Is Today's Internet Killing Our Culture?
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Are Wikipedia, Google and an infinite number of web blogs, liberating our culture or killing it by abolishing traditional standards and blurring the difference between what's true and what's false. Also, the Bush Administration's domestic surveillance program scores a major legal victory and, on Reporter's Notebook, Grey whales are a triumph of worldwide conservation, but lately, their numbers are down, and they're skinny. Are they headed for extinction once again?
US Court Rules in Favor of Domestic Spying Program ()
In Cincinnati today, a major victory for the Bush Administration. The US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a challenge against the controversial practice of surveillance without warrants. Henry Weinstein covers the court system for the Los Angeles Times.
- Henry Weinstein: Legal Affairs Writer for the Los Angeles Times
Experts, Amateurs and the Backlash against Internet 2.0 ()
Internet 2.0 is defined by a new generation of participatory websites, which depend on content generated by users. It's been hailed for its democratization of culture by providing more information from more sources without either filters or fees. But it's been around long enough to have generated an intellectual backlash, best represented by a new book called The Cult of the Amateur. The contention is that web-blogs, Google and Wikipedia are replacing expert gatekeepers with the "wisdom of the crowd," and are often ignorant and wrong. Will the demise of traditional standards lead to cultural anarchy where nobody knows what's true or false, or will history's biggest communications explosion liberate culture from the heavy hand of a narrow-minded elite?
Blogs discussed in this segment:
- Andrew Keen: Author of 'The Cult of the Amateur', @ajkeen
- Xeni Jardin: Technology-culture journalist
- Larry Sanger: Co-Founder of Wikipedia
- Clay Shirky: Teacher at NYU's School of Interactive Telecommunications
Grey Whales Face Threat from Starvation ()
Grey whales were hunted almost to extinction in the 1850's and again in the early 1900's. But global protection, begun in the 1930's, brought them back and, in the 1990's, they were removed from the endangered species list, when their population had grown to some 25,000. Recently, though, there have been signs of trouble. University of Bath zoologist William Megill, whose work is funded by Earthwatch, says that now the population is down to just 18,000 or so, and scientists are alarmed by what they call "skinny whale syndrome."
- William Megill: Zoologist with the University of Bath
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