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New Technology Creating Isolated Loners = Old News 139

alkali sent in the link to a silly Washington Post story about how the Internet isn't the first technology that made people stay home alone instead of going out to socialize. Bread baking, vaccination, and plumbing are other human advances cited here that threatened to turn us all into sit-at-home loners. Ah, for the good old days when we all hunted and gathered (and sometimes starved and died) together!
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New Technology Creating Isolated Loners = Old News

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can't you put all your crap into one post? I'm sick of reading all this bullshit.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We are exchanging ideas here, not kisses or hugs. Yes, maybe I'm losing something, but is it so important?

    Yes. And if you think otherwise, you probably haven't been kissed or hugged recently. Animals kiss and hug. Cats lick each other, chimps pick lice and ticks off each other. Physical contact is not intrinsically human, it's an animal instinct.

    Pick up a biology textbook some time. Humans are animals, too.

    Most of the noise about the internet making people lonely is a bunch of overwrought whining, but that's no reason to dismiss the significance of physical and face-to-face interaction.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I do not agree with the "peaceful agrarian reformers" (Heinlin, the cat who walks through walls) claiming social interaction is decreasing. It is merely changing. As said by another Slashdotter (dottering?) social interaction is an instinct, only missing in hermaphroditic invertebrates. Since the increase of information going through a household is increasing, other non-informative activities outside of the houses are increasing. For example, the decline in cooking. I havn't "cooked" a meal in months. Sure, I occasionally throw something together, but mostly I eat out. Another example, the increase in popularity of Movie theaters and Opera's. Sure, we can watch Matrix as home, but we can got to a theater and throw popcorn at the screen of the latest Nicholas Cage movie any time. Most social interaction is at work and with co-workers. Whereas, it used to be with family, in a farming community that meant most socialization was still at work. Another example, the increase of popularity of Kareoke. If you follow the logic of our friendly, peaceful agrarian reformers, the popularity of Kareoke represents the downfall of society :) Anonymous, because who needs another database id? Andy Robertson, robertson@rocketmail.com
  • ...actually happened. The Church was quite displeased indeed that the fiathful could get, read, and interpret for themselves their own copy of the Bible. The resulting conflict split Europe in two.


    Sounds like the RIAA/MPAA, does it not? Perhaps soon in America there will be a corporate-ruled East and a heretic Internet West. I call dibs on movie rights.

  • In Logan, UT Church is still the center of the community, people still walk to church (weather permitting), everyone knows most of their neighbors, and crime is virtually nonexistant.


    But the non-churchgoer criminals that do exist have figured out the best way to bilk the community is to drive over and rob the whole neighborhood while they're in church. True story.

  • That 5 hours/day statistic was not in reference to all hunter/gatherer societies, obviously. North America, IMO, isn't the best place in the world to be a nomad.


    Now, if all I had to do was pick fruit and throw rocks at baboons, that would be a different story.

  • There's a much funnier story on Wired about the same research: Study: Humans Do Many Things [wired.com]
  • Funny how he doesn't discuss the downside to political parties, nor how a number of people were against the whole idea back in the 18th century.

    (personally i can accept the idea of parties, but i hate that my taxes subsidize them)
  • I think the default score of 0 is certainly doing it's job right now for some....
  • Sound's to me like it qualifies as "ha ha, only serious".
  • Greece was not yet part of the Empire in 276 BCE. According to the EB, the beginning of the conquest of Greece was sometime aroung 215 BCE, and ended in 146 with the burning of Corinth (the same year as the sack of Carthage). Thus, this writer fails on this small point.
  • Nah, the Chinese had that figured out long before Gutenberg, along with gunpowder and other nifty stuff.


    What Gutenburg invented was movable type. The chinese had printing presses for hundreds of years before Gutenburg, but they'd carve a single block for a whole page at a time and print, instead of having a seperate block for each letter which could be reused in different combinations on each page.


    Gutenburg had the major advantage of an alphabetic writing system instead of having to deal with pictographs. It makes a lot of sense that the Chinese never came up with movable type on their own, because they'd have needed thousands of different blocks.


    So China had a few printed books and printed paper money long long before Europe, but once Gutenburg came around there were many more different books printed in Europe, the possibility of newspapers, et cetera.

  • Personals cars allowed the suburbs where everyone
    has their isolated mini-plantation.
    In lots of burbs people never walk and barely
    know their neighbors. Small towns and cities
    are better.
  • With the greatest of respect, I dont think that FallLine can have spent a lot of time in chatrooms. Although it is true there is no explicit mechanism for emotional exchange, I have discovered that it is possible to sense how someone is, after you have got to know them and spent time with them. At times I have been upset or depressed and have tried not to show it, because I tend to keep my feelings to myself, but my friends online can sense when something is wrong, by the way I write, how long it takes me to respond, how I respond... The mechanisms for nonverbal communication are different, but they are not absent. And these friendships are not shallow, they are deep. Maybe not as deep as they might be if I met the people every day but they are significant. Over the last 2-3 years I have spent an average of 2 hours a day in chat, on ICQ or wherever, and I would say it has enhanced both my life and the lives of the people I talk to. Yes there are wierdos and fools on the net, but there are a lot of other people with whom I find a lot in common. My knowledge of the world around me has improved, my communication skills have improved, my 'empathy' for others has improved. A close friend of mine was deeply upset because due to illness she wasnt able to buy presents for her children this christmas; her ex was making great capital of this as was going to humiliate her on christmas morning in front of her children - so I bought them some presents from Amazon and had them delivered, so she was able to give her children a surprise. This would never have happened if I had not got to meet her on the net; I have not met her in real life, in fact I may never meet her, but our lives touched and we have enriched each others lives both materially and emotionally. I have met some of the others I talked to online - in one case I dated one lady, a relationship I doubt would have happened if we had not met online first. I feel my online life has actually helped me to improve my communications with people in real life - I have an active social life in the BBR so I dont feel in any way that damage to ones real-life interactions is a necessary consequence of a significant online life. Perhaps the people who become addicted to the net are the people who otherwise get addicted to football, sex, stamp collecting, trainspotting.... It is seductive I will admit, but my experience is that the level of interest rises and falls in time depending on what other activities arise to take its place. If you dont want to chat online, or you feel that it isnt wise for you, then by all means stay away, but please dont try to present your personal choices as moral imperitives.
  • I used MPlayer voice chat about 6 months ago and it was a bit flakey. Rumour has it that they improved it but all my friends gave up on it.

    Excite voice chat is pretty cool - it works well, although currently only on Windoze platforms.

    I think you can use CUSeeMe as a voice chat, although I have no experience of that... I wonder if there are any Linux voice chat apps?

    Strangely I find the voice chat less compelling than text-based ones, the talk is more banal. Maybe people are intimidated by the need to wait till others have stopped talking...

  • Assuming that technological development and sopisticated social structures are at least partly a response to environmental conditions, the fact that most Native North Americans were living lives largely unchanged until the Eurpeans arrived says that North America was a good place to live -- abundant flora, fauna and fresh water sources. I'd wager that many (most?) Native Americans were hunter/gatherers simply becuase it was easy to do so. Had there been problems with this mode of living, I would think we would have seen more fixed agriculture (which means food when the forests aren't cooperating), and more elaborate social strucures, since fixed agriculture means everyone isn't always hunting and gathering.

    Actually, although there remained a number of hunter-gatherer cultures before European contact, there were also a large number of settled agricultural societies. Look for info on the Mound Builders from Ohio through the Southeast. Pueblo dwellers in the Southwest. etc.

    Not to be politically correct, but there is also alot of evidence that some/most of these cultures were devasted by European diseases that moved in advance of European contact. Some estimates up to 90% mortality. This dropped these civilizations below a viable level, so when the European settlers arrived they found scattered tribes of hunter-gatherers living among the ruins of their ancestors.

    Somewhat offtopic, but it suggests that either good conditions don't stop cultures from evolving to agriculture, or that the conditions weren't as good as some claim.
    thejeff

  • I tend to be a bit on the paranoid side, so here's my two cents:

    I don't WANT people to know in detail about my relationships.
    I don't WANT my boss to know exactly what I was
    up to last friday night.
    I don't WANT to be considered a 'stranger' when I visit somewhere.
    I LIKE the idea of being able to leave non-legal problems behind.

    Thank you, Henry Ford (and all the rest), for
    rendering this sort of 'community' obsolete.

    I very strongly value freedom, and anonymity helps me have as much as I can under law.
    Last thing I want is enforcement of unwritten social laws.

    --Kevin


    =-=-=-=-=-=
    "...You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals/
    so let's do it like they do on the Discovery channel..."
  • I've read that too! The typical hunter-gatherer did much less 'work' than the typical middle class westerner, for some reason 20 hrs/week total sticks in my head.

    Although I would dispute that few starved to death. The problem with only hunting and gathering is that you're subject to the whims of nature. When there's a drought or some other pressures on the local ecosystem you're kind of up the creek, since you don't produce enough food to store it.

    All in all, though, I'll settle for modern life. Can you imagine what a rotten tooth, a case of strep throat or a broken bone would have been like with zero medical attention?
  • As an earlier poster pointed out, North America is a pretty poor place to live, for the most part[...]

    There's an awful lot of climatic variation between, say, the Gulf coast and Northern Canada.

    Ironically, given the fear many people have of this environment, humans come from the jungles of Africa, in which region the societies the original poster is referring to lived

    I'm way out of my depth here, but weren't the 'original' human ancestors (Lucy, et al) from the plains of East Africa? Much more hospitable environment than the tropics, if prone to dryness.

    Assuming that technological development and sopisticated social structures are at least partly a response to environmental conditions, the fact that most Native North Americans were living lives largely unchanged until the Eurpeans arrived says that North America was a good place to live -- abundant flora, fauna and fresh water sources. I'd wager that many (most?) Native Americans were hunter/gatherers simply becuase it was easy to do so. Had there been problems with this mode of living, I would think we would have seen more fixed agriculture (which means food when the forests aren't cooperating), and more elaborate social strucures, since fixed agriculture means everyone isn't always hunting and gathering.

    And, personally, I don't mind a trek of 50 to 100 miles. Sounds like about two weeks of light hiking.

    Sure it does, in good weather wearing a nice pair of hiking shoes, good clothes, and eating a high-quality diet of 1500-2000 calories per day, and the knowledge that you're just having a nice hike in the woods and that when it's over you can go home to a soft bed and a full fridge.

    Now think about making that same hike in bad weather with virtually no clothes, and maybe 500 calories per day (we're traveling because we've run out of food where we are) pulling along a pregnant woman and maybe a young child, with total uncertainty that where you're going will have any food for you to eat. The Bataan Death March was a nice light hike, too.
  • Using an anecdote as a rebuttal...

    *sigh*

    The research that the earlier poster was referring to was referring to much earlier civilizations than the Native American tribe your grandfather belonged to.

    Technology and culture were not fixed and frozen prior to the twentieth century -- there was change, in fact drastic change, between the lives of people 150 centuries ago and the lives of people 5 centuries ago. And technology didn't always change lives for the better -- there were definite hiccups along the way.

    The daily lives of ancient people depended greatly on their environments as well as on their level of technology. Life would naturally be easier in the Yucatan than in Greenland.

    It's a shame the earlier poster didn't post a link to the actual research so we could rebut/support directly.

    Oh yeah -- food made from acorns is gross. Yucca flour is MUCH tastier. :-)

  • If Slashdot's legacy will be pummeling other sites with traffic, The Onion's may be in unleashing journalism consisting exclusively of sarcasm.

    Not that I think it's a bad thing, necessarily.

    bumppo
  • Dude, hire a hooker or something. I'd say your preoccupation with canine sex might have something to do with the cause of your "difficulties" though.
  • The thing that really gets me is that this guy things that the Roman Senate convened in Athens, Greece. is this just proof that i don't need to send my kids to school to get them jobs? "Its OK Billy, so you failed out of the third grade. You can still write columns for the Washington Post."

    It's probably too late for Billy, my friend, since he already has your dumbass genes. :-)

    The article [washingtonpost.com] never stated that the Roman Senate conviened in Athens, but that the hangwringing was taking place in Athens. And its entirely probable that the Greeks would have pestered the Roman Senate, since they were a part of the Roman Empire.

    I don't know if they made an error in the timeline or not, thou. I don't know if Greece was part of RE by 276 BC or not.........
  • Actually, all the things in the Wash. Post story _did_ happen. Bread was invented. Plumbing exists. Gutenberg's printing press was pretty revolutionary. And immunization isn't such a bad thing....

    We _are_, btw, pretty humor-aware. (Cf. laugh-it's-funny dep't)

    Neil
  • You know.. the big room with the blue ceiling.
  • C'mon, slashdot readers have TVs too...
  • I think the point was that TV is still new enough to be controversial. The technologies they mentioned have been proven to surely outweigh any social damamge they could possibly have caused. That can still be debated for TV. It would have diminished the argument to mention TV.
    /*---------------------------*/
    Man? What is man?
    But a collection of chemicals with delusions of granduer.
  • Ok, bread baking is invented. People stay at home and bake instead of hanging out. Books pop up and people read instead of associating. Radio comes along, people listen to radio instead of meeting other people. TV is invented. People watch TV instead of hanging out with people. Video comes along and people do that too. And then computers, video games and the net.

    So do those socializers get THE HINT? Maybe some day they will realize that a lot of people are approximately as interesting as the average mold you'll find in a sink, and that most alternatives will easily be more fun than meeting them? Maybe the problem isnt the distractions, but that a lot of people are boring?

    Having a job where I meet people, and a steady girlfriend, I have about as much desire to make random social aquaintances as I have for a solid kick in the head. Im sorry, but my time is far too valuable to waste discussing sports with boring jocks in a bar or art with boring arts drones in a museum for the few neat people you find. Id rather enjoy myself, and go out the few times theres actually something interesting happening.
  • You're right of course, its much easier to find remotely interesting people on the net, simply because its far more organized than the real world.

    Of course, you may have a problem with your Karma-whoring, which may make you cover your true feelings. You must learn to ignore other people. They are irrelevant. Be as caustic as you wish :). (Oh, ok, its actually a very good trait for socializing).

    When it comes to the extreme cases the casuality is probably the other way around. There is a _lot_ of other messups that happen before you get someone deranged enough to become a serial killer.

    And on the other hand most crimes are passion and/or drug/alcohol related. Religion has far more than its fair share in the causes of violence too, and some of our historical mass murderers commence their joyous tradition in the name of god.
  • The truth is that the expression of emotion through text is not the least crippled. This fundamental error is based on emotionally insensitive cognition problems of those unused to different forms of communicating feelings. Text is far more than adequate to convey the widest range of human emotion; ask any writer or anyone who actually has some experience with text based communication. Text can convey ideas, emotions, abstractions and impressions just as well as face to face communications. You just have to adapt to not lean on the crutches of voice and facial expressions.

    Further, on the internet in mediums such as IRC you are not subjected to the same immediate dangers that ordinary life will inflict on you. You can express emotions without the danger of immediate social censure, especially when those emotions are considered 'bad'.

    These forms are also far far better than real life in some cases. Sure, someone laying awake in the middle of the night can call a real life friend. How many times do you think they can do that? Every night for a month? Would _you_ enjoy having a depressed friend calling you all the time when he needs to talk and you need to get up for work in the morning?

    The sad truth is that real world social support is a pipe dream, and it just cant handle a meeting with reality. Social censure and what is acceptable denies the actual expression of feelings in the real world. Instead of being a supporting network of friends and relatives it is a social pressure acting to have people bottle up their emotions, rather than express them.

    Real life is by far overrated. Casual social interaction is held up by some as being a fundamental necessity for humans; in fact its mostly an annoyance. Socializing is not difficult; it is just shallow, disappointing and boring.
  • Of course, you are right that a lot of the language expressed on IRC isnt good enough to consistently convey emotion. Most of the time it isnt needed. However, in the cases where emotion has been an essential component I've found it improves a lot. Text; in conjuction with empathy and imagination can accomplish much.

    While Im now in a real-life relationship with a woman whom I actually (surprisingly enough) didnt meet on the net (who still lives 18 hours travel away tho, ironic, isnt it?), I had my share of netflings in the good old days, and language sufficed to express a vast range of emotion. Several of them flourished offline too.

    There is another point to it tho; in a lot of cases people need other people to listen. Especially people with similar experiences who can relate; something which real world friends (or even 'experts') may be entirely unable to. Sometimes its hard to find people in your social circles who have had loves or friends die in illness or accidents, and experts may only know the theory; on the net you can find others who have had it happen.

    Forming and expressing your feelings in words makes you also analyze them and start understanding yourself, something very akin to therapy. Even a well trained therapist can rarely do more than listen.

    Of course, Im biased. Most of the people I've associated with have been very expressive people, and most of it before the masses joined up. It has detoriated quite a bit.
  • <flame>
    '8' doesn't rhyme with 'pay'! Stop wasting bandwidth with your junk!
    </flame>

  • User Friendly...
  • eww...did you have to tell us all *that* ? ugh.
  • The whole point of this being an anonymous medium is that you dont have to hide your emotions - who cares whether you were shattered by your breakup with your girlfriend if your anonymous ? you can express yourself freely.
    IRC may be addictive but consider the fact that those people arent real likely to go out anyway - and IRC is far better than the boob tube. TV sucks. At least on IRC its a two way interaction with other humans.
    Most poeple DO stay longer on /. and other mediums. i remember frequenting lambdamoo fairly frequently and often met other mooers online at the same hours. same for IRC where there were a bunch of regulars and the same with usenet.
  • Those evil nasty tabloid paper things. People prancing around with barely a whisper of clothing on. "Save the world" they say? Hah!
    Mums and Dads unite lest yee children start wearing their underpants over their tights.
  • by Nafta ( 42011 )
    Really stressing TV would have weakend his argument.

    Um, using TV or radio as an example would have to use real names. That would mean he would have to do some research. i.e. spend time away from the computer.

    Nah, easier to just leave them out.
  • I cannot agree that text communication does not convey depth of emotion. After all, we have been communicating via text for centuries, with letters and books. If someone cannot express emotion via text, then the problem is not the medium, but the person (or just that the person does not want to express his/her emotion). I am not saying Internet addiction is not real but to most people, it is just something new and hence interesting. It is a great way to find some information that interest you. It is also useful to keep yourself informed. 2c

  • Shouldn't it be "== Old News"?

    Assignment or comparison, the headline works either way.

    ======
    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • > And when I'm on the net, I'm either e-mailing/IRCing people that are TOO far away to meet in person

    I hear ya. Computers allow people to have friends all over the world AND inexpensively stay in contact !

    > As for staying at home.. those people would stay at home regardless if they had a 'puter or not.

    Exactly. Before I was into computers I would do a lot of sci-fi reading, and chess playing. With the computer I still do those things.

    New technology doesn't drive solitude up. In fact, it helps DIFFUSE it. Now I can find info on subjects with people that have similiar interests.

    Cheers
  • > However, in Pascal, "=" is equivalent, and ":=" is assignment. I sometimes _really_ wish that this were also the case in C...

    I _REALY_ wish C had used ?= instead of == for comparision. The C token for assignment, rightly, only uses one character.

    As to your point, I'm not sure why this wouldn't work?

    #define := =

    Cheers
  • Isn't a person more likely to visit the sick if you know you're immune to transmission?
  • He did use real names. I know for sure that Gutenberg is the inventor of the printing press.
  • Using email definitely isolates me from people. I waste an hour or two every week exchanging email with close friends around the country! I probably spend ten hours every week at coffee shops and bars meeting people I may or may not like. Imagine how many more people would have the opportunity to annoy me if I wouldn't use email so much!

    Seriously, several years ago a college roommate dropped out of school because his grades sucked. He spent too much time using MUDs. (Maybe MOOs, too? Dunno, never used 'em myself, so pardon inaccurate monikers.) Some of those people attended our university (UNC-Chapel Hill), and he would go for dinner with them, stay up all night hanging out, and then sleep in the next day. He got kicked out of NROTC, rarely went to class, and finally left for Brazil. (Yes, really, Brazil.)

    Now he's back, studying & working. People call it Internet Addiction, but I think he just fucked around too much and didn't get his work done. A lot of people screw around and drop out of school for a while. Baby boomers thought it was cool: tune in, turn on, drop out. Today, they send their kids to therapy.

    Wankers, all. Especially Dr. Nie (or whatever) at Stanford.

    Cheers!

    PS Anybody still have the link to the actual Stanford Study? I lost it, and couldn't find it from the /. story posted a couple days ago. Thanks in advance. :)
  • Although I'm as wary of romanticizing the 'noble savage' as anyone, I have to say that ethnographic evidence bears this out. See for example the essay The Original Affluent Society [eco-action.org], by Marshall Sahlins at the University of Chicago.

    Anecdotal evidence aside, the anthropological evidence is that people in hunter-gatherer societies had much more leisure time than had previously been assumed. The !Kung-San (Kalahari bushmen) are a modern example of this: they work less than 20 hours a week, but have ample food.
  • Its called a failed IPO.

    I'm reminded of the words on a Illumanti New World Order card. (Looking for my all in one set, can't find) The card is "Every Year is Worse". The quote as I remember: On a 2,500 BC stone tablet - The latest generation of kids have no respect for the elders.

  • the thing that really gets me is that this guy things that the Roman Senate convened in Athens, Greece. is this just proof that i don't need to send my kids to school to get them jobs? "Its OK Billy, so you failed out of the third grade. You can still write columns for the Washington Post."
  • The "ancient nomads" had abundance because of a lack of population, not a lack of technology.

    The lower population count, and therefore the abundance of resources, was precisely due to the lack of technology. There were no organ transplants and advanced medical technology to help the sick or the impaired. Mass production of food didn't exist. People lived from day to day, letting nature judge who lived and who died. Those who managed to stay around enjoyed an abundance of resources as a result. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that we give up every technological advancement we've made thus far and live in caves wearing loin cloths. Considering my clumsiness and impaired vision, I would probably be the first to go when nature takes full control. My point in this post, as in the parent post, is that advancements in technology haven't made our lives any better. Nor have they made our lives any worse. Tradeoffs are what it's about, and I certainly appreciate much of the technology we have today to the degree that I wouldn't give them up for the life of a nomad.

    It's a common misconception that ancient peoples had some sort of "nobility" because of a lack of technology. There is no nobility in ignorance. Technology is simply a byproduct of knowledge. Furthermore, it is even more common for people to get defensive and to ridicule the lives of "modern people" without knowledge of any facts when someone points out a negative impact of ignorant primitives.

    If you can show me where I tied nobility with the life of ancient peoples or where I ridiculed the modern way of life or even implied that it is inferior to the way of life of the nomads in my original post, I would be glad to retract such a statement.

    As for woody's post: when I say ancient nomads, I mean the people that existed in the time before society as we know it today began developing in the form of agrarian societies in the Middle East. And yes, I have done some research on the subject, including reading the various works of the author Daniel Quinn. When I said that I haven't read enough about the topic to say with certainty, I meant that I didn't have statistics to dish out.

  • Ah, for the good old days when we all hunted and gathered (and sometimes starved and died) together!

    The ancient nomads had much more leisurely lives than us. They worked something like 5 hours a day, and only 3 days a week at that. I haven't read enough about this to say with certainty, but I'm willing to bet that the number of hunter-gatherers that starved to death doesn't even compare to the number of poor and homeless that starve to death in our society. It's a common misconception to think that we lead better or more leasurely lives because we have new machines and new technology. Furthermore, it is even more common for people to get defensive and to ridicule the lives of the "cavemen" without knowledge of any facts when someone points out a negative impact of technology. Roblimo demonstrated this very well.

  • As long as you don't get the $85 TV, it counts as a group activity. It also increases fun and comfort levels.

    Oh, wait. We weren't talking about The Sims?

    Seriously though, although children who watch a lot of TV are less likely to play outside with friends, TV is incredibly social at some times. For example, three or four of us watch Reboot and Dragonball Z together every afternoon, and up to 12 of us gather in a certain dorm room to watch movies together. Maybe this isn't as actively social than hitting the frat parties, but it sure brings us together.

  • i'm just gonna post a little short, here
    personally, my icq and tik/aim lists contain largely people whom i met in person before placing them on the list. i use it to communicate with people whom i can't easily w/o the internet. for instance, its hard for me to organize an outing, or a movie-watching, or a concert-going with 6 or 7 people, while simultaneously work on some programming, and simultaneously keep in touch with my mom, without the internet.
    i'm not saying that i'm disagreeing with you. there are some people (like my roommate, it seems) who use internet communication to build "false" (imho) relationships with people he/they have never met. to me, that's not a good thing. but that's just me, and i'm the kind of person who doesn't like to push my opinion on others (but yes, i do like to inform others of my opinion).
    personally, i use the internet to communicate in ways where real communication (ie: face-to-face) is not desired. for instance, getting over a recently lost loved one can be hard to talk about, in person. so you make moves to talk about it with people you have already met and befriended prior to internet communication with them, so that they'll understand a little better why you're not so up to going out for the evening. similarly, they understand better, and can more easily gauge when you're ready for emotional face-to-face communication about it, and be more sensitive about it when it does occur.
    so for me, internet communication uses a decently large portion of my time. most of it is either in intellectual persuits (learning) or communicating with old friends whom i have moved away from and/or can't easily multitask while talking to them.
    the baseline of my point: your point is very well made, and applies in many cases. but naturally, not in all (and i don't believe you claimed it applied everywhere). personally, i'm an exception to your case, as many other people probably are.
    go well
  • The hypes and myths about cyber addiction are spreading rapidly. I got a phone call once, from relatives in former USSR. They are a bit worried, as they read an article that people become addicted to computers and can't tell from a virtual world to a real one. And this is in a country where there are only two internet service provides, bost state run and connecting through an ISDN line to Russia and the phone network won't support speeds higher then 28.8 kbps.

    Why is that everyone would love to turn the computer into a thing that should only be limited to the popular, the normal and those who can hold on to their social lives? This defeats the purpose of a computer. Computer is not a social tool first of all and to those lonely and isolated it can serve as a tool to meet those with close interest. and the stories of "cyber addiction" and "getting-online to make new friends" would fit aolers more, who would do the same on a web tv or some other sick interpretation of a thin client.

  • It should be "==old news" if you are assuming C, C++, etc. as the language. However, in Pascal, "=" is equivalent, and ":=" is assignment. I sometimes _really_ wish that this were also the case in C...

    I'm sure people who are older/more of programmers than I can point out some other fun examples...

  • i think the printing press is what got me...

    alack, long before there was an internet, i was skipping school, not be hang out at the mall with a friend, but to hide away from humanity with my hands full of bound papers covered with strange little black symbols.

    so whats changed? now i hide away from people with my hands on a bunch of little buttons with those same silly looking symbols.

    maybe one day ill figure out what they mean :)

    no .sig please

  • Television is mentioned in the first paragraph: "No one asked these questions with the advent of the automobile, which led to unplanned suburbanization, or with the rise of television, which led to the decline of our political parties," The author just goes on to stress some of the most basic things we take for granted as being good and important. I think trying to claiming that TV encourages people to sit at home and not interact is a valid concern! Much more so than internet use which is interactive. Really stressing TV would have weakend his argument.
  • I agree. As mentioned in a similar discussion on Friday, many people "gain energy" from being around others. I suspect that this is the majority of society (and it makes sense evolutionarily).

    People who are drained by interaction are a minority who are often looked upon as abnormal. They are then encouraged to change their behavior as soon as possible. This encouragement rarely goes in the other direction.

  • HAHA! I love it! +4, Inciteful :)
    If you didn't catch that, he said the 'Katz you suck!' flamebait would be labeled +4 inciteful, as opposed to insightful.

    -Elendale (ok, so its kinda lame, but its classic too!)

  • Yes, you are mistaken. But if you are so sure, in the future, use the Search function and find the /. article/story and include the URL. Otherwise, you are just wasting our time.

    I'll do it for you this time:
    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/02/16/202122 1&mode=nested [slashdot.org]

    LonelyNet by our lovely JonKatz from this past Thursday has about 350 comments. It's about the same topic, but it is not the same story. Scroll down to post #8 on this (today's) article to see one of the major differences (not that the other one wasn't really a joke either, it just wasn't intended to be).
  • In my case, the laptop has completely replaced the TV and the newspaper - I still get out as much, still have (some) friends, just choose to use the Internet for news and information rather than other means. The Internet has simply displaced other information sources for me.
  • Yes, this is a funny story and we aren't supposed to post serious responses to it, but I 100% agree with you. Cars have done more to create the "damage to society" that so many people decry than just about any other technology, including that well flogged "TV" thing.

    Before cars, you knew your neighbors, you pretty much had to. You knew the faces of everyone withing a 5 minute walk of your house, and often you knew the history and relationships between them. With cars, 30 seconds after you have left your driveway, you are little better off than if you were in a town 100 miles away.

    When a crime happened, the criminal was almost aways someone within an "easy walk" from the victim, which meant that the word would get around and often the criminal would be punished without the police even getting involved. Now, I can easily drive to a town 100 miles from here, kill someone, and drive back. No one would notice that I was gone for the afternoon, no one where the victim lived would notice a stranger from out of town. Solving crimes are much harder now.

    Think of all the crimes that are commited directly with cars (road rage, drunk driving, etc.) or would not be easy without them such as most robberies.

    With a car, if I have a serious problem, I can just pick up and move across town, or across the country quickly and easily. Instead of working out your problems, you leave your problems behind.

    Before there were cars, the church was the focal point of social interaction. It was the only way that you could easily get to see everyone you wanted to see, and you had to see even people you didn't want to.

    Before cars, you lived near your extended family, you knew if there were strangers in the neighborhood, you knew your grocer. There was a real "community".

    Before cars, we all got a lot more excersize. We consumed a lot less energy and raw materials.

    Ok, so do I think cars are evil? No. But I think that TV gets blamed for a lot more problems than it deserves and cars get blamed for far fewer. We like cars. We would have a hard time living without it. OTOH, we can imaging living without a TV.



  • Interenet is certainly NOT the best thing since sliced bread. In fact, the Net comes up FOURTH in turning people into lonely nuts who talk out loud when nobody else is around.

    The first technology that makes people talkking when nobody else is around is the RADIO.

    When you listen to somebody who talk nonsense on the radio, sometimes you talk back.

    Ahhh... Please don't tell me you NEVER talk back to a radio before.

    The next come the telephone.

    Telephone ring, you pick it up, and "Yelow!" Hah!

    Then it comes the teevee.

    You watched Nixon on the tube right? You remember the guy going "I am NOT a crook !"? You remember you saying "Yeah, sure."?

    Today, with the Net, you can type, talk, dance, wink and do everything you want, even when nobody is PHYSICALLY AROUND.

  • Just wait... in about 6 days Jon will post something vaguely similar to this article called "the helloven" which will discuss, amongst other things, how oven geeks are being alienated from their bread-baking peers by society's pressure to increase bread production... the poor cooks are working 60-80 hour workweeks and nobody appreciates them... they just eat and eat and eat and it makes me sick and eat and eat.

    Then there's be the mandatory 40 trolls chanting in unison "1,2,3,4 down with katz we want no more! 5,6,7,8 that fag malda's gonna pay!" Oh.. I forgot.. there will be exactly ONE well-written critique, but it was moderated down to -1, flamebait while the clever "Katz you suck!" troll got a +4, inciteful.

  • Find yourself harking back to the good ole days when you had to go out, club your food to death and drag it back home, yet don't want to logoff to do it?

    I can tell whoever wrote that has never been to my house. My computers are buried in 8" of crap, old mcdonald's wrappers, spent mountain dew cans, and a trashcan that so much mass right now it's starting to generate nuclear energy (I guess that's what I get for not emptying it more than once a season). But how does this relate to hunting for food? Well.. with all this stuff down here, when the lights go out.. well, that's when the fun starts. Remember the Nuclear Trashbasket? Well, it's also alive. It's home to over 80,000 distinct lifeforms (nevermind most of them are bacteria).. and every now and then one of them develops sentience in a flash of nuclear energy and some amino acids mixed in from one of the buried Sausage Egg McMuffins. At 3:00am after a long day of coding these things can be a real b*tch to kill - I've found strangling them with cat5 works remarkably well, but beware - some of them belch a terribly offensive smell not unlike what you might get from a sysadmin after one of the mains goes out.

  • Of course, I don't expect anyone to actually rival Shakespear himself. He's merely an example that came to mind, simply because he demonstrated such mastery.

    My point is not so much that no ones' life CAN be enriched by IRC; rather, I think many people's lives have been, or are going to be, devastated as a result of IRC (and others). Additionally, I think most peoples' lives are not improved on the aggregate that use IRC moderately. Granted, there are a number of jobs, places, towns, etc. that have little to do. However, I feel the vast majority of them are not nearly as hopeless as initially percieved. One thing you can be sure of though, is that if EVERYONE is your podunk town were to take the same attitude and resort to a reclusive IRC lifestyle, there would be absolutely NOTHING. Is this a trend that society should encourage? I don't think so.

    PS: My problem is not so much with the one-way informational side of the internet. It is with the more real-time interactive forums, particularly IRC, that have an incredible ability to draw users attention for hours on end. (Unlike any other socially accepted activity. e.g., TV (though idiots manage to do it))
  • I know exactly what you're talking about, and I agree. It can be extremely valuable in keeping in touch with friends and family. I regard that kind of communication, however, as being substancially different from the typical IRC communication. In your scenario, you are communicating with people you already know. This, in my opinion, makes the social aspects far more significant, as you are using it more to bolster and facilitate your "real" social life, as opposed to substituting it. Another key difference is, your friends likely aren't "addicts", and as such, they have other things to do than stay online for hours on end...which makes it much more difficult for you the get into the habit of abusing.

    ICQ and IM, don't, to my knowledge, provide much of a forum for people who don't know each other to discuss similar interests. However, it is similar enough to IRC, that I suspect similar problems may very well occur, if they haven't already. Likewise, I've SEEN evidence of many slashdot users repeatedly hitting refresh, and completely engrossing themselves in it for, what must be, many unproductive/non-social hours. I've even been guilty of it myself, to some extent...now?!? heh =)
  • I'm not advocating government intervention. Rather, I believe the media, popular opinion, and, what I will call, the "slashdot consensus" has cosied up to this alternative form of communication too much. In doing this, it fails to recognize a danger that I percieve viscerally. This lack of respect, for the dangers, will lead to consequences for society down the road.
    First, people find ways to express emotions in text-only media. Certainly, these are positive expressions of emotion, but not all emotions so expressed are positive. (Some emoticons, name-calling, and general intellectual disdain are all examples of positive expressions of negative emotions.)
    When I was mentioned "positiveness", I was referring to the fact that emotional content frequently needs to be POSITIVELY asserted for it to come across, not the emotional content (e.g., happy, sad, etc). For example, if I were discussing the breakup with my girlfriend yesterday, and said that I was "fine" (a very common habit mind you). The only way you could KNOW that I was doing badly, would be if I explicitely stated that (Although you could argue that you could infer that based on other statements or the cicumstances which you are made aware of). Whereas, in real life, most people have a certain ear for the tone of voice used. Likewise, emoticons must be positively asserted, and are done out of rote all too often. In addition, the commonly used emoticons are essentially limited discrete expressions, woefully inadequate for the varying degrees of emotions (not to mention the mixing).
    Second, what's so bad about people who don't like interacting like the "average" person? If we had no online chat, and everyone had to interact in "normal" ways, we'd all be the same: BORING.
    I would hardly say that people 6+ years ago lead a boring existence. Although, you might argue that applications such as IRC have spiced up life to some degree, I'd mostly disagree.
    Third, online chat is just an electronic, high-speed version of the personals pages in many newspapers. People put messages in personals columns, and wait for replies. More and more of this is moving on-line - especially for people who aren't desperately seeking sexual partners - but you still see ads in papers for people looking for roomates, selling cars, etc. It would be a total pain in the ass to sell a car or find a roommate by talking face-to-face with every person you meet.
    I, respectfully, must disagree with this assertion. Speaking for myself, and I believe many others, these other forums don't provide ENOUGH interaction and enough involvment to compel most people to stay. There is a certain threshold of interaction, that these other forums just can't meet. Having used IRC for more years than I care to remember, I literally know of thousands of people who used IRC essentially all day long...to a point where a "real" social life is impossible (or atleast highly unlikely). Where are the thousands of people addicted to the personal ads, that do it most of their free waking hours?
    Finally, the lab-rat analogy (or the exercise example, for that matter) are Old News (tm). Most truckers sit on their asses all day, but nobody conducts studies saying, "The shipping industry will lead to 'a whole new crop of addict, or social problems!'
    There is a world of difference between these two...activities? The first issue is that sitting on your ass isn't anything new, per se. Secondly, you are talking about truckers...a class of society that the media cares little about. Thirdly, the media isn't selling "Sitting on Your Ass" TM as the best thing since sliced bread. The addiction, that I refer to, will hit people in many walks of life. It has the potential to reach people in upper, upper middle class, middle class, etc. social groups in a completely non-contiguous fashion. No, I don't believe everyone will have problems with it. But I do believe it preys (passively of course) on that ~2%, those experiencing problems, be they temporary or permanent. The 2% are the only ones likely to find IRC more rewarding than their previous existence (in the short term)...
  • While you may be right that text is a very powerfull tool in representing emotional content, it is only powerfull if put in the right hands in the right situation. Most people aren't Shakespear. Nor do most people try to write like Shakespear. Without using tools like the metaphor, even the english language is crippled. This is particularly true when the bulk of IRC users use only a small subset of the english language. Worse yet, they resort to certain non-word expressions out of force of habit (e.g., "haha", "ttyl", emoticons, etc.)...which unfortunately constitute the vast majority of IRC discussion. You combine all of these factors into what is strictly an abstraction, devoid of tone of voice, posture, expression, etc, and you begin to get some idea of just how naked IRC truely is.

    If you want empirical proof, try visiting your average IRC channel. Or if you are more devious yet, try viewing some "private" conversations on IRC. You will discover what most truely consist of.

    While I agree with you somewhat, in that applications like IRC CAN provide some unique opportunities that real life does not, I do not believe that the average person will benefit from it on the aggregate.

    For certain forms of support, which lend themselves to "intellectual" (using the term loosly) support, IRC and newgroups may perform quite well. In other words, I believe 2% of the population, out of my ass, with problems (e.g., disfigurment, hearing, speach, you name it) may theoretically benefit. For example, those with body odor problems, can seek "intellectual" advice on cures, treatments, "work-arounds", you name it, free from "real life" social pressures. In reality though, I think that most (but not all such forums are poor...as those who respond frequently aren't qualified or experts by any stretch of the imagination). Additionally, as I've mentioned repeatedly, I think it presents a great, but underestimated, threat through overusage.
  • While the consistent conveyance of emotion may not be strictly necessary for the bulk of human interaction, ask yourself if their might be any negative repercussions as the result of being denied the "unnecessary" emotional content. I, atleast, believe that we, humans, depend on a certain level of social interaction (which a life consisting mostly of IRC denies). If you do not believe this is the case, consider the possibility that most IRC interactions (devoid of emotional content) could be replicated by relatively primitive "AI" bots...at least in the short term. Though a bit out on the limb...I find the notion of a healthy social life that strictly (or even mostly) revolves around interaction with deterministic bots (although, to my knowledge, we don't yet have AI/computers that are quite convincing enough) to be extremely hard to swallow....

    As for the rest, I agree with you, at least as long as you seem realize the necessity of real human interaction (at some point) as well. In moderation, IRC (and company) can contribute to an otherwise healthy lifestyle... My experience, though, is that many people don't use it in moderation.
  • Sure, these internet forums do provide some unique opportunities. However, the various negative aspects can not be ignored. Although it is difficult to quantify, I do feel that the aggregate effect on society as a whole is generally negative, even if most users limit themselves to, say, 2 hours a day.

    I agree with you in that TV sucks. For me, atleast, most every show is so mindless that you couldn't pay me to watch more than a half hour a week. I can't just sit there and watch for more than a few minutes at a time; it is very much against my nature. I really do feel sorry for those kids brought up on television (e.g., come home from school, and watch till bedtime, ignoring a few interruptions such as dinner). I'm convinced that this lack of mental activity ultimately leads to a grossly underdeveloped intellect (not to mention intelligence itself).

    While you are probably correct, in that 1 hour of IRC may indeed be better than 1 hour of TV, that does not mean that in present day terms IRC is a lesser threat. Most educated people have come to understand TV as a thing to be avoided; that is not the case with these internet chat forums, it's being sold as the best thing since sliced bread and with no understanding that internet addiction is very real. Also, IRC provides more entertainment relative to TV. This point is particularly crucial for the more educated/mobile groups...where neither TV would never attract them in droves.
  • Vaccination was invented by the Englishman Edward Jenner, not by Louis Pasteur.

    He noticed that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox were immune to smallpox, and so he vaccinated people with cowpox. (The cowpox virus is now known as vaccinia).

    Pasteur did much more important work overall. He showed that micro-organisms could infect a previously sterile medium, thus disproving the spontaneous creation theory in favour of the germ theory. He invented Pasteurisation, of course. He did work on vaccination, and I think he was the first to explain why vaccination worked. But he wasn't the first to vaccinate people.
  • Architecture critic Jane Holtz Kay has written a book, "Asphalt Nation," about the unnoticed impact of cars in our lives. One observation in particular has stuck with me:
    Our auto-dependent mobility denies the child's. Across America children and young people are the victims of declining transit services, suffering not only from the debasement of walking and bicycling by the car but also from its depletion of public transportation. This deprivation extends throughout adolescence. In all but a dozen or so cities, the streetcar or bus taking the teenager to a lively urban core beyond the limits of the everyday has atrophied or disappeared. Walkers or even bicyclists who traveled freely to school, sports, or friends in times past can no longer make their way without peril. Sidewalks are few, cars many; even the mall is asphalt wrapped. . . .

    Teenagers drive while parents shudder. The media records the death and mutilation of the gun culture, but the car culture is statistically more threatening. According to figures from the Federal Highway Administration and the Justice Department, an adolescent suburban male is more likely to be killed by an automobile than his urban peer by a gun.

    An excerpt from Chapter 1 [businessweek.com] is available online if you're interested.
  • Slashdot.

    Rob, look what you've done!
  • Either something was missed or ignored... As an earlier poster pointed out, North America is a pretty poor place to live, for the most part. You may have noted that humans did not develop as a species in a climate that in any way resembles even the relatively hospitable climate of the West Coast. Ironically, given the fear many people have of this environment, humans come from the jungles of Africa, in which region the societies the original poster is referring to lived.

    I'm also wondering which tribal group you're referring to when you say "California Indians." A bit of quick research on my part shows a number of different tribes that inhabited this region, and I'm wondering if this is perhaps not so much a "natural" tribal grouping as one forced upon them when the Europeans came through looking for land. Part of this comes from the fact that none of my data indicates that any of the coastal dwellers relied mainly on acorns, perhaps they had been displaced at least once before? I'm interested to hear about the history of this group, especially because the time period you describe was one during which life became increasingly demanding on the Native Americans, as they were forcibly assimilated into our 'civilized' society.

    I understand that a lot of people become annoyed when asked to cite information, so if it's not readily at hand, don't bother, but I'm wondering what your source is when you state that archeologists believe that the CIs had an idyllic lifestyle?

    And, personally, I don't mind a trek of 50 to 100 miles. Sounds like about two weeks of light hiking.

    Peace.
    ---sig---
  • California Indians (who lived in "hunter-gatherer" mode until roughly the 1920's when developers ran them off the costal lands they inhabited) would often starve to death when the local acorn-producing trees would stop producing acorns for a season.

    Acorns were the staple of California Indians. And they only keep for about a year, best. In the event when acorns would dry up in one area, you would have two choices (according to my Grandfather, who lived in hunter-gatherer mode until he was run off his village by greedy developers): you either starve, or you had to walk to the San Joaquin Valley from where they lived (along the coast near Morro Bay), a trek of 50 to 100 miles, all on foot.

    Archaeologists consider the California Indians as having lead a relatively "idealic" life compared to most primitive people in that they didn't starve to death all that often.
  • The research that the earlier poster was referring to was referring to much earlier civilizations than the Native American tribe your grandfather belonged to.

    WHAT RESEARCH?!?

    He just started making assertions about how ancient cavemen had better lives than us "moderns." Then he goes on and says I haven't read enough about this to say with certainty,.... Doesn't sound like state-of-the-art anthropological research to me.

    Frankly, I started with anecdotal information because it's more personal to me that way. And it's more personal to the couple of anthropologists who've wanted to poke and prod me as an example of a native american who has gone from cave-man status to a high-level of integration into our technologically sophisticated society. (That is, if you read the anthropological research, you'll find that it boils down to either researching artifacts, or statistical analysis of stories from folks like me.)

    It's much more accurate than those idiot deconstructionist feminist "archaeologists" who keep pointing to those chubby little fetishes from 20,000 years ago and proclaiming that ancient cavemen must have been exclusively goddess worshippers, when for all we know those little fetishes were the cavemen equivalent of pornography.

    As to acorn flower: you have to leach it a *lot* to get rid of the bitter taste. That bitter taste is tannic acid--and in large amounts it can make you really sick. Once the flower has been leached properly, the result is something a little hardier than whole wheat flower. Quite tasty if done right.
  • Either something was missed or ignored... As an earlier poster pointed out, North America is a pretty poor place to live, for the most part.

    I don't inhabit /. that regularly. The posts about North America being a relatively poor place to live was posted after I visited here, and I have only just seen them.

    You may have noted that humans did not develop as a species in a climate that in any way resembles even the relatively hospitable climate of the West Coast.

    Of course. However, the reasons why this is so is still being debated by anthropologists.

    The theory I personally tend to stick to is that we are "aquatic" apes. That is, we evolved from apes in Africa who were forced to spend a lot of time in the water (hense, our strong "diving reflex" which is not shared by many simians).

    As to the west coast environment--the Spanards who first discovered Alta California noted that the environment was quite pleasent. They further noted that many of the native inhabitants seemed relatively "lazy", given how idealic things were. In fact, it has been suggested that one of the reasons why a high technological civilization was not created in California was because things were so ideal (relatively speaking) that there was little pressure on California Indians to create infrastructures Europeans did in order to improve their chances of survival. (That is, things like agriculture and cities were invented to promote mutual survival in harsh environments.)

    Ironically, given the fear many people have of this environment, humans come from the jungles of Africa, in which region the societies the original poster is referring to lived.

    First, the original poster had nothing to say about Africa. He only commented that hunter-gatherers only hunted and gathered about 5 hours a day, 3 days a week, though he hadn't read that much on the subject.

    Second, it's unclear that ancient man in Africa had all that good a time of it. In fact, had things been ideal in Africa, some anthropologists I've read have suggested that there would have been little (if any) pressure for ancient homo-sapiens to expand outward and into Europe.

    I'm also wondering which tribal group you're referring to when you say "California Indians."

    Salinan. Our range was (and largly still is) the area around the Hunter-Liggot Military Reservation, ranging to Morro Bay in the south and Atascadero to the east. Most of my family still lives in that area, by the way--the last time I checked with an elder, most of the folks in my tribe (or the "families") still live around Morro Bay or Atascadero, with a few having migrated as far south as San Luis Obispo.

    A bit of quick research on my part shows a number of different tribes that inhabited this region, and I'm wondering if this is perhaps not so much a "natural" tribal grouping as one forced upon them when the Europeans came through looking for land.

    I could blather on for a few gigabytes on this topic. However, the short answer is that there was little interest by the Spanard Conquistatores (and the 49'ers who later showed up) to do any form of forced migration. Most of the tribal groups along the coast of California were defined largely by natural boundaries--that is, the border between the Salinans and the Chumash to the south was the southernmost range of the Salinas Valley. The Chumash were separated from the Gabrillienos in the Los Angeles basin area by the San Fernando moutain range. The Oholones from the Salinans in the north by the northernmost range defining the Salinas Valley. And so forth. (Note that this is all off the top of my head, and I reserve the right to have screwed up the names.)

    Part of this comes from the fact that none of my data indicates that any of the coastal dwellers relied mainly on acorns, perhaps they had been displaced at least once before?

    Acorns were a staple of costal California Indian tribes, especially those who inhabited areas where a lot of oak trees dwell. Unfortunately, the Spanards considered acorns "pig slop"--one of the reasons why California Indians were slopped in large hog slops in the missions. When the Spanards attempted to convert California Indians, one of the first things they did was to abolish acorn consumption by burning a number of trees down, or destructively harvesting oak trees for mission construction.

    The upshot of this is that when the Bureau of Indian Affairs decided to do a survey of the California Indians, the first extensive survey they did was in the 1910's--and is largly inaccurate due to the way they gathered information. (For example, the Salinas Tribe is marked as "extinct" because the surveyers would ride around on horseback, go into various bars, and ask "are there any Indians here?" Given the fact that up until about the depression it was virtually impossible to prosecute a white man for murdering an indian, and given the fact that a popular white sport was murdering indians, by and large my relatives would answer "fuck no; nobody but us mexicans here.")

    And once a few would amit to being Indian, the surveys would ask them what they personally ate. And by then, given that most of the oak trees in the Salinas Valley were destroyed a few years before, most of them would answer "wheat flour" instead of "acorn flour."

    I'm interested to hear about the history of this group, especially because the time period you describe was one during which life became increasingly demanding on the Native Americans, as they were forcibly assimilated into our 'civilized' society.

    Let me recommend a few books.

    Brusa, Betty War, "Salinan Indians of California and their neighbors," NatureGraph.

    (This book discusses what evidence for the Salinan people (my ancestors) exists from pre-contact times, and what that evidence suggests.)

    Kroeber, A.L., "Handbook of the Indians of California." Dover.

    (This is the resarch paper that I mentioned before which was gathered largly by asking who was Indian in the local bars. While parts of it are inaccurate, it does paint an interesting picture of the area in the 1920's, when the research was completed.)

    Heizer, Robert F., "The Destruction of California Indians", U. Nebraska Press.

    (This is an interesting book in that it paints a picture of the treatment of California Indians from the 1840's through to the 1870's that is quite different from the stuff they normally teach in school. It's an interesting book in that there is no commentary; just reprints of old letters, newspaper articles and eyewitness accounts, gathered in chronological order.)

    Hinton, Leanne, "Flutes Of Fire: Essays on California Indian Languages." Heydey Books.

    (This is an interesting cultural and linguistic survey.)

    Of course nothing here really quite replaces listening to my grandfather bitch about whites, or listening to my mother's stories about how my grandfather used to bitch about whites.... :-)

    I understand that a lot of people become annoyed when asked to cite information, so if it's not readily at hand, don't bother, but I'm wondering what your source is when you state that archeologists believe that the CIs had an idyllic lifestyle?

    Oh, no problem. I have about a dozen other books on native americans in general, as well as a couple of other surveys on California Indians. I gathered them largly because I wanted to learn more about my tribe that wasn't learned from family members with huge chips on their shoulders and an outright hatred of anything higher-tech than a couple of rocks ground down into a mortar and pestle.

    Of course I had little luck; ever since Kroeber declared me and my family "extinct", it's hard to find anyone who has bothered to do one whit of archaeological research.

    (If you like, I can dig up the list from a box under my bed sometime.)

    Anyways, this is largly based on the first book mentioned above, as well as the handbook survey. Also keep in mind that "idyllic" is a relative term--that is, it's "idyllic" in the sense that folks seldom starved to death, and actually had enough leasure time to tell stories, throw the occassional party, and play gambling games.

    And, personally, I don't mind a trek of 50 to 100 miles. Sounds like about two weeks of light hiking.

    Yeah, but it's a bitch when you haven't had anything to eat in a week except knawing on some leaves and some old jerky. And it's even more of a pain when you realize the hike is across a 5,000 foot gain...
  • First, people find ways to express emotions in text-only media. Certainly, these are positive expressions of emotion, but not all emotions so expressed are positive. (Some emoticons, name-calling, and general intellectual disdain are all examples of positive expressions of negative emotions.)

    Second, what's so bad about people who don't like interacting like the "average" person? If we had no online chat, and everyone had to interact in "normal" ways, we'd all be the same: BORING.

    Third, online chat is just an electronic, high-speed version of the personals pages in many newspapers. People put messages in personals columns, and wait for replies. More and more of this is moving on-line - especially for people who aren't desperately seeking sexual partners - but you still see ads in papers for people looking for roomates, selling cars, etc. It would be a total pain in the ass to sell a car or find a roommate by talking face-to-face with every person you meet.

    Finally, the lab-rat analogy (or the exercise example, for that matter) are Old News (tm). Most truckers sit on their asses all day, but nobody conducts studies saying, "The shipping industry will lead to 'a whole new crop of addict, or social problems!'"

    I'm sorry you used the Internet as a crutch. I'm glad you figured it out and changed your behavior. But that's your story - not mine, not that of many people.

    Should the government ban alcohol because drunks act stupid and do dumb things? Oh, wait, we already tried that.

    Well, should we ban newspapers, because people read those "flat" sources of human interaction rather than talking face-to-face with people? Oh, wait, that pesky First Amendment thing.

    And so on. Live and let live. Just enjoy the ride, and learn from your mistakes.
  • I'm driving around right now with the windows [sic] up, conversing with you, my neighbors.

    Aren't wireless modems and laptops wonderful?

    Soundeffects cue: Truck horns and tire squeals, loud.

    ^(%$##*#NO CARRIER


    --

  • Comments?

    Yeah. How long are you gonna continue to be pissed just because they wouldn't let you get in on the IPO?


    --

  • The "ancient nomads" had abundance because of a lack of population, not a lack of technology.

    It's a common misconception that ancient peoples had some sort of "nobility" because of a lack of technology. There is no nobility in ignorance. Technology is simply a byproduct of knowledge.

    Furthermore, it is even more common for people to get defensive and to ridicule the lives of "modern people" without knowledge of any facts when someone points out a negative impact of ignorant primitives.


    --


  • Yep, I remember when I used to get a lot of chatting done when we used to take communal trips to the outhouse...

    Then again, I can chat on irc via wireless ethernet while I'm on the toilet today...

  • I know for sure that Gutenberg is the inventor of the printing press.

    Nah, the Chinese had that figured out long before Gutenberg, along with gunpowder and other nifty stuff.

  • How big is the group of people who spend lots of time online in interactive chat, anyway? Anyone have statistics on this?

    Also, there are a few chat systems out there where you can talk, not just type. What do people think of this?

  • Okay, maybe this will be considered "flamebait", but what is so important about those so-called "human interactions"?

    Here I am, sitting by my computer, interacting with something that writes back at me. We are exchanging ideas here, not kisses or hugs. Yes, maybe I'm losing something, but is it so important?

    Animals kiss and hug. Cats lick each other, chimps pick lice and ticks off each other. Physical contact is not intrinsically human, it's an animal instinct.

    Conversely, we are doing what seems to be an exclusively human activity, we are exchanging ideas on a purely abstract level, something no other animal has been able to do.

    Perhaps those critics of computers and the internet are somewhat handicapped in that they cannot feel empathy for other humans without a physical contact. I feel pity for them.

    Moderators, take note:
    1)Read the moderation guidelines before moderating anything

  • I think the internet has the effect of improving my social skills and actually bringing me closer to other humans. In my neighborhood, there aren't many other geeks like me, so most of my neighbors politely ignore me. The main sources for social interactions among non-geeks seem to be church and sports, and I find both rather boring.

    With the internet, I can interact in a quasi-normal way with other people with whom I can exchange ideas about other subjects than the weather. I'm continuoulsy polishing my social skills. Karma-whoring, the wish to submit "Interesting", or "Insightful" comments, for instance, have a strong influence on curbing my trolling tendencies here on /.

    In older days, people who are geeks were probably more isolated than today. What do you get if you have an intelligent person who feels more or less different from his neighbors? Could some extreme cases become serial killers?

    Moderators, take note:
    1)Read the moderation guidelines before moderating anything

  • With the "Y2K bug" already fading from memory and the earth having survived yet another solar flare, the collective known as Slashdot continues to dissect the news and current events of the world they define by reinforced perception narrowing. "I don't need to actually read the article before commenting," said Anonymous Coward, "Nobody knows who I really am, I could be halfway across the planet or your next door neighbour!" Experts agree that the community formed by geeks of all persuasions will be instramental in forming the core of a new interconnected world, where your comments are ranked by people you will never meet, and read by few who will admit to interacting on the physical plane.
  • Nice and funny story. Nice to think that in past there could really have been comments like those.
    However, I feel that Internet is actually bringing people closer together. Not physically, but through things like slashdot, newsgroups and irc. I bet that there would be a lot more people feeling lonely, if internet would not exist. Actually I, and many of my friends, count irc as 'seeing' each other. When I leave from work, and will work from home next day, I will say "see you tomorrow", because we will 'see' each other all day on irc anyway.
  • ...what is this 'outside' that they speak of?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2000 @05:35AM (#1258685)
    I find humorous several attitudes expressed by people addicted to meddling in other people's lives.

    One of them is the use of the word "addiction" in connection with activities that these people don't approve of (and, very often, don't understand because their ignorance is appalling). It is intriguing that, while statistics have consistently shown that people spent several hours every day watching television, for decades, the word "addiction" was never invoked by these meddlesome types vis-a-vis TV, because it was *their* addiction.

    Many evolving trends have evoked the Meddlehouse Seal of Disapproval, such as comic books, computer games, mind-expansion (which created a *war*)... even early use of the word 'lifestyle' was suspect to these mind police.

    The latest rhetoric by the meddlesome vocal minority once again seeks to control our lives by telling us what we shouldn't do, rather than rationally raising and enunciating superior alternatives.

    Personally I'm concerned that the gentleman from Stanford spends far too much time studying statistics, extrapolating human behaviors from them, and experiencing unhealthy spasms of fantasy that could be readily alleviated by leaving his office. For example, he might talk to people who actively use the web to inform themselves, enrich their lifestyles, and grow their circle of contacts to a worldwide scope.

  • by Filgy ( 2588 ) on Sunday February 20, 2000 @04:25AM (#1258686)
    And they don't mention tv?
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Sunday February 20, 2000 @06:21AM (#1258687)
    Liars! With today's modern bread-baking compilers and massive parallel ovens these people have MORE than enough time to go outside and be vaporized by the big yellow ball in the sky. Of course, such as the state of the art is, every now and then a MS-Oven spontaniously explodes destroying both the bread and every home within a 3 block radius. Yet we just accept this, and move on. Now, the linux oven is simply way to cool - it has over *fourty* different ways to set the temperature, you can measure it in kelvin, celsius or fahrenheit as well as your own custom temperatures (prevents future incompatibility) because the temp.o kernel module comes with source! There's just one problem - these buttons can be located anywhere - inside the oven, inside the access panel, underneath it, etc, and the power supply has thirteen different adapters each with a note saying "This one works best - DON'T PLUG THE OTHER ONE IN - IT'S A BETA!"....

    MacOven is predictably easy to use, but has only two temperature settings: hot and hotter. There is no temperature measurement next to either of them and any attempt to contact the manufacturer results in: "It'll work fine, just click on the apple pie. No, you don't want to know, no.. no, just push the button and we'll take care of the rest.. .HONEST YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW! *click*"

  • by zorgon ( 66258 ) on Sunday February 20, 2000 @05:06AM (#1258688) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I thought that was lame: it was supposed to be funny, but there are plenty of real-world examples of pundits railing against new technology in exactly this way. Television is the best example, but radio did before that as well ... in fact the marketers of tv technology spent a fair amount of time and money pushing the idea that it was an interactive family activity to counteract those who (correctly, imho) claimed television would turn people into drooling zombies. These pollsters are just lazy and have rediscovered the wheel in this case. Kinda like one of those ZD columists claming Linux is bad for the desktop because "it's too hard." They just conveniently forgot how hard DOS/Windows was for the last ten years. CONFIG.SYS anyone? Now if you'll excuse me I have to go back to my shootemup video game ;)

    "C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do it blows your whole leg off."
  • by Money__ ( 87045 ) on Sunday February 20, 2000 @04:57AM (#1258689)
    . . . when we all hunted and gathered (and sometimes starved and died) together!

    When we spent hours at the travel agent waiting for the glorious privilage of being charged an extra 15% . .

    When we waited in long lines at the supermarket reading such informative and educational tabloid news such as "Leonardo has alien baby!" . .

    When the broadcast media had so much power, one american president (LBJ) was heard to say: "If I've lost [the political suport of] Walter Croncrite, I've lost middle america.". .

    When technology news came exclusivly from Redmond in such ZD 'puter rags. . .

    When you needed new software, it ment a trip to the When "on-line" ment choosing between Compuserve, Prodigy or your local BBS.

    When getting new software for your new 80286 peecee ment listening to the pimply faced kid at the software store extole the virtues of "kewlCAD" and and "reallykewlCAD".


    I, for one, welcome these liberating technologies and the positive influance they've had on society.
    _________________________

  • Back in the good old days, people could sit on their front porch and chat with their neighbors as they rode by in their horse and buggy. The slow speed of the horse and the open buggy made this possible.

    Today, we drive around with the windows rolled up and at speeds that make conversation with the neighbors impossible. So, the front porch is an icon of the past. A shame, but life goes on.

  • Language has evolved over many thousands of years. We, humans, are social creatures. It is not too much of a stretch to assume that active personal communication is a fundamental element of mental health. When you hear a voice, that is a function of human evolution--it evokes emotions in the listener...many times, even if they don't understand the language. Whereas text based communication simply lacks this--it is a strictly intellectual abstraction.

    These online chat methods are not merely the same human emotions and discussion over a different medium (text). One key difference is that, on all these online forums, the user only conveys the sentiments or emotions that he POSITIVELY asserts (e.g. types). Additionally, online communications are essentially one dimensional--it lacks the depth. Think of how many ways a simple word, such as "yes", when uttered in voice can be interpreted. It can convey depression, happiness, cluelessness, etc. It resonates in the human mind...internet/text based communications do not. Additionally, the very nature of discussion, and who you talk to online is vastly different. While online communication may be great for intellectual pursuits, there generally isn't that same emotional content there. You might talk about computers, your favorite sport, your job, your girlfriend, etc, but it is a generally a rather shallow coverage (despite what many will say). Nor are you talking to those whom really know you in person (e.g., family, friends, co-workers, etc).

    The internet has both positive and negative potentials for society. I can easily see, how a person who is unable to communicate sufficiently in person (e.g., hearing problems, speach impediment, horribly disfigured, freshly moved, diseased, you name it), may find comfort online (I certainly did at one point...more of an intellectual/thrill seeking kind). But for the general population, I think the net effect of frequent online discussion (say, >2hours a day) is largely harmfull. Even those with problems, may be better advised to avoid online chat entirely. My reasoning is, that, most of these people are just partially "flawed" (you know what I mean), yet they have a hard time communicating with others in "real" life, due to lack of experience and confidence. What mediums such as IRC allow them, is an easy out. While IRC may not rise to the same heights of real interpersonal communication (they might not necessarily have much experience with this), it is EASY. It is a form of instantaneous gratification.

    Any time, day or night, IRC is there...essentially the same any time. It is consistent. It is risk free (well, in the short term atleast). When one gets bored of one channel, or forum, they move on to the next, many times juggling more than one in an attempt to maximize pleasure. It is "sticky" in a way...enough to keep the user (addict?) on his console at odd hours. Unfortunately, enough to keep the user from going out, and trying to develop something of a social life.

    I call this addiction--it ruins lives. What many people fail to realize, is that even though this behavior may ultimately result in being LESS happy/healthy, many users continue on. Much like the lab rat wired to recieve electric stimulation if they push one button, and food if they push the other,...the rat starves itself by focusing just on that stimulation. Or like, what i'm sure many of you are familiar with, in your approach to exercise. Most people understand on some level, that if they exercise enough, they feel much better throughout the day. Yet most people are too lazy to exercise regularly...exercise hurts...and sitting in your ass is, in the short run, much more appealing. Likewise, these people become socially sedentary, to the point where socializing is difficult, yet they continue on their same path.

    I believe time will tell. In five to ten years, society is going to see a whole new crop of addict, of social problems, resulting from this kind of internet usage. People who're on IRC now, for 4+ years, are most likely going to be on IRC (or the equivalent) years later. Think about what kind of parents these people will be if they're still involved in IRC heavily. I wouldn't at all be suprised if it results in record numbers of sociopaths. Even though society may not initially identify heavy internet usage as an addiction, or an unhealthy thing (might possibly be equally enamored with the "geek" of today), it will feel its impact. While most people aren't going to have MAJOR problems, it'll be a HUGE jump relative to other forms of addiction (not to mention that these people will come from many different classes and cultures). I think it's impact will be perhaps more severe than television (though many think TV is harmless, I think it's had some very negative effects on certain portions of society), both in penetration, and in who it sucks in.
  • by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Sunday February 20, 2000 @09:00AM (#1258692) Homepage
    The ancient nomads had much more leisurely lives than us. They worked something like 5 hours a day, and only 3 days a week at that. I haven't read enough about this to say with certainty, but I'm willing to bet that the number of hunter-gatherers that starved to death doesn't even compare to the number of poor and homeless that starve to death in our society.

    *sigh*

    As a native american whose grandfather grew up as a hunter-gatherer in the hills above what is now Fort Liggot along the coast in California, I know that anything could be farther from the truth.

    My grandfather and his family lived largely on harvested acorns from nearby trees, along with the occassional root they could dig up, and the occassional deer they could fall. They would also gather wood for fires (it gets cold at night), along with gathering wood and grasses for building huts. From the furs of the deer they would catch they would make shoes and blankets for sleeping at night. And they would spend hours carving stone mortar and pestles for grinding acorns. (You just don't gather a few acorns and pop them in your mouth--unless you spend an hour or two grinding down lunch and washing the toxins from the mash, they're poisonous.)

    What my grandparents were, was poor in a sense that someone on welfare in our society cannot begin to appreciate.

    If you think they could live by gathering for only five hours a day, three days a week, I have a simple challenge for you.

    Buy some dried beans from the store. Buy a mortar and pestle. Grind the beans down into a flour, soak it in water, then press them out into patties, and fry them up on a griddle.

    Takes a while to cook this mess, doesn't it?

    Now factor in the fact that you had to make the mortar and pestle from a couple of rocks you found by the river. Factor in the fact that you had to make the griddle. And factor in the fact that you had to gather the wood to make the fire, along with making the fire by twirling a couple of twigs. Ah, hell; and factor in the fact that you had to gather a bunch of twigs and tie them together in order to make a basket so that you could allow your flour to soak.

    My grandfather and my mother and I are Salinan Indians. And there is no way in hell that I would trade my fast-food/car/computerized/grocery store/Gap life for my grandfather's constant battle against starvation and freezing cold.
  • by Gorimek ( 61128 ) on Sunday February 20, 2000 @04:45AM (#1258693) Homepage
    Apparently the /. crowd is not the most humor aware in the world, so for the benefit of some of the posters:

    The article is a joke. It is made up. None of this really happened. There is even a Point to it that you may be able to figure out.

  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Sunday February 20, 2000 @07:37AM (#1258694)
    The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathemeticians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell. -- St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Africa.

    I mentally replaced "mathematician" with "hacker" as soon as I read that. I think this wise man understood as far back as 400AD the danger of people coming in direct contact with the wrong kind of information. He tried to warn us.

    So why is it that television, a relatively new technology, doesn't get blasted? I think it's because television does bring us closer together. It offers a limited amount of pre-digested knowledge that everyone can see the same way and learn at the same time without exerting an effort. The Internet OTOH leads people to information and ideas that are raw and varied. The poor Netheads drift away from the mainstream pool of knowledge until they become downright dangerous and wierd. For example, they might rant about some obscure norwegian teen's legal problems, but have no insight into more pressing issues such as who won the "big game" on Sunday and why.

    Please, for your own sake, spend some time in front of the television and get back in touch with your fellow man!

    numb

    In all civilizations some people at least have tried to answer such questions as: How did the universe come about? How old is the universe and the earth in particular? How large are the sun and the earrt? Is man an accident or part of a larger design? Will the solar system continue to function or will the earth some day fall into the sun? What is light? Of course, not all people are interested in such questions. Food, shelter, sex, and television are enough to keep many people happy. But others, aware of the pervasive natural mysteries, are more strongly obsessed to resolve them than any business man is to acquire wealth and power. -- from Mathematics for the Nonmathemetician by Morris Kline, 1967.
  • by wanna ( 110872 ) on Sunday February 20, 2000 @06:41AM (#1258695)
    Years ago, an old & fairly large IRC channel I belonged to since it's beginning hosted maybe 40 regulars from all over the world. Every day about 3 pm, my time, I would join to exchange opinions and dissect the news. Over the years we all got to know one another's jobs, locations, intellectual positions and often... new job offers, spouses, divorces, new babies etc. There were Net Administrators, National Health Service Administrators, CIS students, Girl Scout leaders, and housewives. One regular, a musician became quite ill. While undergoing Chemo towards the end he was connected to Health experts by our National Health Admin. so that he received 'the best' and newest 'pain managment' A channel home health nurse contacted his 'local area' and arranged 'Hospice Care' to help lighten the load for his wife. The home health care hospice folks notified the channel of his inability to be comfortable in any position but sitting up and recommended a lounge chair which the families resources were not capable of providing. The channel rallied together, contributed the resources and within 1 week a new lounge chair was in his home. These people had never physically met, did not share physical space and probably would never even have spoken in a 'local city/town' because they had little in common besides their interest in #politics! ( like all good irc channels, it eventually faded away after about 3 years) BUT...Isolated, Loners? I think it more reasonable that.. the web/net provides MORE access to human intereaction for like minded people because it alows them to gather and share in ways that life today simply does not provide.

    and btw/ no news agency, no horn tooting.. just people reaching out to people..Because! (I choose to believe that things go on like this every day, all over the world and aren't the fodder of interesting 'NET NEWS'

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