My climatologist friend David is up near Mongolia today for the total eclipse of the sun (mapped by Google here.)
In other science news, there’s a big brouhaha brewing about the gent from Qatar who shipped his Lamborghini LP640 to England to have it serviced. The maintenance itself runs US$7,000 so why not add another US$40,000 or so to have it done right?
LuboÅ¡ Motl observes, “My relationship to this act [flying one’s Lamborghini across a continent for servicing] itself is neutral but in the context, I love what he did because it helps to unmask the exploding difference between freedom (including the freedom to spend one’s money for any extravagant thing one likes) – that still applies at least to rich sheiks – and the brutally opposite environmentalist ideology that is beginning to cripple the very basic principles underlying the Western civilization.”
Does free speech tend to move toward the truth or away from it? When does it evolve into a better collective understanding? When does it collapse into the Babel of trolling, the pointless and eristic game of talking the other guy into crying â€œuncleâ€? Is the effort to control whatâ€™s said always a form of censorship, or might certain rules be compatible with our notions of free speech?
Yesterday I followed a comment thread at Jeff Jarvis’ BuzzMachine blog. The post and the comments from Jarvis conflicted so egregiously with my own values that I couldn’t help myself, I commented too. And I realized, Jarvis doesn’t really care much about the value structure that his work reflects. He’s more into the conflict he causes with his nonsense. So, at least in the area of politics, Jarvis is as much a troll as Weev, and a lot less subtle than Lumo. Like Lumo and Weev, he’s only in it for the Lulz.
The news media continually present the online world as a Wild West infested with villainous hackers, spammers and pedophiles. And yet the Internet is doing very well for a frontier town on the brink of anarchy. Its traffic is expected to quadruple by 2012. To say that trolls pose a threat to the Internet at this point is like saying that crows pose a threat to farming.
— Mattatias Schwartz, “The Trolls Among Us”
[tags]unicorns, gavotte, lulz, obsessions[/tags]