I'm not really here, because I'm in seclusion, writing stuff. However, the Procrastination department of Grüner inc. wants you to have a look at the following:
* Wired has an interesting look at the 10-year anniversary of the web as we know it - they're counting from the public offering of Netscape stock. I didn't think you could be more enthusiastic about the internets than Ted Nelson was, back in the 80's, but the guy who wrote this story actually is, and I have to say, he makes it work:
The scope of the Web today is hard to fathom. The total number of Web pages, including those that are dynamically created upon request and document files available through links, exceeds 600 billion. That's 100 pages per person alive.
How could we create so much, so fast, so well? In fewer than 4,000 days, we have encoded half a trillion versions of our collective story and put them in front of 1 billion people, or one-sixth of the world's population. That remarkable achievement was not in anyone's 10-year plan.
The accretion of tiny marvels can numb us to the arrival of the stupendous. Today, at any Net terminal, you can get: an amazing variety of music and video, an evolving encyclopedia, weather forecasts, help wanted ads, satellite images of anyplace on Earth, up-to-the-minute news from around the globe, tax forms, TV guides, road maps with driving directions, real-time stock quotes, telephone numbers, real estate listings with virtual walk-throughs, pictures of just about anything, sports scores, places to buy almost anything, records of political contributions, library catalogs, appliance manuals, live traffic reports, archives to major newspapers - all wrapped up in an interactive index that really works.
Man's got a point.
Gets into very interesting territory later on. Starts talking about the internet as one big intelligence, comparing its structure to the human brain. It's not the first time I've heard this idea. First time was in Neuromancer, which brings me seamlessly into items two and three:
* William Gibson has begun blogging again (...again). He says he's writing a new novel.
*Judith Reisman, an anti-anything-to-do-with-sex activist who has the ear of the American conservative right talks about how porn enfeebles the mind, by addicting you to "erototoxins".
Thanks to the latest advances in neuroscience, we now know that pornographic visual images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail, arguably, subverting the First Amendment by overriding the cognitive speech process. This is true of so-called “soft-core” and “hard-core” pornography. And once new neurochemical pathways are established they are difficult or impossible to delete. (...)Pornography triggers myriad kinds of internal, natural drugs that mimic the “high” from a street drug. Addiction to pornography is addiction to what I dub erototoxins -- mind-altering drugs produced by the viewer’s own brain.
See, the only problem with this is: it's not true. Or rather, it's true, but sex does it alot better than porn does, and we're hopefully not outlawing that. "Latest advances in neuroscience", my ass. We've known that all stimuli permanently alters the brain since the birth of neuroscience. In particular, we are well aware that pleasurable sexual experiences tickles the brain in many ways. But the human race is born addicted to sex, in much the same way that we are born addicted to air and food, and there really isn't anything I'd want to do about that.
"Overriding the cognitive speech process." Stop it! You're killing me!
This is pseudoscience at its worst. The idea, of course, being that since porn users are addicts, the government can (in fact, should) make pornography illegal, and this would be the first step in a restriction of freedom of speech (which might be a good thing, because then you wouldn't be able to say that the Nazi Party & the holocaust were the creation of the "German homosexual movement" and get away with it), and reproductive rights (abortion, homosexuality, anything other than missionary between married couples).
A novel approach to sexual ethics, I must admit. To be honest, I've never heard of or seen anything quite this dumb before.
(But you shouldn't use porn anyway, because masturbation makes your palms hairy.)