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The Almighty Buck

The True Story of Website Results 668

Henry V .009 writes: "Salon is running a story on a dot.com called Website Results. Maybe you've heard of them. Viral Spyware makers. My God, these people are sick. Interview question: 'Imagine there's a peasant somewhere halfway across the world. If you could push a button and kill the person without getting caught, would you do it for a million dollars?' 'For them, it was yes, in a heartbeat.'"
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The True Story of Website Results

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  • by unh0ly_c0de ( 579523 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:16AM (#3800186)
    If you could push a button and halfway around the world a starving child would get a meal, would you do it? Wait, that's not very intertaining...
    • by CProgrammer98 ( 240351 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:30AM (#3800272) Homepage
      You mean like this [thehungersite.com] button???

      • Go do some research. Read a book, I reccomend "The Road To Hell" by Michael Maren. After finding out the truth of the aid business, it won't be worth clicking that button just to get the false sense that you helped someone.
    • by T3kno ( 51315 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @11:25AM (#3801078) Homepage
      Too bad that button would really just add another morsel of food onto the menu of some dictator.
  • by Ass-Gas-Istan ( 523702 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:16AM (#3800188)
    In today's business climate, where major corporations can swindle shareholders out of billions of dollars, what's a faraway peasant worth to them?

    Yes, corruption is evident, even in geek industries.
  • by reaper20 ( 23396 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:18AM (#3800199) Homepage
    The three men ran the company like a cult, according to former employees, with most staffers routinely working 16-hour days without bonuses or overtime. Employees were afraid to openly question management, to blow the whistle or to quit.

    Give me a break, people act like .com's invented this kind of behavior. Companies have been abusing employees since before the .com era. 16 hours a day without bonuses or overtime? Boo-hoo, our servicemen do that shit everyday.
    • And so do the people making your Nike trainers....

      Tom.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <`charleshixsn' `at' `earthlink.net'> on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:54AM (#3800869)
      And slaves were treated equally badly, or worse. So?

      That others do evil does not justify you in doing the same. That others do good does not lessen the merit in your doing the same.

    • by DABANSHEE ( 154661 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @12:36PM (#3801539)
      Its like those 'too good to believe' get rich quick schemes that con greedy prats to blow wads big time.

      IE, its natural justice & serves the bastards right.

      These people complaining about Website Results are like the greedy pensioner who gets on telly complaining about being ripped off his life savings on some silly over-the-top get-rich-quick scheme. Or like those who lost out over Enron or Worldcom that now want socialist regulations to protect their share trades.

      AFAIC people who buy shares deserve to get burnt every so often, IE good onya Worldcom & AA.

      I actually matriculated on economics & one of the few things I remember is that only when a prospectus is 1st floated is buying shares a true capital investment. Otherwise buying shares (that already existed) is just an exchange of ownership & adds nothing to the productive output of an economy. Just as stamp collectors buying/trading stamps at philatelic meets adds nothing to productive output of those stamps.

      All increasing share prices mostly indicate is increasing demand, caused by increasing share prices, IE basically a pyramid scam, which is exactly what the dot-com boom was.

      A genuine invester doesn't give a fuck what the value of a share is, as long as the company is doing well & paying dividends, because the value of shares is irrelivent unless you are selling them.

      I've got shares in Telstra & I haven't checked their value in years. I know that as Telstra has a virtuall monopoly of most sectors of telecommunications in Oz, they'l always be profitable & pay dividends. So I have no intention of selling them, so why should I care what they're worth. Our family also owns Royal Dutch shares purchased for 500 guineas back in the 1920's, fuck knows what they are worth today. Royal Dutch became the senior partner in a merger with Shell Oil arround the same time. Now if Shell or Telstra went bust due to bad accounting, etc, I wouldn't like it but I wouldn't complain about it, I'm already ahead anyway.

      Really at the end of the day, as far as the community is concerned the only thing that matters is the productive output of the company relative to its consumption - Profit is the shareholder concern, productive output is the community concern. Now in the rational world output - consumption = profit, but in our mixed semi-capitalist economies (basically the best there is but not perfect & definitly not rational) that isn't always so. Whether expences are amortized over one year or many years is irrelivent as far as the productive output of the company is concerned, so it makes no difference to the greater community. Even if the company goes bust & the assets are lquidated & taken over by others, the assets will still be 'doing their stuff' so to speak, just for someone else, well that is unless the company decides to burn their assets in a big bombfire. So as far as the community is concerned, companies going bust is mostly irrelivent.

      Sure the shareholders get a bum rap but that was their gamble, & every dollar they lose will be made up by some bugger buying up the assets at firesale prices, etc. My responce is 'Who cares?' Again it's another case of natural justice for shares to crash every so often. If people don't want to risk investing on shares that crash they shouldn't buy shares.

      Now when it comes to employee entitlements (paid long service leave, acrrued annual leave, etc) & employee superannuation funds (pension plans), if voters arn't willing to vote in a govt that is prepared to start a govt run insurance scheme to cover employee entitlements 'n super (like many European countries have) from corporate collapses, then the public gets what they deserve.

      Mindyou, due to tax reasons, there are profitable companies, like MS, that don't pay dividends & just re-invest profits back into the company, knowing that shareholders are better off tax wise on capital gain not dividend income. This is the attitude that fueled the dot-com boom - 'if we don't need to pay dividends, then why make a profit, all we have to do is pump the media with press releases on increasing virtual market share to increase the demand for our shares, because that what shareholders want, not dividends.'

      Socialist regulations are JUST not need to protect capitalists - people will always being greedy enough to risk their dollars - look at the billions traded on the (by Western standards) virtually unregulated Hang Seng (well not so unregulated now, but you know what I mean, past tense up to about 1990). If they don't like it there's alway honest hard toil. See what I'm mean. I'd imagine that if thousands of day traders stopped & went back to productive honest toil it would add to the productive output of the country.

      Well that's enough ranting, the basic jist is that there's more important things to protect with regulations than corporates & philatelic collectors/cum share traders.

      So good-onya, the Website Results triumpherate, hopefully they'l spend some of their ill-gotten gains on soil-regeneration & reforestation, there's hoping.
  • twilight zone (Score:4, Redundant)

    by redtoade ( 51167 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:23AM (#3800230) Homepage Journal
    "If you could push a button and kill the person without getting caught, would you do it for a million dollars?' 'For them, it was yes, in a heartbeat.'"

    Isn't this a Twilight Zone episode:

    BUTTON, BUTTON [totse.com]

    Doesn't TV teach us anything?

    • TV teaches up everything!!!!!

      Just ask Homer.
    • Doesn't TV teach us anything?

      No, it's the movies that teach us... don't forget South Park:

      "Because the movies teach us what our parents don't have time to say!"

      Offtopic PS: Is it just me or have these guys (Parker and Stone) just obliterated the line in tasteful satire? Suicide bombing sentient SeaMonkeys formed by bodily fluids and brine shrimp? This week's "time for a sleepover with all the boys and a priest?" Not that I'm complaining, but the humor is getting harder to laugh at without feeling guilty.
      • Re:twilight zone (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Milican ( 58140 )
        Yeah, I watch Southpark alot and think that, but I still think its funny as hell. I should also mention that buried in their episodes is often a very strong no bullshit view, almost from a childs eye how we adults act and rationalize away certain moral issues. For example, when Cartman's Mom decides she wants to have a late term abortion... as in kill Cartman... I think 80th (exaggeration) trimester or something. IMHO its kind of a stab at the whole Roe vs. Wade debate.

        JOhn
      • Re:twilight zone (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JabberWokky ( 19442 )
        Not that I'm complaining, but the humor is getting harder to laugh at without feeling guilty.

        It helps to have a very strong sense of boundaries. As in "this is humor, and unacceptable outside of this forum". I go to Rocky every weekend and swear like a sailor, make horribly overblown letcherous passes at everybody, and do things like dress up as Osama bin Laden (and get hit by lightning during the course of the show). During the week, I'm one of those people who doesn't swear at all, and am very formal and old fashioned when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex. My boundaries are clear.

        Humor, especially dark, witty humor, is almost a different language. You don't laugh when your pet is run over, but the Python skit with exploding animals is absolutely hilarious. It's also a dark territory to tread, and if you do, you *will* offend people. When I'm offended, I just chalk it up to part of the risks inherent in such humor, and move on. Slaughtering sacred cows (or chaos -><-) is part and parcel of such entertainement.

        --
        Evan

    • by Torgo's Pizza ( 547926 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:49AM (#3800409) Homepage Journal
      Spoiler space

      This is based off of memory, but I feel that I can sum up this story pretty well. A couple in financial straits is deciding what to do to pay the bills, when there is a knock at the door. In the doorway is a man with a box. On top of the box is a button. The man states that for a million dollars all they need do is press the button. The only hitch is that someone they don't know will die.

      The man leaves them with the box stating he'll be back when they decide what to do. The couple struggle with the decision. They examine the box and see no wires, just a button. The money would solve all their problems, but can they take a chance that someone would die if they press the button. After spending several days thinking about it, the couple finally presses the button, the rationale being that since they really don't know the person and they can't be sure they will die it's okay.

      Immediately, there's a knock at the door. The mysterious man is back with a briefcase of money. Inside, true to his word is a million dollars. As he takes the box back, the distressed couple asks if a person really died. Yes, he replied, but you have your million dollars.

      But what about the box? What is to become of it? "Oh, don't worry. I'm just going to give it to someone you don't know," he remarks and leaves.

    • Re:twilight zone (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HiThere ( 15173 ) <`charleshixsn' `at' `earthlink.net'> on Monday July 01, 2002 @11:00AM (#3800913)
      "If you could push a button ...

      Fighter pilots do it all the time for considerably less reward. Mercenary soldiers get even more involved in it.

      The shock value is that these people are so detatched from the action. But they may not really believe that it would happen, either. Especially if they never see the evidence. Besides, asking someone a question isn't putting it to the test. That said, perhaps it's fair warning to their prospective employees, i.e., "We'll shaft you without mercy for a bit of profit."

  • Imagine there's a peasant somewhere halfway across the world. If you could push a button and kill the person without getting caught, would you do it for a million dollars?' 'For them, it was yes, in a heartbeat.

    Someone has played too much Black&White ...
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:25AM (#3800250) Journal
    Bill Gates would reply:
    Would they rather use a pirated version of Windows XP, or Linux?


    Seriously, I don't know anyone that gets joy out of knowing the fact that they killed someone. Even the psychotic elements among us wouldn't get any enjoyment if they don't have the thrill of doing it by hand.

    So, then, the people that would push the button are not evil monsters, more like people with a George Jetson complex... Those that will just push a button because it is there.

    It's really not in the psyche to associate a button with a life. Even if it was a button on the wall of your living room, few people would go out of their way to avoid hitting it.

    Now, pass the soilent green...
    • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:33AM (#3800295)
      So, then, the people that would push the button are not evil monsters, more like people with a George Jetson complex...

      I suppose this depends on your definition of evil

      If your definition is limited to the Hollywood Serial Killer Antihero modus operandi, where the person must take visceral pleasure in doing harm to others, then perhaps you would be correct.

      However, I think someone who is willing to push a button and kill 1, 100, or 1000000 people because it is convinient or facilitates something they want ($1M, a nicer pair of running shoes, whatever) is profoundly evil whether or not they derive the least bit of pleasure from the actual killing itself.

      Indeed, I would go further and say that someone who would push a button "just because it is there" knowing that it would result in a human death is a profoundly evil person, whether or not they get any benefit from pushing the button, and irrespective of whether or not they derive some form a pleasure from doing so.

      Indeed, one could argue that anyone who doesn't immediately disable the switch so that it cannot be pressed, even by accident, isn't someone you'd want to spend any time with, much less live next door to.
      • by LittleGuy ( 267282 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:23AM (#3800634)
        So, then, the people that would push the button are not evil monsters, more like people with a George Jetson complex...

        I suppose this depends on your definition of evil.


        From J. Michael Straczynski's notes on the episode Intersections in Real Time [midwinter.com]:

        The interrogator looked like an ordinary person.

        Exactly. The banal face of evil. You look at most of the guys who ran Treblinka, or Bergen-Belsen, and they're largely ordinary looking guys, who could be accountants or repair men or car salesmen. They're *us*...and this was designed to remind us of that. The evil, mustache-twirling villain is too easy, and too far from the truth of it.


        This was one of the elements that made the episode interesting for me; most SF tends to ignore the darker sides of the common person. They deal with the big bad guys, the evil federations and Darth Vaders and all the other major forces out there, but all too often the real damage is done not by the single Evil Leader, but by the ten million people who *follow* him, the bookkeepers who track the bodies and the trains and the pain by placing the right figures in all the right columns, who make the trains run on time, who run the gulags, who build the new state empires that will be built with slave labor, any or all of whom could say, as many have, "I was just doing my job."


        Not so much "following orders," we've heard that before, applied to the military...but just "doing my job." To the interrogator, he was simply doing his job, and doing it to the best of his ability. It is something he does, then he goes home to his wife and kids, and has dinner, and sits out on the porch trying to forget what he does because he thinks he *has* to do it...assuming he thinks about it at all.

      • by jridley ( 9305 )
        What about people who drive 15 MPH over the speed limit and believe in statistics? You know that over the course of a lifetime doing that, you're statistically going to be killing some fractional person, say it's 0.1 persons. That means between you and 10 other people driving like you for a lifetime, you've killed some innocent person.

        If the cause and effect is more blurred, such as in this case, is that still evil? I'm talking about people who should know better, who are intelligent enough to know that they're not killing numbers, the 0.000001 person they kill by driving fast TODAY is a real person, today just may or may not be their day for it to kill 1.0 people.

        IOW, is it evil to kill in easily avoidable ways, simply out of negligence, to gain some small personal gain (getting to lunch 3 minutes sooner)?
    • Isn't killing for money the greatest evil? Putting a mere monetary value on someone's life is implausible. Imagine getting killed not because someone wanted you dead, but because they were ambivilant.
    • Re:Bill Gates' reply (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:03AM (#3800487) Homepage
      WRONG.

      Have you ever done any research in this? I have.
      At the last office we had a nice big red button on the wall. no labels, no "DO NOT PUSH" signs. just one big daunting red button... it was in the lobby so thousands passed it by daily.

      the button actually did nothing. it was for an alarm system that had long been removed when the place was remodeled... yet the button remained. So I decided to start a research process... I wired it to a linux box with a webcam in the ceiling. to take a picture and log time/date when it was pushed.....

      Except for me and my testing, IT WAS NEVER PUSHED.
      I had pushed it several times over the course of that year to check if it was working as I was getting ZERO results.

      People are not magically attracted to buttons.. Most looked at it, but they avoided pushing it.

      granted this was over a year's time, I did not have a control group, and the population section was not a complete sampling... 90% of the humans that enter our lobby are a part of the upper 40% in IQ and stature. maybe the lower 60% has too little self control to avoid shiny red buttons...
      • by John Fulmer ( 5840 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:43AM (#3800785)
        Your test is flawed. Big red buttons are attached to alarms. Usually big loud alarms. And anyone pushing the button would set off the big loud alarm, and EVERYONE would look to see who pushed the big red button. Most people do not like to attract negative attention to themselves, therefore they do not push big red buttons.

        If it were, say, a small white button, somewhere out of the way, which was obviously NOT an alarm button or a doorbell, I would guess that people would stand in line to push it. People will only act in such ways if there are no obvious consequences.

      • by NaturePhotog ( 317732 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:44AM (#3800793) Homepage
        We had similar buttons for an old alarm system in our office. My cube was near one. An engineer made little sign and posted it underneath the button saying "Eject Executive Wing". Many people would look around a bit, push the button, then look a little disappointed when they opened the door and realized it hadn't worked :-)
  • very odd (Score:2, Funny)

    by corian ( 34925 )

    I can't imagine any conceivable situation in which someone would be put in a situation where a million dollars would be tied to pushing a button and killing someone. Especially if it's as easy as pushing a button -- why pay someone a million dollars for something you could just as simply be yourself?
    • I can't imagine any conceivable situation in which someone would be put in a situation where a million dollars would be tied to pushing a button and killing someone.

      Actually, in a loose sense spam mail is like that. If you send spam mail to 100 million people and it takes on average 20 seconds for people to read it and delete it, that's about 63 man years. That means overall you've killed a person and for a lot less than a million dollars.

      That's one way- and there may be more direct ways- what happens about all the people that receive mail and have a heart attack whilst reading the mail. Receiving junk mail is somewhat stressful.

  • by Wingchild ( 212447 ) <brian.kern@gmail.com> on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:28AM (#3800261)
    So the founders of a company that writes viral spyware, forges search engine hit results, and attempts to earn money by outright lying and deception happen to be violent amoral pieces of tripe with no real place in society?

    My, I'm shocked. :)
  • by gregfortune ( 313889 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:29AM (#3800268)
    Ahhhhhh!!!!!! What the heck! It must just be too early in the morning for most of you. More than half the posts already have said basically, "So what, wouldn't you do it too?" or "What's so wrong with that?" How is it that we find it so easy to place a value on a human life? If asked the question, "What is my life worth to you?", can you really respond to me with a dollar amount?

    It's one thing to offer your life for anothers and that's regarded the greatest gift a man can give, but to put a price on someone? Come on people, I know it's just a web forum so I can't reach around the world and smack you up side the head, but have a little class...
    • It is not about the value of life, killing somebody is not "selling his life" it is "selling his death"

      Of course a human life has probably much more value then 1 M$ but nobody trades in human lifes, deaths are so much more affordable

      • Exactly, it's not about the value of life.

        I'd be more apt to say it's about the value of money. Let me explain:

        Would I kill someone in my family for any amount of money? No, not a chance.

        What about some random stranger? Depends:
        If I'm making enough money to live comfortably, no.
        If I'm not making much money, but I don't have any family (ie: just taking care of myself), no.
        If my family is in dire need of money, possibly.
        If I have to physically murder the person, and have a serious possibility of getting caught: I dunno, depends on how much I need the money, and what I have to do.
        If I have to physically murder the person, and most likely won't get caught: Depends on my mood, and what I have to do.
        If I just have to hit a button, and have never seen or known the person before, and ave no way of getting caught, Chances are Yes.

        It doesn't make me less of a moral person; it's just human nature. And my family and kids come before anybody else. If somebody else's death does not affect me in any way, what's stopping me from killing him?

        As a side note, I read an interview with a professional hitman once. He explained that when he killed people, he did not want to know anything about them (their name, their family, etc), because he might not want to kill them. OTOH, if he only knows what they look like and where they are, it's "just a hit". He'd fall into the zone before taking the hit, and wouldnt remember anything about it afterwards.
        • Re:Exactly (Score:2, Insightful)

          by nebby ( 11637 )
          First off, that's not human nature, you fucking sick motherfucker.

          Do onto others as you'd have them do on to you. And no, I'm an atheist. It's in your best interest to live by this moral code else you too could end up dead due to the actions of a person much like yourself. So yes, it is in your SELF INTEREST to not kill strangers.

          Oh, and you scare the shit out of me, and should kill yourself.

          • Re:Exactly (Score:2, Insightful)

            by unformed ( 225214 )
            First off, that's not human nature, you fucking sick motherfucker.
            Wrong. Yes it is. SURVIVAL UNDER ANY POSSIBLE MEANS is human nature.

            Do you eat meat? Guess what, you indirectly kill animals for food. How is that any different?

            It's in your best interest to live by this moral code else you too could end up dead due to the actions of a person much like yourself. So yes, it is in your SELF INTEREST to not kill strangers.
            Wrong. It is in my SELF-INTEREST to take care of me and my family. If it came down to my kid's life or some random stranger's life, I'll keep my kid's life. Similar thing: If I had to sacrifice my life to save my kid's life, I would do the same.

            If someone broke into your house at midnight, and you didn't know why they were there, what would you do?
            What if you say them brandishing a knife? A gun? What if they were in your kid's room?

            Under the right circumstances, you will kill. It's not only HUMAN nature, but ANIMAL NATURE to survive AT ALL COSTS.
            • Re:Exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Pfhor ( 40220 )
              I have to disagree....

              Survival of your self, your family, your genetic lineage, by any means necessary is not human nature, because those traits are very common in the animal world. It is Mammalian Nature of which you speak. The protection of family, an extension of yourself, to survive.

              What differentiates us from animals is our human nature. The ability to live with a code of ethics, to die for a cause that is greater than yourself (for your community, for some immaterial gain, for love, for god, faith, etc.).

              Acting out of personal interest and greed is just a complicated mammalian process that is the result of our societies determination of what we need to survive (Money, wealth, prestige).

              Acting like a true human is hard. Living by any code of conduct, respecting every living being, having compassion and understanding at the most difficult times, that is the human potential. That is what makes us different from animals.
            • Re:Exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

              by moz711 ( 217919 )
              >Wrong. Yes it is. SURVIVAL UNDER ANY POSSIBLE MEANS is human nature.

              This survival under any possible means seems to be comflicted by every person that has died in a war. It would seem that most men that died in WW2/American Revolution/Civil War valued freedom and country over personal survival. (I've only named conflicts with americans because their the ones I'm most familuar with).

              Part of being an 'adult' is realizing that you are not the center of the universe, and you must sometimes forgo your needs, ie survival in this case, for a greater good.
            • Re:Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

              by naasking ( 94116 ) <(naasking) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday July 01, 2002 @11:41AM (#3801182) Homepage
              SURVIVAL UNDER ANY POSSIBLE MEANS is human nature.

              No, it is animal nature. Human nature is that which is unique to humans, that which is beyond other animals: the ability to reason.

              It is in my SELF-INTEREST to take care of me and my family. If it came down to my kid's life or some random stranger's life, I'll keep my kid's life.

              Each of your actions is an expression how you think humanity should behave (NOTE: If you disagree with this, then you are somehow exempting yourself from the rules that apply to everyone else).

              "In fact, in creating the man that we want to be, there is not a single one of our acts which does not at the same time create an image of man as we think he ought to be."~ Jean Paul Sartre ~

              Your arguments indicate that you believe it is perfectly fine for families to kill each other if it is in their own self-interest. Thus, you are advocating a return to pre-civilized society. Your judgements about what is threatening are completely subjective and your willingness to sacrifice others to benefit yourself is frightening. What if you managed to create humanity in the image of your beliefs? Modern civilization would collapse and humanity would revert back to small hunterer-gatherer societies each looking after their own. The mark of civilization and morality is that we have developed alternatives to violence. Recourse to violence is only justified when violence is brought against you first.

              Your beliefs lead to a conundrum: what if the person you were to kill with that button found out and decided to kill you before he could be killed? Who is in the right? You who are trying to save your family, or the stranger who is trying to save his life? Don't you see the huge problem with this moral relativism? The only possible resolution to this problem is that the initiator of violence is always wrong.

              The point the original poster was trying to make is that you would not appreciate it if you or your kid was killed because someone pushed a button. If you don't want it to happen to you, then don't do it yourself.

              Similar thing: If I had to sacrifice my life to save my kid's life, I would do the same.

              Not even close to a similar thing. Your life is your own; you have no say over someone else's life.

              If someone broke into your house at midnight, and you didn't know why they were there, what would you do?

              The difference here is that the people who broke into your home initiated violence which forces you to defend yourself.

              The moral judgement in all circumstances is "the initiator of violence is always in the wrong." Your willingness to kill by pressing a button when not in immediate danger yourself is thus immoral. Killing a stranger who has nothing to do with your plight to feed your family is also wrong. There is no, repeat NO, moral justification for initiating violence.

              Under the right circumstances, you will kill.

              Under the moral circumstances, yes.

              It's not only HUMAN nature, but ANIMAL NATURE to survive AT ALL COSTS.

              It is animal nature to survive at all costs; it is human nature to weigh the consequences of our actions and override our instincts if the costs are too high. I think you should re-examine your view of humanity.

    • If asked the question, "What is my life worth to you?", can you really respond to me with a dollar amount?

      $6.25. Read on.

      Recall that only Labor has real value; and the Labor it took to make you (nyuck) is commonly available, therefore of low value.

      So, what's the value of your life + the labor of trained medical staff? Well, your organs are worth many, many mil. However, I'd probably only be able to extract a portion of them, even with a really good staff. So, depending on circumstances, I might be able to turn around and sell your life for US$ 1 mil plus, of which I'd have to spend half on labor, and a quarter on marginals (bribes, transportation, etc.)

      However, YOU only control a natural resource - your life. The bottleneck isn't in people who have lives, but in people with the labor/expertise/contacts to take those lives and turn them into profit.

      Leather furtniture is worth a lot of money. However, very little of that money (proportionally) goes to the owner of the Cow (leave alone the Cow itself.) Why? Because Cows are abundant, and leather curing facilities and leatherworkers are rare.

      Likewise, I could nab any of those people passing by on the street, and harvest their organs. People = abundant, organ harvesters = rare. Therefore, human life = cheap, my time = dear. Capitalism at it's best.
    • Ezekiel 25:17
      From: Pulp Fiction Soundtrack
      Performed by: Samuel L. Jackson
      Written by: Quentin Tarantino

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides
      by the inequities of the selfish,
      and the tyranny of evil men.
      Blessed is he,
      who in the name of charity and goodwill,
      shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness
      for he is truly his brother's keeper
      and the finder of lost children.
      And I will strike down on thee
      with great vengence and furious anger,
      those who attempt to poison
      and destroy my brothers.
      And you will know
      my name is The Lord
      when I lay my vengence upon thee.

      Bang, Bang...you're dead. What's wrong with this picture?

    • What moral principle of yours led to that mini-rant? That all life is sacred? Abandon that a moment, and follow me.

      You don't have to put a dollar amount on a human life in order for the answer to the question to be "yes, where do I sign up?" You merely have to define an equivalence between lives. To you, are all human lives equal in value? If so, consider how many lives you could save with the $million you get by killing one innocent (though that's an entire other discussion) person.

      How about a murkier situation? Suppose you can never be completely sure that you have saved someone's life. How many lives do you have to make better before it balances out one death? If you take ten people on the path to death by drug overdose of one form or another and you help them set their lives straight, are you even? If your million buys a child a medical procedure he or she needs to survive, have you erased your moral debt? After all, the peasant you killed probably had less life left than the life you granted the child. What if you set up a trust that provided scholarships (or funded cancer research, or made yearly donations to your favorite charities, or what have you)?

      Moving in another direction, how would you respond if we provided some background to the initial decision? Suppose you knew the peasant in question would die tomorrow if you did nothing. Is one day of one life worth any of the above? Suppose the deaf peasant were about to be hit by a train just coming around the bend. What then? Would you sacrifice two minutes of a person's life in return for adding 20 years to someone else's life? Would you do it in exchange for a cure for HIV? Do you consider the good you could do with a million dollars morally different from a cure for HIV?
      • by nhavar ( 115351 )
        The "trade" idea is somewhat paradoxical. When you start talking about generalities and what-if statements it gets really bad. For instance you don't take into account human potential and consequence into your scenarios.

        Lets say that peasant A is in poor health due to a brain tumor which he cannot afford to treat or for which no treatment is available. On his own he dies his good organs are harvested and save or improve the quality of 3 to 4 people. His brain is sent away for research and during the course of that research one new treatment is found for cancer and leads are provided for several more.

        Lets say that blind peasant A is going to be hit by a train tommorow. A witness on the train happens to also be an engineer, because of his experience in witnessing the death he invents a new railing system and early warning system that keeps people and cattle off the tracks and correctly warns the train of obstructions. Another person a million miles away hears of this accident on from a coworker taking the same train and comes up with an invention that gives the unsighted better ability to navigate potentially dangerous areas.

        Lets say that peasant A is dying and on his deathbed he implores his only son to do something better with his life, go to school, become something that he didn't. After his fathers death his son heeds those words and becomes a chemist, physician, psychiatrist, engineer, president, community leader, policeman, etc effecting any number of lives.

        To say that it's "okay" to trade one life for many lives assumes that you KNOW exactly what that life might have the potential to become or affect. In reality we don't know the potential or what/who that person might change that might be significant. We might be trading 1 single life to save 5 lives and then missing out on the 1000 or 1000000 lives that the first life might have affected having been left alone.

        It's quick, easy, and a relatively thoughtless process to say "I'd trade one life to save twenty" when that life is not your own.

    • by curunir ( 98273 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @03:22PM (#3802858) Homepage Journal
      heh...I don't think I'd do it anyways, but after hearing the story behind the interview question, I would definitely not do it.

      Basically, the story, as I heard it, is this:

      A man is approached by a lawyer and given a proposition. The man is unemployed and running low on cash.

      The lawyer asks him to take part in a research experiment. In exchange for his participation, he will be paid $10,000. The research experiment is simple. He will be given a briefcase with $1,000,000 in it to carry around with him for the whole weekend. He's free to open the briefcase and keep the money. However, if he does so, he's told that someone, somewhere, will be killed.

      The man asks, "Will it be someone I know?"

      The lawyer tells him, "It will be someone that you definitely do not know and have absolutely no connection to."

      He the asks, "But if I open this briefcase, he'll actually be killed?"

      The lawyer assures him, "Opening that briefcase is equivalent to putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger."

      The man spends the weekend grappling with the moral issue involved and eventually ends up opening the briefcase and taking the million bucks.

      At the end of the weekend, the lawyer returns with the $10,000. The man asks, "Was the person killed?"

      The lawyer responds, "Yes, the person is dead."

      The man asks, "Did he deserve it?"

      The lawyer sasy, "He was a murderer, so yes, I guess he did."

      Then the lawyer asks for the briefcase back.

      The man asks, "Why?"

      The lawyer says, "I need to fill it with $1,000,000 and give it to someone else."

      The man asks, "Who?"

      The lawyer says, "Oh...no one you know. You have absolutely no connection with them."
  • Portuguese novel (Score:2, Informative)

    by JBv ( 25001 )
    There is a Portuguese novel by Eça de Queiroz "O Mandarim / The mandarin" where a guy deals with killing some unknown remote person for money.

    Nice reading :)
  • ...taking the money, pushing the button, but convincing yourself after that the system behind the button was running a Microsoft OS and crashed as soon as you touched the button, thus killing no one.
  • by unformed ( 225214 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:32AM (#3800285)
    Imagine there's a peasant somewhere halfway across the world. If you could push a button and kill the person without getting caught, would you do it for a million dollars?'

    If not, at what price would you? Oh, so you've got morals, ay? What if you had no money, and your family and kids were starving to death? It's winter, you don't make enough money at your job to give your kids any shelter or food, and they're out hiding in the dumpster behind McDonald's trying to fend off frostbite while getting some free food. Would you do it then?

    --
    Better yet, for a little irony: what if the person at the other end of the button was Jack Valenti, George Bush, Osama bin Laden? Would your views be different then?

    --

    Every man has a price; You just have to find that price.
    • by CaffeineAddict2001 ( 518485 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:47AM (#3800389)
      No, irony would be if that button killed one of the children you were going to feed with the million dollars.
    • What if you had no money, and your family and kids were starving to death?

      I don't think this is what they were talking about. Killing for money is one thing, killing for survival is completely different. Personally, I do have morals, and I do have a nice job that ensures (at least temporarily) that I won't be facing the underside of a dumpster lid for my next meal. No.. there isn't a monetary price for a person's life. Yet, to quote a movie:

      If it comes down to you or him.. send flowers.

    • What if you had no money, and your family and kids were starving to death? It's winter, you don't make enough money at your job to give your kids any shelter or food, and they're out hiding in the dumpster behind McDonald's trying to fend off frostbite while getting some free food.

      According to the article, the company is pulling in a million dollars a month. I don't think they're starving to death, lacking in shelter or food, or hiding in the dumpsters behind McDonalds.
    • Then I guess you would be the peasant when you pushed the button and they would not have to pay you any money.


      SICK

    • Yes, I would do it then. At that point, it is about survival, not greed.
    • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:30AM (#3800696)
      If not, at what price would you? [scenerio of destitution and desparation snipped]

      Better yet, for a little irony: what if the person at the other end of the button was Jack Valenti, George Bush, Osama bin Laden? Would your views be different then?


      First, if someone is sufficiently despearate for food they will do despearate things. Many (though, very notably, not all) will kill for food under such circumstances, even though the act is considered by most to be immoral even under such extreme circumstances.

      However, the question assumes a non-descript, clearly innocent by most definitions, peasant who lacks the power to do any harm (and, quite probably, the desire to do any harm).

      Changing it to an opportunity to kill someone who is clearly guilty (e.g. Jack Valenti, Osama bin Laden, etc.) modifies the entire premise.

      Being willing to kill Osama bin Laden (who has killed thousands of innocents already and will likely kill thousands more) is not the moral equivelent of being willing to kill a nameless, innocent peasant in a far away land for a cash prize (or for the hell of it), at leat not by the ethics I subscribe to and, I dare say, the majority of good-willed people in the world subscribe to.

      So, in my particular case, I would kill Osama bin Laden in a heartbeat without monetary compensation. George Bush I wouldn't be willing to kill under any circumstances I can imagine, despite loathing him and having voted for one of his opponents. Jack Valenti is a gray area ... I admint the temptation is there, even if I would be unlikely to act on it.

      But an innocent (or even not-so-innocent, but never having harmed me) peasant in a far away land? Not in a billion years, not for a billion dollars, not even if my children were starving.
    • Every man has a price; You just have to find that price.

      Or more accurately, Morals are always relative. In some situations its moral to kill a man, in some situations its not. There are no moral absolutes. However, there are things that are right in certain situations and wrong in certain situations. For example, if some guy at a mcdonalds starts randomly shooting people, thats wrong. Morals are generally defined by society. My favorite example is "porn" from the victorian era. Its essentially women in leotards. To them it was totally immoral even to show a bare ankle on a woman, but look at today. Societies change, and as they do, so do morals

    • by Ioldanach ( 88584 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:58AM (#3800901)
      Better yet, for a little irony: what if the person at the other end of the button was Jack Valenti, George Bush, Osama bin Laden? Would your views be different then?

      Ooh, I sense a slashdot poll coming on...

      • Who'd you kill for $1M
      • Jack Valenti
      • George W. Bush
      • Osama bin Laden
      • Bill Gates
      • Richard Stallman
      • Hilary Rosen
      • CowboyNeal
  • And you would never hear from Penna, Osborn and Smith... never again..

    How many slashdotters would like these three to be on a reality show, only if its on a swamp infested island with crocodiles, poisonous snakes and a couple of Raptors thrown in for good measure :) .. I am sure we would all love to watch that episode..
  • I read things like this, and while a part of knows that it is part of life and you will always have some brutus type exploit others, another part of me reads this and thinks it's not very diffierent to the cold blooded murderous crap that OBL came up with. I would love to have one of the muscle bound baboons that ran this show in my sights when he walked up the driveway asking why I couldn't bother to turn up at his sleeze parlour. And I'd love to see his muscles stop my bullets when he tried to punch my door down.
  • by borgasm ( 547139 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:36AM (#3800313) Journal
    Pushing a button to kill a peasant halfway around the world?

    No Thanks.

    I'll just stick to Black and White, where I can throw my peasants as I please. Its definitely more fun when you roll them down a hill to your waiting creature.
    Lightning bolts and floods work well also.
  • something alike (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jondor ( 55589 ) <gerhard@frappe.[ ]all.nl ['xs4' in gap]> on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:36AM (#3800316) Homepage
    Actually I remember reading about a test where students were asked to torture someone who they couldn't see, but only here the results. If I remember correctly most of them pushed the button given the right pressure.

    an other alike question could be: would you eat meat of you had to kill and butcher the cow yourself..

    As it seems, as long as the receiving end is anonymouse and unseen, many people can get themself to do things which they wouldn't consider when they were there in real life.

    • It was called The Milgram Experiment. By a chap called Milgram oddly enough.
    • The test was called Milgrim's 37. Peter Gabriel wrote a really creepy song about it called "We do what we're told". There were 37 buttons of "increasing pain" (higher voltage) applied to a test subject. Actually the subjects were actors, simulating greater pain as higher numbers were pushed. The actual subjects were the button-pushers who actually thought they were shocking people. They did as they were told, and applied what they thought were horifically painful shocks to random people they didn't know because they could get away with it.
      • I don't think they were doing it because they could get away with it. The researchers told subjects that they HAD to press the button and that the researchers would take all responsibility for their actions. The show I saw about it made a connection to Nazi Germany. People will do horrific things if they think they are compelled follow orders and do not have any personal responsibility.
      • It wasn't quite because they could get away with it -- it was because somebody in authority ("the researcher" in this case) was telling them to and they didn't have the guts to say no despite how bad they felt for the "subject".

        Still a profoundly disturbing result but more a Nuremburg type distrubing rather than a man's inhumanity to man type.
      • Re:something alike (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jonathanjo ( 415010 ) <jono AT fsf DOT org> on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:32AM (#3800704) Homepage

        The test was called Milgrim's 37. Peter Gabriel wrote a really creepy song about it called "We do what we're told". There were 37 buttons of "increasing pain" (higher voltage) applied to a test subject. Actually the subjects were actors, simulating greater pain as higher numbers were pushed. The actual subjects were the button-pushers who actually thought they were shocking people. They did as they were told, and applied what they thought were horifically painful shocks to random people they didn't know because they could get away with it.

        It's worse than that. The actor in the next room gave a scripted set of grunts giving way to bloodcurdling screams, as the test subjects (instructed by the white-coated scientist) pressed buttons to apply increasing levels of "voltage" to the victim/actor. After a certain high level of pretend voltage, the screams stopped and the actor fell silent. Often the test subjects were in hysterical tears as they obediently applied the shocks -- understandably, for as far as they knew they could have just killed a person. Stanley Milgram repeated this obedience experiment many times with many variables altered (like for example, changing the setting from Yale to a no-name office in New Haven) and found that, with a remarkable consistency, 65% of subjects did *everything* the professor told them to, giving the full "shock" and possibly "killing" the "victim."

        This study was publicized in the wake of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, in which US soldiers, under (erroneously interpreted) orders, slaughtered hundreds of Vietnamese villagers. However, Milgram's study had been planned years earlier in response to the Holocaust, to answer the question of how so many respectable people could participate in such a massive systematic crime. Milgram's disturbing conclusion was that, more likely than not, *you could have been a gas chamber operator*. In other words, most people will follow a credible authority figure straight to hell.

    • Re:something alike (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mccalli ( 323026 )
      another alike question could be: would you eat meat of you had to kill and butcher the cow yourself..

      Interesting one this.

      I was working in Singapore for a couple of weeks with my then boss, who I got on well with. We went out for a meal somewhere (I believe Boat Quay for those that know the place) and ordered Chili Crab. A few moments later, a waitress came out with a live crab on the end of a rope asking me if this one would be ok.

      A bit surprised, I put my vast knowledge of crustacean quality to use (ie. none) and decided that since it looked like a crab to me then yes, that crab would be fine. The crab was taken away, killed and cooked, then presented back to me smothered in chili sauce.

      My boss, who is a vegetarian, was horrified. "How could you do that?", he asked. "Imagine if you knew who that was. That could be Fred!" Well, Fred looked like a reasonably tasty crab to me and so my answer would still have been the same. Even it if turned out to be George...

      The point here is that it would have been hypocritical of me to refuse to eat the crab just because I'd once seen it alive. So my answer to your original question is "yes - I would still eat meat if I had to kill and butcher the meat myself".

      Oh, just as an aside this lovely lady [eruvia.org] is a fully qualified butcher, though she works as an optician. She is also my fiancee and the mother of our child [eruvia.org] - being a butcher doesn't automatically make you a psychopath in the same way that answering yes to the 'peasant killing' question would do.

      Cheers,
      Ian

    • "Actually I remember reading about a test where students were asked to torture someone who they couldn't see, but only here the results."

      I believe you're referring to Stanley Milgram's famous experiment about authoritarian control. The experiment wasn't about people's capacity for random cruelty so much as their capacity for following direct orders from an authority figure (in this case, a scientist in charge of the fake experiment).

      An interesting experiment along similar lines is Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment, where he divided the participants into two groups. One group played the role of jail guards while the other group became prisoners. He had to end the experiment prematurely, as the role of authority figure resulted in some of the jail guards getting extremely abusive toward the "inmates".

    • Re:something alike (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CharlieG ( 34950 )
      an other alike question could be: would you eat meat of you had to kill and butcher the cow yourself..

      Sure - I guess you didn't grow up on a farm, or know someone who did. I didn't grow up on a farm, but I sure helped Cousins who did. You appreciate what is behind that piece of steak when you knew the steer

      The other folks who do this are hunters - when you eat that meat, you know exactly where it came from, and you usually butchered it yourself.

      You learn not to waste meat
    • Re:something alike (Score:3, Insightful)

      by revscat ( 35618 )

      Stanley Milgram wrote about it in an essay called "The Perils of Obedience." Link [swbell.net]. Very scary. People were doing whatever the experiementer told them; only one lady didn't, and she was a holocaust survivor.

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @09:37AM (#3800318) Journal
    these are the guys who were involved in the Flowgo story from last April:
    Under the auspices of their newly founded company, Intellitech Web Solutions, the three devised a plan to strip the visible front end off the toolbar, leaving only its snooping back end in place.

    According to former Intellitech employees, the company also polished up some code designed to automatically and silently install the mutated toolbar when an Internet user viewed a specially designed Web page.

    "At that point, it started to become a virus," said a former staffer who worked on the project.

    Last March, Intellitech began to seed the Internet with copies of the backdoor program, using specially designed pop-up ads it purchased at sites, including the family entertainment portal Flowgo.com.

    In violation of Flowgo's policy, the pop-ups automatically sent visitors to another site, where, according to virus researchers, special code exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser and forced the spyware onto users' computers.

    From the end of the article (last page)
  • stupid employees (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trybywrench ( 584843 )
    There is no way i would ever work for people like those three. During the interview process you should know something isn't right when they want you to move into their apartment complex and the fact that they had two apartments used just for weight lifting isn't a good sign either.

    The only reason they were able to do the damage they did was because people were willing to work for them. And don't give me any of that "I had bills to pay" story, it was the late 90's, tech work was easier had then a job at Denny's.
  • When I viewed the article, there was a big Salon ad intruding on the article's words. It showed a big mug of a guy with the enticement to click the ad for a video. The guy looks mean...

    Poor ad. I kept envisioning the guy in the ad punching through the door and slamming his fist into the wall over someone's head.

    Nah, I didn't click-through.
  • by dmccarty ( 152630 )
    Unfortunately, it's not just the employees and customers of Website Results that suffer. It's the thousands upon thousands of frustrated computer users around the world that have their browsers behave in inexplicable and maddening ways. It ruins the browsing experience for them, drives them away from buying over the web, and lessens the value and inherent public trust of all of our jobs as a result.
  • One word: EVIL (Score:2, Insightful)

    by squison ( 546401 )
    Why aren't these people in jail?
  • Hi, remember me? I'm not married, I don't have any kids, and I'd blow your head off if someone paid me enough.

    -- Martin Blank [imdb.com]
  • so they were going to make a knock off of the 1989 Dolph Lundgren marvel comic adaptation [imdb.com] bomb in their apartment?

    or a sequel?

    maybe if they got louis gosset, jr. to reprise his role...

  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:04AM (#3800498) Journal
    24/7 Media and Flowgo. Do some google searches for them.

    Look familiar?

    *********
    You've received this message because while visiting
    a 24/7 Media, Inc. partner website, you opted in to
    receive special online offers and discounts.
    *********

    ... it was sent to an e-mail address I only use in my internic whois records. Impossible for me to have opted-in, even if I did visit one of their member sites and was stupid enough to forget to uncheck something while registered. I never use that address anywhere except internic purposes...

    Flowgo is another one. I get loads of complaints from users who claim never to have opted-in to their junk lists.

  • online check (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bob Ince ( 79199 ) <andNO@SPAMdoxdesk.com> on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:09AM (#3800548) Homepage

    If you're running IE on Windows, with JS/AX enabled, you can check your machine [doxdesk.com] for infection by this spyware and many others from the web browser.

    (Great follow-up article, anyway, props to Brian and Salon for running it.)

  • by originalhack ( 142366 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:15AM (#3800583)

    It is amazing that people will abhor this kind of a test and then do far worse without even thinking about it.

    Every time you buy a cheap product that was made by workers who are put in daily peril of death, you trade a dollar for one-in-a-million chance of killing a worker.

    For a real eye-opener that goes far beyone fast-food, read Fast Food Nation (isbn: 0395977894). It's not an easy read, but its quite an eye-opener. A lot of reviews are linked here [mcspotlight.org]. Now I understand what some of the protests are about. It makes it hard to go shopping without thinking.

  • Sleazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:33AM (#3800713) Journal
    I read the article and added it to my ".com stories to get sick from" and decided that maybe the internet would be a better place if the people out to make money would just pack their bags and go away. I could do just fine surfing around looking at not-for-profit sites that people run as a hobby and maybe pour a hundred bucks or so a month into. And there would always be USENET, IRC, P2P and other ways to hang out.

    I think there may be a place for selling goods and services online -- but marketing and advertising is where the devils congregate...And the second a legit business gets into bed with the devil -- they become evil by association and deserve to spend the rest of their misserable existence with toothpicks holding their eyelids open as they watch their stock go to 0.
  • by Scratch-O-Matic ( 245992 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:39AM (#3800759)
    Read the friggin article, for god's sake. It's interesting, it's about technology and misuse of technology, and it has little to do with that damn button.
  • by ChrisCampbell47 ( 181542 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @10:46AM (#3800813)
    Imagine there's a peasant somewhere halfway across the world. If you could push a button and kill the person without getting caught, would you do it for a million dollars?

    Psychology 101 -- in the early 60's, Stanley Milgram wrote the book on how depraved people can be.

    http://www.new-life.net/milgram.htm [new-life.net]

    What he was really studying was the varying levels of conformity (or conformability) in various cultures, and how willing people are to follow orders, even when those orders are morally wrong.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @11:05AM (#3800952) Homepage
    The story seems to present 24/7 Media as the heroes, more or less. They're not. 27/7 Media was basically a spammer that got big enough to go public. Their stock peaked around $60; it's now $0.20. I've had them on Deathwatch [downside.com] since late 2000. They're still hanging on, but the stockholders lost everything.

    The company is still issuing happy talk press releases [yahoo.com], but most of the press releases that mention them mention lawsuits. "... Files Suit Against Merrill Lynch and Henry Blodget on Behalf of Investors of 24/7 Real Media, Inc."

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @11:16AM (#3801023) Homepage Journal
    You get interviewed and show up to work in someone's apartment. You see two or three no neck dudes with roid range towering over you telling you to do shit. Nobody really knows how you're making money and all the conversations are about (more or less) breaking the law. Your job is how to steal from customers and lie about it. Your boss tells you your new job is to produce a 'movie' in the apartment. Days go by when the bosses arent't around and when they are they're threatening to kick you ass and fuck your shit up.

    So tell me why you work for this operation again? Are you so fucking deluded about making a krazillion dollars that you will literally eat shit, give head and fork over your lunch money to a psychopath to get it?
  • by psych031337 ( 449156 ) <psych0@NoSPam.wtnet.de> on Monday July 01, 2002 @11:31AM (#3801116)
    "I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image."
    -- Stephen Hawking

    No further commentary. Make the connections to the article, resp the interview question about that button yourself.
  • by tenzig_112 ( 213387 ) on Monday July 01, 2002 @12:54PM (#3801692) Homepage
    I just wanted to kill someone in a far away land! Now I've got an invisible "toolbar" embedded in Explorer!

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