Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter issue number 010508. Sorry that we're late with this, but my IS department has been upgrading the server with a new, larger hard disk drive. I've added several sites lately and although the main drive is OK, the backup drive is getting full. So and upgrade was in order. In the near future we hope to increase the systems memory, also. But, since it won't involve moving any data, that shouldn't cause any delays.




A man walks up to the bar with an ostrich behind him, and as he sits the bartender comes over, and asks for their order. The man says, "I'll have a beer" and turns to the ostrich.  "What's yours?" "I'll have a beer, too" says the ostrich.  The bartender pours the beer and says "That will be $3.40 please," and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out exact change for payment.


The next day, the man, and the ostrich come again, and the man says I'll have a beer," and the ostrich says "I'll have the same." Once again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.


This becomes a routine until, late one evening, the two enter again. "The usual?" asks the bartender.  "Well, it's close to last call, so I'll have a large scotch" says the man.  "Same for me" says the ostrich. "That will be $7.20" says the bartender.  Once again the man pulls exact change out of his pocket and places it on the bar.


The bartender can't hold back his curiosity any longer.  "Excuse me sir.


How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?"


"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and I found an old lamp.  When I rubbed it a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes.


My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I just put my hand in my pocket, and the right amount of money will always be there."


"That's brilliant!" says the bartender.  "Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!


"That's right!  Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.


The bartender asks "One other thing, sir, what's with the ostrich?"


The man replies "My second wish was for a chick with long legs."


[thanks to Roy Howard for this one]





  Have you been wondering just how much information your computer gives up about you behind your back? If you're curious, there are several web sites that will show you just how vulnerable you are. One that I use to demonstrate this to friends and family is PRIVACY.NET, which opens with the statement "Hello! Your IP address is x.x.x.x Your computer host name is ___.___.___".

  Then, when you ask for an analysis of your connection the system attempts to set a cookie, checks for a previous cookie, asks where you just came from, gets your browser type and operating system, collects all informtaion sent by your browser, tests for Java/VB and then tries to run a script on your computer, performs a trace on your computers internet connection and then does a lookup on your domain (this is your Internet Service Provider).

  Any of this information in the hands of a hacker could spell disaster for you and/or your ISP. The latest security holes that are being taken advantage of allow someone to interpose themselves between you and your host. This allows them to disconnect you while remaining connected to the server AS you. You can imagine the consequences of such an action. Hopefully, the people that administrate your hosts systems will have installed the latest security patches. Unfortunately, polls indicate that only about 18% of them do.







Fighting Household Germs?  Get a Cleaner Toothbrush

Tue May 8 17:02:00 2001 GMT


CHICAGO, May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are taking steps to reduce bacteria in their homes.  A recent survey(1) found that 80 percent of respondents use antibacterial products to diminish the spread of household germs.  Despite this, consumers are missing one of the most common ways to expose their bodies to bacteria -- their toothbrush.


The survey, conducted by Butler GUM(R), revealed that roughly half of the participants didn't realize that millions of germs can live on the average brush.  Dr.  R.  Tom Glass, professor of pathology and dental medicine, Oklahoma State University, and an authority on toothbrush hygiene, says the toothbrush is a prime breeding ground for microorganisms.


"Toothbrushes have bits of leftover food and water in the bristles," said Dr.  Glass.  "Bacteria, including strep, staph and periodontal germs, have everything they need to flourish.  Even germ-conscious consumers who are cautious about contacting items, such as ATM buttons or a public telephone, don't recognize their own toothbrush as a home for germs."


Toothbrushes also pick up germs from surrounding areas between uses, which makes the bathroom a poor choice for storage.  "Germs like places that are wet, warm and dark, like most bathrooms," said Dr.  Glass.  Not surprisingly, most respondents said they keep their toothbrush in the bathroom, with 50 percent storing toothbrushes in a holder on the counter or wall.  Dr.  Glass recommends replacing your toothbrush every

30 days and after any illness.(2) In the survey, only 32 percent of respondents said they replace their brushes after illness.


The new Butler GUM(R) toothbrush with antibacterial bristle protection and replaceable heads is one solution to the problem of bacterial growth on your toothbrush.  The toothbrush bristles have a Chlorhexidine coating that inhibits bacterial growth for 30 days, and the three replaceable heads offer a convenient solution for a fresh toothbrush every month.  Recently launched in retail stores nationwide, the toothbrush sells for approximately $5.


Made by the John O. Butler Company, a Sunstar company, the Butler GUM(R) brand of oral care products is the second most recommended and used brand by dental professionals.  For more than 75 years, Butler GUM(R) has maintained a commitment toward bringing advanced oral care products to consumers and dental professionals worldwide.


(1)  Sponsored by Butler GUM(R).  A total of 402 online surveys were conducted from July 7-8, 2000 (202 females, 200 males, 18 years of age or older).

(2)  "Toothbrush contamination: A potential health risk?" Glass, Richard and Martin Lare, Mary, Quintessence International 17:19-42, 1986.







Robo-eels, critters on chips lead cyborg pack

By Richard Stenger


(CNN) -- Melding animals and automatons, researchers have concocted a growing number of bizarre cyborgs that could transform science and perhaps the human species itself.


Mixing and matching parts of everything from fish with robots and bacteria with microchips, scientists hope their creations someday lead to advances in medicine, warfare and environmental protection.


But critics contend that such meddling could lead to consequences that do more harm than good.


In Chicago, researchers have fused the brain of a primitive lamprey eel with a robot the size of a hockey puck, creating a living machine that tracks a beam of light in a laboratory ring, like a miniature bull chasing a matador's red cape.


Part biological and part mechanical, the crude cyborg is equipped the brain stem of an eel, which, kept alive in a saline solution, receives input from electronic light sensors and directs the robotic wheels to move toward the source of the beam.


Changing the location and intensity of the light, the scientists noticed that the eel brain could adapt to changing conditions in its effort to locate the source.


Prosthetic limbs, glowing bacteria

The Northwestern University researchers hope to unlock the mysteries of the animal's nervous system.


"We are focused on the use of this instrument as a tool to understand the processing of information by a group of brain cells," said Ferdinando Mussa-Ivaldi, one of the primary researchers.  "In particular, we are interested in the biological mechanisms by which nerve cells 'program' themselves."


The scientists are focusing on a structure located between the spinal cord and higher brain centers that is believed to integrate information from different origins, such as tactile or visual, to shape the commands that control muscle movement, Mussa-Ivaldi said.  The research eventually could help doctors fashion sophisticated artificial limbs for those suffering from nerve damage, he said.


The cyborg eel is only one member of a menagerie of animal/machine hybrids that relies on sophisticated microelectronics.  In other projects in the United States, monkey brains have been wired to control robotic appendages, moth antennae have been used to sniff out explosives, and bacteria have been engineered to glow in the presence of environmental toxins.


In the last experiment, microbiologists cemented genetically modified bacteria to microchips, creating an innovative way to clean up dangerous chemicals.


The hybrid includes genetic material from a luminescent aquatic microorganism and another bacteria that breaks down pollutants into simpler, safer compounds.


Affixed to microcircuits with latex and other polymers, the so-called "critters on a chip" eat harmful toxins, emit a blue-green light, and then can transmit a signal to a receiver linked to a remote computer, said researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


The living sensors could someday be used to monitor industrial pollutants in the water and soil and even help diagnose medical conditions in humans, said the project's principal investigator.


"I envision devices that detect disease much earlier than conventional detection methods.  It could eventually be possible to initiate treatment at this very early stage using implanted devices that communicate with cells at the molecular level," said Oak Ridge microbiologist Michael Simpson.


'Science marches faster than ethics'

Amid the fanfare over possible medical benefits, critics wonder if the biotech hybrids might lead to Frankenstein-like outcomes.


"I think the science is marching faster than the ethics can keep up.  Once we figure out how to do something, it is rare that the creators fully think through what the ethical implications are,"

said Steven Mizrach, a Florida International University anthropologist who has written extensively on the ethics of cyborg technology.


One concern: What happens after medical advances allow humans to replace broken biological parts with new mechanical ones? The human race could inadvertently divide along the lines of biological haves and have-nots, he said.


Some will artificially augment their bodies as they see fit while others will keep suffering from disease, infirmity and "bad genes."


"The 21st century is largely going to see a greater integration of biology and technology, but I'm not sure if we've fully thought through in which ways these two domains may not integrate," he said.





  Want to supplement your movie addiction with more information that necessary? Then you have to check out DVD REVIEW online. They have reviews (duh) of the latest releases, track coming releases, inform you about disks with hidden features, uncover DVD myths and more.

  Combine this site with THE INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE and you could spend the summer indoors!









Deadbeat data

  The information you need from the Web still hasn't downloaded, and your latest network report shows that advertising alone is eating up one-third of your bandwidth. Does this sound familiar? By filtering out all the unnecessary data clogging your network, you can dramatically turn this situation around.

  Every time we click on a Web site, advertising banners, pop-ups, and tracking files called "cookies" flood in from third parties who pay Web sites for automatic access to our eyeballs. WebWasher® protects your network from being flooded with this 'deadbeat data'.


Media Type Filter

  Attachments of MIME types (MP3, JPG, EXE, DOC, etc.) and integrated objects like ActiveX can raise security issues since they often splash onto the computer unseen. They can pose a serious threat to your system.



... by banning the threat of various MIME types and integrated objects like ActiveX that can run on your computer unseen, posing a serious security risk. WebWasher®´s Media Type Filter prevents this from happening.



... through the filtering of Web bugs and cookies, which can prevent you from being spied on.







  Life isn't about what happens to us. It's about how we perceive what happens to us.