A Radified Look at the Internet

{This piece is work-in-progress}


The Internet has been called: 

A book I read recently, titled, The Internet, refers to the Internet as the Eighth 
Wonder of the World
. I've heard the Internet called The Greatest Invention of 
Our Time
--that no one alive today will see an invention greater than the Net. 

The day in which we live is referred to as The Internet Age, as in this article by 
Bill Gates, posted at the Internet Policy Institute

In the last few years, I've become quite familiar with the Internet, as a user. 
The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. 

There are many different aspects to the Net, but the two offering the most 
dramatic benefits are:

1. Communication
2. Data Transfer 

Let me interject by saying that, if you're using a dial-up connection, you don't 
know what the Net is about. It's like trying to climb a hill while breathing thru 
your nose packed with cotton. 

I'm not saying this to dis dial-ups. On the contrary, I used a dial-up connection 
for many years. But it wasn't until I got a broadband connection (Cable) that I 
began to experience the real power the Net has to offer. 

Some people claim that a broadband connection is life-changing. Not sure I'd go 
that far, but it's a huge difference--one you can't even imagine. I know that 
broadband isn't available in many parts of the country, or the world. But if you 
get one (Cable or DSL), you won't regret it. You'll wonder how you lever lived 
without it.


The Internet connects people that would otherwise have never made contact. 
I have friends all around the world that I've never met in person. The Net gives 
me access to their ideas, to their experience, their knowledge, lessons they've 

Unlike a book, the Net allows you to ask pointed, specific questions. You may have 
to read several books to find the answer to a particular question you're looking for. 
The author may have assumed you know a particular piece of information that you 
don't. The Net allows you to acquire specific, pointed, detailed information, quickly 
and easily.

The ability to search for information has become a science in itself.

The Net also provides anonymity. You can be whoever you want online. When 
venturing out into the corridors of cyberspace, many people assume on online 
persona. You often don't even know who you're dealing with - whether they're 
male or female, skin color, sexual persuasion. 

And none of that really matters. In the case of online bulletin boards, what matters 
is: Does anyone know the answer to my question? Everything else is immaterial, 

For example, I received much valuable info from a user named Death. He was very 
pleasant & more helpful. I remember thinking, "Death is great dude." =)

With the advent of secure email, you might not know who your mail is from. Usually
it's best to assume the worst, until you know otherwise. But at least you'll never get
Anthrax from email.

Data Transfer

Data refers to many things. A picture is a form of data. A song is a form data. A software 
program and a movie are also forms of data. Any information that can be represented 
digitally can be considered data. The Net allows you to both send and receive all kinds 
of data. 

On the dark side, the Net also allows people to transfer copyrighted data, such as 
copyrighted music, in the form of MP3 files (made famous by Napster). Copyrighted 
movies are transferred, usually in the form of Divx files. Pirated software programs 
are transferred across the net. I won't even get into porn--a major consumer of 
Internet bandwidth.

You can find a more eloquent discussion on media piracy here (Nicky's pages, article titled,
DVD & Internet Piracy - What is the Truth Behind It?)

It's this shady side of the Internet that is the most hush-hush, and the most interesting. 
Lots of stuff goes on that you need to become of member of first. People on the Net are 
inherently distrustful, cuz you often don't know the true identity of who you're dealing with.

Most groups operating on the dark side need to know and trust you before admitting you
into their group. I'm not a member of any such group, but what little I know is fascinating. 
The talents and technical skills that some of these people have are simply amazing. An 
entire subculture has sprung up. 

The basic philosophy behind this subculture is that information should be free. Big corp-
orations and big government should have the keys to information. Indeed, no one entity 
owns the Internet. The Internet doesn't stop at national borders. 


The biggest advantage of the Internet comes from the ability of people to share ideas
and acquire information. Even language is no longer a barrier. There are now language 
translators, such as BabelFish at AltaVista. These translators will translate a word, a 
sentence, a paragraph, or entire web pages.

Some theologians feel that this harbingers ominous times. There's a story in the Bible 
about the Tower of Babel (Genesis, ch 11) where the people say, ".. let us build us a 
city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven, and let us make a name, lest we 
be scattered abroad on the face of the earth." 

But God didn't like that (the story goes) cuz He wanted them to go out and fill the earth. 
So He said:

"Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language, and this they begin to do, 
and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do .. let us 
go down and confound their language, that they may not understand one another's 
speech." (Story here)

Notice in particular the words, nothing will be restrained from them. In other words,
with one language, they'll be able to accomplish anything they set their minds to.
Think about that. Some theologians feel people will start to worship the Internet. 

So there's a religious sense of dread with anything that attempts to eliminate the 
naturally-occurring impediments of different languages. 

More to come.

While I'm working on this thing, you can check out this article here, and the Internet 2.

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