Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club
"Finding needles in the haystack"


The utility of a technology that allows you to upload your bookmarks or history, really your memory, sounds liberating but it comes with a price. The problem is that uploaded information is no longer private. If some people worry about cookie technology laying open the contents of their hard drives to merchants who seek the knowledge to manipulate them as a thin wedge for governments seeking to inspect and control then how much more vulnerable people are after the place the index to their interests and concerns on an external file?

The benefit of Google is that it allows you to limit the responses to what you have a greater probability of seeking. The risk of Google is that after analyzing your interests and needs, and comparing them with the interests and needs of the exterior entity that is choosing what you see, the choices made available to you will be biased in a way that shapes your knowledge and future interests. Information could exist but not be made available for you to consider. The book that the librarian hides on the back shelf effectively does not exist. The motto of Google is "Do no evil" but they are an entity not only with corporate interests, they must deal with China, but with the personal interests and political enthusiasms of both their owners and their staff.

Clutter is a real problem. In my life I have a large apartment that is filled with stuff. Papers accumulate that I am loath the throw out but have no place to file. Things sit in the wrong place that I have no shelf space or storage for. Books sit in boxes.

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RWE,
(who found Truther paranoia on the Internet)
PJM still displays advertising for Circuit City. The ghost is in the machine.

Your IFR Aiming Points story sounds like it came from the back pages of the old Journal of Irreproducible Results. JIR had some gems, like the proof that there had been giant beavers on the East coast of America. The evidence was the absence of Giant Sequoia trees, because the Giant Beavers must have cut them all down.

Someplace I have or had a book whose author "proved" that the years between 600 and 1000 AD did not really exist. It was all a plot made up in a monastery for some nefarious purpose. Since the monks controlled the written records, they were the Google of their day, they could make up anything and sell it to the world. They could even create 400 years.

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