How much do we have to care about? Even if the mainstream media’s coverage of most of the world didn’t suck, would we care? Are we capable of caring sufficiently? (Annotated by Ethan Zuckerman!)
The population of Nigeria roughly equals the population of Japan. Yet, the amount of space given to Nigeria by the US news media makes it about the size of Britney Spears’ left pinky toe. Why?
Serious researchers have been considering this question for generations. Do American newspaper editors skimp on Nigeria because they’re racists? Nah, at least not in the straightforward way. Is it because the readers don’t care about Nigeria? Somewhat. But how will we ever care if we never read anything about it? We seem to be stuck in vicious circle, or what’s worse, a circle of not-caring…
Vint Cerf’s curiosity: If we are indeed getting more of a stomach for the complex, what role has our technology played?
Esquire magazine recently ran an interview with him that they busted up into a series of unrelated quotations. I was particularly struck by one little insight:
“The closer you look at something, the more complex it seems to be.”
Because of Esquire’s disaggregation of the interview, we have to guess at Cerf’s tone of voice. My guess is that he said this with a sense of wonder and delight, not out of frustration. Of course, I may be reading Cerf’s mind inaccurately. But the plausibility of that reading is itself significant…
History’s wavefront: When we can record just about everything, history loses its past. And, no, I don’t know what I mean by that.
The Strand Bookstore in NYC has eighteen miles of books, which works out to about 2.5 million volumes. My excellent local library has 409,000. The Strand’s shelves press the shoppers together, giving a sense that the place is alive with the love of books. The library is quieter because emptier. Even so, the library has something the Strand does not: history.
We’ve assumed that knowledge was always there, just waiting to be known…
ROFLcon and Woodstock: Am I so enthusiastic about the ROFLcon conference because it was important or just because I’m out of touch?
I was at Woodstock. For two hours. I was supposed to meet a girl there. Hahaha. Instead, I wandered around, hoping someone would offer me something to smoke to get me through the Melanie performance. So, let me recap: I was at Woodstock, didn’t meetup with the girl I was infatuated with, didn’t get stoned, and heard Melanie. Also, it was raining. Still, I was at Woodstock, which used to give me street cred, but now just makes me obsolete.
But forget my experience and take Woodstock as a watershed event at which the young realized they were more a potential movement and not just a demographic slice. ROFLcon felt something like that…
Is the Web different? The definitive and final answer.
I taught a course this past semester for the first time in 22 years. The course was called “The Web Difference,” which was apt since it was about whether the Web is actually much different from what came before it, with an emphasis on what that might mean for law and policy.
During the final class session, I took a survey…
The Turing Tests: Throwback humor, in both senses.
The fool. I won’t spend the money yet, but it’s only a matter of time before Van Klammer will lose our bet. I don’t care about winning the $100, of course. I’ll use it to buy something I’ll use frequently, to remind me of my moral and intellectual victory. Perhaps a set of mugs inscribed with “Courtesy of Dr. Van Klammer…Loser!”…
Bogus Contest: Surely anagrams can’t be random!
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