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Library of Congress
ISSN 1098-7649


Fun_People is hibernating
At about 1:17 a.m. on January 6, 2001 a sump pump failed at Fun_People Headquarters in Seattle, causing a flood that crashed the main Fun_People computer (a NeXT cube). By the time Fun_People HQ was dried out and a suitable replacement computer was found, the effects of the 2000 national election were being felt, and the world was getting to be a lot less Fun. The ratio of items meeting the is-it-interesting criterion had changed from 70/30 funny vs. informative to 20/80 funny vs. alarming. So Fun_People is in hibernation, on sabbatical, taking a break, having a holiday, waiting for funner times.

In the meantime, I've been sending around some items that pass my is-it-interesting test, even though they do lean toward the not-so-fun. I considered calling it Dire_People, but decided to accentuate the positive, so it's called MiniFunPeople. If you'd like to be on that list, send a request as described below under "Is there any way I can become an official, registered Fun_People?"

The rest of this website refers to the no-longer-functional Fun_People mailing list. Don't miss the archives; there are some great articles there!

What is "Fun_People?"

Fun_People is a cyberpublication (email broadcast list) edited by Peter Langston <>. The name "Fun_People" comes from a general emailing list started by Peter Honeyman at Princeton in 1982 (or so).

What kinds of articles are involved?

Fun_People carries mostly humorous items, but there are also items of social, cultural, or even practical import. The articles use "adult" concepts and language when appropriate; no subjects are taboo per se. The only real requirement for inclusion is that the item prove "interesting" to the editor. So I hope you read the disclaimer.

How much Fun_Traffic is there?

There could be many Fun_People postings in any one day (see chart below for actual figures on monthly posting counts). Each Fun_Posting typically consists of a single item although some postings are compilations of related items. Each item can be as short as a single line or as long as several hundred jokes (see chart below for actual figures on Fun_Message lengths).

Who are the Fun_People?

The Fun_People readership (known themselves as "Fun_People") range from high-tech consultants and authors to technophobes, University professors and kindergarten teachers to politicians, physicists to physicians to psychics, executives to wage slaves, tax-payers to musicians, and skeptics to faith-healers. Many Fun_People fit several of these categories at once.

Are there many Fun_People?

Yes. Although the number of official, registered Fun_People is relatively small (around a thousand), many Fun_People pass the Fun_Articles on to secondary lists of fun people, increasing the Fun_Circulation exponentially with each step.

Is there any way I can become an official, registered Fun_People?

Yes, possibly.
· First, you need to decide if you really want to get all this Fun_Junk_Mail flooding into your e-mailbox, keeping in mind that, if the monthly average is 4 a day (see chart below), then there might actually be 0 or 20 items on a single day.
· Then, if you're still interested, send e-mail to Peter Langston ( asking him to add you to the Fun_People list.
· Send the mail from the account to which you wish your subscription to go.
· Please don't encode (or allow your mail program to encode) your e-mail as HTML (Beware: Microsoft Outlook Express has a "feature" that makes it do this even though you haven't asked for it - see the "No HTML" page for help turning it off).
· Include both your full name and what city and state (or country) you live in.
· It also doesn't hurt to include a Fun_Tidbit or two, just to prove how much fun you are...
· Peter maintains the list by hand, so don't expect an immediate response. (And of course, Fun_Central reserves the right to refuse Fun_Service to anyone based on whim, irrational prejudice, distaste for gratuitous encoding (HTML), or detection of excessive number of .sig lines).

The Archives

Fun_People Archive 1991
Fun_People Archive 1992
Fun_People Archive 1993
Fun_People Archive 1994
Fun_People Archive 1995
Fun_People Archive 1996
Fun_People Archive 1997
Fun_People Archive 1998
Fun_People Archive 1999
Fun_People Archive 2000

Fun_Archive Search

You can search the Fun_Archives for any particular text pattern coded as a regular expression by typing the text in the pattern field, checking the years you wish to search, and clicking the "Search in Fun_Archives" button.

Years: 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000

Charts and Numbers

The Monthly Number of Fun_People Postings

On average, the number of Fun_People postings per day has been 0.06 in 1991, 0.14 in 1992, 1.12 in 1993, 2.29 in 1994, 3.26 in 1995, 4.23 in 1996, 2.68 in 1997, 1.88 in 1998, 1.68 in 1999, and 2.07 in 2000, while the average number of lines a day of Fun_Mail (including headers, which probably now account for a dozen lines per message) has been 5.23 in 1991, 11.36 in 1992, 66.92 in 1993, 153.91 in 1994, 233.11 in 1995, 300.08 in 1996, 209.38 in 1997, 164.12 in 1998, 136.05 in 1999, and 182.15 in 2000, but remember that averages don't always predict reality very well--how many people do you know who have the average number of testicles? The following extremely accurate (and very graphic) chart of monthly posting volume suggests that, just like the stock market, nobody really knows what's going to happen next.
very graphic chart

The Size of Fun_People Postings

If you're wondering just how big the average Fun_People mail message is, the range (so far) is from 7 lines to 2137 lines (including the headers). The most popular length is 26 lines, followed by 27 then 25 then 24 then 28 lines. A plot of the minimum, maximum, and average by months would look like:
another very graphic chart

Want to know what other fun things Peter is involved with? Check out his home-page! (See below.)
Oh, and while we're on the subject (we are?)
this page accidentally won some awards...

Pirate Pete's
Pick O' the WWW

Cool Central's
"Cool Site of the Hour"[!]
6 p.m. (PST) 12/16/96


Dr. Webster's
Web Site of the Day 1/18/97

Britannica Internet
Guide 1/31/00


All is vanity . . . Click here for another view of such awards.
You may wish to read the disclaimer with regard to the appearance of humor or other kinds of expression on these pages...

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