Tagged: Internet Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • feedwordpress 09:01:36 on 2018/01/11 Permalink
    Tags: Al Gore, Brian Arthur, , , , Internet, , Superhighway Summit,   

    “When we achieved, and the new world dawned, the old men came out again and took our victory to re-make in the likeness of the former world they knew”*… 

     

    The term “technological unemployment” is from John Maynard Keynes’s 1930 lecture, “Economic possibilities for our grandchildren,” where he predicted that in the future, around 2030, the production problem would be solved and there would be enough for everyone, but machines (robots, he thought) would cause “technological unemployment.” There would be plenty to go around, but the means of getting a share in it, jobs, might be scarce.

    We are not quite at 2030, but I believe we have reached the “Keynes point,” where indeed enough is produced by the economy, both physical and virtual, for all of us. (If total US household income of $8.495 trillion were shared by America’s 116 million households, each would earn $73,000, enough for a decent middle-class life.) And we have reached a point where technological unemployment is becoming a reality.

    The problem in this new phase we’ve entered is not quite jobs, it is access to what’s produced. Jobs have been the main means of access for only 200 or 300 years. Before that, farm labor, small craft workshops, voluntary piecework, or inherited wealth provided access. Now access needs to change again.

    However this happens, we have entered a different phase for the economy, a new era where production matters less and what matters more is access to that production: distribution, in other words—who gets what and how they get it.

    We have entered the distributive era…

    From a very provocative essay by a very wise man, Brian Arthur.  You can– and should– read it in its entirety at “Where is technology taking the economy?

    See also: “Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution”*…

    * T.E. Lawrence

    ###

    As we rethink the fundamentals, we might recall that it was on this date in 1994 that The Superhighway Summit was held at the University of California, Los Angeles’s Royce Hall.

    It was the “first public conference bringing together all of the major industry, government and academic leaders in the field [and] also began the national dialogue about the Information Superhighway and its implications.” The conference was organized by Richard Frank of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and Jeffrey Cole and Geoffrey Cowan, the former co-directors of UCLA’s Center for Communication Policy.The keynote speaker was Vice President Al Gore who said:  “We have a dream for…an information superhighway that can save lives, create jobs and give every American, young and old, the chance for the best education available to anyone, anywhere.”

    According to Cynthia Lee in UCLA Today: “The participants underscored the point that the major challenge of the Information Highway would lie in access or the ‘gap between those who will have access to it because they can afford to equip themselves with the latest electronic devices and those who can’t.’”  [source]

    Vice President Gore at the Summit’s podium

    source

     

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:24 on 2017/12/15 Permalink
    Tags: , Bill of Rights Day, , , , Internet, ,   

    “When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie”*… 

     

    Internet censorship is a growing phenomenon around the world (c.f., here), perhaps the most severe form of which is the “disconnection” of a country from the global internet altogether…

    In January 2011, what was arguably the first significant disconnection of an entire country from the Internet took place when routes to Egyptian networks disappeared from the Internet’s global routing table, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could exchange Internet traffic with Egypt’s service providers. It was followed in short order by nationwide disruptions in Bahrain, Libya, and Syria. These outages took place during what became known as the Arab Spring, highlighting the role that the Internet had come to play in political protest, and heralding the wider use of national Internet shutdowns as a means of control…

    After these events, and another significant Internet outage in Syria, this question led a blog post published in November 2012 by former Dyn Chief Scientist Jim Cowie that examined the risk of Internet disconnection for countries around the world, based on the number of Internet connections at their international border. “You can think of this, to [a] first approximation,” Cowie wrote, “as the number of phone calls (or legal writs, or infrastructure attacks) that would have to be performed in order to decouple the domestic Internet from the global Internet.”

    Based on our aggregated view of the global Internet routing table at the time, we identified the set of border providersin each country: domestic network providers (autonomous systems, in BGP parlance) who have direct connections, visible in routing, to international (foreign) providers. From that data set, four tiers were defined to classify a country’s risk of Internet disconnection…

    Read ’em and weep at “The Migration of Political Internet Shutdowns.”

    * Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    ###

    As opt for open, we might recall that today is Bill of Rights Day: on this date in 1791, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution were ratified and came into effect.

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:51 on 2017/08/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , Internet, internet traffic, internet use, , ,   

    “Don’t believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.”*… 

     

    Just a month ago, it was revealed that Facebook has more than two billion active monthly users. That means that in any given month, more than 25% of Earth’s population logs in to their Facebook account at least once.

    This kind of scale is almost impossible to grasp.

    Here’s one attempt to put it in perspective: imagine Yankee Stadium’s seats packed with 50,000 people, and multiply this by a factor of 40,000. That’s about how many different people log into Facebook every month worldwide.

    The Yankee Stadium analogy sort of helps, but it’s still very hard to picture. The scale of the internet is so great, that it doesn’t make sense to look at the information on a monthly basis, or even to use daily figures.

    Instead, let’s drill down to just what happens in just one internet minute…

    More at “What Happens in an Internet Minute in 2017?

    And for a cogent consideration of what all this might mean, see “You Are the Product.”

    * Douglas Adams

    ###

    As we retreat behind the firewall, we might recall that it was on this date in 1980 that The Project Chess team at IBM showed a prototype microcomputer to their corporate management. Management gave approval– and a one-year deadline– for the team to build an operational computer to compete in the rapidly emerging personal computer market. One year and 4 days later, the IBM PC was introduced to the world… and the rest is history.

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:28 on 2017/05/18 Permalink
    Tags: , civic discourse, , Internet, , newspaper, public opinion,   

    “The bubbles of certainty are constantly exploding”*… 

     

    The internet, most everybody agrees, is driving Americans apart, causing most people to hole up in sites geared toward people like them… This view makes sense. After all, the internet gives us a virtually unlimited number of options from which we can consume the news. I can read whatever I want. You can read whatever you want…  And people, if left to their own devices, tend to seek out viewpoints that confirm what they believe. Thus, surely, the internet must be creating extreme political segregation.

    There is one problem with this standard view. The data tells us that it is simply not true.

    See for yourself at “Maybe the internet isn’t tearing us apart after all.”

    * Rem Koolhaas

    ###

    As we listen for the pop, we might recall that it was on this ate in 1622 that the Stationers Register recorded (allowed the publication of) the first issue of a news weekly– a series of reports from foreign correspondents, generally considered to have been the first “newspaper” in the English language.

    Cover of the second issue (the first issue is lost)

    source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 09:01:24 on 2017/01/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , Internet, , , Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, , ,   

    “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”*… 

     

    Jacques Louis David’s The Death of Socrates

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy may be the most interesting website on the internet. Not because of the content—which includes fascinating entries on everything from ambiguity to zombies—but because of the site itself.

    Its creators have solved one of the internet’s fundamental problems: How to provide authoritative, rigorously accurate knowledge, at no cost to readers. It’s something the encyclopedia, or SEP, has managed to do for two decades.

    The internet is an information landfill. Somewhere in it—buried under piles of opinion, speculation, and misinformation—is virtually all of human knowledge. But sorting through the trash is difficult work. Even when you have something you think is valuable, it often turns out to be a cheap knock-off.

    The story of how the SEP is run, and how it came to be, shows that it is possible to create a less trashy internet—or at least a less trashy corner of it. A place where actual knowledge is sorted into a neat, separate pile instead of being thrown into the landfill. Where the world can go to learn everything that we know to be true. Something that would make humans a lot smarter than the internet we have today…

    An alternative to crowd-sourced, crowd-funded publishing that’s true to the ideals of the web– and that works:  “This free online encyclopedia has achieved what Wikipedia can only dream of.”

    * Benjamin Franklin

    ###

    As we rethink querying Quora, we might spare a thought for “The Sage of Baltimore,” Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken; he died on this date in 1956…  The author of The American Language (and many, many other things) is credited with having coined the term “ecdysiast,” in response to a request from a practitioner who requested a “more dignified” way to refer to her profession.

    Often called “the American Nietzsche” (by virtue of his scholarship on the German philosopher), Mencken might better have been considered “the American Wilde”; consider:

    Democracy is the theory that holds that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

    Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

    Nature abhors a moron.

    Puritanism – The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.

     source

     

     
  • nmw 09:58:51 on 2016/10/08 Permalink
    Tags: incunabula, Internet, , online, troll, , trolls,   

    Martin Luther Wuz Here 

    ass

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:12 on 2016/06/10 Permalink
    Tags: Charles Wheatstone, Five Needle Telegraph, guide, , , Internet, NSA, , , William Fothergill   

    “Certainly it constitutes bad news when the people who agree with you are buggier than batshit”*… 

     

    The NSA’s 2007 internal manual for research on the Internet is, well… mesmerizingly odd.  On it’s way to a Dungeons-and-Dragons-as-reported-by-an-undergraduate-Classics-major-like depiction of life online, it cites Borges, Freud, and Ovid – and that’s just the preface…

    The NSA has a well-earned reputation for being one of the tougher agencies to get records out of, making those rare FOIA wins all the sweeter. In the case of Untangling the Web, the agency’s 2007 guide to internet research, the fact that the records in question just so happen to be absolutely insane are just icing on the cake – or as the guide would put it, “the nectar on the ambrosia.”…

    More of the backstory at “The NSA’s guide to the internet is the weirdest thing you’ll read today“; browse through the text in its extraordinary entirety here.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will guard the guards themselves?, or more familiarly, who will watch the watchers?)

    – Juvenal

    * Philip K. Dick

    ###

    As we limber up our gaming fingers, we might recall this is an important anniversary in the pre-history of the Internet:  on this date in 1837, Charles Wheatstone and William Fothergill Cooke patented the electric “Five Needle Telegraph” in London (U.K. No. 7390).  They were subsequently granted a patent in the U.S. 10 days before Samuel Morse received his, but Morse was given priority by the U.S. PTO as the first inventor.  Nonetheless, Wheatstone and Cooke had priority in the U.K.; their system served British railways, press, and law enforcement for decades, first as the service of an independent company, then as a nationalized part of the General Post Office.

    Wheatstone (left) and Cooke

    source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:46 on 2016/06/08 Permalink
    Tags: , funding, , Internet, , Tim Berners-Lee, , world wide web   

    “The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man”*… 

     

    The Annual Library Budget Survey, a global study that queries 686 senior librarians about their budget spending predictions for the year, was published last week by the Publishers Communication Group (PCG), a consultancy wing of Ingenta, the self-described “largest supplier of technology and related services for the publishing industry.” The survey found uneven growth expectations for libraries worldwide…

    Check it out at “How Are Libraries Doing Around the World?

    * (Groucho Marx’s buddy) T.S. Eliot

    ###

    As we keep our voices down, we might send informative birthday greetings to Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBCS; he was born on this date in 1955.  While working as a Fellow at CERN in 1989, he invented the World Wide Web, developing and demonstrating the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet.  Currently the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the continued development of the Web, he remains a staunch defender of an open Web and the free flow of information.

    [On the heels of yesterday’s almanac entry, should “Internet” be capitalized?]

     source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:51 on 2014/10/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , Internet, , , Pope Gregory, , , ,   

    “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once”*… 

     

     source

    H.G. Well’s The Time Machine is widely credited with having popularized the prospect of time travel (though Edward Page Mitchell”s short story, “The Clock That Ran Backwards” surely deserves a nod).  In fact, the notion of travel into the future dates back to the Mahabharata; and travel into the past, while more modern, to the 18th century (e.g., Samuel Madden’s 1733 novel Memoirs of the Twentieth Century).  The concept flowered in the 19th century– e.g., Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”.  And of course, it has flourished in our time, bot in countless novels and in the newer media of radio, film. and television.

    At our post-relativity times, scientists have increasingly taken the concept seriously, looking for theories that might suggest that traversing time might be possible (both backwards and forwards) and investigating claims that time travel has already happened.

    So it should come as no surprise that scientists are exploring a new frontier, the internet for evidence, of visitors from another era…

    Two researchers from the Department of Physics at Michigan Technological University decided to search the Internet for such evidence and have completed the study, “Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers,” submitted on December 26 on ArXiv. Authors Robert Nemiroff, professor of physics, and Teresa Wilson, a PhD candidate, said, “The modern ubiquity” of the Internet lends itself to far-reaching methods to search for time travelers. They said a benefit from their effort, given the great reach of the Internet, is that their search is “the most comprehensive to date”…

    Read more at PhysOrg’s “Michigan researchers hunt for Internet remnants from time travelers.”  It’s a fascinating read, though– spoiler alert– none were found.

    Still, as Randall Monroe reminds us, we’re all time travelers…

     xkcd

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-michigan-internet-remnants.html#jCp

    * Albert Einstein

    ###

    As we check our watches, we might recall that it was on this date in 1582 that Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland introduced the Gregorian calendar.  While this was “October 5″ in the rest of the world, those four countries, adopting Pope Gregory XIII’s innovation, skipped ten days– so that there, the date shifted from October 4 the day before to October 15.  With the shift, the calendar was aligned with the equinoxes, and the lunar cycles used to establish the celebration of Easter.  Britain and its colonies resisted this Popish change, and used the Julian calendar for another century and a half, until September 2, 1752.

    From a work published in 1582, the year of the calendar reform; days 5 to 14 October are omitted.

    source

     

     
  • feedwordpress 08:01:08 on 2014/07/11 Permalink
    Tags: Alchian-Allen theorem, , , , , , , Internet, , ,   

    “In economics, the majority is always wrong”*… 

     

    “Grumpy Cat,” whose image has flown across the internet– and graced the front page of the Wall Street Journal

    One may imagine that economics has little bearing on the more frivolous frontiers of everyday life; but in fact it explains why one consumes so much “animal antics” online and so little Shakespearean seriousness…

    Economics sometimes has surprising applications. One example is the Alchian-Allen theorem, an observation that came from a footnote in an economics textbook in the 1960s about how quality demand is affected by transport costs…

    The Allen-Alchian theorem explains why places with high-quality produce (Allen and Alchian had in mind apples in Seattle, which is where apples come from in the US) nevertheless do not always get to consume that same high quality (they pointed to the market for apples in New York city, where no apples grow) because of the relative costs faced by consumers in each case (for New York consumers, a high-quality apple, once you account for transportation costs, was actually relatively cheaper than a low-quality apple compared to relative prices in Seattle). Hence the market sent the high-quality apples to New York.

    You’re still with me? It’s all about relative costs. When you move something, or impose any fixed cost, the higher-quality item always wins, because it now has a lower relative cost compared to the lower-quality item.

    The interesting idea is that this also applies in reverse – namely when we remove a fixed cost. The internet does this: it removes a cost of transport, and it does so equally for high quality and low quality content. Following the Allen-Alchian theorem, this should mean the opposite. Low-quality items are now relatively cheaper and high-quality items are now relatively more expensive. This idea was first explained by Tyler Cowen, but the upshot is that the internet is made of cats

    The internet lowers the cost of “transport” for every idea, high and low quality alike. It’s the opposite of the apples situation. It means that low quality apples are now relatively cheaper. It means that cats-doing-funny-things is now relatively cheaper than say German Opera. Economics insists that when demand curves look like this we can expect more cat watching, and less German opera watching.

    This theorem means that we expect a lower quality, “bittier” consumption to proliferate on the internet (as a technology that lowers transport costs of high-quality and low-quality ideas alike). Which is what we observe. So that’s a win for micro-economic demand theory.

    Is this really what’s happened?  Have we all gotten dumber?  Read more– including the arguments, pro and con– at “The internet is made of cats – and you can blame economists“: and read the paper the lays out the “economics of cute” in “The Alchian-Allen Theorem and the Economics of Internet Animals.”

    * John Kenneth Galbraith

    ###

    As we come to terms with the fact that all our bases are belong to them, we might spare a slightly skewed thought for Giuseppe Arcimboldo; he died on this date in 1593.  An Italian painter best known for creating partraits composed entirely of such objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books, he is considered a Mannerist… though he might well be the first Surrealist.  He was certainly cited by many– from Dali through Ocampo to Švankmajer– as an influence.

    Arcimboldo’s portrait of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, painted as Vertumnus, the Roman God of the seasons, c. 1590-1

    source

    Self-portrait

    source

     

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel