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Frivolous Journalism & Technology
January 17th, 2007 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: 2 ]

In my previous post, I included another topic I’ve got a pet peeve about. Technology and bad journalism. Today I read another article by the great social communities commentator, Clay Shirky. He’s been following the press regarding Linden Labs, Second Life:

Second Life (abbreviated SL) is an online virtual world provided by Linden Lab which came to international attention in late 2006 and early 2007. Through a client program, users interact with each other through avatars, providing an advanced social network service.

Anyways, seems journalists have gone and extrapolated the numbers and have predicted the end of meatspace and the beginning of the virtual world. I, for one, am as skeptical as Clay Shirky is. He correctly points out that journalists and readers will not get the difference between unique visitors and logins and Linden Labs has until recently, been scarce with numbers.

For me personally, I’ve gotten a healthy skepticism w.r.t online communities. I played off and on in a Counter-Strike community for 4 years and the only friends I had afterwards, were ones I had when I started. IRC/GTalk/Skype/MSN are just no replacements for physical interaction. I kind of realised this when I read this opinion piece last year.

Studies show that most people interested in politics associate nearly exclusively with others who have similar political beliefs. In fact, research by sociologist David Knoke at the University of Minnesota shows that if you know whether a person’s friends are Republicans, Democrats or independents, you can predict with near certainty that person’s political views.

Somehow linked to Many-To-Many site, there was this link (just click on ad to read the piece).

On Google’s social networking service, Orkut, Indians are organizing themselves by caste. (Thanks to DesiPundit for the tip.) There are hundreds, maybe thousands of groups devoted to every caste, subcaste and sub-sub-caste that exists in India’s phenomenally splintered and complex caste system.

It seems to me that despite popular misconception, the internet will not blur the lines between race, colour, creed, etc. It seems the internet will not facilitate new social connections but will just support existing ones. How sad.

Perspective & Global Warming
January 7th, 2007 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: 7 ]

I’m sure everyone can agree that the media would not be where it is today if it weren’t for sensationalism. I used to really fear the effect that Global Warming was going to have on earth if we didn’t do something. I remember, after hearing about CFCs for the first time, running around the house, checking all the aerosol cans to make sure they didn’t contain these gases of impending death. Then last year, I read a speech that was given by Michael Crichton. I really can’t do it justice by summarizing his points and you should really go and read it. Suffice to say, I don’t really worry about that kind of stuff anymore.

Now don’t think that I’m disputing commonly held scientific opinion. That’s not my intention. It’s just clear to me, that despite what the media tells you, our civilization is not teetering on the edge of total oblivion. Governments will govern (poorly) and it will be contained. In order to get close to half of the actual truth, it seems you need the same story from at least 5 different sources. I’m just a bit tired of articles on science/technology that tell of an amazing new breakthrough, only to never hear about it again. It just amounts to bad journalism by people who should know better/do more research.

Frankly, I have more important stuff to worry about. Like Nostradamus latest prediction, for instance