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15 September, 12.22pm pdt
Mutations Escalate Portal Craze

BE DOPE NEWS (BDN) Scientists believe they have a second explanation to explain the sudden proliferation of "portal" sites on the Internet: spontaneous mutation.

"Of course, you have many sites being reborn as 'portals' because that is the trend of the month," said Dr. Peter Alexy of MIT. "They are simply chasing after the VC money, copying Yahoo!, excite and other successful companies. However, what we're beginning to see is websites undergoing a spontaneous mutation from within, turning themselves into portals overnight."

Alexy related that many webmasters were not even aware of the change for several hours.

"In my study of the portal phenomenom, I would often contact webmasters and ask why they recently adopted the 'portal' format. I'd often receive email back expressing surprise and shock at the format change. The webmasters did not make the change, and as far as could be shown, no crackers had infiltrated the system."

"One theory of what we're seeing is some sort of mutated evolutionary process. A website notices portals are getting most of the traffic, so they adapt to be successful and gather more hits," explained Alexy. "However, as this theory requires a sophisticated level of self-awareness on the part of the website, it is meeting a lot of opposition."

Alexy continues to research the situation, but progress is slow.

"So far we have found no pattern in the portal mutations," Alexy reported. "We do know they strike quickly, and often the site admins will not be aware of it for some time. As a result, we have yet to catch a mutation in its earliest stages."

Web surfers are encouraged to report any unusual portal activity they might come across.


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