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What The Net is Doing to You 174

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the one-step-closer-to-the-morlocks dept.
Bart writes "The BBC reports One of the world's first research centres dedicated to studying the social, political and economic effects of the net has opened in Oxford" I've offered to trade CowboyNeal to them as a research subject for a case of beer. I think studying the effects of the internet on him will save lives. See? Someone is thinking of the children.
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What The Net is Doing to You

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  • by deadhammer (576762) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:17AM (#4366204)
    The Net has great and ponderous effects, such as creating studies to show the great and ponderous effects of the net.
    • by netclift (158504)

      If you want some links on the Internet and politics, check out my "e-democracy resources" flyer: http://www.publicus.net/articles/edemresources.htm l [publicus.net]

      You can also join DO-WIRE: http://www.e-democracy.org/do [e-democracy.org]

      Here are some recent subject lines from the archive: http://www.mail-archive.com/do-wire@tc.umn.edu/ [mail-archive.com]

      [DW] Vox Populi, Online and Downtown - NYTimes Article, Steven Clift

      [DW] Die Online-Kampagnen der Parteien Event - Berlin - 19 Oct. 2002, Steven Clift

      [DW] Correction - Oct 1 - Re: [DW] Die Online-Kampagnen der Parteien, Steven Clift

      [DW] E-Gov Conference - Korea - 6-7 Nov 2002, Steven Clift

      [DW] [IP] Student Blogs, School Cracks Down (fwd), Steven Clift

      [DW] Carnegie Mellon Team Wins $2.1 Million to Build Online Forum forCitizen Deliberation (fwd), Steven Clift

      [DW] Online Campaigning 2002: A Primer - Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, Steven Clift

      [DW] Publication - Making a case for local e-government (fwd), Steven Clift

      [DW] Paris, Warsaw, Vilnius, Lisbon - Clift Speaking Schedule, Future Requests, Steven Clift

      [DW] New Public Sphere: Technology and Politics in Sweden 1969-1999 - Lars Ilshammar PhD Dissertation, Steven Clift

      [DW] Parliamentary E-Democracy Inquiry, Key Documents - State of Victoria, Australia, Steven Clift

      [DW] US Election 2002 - Senate Campaign E-mail Lists - Wellstone at 25,000, Steven Clift

      [DW] GILC Alert - China, Vietnam, Egypt, Iran ... and more, Steven Clift

      [DW] Recycling Day - Two Items, Steven Clift

      [DW] Voting Technology Glitches in Florida Primary, Steven Clift

      [DW] MyBallot.net - New service from E-Democracy - details and press release, Steven Clift

      [DW] Netactivism-Oriented Conference Calendar, Steven Clift

      [DW] UK Political Participation Online Survey Results - From ERSC, Univof Salford, Steven Clift

  • The Internet is a dynamic place. I don't think that a traditional study can accuratly describe the effects that it has on us.

    I think that this study will be outdated as soon as it is written.
    • Dynamic is one thing, but if the internet changed fundamentally every six months, the average person wouldn't be able to understand it enough to use it. If you look at things in general sweeping terms, the change is not happening so rapidly that it is impossible to comment on them. Even if it was, if can't know where you are going, you could at least know where you've been.
    • I don't think that a traditional study can accuratly describe the effects that it has on us.

      It's not a study. It's a research centre. It will probably produce studies.

  • Perhaps science could explain why direct sunlight and fresh air kills us so quickly?
  • well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by chegosaurus (98703) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:18AM (#4366212) Homepage
    It broadens the mind by introducing you to subgenres of pr0n that you never knew existed.
    • Broadens the mind by introducing you to subgenres of damn near anything, if you look hard enough. Also, it helps teach you good research technique... so you can ignore those skills when you post to Slashdot. ;-)
    • by Bonker (243350) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @09:24AM (#4366557)
      It broadens the mind by introducing you to subgenres of pr0n that you never knew existed.

      While the above post was joking, the idea is true. The internet has done more to make sexuality and sexual practices that were 'deviant' before the mid 1990's into more normal every day things.

      In some respects this is very good. People who were otherwise unable to express themselves now have an outlet. People can find partners and build relationships that they would never have had a chance to in the past.

      In some respects this is very bad. People who are truly sick-- those who sexually molest children to get their jollies-- are lulled into a sense of normalcy by the apparent 'commonness' of their illness.
      • by PygmyTrojan (605138) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @09:39AM (#4366644)
        Ahhh yes, thanks internet, for letting me now that it's okay to take a crap in my girlfriend's mouth.
      • I'm sorry but I never want people who dress up in fur suits to have sex to become accepted by society. After all, part of their fun is to be outsiders and I don't need to see a guy dressed as Barney with an erection sticking out.
      • I firmly believe that promiscuity and homosexuality both constitute being 'truly sick'. You can talk all you want about how urges were 'repressed' and people need to 'express themselves,' but (contrary to popular opinion) psychology does NOT vindicate things like this in the least, and it is NOT psychologically healthy to do so. Pornography, promiscuity, and homosexuality really are like illegal drugs- you tamper with the way your body is ordered in an attempt to produce more pleasure and get all sorts of negative effects. If the Net is providing an 'outlet' for this kind of thing, that would be one of its worst effects, not one of its positive ones.

        Modern society is learning the hard way that you can't encourage perversion and expect people to act morally. When we all grasp this basic truth, the world will be a lot better off.

        I'm bound to be flamed to death for this. Sometimes the truth is difficult, unpopular, and publicly termed 'intolerant.' It needs to be told nonetheless.
        • Sometimes the truth is difficult, unpopular, and publicly termed 'intolerant.' It needs to be told nonetheless.

          Very insightful. Please start whenever you're ready.
        • Kinky sex isn't uncivilized or immoral you damn religous prude.

          Do you only fuck your wife missionary style? ... and then pray to god for forgiveness after?

          Just because sex embarrasses the oldfarts that write religious books doesn't make it evil.

          --

        • I firmly believe that promiscuity and homosexuality both constitute being 'truly sick'.
          I would be astonished to discover that you believe this for any reason other than that you are scared of sex and sexuality, or have perhaps been fed these beliefs without analyzing them critically or empirically.
          Modern society is learning the hard way that you can't encourage perversion and expect people to act morally. When we all grasp this basic truth, the world will be a lot better off.
          This is thankfully a meaningless bit of bluster backed up by nothing. My wife and I live in West Hollywood, the gayest place in Southern California, and almost without exception, every gay person I've met has been friendly, outgoing, and, contrary to your unhelpful generalization, quite moral.

          Homosexuals don't get to choose who they're attracted to any more than heterosexuals do. My advice to you is to go find a gay or lesbian group, get to know some of its members, and hopefully you'll learn that they are, in most ways, the same as rest of us.

          But then, that idea probably scares you, doesn't it?

      • Is it just me, or have others cut way down on reading since they got on the internet? Grandted, I'm sure I read more sitting at the computer, but it's all crap. (X10 Ads shouldn't count as 'reading'); In relation to the Normalization of Sexual Deviancy, I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of sex offenders don't visit 'deviant' pornographic websites on a daily basis. I think that the bulk of it is probably 31337 kids, spamming goatse links in their counterstrike matches. The real perverts masturbate in their own feces, they don't have time for computers.
        • Is it just me, or have others cut way down on reading since they got on the internet?

          You just have to drag yourself away from your 'puter once in a while. I look forward to getting out of my somewhat comfortable computer chair, and onto my very comfortable sofa to read a deadtree book.

          Granted, I seem to be buying anthologies more often these days (currently reading the Verner Vinge collection). It's a sign of the (accelerating) times that people only have patience for compressed info with so much out there.

          --

  • Eli Noam, Professor of Economics and Finance at the University of Columbia, said... "We must save the internet from its founding myth that it is good for democracy and is open and cannot be regulated." I don't even have anything to say to this... besides, I'm sure the rest of you will. peace, tom
    • Re:Whoa... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jodo (209027)
      "We must save the internet from its founding myth that it is good for democracy and is open and cannot be regulated."
      Yes. There it is. They know better than you what you should be done with the net.
  • [thinkofthechildren.co.uk]
    www.thinkofthechildren.co.uk


    Sure, it's off topic, but I have karma to burn.

    • Yup, don't we adore the people [gatesfoundation.org] thinking about the children? :-)
    • Sure, it's off topic, but I have karma to burn.

      Moderators,

      Have you had an irony bypass today ?

      The link is to a parody of mass media hysteria currently being stired up in the UK by the low-end tabloids and minor celeberaties about the 'corruption of children' by the Internet.

      In my humble opinion, this is frighteningly ontopic for this article.
  • Heh. There is a photo of some shirtless, tatooed protester swinging a punch to a policeman, with as caption:"The net could help improve political debate". Anybody else thinks the BBC has a strange idea of political debate? Besides, how is the net going to improve political debate, or at least raise it above the level depicted in that photo? Soon, we'll all be wetware-wired into the net, and then, instead of beating you with a stick, the cops i'll just fry your brains instead. It's called progress.
    • Swinging a punch to a policeman or a politician is a common form of political debate in the UK. You see, the politicians will punch you back [bbc.co.uk].
    • that more people have a voice. The Internet has given the "common man" direct access to politicians and information about political topics. If citizens are more informed and can take a greater role in political decisions, there are likely to be less instances of protests and riots. It will improve the political debate by giving citizens a more "civilized" method of accessing politicians. Not that it will necessarily eliminate the days of the protest and riot, but it should help to make more informed and connected citizens.
      • The Internet has given the "common man" direct access to politicians and information about political topics.

        Pardon? Direct access? You mean being able to send an email to your local MP/governor/député? People have always been able to do this with snail mail. By "information about political topics" i guess you mean the stuff that newspapers and TV news have been reporting for years. Direct access to information is hearing it from the horses mouth, not reading it on Yahoo news.

        I regret to say that the common man has no more direct access than, say, 20 years ago, especially the common man that doesn't have internet. All that has happened is the "lazy man" has found a way to send his opinions and read other people's without getting out of his house. I don't necessarily think of this as a good thing since the opinions of a great deal of people that cannot be pestered to go to the trouble of expressing them outside of their own homes are often, sadly, not worth listening to.

        The change in political activism will, I think, be felt essentially by the broadening of the divide between people who read about things on the web and mouth off on Slashdot and those who, because they can't (no internet) or won't (having real beliefs) do this, get out and try and change things.
        • "All that has happened is the "lazy man" has found a way to send his opinions and read other people's without getting out of his house."

          Sort of like posting to Slashdot?
        • Actually, the internet has given politicians the ability to communicate directly with the world, not just their constituents, via their web sites and email. Not that they couldn't send out newsletters before, but email newsletters are more cost-effective.

          Case in point: Back when I lived in NC, I signed up to be on my Senator's [senate.gov] email mailing list. Even though I've moved to another state, I still get the messages, which include info like when he'll be appearing on various news shows and what cities in NC he'll be visiting that week.

          I think it's the ability to get out timely information like that where the internet beats out traditional media. Newspapers and snail mail are more expensive and slower, TV and radio are here-and-gone so if you didn't write that information down, too bad. The internet is uniquely fast and long-lasting.
    • Anybody else thinks the BBC has a strange idea of political debate?
      Well, the corporation is supposed to providea balanced coverage of different points of view, which many people probably would find a strange idea in the context of political debate.

      But juxtaposing "could help improve political debate" with a picture of a demonstrator attacking a policeman sounds more like the customary addition of irony, whether it improves the story or not. I sometimes wonder whether budding journalists or presenters at the Beeb have to take some sort of entrance examination to demonstrate they can do this.

    • here is a photo of some shirtless, tatooed protester swinging a punch to a policeman, with as caption:"The net could help improve political debate"

      Ummm, so it's OK if he puts his shirt back on?
    • BBC News online has a fine tradition of banal or inappropriate picture 'bylines'. NTK [ntk.net] has chronicled many, such as: 0 [bbc.co.uk], 1 [bbc.co.uk], 2 [bbc.co.uk].
    • Seems like they mixed up their images, that was actually from the Manchester United finals.
  • Social Engineering (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:29AM (#4366251) Journal
    Is what this article sounds like. As if they want to be able to control the entire world's perception of the internet, and how they use it. This won't work of course, as business, personal beliefs, economics, and social concerns are the main driving factors in the electronic world. not some lame researcher in a cube telling everyone in his livejournal that they should think about everything in a different way
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Leftists like to sit around in cubicles and think about how other people should think:-)
      • In contrast, the rightwingers like to go out and make people think their way.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        ...whereas rightists like to break people's doors down and tell them what to think.
        • Acutally I think the net is convincing many people that the left right classification system is a false dichotomy.

          Its now control vs freedom, but both sides are still confused about who is on their side.

          E.g. 'black shirt'-anti-globalization anarchists and net-libertarian anarchists haven't figured out how to join up yet too well. And Pat Robertson and NOW really have to hold their nose when they join up to try to deny people their porn.
  • by ites (600337) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:30AM (#4366254) Journal
    Surely the impact of the Net is totally obvious.
    The Net lowers the cost of communication.
    This lets people create much larger and more efficient network.
    Activities that depend on such networks (research, digital theft, collaborative research, free software development, certain kinds of commerce) have and will continue to boom.
    Activities that depend on the high cost of communications (old media, encyclopedia salesmen, and other information cartels) have and will continue to decline.
    This seems to be stating the obvious... what else will a study turn up? That we are evolving resistance to RSI?
  • by X!0mbarg (470366) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:34AM (#4366273)
    Well, I got so see more Pr0n than I ever imagined. Saw stuff that made me want to wash my eyes with liquid drano. Downloaded a Lot of useless crap. Became addicted to Online Comics. Made a handful of new friends. Got myself an e-mail account through a friend in Oslo. Learned that there are a Lot of ways to cheat...

    Search engines are my friends!

    So much data. So little HD space...
  • by CoolVibe (11466) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:39AM (#4366283) Journal
    ...regarding the effects of the internet on social life and people.

    Check out the realvideo (yeah sorry) technetcast presentation here [ddj.com] . It's refreshing, to the point and funny. And oh so typically Cliff Stoll-ian. :)

  • Sure, there's this organization that is DEDICATED to studying The Net and the "profound" social changes it has engendered.. right, so where's the ground breaking results? The article is highly speculative, and contains little of value, I think someone just got caught by the catchy title without any core value..

    My 2gilders

    d
  • Am I the only one that first read this as "What the dot-Net is doing to you"?
  • Eli Noam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:45AM (#4366301)
    But he warned against simply accepting that the net was a force for good all by itself and needed no guidance by policy makers to shape its effects.

    This is why I hate these social-engineering dweebs. It can never be enough that something is just there and people use it. They think that the common man is too stupid to "understand the ramifications" and that there has to be broad and sweeping "policies" on what to think of it and how to use it.

    I'll blame it on leftists, you can blame it on whoever.
    • "no guidance by policy makers"

      i.e. -- we need to pay politicians and bureaucrats to tell us what to do in cyberspace... the one place where the 1st Amendment should reign supreme...
      • by Interrobang (245315) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @11:58AM (#4367537) Journal
        we need to pay politicians and bureaucrats to tell us what to do in cyberspace... the one place where the 1st Amendment should reign supreme...

        Hmm, last I checked, I don't have a 1st Amendment in my Constitution, and "cyberspace," being, as nearly as I can define it, not really a "place" at all so much as a metaphor for a place, doesn't de facto or de jure fall under completely US jurisdiction (no matter what you all might think cough Sklyarov cough), that's an extremely Americocentric way of putting it.

        Now free speech, on the other hand, freedom of the press, perhaps, and certainly multilateralism and international cooperation, I'll go for.

        In any case, we don't need stodgy academics, consolidationist free-market wet-dream media moguls, or anyone else turning the internet into television with fewer moving parts (there's a reason I don't watch television!) -- nor in preaching the scripture that the freedom and openness of the internet are an illusion that should be dispelled as soon as possible (to what end?).

        As with all agendists of every stripe, I have to ask what this guy's ulterior motives are. Can some kind Slashdotter with some time on their hands find out who's (which media company, dare I venture?) paying him?

  • by Mac Degger (576336)

    Who else thinks these guys just want to view pr0n, visit chatrooms and play games all day?

    Sounds like a research grant I would think up :)

  • by Skirwan (244615) <skerwin@@@mac...com> on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:50AM (#4366322) Homepage
    Mostly The Net just bored me. Sandra Bullock did the best she could with the script, but the entire thing was exactly the sort of paranoid FUD that makes people think they can get sick by using a computer with a virus.

    Now, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes? Classic!

    --
    Damn the Emperor!
  • I'd rather not think of Cowboy Neal making children...
  • (Even though a Brit invented it.)
    Too much academic naval watching. This stuff already happened five human years ago, or 35 "Internet years" ago. Excerpt from article:

    "But academics are starting to find out how important an agent of social change the internet is, the opportunities it presents for researchers and how to frame policy and practice to cope with its associated changes."

    Any 15 year old kid could could have told this five years ago. Adults, especially academics, are clueless.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      > Any 15 year old kid could could have told this
      > five years ago.

      15 year old kids will tell you lots of things. The trick is simply this - knowing what nugget of truth lies in the 10,000 other completely irrelevant things they'll tell you about fashion trends and who's going to be with whom like for-ever. :)

      > Adults, especially academics, are clueless.

      As one of my former teachers would say: "Hey you! Quick! Move out, get a job, and raise a family while you still know everything!"
  • Seeing that the Internet is a great place where people can do research and download p0rn and do many things unimaginable before the advent of it, (excluding SPAM) I can only see good things coming out of this study. For every new idea/technology, there are bound to be good and bad sides to it. -SK
  • by f00zbll (526151) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @08:57AM (#4366351)
    "How do we learn fast enough so that we are learning faster than the world changes?" asked Mr Graham, "if we are not learning faster than the world changes then we cannot possibly control it."

    Does anyone else see a logical flaw in that argument? It's not like knowledge == control. If knowledge was measurable in quantity and quality, then the statement might make sense. But I've yet to see compelling proof that such measurement is practicle or desireable. Since when did we have control over technology? The statement in that context almost implies we have control over "it" and that some how we will loose "control over it."

    It seems like they still have a lot of work to do, like defining what "it" is and how to go about measuring "it". Otherwise, it will just be a truck load of political jargons.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The statement doesn't make sense, no.

      However, knowledge most certainly is control.

      Do we have control over technology? I can certainly control my VCR, and I have the ability to stop it from blinking 12:00 if I so choose. (I'm lazy, and rarely do.)

      Do we have control over nuclear energy? The average citizen doesn't (Thank goodness!), but I'd argue the fact that nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons, harnessing the power of the atom, demonstrate control.

      Who controls the net? Not politicians. Not corporations. Not yet. For the time being, end users still control the net. Why? Knowledge. Look at the RIAA's doomed campaign against file sharing. They can kill Napster, but can they kill Kazaa? If they kill that, can they kill IRC? FTP? HTTP? The cat of knowledge is out of the bag in terms of that battle, and the users have thus won, and are in control.
      • As you just demonstrated, knowledge == control when it's well defined :)

        Do we have control over technology? I can certainly control my VCR, and I have the ability to stop it from blinking 12:00 if I so choose. (I'm lazy, and rarely do.) Do we have control over nuclear energy? The average citizen doesn't (Thank goodness!), but I'd argue the fact that nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons, harnessing the power of the atom, demonstrate control.

        But one could play devil's advocate and argue that all things considered, human's do not have control. Someone could play a trick on you and set your VCR to 12:00 when you're not looking. Control at best is temporary. The article also implies control is a state that is maintainable with sufficient knowledge, which it obviously isn't. But that's my opinion, which by no means is true.

        • Well, all things considered, humans as a whole do have control over tech. It's just that the average individual has to specialize his knowledge more and more, so he's a antlike cog in the sum of knowledge, and can't possibly be in tune with the big picture (as much as someone who's specialization *is* manipulating the bigpicture).

          (hmm... that didn't make much sense).

          --

    • Biblical Analogy... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Shuh (13578)
      Eve ate apple from the Tree of Knowledge and thus gained god-like insight into the human plight. Or at least, that's the metaphor.

      But these bums who obsess on controlling the internet and all knowlege would be like a Bureaucrat, a Politician, and an Entrepreneur who entered the Garden, kicked G-d out and set up Garden of Eden Apples Lmt. They would then eat apple-sauce, apple cider, and apple apples.

      Meanwhile GOAL would contract out to the timber industry for sawdust and the slop industry for protein, and use a Red #5 and a factory to produce Consumer Renewable Apple Protien-Supplement for consumption by the general populace.

      Ohhh, and somewhere along the way, they would also convince everyone that due to G-d's absence, they in fact were G-d.
  • Gold Member (Score:2, Funny)

    by Tibe (444675)
    Foxy Cleopatra: "So, what does this thing do?"
    Austin Powers: "Well it's called the internet, and it's completely revolutionized the way we live and access vital information. For example have a look at this...
    monkey.mpg [methodshop.com]
    Foxy: "Wow... now that's vital information."
    Austin: "I know, it's amazing!"

    mole.sig
  • The internet has helped me in soooo many ways, I can't thank it enough. Before the internet, I didn't know much about p0rn. Now there is so much more to see, so much to play with.... Thank GOD for the intenet.
  • Thanks, Eli (Score:5, Informative)

    by sam_handelman (519767) <skh2003@colum[ ].edu ['bia' in gap]> on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @09:00AM (#4366365) Homepage Journal
    "We must save the internet from its founding myth that it is good for democracy and is open and cannot be regulated."

    Oh, is *that* why we need to be told what to do? For DEMOCRACY?

    Eli Noam [columbia.edu] is an academic who moonlights as a beurecrat. Based on his webpage, he doesn't seem to advocate censorship exactly - he wants to somehow use regulation to encourage people to talk one another when they have diverse social backgrounds. This is a laudable goal, and I'm certainly no anti-government nut - but this is a stupid target for regulation. Like regulation to make people be nice.

    He complains about centralization of information. This has NOT been my experience with the web - EXCEPT for academic journals. If he wants regulation to require peer-reviewed academic journals to make their content available for free online; well, that would be great. I'd support that 100%. A journal that wants money shouldn't publish publically funded research.

    The fact is - the protocols (TCP/IP, http/html) fascilitate free, open and DIVERSE exchanges of communication. I can't think of any changes I'd make that would encourage people to interact with people of diverse experience. If there were improvements to these fundamental protocols, there would some justification in legislating them (you'd get them no other way), but I don't think his goals are well enough defined, or the effects well enough understood, to even talk about this as an option at this juncture.

    His op-ed pieces [columbia.edu] are particularly enlightening if you really care what he thinks.
    • Re:Thanks, Eli (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Depends on how you define Democracy. And you don't need direct government intervention to censor the web, people can do it themselves, usually wihtout realising it. Read Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions [zmag.org] and Manufacturing Consent.
  • Hmm, A case a beer huh? Might want to ask for two cases of beer.
  • by redragon (161901) <codonnell@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @09:13AM (#4366470) Homepage
    They must be on crack. There are many different places looking at these sorts of things:

    http://dir.yahoo.com/Social_Science/Science__Tec hn ology__and_Society_Studies/

    Seriously...most places that do cultural analysis of science are also looking at the effects of the internet.
    • They must be on crack. There are many different places looking at these sorts of things. Seriously...most places that do cultural analysis of science are also looking at the effects of the internet

      Indeed! At the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, this sort of examination is "standard fare" in our graduate courses, and for our post-grad fellows. In fact, Marshall McLuhan was doing this sort of investigation nearly 40 years ago, in looking at the cultural and societal effects of instantaneous, multi-way communications around the world.

      In 1969, for example, executives at IBM thought he was crazy when he explained how there would be networked computers in every home, and how we would be able to buy groceries and other household items online!
  • Disabled (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @09:17AM (#4366503) Homepage
    For disabled people that don't leave the house often it's even more of a godsent than for 'normal' people. Finally they have a cheap and vast and versatile tool for getting and sending information!
    • True

      Actually that reminded me of something I read a while back, might have been an "I, Cringely". Basically there was a guy who due to some physical disability would not be able to hold down a regular job and so would probably be a financial burden on his family and society. Instead he got onto Ebay and is now the primary earner of the family, trading catering equipment on Ebay. Something like that anyhow.

      Personally, the biggest advantage the net has for me is that I'm able to argue with people much farther afield than I would have been previously so have much more interesting arguements. It also gives me free and easy access to Buffy fanfic, especially femslash.

      Stephen

  • ObQuestion (Score:3, Funny)

    by extra88 (1003) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @09:18AM (#4366515)
    What kind of beer?
  • The net. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @09:52AM (#4366731)
    The net taught me enough shocking things about rocking the casbah, that there would be small challenge in making a sailor blush.

    It taught me that humanity itself is plagued with idiots; not just the populace of the United States.

    On the plus side, because of the net, I learned what real music sounds like. On the down side, the RIAA is now more determined than ever before to shove crap into my ears, all because of the net.

    I think, however, that the most important thing that has happened to me because of the net is this: Because of the internet, I've been able to 'own' camping bitches all the way over in France.

    Cheese eating quad-camping surrender monkeys.
  • by RealBeanDip (26604) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @10:10AM (#4366860)
    The 'net has allowed us to capatilize on our synergy while moving to a B2B model and later B2C. During this time we leveraged our user community and capatilized through eCommerce.

    Then we ran out of funding and went broke. But it was a fun couple-a-few years.
    • If only, if only we could have thought outside the box in order to leverage our core competencies... Moving forward, we'll just have to grow something-or-other.

      (I cashed out my synergy when the market on that was high.)

    • Then we ran out of funding and went broke. But it was a fun couple-a-few years.

      This is known as the B2T (business to toilet) model.

      We didn't fail, we just changed business models.

  • To quote the Great and Wonderful OZ.

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    One man's info babble becomes another man's reality?

    Just think of what H.G. Wells could have done with the Net!

  • dedicated to studying the social, political and economic effects of the net


    Here are the results:

    Social effects: Porn distributions reach an all time high. Minors are exposed to porn as soon as they learn how to type "http://". Divorse is at an all time high because a woman from Ohio can chat with a "rich guy" from Texas while her "hard" working hubby is at work all day (masturbating to the new porn sites he found on his son's computer last night).

    Political: People finally realized how much fun the President really gets to have in the oval office - we impeached him (jellousy!!)! People also excahnged a record number of politcal cartoons via email - Al Gore looses election!

    Economic: The Internet brought the world economy out of the early 90's depression, created stocks with price earnings ratios of 50x and up, people could trade stocks online - which further drove up the over inflated stocks. Poor people became millionaires overnight - and are now poor again because they spent all their money on a super bowl commercial. Now the economy has collapsed around itself and unemployment is at an all time high (except for the people that are doing this study ... atleast someone is getting paid!)

    And who said you need a PhD to document the effects of the net?
  • by ianscot (591483) on Tuesday October 01, 2002 @10:16AM (#4366904)
    The story was in the BBC and the Research center's in Oxford, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that they actually seem to be studying the 'net -- rather than, say, advocating a reactionary response to it.

    Our U.S. equivalent, of course, might be Carnegie Mellon University -- from which we got all sorts of The Internet is Soooooo Scary "studies" for a while. (Remember the Time Magazine article back in 1994 or so that claimed 75% of all Web traffic was pRon? That was based on a C-M U paper. The more recent "study" that said people who browsed a lot tended to be depressed and socially isolated? Guess what University published it. Somebody at Carnegie Mellon has a hateful thing going on, seems like.)

    It's advocacy over actual information, as far as U.S. pop media's appetite for "studies" goes.

    • Ah, the infamous CMU Rimm Internet Porn study...

      For those of us who were lucky enough to miss this experience back in 1995, you may find this link [eff.org] to be educational, and this link [cmu.edu] to be amusing.

      - Tim

    • It's worse than that. It's the move to capitalism of "studies", and it's been going on for a while.

      Consider:

      Study "A" states that the Capital_I_Internet is a nice, cozy place with lots of interesting things, and this is a "Good Thing" (tm). They suggest that a lack of regulation is also a Good Thing.

      Study "B" says the Internet is an evil place, where 3/4 of the traffic is pr0n, and 1/2 the users are child molesters lurking in the shadows for Your Children! Dear Lord, Someone Please Save The Children!

      Study A will perhaps get you a few more hits from the ACLU domain, and if you're really lucky, your dean may get invited to a conference in Buttf*ck, Nebraska to discuss how the Internet can improve bovine fertility.

      Study B ensures that you get massive media coverage, your own segment on CNN, at least 1/2 page articles in every major newspaper, and every moral and religious group that hears about this study donating money based on the headline. Your dean gets invited to a half dozen major conferences and meetings, all expenses paid, and you get to appear on "Larry King Live" or some such thing. Your face, your university, and everything possibly associated with this study ensures not just your 15 minutes of fame, but that when the devoutly religious VP of BigCorp sees your smiling face on CNN denouncing the evils of the net, that you get a nice, cushy position producing BigCorp-brand studies to say the same thing.

      So, which one would you do? Or better yet, which one would you be allowed to publish? Controversy breeds cash, ladies and gentlemen, and places that are barely breaking even like universities need every bit they can get.

      (Of course, there is always the ubiquitous option "C", wherein you publish a study suggesting that pr0n isn't a bad thing, and that perhaps it serves as a release for potential peds and other assorted unmentionables. When going with this option, the normal result is flaming bottles being thrown at your house, followed by regular mob-crowd beatings, loosing your job and every bit of captial you have, getting arrested for coughing in the general direction of Washington [Germ Warfare!], and being thrown in a 6x8 cell with "Ted", who will happily help you gather mounds of empirical evidence on whether lube is *really* neccessary.

      Not that that ever happens, of course, right?)

      /ramble

  • Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but this story got google'd. Does this mean /. is real news now? Horror of horrors.

    http://news.google.com/news/gntechnologyleftnav. ht ml
  • It's wasting my time! Thanks a lot, Slashdot. Thanks a lot, Onion. Thanks a lot, MSNB-- er, comment over. Gotta go.
  • Thing(s) you would be likely to get for Cowboy Neal in trade:

    - Case of beer
    - Case of Scotch
    - Case of Maalox
    - Case of SPF 90
    - Case of depression
    - Case of anxiety
    - Case of Cowboy Neal's Genuine Imitation Butter Substitute

    My other sig is a Mercedes
  • Ridiculous. If this center "just opened", then it definitely is not "one of the first". Not even one of the first ten, not even one of the first hundred. Perhaps one of the first thousand...

    Here are a just a few others off top on my head (all of those have existed for several years):

    This by no means is a complete list - I am just too lazy to paste more links. Also, a number of books have been published on the subjects, e.g. The Internet in Everyday Life [utoronto.ca], The Control Revolution [controlrevolution.com], etc.
  • Today is an important anniversary [olemiss.edu] for Oxford.
  • Let's ask ourselves not wat the net is doing to us... but what WE are doing to the net... ;-)

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion

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