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Nora Ephron's movie \You've Got Mail" is a paean to the world wide web, perhaps computer science's most visible contribution, in particular to the creation via chat rooms of small communities within a dissociated world. In a pivotal scene in the third act, a bristling Kathleen Kelly, the protagonist played by Meg Ryan, insists, \Whatever else anything is, it ought t o begin by being personal." This column celebrates the process of scienti c inquiry by examining, in an anecdotal and yes, highlydoi:10.1145/273244.390004 fatcat:bgxmfgnnozblje7ykayh4dzxtu