George Sarant

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Posts Tagged ‘Internet

BAD NEWS

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There is a bigger problem with the media today than the bias that often distorts stories. It is not “fake news” either. It is rather, no news. There is a paucity of real news everywhere and far too much goes unreported or is very briefly summarized. Cable news gives us mostly talking heads expressing opinions and not much in the way of real news. Broadcast news isn’t much better these days to the extent that there are too few stories that are selected in a rather arbitrary way, while hiding the fact that they have seriously cut back on correspondents covering various subjects or parts of the world. On cable “news” you see few correspondents reporting actual stories. Newspapers, and news magazines, even the “serious” ones aren’t much better, again with fewer correspondents now covering things regularly. News sites online aren’t all that informative either, especially to the extent that they are simply extensions of the television and publishing companies. 

A recent search I attempted clearly illustrates how shallow all of this is. The other day Vladimir Putin made what seemed to be some important statements, and from the news summaries my curiosity was engaged. But that’s all I could find, anywhere- summaries. I wanted to see more of the substance of what he said but could not find it anywhere from any “news” organization despite fairly extensive Internet searching. But the search engines are part of the problem because if the information was out there they weren’t showing it and what you usually get nowadays is top listings that re mostly paid followed by more that are basically off-topic. I find this happening time after time. Just try this with almost any other story. The idea that we are now able to easily obtain more serious information online is false. What one gets is the usual repetitive nonsense. 

 What we actually have now is mostly a repetitive echo chamber. In other words one source comes up with a story, say, the New York Times or Washington Post, and it is picked up by everyone else and repeated. This creates the illusion that they are actually covering the story from multiple points when in fact they are mostly repeating and uncritically passing on the same story. It is not just a herd mentality, but lazy, superficial reporting, Furthermore things that might really matter are often subsumed by nonsensical, superficial stories. Just think about what stories dominate the news every single day. Barring some sort of natural disaster the news contains a lot of trivia when not devolving into entertainment stories. As a result we are getting dumbed down news provided by dumbed down reporters and commentators. 

It gets worse. What we now get is more “entertainment news” instead of real, hard news. The entertainment news is ubiquitous, with each having its own entertainment program. In the recent past this did not exist at all and there were basically only gossip columns in this area, but now it supersedes everything. We get a huge amount of attention devoted to dopey “celebrities” that in reality are of no consequence in the larger scheme of things, and who are getting far more attention than they deserve. The media that now show unprecedented hostility to Donald Trump are largely themselves responsible for producing his presidency in the first place. Thus for all the information the we are supposedly being overwhelmed with, the truth is that we are less informed than ever. 

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Written by georgesarant

October 22, 2017 at 7:26 PM

WE NEED AN “OTHERNET”

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The NSA is now working with Google to investigate the recent spate of cyberattacks emanating from China. It is high time more attention was focused on this issue, for what is clear is that potential foes now realize they don’t need nuclear weapons and all out war to destroy the United States; they can instead attack it electronically and wreak havoc with commerce, the countries infrastructure, communications systems, and anything else that is wired. Thus far effective defenses against such attacks have been limited, but this should be one of the highest security priorities. Virtually everything is wired today, and all aspects of life could easily be brought to a standstill. Obviously one way to deal with this is to hire hackers to probe for weaknesses and plug them before our enemies can get to them
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What is most disturbing in all of this is that the government itself is not protected sufficiently. Although I was in New York during the horror of 9/11, what disturbed me more even then was the fact that the Pentagon was so vulnerable to attack. It has also been subject to cyber attacks and has been hacked. This is totally unacceptable and a solution must be found that is foolproof.

The Internet initially came to life through DARPA and the Defense department. Given how ubiquitous it is now I believe we need something more fundamental than plugging leaks and fixing break-ins after they occur. Something new is required that will wall this stuff off from the Internet. Top security matters should not be connected to an entity anyone can use. What we need then is an Uber-net, an OtherNet that cannot be penetrated from the existing Internet, particularly for military and security information. This new net would be designed from the bottom up with security as a foremost concern. It ought to be possible to come up with the protocols and even the infrastructure necessary to accomplish this. I’ve come up with the concept, now the people working in these agencies should figure out how to engineer it. I encourage anyone reading this to forward it to the responsible parties.

Written by georgesarant

February 2, 2010 at 6:31 PM

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