|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Sunday, May 18, 2003
As Google Goes, So Goes the Nation
: "when it comes to more specialized topics, [Google's] rankings give disproportionate weight to opinions of the activists and enthusiasts that may be at odds with the views of the larger public. It's as if the United Nations General Assembly made all its decisions by referring the question to whichever nation cares most about the issue: the Swiss get to rule on watchmaking, the Japanese on whaling. The outcomes of Google's popularity contests can be useful to know, but it's a mistake to believe they reflect the consensus of the "Internet community," whatever that might be, or to think of the Web as a single vast colloquy — the picture that's implicit in all the talk of the Internet as a "digital commons" or "collective mind." Seen from a Google's eye view, in fact, the Web is less like a piazza than a souk — a jumble of separate spaces, each with its own isolated chatter. The search engines cruise the alleyways to listen in on all of these conversations, locate the people who are talking about the subject we're interested in, and tell us which of them has earned the most nods from the other confabulators in the room. But just because someone is regarded as a savant in the barbershop doesn't mean he'll pass for wise with the people in the other stalls." 9:32:06 PM
United Press International: Report: Saudi arms sold to al-Qaeda?
: "The discovery of Saudi military weapons in an al Qaeda safe house earlier this month reportedly has led to an investigation into the possibility that members of the Saudi Arabian National Guard have been illicitly selling arms to the terrorist network... The Saudi guard has had problems in the past with weapons missing from its inventories and a small number of officers are known to be involved in the illegal arms trade. The alleged arms dealers were apparently motivated by the prospect of making easy money rather than political ideology and were able to operate without much interference from the Saudi government." 9:12:24 PM
Can price cuts boost broadband?
: "OF AMERICANS WHO go online at home, 31 percent are using high-speed connections, Pew found in a survey on broadband adoption released Sunday. About 30 million people — or 16 percent of all Americans — log on at home with a broadband connections, a healthy 50 percent increase in the past year. That growth rate puts broadband Internet in roughly the same league as DVD usage, which are in an estimated 19 percent of all U.S. households. .. Because phone and cable companies spent billions upgrading their systems to handle high-speed Internet services they kept monthly prices in the $50 range in order to recoup their investments more quickly. But once people have signed on, it costs relatively little money to maintain them.. In addition to lowering the price, Verizon is adding 10 million DSL-enabled lines, making the service available to 80 percent of its subscriber households, up from 68 percent. " 4:31:42 PM