IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP


Paul J Travers travers at europa.lif.icnet.uk
Mon Nov 20 12:04:09 EST 1995

In article <487gr1$bk1 at mserv1.dl.ac.uk>, "Matthias Vogel"
<Matthias.Vogel at klinik.uni-regensburg.de> wrote:

> > Subject: Virus on Internet (fwd)

   Of course there is one respect in which the "Good Times" message is a
virus - although not the sort of computer virus we generally imagine; it
only damages our self-esteem or credibility, or wastes some small amount
of time and effort.  It certainly seems to show close parallels with
disease transmission.  Consider, this "Good Times" message propagates
around the net and replicates when it finds a susceptible host; sometimes
the new host only passes it on to a few close friends and relations but
every so often a host propagates it widely (eg posts the message to a
newsgroup or listserv) and this initiates new foci of infection.  Most of
us are immune or become so after the first infection, but even so the
message continues to survive, perhaps because the low level transmission
routes are refractory to the net's immune mechanisms (faq's, posted
replies and flames).  In that sense, therefore, "Good Times" is an
"information" virus.  There are other such "viruses" around - the Craig
Shergold Postcard message springs to mind.

   The depressing thought is that as more and more people get access to
the Internet this sort of viral infection is likely to increase. 
Interesting phenomenon, though - any sociologists, psychologists or
epidemiologists care to comment?


Paul J Travers                  phone : +44-(0)171-631-6862 (office) 
ICRF Structural Biology Unit     "       "        "    6868 (lab)
Birkbeck College                   fax : +44-(0)71-631-6803
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX          email :  travers at europa.lif.icnet.uk
England                  or :      paul at histo.cryst.bbk.ac.uk

More information about the Methods mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net