Category Archives: The Internet

This is how the rumors and lies spread

The Internet was abuzz Thursday morning with rumors that Chief Justice John Roberts would resign for personal reasons—a report that was later proven to be false. Where did it originate? Above the Law says it started in Professor Peter Tague’s criminal-law class at Georgetown University Law Center. Apparently, Tague taught a lesson today on what one student calls “the validity of informants not explaining their sources.” He started the 9 a.m. class by telling his students that, they couldn’t tell anyone, but he had heard from unnamed sources that Roberts would be stepping down. At 9:30, he told them he was joking, but by that point the rumor had already taken off online, notably on, which published its first report at 9:10 a.m. EST.

How many people never hear the retraction and continue to spread the rumors and lies?  How much does this phenomena contribute to our political disconnect?


Filed under Conspiracies, The Internet

Dollars Flowing Out…

John Anderson and Sharon Rapoport estimate they spend $400 a month, or close to $5,000 a year, keeping their family of four entertained at home.

“There are the $30-a-month data plans on their BlackBerry Tour cellphones. The Roanoke, Va., couple’s teenage sons, Seth and Isaac, each have $50 subscriptions for Xbox Live and send thousands of texts each month on their cellphones, requiring their own data plans.

“DirecTV satellite service, high-speed Internet access and Netflix for movie nights add more.”

In the past a family’s tekecomminications cost was around $25 per month, but those days are long past.  At the end of this year, it is estimated that the average family’s cost will be $997.07.  A significant increase.  An importatnt change, no?

Check out this WashPo article.


Filed under The Internet

Google Stands up to China

Nicholas Kristof editorializes that Google, unlike Obama who ran away from the Dalai Lama so as to not offend China, is standing up to the growing giant of China.  Google is telling China that they will no longer censor search results even if that means they must leave the country.  Predictably, China tried to censor the debate with Google, but Twitters from Chinese citizens indicating “It’s not Google that’s withdrawing from China, it’s China that’s withdrawing from the world” was the response from China’s Netizens.

One event that appeared to prompt Google’s action was a sophisticated Chinese attempt to penetrate the gmail addresses of Chinese dissidents.  Kristof notes, “young Chinese also are infinitely creative. When the government blocks references to ‘June 4,’ the date of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Netizens evade the restriction by typing in ‘May 35.'”

Hooray for Google and Chinese Netizens!  What say you all?

iggy donnelly


Filed under The Internet

The Redistribution of Wireless Wealth: What is the Right Thing to Do?

My son received an ipod touch for Christmas from his mother.  With it he is able to connect to the internet where he can check his email and surf the web almost like he does when he sits before his computer.  My son’s and my PC are wired into our router in our basement.  My daughter has a wireless connection to the router for her computer in her upstairs bedroom.  Given that we had a degree of space to cover with the wireless option, I got a router that blasts quite a bit  more signal than I really need to cover my house.

I thought my wireless connection was password protected, but when my son set up his ipod touch in my house, we found that it is not, and thus anyone who has a wireless card could pick up my signal – throughout my block, I would guess.  This discovery led to my current ethical dilemma:  should I password protect my wireless connection?  Am I diminished in any way when someone, I don’t know, uses my wireless connection?  Does it cost me more if someone else uses the connection?  Since I think the answer to both questions is “No”.  I plan to leave it unprotected.  Am I missing anything in my thinking here, is what I am wondering?

If someone was using my internet access to commit cyber-crimes that would make me reconsider my decision, but I don’t know of that happening, and doubt I could ever know if that happened or not.  Should this possibility be enough to make me reconsider?  Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.


Filed under Ethics, The Internet

America’s newspapers: where are they headed?

GandhitoMahatma17Up early this morning, and watched a two hour special on Los Angeles as seen through the eyes of the Los Angeles Times and the Chandler Dynasty.  And what a fascinating journey it was.  I was raised in Venice CA, and went through the transformation of the Times from a right wing John Bircher apologist, and voted the third worst paper in the country, to a nationally recognized Pulitzer prize winning newspaper, and voted the third best paper in the country.

Otis Chandler, publisher from 1960 to 1980, led that change from the day he took over the paper as the forth publisher in the Chandler line. I remember my parents, who were right wing Birchers, dropping their subscription to the times in favor of the Los Angeles (Santa Monica) Herald Examiner. The Times had become too liberal for them. Otis Chandler was the instrument that made that change possible.

Prior to Otis, the Times refused to cover either the black or Hispanic issues of the growing city. When he took over, suddenly both races started showing up in both pictures and stories. President Nixon, at the time, ordered his Attorney General, John Mitchell, to investigate Otis Chandler to the extent his tax records were pulled. All because Nixon thought Otis’s gardener was, as Nixon put it, a “wetback.” Such were the times. But that failed to dissuade Otis from reporting on the city he loved and respected to the extent he published a six part series on the John Birch Society, and its negative effects on both the city and the country. Their coverage of the Watts riots was unprecedented at the time.

When Otis was fired by the board of the times, made up of the many members of the Chandler dynasty, the downfall of the Times was pretty much guaranteed. It went from a Pulitzer Prize winning publication, to one concerned with the bottom line only. It forgot its roots and the City of Los Angeles, and worshiped at the alter of the almighty dollar.  It was sold in 2000 to the Tribune Company of Chicago, ending the Chandler line, and an era that saw Los Angeles grow from a small western hick town to a major metropolis. It’s still alive today, but only as a shadow of its former self.

I remember bringing home a copy of the Times, because they had better comics than the Examiner (I think I was around eleven at the time), and watching as my father tore it up and told me never to bring the Times in his house again. That’s really not much different than the rhetoric we are seeing today.

So my questions are: Is the print media going the way of the dinosaur because of the internet? Has reporting reverted to right/left extremes to the extent middle of the road has ceased to exist? How can one believe basic reporting when the same story, reported by the left and right, varies so much there is little to compare either to? Can today’s reporting be compared to the great reporting of the past?   Got an opinion? Let’s hear it.



Filed under Media, newspapers, The Internet

Chris Hughes: Obama’s “Internet Man”


Twenty-five year old, Chris Hughes, who helped develop the sensation site, Facebook, was also the person Obarack Obama called his “Internet Man.”

During the campaign he worked on the general website, but his biggest contribution came in his networking site, or MyBO for short.  MyBO allowed supporters to organize meet-ups, form 35,000 groups, post 400,000 blogs, and raise $30 million with personal fund-raising pages.

Obama was not available to comment on this article, but the ever present campaign manager, David Plouffe, noted “We were very lucky that Chris gravitated to the campaign early.”  The importance of social networking took on new meaning after the campaign’s loss to Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.  Plouffe continues, “We were there to support the people, but that simply would not have been possible if we did not have a set of online tools that enabled us to do that.  It wan’t just a tactic.  Chris made that possible.”

Chris was the developer that made Facebook “work”.  His role there was described as “part anthopologist, part customer service rep, and part media spokesperson.

For more info read the article linked above.

iggy donnelly



Filed under Community Organizing, Elections, Obama, Primary Elections, The Internet

“On the Internet Nobody Knows You’re a Dog”

File:Internet dog.jpg

This now famous cartoon first appeared in the magazine The New Yorker in 1993.  Wiki provides a history of this Peter Steiner cartoon.

Dishonesty and the use of the internet appear to be significantly linked.  If one does a Google search of the terms “dishonesty” + “internet” a large number of hits result.  The internet has been accused of making academic dishonesty easier.  Another prime complaint is the rampant misrepresentation people do on internet dating sites.  One blog I saw claimed that a study published in Scientific American found that 90% of the posters on a dating site were dishonest about themselves.  I thought, isn’t dating self-marketing usually dishonest, to some small degree even?

Does dishonesty on the internet matter?  I am not trying to defend it, just interested in your opinions.

iggy donnelly


Filed under The Internet, The Public Square, Web Search Engines