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If the internet crashes in the forest will it make a sound?

Listening to NPR the other day,I was taken by a story on how there is a movement to make wifi access available everywhere in the national parks. It seems that some people have found that the great outdoors just are not enough of a draw for them and that they feel the need to Skype, check Facebook and possibly download and watch the that episode of “The Bachelor” that they might miss. This makes me think of Marie Antoinette and the Hameau de la Reine a rustic retreat that she had built on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. There she would dress as a peasant and have local farmers help her maintain the perception of being a peasant in the country. It seems that we are creating a similar situation by allowing Wifi into national parks, we have all the trappings of wilderness but with the constant distraction of technology and media. Will we get to a point where a genuine outdoor experience with no wifi is something that we can only have on the grounds of a private estate or range possibly at a cost so that those who have this internet silence can enjoy it with others who can pay for the privilege of being truly in the wilderness?

If the Internet crashes in the forest will it make a sound?

Here is the link to the article on NPR

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Information Saturation

The BBC had a story about a company called Spritz that claims that they will be able to make anyone into a super speed reader possibly finishing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 77 minutes. Normally as we read, our eyes hop from word to word through the text, with quick movements. The amount of time our eyes linger on each word and the distance they hop changes as the difficulty to comprehend each word changes. While this may not be the most efficient way to input information it does mean that we are not getting information faster then we can process it.
As I read this article I was reminded of a conversation with my brother who works for a large computer chip manufacturing company. It seems that every few years they can make a faster chip but that the market isn’t always ready for the new speed and the innovation becomes a hard sell and yet the technology keeps advancing. Will we reach the point where fast becomes too fast? Will we reach a cognitive overload where we are trying to force ourselves to take in more data than we are hardwired to comprehend in the speed that we believe we should be able to comprehend it?

Information Overload

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Paul Revere was here……or was he?

We have already spoken about those who feel the internet has become our collective past a sort of virtual memory for all of us. I think that an interesting thought but am fascinated by the conclusions that one can draw from this line of reason. One of the interesting aspects of the possibility of time travel is to go back to the past and revise our history to change our future what is sometimes known as the Grandfather paradox. Before when we relied on print and solid materials it was not difficult to go a primary source- the facts were generally agreed upon but the interpretation of them could be up for discussion. Now if the internet is our collective past then isn’t it possible to go back and revise it with just a few key strokes are we not creating a constantly shifting past to create the reality that suits our needs? Remember the incident where Sara Palin said that Paul Revere “warned the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms.” While the news media rushed to point out that Revere was, in fact, warning the American colonists, not the British, Palin’s supporters apparently attempted to update the Wikipedia entry on Revere in order to make the facts conform to Palin’s version of history. While the nature of the 24 hour news cycle caught this incident, how many other changes could be made with out our notice? How do we know that our past is really our past or something made up for us for if one can control the past can one not also control the future and while not a time machine to travel through time it does seem like the ability to influence a future to your desire.

Dali

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Is this the information that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

A few years ago I was interested to hear about a court argument regarding funding of the public schools in New York City. It was finally determined that the job of a school was to give enough education by the end of high school that a student would be able to make informed decisions enough to engage in the voting process. I think of that now with the free flow of information available on the internet and I wonder what is the purpose of all this available information or is there one? Are we making all this data available for no reason at all or just because we can. It seemed that once educations purpose was for the betterment of ones self and by extension all human kind. Is our new media revolution for the same purpose or have we become Faustian in our scope and find ourselves using this new technology for mere parlor tricks?

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