Week 8 Discussion

This topic contains 25 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  vmadden 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #1286

    John Jones
    Keymaster

    There is no prompt for this week. You are free to write about whatever issue(s) in the readings that you find compelling.

  • #1294

    mike sopranik
    Spectator

    In the textbook, Blown to Bits, the author (B2B pp 115-116) describes an interesting issue about Eli Lilly and a lawsuit started by the Lilly company over an internal memo that was considered a confidential exhibit in a court case. This exhibit involved the drug Zyprexa, which had potentially lethal side effects that Lilly was disputing.
    The judge ruled that although the attorneys that had uncovered the memo had to return all forms of the document to Eli Lilly, it was not possible to issue a cease and desist order for the websites that had used the same material.
    This ruling enhances the concept of Net Neutrality and the right to freedom of speech in my opinion. At any time that the government or legal system rules and enforces the inability of individuals to report items of interest to the population, we will fall down the slippery slope of censorship. This would allow corporate concerns to literally no longer be held accountable for their shortcomings and at times, even criminal activities.
    Over the past twenty years, there have been many accounts in the news of corporations winning lawsuits that are unreasonable at best and dangerous to the consumer and possibly even be considered criminal.
    A good example was the lawsuit against 60 Minutes by Piggly Wiggly, the southern based grocery store chain. (I remember seeing the episode and the eventual ruling that 60 Minutes had filmed the story undercover and therefore had violated the employment rules of Piggly Wiggly; In addition, after searching on Google for 40 minutes-surrendered and this story appears to have been lost in the great internet search void of old news…)
    Using an “employee” 60 Minutes filmed the practices in one particular store where they would soak rotten chicken and fish in bleach and then repackage it to be sold the next day on their shelves.
    My question to you is do you think that with the proliferation of websites and by proxy search engine overload, do you think that some articles “get lost”, get archived to never appear again or that there is only so much room on the search engines for older topics and files?

    Citation
    H. Abelson, K. Ledeen, H. Lewis. Blown to Bits. Pearson Education Inc. Boston, MA. Print

    • #1304

      erheyer
      Spectator

      In Net Smart, chapter 4, Rheingold opens with a discussion of the intelligence of primates. When considering humans being the most advanced primates, I always contributed this to us being the most intelligent. But Rheingold talks about how we are the most advanced not only because we are the most intelligent, but because we developed ways of sharing intelligence with each other. I thought that was a really interesting perspective to have. Having the capability of being intelligent doesn’t make you advanced—if I never attended school or my parents never taught me anything, I wouldn’t be any better off than a chimp or any other primate. I would only have the capability of being better. Relating this to the invention of the internet kind of blew my mind too, because when you think about the sheer amount of the information that makes up and is the World Wide Web, it kind of gives you the same feeling you get when you try to imagine the vastness that is space or comprehend the size of the universe. It’s insane. And someone (Tim Berners-Lee) just thought that up. AND it wasn’t even that long ago! Crazy! However, at the same time, while exchanging information makes us more intelligent, the exchange of information that is not quality facilitates our demise. We’ve made it a double-edged sword.

      • #1321

        mike sopranik
        Spectator

        Very true about the double-edged sword. It is getting more difficult all the time to distinguish quality information from agenda driven information. When anyone has an agenda, it is easy for information to be lost, discounted or just plain lies.
        I just read an article on a freight liner that was leaving Columbia and they found tons of cocaine onboard. This article was on the drudgereport.com. This was one of very few websites that reported this incident. Not a big deal normally, but the very next week, Congress was debating on censoring certain “news” websites. One of which was drudge. The interesting part of this is that the freighter just happened to be owned by Mitch McConnel of Kentucky.

        Coincidence or that certain people didn’t appreciate any link between drug smuggling and a U.S. Senator?

  • #1303

    jsears3
    Spectator

    As I read one of the insights I took from the B2B chapter was just how much information consumption has changed as time has gone on. I honestly can’t remember a time when the internet was split into “neat categories,” I suppose I’ve grown up in the era of organized chaos when it comes to using the internet. I’ve never really stopped to think about how I look for information on the internet but this quote stood out to me “You don’t usually go to the Web to look for a web page. You go to look for information, and are glad to get it wherever you can find it. (Loc 2516, Kindle)” Really when I stopped to think about it I realized that when I begin a search for information and turn to the internet, the first place I go? Google. I don’t think to look for a directory that may place me in the right category of information but rather throw the bits into the search engine and assume that this is the best way. Even in using a database for school I apply a similar method. It is interesting to think that I have been conditioned to do this in this way.
    H. Abelson, K. Ledeen, H. Lewis. Blown to Bits. Pearson Education Inc. Boston, MA. Kindle Version.

    • #1322

      marvarlas
      Spectator

      It’s funny how you mention you’ve been “conditioned” to behave this way on the internet. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I have become very reliant on search engines. Google is always my first choice, but when I am on a particular website looking for information, I always use the “search” tool, rather than taking the time to browse through the different times. For example, every semester when I need to buy my books, WVU’s homepage has a plethora of categories, sub-categories, and then some! Rather than trying to find the “Library” tab, I will search in the search tool and find it that way. We really have become conditioned when it comes to web browsing!

  • #1305

    Kayla Montgomery
    Spectator

    In chapter four of “Blown To Bits”, I read about the internet and how it has evolved so much over the last decade. The introduction paragraph told a story about a man from Russia who migrated to the United States and later lost contact with the only family he had left. He told stories of his family to his grandchild, and she later went on to find them for her grandfather. The granddaughter was able to reach out by simply Google searching the family members name, and after 70 years they were reunited. This goes to show how powerful the internet actually is. You can find out anything in just a click of a button. I do wonder what the world would be like if technology was not as advanced as it is now. How would we access all of the information we do now, would people use libraries as much as they use to. It would be interesting to see how things would be with out all these things we have access to today.

    • #1317

      mike sopranik
      Spectator

      In my job as a private investigator, it still amazes me at times, just how much information is online about people in general. I use it daily searching for witnesses to interview in cases that I work.
      Even if you never use the internet, there is data on everyone of legal age in databases that are compiled by the government and consumer related companies. If you do a search for yourself online you can probably find social media posts, pictures that you’ve posted of yourself, and with the right access to certain databases, your past and current vehicle, addresses, phone numbers etc.
      When performing my job, I can’t imagine what it was like years ago when a person needed to be found for a court case that didn’t want to be found, which is common. It would have taken weeks of interviewing and searching just to find the correct person to talk to for a couple of minutes.
      At the same time, it is scary how far our rights to privacy have slipped away. The access that law enforcement now has can even build a travel history of your vehicle over the past 90 days. This data includes pictures of your license plate and the exact latitude and longitude and time that your vehicle was in a particular spot.
      I think it has become a slippery slope of data access. We can find more information on any topic easier than anytime in history, but at the same time, there is more information online about us personally than ever before. This is why it has become common for many companies to request any social network login information when applying for a job with their company; this is so that the can check into your habits and private life that shouldn’t be applicable to most jobs.

      • #1324

        erheyer
        Spectator

        @MikeSopranik I didn’t realize you’re a PI. I’m sure technology and the fact that social media has made us all obsessed with documenting our every action and thought has made your job a bit easier, haha! Last semester I had to Google myself for a class assignment and you’re right, it’s amazing the amount of information I found. Luckily, there wasn’t anything very incriminating (something I was mildly worried about with graduation on the horizon and job searches starting) but I did see things I had never seen before. Perhaps these days, it takes more work to be invisible than to be visible.

      • #1327

        Kayla Montgomery
        Spectator

        Mike,

        Technology especially in your job field is very important. Like you said you use it to find people when doing investigations and finding witnesses. I bet It would make your job a million times harder then it is now if you didn’t have access to all of the tools and technology that is available now.

    • #1323

      tarinkovalik
      Spectator

      It’s really interesting to point out how different things would be without Internet these days. But people survived without it at some point. I feel like the world could be better without Internet to some extent. I think people would definitely use libraries more often and even communicate better with one another. It’s crazy to think about how the Internet keeps us connected without actually physically seeing one another. Last semester I was swamped with applying to graduate schools. Most of the applications were submitted online but I did think about how expensive it would be if I had to mail them all. I have an online profile with each school that lets me keep update with my application status and lets me edit and documents. This is definitely one perk of the Internet. It helps keep things organized and handy.

  • #1306

    tarinkovalik
    Spectator

    I thought it was really interesting how the NET reading talked about collaboration and cooperation online. This made me think of the hangouts we’ve had so far in this class. It’s very difficult to have discussions when people are shy or nervous to speak. In an online class I think it’s crucial to communicate with your classmates online. Cooperation online can be difficult though. People have different time schedules or their computer could be having problems. The online world is somewhat foreign to me and I’m experiencing it more and more through this class. I feel like everything (or mostly everything) online is a collaborative effort. It would be very boring to be the only person reading your blog or Twitter posts. “Collective intelligence” are words that perfectly describe the online community.

    Rheingold defines Wikipedia as an “invitation to participate in the creation of culture.” Wikipedia is an interesting contribution to the online world. Wikipedia is a network of people collaborating and cooperating on the same site. Of course, it’s many different people not just one group but it’s really crazy to think about anyone going on wiki and changing whatever they please. Do we as online users cooperate, collaborate, or contribute to the edits on Wikipedia? I choose to cooperate.

    • #1308

      sbloxton
      Spectator

      I agree that the internet requires a lot of collaboration and cooperation when communicating. It is very difficult to discuss something when the other is reluctant to speak, but I feel that our online class definitely benefits from the constant communication and collaboration. Without others, the internet would definitely not be what it is today. It’s interesting to think about the fact that the internet could have easily become a different thing altogether.

      I think Wikipedia is an under-valued contribution to information and the internet. We constantly fact check each other on Wikipedia and it also shows the general knowledge of the internet. People do prank and change things incorrectly on purpose, but for the most part, the Wikipedia community really holds themselves to a higher standard than what is often assumed.

      -Shay

      • #1325

        jablosser
        Spectator

        I agree with your comment about Wikipedia. I find it’s often a great place to start when you’re looking for something. There are oftentimes links to valuable resources posted to further your research. While everything may not be completely accurate, it goes back to the chapter we read on Crap Detection, you check your sources and go from there.

    • #1316

      jsears3
      Spectator

      I think the irony of the issue is that we do choose to communicate online but only when we want to. In a course such as this we often are timid in our communication whereas on Facebook or Twitter we have no problem with communication. I think it comes down to the forum of communication creating the atmosphere for each individual(s) actions during online communication.

    • #1358

      vmadden
      Spectator

      Collaboration and cooperation are very important when it comes to the online world and communicating. Those are the first two C’s. The next one is collective intelligence. Wanting to become a fact checker, I and others are always searching for general information and though like others said with the example of Wikipedia, people can change it, but you will be able to tell if they do. I say this because you can go on a .edu or .gov website based on the same thing and see the inaccuracy. I do use Wikipedia sometimes. It just depends on the situation, however, I do not just use Wikipedia just because the fact checking can be changed. There needs to be more than one way to communicate with others which is why search engines were designed.

  • #1307

    sbloxton
    Spectator

    What interested me most about the Blown to Bits, Chapter 4: Needles in the Haystack, is the theme of connection through the internet. Genealogy has exploded in the past few years and the internet really helps people to connect both with their past family and family they don’t know currently exists. Last semester I had an English class focusing on immigration and we went to the library to learn how to find our relations. First, they taught us the value of the google search. The chapter mentions that this is a relatively knew form of control over the internet, since originally it was more focused on universities and basically an online library. There are other databases on the internet, however, that are still library like. I think this is particularly important, because the hierarchy does exist in some places, so not all of them.

    I also found the section about forbidden knowledge being available at a click to be interesting. This impacts us in a variety of ways, both negative and positive. The medical information, for example, can be used by unprofessionals and result in harmful self diagnosis. But, it can also be used by unprofessionals to help suggests solutions that they doctor may not yet know about since science develops so fast. I think we should all be mindful of what is biased and unbiased when on the internet and this section sparked this thought.

    – Shay

    • #1311

      pboyle623
      Spectator

      Shay,
      One of the great points you make is about medical information found online. This can be of great help, but more so has the possibility of self-diagnosis. Sites such as Wed-MD offer many different options for determining an illness, but a big problem is that many illnesses often present with the same symptoms.

  • #1309

    pboyle623
    Spectator

    Rheingold shared some very important insights in Chapter 4 of Net Smart. One of the most important concepts he shared were the collective intelligence tips. He narrowed these tips to simply 4 items, which seem like they would be second nature of humanity, but are often elusive.
    1. Encourage casual conversation.
    2. Diversify your group.
    3. Practice collaborating.
    4. Make it easy to contribute.
    These should be the mantra for any group of people bound together for any reason- project, study, school assignment, etc. Although I do find Rheingold sometimes rambling, here he makes great points of how to work together with anyone and its important life lesson.

    • #1314

      Tiffany
      Spectator

      @pboyle623 it is really a shame that such simple concepts seem to elude humanity at a faster and faster pace as the years pass. Human emotion can be messy and complicated at times, especially when people of diverse backgrounds bring their experiences into a situation where all are required to work toward a common goal. Thus, it seems so much easier to hide behind a keyboard and screen than to actually deal with face-to-face interaction that is required in those situations. However, I completely agree with you that the four tenets outlined in this chapter of B2B should be central to learning to work together. Great points!

  • #1310

    marvarlas
    Spectator

    What really captivated me this week in the readings was in Blown to Bits, the “Search Control and Mind Control” section (pages 151-156). I just recently in my professional life learned about Baidu, a Chinese search engine talked about in this chapter, which opened my eyes to internet censorship. Before learning of this, it had never occurred to me that a country might censor the information available to its citizens via the internet.

    It did not surprise me that Google bent to Chinese laws and practiced censorship. What did surprise me, however, was the U.S. Government’s reaction to the company doing so. Sure, it is not ideal to censor a country and its people and intentionally hide information from them, which Google did help do, but as the book stated, the company was doing what any other company would do while doing business abroad; follow the laws of the land. I do not think had Google not done business within the country, the oppression in China would have changed, so I do not fault them as a company.

  • #1312

    pboyle623
    Spectator

    I, too, was shocked that an entire country would censor information available. It would make sense to me offer some form of censorship, but I feel it may be the responsibility of the parent, company, or school system to censor sites and internet searches- not a country.

  • #1313

    Tiffany
    Spectator

    The Chinese censorship of Google search results was not terribly surprising to me as I read through Chapter 4 in B2B. Famously oppressive governments throughout the ages have consistently done their best to both block unwanted information from being disseminated while also promoting the information that they wish to use to influence popular opinion. It doesn’t make it right, of course, but it is an unfortunate reality that was present even before the age of internet.

    The thing that I did find surprising? I was completely unable to access the Chinese version of Google by typing in the URL! On page 153, the author encourages the reader to compare the differences between Google U.S. vs. Google China by performing searches using http://www.google.com and http://www.google.cn. I thought this would be an interesting activity to tie in with the reading, so I opened two different tabs on my browser and typed in the URLs. The Google U.S. page came up right away; the Google China page took at least 3 minutes to respond, and when it did, it only gave me an error message saying the page was unavailable. I tried it on my laptop, my iPad, and my iPhone and got the same error each time. Interestingly, when I went back to the Google U.S. tab and typed in “Google China,” the third result on the page was the actual Google China homepage, which I was then able to access by clicking on the Google U.S. page’s result.

  • #1315

    jablosser
    Spectator

    Page 148 of Net Smart talks about how “mass collaboration possible on the scale we see today have become available…in less than a span of a single generation The Web dates from 1989…” As I mentioned in our introductions, I am a non-traditional student. I graduated from high school in 1991 (don’t do the math!). When I was in school, computers were just being introduced. The first experience I had with the Web was at my job. I remember searching for all kinds of things, and thinking how incredible it was that I had this kind of access. Keep in mind, searching back then was a slow and painful task compared to today, but I was still in awe. Today, I can’t imagine living without Google. I use it for everything. I found this chapter to be very interesting about how the Web and mass collaboration has evolved during the period of my adult life.

  • #1318

    Chasity Robinson
    Spectator

    In B2B Chapter 4, I found it interesting how ads are banned and targeted. Ads have a way to relate to certain things that we search for or being products that are related to the things that we have searched for. As with all advertising there has to be a set restriction on what is allowed and what is not allowed for instance on page 145 Google will not accept advertisements that are fake designer goods, child pornography, illegal drugs, miracle cures, online gambling, etc. Search engines are allowed to control what products may be promoted through their site thus making the internet online ads more cost-effective.

  • #1352

    vmadden
    Spectator

    The fact that an entire country would censor information availability is interesting. It should be the parents or a company that might censor a website, but not a country. I feel like with this, people might try to find a way around it just to see why a certain site would be censored. With the lack of information, it seems that people will not be able to see what is going on. Because of this China can only relate to the things that China wants them to and not be open-minded. The one good thing about censorship however is when it comes to search engines like Google. “Among the items and services for which Google will not accept advertisements are fake designer goods, child pornography, term paper writing services, illegal drugs and some legal herbal substances, etc.” (145). Search engines are allowed to control what products should be seen, however, back to China, I do not feel like a country should be able to do that. There is even a Google China out there. Since it is the China version, it might not even work as much and since they censor more it seems, there are not as many web pages that would come up. Search engines do come in handy. In chapter 4, right in the beginning, they mention about a family that was able to find their family after seventy years in Florida. Because of the search engine this happened. “The digital explosion has produced vase quantities of informative date, the Internet has scattered that data across the globe, and the World Wide Web has put it within reach of millions of ordinary people” (109-110). You need to know where something is though and through 7 different steps, a query, or queries are form in the end. There will be challenges, but the search engine should be able to get the results.

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