Internet - too much, too fast, too unreliable?

  • Thread starter Evo
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  • #1
Evo
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Some days I wonder why it seems that the world has never been crazier, why it seems so much more out of control than in any other time in my life. Then I stop and realize that I'm sitting at my computer with dozens and dozens of news stories from around the world, that just happened within the last few minutes. Stories reported before facts are known, sketchy details from unknown sources. *Reporters* that have no credentials and no knowledge of the subject they are reporting. Retractions, corrections, contradictions, and maybe you see them, maybe you don't, maybe the story just disappears.

I have to wonder if one of the attractions of the internet, the immediacy, the global connectivity, breaking boundaries and allowing virtually anyone a voice of seeming knowledge and authority, isn't also what is wrong with the internet.

It seems human nature prefers the nonsensical, sensational explanation over the accurate, not as sensational, and usually more difficult to understand truth. Another human foible is thinking that if you see it or hear it enough times, it has to be true. Nonsense on the intenet is propagated across the world in the blink of an eye.

Am I just too cynical? Is it not as bad as it seems? Will it just get worse?

Perhaps the sane should form an intranet of sites that wish to filter out the garbage.

In the words of the Almighty Pengwuino "Discuss!"
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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most people are the same as before internet. only care about royal weddings and sensational murder trials. same ol' same ol', just a different tabloid medium.
 
  • #3
rhody
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Some days I wonder why it seems that the world has never been crazier, why it seems so much more out of control than in any other time in my life. Then I stop and realize that I'm sitting at my computer with dozens and dozens of news stories from around the world, that just happened within the last few minutes. Stories reported before facts are known, sketchy details from unknown sources. *Reporters* that have no credentials and no knowledge of the subject they are reporting. Retractions, corrections, contradictions, and maybe you see them, maybe you don't, maybe the story just disappears.

I have to wonder if one of the attractions of the internet, the immediacy, the global connectivity, breaking boundaries and allowing virtually anyone a voice of seeming knowledge and authority, isn't also what is wrong with the internet.

It seems human nature prefers the nonsensical, sensational explanation over the accurate, not as sensational, and usually more difficult to understand truth. Another human foible is thinking that if you see it or hear it enough times, it has to be true. Nonsense on the intenet is propagated across the world in the blink of an eye.

Am I just too cynical? Is it not as bad as it seems? Will it just get worse?

Perhaps the sane should form an intranet of sites that wish to filter out the garbage.

In the words of the Almighty Pengwuino "Discuss!"

The topic is valid, however, I am beginning to worry, Pengy'isms are creeping into more than just my vocabulary, and in true penguin tradition, my humble contribution: "THIS HAS TO STOP!" There, now I feel better, heh...

Rhody... o:)
 
  • #4
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Some days I wonder why it seems that the world has never been crazier, why it seems so much more out of control than in any other time in my life.
Cheer up. We missed out on a lot of the really crazy stuff. Our parents went through much worse and so will our children I fear. Historical periods were even worse.
 
  • #5
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I think people in every generation have had the same concerns - literally, for thousands of years. The masses have always subscribed to sensational BS.

I think when a person is younger, they just don't really realize it, so it always seems to be getting worse.
 
  • #6
dlgoff
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I have to wonder if one of the attractions of the internet, the immediacy, the global connectivity, breaking boundaries and allowing virtually anyone a voice of seeming knowledge and authority, isn't also what is wrong with the internet.

It seems human nature prefers the nonsensical, sensational explanation over the accurate, not as sensational, and usually more difficult to understand truth. Another human foible is thinking that if you see it or hear it enough times, it has to be true. Nonsense on the intenet is propagated across the world in the blink of an eye.

Am I just too cynical? Is it not as bad as it seems? Will it just get worse?

No
No
Maybe

But you are doing what we need in order change these answers. e.g. being here a PF mentoring what Greg was inspired to create.

How can WE do more to be a good example to the internet?
 
  • #7
BobG
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I have to wonder if one of the attractions of the internet, the immediacy, the global connectivity, breaking boundaries and allowing virtually anyone a voice of seeming knowledge and authority, isn't also what is wrong with the internet.

It seems human nature prefers the nonsensical, sensational explanation over the accurate, not as sensational, and usually more difficult to understand truth. Another human foible is thinking that if you see it or hear it enough times, it has to be true. Nonsense on the intenet is propagated across the world in the blink of an eye.

Am I just too cynical? Is it not as bad as it seems? Will it just get worse?

Same old thing that's happened for centuries, except faster. If anything, at least a skeptical listener/reader can shoot down some of the myths they hear a lot easier and quicker than they used to, even if they now hear about 10 times as many.

Used to be, your history teacher could tell you some incredible anectdote about the period you were studying and you'd just mindlessly repeat that to your family and friends. After all, how could possibly refute it? It might even of had a positive effect in making the period you studying more interesting.

In some ways, having a fairly easy way to double check the accuracy of some of those stories is a little sad - at least if you're still repeating that story your history teacher told you 20 years later and finally begin to wonder how that story could possibly be true. Or, maybe the real story becomes a little more interesting than the original story once you hear the real version instead of the short anectdotal version (since a lot of myths have at least a little truth to them).


But, for the gullible, the internet can fill your head full of BS a lot faster than the days of standing out by the fence drinking beer could.
 
  • #8
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In some ways, having a fairly easy way to double check the accuracy of some of those stories is a little sad - at least if you're still repeating that story your history teacher told you 20 years later and finally begin to wonder how that story could possibly be true. Or, maybe the real story becomes a little more interesting than the original story once you hear the real version instead of the short anectdotal version (since a lot of myths have at least a little truth to them).
Like Paul Revere.
 
  • #10
turbo
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Like Paul Revere.
Ringin' those bells and warnin' those British that they can't take out guns away!
 
  • #11
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I think it's a thing of our times. I doubt people thought the same way during the radio 'era'.

EDIT: Though nowadays people don't freak out when they hear 'War of the Worlds'. :D
 
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  • #12
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I'm not sure how this relates but I think there should be more public intellectuals such as Chomsky, or back in the day Russell.

Fortunately we have Dawkins, Dennett, and obviously Chomsky.
 
  • #13
Evo
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I think it's a thing of our times. I doubt people thought the same way during the radio 'era'.
But the radio era, and even tv and magazines and newspappers are controlled and people can be held accountable for the information, and retractions are seen/heard by the readers viewers

On the internet, any nut can spew nonsense that even the major news outlets pick up from time to time, the original source can't always be found and the retractions are rarely seen due to the misinformation already being all over the internet, and the retractions rarely get added.

PF is an oasis in the flood of crackpottery on the internet. There are a few good sites like qwackwatch, skeptic, etc... that try to fight the nonsense, but the people that buy the crackpottery are unlikely to check with these sites.
 
  • #14
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But the radio era, and even tv and magazines and newspappers are controlled and people can be held accountable for the information, and retractions are seen/heard by the readers viewers

On the internet, any nut can spew nonsense that even the major news outlets pick up from time to time, the original source can't always be found and the retractions are rarely seen due to the misinformation already being all over the internet, and the retractions rarely get added.

PF is an oasis in the flood of crackpottery on the internet. There are a few good sites like qwackwatch, skeptic, etc... that try to fight the nonsense, but the people that buy the crackpottery are unlikely to check with these sites.
Well, yes. I can't disagree. I don't see an alternative than what I mentioned in post #12. Who else is going to sift through all the BS?
 
  • #15
Evo
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Well, yes. I can't disagree. I don't see an alternative than what I mentioned in post #12. Who else is going to sift through all the BS?
I elect you to fix the problems of the internet!
 
  • #16
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Obama already has a kill-switch for that. Just make it disappear and all shall be fixed.
 
  • #17
turbo
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Obama already has a kill-switch for that. Just make it disappear and all shall be fixed.
A kill-switch that would cripple industry, banking, investments, etc that rely on Internet access? Boy! What a smart move that would be!
 
  • #18
Evo
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A kill-switch that would cripple industry, banking, investments, etc that rely on Internet access? Boy! What a smart move that would be!
There's no such thing. The internet in the US is thousands of independent networks, maybe you could slow traffic, but you couldn't stop it. It's not like a small country where the government controls the flow of data in and out.
 
  • #19
turbo
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There's no such thing. The internet in the US is thousands of independent networks, maybe you could slow traffic, but you couldn't stop it. It's not like a small country where the government controls the flow of data in and out.
I know that, but I'm not going to argue with someone who is under the illusion that such a kill-switch exists.
 
  • #20
Evo
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I know that, but I'm not going to argue with someone who is under the illusion that such a kill-switch exists.
:rofl:
 
  • #21
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I know that, but I'm not going to argue with someone who is under the illusion that such a kill-switch exists.
Oh, you shouldn't take me too seriously. I don't take myself very seriously for the matter.
 
  • #22
micromass
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There's no such thing. The internet in the US is thousands of independent networks, maybe you could slow traffic, but you couldn't stop it. It's not like a small country where the government controls the flow of data in and out.

Just shut down google and its related websites and you've killed the internet :biggrin:
So google has the kill-switch.
 
  • #23
Evo
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Just shut down google and its related websites and you've killed the internet :biggrin:
So google has the kill-switch.
You know, you're not that far off. :bugeye:
 
  • #24
micromass
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You know, you're not that far off. :bugeye:

Scary thought actually. Terrorists just need to attack

- google (& youtube)
- facebook
- twitter
- wikipedia

and they would eliminate 99% of the internet traffic... Fine by me, as long as they stay of PF and OKC. :biggrin:
 
  • #25
Evo
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Scary thought actually. Terrorists just need to attack

- google (& youtube)
- facebook
- twitter
- wikipedia

and they would eliminate 99% of the internet traffic... Fine by me, as long as they stay of PF and OKC. :biggrin:
Would it be wrong to hope that the last three disappeared?
 
  • #26
micromass
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Would it be wrong to hope that the last three disappeared?

No, it is my wish too :biggrin:
 
  • #27
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I'm not sure how this relates but I think there should be more public intellectuals such as Chomsky, or back in the day Russell.

Fortunately we have Dawkins, Dennett, and obviously Chomsky.

internet was my intro to Chomsky.

don't know Dennett. think Dawkins is little more than an evangelical.
 
  • #28
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Would it be wrong to hope that the last three disappeared?

i guess you haven't heard about google+

as for "shutting down the internet", isn't the gov able to remove names from the DNS registry?

i suspect that they can also pull most of the big guys down with just a phone call, too.
 
  • #29
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Then I stop and realize that I'm sitting at my computer with dozens and dozens of news stories from around the world, that just happened within the last few minutes.
Back before the internet I went through a period where I read the newspaper every day. I was never so worked up about the insanity of the times as during that period.

Simply paying attention to the news makes you crazy. The bulk of the stories will be meaningless a year later.

When something really important happens everyone talks about it, so you're not in danger of missing any big news.
 
  • #30
Ivan Seeking
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When something really important happens everyone talks about it, so you're not in danger of missing any big news.

What about before something important happens? Do you vote retroactively?
 
  • #31
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What about before something important happens? Do you vote retroactively?
I don't sweat elections much. I vote by party.
 
  • #32
Pengwuino
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My influence is spreading.
 
  • #33
phyzguy
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It seems to me that, in addition to the things mentioned here, the internet (and the large number of cable TV stations) is also contributing to the very polarized attitudes we have now, at least in the US. I think that before having access to all of these sites, people would read a few newspapers or watch a few television stations for their news reports. These gave a relatively balanced approach to the news. Now, people seem to only get information from the sites that agree with them, and are only rarely exposed to an alternate viewpoint. In the past, I don't think political opinions were so highly polarized as they are today, and this may be the reason. Does anyone else feel this way?
 
  • #34
BobG
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It seems to me that, in addition to the things mentioned here, the internet (and the large number of cable TV stations) is also contributing to the very polarized attitudes we have now, at least in the US. I think that before having access to all of these sites, people would read a few newspapers or watch a few television stations for their news reports. These gave a relatively balanced approach to the news. Now, people seem to only get information from the sites that agree with them, and are only rarely exposed to an alternate viewpoint. In the past, I don't think political opinions were so highly polarized as they are today, and this may be the reason. Does anyone else feel this way?

In the past, you probably interacted mostly with people you knew personally and most of you probably had similar backgrounds. There were probably only a few of your friends that had radically different views from yours, yet had enough other positive things about them that you still hung around them.

Even in situations where you would be most likely to encounter people with radically different views, such as school or a bar for example, it probably took a lot to get them to really forcefully spout off all of their views when they're interacting with people in person.

I think polarized political opinions are just a lot more obvious today.

Of course, the side effect is that making those polarized opinions more obvious makes it easier to form and organize polarized groups and the result is politicians that are more polarized than they have been in the past.
 
  • #35
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internet was my intro to Chomsky.
Glad to hear that. Usually it's pourn that gets intro'd. Poor children, oversexed and underphuqed. Non sequiter you might say, but it is true.

don't know Dennett. think Dawkins is little more than an evangelical.
Dawkins has good reason to be angry.
 

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