I get a lot of e-mails from readers wanting The Star to check info in them out. Many are good, legitimate news tips and they sometimes lead to good stories.

But I also get a lot of bad information, usually sent by people with all the best intentions. I truly can't hazard a guess about how many times I've received warnings about the dangers of aspartame, requests for postcards to be sent to a young boy with cancer, or information about Barack Obama's secret identity as a militant Muslim.

These, and many more like them, are nonsense. Any time you get something in your inbox that sounds outrageous, check out Barbara and David P. Mikkelson's excellent Snopes Web site. They've been collecting, cataloging and diligently researching claims like these for years, and are generally on top of all the latest messages by the time they make their way to the general public.

Every time you break the chain on one of these hoaxes, you're helping everybody else with an e-mail account.