too fast.

  6.  What is "Flaming?"

      Along with an improvisational approach to floating point arithmetic,
      early Pentium chips were noted for generating heat.  While some
      hackers speak fondly of roasting marshmallows over their first P60s,
      others found themselves badly singed as the chips caught fire.  This
      "flaming" sometimes occurred while the user was composing e-mail,
      resulting in poorly chosen or excessively vitriolic verbiage.

  7.  What is "Bandwidth?"

      As capacity on the Internet has increased, people have begun to
      transmit material other than simple text.  One notable example is
      audio recordings of rock concerts.  These audio files are much
      larger than even very long books, so they have become a standard
      unit of network usage.  One Rolling Stone song equals one "band"
      width, and so on.

  8.  Why can't I FTP to some places?

      There are two main reasons for this.  The first is that the site
      you want to ftp files from is exercising a certain degree of control
      over its network resources; in network parlance, this is called

      The second reason is that the remote site may be dabbling with such
      network fads as gopher or the World Wide Web.  This is called
      "keeping up with the times."

  9.  What is the World Wide Web, Gopherspace, etc?

      The World Wide Web, or WWW, is an experiment in generating acronyms
      that are much more difficult to pronounce than the words they

      Gopherspace is an older network term.  In response to the Soviet
      space program's early use of dogs in space, NASA mounted a program
      to orbit a number of different rodents.  The programmers involved
      in this project adopted the motto "Gophers in space!" which has
      since been shortened.  The only actual gopher to go into orbit had
      been digging up the carrots in Werner Von Braun's garden, and was
      named Veronica after his daughter.

  10. Why can't I get some WWW stuff via FTP?

      It can be hard to say this, but some users of the Internet are
      unable to do things because they are stupid.  The comparatively
      trivial task of getting an ftp client to do every single thing a
      WWW browser can do is beneath this column's attention.

  Tune in next time for Ask Dr. Internet --

	  "I have a master's Internet!"

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []