Saturday, October 24, 2015

Quote of the day 24th October 2015


Link to the Amazon page for The Elements of Style by William Strunk and EB White.

Do you remember a few years ago when we used to get several chain email hoax warnings a week forwarded by naïve but well meaning friends, telling us to beware of frightening but non-existent computer viruses and asking us to forward the warning to everyone we know? One of the two funniest was the Strunkenwhite virus hoax warning of a fictional virus named after this book which supposedly would not let you send out any emails containing grammatical errors.

The strunkenwhite virus had supposedly made thousands of people who had lost the ability to wrote good grammatical English unable to communicate by email.

Much funnier than "this will destroy your hard drive" and I almost could not help wishing it actually did exist.

The other one that had me rolling about laughing, though I managed to resist the temptation to forward it, was the spoof Trojan Horse warning, complete with spoof put down answer, which I repeat here ...

"From: Laocoon
To: Laocoon
BCC: Everyone in my address book

Re: Greeks Bearing Gifts

IF YOU RECEIVE A GIFT IN THE SHAPE OF A LARGE WOODEN HORSE DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT!!!! It is EXTREMELY DESTRUCTIVE and will overwrite your ENTIRE CITY!

The "gift" is disguised as a large wooden horse about two stories tall. It tends to show up outside the city gates and appears to be abandoned. DO NOT let it through the gates! It contains hardware that is incompatible with Trojan programming, including a crowd of heavily armed Greek warriors that will destroy your army, sack your town, and kill your women and children. If you have already received such a gift, DO NOT OPEN IT! Take it back out of the city unopened and set fire to it by the beach. FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

Poseidon

******************************
RE: Greeks bearing gifts

Laocoon,

I hate to break it to you, but this is one of the oldest hoaxes there is. I've seen lots of variants on this warning, one involving some kind of fruit that was supposed to kill the people who ate it and one having to do with something called the "Midas Touch." Here are a few tip-offs that this is a hoax:

1) This "Forward this message to everyone you know" business. If it were really meant as a warning about the Greek army, why tell anyone to send it to the Phoenicians, Babylonians, and Egyptians?
2) Use of exclamation points. Always a giveaway.
3) It's signed "from Poseidon." Granted he's had his problems with Odysseus but he's one of their guys, isn't he? Besides, the lack of a real header with a detailed address makes me suspicious.
4) Technically speaking, there is no way for a horse to overwrite your entire city. A horse is just an animal, after all.

Next time you get a message like this, just delete it. I appreciate your concern, but once you've been around the block a couple times you'll realize how annoying this kind of stuff is. Bye now,

Hector"

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