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Internet - too much, too fast, too unreliable?

  1. Jul 14, 2011 #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!"
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2011 #2
    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.
     
  4. Jul 14, 2011 #3

    rhody

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    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:)
     
  5. Jul 14, 2011 #4
    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.
     
  6. Jul 14, 2011 #5
    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.
     
  7. Jul 14, 2011 #6

    dlgoff

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    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?
     
  8. Jul 14, 2011 #7

    BobG

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    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.
     
  9. Jul 14, 2011 #8
    Like Paul Revere.
     
  10. Jul 14, 2011 #9

    Evo

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    lol.
     
  11. Jul 14, 2011 #10

    turbo

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    Ringin' those bells and warnin' those British that they can't take out guns away!
     
  12. Jul 14, 2011 #11
    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
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  13. Jul 14, 2011 #12
    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.
     
  14. Jul 14, 2011 #13

    Evo

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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.
     
  15. Jul 14, 2011 #14
    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?
     
  16. Jul 14, 2011 #15

    Evo

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    I elect you to fix the problems of the internet!
     
  17. Jul 14, 2011 #16
    Obama already has a kill-switch for that. Just make it disappear and all shall be fixed.
     
  18. Jul 14, 2011 #17

    turbo

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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!
     
  19. Jul 14, 2011 #18

    Evo

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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.
     
  20. Jul 14, 2011 #19

    turbo

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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.
     
  21. Jul 14, 2011 #20

    Evo

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    :rofl:
     
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