Radically Inept
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
  The good, the bad and the bullshit

Another interesting juxtaposition of thoughts - last night I watched the second in a series of programs called C-SPAN: DIGITAL FUTURE. This program was entitled "Universal Access to Knowledge"
Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian, Director and Co-founder of the Internet Archive. Kahle is the person who first developed the idea and tools to archive the Web. He will explain how he did that, and why it's important to our everday use of the internet.
And again, just a great program.

It turns out that we are capable of digitizing all of the printed works, books, audio, film, the web, software, etc. and we're doing it. Part of it is via the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), which is a cooperative effort, but there was a great deal more to the talk, including having redundant libraries in Alexandria Egypt, Amsterdam, China, all capable of sharing and mirroring content. Oh, and a whole in concept in bookmobiles. Rather than load a bus up with books, they put a computer with web access on a van, so they can download any book you want, and then print and bind it on site. Really, this program was maybe a little over an hour, but well worth your time.

Oh the juxtaposition part...See Kahle wants to make access available to all human knowledge to every human being, and then this morning I read this: The New York Times > Hearts and Minds: Pentagon Weighs Use of Deception in a Broad Arena, By THOM SHANKER and ERIC SCHMITT. So, the Pentagon wants to lie 'officially'? I mean, is that the point? Because it's not like they haven't been lying to us for years. Hell, the article points to the huge credibility crisis the military faced during and after Vietnam; do want to go back to that?

One thing the article misses, and I'll bet they aren't discussing in the upper circles of this debate, is the problem of having the lies become the 'truth'. The article points to the problem of false stories being planted in the foreign press and then being picked up by our media and broadcast as the truth here, but I visualize something more insidious - what happens to all those people we pay to glean information from foreign media sources for our intelligence community? Are you can tell everyone that we planted that particular lie? If not, at what level do which analysts know the truth? How much time and money will be wasted by our own side before it gets to someone who knows that that particular piece of info was planted? Hell, will anyone ever tell the FBI? I mean these groups don't talk now, what the hell happens when everyone plants lies, and no one can figure out what is worth acting on? Hell, the Israelis were able to get Reagon to bomb Qadafy/Lybia based on false information they planted.

Oh, and what about the world's medical disease prevention community, humanitarian groups/NGOs, the World BAnk/IMF, the business community, etc. - who is going to be cleared to know what's 'real' and what's bullshit?

I can see it now, ol' Rummy cowering under his desk sending out drones to blow up suspected anythings; thinking he's the only one on the planet that knows the true truth - similar to known knowns, known unknowns, and unkown unknowns, etc.

A couple years ago I read a futurist study paid for by the CIA which looked at several possible scenarios for future conflicts and the like. Well, one of the scenarios had China planting masses amounts of misinformation to keep us involved in conflicts around the globe, and giving them time to build their military and economic power. Well, if we're planting lies, and the Chinese are planting lies, and the Israelis are planting lies, and everyone is planting lies, "What the fuck will 'knowledge' be?" And, who'd want universal access to bunch of bullshit? 
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