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Maybe the Sky IS Falling!

Sky FallingThe advent of the internet is in a league with the development of nuclear weapons. Both changed the world. And hand-in-hand, they may shepherd humanity to its ultimate end. The threat of nuclear holocaust has hung over the human race since the Enola Gay laid waste to Hiroshima seventy years ago. As these weapons spread to ever more parts of the world, the threat only increases.

But the internet? How can it be the atom bomb’s bride and carry the bouquet of humanity’s doom?

As with any marriage, some things are best left unsaid or at least, not spoken until they have been thought through thoroughly. The internet has removed a set of checks-and-balances that has served humanity for eons. The instantaneous communication of the internet acts as the midwife of our doom.

When I was a child, a postage stamp (there was no such thing as email) cost three cents. A letter took about a week to go from Michigan to my cousins in Tennessee. However, for an extra penny, you could buy an “Air Mail” stamp. Your letter actually got to fly on an airplane to get to its destination. It cut delivery time down to about three days, a modern miracle of efficiency.

Today, with the internet and programs like Skype, I can converse with voice and video in real time with friends in Australia for free. Through social networks of all types from Facebook to Twitter, I can share thoughts with literally tens of thousands of people all over the world in an instant. In some respects, that is nothing short of fabulous. But so are a few other things that would quickly bring an end to civilized society, for example, unrestricted sex, free euphoria inducing drugs and x-ray goggles. Too much of a good thing can be quite bad. Unrestricted, instantaneous communication is one of those things. Continue reading

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On the Death of Newspapers

“Stop the presses!”  That used to be the call of the 1930’s vintage reporter as he’d run into headquarters with the big, breaking news story.  When portrayed in the movies, it was exciting, thrilling, suspenseful, and dramatic.

Now we’re hearing it again and again.  But this time, it emotes a different feeling.  “Stop the presses” means “We’re shutting down forever.  We’re out of business.”  It’s a sad time.  America was built on the First Amendment Right of a free press. Newspapers were the heart and soul of that freedom.

Some of the most iconic images in American history are of past newspaper headlines.  Who doesn’t remember seeing President Harry Truman triumphantly displaying a copy of The Chicago Daily Tribune with a headline of “Dewey Defeats Truman”?  How about the New York Times headline that read, “Men Walk on the Moon”.  Ever see “War! Oahu Bombed by Japanese Planes”?  More recently it was “U.S. Attacked.  Hijacked Jets Destroy Twin Towers.”

Continue reading

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