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Sir Tim Berners-Lee Named Greatest Briton 217

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the particularly-exemplary dept.
mOoZik writes "BBC News is reporting that Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the World Wide Web, has been named the Greatest Briton of 2004. Berners-Lee had this to say about the honor: 'I am very proud to be British, it is great fun to be British and this award is just an amazing honour.'"
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Sir Tim Berners-Lee Named Greatest Briton

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  • Why 2004? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alan Partridge (516639) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:22AM (#11513050) Journal
    What has he done for us LATELY?
    • Re:Why 2004? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ubera (107426)
      How about the Semantic Web Initiative?
    • Re:Why 2004? (Score:4, Informative)

      by ReadParse (38517) <{moc.wocynnuf} {ta} {nhoj}> on Saturday January 29, 2005 @01:13PM (#11513987) Homepage
      What has he done for us LATELY?

      Running the W3C [w3c.org], and we owe his as much thanks for that as for creating HTTP and HTML.

      RP
    • Re:Why 2004? (Score:3, Informative)

      by biglig2 (89374)
      Actual answer: this is the first year of these awards, so they couldn't give it to him any earlier.
  • Errant U's (Score:1, Funny)

    by cornjchob (514035)
    Honor*

    Oops, that's probably flamebait

    Prost Frist, and, uh, stuff like that.
  • Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.

    -- Arthur Schopenhauer
    • Why the hell was that modded "interesting", if not that for someone on /. knows who Schopenhauer is - well, no proof even for that since it's a fortune citing - ?

      I am quite astonished, honestly.

      • by crimson30 (172250) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:28AM (#11513359) Homepage
        Why the hell was that modded "interesting", if not that for someone on /. knows who Schopenhauer is - well, no proof even for that since it's a fortune citing - ?

        I, for one, found it interesting that another slashdotter might allude to the silliness of national pride, since, after all, it is taking pride in other people's accomplishments. Personally, I keep my national pride to a miniumum, since I'm no more responsible for the great things America has done than the awful things. Same goes for racial pride. I am not responsible for the great things others have done, nor am I responsible for slavery just because I'm white. I think people should be as proud as their skin color as they are of their hair color. Likewise, there should be no shame.
        • Okay, so let's take a look at the original quote again:

          Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.

          This would seem to predict that people who have something to be proud of have no need of national pride. You would expect, then, that these people would be less inclined to it. Sir Tim Berners
    • Schopenhauer was right, wouldn't you say? 'Life without pain has no meaning' ...
    • Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority. -- Arthur Schopenhauer

      Perhaps you miss the point. As I see it, a nation voted a geek as their greatest. Which country this was is irrelevent.

      • Berners-Lee had this to say about the honor: '

        I am very proud to be British, it is great fun to be British and this award is just an amazing honour.'"

        I am English, but I am not proud of it. Having considered the odds, I am aware that I am very lucky to have been born north of the poverty line at all, let alone to have escaped any of the countries that the Soviet Republic fucked up; some theocratic hellhole in the middle east; China, North Korea, etc etc. I'm relieved, glad, even, but not proud. :)

  • by Xpilot (117961) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:26AM (#11513073) Homepage
    ...welcome our new British internet-inventing overlords.

    What? What do you mean "it was Al Gore"?

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:28AM (#11513090)
    Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the World Wide Web, has been named the Greatest Briton of 2004

    Prince Harry was taken out of the running for Greatest Briton recently for some reason...
  • by Dark$ide (732508) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:29AM (#11513098) Journal
    Jane Tomlinson

    At the same awards ceremony, Jane Tomlinson (who suffers with a terminal cancer) was awarded "Greatest British Campaigner". I think that is just a little bit more significant. She has raised £1,150,000 (~USD$2,170,970) for Cancer Research.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_yorkshire/ 4215561.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    • by hanssprudel (323035) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:10AM (#11513305)
      I'm so very sick of posts like this. There is always some holier-than-thou slashdotter who'll tell us how we should be ashamed of ourselves for developing technology instead of giving our money to cancer victims/sick kids/homeless puppies etc.

      Let me put this out there for you: Who do you think has made a greater contribution to cancer treatment, Jane Tomlinson, or Tim Berners Lee?

      Well, Tomlinson may have collected money that can be used to fund a few more researchers in a field where hundreds of millions are already spent, and finding the solution is not a matter of man-hours. TBL on the other hand, created a brilliant new communication medium that has completely revolutionized the sharing of information between people.

      As somebody who works with research (though not directly related to curing cancer - shame on me!) I can attest that the World Wide Web is an invalvuable tool that has completely changed for the better the way scientists are able to cooperate, publish, and access each others information. Tim Berners Lee wasn't just good at begging together money: he actually created something great, something that brought society forward, something that has improved the efficiency and wealth of all walks of life.

      When efficient treatments for cancer are found, Tim Berners Lee will have deserved some of the credit for it, like he deserves some of the credit for every scientific achievement from now on. All due respect to Miss Tomlinson, but her achievement does not close to compare.

      The same thing goes, btw, to the recent post about the Linux community matching Gates' donation to childrens vaccines. Gates may vaccinate ten million children, but the result will most likely be that those children will have another twenty million children, also living in poverty, and also needing vaccines. The Linux community, on the other hand, has given to developing world a fantastic tool with which wealth can be created, and development spurred.

      Let us not fall for the socialist fallacy that the only good thing one can do in life is to give away ones money. People like Tim Berners Lee CREATE wealth, which is a greater virtue then passing it around!
      • by Pentagram (40862) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:35AM (#11513395) Homepage
        Let us not fall for the socialist fallacy that the only good thing one can do in life is to give away ones money. People like Tim Berners Lee CREATE wealth, which is a greater virtue then passing it around!

        Both Berners Lee and Torvalds did both though. They created the WWW and Linux /and/ gave them away. Sounds pretty close to the socialist ideal to me.
        • by hanssprudel (323035) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:53AM (#11513481)
          Both Berners Lee and Torvalds did both though. They created the WWW and Linux /and/ gave them away. Sounds pretty close to the socialist ideal to me.

          Neither has hesitated to profit from his invention, as well they shouldn't. Both will tell you that the reason they released it for free wasn't altruism, but that it was the only way it could have evolved into what it became.
          • Neither has hesitated to profit from his invention, as well they shouldn't.

            To the best of my knowledge, the only way Berners-Lee has made money from the WWW is the awards he has been given for the achievement.

            Both will tell you that the reason they released it for free wasn't altruism, but that it was the only way it could have evolved into what it became.

            Isn't that the same thing? They might not have grown into what they are now, but both individuals would almost certainly have made more cash for the
      • This week, Bill Gates donates 100,000 dollars to help fight AIDs over the next 10 years. In other news, Bill Gates also donates 10 million dollars to help fight linux over the next ten years.

        Bla bla. Above figures made up, etc. But you see my point?
      • Amen. Thanks for the great post.

        Another, more "pragmatic" way to measure the value of what someone did (versus another person) is to see which of them used what the other created. Did TBL use money that Tomlinson raised in his efforts to create and/or expand the usefulness of the World Wide Web? I would suspect not.

        However, is it likely that Tomlinson used the World Wide Web in raising the money that she so admirably raised? I would suspect so.

        So in the long run, Tomlinson's goals were BETTERED by TB
      • Let us not fall for the socialist fallacy that the only good thing one can do in life is to give away ones money. People like Tim Berners Lee CREATE wealth, which is a greater virtue then passing it around!

        People bitched when Bill Gates gave $750 million to support immunization programs too. Most people need to tear other people down or they're just not happy. It's life.

    • I'd be more impressed if someone who wasn't suffering from cancer raised that money.
      • I don't get that mentality (although I did just see the episode where Shake says your sig, which I loved).

        It's like, some people say "I'd rather see normal people campaign to make pot legal than see NORML people doing it."

        Why should it matter? When the goal will benefit the campaigner, and everyone else as well (less jails, less of the economy wasted on punishing users, more can be spent on treatment, tax it heavily and it'll still be less than it is now but those taxes can benefit society, prisons wil

  • "Honour"? (Score:2, Funny)

    by skadus (821655)
    The guy spells 'honor' with a 'u'??

    That's unamerican!
  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:44AM (#11513181)

    "greatest Briton"?

    Hmmm. I'm British. I wonder what my ranking is?

    14,223,921st greatest Briton?

  • by popo (107611) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @10:46AM (#11513189) Homepage

    Ho HO! Indeed! And what a rollicking good time being human as well! Its a smashing good time up here at the top of the food-chain!

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:21AM (#11513340) Journal
    OK, I did some searching for the Neowin article on this, and can just as well post it here too.
    It's a bunch of fun historical documents. ;-)

    - Screenshot of Tim-Berner Lee's web browser/editor gizmo [w3.org] (apparently two apps in one suite, kinda like Mozilla?)
    - Web page (from 1992) describing a very early version of HTML [w3.org]
    - Description of the web (from 1992) [w3.org]*
    - The original WWW proposal from 1989 [w3.org]**
    - History of the web [vt.edu]

    * = It tells you why the WWW was made... "Tim decided that high energy physics needed a networked hypertext system and CERN was an ideal site for the development of wide-area hypertext ideas"

    ** = excerpt: "Note that the only name I had for it at this time was "Mesh" -- I decided on "World Wide Web" when writing the code in 1990."

  • Teeth! (Score:4, Funny)

    by zenmojodaddy (754377) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @11:52AM (#11513478)
    I'm surprised no-one from the States has said anything about the guy's teeth. From Austin Powers to the Simpsons' 'Big Book Of British Smiles', that's all we ever get to hear. British=Bad F*ckin' Teeth.

    Listen, you shiny-gobbed sons of bitches, these are Darwinian survival aids. If we got into a fight and I bit you with these babies, you'd bleed to death in thirty seconds or get a dose of gangrene and end up taking your fingers home in a bag.

    Right. I'm off to throw bricks at a dentist. What ho, my lily-white arse.
  • Arthur: "How do you do, good lady? I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Who's castle is that?"
    Woman: "King of the who?"
    Arthur: "The Britons."
    Woman: "Who are the Britons?"
    Arthur: "Well, we all are. We are all Britons, and I am your king."
    Woman: "I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective."
    Dennis: " You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship: a self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--"

    From. Memory. Where do I collect my geek stripes?

  • So, what he is saying is, that in spite of all temptation to belong to other nations, he remains an Englishman?
  • by craXORjack (726120) on Saturday January 29, 2005 @12:39PM (#11513720)
    I was at a friend's house over the holidays and I noticed that he had received the distinction of being the World's Greatest Dad! [northwestgifts.com] Top that, Sir Tim!

  • it wasn't Tony Blair?

    Ask George.

    Personally I think Liz Hurley ought to be declared "Greatest Briton"... (Or maybe Keira Knightley...or Kate Beckinsale...or Kate Winslet...or...)

    Well, maybe Jordan, who really IS "Greatest Briton"...

  • "We were once so close to Heaven,
    Peter came out and gave us
    medals declaring us
    the nicest of the damned"

    ("Road Movie to Berlin", They Might Be Giants)
  • While Sir Tim is indeed British, imho it's ironic, nay tragic, that none of his seminal work was done in a British istitution. Shame, shame, shame. I wonder why?

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

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