TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Entrenched Interests Versus Disruptive Technology

Entrenched Interests Versus Disruptive Technology

Walter Dnes (
12 Dec 2004 17:04:08 GMT

On Thu, 9 Dec 2004 23:38:11 -0500, Ron Chapman,
<> wrote:

> Books, by their very nature, are wrought from processes that distill
> the crap out and leave hard-considered facts and opinions. But on the
> net, all it takes is one crazy to set up a "the Holocaust was a fake"
> blog -- and how does a ten year old know how to interpret that? He
> doesn't. But he reads it on the net ... so does he just go ahead and
> use that as "fact" to back up his assignment?

> It's all about EDITING.

> Now, maybe if my kid's research was done online using only EDITED
> resources, resources that have been through the same excruciating
> processes that produce printed books, that would be fine.

100% taurine excrement. "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is a
published book that's been around for a century. "Mein Kampf" is
another book that was published long before the internet came into
existance. Would you accept them as authoritative if some kid used
them as sources for his homework assignment???

> Unedited information makes for dangerous waters. It requires at the
> least parental coaching to help the child become a well-rounded and
> educated netizen. One should NOT leave the child alone to use the
> naked net to finish an assignment. My parents could leave me in the
> library by myself to do that, and I could leave my kid in the library
> today, but not on the net. Not alone and without guidance.

When someone once complained that 90% of science fiction was crud,
Theodore Sturgeon shot back that 90% of *EVERYTHING* was crud. This
is popularly known as "Sturgeon's Law". He was generally right,
although some people might argue that 90% is a conservative number.
Children need to be taught critical thinking and to critically examine
*ALL* "facts", regardless of where those alleged facts are found,
regardless of whether it's on the web or in a "respected publication".

Now to get onto the topic of my subject ... when a new technology
comes out that undermines entrenched interests using old tech, the old
entrenched interests will fight tooth-and-nail to destroy the new

- Gutenberg's invention of the printing-press undermined the
religious establishment's authority. Priests, often the only
people literate in Latin, could open up an expensive parchment
Latin Bible and tell the populace "The Holy Bible says blah blah
blah...". Cheap English translations via Gutenberg's printing
press allowed the populace to respond "No, it doesn't". The
Church's initial reaction was to ban English Bible translations,
and burn their authors at the stake (e.g. William Tyndale in 1536)

- The automobile was fought tooth-and-nail by the horse-and-buggy
industry. Ever heard of the "Red Flag Law"?

- Low-cost (and for that matter no-cost) Open Source software is
threatening to undermine Microsoft's monopoly. Microsoft's
response is to amass software patents and spread FUD about Open
Source software ( ).
And then there's the Darl McBride fiaSCO.

Web-publishing threatens the grip of the old-line media. In the old
days, you needed to be a multi-millionaire, if not a billionaire, to
own the media necessary to promote your version of the truth. Today,
anybody with a few dollars a month for an internet connection and a
webpage has the chance to have their story seen by a worldwide
audience. And the old-line media are fighting tooth-and-nail to
discredit/outlaw/hobble the new media. I don't deny that there will
be plenty of garbage in the new media, but then again, there's plenty
of garbage in the old media.

Walter Dnes; my email address is *ALMOST* like
Delete the "z" to get my real address. If that gets blocked, follow
the instructions at the end of the 550 message.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Thank you very much for your excellent
rebuttal. Just as there is **much** -- maybe a large majority of the
stuff on the net -- which is total trash and to be certain it is *very
cheap* and easy to mass produce here; I do not feel, as you do not,
that 'cheap and easy to produce' equals trash automatically. And at
the same time, arduous, time-consuming, relatively expensive to
produce work does not equal 'good'. Consider in the early 1980's as
Usenet and the mailing lists were first getting started, and how the
newspapers used to fight us tooth and nail. What we said here had not
appeared in the New York Times or Mrs. Graham's publications, the
Washington Post or NewsWeak, so therefore there was no currency to it.
As the web began to get underway in 1994-95, the newspapers were
ever so eager to report all the bad things they could about
us. Remember Joe Abernathy, for example, and his perfectly snotty
reports -- filled with all kinds of bald faced lies which appeared in
the print media in the early 1990's?

Yes, the newspapers all have web sites now; they have to be in the
loop after all, but don't think for a minute they are friends. And
remember the New York Times reporter who had the audacity to ask in
print here in this Digest "if you" (meaning me and other web
publishers) "ask for money from your readers, how do we" (meaning the
print media guys) "know you are not just charlatans collecting money
to line your pockets?" Can you imagine that? As though newspapers
were all so pure and white as snow and honest. Most of them are good
and honest people, but then, so are many or most web publishers. And
recall the radio personality from National Public Radio who asked here
if I had been given permission to 'beg for money on the net' and I
asked him "who gave *you* permission to spend days on end doing fund
raising for NPR?" Somehow they are good, the web publishers are
supposed to be the bad guys. I don't believe it.

And Walt, your reference to Mr. Gutenberg, and his printing press: To
the gentleman who castigated *me* in a slight of hand way because due
to a typo error I got an additional /t/ in Gutenberg's name, Walt, you
were mostly correct; Gutenberg's original intention was to 'bring
glory to God and Mother Church' by his new ability to compile all the
scriptures in a form convenient and easy for the common person. The
church had fallen into such disarray in the middle ages and many of
its teachings had become so heretical, his new invention would bring
an end to all that confusion and ignorance, which it did do, but
ultimatly the joke was on Gutenberg wasn't it? Over a space of about a
hundred years, by the late 1500's, there were printing presses all
over Europe, around a million of them, printing all kinds of
things. Gutenberg thought his invention would solidify the church's
power and make corrections as needed in its teachings. We know now
that was not the case at all. And today, the net serves as a good
check on the crud which gets printed in the established media, doesn't
it. PAT]

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