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Consumer Reports

Teen trampled by information highway | (UPI) -- A chain letter sent to 23 friends ended with 160,487 replies in just 33 days for 15-year-old Shannon Syfrett of Mississippi, London's daily Telegraph reports.

It was a science project on the speed of Internet communication gone berserk -- each person who received the e-mail chain was asked to forward it to others. Syfrett, the Telegraph says, hoped in a month that she might receive a couple of thousand replies.

The paper says strangers sent e-mail from around the world -- one every 2.3 seconds. One said: "This is Floyd, a maintenance supervisor at the bottom of the world (South Pole)" and one from the USS Harry Truman, sailing off the coast of Iraq, said: "If it's not too much to ask, please pray for us."

Syfrett had to log and respond to each message -- but her computer crashed -- so aggravated e-mailers began tracking down her telephone number, calling to complain their messages were not being answered.

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