10 Forces That Threaten to Tear the Internet Apart – Metrocosm

10 Forces That Threaten to Tear the Internet Apart – Metrocosm


“…the Internet is in some danger of splintering or breaking up into loosely coupled islands of connectivity. A number of potentially troubling trends driven by technological developments, government policies and commercial practices have been rippling across the Internet’s layers…”

The Internet is at a crossroads.Since its birth over 30 years ago, the Internet has generally adhered to its original vision: a decentralized and universally connected network. That is to say, any connect device is generally free to exchange information with any other device that is willing to receive it. However, the Internet of tomorrow faces a series of new challenges which, if allowed to accumulate unchecked, threaten to splinter the Internet across national, commercial, and technological boundaries.

In a World Economic Forum white paper published earlier this year, three leading experts, including Vinton Cerf, widely regarded as the “father of the Internet,” map out the Internet’s fragmentation landscape, concluding with a “top 10” list of forces to be watched.

These 10 forces are summarized in the chart below, each characterized by three key attributes:

  • Form: the nature of the fragmentation (governmental, commercial, or technical)
  • Character: whether the potential outcome is generally positive, negative, or neutral
  • Impact: does the fragmentation impact a narrowly bounded set of processes or the Internet as a whole?

internet fragmentation 10 forces

What are the motivations behind these forces? And after more than 30 years of a universally connected Internet, why are they appearing only now?

The three forms of fragmentation shown in the chart (governmental, commercial, and technical) are each driven by separate trends and forces, and threaten to impact the Internet at different levels. Below is a summary of each one, along with specific examples of the risks they pose.

Source: 10 Forces That Threaten to Tear the Internet Apart – Metrocosm

An Oral History of “An Inconvenient Truth” | Grist

Al Gore got stuck on a scissor lift. Studio execs fell asleep at a screening. And everybody hated the title. The amazing true story of the most improbable — and important — film of our time.

A Decade ago, climate change was a huge problem with a small audience. Unless you were among a handful of brave policymakers, concerned scientists, or loyal Grist readers, it’s fair to say the threat of a rapidly warming world took a back seat toHigh School Musical, MySpace, and whether or not Pluto was a planet (yes, those were all a thing in 2006).

Then, An Inconvenient Truth happened.

Somehow, a film starring a failed presidential candidate and his traveling slideshow triggered a seismic shift in public understanding of climate change. It won Oscars and helped earn Al Gore a share of the Nobel Peace Prize. It injected the issue into policy debates and dinner-table conversations alike.

Did any of this actually “save the world?” OK, you got us. Ten years after the movie’s release, climate change is still a growing threat and a polarizing issue, with record-breaking heat unable to stop skeptics from tossing snowballs on the Senate floor. But we’re also seeing corporate, political, and societal mobilization against the crisis on a scale that would have been hard to imagine 10 years ago, and there’s no question the film played a big part in getting us there.

So how did the movie-makers turn a science-heavy slideshow and unlikely leading man (sorry, Al) into a global force for change? What follows is a behind-the-scenes look at An Inconvenient Truth. As for whether there’s a happy ending, we’re afraid that’s still a bit TBD.

Source: An Oral History of “An Inconvenient Truth” | Grist

Liar: A Memoir : Longreads Blog

Liar: A Memoir“Your memories are already foggy and scrambled at times. And then, they may not even be there anymore.”

This story was funded by Longreads MembersJoin and help support great storytellingRob Roberge | Liar: A Memoir | Crown | February 2016 | 23 minutes (5,688 words)

When Rob Roberge learns that he’s likely to have developed a progressive memory-eroding disease from years of hard living and frequent concussions, he’s terrified at the prospect of losing “every bad and beautiful moment” of his life. So he grasps for snatches of time, desperately documenting each tender, lacerating fragment. Liar is a meditation on the fragile nature of memory, mental illness, addiction, and the act of storytelling. The first chapter is excerpted below.

Source: Liar: A Memoir : Longreads Blog

One Man’s Quest For His Vinyl and His Past


Eric Spitznagel | Old Records Never Die: One Man’s Quest for His Vinyl and His Past | Plume | April 2016 | 8 minutes (2,029 words)

Motivated by a potent mix of seller’s regret and old-dude nostalgia, a journalist sets off in search of the vinyl of his youth. And not just copies of albums he loved—Eric Spitznagel wants the exact records he owned and sold. It’s a premise that musician Jeff Tweedy describes as “not… entirely insane” in his preface to the book. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of Old Records Never Die. You decide.

I’m going to back up.

I’m a journalist. An “entertainment” journalist, if you want to get all specific about it.

This wasn’t my choice.

When I was coming out of college, my first intention was to be a playwright. I would move to Chicago and write hilariously profane and poignant plays for the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. I’d be like a modern-day Christopher Durang but without the religious hang­-ups, or an August Strindberg who watched too much porn and too many Woody Allen movies. I stumbled into journalism by accident. The father of my writing partner was a columnist for Playboy, and after meeting several silver-fox editors at social functions, my friend and I were paid way too much money to write funny stories for the magazine about Baywatch and lesbians.

For lack of any other options, I stayed with the money, and within a few decades, I was writing regularly for publications like Vanity Fair, Esquire, and the New York Times Magazine, mostly interviewing celebrities like Tina Fey, Sir Ian McKellen, Willie Nelson, Stephen Colbert, Sarah Silverman, and (as of this writing) approximately 213 other people you’ve probably heard of.

When you talk to famous people for a living, it all starts to blend together after a while. You remember meeting people like Buzz Al­drin and John Cusack and Isabella Rossellini, but you have only a vague recollection of what you discussed with them. But that wasn’t the case with Questlove, the coolest neo-soul drummer in the universe. I can remember everything about our phone conversation. It was an assignment for MTV Hive, a website offshoot of MTV. Quest had a new memoir out, and I was tasked with getting a few ridiculous yarns out of him. For the first twenty minutes or so of our conversation, it was more or less as expected. We talked about the time he roller-skated with Prince, and ran out of a Tracy Morgan toe­-licking party. But then the topic turned to the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rap­per’s Delight.”

We both laughed as we recounted the brilliantly weird lyrics. “I said a hip, hop, the hippy to the hippy I To the hip hip hop, you don’t stop….” If you were alive in the early eighties and didn’t identify as a grown-up, you can probably remember where you were when you first heard “Rapper’s Delight.”

Continue reading……


Can Poetry Matter ? Author: Dana Gioia, Published: May 1st 1991

Can Poetry Matter?

California poet laureate Dana Gioia’s classic essay on poetry’s diminishing place in American culture. The essay sparked a firestorm of debate and discussion when it was published in 1991, and it remains just as relevant today, a quarter-century later.

Author: Dana Gioia

Source: The Atlantic

Published: May 1, 1991

Length: 31 minutes (7996 words)

Read full article..

Three Stories on Myth and Superstition

Friday, May 13th is the only “Friday the 13th” in 2016. Enjoy these three stories on myth and superstition.


“Very Superstitious.” (Colin Dickey, Lapham’s Quarterly, Summer, 2012)

At Lapham’s Quarterly, Colin Dickey mines the history of “sympathetic magic” to uncover why superstitions persist to this day. “Even aware of the fallaciousness of such belief, Plato seemed hesitant to ignore it altogether, and the Laws goes on to advise that while white magic is perfectly acceptable, any professional diviner or prophet suspected of “doing mischief by the practice of spells, charms, incantations, or other such sorceries” be put to death, while an amateur practitioner should pay a fine.”


“How Superstition Works.” (Stuart Vyse, The Atlantic, October 22nd, 2013)

At The Atlantic, Stuart Vyse looks at superstition in politics, sports, education, and gambling in a post adapted from his book, Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition. “Some students used more common talismans, such as rabbit’s feet, dice, and coins, as well as teddy bears and other cuddly toys. In this category the Albases reported one particularly unusual case. A young male student would not take an exam unless he had “found” a coin, which he interpreted as a sign of good luck. As a result, he would search for a coin on the day of an exam, often wasting precious study time “scrounging around bus stops” until he was successful—even at the risk of being late to the exam.”


“Lost Leaf ‘Bashin’ Bill Barilko a Canadian Myth.” (Megan O’Toole, The National Post, September 3rd, 2011)

In 1951, Bill Barilko’s game-winning goal won the Toronto Maple Leafs the Stanley Cup. Later that summer, he disappeared — starting a Stanley Cup drought for the Leafs that went on for 11 years — ending only after they discovered Barilko’s body. The Leafs went on to win four of six Stanley cups from 1962 – 1967. The team hasn’t won hockey’s greatest trophy since. Read this intriguing story by Megan O’Toole at The National Post.


Source: Three Stories on Myth and Superstition

Big Bother – Jamie Malanowski

Source: Big Bother – Jamie Malanowski

Islington is a fashionable neighborhood in North London, a gentrified residential area described, if only by real estate agents, as the new Notting Hill. In 1944, however, many of its characteristic four-story eighteenth-century townhouses had been broken into flats for working-class families, and it was into one of those, on the top floor of 27 Canonbury Square, overlooking a small preserve of green, that George Orwell moved with his wife and son after a V-2 rocket demolished their previous home. The space was drab, drafty, and leaky, but proved, in its way, inspiring. Descriptions in his next novel of an apartment, where “the plaster flaked constantly from ceilings and walls, the pipes burst in every hard frost, the roof leaked whenever there was snow,” and of its occupant’s wearying climb up the staircase, which he took “slowly, resting several times on the way,” show that 1984, the visionary novel about life in an all-seeing totalitarian state, began taking shape in those rooms. It is no small irony that today, across the square from Orwell’s home, two traffic cameras operate all day; and that the rear windows of his building are in the frame of security cameras set outside a conference center; and that there’s a camera at a car dealership by Orwell’s pub, and three more at the local grocery. All told, there are thirty-two closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) running twenty-four hours a day within 200 yards of the place where the chilly thought of the perpetually watching Big Brother had its incubation.

Ironic to find so many, but not unexpected; you could have picked any Briton from Shakespeare to Sid Vicious, and odds would favor finding cameras near his stomping grounds. For the last quarter century, under Conservative and Labor governments alike, the United Kingdom has conducted a living experiment on the use of cameras to conduct domestic surveillance that would have made Stasi operatives green with envy. There are roughly 4.3 million cameras in the UK—a million of them in the city of London alone, according to the Metropolitan Police Service. They are operated by the Metropolitan Police and by the London Underground, by private security firms and local governments, by schools and hospitals and parking lots and chip shops. They survey busy intersections, Tube platforms, and significant buildings, but also the entrances to pubs, apartment buildings, and health clubs. In some parts of London, they are literally everywhere. Walk in any direction in Westminster, for example, where Parliament and the government buildings are collected, and you’ll see cameras prominently poking out from the sides of most buildings, large, gray, boxy sentinels forming part of the so-called Ring of Steel that monitors all traffic in and out of the most iconic, target-rich part of London….

Read complete article: Washington Monthly Big Bother – Jamie Malanowski