Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The internet is the end all be all of civilization

I say it because it is true. Unfortunately, the internet is used by the human race, which is %98 comprised of people who shouldn't be allowed to breed. Ever.

The net really is the bee's knees, though. You have more information at your finger tips than every scientist who ever lived up until DARPAnet sprang into being. Even better, it isn't all just the written word. There are other people out there, people like me, representing a "living knowledge base". You simply can't beat it. Unfortunately, the internet is bound by the same laws of the universe that we all are. It cannot spontaneously generate matter (sorry Star Trek fans, it ain't happening. Ever), for example. And it's bound by the single most important law in the history of laws - the Pareto rule. Or the 80/20 rule, as it's frequently known.

To put it in a context I care about: 80% of my effort on a project is spent on 20% of the code I write. Another way to say it would be: 80% of everything is crap. The internet too is bound by this rule, and 80 percent of the internet is crap. Message boards filled with people who forget how to reason, idiots with no social skills pretending to be something they aren't, and sites dedicated to hentai (do not google this if you are squeamish).

The other 20% though. . .glorious. More Porn than you can shake a prosthetic wang at. More facts about your favorite subject that you can shake a stick at (like baseball? Check out the baseball prospectus. Need help with a video game? Try gamefaqs. Curious about evolution - talkorigins.org). For me, though, you really can't beat that living knowledge base.

The problem is getting to it. It's an awful lot you have to wade through, sometimes, to get to that heavenly 20% slice. There's something else about the internet - it tends to warp space time. People's perceptions sometimes go awry, in this place.

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