Last night, I got an e-mail from e-mail. (Specifically, I sent a message to someone whose address doesn't exist anymore, and their e-mail system answered me back automatically.) It got me thinking, though: If e-mail can send itself, especially when humans are no longer associated with their old addresses, then what's to stop thousands of old e-mail addresses from having conversations with each other, sending "failed delivery" messages back and forth at lightning speed, all around the world.
It reminds me of the West Wing episode where Leo McGarry's secretary Margaret crashed the White House's e-mail system by replying to a widely-circulated e-mail. This was back in the early days of computers, so someone's automatic vacation response replied to everyone on the list, triggering several other automatic vacation responses and overwhelming the system. Of course, this had nothing to do with the actual point of the episode, and Leo didn't care nearly as much as Margaret worried that he would.
It also reminds me of a thing we do at my summer camp's staff meetings. At the end of the meeting, we can acknowledge people who've worked exceptionally hard, (like for example Aaron Mandel), by "giving them a kudo." On a side note, it's a great system, and a wonderful way for colleagues to appreciate each other. But on one Wednesday night several summers ago, Marqus stood up and declared "I'd like to give a kudo to kudo!" It seems Marqus was appreciative of all the work that kudos had done to improve morale at camp. I wasn't actually there that night, but I've heard stories.