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What Do You Believe?

I was raised a strict Roman Catholic but just found out I'm really closer to being an Orthodox Jew. A colleague who shares my religious upbringing is more or less a Quaker. And another raised as an Orthodox Jew is Baha'i, a faith teaching that the world is a single race and the day has come for its unification. Is this a crisis of belief?

No. We've been puttering around, a political Web site whose ''religion selector'' can help people see if they really know as much about their beliefs as they think they do. Obviously, we don't--or else we're just heretics. All you have to do is answer about 20 questions, covering everything from the nature of God to the family roles of husbands and wives. The selector then compares your answers to the doctrines of 26 major religions or belief systems and tells you which ones come closest to matching your beliefs. posted the quiz to broaden interest in the site after the election. With the holiday season prompting many people to head back to places of worship, we figure they should at least go to the right one.

By Timothy J. Mullaney

TABLE: Sometimes a Great Crapshoot

The simplest trick of 1999 day traders was to buy IPOs backed by big-name venture capitalists. But how smart was that, especially if you weren't an insider who got the IPO price? Here's how some of the big VC boys and girls have done for investors on deals launched between Jan. 1, 1999, and June 30 this year. Almost all did just fine for themselves.

                       no.              avg. return
                       of                since 1st
Firm                  deals             trading day

THE GOOD Bay Partners 6 169.7%* Lightspeed 13 127.8% Crosspoint Ventures 12 36.6% Kleiner Perkins 23 31.7% THE BAD MayField Fund 13 -14.8 Accel Partners 16 -27.2 CMGI@Ventures 5 -50.6 Sequoia Capital 23 -51.7 THE UGLY Softbank 17 -67.2 Vulcan Ventures 23 -73.3 Hummer Winblad 6 -88.1 idealab! 7 -90.6



The Name Game

If this Internet tale had a theme song, it would have to be a cross between Money (That's What I Want) and A Boy Named Sue. When a startup called the Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA) began looking for a cheap way to generate publicity, it got more than it expected.

Founder Jeff Patterson figured $5,000 might entice someone to name a baby Iuma, after his site showcasing the music of unsigned bands. He capped the contest at 10 winners, but 20 more couples wanted to put their progeny where the money was. ''I didn't really worry much about my kid killing me someday over the name--and besides, the money helped get us into a house,'' says Travis Thornhill, father of the first Iuma baby.

Parents had to sign contracts promising not to change their Iuma's name until age 18. The tally: 4 boys, 6 girls. And a shrink to be named later?

By Jeanette Brown

Invest in Freedonia!

Ah, royalty. Elizabeth I. Louis XIV. And Prince Lazarus R. Long, ruler of New Utopia!

But the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission isn't hailing new nobility. It's busting frauds who declare independent nations in cyberspace and then sell bogus investments. Prince Long, once Howard Turney of Tulsa, ran one of three such scams that were shut down this year. They were all pretty outlandish: New Utopia was to be built on piers off the Caymans, the Kingdom of EnenKio tried to sell $1 billion in war bonds, and the Dominion of Melchizedek claimed control of Antarctica.

How can this work? Blame slick online presentations. ''The Net lends an air of credibility to things that otherwise seem ludicrous,'' says David M. Levine, senior adviser in the SEC's Enforcement Division. The SEC says victims sent $1.2 million to what they thought was a Melchizedek-chartered bank, and Turney raised $24,000. Us, we're saving our money for TV rights to the royal weddings.

By Mike McNamee

''Sally Sez Save the Dot-Coms''

With Web companies flaming out daily, Sally Struthers needs your help to save the dot-coms. ''All over the world, dot-coms are hurting. They are suffering from faulty business plans and cash-flow shortfalls. They lack earnings and even the most basic of revenue models. In many countries, four out of five dot-coms will die within the next two years...''

This pitch is really just a parody of Struthers' famous ads for Save the Children. The complete version can be found at, a source of pseudo-news on the New Economy. Founder Andrew Marlatt says it's all in good fun. And Struthers doesn't mind. Her spokesperson says she's ''for saving anything but rubber bands and tinfoil balls.'' So, remember, ''for as little as 79 cents a day (or the cost of the average Net stock), you can help...''

By Ronald Grover

TABLE: Stifling the Critics

Anyone who runs a business understands the issue: What if some creep built a site named '''' Most big companies try to nab the obvious names before the critics do. So which names do you grab? Below is a pungent survey of which names companies and critics register the most. By the way, boss: Guess who registered while researching this piece? About that raise...

THE NAME                               THE COUNT (or .net or .org) 15,000 2,500 1,000 800 600


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Cover for Dec. 11, 2000 issue of Contents for Dec. 11, 2000 issue

What Do You Believe?

TABLE: Sometimes a Great Crapshoot

The Name Game

Invest in Freedonia!

''Sally Sez Save the Dot-Coms''

TABLE: Stifling the Critics

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