OUTREACH 101 (was Re: to: Michael Lorrey Re: TANSTAAFL! and

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*lib.org)
Mon, 15 Dec 1997 20:24:36 -0800

Pardon me, but why do you feel obligated to attach the entire content of
the message you are responding to, instead of trimming out the irrelevant
parts? Trimming the irrelevant parts out is generally considered good


The above is a smiley. It indicates I am trying to be friendly, not trying
to be abusive.

A web search on either of the words would probably turn up a definition.
They are pretty well known by most of the regulars on this list, and, I
daresay, by a great many people on the 'net. I believe they're both present
in the "JARGON" file, which is stored on many sites all over the world.
Many people try to do a web search before asking a question like the ones
you asked. It can save time for all concerned.

TANSTAAFL is an acronym for "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free
Lunch"--first (to my knowledge) used in Robert A. Heinlein's novel _The
Moon Is A Harsh Mistress_. It communicates the sentiment that you usually
get what you pay for, and that things that are labeled "free" usually have
some hidden cost.

I seem to recall that "fnord" comes from Wilson and Shea's _Illuminatus!_
trilogy. In the novel(s), it refers to (or _is_, depending on your
interpretation) a symbol/signal embedded in communications which is located
directly adjacent to something that is intended to be forced out of your
consciousness. For instance, the phrase "Bang, you're dead! fnord" would
leave the unwitting reader feeling only puzzled and uneasy, without being
able to recall what was just read.


PS: Are you new to email, to mailing lists, to the internet, or just to
this list?

At 08:58 PM 12/15/97 -0600, you wrote:
>Philos Anthropy wrote:
>> What does TANSTAAFL! mean and what is a fnord?

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