>What is the significance of the asterisks that preceed and follow
certain words in this thread
> - e.g. *Any* tool will do if it provides the information that *you*
particularly want. I can
> recognise (if not fully understand) the rest of the technical stuff,
but not this.
It's an email convention used to emphasize text. _Underscores_ are also
used for this purpose sometimes. Many email clients will highlight
asterisked or underscored text by use of a bold or italicised text.