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HE SAID IT. Vinton Cerf, known as the father of the Internet because he developed TCP/IP, the computer language that gave birth to the Internet, recently tickled a group of NASA scientists during his speech about plans to build an Internet in space so that future colonies of astronauts could easily communicate with each other.

The far-fetched concept of a ".mars" or a ".earth" domain certainly caused some giggling. And many laughed at Cerf's straight-faced explanation of the need for tight security measures for this new space-based Internet. After all, he said, we don't want anyone hacking Mars.

But the most entertaining bit of information Cerf offered was his favorite T-shirt, which sported a wish referring, supposedly, to the Internet Protocol he helped design: "IP on Everything."

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WHY CUPS ARE LIKE Y2K. It's not unusual to hear a couple of dishes breaking during a luncheon or dinner. But it takes a quick speaker to seize the moment to make a point. Attendees at a recent seminar on Intelligent Transportation Systems and the Year 2000 problem were startled by the sound of a coffee cup breaking on the floor. The sound was followed by the entire pyramid of coffee cups tumbling down in a dramatic crash. Preparing to take the podium, John Collins, president of ITS America, said the falling cups were like the Year 2000 problem: "It shows how interrelated everything is," he said.

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