Resources for “The Search for terrestrial Stupidity”

Tom Evslin's Blog:

Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society:

Tom Evslin's Talk:

David Isenberg's “Rise of the Stupid Network”:


Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal


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Failed logic in "The Search for Terrestrial Stupidity"

Wilderness's picture

As I was reading the article today, certain things about the argument presented struck me as being false or in erroneous logic:

1)The argument would work if the whole Internet was an equally balanced mesh topology. It's not. Far from it. Not everyone is connected via fibre. Some people out there are still using dial up. Not all dial ups are created equally, either. I have fond memories of sharing a house after college with an avid MUSHer. Many a windy night did I hear him howl in anguish as a tree branch outside bumped a line outside and momentarily dropping his carrier. Such an infrastructure would never support a speed near fiber.

2)Al Gore didn't create the Internet. Neither did AOL-Time-Warner, Comcast, Verizon, Microsoft, or any other modern .com wunderkind. The credit, at least in the US, according to a majority of references, belongs to DARPA from a military program in the late 60s. Everything else in the modern Internet, has sort of been cobbled onto that, from dial up connections on the aforementioned copper wire to satellite connections and fiber optics. Attenuation is inevitable. Competing companies, who advertise the differences in each other's up/down speeds, also control a lion's share of the consumer net in the US. We're not even scratching the surface on international connections on the net at this point. The idea that the connection between any two computers should be equal is noble, but an impossibility.

3)Also, the other thing the article counts on is audience participation. "But Tom wants to go much further than that. He wants everybody to know what they're getting and to pool data that will paint clear pictures of how individual networks and network connections are performing over time." That's noble. However, this isn't some global screening of "Rocky Horror Picture Show". Most people aren't in it to participate in the inner workings of the 'net. Most of the people out there are indifferent to how it works, so long as it does work and they can read their email & blogs. Apathy is rampant. For most people, if it works, people are content. If it doesn't work, they just cry louder and louder until someone fixes it for them.

In the 80s and early 90s, the nerds were online while everyone else was out at the social events. Now everyone is on the great big party called the Internet. However, only the nerds have initiative to deal with its mechanics. And that is why Mr. Searls' noble notion will fail.
--Greg Zapiec

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