"Christians and the Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 2, No. 4:  February 22, 2001.
_______________________________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. YES, VIRGINIA, THERE ARE GENUINE EMAIL COMPUTER VIRUSES!
2. THE MADALYN MURRAY O'HAIR EMAIL HOAX:  THE LATEST NEWS
3. PC MAGAZINE'S TOP 100 (GENERAL) WEB SITES FOR FEB. 2001
4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER
_______________________________________________________________

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2001 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact
Barry Traver at cati@traver.org.  Permission is hereby granted,
however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1)
no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.

To subscribe, write to cati@traver.org, including "Subscribe to
CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real
name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent.
_______________________________________________________________

1. YES, VIRGINIA, THERE ARE GENUINE EMAIL COMPUTER VIRUSES!

CATI readers know that there are a lot of email hoax letters
around that warn about non-existent computer viruses.  See,
for example, this previous CATI article on such hoaxes:

"It Takes Guts to Say  'Jesus'" and Other Email Hoaxes
  http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati02.htm#3

But it's important to remember that not all virus warnings are
hoaxes.  Some warnings are genuine, and some viruses may even
arrive as an email attachment from a trusted friend. (Yes,
Virginia, there are genuine email computer viruses!)

For some reason, many computer viruses are named after women.
Earlier there was a deadly computer virus known as Melissa,
and now there is one called Anna, named after Russian tennis
superstar Anna Kournikova.  (No, Virginia, I do not know of
any named after you ... yet!)

If you're interested in tennis, there are a number of sites
where you can learn more about the very popular, real-life
Anna Kournikova.  Our interest here, however, is not in Anna
K. but in the AnnaK computer virus which has recently caused
much trouble.  Here is how one of Anna Kournikova's fan sites
describes the AnnaK virus, in an article by Graham Barnard
entitled "AnnaK Virus Strikes" and dated 2/13/2001:

"A dangerous computer virus disguised as a photo of tennis
superstar Anna Kournikova is wreaking havoc across the
Internet security experts revealed on Monday. The virus slowed
down e-mail systems and even forced some companies to shut
down the e-mail completely while they cleaned their systems of
the program.... 'Everybody and their brother and sister in law
(are) infected with this thing,' said David Perry, director of
public education at Trend Micro Inc. 'Last year, everybody
wanted to be loved. Apparently many people want to see a JPEG
(picture) of Anna Kournikova.'"
  http://annak.rivals.com/default.asp?sid=671&p=2&stid=8110749

For more on the "love virus," see this previous CATI article:

Crispen's Six Antivirus Rules: "I Love You" Update
  http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati16.htm#4

But right now let's continue to concentrate our attention on
the AnnaK computer virus:

"The virus is known as a worm because it can automatically
send copies of itself to everyone on a recipient's address
book....  The virus is sent as an attachment named
'AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs' and carries the message 'Hi: Check
This!'... So if you receive an Email with a so-called photo
of Anna attached, think very carefully before deciding to
open it. You have been warned."
  http://annak.rivals.com/default.asp?sid=671&p=2&stid=8110749

For more on the AnnaK virus, check any of the following
Web pages:

F-Secure on the AnnaK virus
  http://www.datafellows.com/v-descs/onthefly.shtml

McAfee on the AnnaK virus
  http://dispatch.mcafee.com/dispatches/vbs_sst/

Stiller Research on the AnnaK virus
  http://www.stiller.com/kourn.htm

Symantec on the AnnaK virus
  http://service1.symantec.com/sarc/sarc.nsf/html/VBS.SST@mm.html

Here's the important lesson to be learned, as expressed in a
recent email letter to me from a CATI subscriber (who prefers
to remain anonymous):
________________________________

"Viruses can be spread among friends, yea, verily, even among
... friends [in a particular denomination].  I caught one from
[C.D.] who got it from [A.B.] and I [E.F.] gave it to [G.H.]!
Never having received a real virus message or seen one on
another computer, I believed it wouldn't happen to me.  This
particular one ... had an attachment with an odd name (big red
light!).  But it came from a friend along with some business we
were discussing and even though [C.D.] didn't say [he/she] was
sending [an] attachment, I ASSUMED it was from [him/her] and
important to me.  So I tried ... to open it - like Pandora's
box!...

Moral of the story:

1. Always put something fairly specific in the Subject line
of your outgoing messages.  It's your recipient's first clue
to the legitimacy of your message.

2. When you send an attachment, mention its name in the
body of your email message.  Always attach them to a 'cover
message' -- don't send an attachment by itself.

3. When you receive an attachment, assume guilt until proved
innocent. Don't open the attachment.  Delete the message and
then empty your Trash.  If it was legitimate, you can always
ask the sender to resend.

4. If you receive something suspicious, contact the sender
immediately who may be unaware of the problem.

5. Update your anti-virus program and update it online weekly
or more often.

6. As soon as you realize you're sending a virus, stop
sending.  Phone those you may have infected.  Get help to
get cured!"
________________________________

By the way, don't try to puzzle out the identity of "A.B.,"
"C.D.," "E.F.," and "G.H." here:  those initials are assigned
arbitrarily and have no relation to the real identities of the
people involved.  The point is that a computer viruses can
happen to anyone, and it can happen to you if you are not
careful to follow some simple rules to protect yourself (and
to protect your friends!).

The six rules from "G.H." are good advice.  You can find some
similar advice in the CATI article I mentioned earlier:

Crispen's Six Antivirus Rules: "I Love You" Update
  http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati16.htm#4

What is important is not just to know that such rules exist,
but to put them into practice (and then relax, knowing that
you run little or no risk of running into problems caused
by a computer virus).

By the way, the creator of the AnnaK virus has been found.
You can read the story here:

"'Big Fan' Arrested by Neil Askew (2/14/2001)
  http://annak.rivals.com/default.asp?sid=671&p=2&stid=8111006
_______________________________________________________________

2. THE MADALYN MURRAY O'HAIR EMAIL HOAX:  THE LATEST NEWS

For decades a letter (with slightly different variations) has
been circulated claiming that atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair is
trying to get the FCC to remove religious programs from the
air.  I wouldn't be surprised if you told me that someone in
your church asked you to sign and send a petition to the FCC
in protest (I know it happened to me in mine).

Well, that letter was/is a hoax, but with the advent of the
Internet, that letter has now been circulating through email
on the Internet up to the present, even though Madalyn Murray
O'Hair (generally misspelled Madaline Murray O'Hare in the
hoax letter) disappeared in 1995, with foul play suspected.

For more background on this story, check out this previous
article in CATI:

Email Hoax: The "Madeline" Murray "O'Hare" Petition
  http://traver.org/cati/archives/cati11.htm#2

For additional fascinating but controversial reading material
about the disappearance, check out the following:

Preying on Atheists: How the APD Ignored Prime Suspect in
    O'Hair Investigation by Robert Bryce
  http://www.auschron.com/issues/vol18/issue40/pols.athiests.html

Untangling The O'Hair Vanishing: An Investigative Reporter's
    Inside Story by John McCormack
  http://www.ffrf.org/fttoday/december99/maccormack.html

The Austin Chronicle apparently doesn't know how to spell the
word "atheist" correctly and John McCormack confesses that he
went to a "fundamentalist Wesleyan Methodist" (i.e., Houghton
College" but has "overcome that" [!], but the articles do make
for some very interesting reading.

My purpose here is not to discuss the merits of how the legal
authorities handled the disappearance of Ms. O'Hair, her son,
and her granddaughter, but to bring the story up to date with
developments within the past few weeks, especially since they
have not been widely reported in the general news media.

Here's the latest news, as reported by Maranatha Christian
News Service in a story dated January 30, 2001 and entitled
"Discovery May Close O'Hair Disappearance Case":

"For several years, federal investigators have believed that
atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair, her son Jon Garth
Murray and her adopted granddaughter, Robin Murray O'Hair,
were killed after vanishing from their Austin, Texas, home
six years ago.... O'Hair and her two relatives [had been]
last seen in August 1995. They [had] dropped from sight
along with about $500,000 in gold coins from one of O'Hair's
atheist organizations...."
  http://www.mcjonline.com/news/01a/20010130a.shtml

That much you may have known (especially if you happened to
read the earlier article in CATI), but here's some "new news":

"...authorities now believe the dismembered remains and metal
from an artificial hip joint (O'Hair had a hip replacement
operation several years before her disappearance) found this
weekend in a shallow grave on a Texas ranch may soon bring the
case to a close....  A break in the case came on the eve of
the trial of David Roland Waters, O'Hair's former office
manager, who was facing kidnapping and extortion charges in
the case. Waters struck a deal with investigators Wednesday
that was ordered sealed by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks.
Waters, 53, is serving a lengthy prison term for stealing
$54,000 from O'Hair. Prior to the new deal, he had pleaded
innocent to kidnapping and extortion charges in a trial that
was scheduled to begin in February...."
  http://www.mcjonline.com/news/01a/20010130a.shtml

O'Hair because famous (or infamous, depending on your point
of view) because of her largely successful attempt to oust
prayer and Bible reading from the public school, but the
particular son involved in the court case later turned from
atheism to the Christian faith:

"O'Hair, who once called herself 'the most hated woman in
America,' was involved in successful court battles in the
1960s to ban prayer and Bible-reading in the nation's public
schools. Bill Murray, the ... son of atheist Madalyn Murray
O'Hair,....was a public school student in Baltimore, Md., in
1960, when his mother filed a suit on his behalf seeking to
end prayer and Bible-reading in his school classes. She won
a landmark 1963 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, which
declared unconstitutional the school's religious activities.
Murray later became a Christian evangelist...."
  http://www.mcjonline.com/news/01a/20010130a.shtml

William J. Murray, in fact, became an evangelical Christian in
1980.  You'll find his Christian testimony here:

  http://www.wjmurray.com/default.htm

According to his Web site, "He and his wife are members of a
Baptist Church in Virginia," and he "is the author of five
books."  In addition,

"William J. Murray speaks at churches, baccalaureates and
prayer breakfasts up to 200 times a year. He has also
assisted Christian schools with fund raising dinners and
events. Gospel Films has released a movie based on his book,
Let Us Pray. A second major video entitled Atheists: What
They Really Believe was released in 1998."
  http://www.wjmurray.com/invite.htm [earlier version]

To read the full story of the latest news about Madalyn Murray
O'Hair from Maranatha Christian News Service -- or to read
some other interesting stories -- you can check out the Web
site for the Maranatha Christian Journal (whose goal is to
present "News and Views for Today's Online Christian"):

Maranatha Christian Journal
  http://www.mcjonline.com/

MCNS also publishes a number of free email newsletters, some
of which (e.g., DayWatch and NewsWatch) seem to appear on a
more regular basis than others (e.g., BookWatch and WebWatch).
The occasional irregularity in publication is partly due to
the fact that MCNS is -- like CATI -- essentially a one-man
operation.

I asked the Webmaster, George Lawson, if MCNS had a statement
of faith and he responded that it is "[n]ot published on the
site yet, but we are in agreement with the one posted at the
National Association of Evangelicals website."

This summary of Christian belief is a widely accepted creed
setting forth major doctrines of evangelical Christianity:
________________________________

"NAE STATEMENT OF FAITH

1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only
infallible, authoritative Word of God.
2. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in
three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His
virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His
vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His
bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of
the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
4. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful
people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely
essential.
5. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by
whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly
life.
6. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the
lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and
they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
7. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord
Jesus Christ."

  http://www.nae.net/about-mission.html
________________________________

This statement of faith is somewhat broadly defined, so its
subscribers include Reformed and non-Reformed, charismatic
and non-charismatic, and so on, but the statement can still
be helpful as an indication of commitment to basic Christian
doctrines.

Anyway, Maranatha Christian News Journal/Maranatha Christian
News Service declares itself as committed to evangelical
Christianity, and you'll find MCNJ/MCNS to be a source for
news stories that you will find with difficulty (or perhaps
not at all) in the general news media.  Check it out!
_______________________________________________________________

3. PC MAGAZINE'S TOP 100 (GENERAL) WEB SITES FOR FEB. 2001

What are the "top 100 Web sites"?  Ask that question and you
will find a number of lists claiming to provide the answer!
Some of the lists, of course, are better and more useful than
others.  For some background, check out these past articles
in CATI:

Top 100 (General) Web Sites: What's the Best List?
  http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati26.htm#1

Top 100 (General) Web Sites: Some of the Lists
  http://www.traver.org/cati/archives/cati27.htm#1

Of the various "top 100 Web sites" lists, I've found the list
from PC Magazine usually to be very helpful, and their current
list is no exception.  (By the way, we are talking here about
general sites, and not sites that are specifically Christian.)

Here's where you'll find PC Magazine's latest list of "the top
100 Web sites":

PC Magazine: Top 100 Web Sites (Feb. 14, 2001)
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2682122,00.html

Here's how they made their selection;

"Our top 100 sites in ten categories were chosen from those
that we think break new ground in their categories, serve
their audiences' needs, offer a service no one else does or
better than all their competitors do, and those that we return
to often and find ourselves unable to leave."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2682122,00.html

Here are the ten categories, in alphabetical order:

Business
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2684478,00.html

Careers
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685374,00.html

Computing
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685371,00.html

Finance
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685150,00.html

Lifestyle and Fun
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685391,00.html

News and Entertainment
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685390,00.html

Portals and Start Pages
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685385,00.html

Search and Reference
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685382,00.html

Shopping
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685387,00.html

Travel
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685388,00.html

If you're reading the email version of this newsletter and
your email reader is having trouble with the long URLs (that
is, Web addresses -- "URL" stands for "Uniform..." or "Universal
Resource Locator," which simply means Web address), you should
be able to get to these locations by starting at PC Magazine's
home page:

PC Magazine
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/

At least that should work until a new issue of PC Magazine
comes out.

I won't comment on all of their top 100 Web sites (and not
all of their choices would appear on my own list of the "top
100 Web sites"), but I will give you a sampling of some of
the sites they mention that I think may be worth checking out
further (see PC Magazine's Web site for their complete list).

By the way, PC Magazine's comments are in quotation marks (a
star or asterisk indicates one of their favorite sites), while
my comments are in brackets.

BUSINESS

*The Digital Daily (Internal Revenue Service)
  http://www.irs.gov/
"The Web incarnation of the IRS is -- dare we say -- a hip,
witty site loaded with tax dos and don'ts. Get the scoop on
electronic filing, take an interactive quiz to see if you
qualify for certain deductions, and download all the tax
forms you wish you didn't need."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2684478,00.html

MoneyCentral
  http://www.moneycentral.com

Quicken.com
  http://www.quicken.com

CAREERS

*HotJobs.com
  http://www.hotjobs.com

*WetFeet.com
  http://www.wetfeet.com

Monster.com
  http://www.monster.com

COMPUTING

*Webmonkey
  http://www.webmonkey.com
"Webmonkey isn't just a site; it's a vocational school for Web
designers. Tutorials start with the fundamentals of HTML and
help you create your own Web site through forms, style sheets,
and programming languages such as Java and Perl. And kudos for
the innovative section for kids."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685371,00.html

CNET
  http://www.cnet.com
"This great gateway to technology -- news, reviews, games,
MP3s -- also boasts some of the best downloads on the Web."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685371,00.html

Homestead
  http://www.homestead.com
"Build your own site with the superb drag-and-drop interface,
and add images, sound, and special effects with ease."  [I've
mentioned Homestead in several previous issues of CATI. --BAT]
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685371,00.html

FINANCE

*SmartMoney.com
  http://www.smartmoney.com
"If you are expecting to find nothing more than reprinted
magazine articles on SmartMoney's site, you're in for a
thoroughly pleasant surprise. Sure, the articles are here,
but there are also some of the Web's best financial
calculators and first-rate primers for novice investors."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685150,00.html

LIFESTYLE AND FUN

*Discovery Kids
  http://kids.discovery.com
"Nothing grabs a child's attention faster than body sounds and
smells. Discovery Kids covers topics such as the digestive
system and sweat glands in a playful yet highly informative
style that lets kids have fun as they learn. After exploring
the human body, move on to entertaining zoo cams and dinosaur
guides." [Caution: as you might expect, evolution seems to be
assumed as fact here, but this site -- if used properly -- can
be beneficial.  Check out also the regular Discovery.com for
adults at http://discovery.com. -BAT]
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685391,00.html

IPEDS College Opportunities On-Line
  http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cool
"Find colleges (and vocational schools) and get enrollment,
cost, and aid information." [And, yes, Christian colleges are
included in IPEDS COOL! -BAT]
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685391,00.html

NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT

*CNN
  http://www.cnn.com
"This superb site gives a wealth of multimedia content without
stinting on the written word. Other sites can challenge it in
terms of North American news, but for global news it's hard to
beat. And CNN's sports offering in conjunction with Sports
Illustrated ... is like no other in content, organization, and
ease of navigation."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685390,00.html

ESPN (sports)
  http://www.espn.com

PORTALS AND START PAGES

*Yahoo!
  http://www.yahoo.com
"Yahoo!'s excellent directory will guide you to other sites
-- when you get around to leaving Yahoo!, that is. New and
notable services include online photo albums and an Experts
channel (for quick answers to questions on a host of topics).
And we still love old faves like Full Coverage news."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685385,00.html

About
  http://www.about.com
"When search engines fail, About's human guides steer you in
the right direction."  [I have found About.com to be a great
resource on a great variety of topics.  I've made use of this
site in doing research for a number of CATI articles. -BAT]
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685385,00.html

SEARCH AND REFERENCE

Here are two encyclopedias:

*Britannica.com
  http://www.britannica.com
"Using your old Encyclopædia Britannica volumes as doorstops
may seem disrespectful, but you won't be needing the books
anymore. All the content is online [and] nicely organized....
You'll also get links to related articles from more than 70
journals and magazines."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685382,00.html

Encarta
  http://encarta.msn.com

And here are two health/medical information sites:

*CBSHealthWatch
  http://cbs.medscape.com
"HealthWatch's 46 channels tell you everything you need to
know about asthma, cancer, diabetes, and health care for
senior citizens. But there's more than first-rate content on
this site (a joint venture between CBS and Medscape). The
medical test handbook, drug directory, self-care handbook,
and guide to managed care help you understand procedures,
treatments, and options."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685382,00.html

WebMD
  http://www.webmd.com

*Google
  http://www.google.com
"The search for a decent search engine is over. Google has
an uncanny knack for locating the exact sites that fit your
query. Many of the 1 billion-plus URLs in its index are
cached, which is handy if a site is temporarily down. You can
... [also] download a toolbar that lets you Google from any
Web site." [As most CATI readers know, Google is my personal
favorite search engine, the one I ordinarily turn to first.
--BAT]
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685382,00.html

SHOPPING

*Amazon.com
  http://www.amazon.com
"The small, upstart bookseller is now the Web's premier
Über-store, selling cameras, wireless phones, and even patio
furniture. And there are still terrific extras, such as
recommendations, one-click ordering, and first-rate customer
service."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685387,00.html

*Lands' End
  http://www.landsend.com
"Long the most innovative apparel site, Lands' End just keeps
getting better. Virtual models -- 3-D representations based on
your own measurements -- are now available for men as well as
for women, handy for 'trying on' outfits. Thumbs-up too for
the Shop with a Friend feature, which lets two people chat as
they drop items in a shared cart."
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685387,00.html

Buy.com
  http://www.buy.com
"Burgeoning selection and improved customer service make this
a strong competitor to Amazon." [I've personally bought items
from Buy.com, and I've been pleased not only with the price,
but also with the service and customer support. -BAT]
  http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/reviews/0,6755,2685387,00.html

TRAVEL

*Fodors
  http://www.fodors.com

Again, consult the full list at the PC Magazine Web site for
additional sites as well as their comments on each site.

Enjoy!

Incidentally, what are your favorite Web sites (general or
Christian)?  If you're willing to share some thoughts on your
"top 10" or "top 5" (and why they're on your list), I'd love
to hear from you.  Send your comments to cati@traver.org.
Thanks!
_______________________________________________________________

4. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION FOR THIS NEWSLETTER

This is the forty-ninth issue of a free newsletter devoted
to "Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy,"
but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the
"Internet").

To subscribe, write to cati@traver.org, including "Subscribe
to CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your
real name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent.

Past issues:  you'll find archives of past issues of CATI
available online at   http://traver.org/cati/.  ("It's not a
pretty site," but hopefully it may be a useful one.)
________________________________________________________________

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2001 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact
Barry Traver at cati@traver.org.  Permission is hereby granted,
however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1)
no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.