Each line clues a one-word answer which happens to be a UNIX service name that appears in /etc/services — though some services are more obscure than others. Reading down the first letters of the clues yields the suggestion "TAKE MOD TWENTY SIX" — if we take the port numbers that correspond to each service name, take them modulo 26, and index into the alphabet, we get "BANG PATH PROTOCOL". The only protocol that used "bang paths" with any frequency was UUCP, the precursor to email. Thus, the answer is UUCP.
Port Service Mod 26 Letter Clue ------------------------------------------ asia 2 B Twenty million square miles, almost domain 1 A A set of values that the independent variable might be uma 14 N Karuna is her middle name echo 7 G Eventually died of love for Narcissus bootpc 16 P Might be steel-toed + Latin for "after meals" (abbrev.) finger 1 A One of five digits on a hand tacnews 20 T Diminutive kind of nuke + CNN or BBC zserv 8 H The sign of a fictional Californian swordsman + Chrysler's only ballistic vehicle nameserver 16 P What you're called by + waiter dixie 18 R Eponymous paper cup multiplex 15 O Name of multiple-screen theater syslog 20 T Tsimbl-accompanied Kushner + trudge graphics 15 O Y = F(x) visualized + semiconductor devices (abbrev.) statsrv 3 C Study of large data sets (abbrev.) + large automobile used for "camping" submission 15 O Inverse of domination genie 12 L Xanthic lamp dweller
2006 MIT Mystery Hunt