Poor souls who suffer from paranoia and other delusional conditions now believe the Internet is the favoured medium of the dark forces that are out to get them. According to US researchers, the average nut case is now more fearful of the Internet than of more traditional carriers of demons and bogeys such as the CIA or radio waves. In all the cases seen by researchers at the University of South Florida, the sufferers had little or no experience of computers, a fact supposed to support the theory that they're truly barking.
In one of the cases cited by the researchers, a young man suffering from embarrassing involuntary movements claimed that his extremities were being manipulated via the Web by a being or beings unknown. Paranoia? Possibly.
Or maybe just a normal teenager with a better than usual explanation for the unruly behaviour of his genital organ.
On a not dissimilar note, the latest Star Wars film has attracted criticism from those whose moral convictions could easily be mistaken for insanity.
According to the Landover Baptist Church, the Jar Jar Binks doll sold as part of the massive merchandising operation surrounding the film is being used "to lure young teens into a world of lustful abandon". Further details can be found on the organisation's Web site, but the headline "Life-Sized Satanic Doll Serves as Masturbation Toy for America's Youth" contains the gist of the church's objection. In a somewhat hysterical "news" story, an over-excited person calling himself a Baptist writes: "Any child that has seen this movie is finding that their natural attraction to members of the opposite sex is being replaced with an attraction to a 7ft devil with elephant feet, a 25in tongue, polka dot skin, a fish snout, and two phallic eyes that jut out like hard erotic pokers."
Religious fanatics can be so illogical. As parents know, most teenagers fit the basic "7ft devil with elephant feet" description, and are probably safer left to play with their dolls than sent out into the world to breed, as the misguided churchman seems to be advocating. Better the devil you know, as Baptists are usually fond of saying.
A Mr Sean Krotum has written to Mole to confirm the long-held suspicion that Novell no longer sells anything. For years the company has traded in a series of increasingly nebulous concepts, which have names, vague descriptions and "directions" but never become available to buy - a flaw in the company's basic product strategy that it really should have addressed by now.
The exciting news from Mr Krotum - if that is his real name - is that Novell has at last faced up to the reality of being a vendor of non-existent products. At the Networks show in Birmingham, while other less imaginative companies were handing out bags filled with cuddly toys, sweets, stress balls and other pointless executive paraphernalia, Novell was giving away carrier bags with nothing in them at all.
Krotum's spies report that head of marketing Derek Venter told staff to hide all product literature and to hand out empty bags in the hope that gullible punters would believe they had been given a buggy beta version of the bag with a tendency to delete its own contents. Mr Krotum is a member of an organisation that has pledged to discover the truth about Novell. Either there are no products, or the company has a sinister reason for keeping them quiet.
Krotum has written to Mr Venter seeking to settle the question once and for all. Mr Venter has replied that he is considering a response. If one is forthcoming, you can rely on Mole to pass it on.
Not to be outdone, Microsoft has declared not just its products but the entire company to be non-existent. A document accompanying an upgrade of the dial-up software for Windows 95 states: "The names of companies, products, people, characters, and/or data mentioned herein are fictitious.
"Later, one of these imaginary companies is identified as "Microsoft Corporation". It's a brilliant move and one that guarantees Microsoft immunity from prosecution for any of its alleged misdemeanours. You can't sue something that does not exist.
Mole thinks he exists at [email protected] Prove him right by sending in amusing e-mails.
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