Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Guy

Senator’s Slip of the Tongue Keeps on Truckin’ Over the Web

The word is spreading: The Internet is not a big truck. It’s “a series of tubes.”

Two weeks ago Senator Ted Stevens, a Republican from Alaska, shared this information at a Senate committee hearing to explain why he voted against an amendment aimed at ensuring that traffic on the Internet be delivered equally, an idea known as “net neutrality.”

And while it is true that the Internet is not a big truck, the senator might feel as if he has been run over by one. His comments have been posted on blogs, lampooned on “The Daily Show” and have spawned musical spinoffs, including a folk version and a techno song with the senator’s analogies mixed in. (A video for the latter, with shots of 1960’s mainframes and big trucks, surfaced on on Friday.)

See, for example, DJ Ted Stevens Techno Remix: “A Series of Tubes”

The Velocity of News

Not as fast as expected: News Online Seems to Have Long Shelf Life

A new research paper seeks to answer a riddle for publishers, editors and even readers: when does new news become old news?

In the case of a news article on the Internet, the answer is surprisingly long: 36 hours on average, according to the paper, “The Dynamics of Information Access on the Web,” which appeared in the June issue of Physical Review E, the journal of the American Physical Society.

More precisely, 36 hours is the amount of time it takes for half of the total readership of an article to have read it, the paper found.

A New Merit Badge In The Offing?

Dare Violate a Copyright in Hong Kong? A Boy Scout May Be Watching Online

Movie and song copiers beware: use an Internet discussion site in Hong Kong to violate copyrights and you may be turned in to law enforcement authorities by an 11-year-old Boy Scout.

Starting this summer the Hong Kong government plans to have 200,000 youths search Internet discussion sites for illegal copies of copyrighted songs and movies, and report them to the authorities. The campaign has delighted the entertainment industry, but prompted misgivings among some civil liberties advocates.

[…] Local news reports are unfair in suggesting that the government is recruiting young people to spy on others, Mr. Tam added. “We are not trying to manipulate youths and get them into the spy profession. What we are just trying to do is arouse a civic conscience to report crimes to the authorities.”

Unlike mainland China, which conducts periodic crackdowns on illegally copied movies at the insistence of Western countries, Hong Kong has a fairly good reputation for banning everything from counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags to pirated DVD’s. But the program is making some here nervous. Emily Lau, a pro-democracy lawmaker, said that the government should release more details of the program to the public for debate before proceeding, and should be particularly wary of having children report offenders to law enforcement.

“Public education I support, but to get young kids to do the reporting?” she said. “I feel uneasy about it.”