Break the Chain

Question everything

March 17, 2003

News & Noteworthy

Now Available in the Chain-Breaker's Library

In the realm of e-mail chain letters, anyone can be an 'expert' on virtually any subject - or at least look like one. False Attribution Syndrome (FAS) occurs when someone forwards a chain letter, adding his or her name and credentials to it. FAS has caused urban legends and hoaxes to appear more legitimate than they are, and has even cost individuals and businesses lots of valuable time and money after they've erroneously been associated with a chain letter. Read more...

The long-awaited sequel to the the Virus Warning Hoax-O-Matic is finally here. Ever thought that it would be easy to create a sick kid chain letter that promises you can help pay for this or that by forwarding an e-mail? Well, now you can find out with the Sick Kid Hoax-O-Matic.


What's Hot

Boycott Goods From [Insert country's name here]

Following George W. Bush's recent press conference in which he vowed that the U.S. and Great Britain would disarm Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power, with or without International support, Grassroots campaigns to boycott countries that have refused to help have become explosively popular.

In the past week, I have received dozens of copies of different chain letters. So many, in fact, that I'm having trouble sorting them all out. Some focus only on the French. Some target any nation that has been reluctant to sign the U.N. resolution. Many include lists of products and companies owned by powers in those nations. Checking them all out will be time-consuming, but I felt I should say something about them in the meantime. recommends against forwarding or participating in any e-mail based boycott campaign. They are generally failures because they fail to garner sufficient support. Also, as with any chain letter, they offer no privacy protections to those who send or receive them. Participating in them may make you feel good, but real activism is never that easy.

If you receive one of these e-mails, help the cause by putting it to the tests of Armchair Activism before deciding whether to forward or delete.


New & Updated Chains

Did an American Soldier at Fort Bondsteel, Bosnia, really put a French officer in his place?

Does a series of photographs show the tragic end of the Space Shuttle Columbia?

OK, then, is this really a photograph of sunset over Europe and Africa taken during that fatal shuttle mission?

Are pharmacists pocketing most of the savings from generic drugs?

Did country music legend Charlie Daniels really write a scathing "Open Letter to the Hollywood Bunch?"

Can any ne'er-do-well easily use Google to get a map to your home, using only your phone number?

Are Doctors really more dangerous than gun owners?

See more new and updated chains.


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