Lai See has been hearing rumours. Rumours that involve sex, naked skin . . . and Jardines. Word has it that staff Net-surfing is monitored over there. We're told that if too many pixels worth of flesh tones cross your screen, the system senses it and the company porn police swing into action. Ah, Hong Kong cyber morality. In December, about 40 per cent of all Hong Kong Net users logged on for porn. Forty per cent! You probably think that's an amazing figure. And it is. Amazingly low. We know that it's low because Dr Judith MacKay told us so. And when it comes to human sexual behaviour, she really wrote the book. Seriously, she did. It's called The Penguin Atlas of Human Sexual Behaviour. Lai See asked her what she thought of local sexstistics. Apparently the SAR is relatively frigid on the cyber sex front. In western nations, up to 80 per cent of surfers are on a quest for fleshy pixels. Dr MacKay has a theory about sex and the invention of the Internet. Well. She heard the theory at any rate. It belongs to some artistic woman she knows who's really into bondage. The theory is that everything we invent is for sex. 'You invent the car, people have sex in it. You invent the airplane, you get the Mile High Club,' Dr MacKay explained. Rubber, likewise, was supposedly developed for practical things like gas masks. Today, it's an essential element of any worthwhile bondage sesh. Which brings us to computers. The philosopher/whip mistress advises you to look no further than Apple Mac if you want to know what those machines are really about. An apple with a bite taken out of it? How unsubtle is THAT? But true or not, in our opinion, forbidden fruit isn't the problem. The cyber dark-side isn't about sex. It's about plain, old-fashioned nastiness. Here's a brief sampling of comments posted on three local bulletin boards: 'FlyCX, if I find out who you are I will kill you.' 'I call on all Discovery Bay residents to screw up this **** who is a traitor to all the residents . . . Please circulate all possible information about him so that all DB residents know who he is and spit on him. Let all such gweilos be knocked out of Hong Kong and DB.' 'Where are you scum? Grow up coward!' Ah, the nasty little monsters emerge from the psychic bog under the cover of darkness. Safe in their pseudonyms, they slither about the Net spewing their venom. To Lai See, the Internet provides conclusive proof of a long-held thesis: Deep down, our species sucks. We began suspecting this 10 years ago when we learned of a shocking experiment. In many ways, it created conditions remarkably similar to those now found on the Internet. Here's how it worked: A bunch of unwitting human guinea pigs were told that an actor strapped into a chair in front of them was the subject of the experiment. They were to ask him a series of questions and press the buttons provided to administer a painful electric jolt if he got one wrong. Needless to say, many refused. Those who agreed to continue appeared reluctant, giving their buttons the briefest of pecks. But that was before the masks. It was decreed that the experiment would run more smoothly if no one knew who the interrogators were. The button guardians then had their identity concealed. When the experiment resumed, the reluctance had mysteriously evaporated. And they weren't pecking anymore. They LEANED on those buttons while their victim screamed in simulated agony. See? Told you it was shocking.