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The Googlewashing Of Our Language 599

KIondike writes "The Register talks about how a term ("Second Superpower") coined by the anti-war culture suddenly got radically neutered and altered by a weblog that a lot of people link to. Searching for the term on Google now brings up his blog and other people talking about his blog for the first several entries. Can Google's power to give information to the people be misused and perverted? This only took 42 days." First the widespread usage of "googling" to mean web searching, and now this.
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The Googlewashing Of Our Language

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  • by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <xerithane @ n e r d f a r m . org> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:37PM (#5657280) Homepage Journal
    Googlewhacking, Googlewashing, Googling, what else are there?

    Google is a freaking web-based index and search tool. Why is this a concern at all? If Second Superpower is the name of a company, than I would expect to see it be on the list where it belongs. If someones blog or site is named that, what is the issue? Many people are linking to it, and it escalates the PageRank.

    Welcome to proof that Google works the way it was intended, in only 42 days!
    • by 56ker ( 566853 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:44PM (#5657345) Homepage Journal
      "Why is this a concern at all?" - because Google is the most popular search engine among visitors to /. :)

      It's an issue because the popular (and on /. theregister is popular) has picked up the story. Like you I just file it under "filler". Stories with not much in them IMHO (maybe not in yours) that get padded out to fill out a publication on a slow news day.
    • Indeed, google is mentioned as a method for finding answers to technical issues in a recent Microsoft survey I participated in.

      Google is the Next Big Thing.
      • by Alrescha ( 50745 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:58PM (#5657466)
        "Google is the Next Big Thing"

        Permit me to disagree. Google *was* the next big thing.

        This page-ranking nonsense almost guarantees that hard to find things remain hard to find. Why? Because the easier to find things float to the top (people have *found* them and linked to them).

        I already have to include -this and -that all the time to get rid of the common junk that I *don't* need to search for.

        • by Com2Kid ( 142006 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:07PM (#5657543) Homepage Journal
          • I already have to include -this and -that all the time to get rid of the common junk that I *don't* need to search for.

          You think that is bad? You must not remember the web around 96 or so. . . .


          HUUUGE ass searches. Search Engines has basic introductory lessons to Boolean Logic, almost necessary just so users could find something


          was not


          And when the first web based forums started showing up (in all their slow loading CGI glory), search results got completely destroyed almost over night.

          (thankfully more and more people began to take notice of robots.txt . . . . )
          • "You think that is bad?"

            I didn't say that, though I did imply that it was undesireable.

            "You must not remember the web around 96 or so. . . ."

            I'm not sure what leads you to this conclusion. I remember it quite well. Indeed, I had been reading Wired for three years by then.

            Google won't let me do some things that I could do then. It doesn't really respect a quoted string (try to find "A.R.P.A." without finding "ARPA", for example).

            I do agree with you about web-based forums, I still mostly hate them.
        • The idea of page-ranking surely is more to do with relevance of a search term than to find information that is hard to find.

          I think the last thing I want to do is search for a term and then find some obscure reference to it that has no actual relevance to what I was searching for.

          I don't want to be searching for Slashdot and then find some obscure reference to it on some random site I never even cared about in the first place.

          If you want to find something less relevant to what you're searching for then u
          • "The idea of page-ranking surely is more to do with relevance of a search term than to find information that is hard to find"

            Is something more 'relevant' just because a lot of people link to it? I might suggest that this is not always so.

            "Popular" and "relevant" are not equivalent terms. If we are discussing social relevance then the meaning changes a bit, but we are talking about relevance with regard to the thing being searching for, and the fact that an item is popular does not automatically make it
            • "Popular" and "relevant" are not equivalent terms.

              I eagerly await your search engine implementation which directly determines page rank based on relevancy.

              Perhaps if you seriously tried you'd discover just how hard it is.

              Google's algorithm isn't perfect but it beats the pants off of nearly everything else, and all of its serious competition at this point seems to use basically the same techniques. There's a reason for this, and it's not a lack of brain power in any of the search engine companies.
              • "I eagerly await your search engine implementation which directly determines page rank based on relevancy."

                The quality of Google's search engine is not based on whether or not I write another. Nor does my programming ability (or lack thereof) have any bearing on the discussion.

                "Google's algorithm isn't perfect but it beats the pants off of nearly everything else"

                On this we are in violent agreement. But the whole point of this topic was to illustrate that Google isn't perfect. It's great. It's awesome
            • One of the things we discussed on the Emergent Democracy list is the problem that Google assumes a link is an endorsement. When I link to Orlowski's hogwash, I am pointing out what is wrong with it,but Google takes that as an endorsement by me.
              My Vote Links [] proposal is meant to fix this.
              • by greenrd ( 47933 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @07:41AM (#5659799) Homepage
                XML could also fix this, in a more flexible way. This is where free-format XML web pages[1] (which aren't really used yet AFAIK, but are on the horizon) could come in useful. You could have different "link types", e.g. <a link-type="crap" href="blah">, <a link-type="interesting"> etc. Then if this was standardised (doesn't need to be 1 standard way of doing it, multiple standards would be OK, as long as you use one that's quite popular), Google could take this into account in searching.

                I don't think that this particular "Googlewashing" is intentional by Google, I think it's just a result of their algorithm which looks at link popularity, as mentioned in the article; Google are privately-held (no public shareholders) and the management seem to be liberal/libertarian, e.g. they refuse to take advertising from gun and tobacco companies. On the other hand they have allegedly collaborated with at least 1 government to censor themselves, but in the case of China that was probably a case of "either you censor yourselves or we block you completely", so they probably didn't have much of a choice in that case.

                So anyway, I think they would be quite into these link-type discriminators and would like to use them if they became widely used. Another reason why XML is the future...

                [1] In other words, non-XHTML XML styled with CSS or XSL, if you want to get *really* technical. Using a multiple-output-type delivery system like Apache Cocoon [], you can still support older browsers and serve this up to browsers which support it. (Make sure your outgoing proxy, if any, supports the HTTP Vary header though!)

        • by nobodyman ( 90587 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:49PM (#5658121) Homepage
          "This page-ranking nonsense almost guarantees that hard to find things remain hard to find. Why? Because the easier to find things float to the top (people have *found* them and linked to them)."

          Nonsense. Google's page ranking system ensures that less popular things will remain less popular because, *shocker*, it is rarer that people will click through to things they are less interested in.

          Would you prefer alternative? That google return arbitrary matches and assign no weight to more popular click throughs? You'd wind up with infoseek circa 6 years ago. You can have it man, I'll stay with google.

          I don't get this counter-culture behaviour of resenting popular things. Now that Google is "big", people knock it. Grow up.
          • "Nonsense. Google's page ranking system ensures that less popular things will remain less popular because, *shocker*, it is rarer that people will click through to things they are less interested in."

            Well, perhaps you are making my point for me, though I suppose it depends on what you want Google to do.

            To me, Google is a search engine. That means I want to give it words and have it do the best job possible in *finding what I'm looking for*.

            A search engine, I am taught, is judged on two scales. How mu
        • This page-ranking nonsense almost guarantees that hard to find things remain hard to find. Why? Because the easier to find things float to the top (people have *found* them and linked to them).

          Then I just thought of a great idea for a new search engine. It would use google's PageRank system, but lowest ranked pages would appear at the top. Presto! The hardest-to-find pages are now the easiest to find.
          I think I'll call it.... Elgoog.
    • Agreed, if people that cared about the 'original' definition of "second superpower" cared so much this same sort of phenomena would have taken place. It would have show up on a bunch of websites, and its PageRank would have gone up.

      It is just like you said, welcome to proof that Google works ... should we be mad a Google for that?
      • No, the point of the article is that the PageRank of the "new" definition of "second superpower" shot up because of basically one essay on a popular blog. The blog is linked to by a few other popular sites, and that's all it takes to change the lexicon. A few dozen netarati with popular blogs can make the original hard news article that coined the term to be dropped from the first page of the search results. This is in fact proof that google sometimes doesn't work.
    • by bughunter ( 10093 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {retnuhgub}> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:46PM (#5657780) Journal
      Googlewhacking, Googlewashing, Googling, what else are there?

      How about these?

      Googlingering - wasting time, usu. at work, performing Google searches on random or unimportant subjects unrelated to one's occupation.

      Googlewanking - One-handed Googling, usu. when performing Google searches for pr0n or special interest advocacy.

      Googlevision - a type of retinopathy caused by excessive Googlewanking.

      Googlehacking - manipulating the process by which Pagerank(TM) is assigned in order to move your listing to the top of Google search results.

      Googooling - using the influence of your weblog circle to increase the Pagerank(TM) of infantile web pages and opinions.

      Googlesmacking - similar to Googlehacking but done with the intent of overwhelming the target server to the point of incapacitation. See also "slashdotting."

      Googolplexing - successfully receiving a Google search link as the top result of a Google search.

    • by GMontag ( 42283 ) <{gmontag} {at} {}> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @11:11PM (#5658237) Homepage Journal
      After reading the article, it seems the Andrew Orlowski's core complaint is that Greenpeace, and the other special interest groups that he names, do not control the language. At least this particular phrase that Patrick Tyler of the NYT allegedly coined.

      Odd that the Mr. Orlowski invokes Orwell, as the way Google ranks the pages this phrase appears is as far from a "Big Brother" operation as one can get! Many people, independantly linking to a particular web page? How on earth is that "Orwellian"? He does not even suggest that Google is "cheating", he just tosses the phrase about like so many random hand grenades.
      Googlewash Writing about Google's collusion with the People's Republic of China to block access to mainland users, censorship researcher Seth Finkelsetein observed:

      "Contrary to earlier utopian theories of the Internet, it takes very little effort for governments to cause certain information simply to vanish for a huge number of people."

      Rub out the word 'government', and replace it with 'weblog A-list'. In this case a commons resource, this very potent and quite viral phrase, was created by millions of people. But it was poisoned by a very select number of 'bloggers'. Possibly a dozen, but no more than 30, we'd guess.
      Well, if you want to swap words with quite different meanings I guess you can pretend to make any arguement you like. Note that the author does not bother acknowledging that the "handful" of 'bloggers that link to the page and phrase in question are all quite popular themselves, because many other individuals in turn link to them. If anybody is engaged in Doublespeak here it is the author, not the masses that evolve the language. Compairing a lone 'blogger to Communist China is obscene.
  • by concatenation ( 647741 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:39PM (#5657300)
    You may have handled Google.

    Now, prepare to get Slashdotted.
  • "Second Superpower" would make a great band name.

    (apologies to Dave Barry)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:41PM (#5657324)
    New forms of communication and commentary are being invented continuously. Slashdot and other news sites present high quality peer-reviewed commentary by involving large numbers of members of the web community in recommending and rating items. Text messaging on mobile phones, or texting, is now the medium of choice for communicating with thousands of demonstrators simultaneously during mass protests. Instant messaging turns out to be one of the most popular methods for staying connected in the developing world, because it requires only a bit of bandwidth, and provides an intimate sense of connection across time and space. The current enthusiasm for blogging is changing the way that people relate to publication, as it allows realtime dialogue about world events as bloggers log in daily to share their insights. Meta-blogging sites crawl across thousands of blogs, identifying popular links, noting emergent topics, and providing an instantaneous summary of the global consciousness of the second superpower.
  • by donutello ( 88309 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:43PM (#5657335) Homepage
    ... who does not see a huge difference between the two definitions of the phrase "Second Superpower"?
    • Original Def: World-wide anti-war protesters. Guys in the street waving signs and making their government's life hard.

      New Def: Users of the internet.

      • New Def: Users of the internet.

        Really? Did you actually read the weblog in question? Here's a quote from the second paragraph (no pun intended):

        The beautiful but deeply agitated face of this second superpower is the worldwide peace campaign, but the body of the movement is made up of millions of people concerned with a broad agenda that includes social development, environmentalism, health, and human rights.

        Sounds like an anti-war movement to me, especially when they use the words "peace campaign"

      • New Def: Users of the internet.

        Well, that's what the article claims, but reading the essay itself, I find it indistinguishable from the "real" definition. Even by Register standards, this strikes me as transparently dishonest.

        Personally, I have no stake on this -- as far as I'm concerned it's just the latest version of leftists deciding that basic citizenship is some courageous, novel secret weapon they should adopt, and giving it a pomopus title. (Do they ever realize that it's precisely those things tha

    • this is /. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SHEENmaster ( 581283 ) <travis AT utk DOT edu> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:55PM (#5657430) Homepage Journal
      We just bitch a lot; we aren't "protestors" of anything more than megalomaniacle corporations and bribed governement officials. See the difference now?
    • i was thinking the exact same thing.
    • by ralphclark ( 11346 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:34PM (#5657702) Journal
      In caricature, then, to clarify the distinction:

      First definition: large crowds of booted skinheads and homeless "alternative lifestyle" (eg alcholic and heavy drug abusing) ex-punks with spiderweb tattoos, on the rampage, smashing in storefront windows, defacing public monuments and lobbing half-bricks at the riot police.

      Second definition: you and me with our short attention spans, surfing on slashdot, getting extra annoyed for a few minutes about the latest outragous piece of IP legislation and maybe thinking about possibly sending an angry email to, well, whatever email address somebody was kind enough to post. Well, hell, at least we'll actively gripe about it to our friends at the water cooler in the office the next day.

      The Second Superpower has no teeth. As witness the way support for the anti-war movement just melted away in the last days leading up to the war - right about the time it became really clear that Bush didn't give a flying fuck about public opinion. The vast majority of people just gave up. I don't wish to be hypocritical; I count myself among them.

      It's just the way people are. Trouble is, we all know that you can only take a protest so far before it becomes outright revolution, and then things get broken and you might get in trouble with the law or get hurt. As long as people have comfortable lives to return to they will have no truck with revolution. You need to have nothing to lose before you will risk everything.

      That's why every government likes to create and maintain a large and comfortable middle class even if there are some people without a job or a roof over their heads. The apathy of the former acts as an effective buffer against the anger of the latter ever gaining enough support to make a significant impact.
      • by John Ineson ( 538704 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @12:28AM (#5658603) Homepage
        First definition: large crowds of booted skinheads and homeless "alternative lifestyle" (eg alcholic and heavy drug abusing) ex-punks with spiderweb tattoos, on the rampage, smashing in storefront windows, defacing public monuments and lobbing half-bricks at the riot police."

        Catchy rhetoric, but ignorant of the facts. Britain has a population of around 60 million. On the 15th of February around a million of us were not only against the war, but felt so strongly that we spent our free time and money making our way to London to protest [].

        There was no violence, no vandalism, just a monumental expression of public opinion. Young and old; families and people in suits outnumbering the dreadlocked and tie-died. It was the biggest political protest in this country, to date, and similar events happened in cities across the globe. Very few saw violence instigated by the protesters, because -- like myself -- the majority were totally unlike the provocative stereotypes you invoke.

        The very thing that makes these people a superpower is that they are not just extremists, rather a vast number of responsible, everyday people who will not support military agression without international consensus, especially where it promises numerous economic and political rewards to the participants.

        • Catchy rhetoric, but ignorant of the facts. Britain has a population of around 60 million. On the 15th of February around a million of us were not only against the war

          Well, in 1938 61% if the British public opposed war with Nazi Germany too. When it comes to the important stuff, the mob is usually wrong. Which is why we have a representative rather than direct democracy. How many of those protestors showed up because they believed the nonsense that a million Iraqi children would be killed, the Moslem cou
    • by Erris ( 531066 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:34PM (#5658043) Homepage Journal
      The difference was subtle, but the point was how Google got bombed with the second meaning. The Register noticed that the "NPR" version filled up all but three of the first 30 Google search results for "Second Superpower". It's not a big deal as long as you know that Google is not always the best source of information.

      How it could miss a freaking NYT article? Well, it's probably because the New York Times makes it difficult to link to themselves. They take down older articles and charge for "research" forcing most people to trudge off to the library or do without. Most people who don't want to look like loons pointing to non-extant links don't point at the NYT and so the NYT is going to sink very low in Google results. They deserve it.

      Just the same, we should all be aware that Google can and does miss the originators of ideas. It's a huge step up over pulp publications which could miss entire social movements or hoplessly prevert them according to the world view of the publisher. Google can shine it's light on fledgling ideas you would never have found 20 years ago, much less in today's consolidated media. Yet for all it's goodness, it has not earned its PhD yet.

  • While the effects of linking are multiplicative in their effect of raising a page's ranking, the problem is that it requires someone to actually put those terms into the search engine to get to them. If someone is going to find a definition of a word, they'll probably go to a dictionary. While I do see an increase in the practice of entering a phrase into the search engine to learn more about it (I've done it) I would consider this more mis-/dis-information or tangential discussion than actually changing th
    • you've basically hit the nail on the head about why time seems to pass so fast online.

      1/ Things are only relevant if they're being talked about.
      2/ Things are only linked if they are talked about.
      3/ Therefore, things are only relevant when they are linked.

      The links (i.e. 'see also') in the dictionary never change, so relevancy is pretty much set during its publishing. When links online change every day or every hour, then things seem to come and go: definitions change.

      Isn't that what the article about: de
  • > Can Google's power to give information to the people be misused and perverted?

    HEY! It's never a misuse of Google to give information to perverted people!

  • by mekkab ( 133181 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:47PM (#5657369) Homepage Journal
    nor do I see the reason for concern.

    People try to say a lot of buzz-words and catch phrases. Some catch on, some don't, and some morph. Didn't Edison try to associate "to Westinghouse" to mean electrocution? (he thought 120 Volts AC was excessive. Guess what's running in my house, eddy?)

    Can I get my story posted on slashdot when I try to bring back the word "Skavoovie!" and it takes 42 days for the internet to decide that I'm a dumbass? NEWS AT 11!
  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:48PM (#5657376)
    When are you goggle fan-boys going to realize goggle is not all it's cracked up to be?

    This is a perfect example of how dramatically useless it can be any any given moment. When you put your trust in one resource, you risk cutting yourself off from reality.
  • In our Culture? Unheard of!
    I'm sorry that the person who originally coined this term had it's context, queered by someone who used it for his own purposes, but this kind of thing is hardly new, and in no way the fault of Google.
    If nothing else, Google is chronicaling the mutation of a Meme once exposed to the public. In this way, it could be said to be serving a purpose.
    Words change in use/meaning/context all the time in our society. Nouns become verbs. First we had a chat. Then we chatted. Now we
    • If nothing else, Google is chronicaling the mutation of a Meme once exposed to the public. In this way, it could be said to be serving a purpose.

      Argueably, this isn't the case at all. It cronicalled one small group of people's interpretation of the Meme and portrays it as mutation seen by the puplic. If Google is the "source of all knowledge" some consider it to be, this misleading portrayal could easily become self-fullfilling prophecy. Small groups who puplish on the internet and cross-link could hav

    • Agreed. If you want a language that's doing it's best to not evolve, look at French.

  • The poster is suggesting that the opinions of some popular bloggers somehow hurt the socialist movement, and that private corporations should somehow censor the opinions of those bloggers.

    Please explain how censorship of these bloggers is any more correct than the so-called censorship (due to dilution) that the anti-war protesters are experiencing. Should only anti-war opinion be protected or expressed?

  • by univgeek ( 442857 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:51PM (#5657405)
    Okay, let me get this straight. One guy calls world public opinion a second superpower. Another guy calls informed netizens a second superpower a few days (weeks?) later. Now the Reg is upset that the first guy is not showing up on Google? What the f*** ??

    Does he have a right to come first on a google search? Maybe if more people linked to him, he would be first. How is this a conspiracy? Is there any evidence that Google actively did this? If they are so pissed about it, may be they should start a link campaign, or propagate their version of the "second superpower" more...

    • I find it funny that the complaint is over that part of the deffinition. Last time I checked power meant to have actual ability to change something (or to have power), and super power was power above normal power.
      Given these two facts, how can peace freaks of the world be considered a second power? The truth of the matter is that they have no power! Thay haven't changed anything. They've increased the arrests, and in some case proven themselves hipocrits(sp?)--fyi, the college incedent where one pro
  • by Wee ( 17189 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:51PM (#5657408)
    The really funny part is that this story will help increase his ranking. The Register has linked to it, and lots of people here will "search Google" for the phrase.

    The first rule of Googlewashing is you don't talk about Googlewashing. The second rule of Googlewashing is you don't talk about Googlewashing.


  • by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:52PM (#5657418) Homepage
    As a libertarian I've become well-acquainted with the "hijacking" of terminology -- to the point of which it becomes exceedingly difficult to discuss some subjects because the people discussing it may not be talking about the same thing...

    One example of this is the term "liberal". Once upon a time this had a very different meaning, and "classical liberalism", while on some issues resembles modern liberalism, is very different on many others []. I doubt someone like Tom Paine would agree with much of what today's Democratic party supports.

    Another example is "anarchy". To the Republicans, it's equated with chaos and a lack of any form of control, though in actuality it's meant to describe a social system that relies on self-control. To the socialists, it could only mean "classical anarchy", or "anarchosocialism", a sort of communist utopia. Libertarians often support "anarchocapitalism", where people can own the means to production.

    The term "libertarianism" has been similarly obscured in meaning. Socialists have attempted to claim it for their own in the past. Many people, including the leadership of the Libertarian party, consider it equivalent to minarchism, while other influential people seek to equate the term to a restriction against the initiation of force. Meanwhile, other organizations [] also wish to subsume the term.
  • That seems to be what the entire article amounts to: "Gosh, we were trying to create this "meme" that large global gatherings of communists, students, and people without jobs were some mysterious force known as a 'Second Superpower,' and then someone went off and used those words in an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WAY without asking our permition! It's not fair not fair not fair! How DARE they used free speech differently than we do?"

    This is news? (I know, it's a slashdot story, so it has no requirement to even resemble news.) Whatever happened to "the cure for speech you disagree with is more speech"? It's not like anyone has a copyright on a silly phrase like "Second Superpower." Get a grip already...
    • "Gosh, we were trying to create this "meme" that large global gatherings of communists, students, and people without jobs were some mysterious force known as a 'Second Superpower,'

      Yeah that's the part that's getting to me too. It appears to me that the phrase was coined in a really stupid way, so it only seems inevitable that someone else would coin it in a way that actually seems to make some sense. Can't have that though.

      As far as Google's involvement is concerned, where's the beef? Google is wo

    • The point of the article isn't about competing "memes", it's about flaws in Google's PageRank system. In this case, the weighting of site importance on the basis of the number and authoritativeness is being thrown by the incestuous linking behavior of weblogs.

      If there's a flaw in the article, it's that it implies -- without ever quite coming out and saying it -- that there was some sort of conspiracy or malice aforethought. Obviously, there was not.

      Also implied but not stated directly is that Google has s
  • I read the article, and it looks like one big whine to me, that could be summed up as "Some other small social group stomped the arbitrary phrase that my small social group created." Ho hum, so what? I had never heard that phrase until I read it today in Slashdot.

    Unlike some other posters who also commented on this story, I do believe the polls that claim 70%+ support for the war among americans. I run in a number of real life social circles, and some of these social circles are rabidly anti-war. They
  • Laughable (Score:3, Funny)

    by Com2Kid ( 142006 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:55PM (#5657431) Homepage Journal
    "second superpower" my arse.


    Do you have nukes?



    Do you have military installations world wide?



    Do you have a network of spies and counter spies embedded in governments and multinational corporations around the world?



    Do you have spy satellites capable of taking high accuracy pictures of, oh, just about anything?



    Do you have ICMBs, the worlds LARGEST military air force capable of decimating any section of the earth, and nuclear subs submerged beneath all the worlds oceans?



    Maybe nobody ever made it clear to these irritants. The United States is NOT a super power because of its "large world wide voice". The United States is a super power because IT IS POWERFUL ENOUGH TO COMPLEATLY DESTORY EVERY MAN WOMAN AND CHILD IN ANY NUMBER OF NATIONS AT ANY POINT IN TIME IT SHOULD SO CHOOSE TO DO SO
    • The US could have a good go, but im sorry the sum of every other Nation out there DOES outweigh the could destroy a heck of alot, but theres alot of nukes in other countries also, and far bigger armies. You may have the hi-tech, but it will only last so long. So Yes, we do have nukes/ICMBs, yes we do have spies in all areas of the world although the only area to really count is the US so we at least can concentrate on there, hell the US was so shocked that someone would attack it on its home turf
    • Not quite...... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Brian_Ellenberger ( 308720 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @11:58PM (#5658468)
      "The United States is NOT a super power because of its "large world wide voice". The United States is a super power because IT IS POWERFUL ENOUGH TO COMPLEATLY DESTORY EVERY MAN WOMAN AND CHILD IN ANY NUMBER OF NATIONS AT ANY POINT IN TIME IT SHOULD SO CHOOSE TO DO SO"

      Russia can still do the same, but are not considered a superpower anymore.

      Superpower is one of those words so overused that people forget its meaning. A regional power is a country that has a large amount of power and influence in a particular geographic region. Britian, France, and Germany are European powers. China and Japan are East Asian powers.

      A Superpower is a country whose influence extends far beyond its region to every part of the globe. During the Cold War, United States and Soviet power was evident in every region. The Soviets had power all the way into the Americas as evidenced by Cuba and the communist uprisings in Central America. The United States had power in places as far off as Europe, Korea, and Turkey.

      After the fall of the Cold War the United States is the only country that has that sort of reach. Russia can't extend its power to start uprisings the Western Hemisphere anymore. The United States just a short time ago helped the Northern Alliance take down their enemy the Taliban half a world away in a land notorious for "chewing up" big-shot powers for hundreds of years. That's power. That's a superpower. It is not just being able to blow everyone up. It is also being able to influence people through ideas and arguments. Its about making what you want to happen actually happen.

      Not every country strives to be a superpower. Remember this when you hear about China being the next "superpower". China has shown little interest in what happens outside their region. If they had Taiwan they would be pretty much content.

      Europe recently failed the superpower test by their inability to stop the genocide in the former Yugoslavia and the necessity of the United States to come in and stop the madness once again. That is just embarrassing. Imagine if France had to come over here and deal with Mexico. You have to be able to deal with your own region before you can see yourself as a "superpower".

      Brian Ellenberger
      • Re:Not quite...... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @02:01AM (#5658943)
        Not every country strives to be a superpower. Remember this when you hear about China being the next "superpower". China has shown little interest in what happens outside their region. If they had Taiwan they would be pretty much content.

        Once upon a time, the USA didn't care what happened outside of the western hemisphere (the "Monroe Doctrine"). We had to be dragged kicking and screaming into both of the World Wars. Now the USA is a superpower. I have little doubt that China would be similarly unable to resist the meddling impulse if they became as powerful as the USA.

  • Blockquoth the article:

    Moore's subversion of the meaning of "Secondary Superpower" - his high PageRank(TM) from derives from followers of 'A-list' tech bloggers linking from an eerily similar "Emergent Democracy" discussion list, which in turn takes its name from a similarly essay posted by Joi Ito [Lunch - Lunch - Lunch - Segway - Lunch - Lunch - Fawning Parody] who is a colossus of authority in these circles, hence lots of PageRank(TM)-boosting hyperlinks, and who like Moore, appeared from nowhere as a

  • and nothing more.

    google algorythm is based on backlinks to a page, the keyword density on that page,a nd the positions of the keywords on that page. if there is a link to your site that says "the second superpower" youll get ranked better for it as well.

    Hell, hire me, i do this for a living! I help make your site come up first forwhatever phrase you'd like to come up for first.... or at least the front page!

    Googles freshbot is most likely responsible for this... you can be ranked high on google in much l
  • No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by weston ( 16146 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:55PM (#5657437) Homepage

    (1) Google has done nothing here, really, except spider blogs. Bloggers en masse decided to give a high ranking to our harvard friend's writings. It's the combo of the two that have made the document highly relevant in that search term. This is not much different from several good analogues to "buzz" in the real world.

    (2) Anyone who can't think critically enough to keep from simply absorbing the piece without question -- even if it is the top ranked google link -- is probably led along by Fox News as well.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:56PM (#5657447) Homepage
    Call me a skeptic, but I think it takes longer than 42 days (and the limited audience of blogs) to coin the meaning of a new term. I've never heard this term used before I read this article. It seems to me new word definitions come about because of a need for them, not some strange, perverted miss-use of google.

    I guess I'm a little confused by the article. Is the author saying there is some causation of this new word meaning stemming from Google? If so, that is their any apreciable percentage of the populace doing google searches each time they encounter a new word? If Google is merely a tool to tell us the more accepted definition of a word, then is google really an accurate tool for this?

    Sorry, but I see this a very weakly supported theory, and don't think it deserves enough attention to have been posted to slashdot.
  • I do remember that at least a while ago if you googled (hehe) "Dumbmotherf@#cker" and took the first link (feelin' lucky) you ended up at G.W.B's campaign webpage....

  • Google works.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by zcat_NZ ( 267672 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:00PM (#5657485) Homepage
    Try searching for Second superpower -moore and all the references to the James Moore article magically vanish. Wow, that was hard.. .. and no, I see very little difference between the term as defined in this article, and the term as defined elsewhere. "Public Opinion" in the Moore article, "Public Opinion" in all the other search results. Where's the Googlewash?

    The register article didn't make it very clear what the 'original' definition was supposed to be, and I had assumed that the US Government and/or pro-war groups had been trying to redefine the "Axis of Evil" as the "Second Superpower.", because otherwise I just don't see what the problem is.

    • Re:Google works.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PickaBooga ( 578529 ) <squishdot@manuel ... m ['gar' in gap]> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:06PM (#5657884)
      Imagine if you typed "freedom of expression" in Google, and instead of articles about protecting speech that governments want to suppress, the first 50 hits were articles about AT&T's wireless service, back when they were using the slogan 'Freedom of Expression'.

      The point is an important idea got replaced with a completely banal phrase. And it only took a few bloggers to decide that they liked the banal phrase better than the important idea.

      The danger is that the phrase loses all meaning. So you might march under the banner 'Freedom of Expression', and all the passersby will think you are complaining about your cell phone reception.

      • Re:Google works.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:39PM (#5658068)
        Yes, but that's the whole point of PageRank. It is not a _flaw_ in PageRank. It's a feature. If more people put up webpages that link to a page, then it becomes more important in Google-land. Thus their definition, however banal you may think it is, gets priority. Tough shit. You wanted a democratic source of information, now you've got it in the web. If you prefer infofascism and centralized control of meanings and definitions, then you can find that too out there, I'm sure.

        Personally, I don't get the problem here. All Google measures, and all ANY computerized searching system can measure, is what *other people* think is important. It can't measure the actual relative import of different ideas - that would be known as a strong AI problem. Now here we are critizing and whining about Google for doing its job too well. If the "other meaning" of "Second Superpower" is so fucking important, why aren't more people talking about it and linking to articles about it?

  • The article asserts that the original definition was destroyed by a weblog. I'm not convinced. If the anti-war movement had been able to stop the U.S., then claiming to be a second superpower would have had some legitmacy. However, the anti-war movement did not stop the U.S. In my view, that's what killed the original definition.
  • One-stop-research (Score:2, Interesting)

    by _bug_ ( 112702 )
    So how does one quote a search engine as a source in a term paper anyways?

    I don't know about anyone else but Google certainly isn't the single source to define whatever topics I'm doing research into.

    And by research I'm not talking specifically some kind of thesis or paper. I mean even the little stuff such as a definition of a word or phrase that I've come across in a book or an online article.

    There are plenty of other search engines and plenty of other indexing algorithms to go with it. I can't let one
  • by DumbSwede ( 521261 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:06PM (#5657533) Homepage Journal
    I think you can detect the intersection of two common promotion techniques here:
    1. Define your idea/agenda in a proactive, positive way, ala pro-life vs. anti-abortion or pro-choice vs. pro-abortion.
    2. Parasitic exposure to a wider audience, or an audience that is seeking something other than what you have to deliver. Consider this the Spammizing of culture and marketing.

    As to this latter trend, the more media channels there are to promulgate a message, the more intense seems to become the competition to exploit them by whatever means.

    • As to this latter trend, the more media channels there are to promulgate a message, the more intense seems to become the competition to exploit them by whatever means.

      Yes, but the Internet will eventually strike back. To borrow the words from an anonymous author at alt.religion.kibology, I suspect a new emerging trend on the net is about to become the standard course of action:

      "The Internet interprets blogging as damage, and routes around it."

  • Orwell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:07PM (#5657538) Journal
    I read the article (yeah, yeah, I know) and several times they mention Orwell's newspeak, and how the totalitarian state would try to co-opt the meaning of words, to redefine them, and reshape public opinion to their liking. People respond to keywords, so if you know how someone is going to respond to a certain keyword, and then you can associate that keyword to something else, people will project their feelings about the keyword towards the "something else." Kind of like how since September 11th, everybody wants to call anything they don't like "terrorism," and try to link everything from driving an SUV to smoking pot to file sharing (!!) to terrorists. I'm just waiting for the next time I'm at the movies and the guy behind me won't stop talking. I think I'll call him a "whisper terrorist."

    Anyway, I digress. So, the protesters are pissed off because they think this blogger re-defined their "Second Superpower" bit. Well, hello, protesters, you did it first. People associate "Superpower" with powerful nations like the US or the former USSR. Somebody that, even if you don't like what they say, you have to listen to, because they're a SUPERPOWER, damnit!

    Now, the classic definition of "Superpower" has always been "somebody really big and important, with lots of money, and guns, and influence." The result is, you listen to a superpower. Now, the protesters want somebody to listen to them. So, they re-define "superpower" to mean "college students looking for something to crusade against, aging hippies, the unemployed and employable, oh, and, uh, France." "See!! Now WE'RE a Superpower, so you have to listen to us! We're the SECOND SUPERPOWER, get it!?! Except, umm, instead of money and guns and nukes and tanks and influence, we have signs, slogans, and a VW with flowers painted it. But you still have to listen!" Oh, well, looks like your re-definition just got re-defined.
  • To be honest, I would love to have a switch in google that excludes blogs. Given the way Google works and the culture of linking to and fro between many different blogs, sometimes (another annoying feature of google) an innocuous search on "Talmudic discourses" will produce a raging Anti-Semitic diatribe in a blog. I think that person has a right to post such stuff, but I wish I could filter on it to get to what I am looking for. "Talmudic discourse -blogs." Yes, currently the search is not producing the bl
  • by Xzzy ( 111297 ) <sether@[ ] ['tru' in gap]> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:11PM (#5657568) Homepage
    "the number of Internet users who look at blogs is " so small that it is not possible to draw statistically meaningful conclusions about who uses blogs.""


    Considering how much they're talked about lately, I was afraid I was the only one that thought they were pointless.
  • by wdavies ( 163941 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:11PM (#5657569) Homepage
    I think the gist of the article is that a not very widely read, techno-elite, blogger network has out "Page Ranked" the original New York Times article that was the origin of the term "Second Superpower".

    The register article is pretty long, and mind you it would be pretty funny if it ended up being the number one search result for "Second Superpower"...

    Remember how PageRank is supposed to work - it ranks websites in order of "importance". I still not sure if I agree with this as a whole (and prefer the HITS algorithm). It seems hard to imagine that the (in this case anti-war) Blog community is more authoritative than the NY Times.

    Not sure that there's any solution to this issue, but I think its more of an observation on the limitations of PageRank.

  • You're especially susceptible to this if you subscribe to the view that Google's PageRank? is "inherently democratic," which is how Google, Inc. describes it.

    And this Googlewash took just 42 days.

    PageRank _is_ democratic! The internet started talking about Moore's writing about "Second Superpower", linking to it, etc, and so it showed up on google, that only makes sense The high rank in google is justified because the majority of links on internet blogs with the text "second superpower" were pointi

  • IT'S A SEARCH ENGINE (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Stonan ( 202408 )
    No matter how much 'crap' you pile on, at the base core Google is search engine. It's not a creator or define-or of words and phrases.

    Google's ranking system (IMHO) is just like a movie critic - there for information but if you base everything on it you'd better remove the horseblinders so you can at least see someone slapping you upside the head!

    Orwell's Big Brother will come to pass if we continue to let others tell us what what we should think. I know it's hard for some people but try to draw your conc
  • by Otter ( 3800 )
    The story seems to be this: the "anti-war culture" invents a cutesy, alliterative bit of new jargon. Somebody turns it into an essay that gets widespread praise and attention, with the result that it becomes the top hit on Google. Someone else decides that the essay deviates from acceptable doctrine (although I'll be damned if I can see how), and is upset that, by entirely objective measures of importance, it leads Google rankings.

    So, he writes an article shamelessly distorting the essay, and makes dark pro

  • by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:18PM (#5657607) Homepage Journal
    Right now there is heavy linkage to the blog. Sure, but what about in the future? When the links get archived and Google stops seeing them? As time progresses the web graph should stablize and the "true" meaning should come to the front.

    Of course, I think both effects are great. Why? Well if a term takes on a certain meaning for a local period of time... wouldn't you assume that most searches/links to it are using that definition? And that over time a more stable definition would dominate? I don't see this as a bad thing.
  • "second superpower" pushes ahead of even "al-jazeera" (which recently passed "sex") in today's Google Zeitgeist...but only for 7 hours, starting around 7:34 PM.
  • France has just officially surrendered to the "Second Superpower".

  • . China is already the 2nd superpower and has been since the fall of Soviet Russia.

    We used to live in a world of 3 superpowers now we live in a world with only 2.
    China has the economic and military might and 1/8th of the world's population needed to supplant the USA as the dominant player in the late-21st/early-22nd century. I hate when people say "the US is the only superpower" because it lets me know they have a huge blindspot. China is smart enough to exploit that blindspot.
    Sorry, so
  • Okay, I'm not quite grasping how weblogs enter that much into Google ranking. I understand how Google ranks based on how many other sites link to you. However, I don't understand exactly, from a technical perspective, what's going on here. How did this Moore character subvert Google? Can someone help?
  • by tweek ( 18111 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:35PM (#5657709) Homepage Journal
    You know what? I don't care who the "second superpower" turns out to be. It can be a nation. It can be a people. What gets me is that people seem to think there has to be one.

    I'm going to be point blank honest. If someone has to be the dominant superpower, I want it to be the United States.

    Why? Well several reasons but the main one is that I'm a United States Citizen. It's in my best interests for the U.S. to be on top. The United Nations doesn't hold my best interests. France sure as fuck doesn't.

    Another reason is that I consider the Constitution of the United States to be the single greatest document ever known to man. The United Nation's Human Rights charter tried to be that but it's little caluse about all right's being null and void if they go against the goals of the U.N. really fucked it up. The Constitution puts the power into the hands of free men and not the government.

    I love how both the republicans and democrats seem to think that our rights are confered on us by the federal government. What kind of bullshit is that? Did they read the document they swore to uphold? Our rights are endowed to us by our creator. It is the governments job to safeguard those. If they fail, we have the power to put in a government that WILL.

    Just as in everything, it's survival of the fittest. If another nation rises to be a superpower then bully for them. I personally think it's stupid for a government to be more concerned about what the U.S. is doing and how they stack up to the U.S. than to be concerned about it's own people.
    • While there's some truth to your sentiments, I think you may be missing something important (although I certainly could be wrong).

      I think the idea is that, yeah, it's all well and good if the U.S. is the sole superpower... except that if we retain that position because we abuse everyone else, then there's going to be serious backlash if we ever lose that position. Other nations can't really abuse the U.S., because we're so powerful. When we're not so powerful, some nations might remember any slights the

  • Not a new phenomenon (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jemenake ( 595948 )

    Searching for the term on Google now brings up his blog and other people talking about his blog for the first several entries. Can Google's power to give information to the people be misused and perverted?

    Google merely orders the stuff by which one has the most links to it. Google, itself, didn't drive the inane sites to the top. Rather, other inane sites that chose to link to it are to blame.

    And the fact that the stupid stuff got pushed to the top through this democratic process is nothing new. Jus

  • by flaneur ( 217700 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:47PM (#5657792)
    I agree with some posters claiming that the Register article isn't the best many, I think the two meanings of "Second Superpower" don't seem that different, and both seem productive.

    But to focus on that alone is to completely miss the point of the article! What's much more interesting are the claims it makes about PageRank. It makes the case that bloggers only make up 4% of the web-surfing population, which might be a BIT low but sounds right to me. THEN they point out that because of how PageRank works with its distributed scores, all it takes is for 10-20 "A-List Bloggers" (ie. a very small fraction of an already small 4%) to link to something to catapult it to the very top of a Google search. We all use Google, so we know how important this is.

    The point, then? PageRank claims to be democratic, yet the article demonstrates that 20 or so people can effectively dictate the order of search results for certain terms. It's not a conspiracy...yet. Certainly worth noting, however!
  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:49PM (#5657804) Journal
    At PDI, we did some of the very early, but not the earliest, morph animation. The earliest developers/users were Tom Brigham at NYIT and Doug Smythe at ILM.

    One thing we did, though, as our tool was used over and over again back in '90 and '91 was to push the use of the word 'morph'. We were working on things like the Michael Jackson Black or White [] video, things that really pushed the technique into many people's eyeballs. ILM was pushing the word 'morf'.

    A Stanford student did a survey of the use of the word 'morph' in the news media, and it exploded from almost unused to being used in thousands of articles over the period that we were striving to push the word out, and as we were doing those videos. It was fun to coin a word, and have it become accepted.

  • by epeus ( 84683 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:14PM (#5657926) Homepage Journal
    Separating out the bizarre attacks on Joi Ito for eating lunch, his thesis seems to be that 'A-list bloggers' have hijacked and neutered the phrase from the Anti-war (or anti-Bush) protestors, and swamped Google with this new interpretation.

    In fact, the original article he cites (reproduced here []) did not contain the phrase 'second superpower'; it had a throwaway rhetorical flourish in the first sentence:
    The fracturing of the Western alliance over Iraq and the huge antiwar demonstrations around the world this weekend are reminders that there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.

    (Orlowski elides the first part about the Western alliance to support his these that it's all about the street, man).

    As he says, this meme circulated about the web a bit, and eventually James Moore explored the idea in more detail [], and a broader context than just marching against Bush, combining it with the preceding discussions on 'emergent democracy' that had been going for a while. Of course this gets a higher rank for 'second superpower' - it is in the title, and enough people found it interesting enough to link to.
    Instead of a lot of incoherent slogans, here are people discussing how to bring it about.
    Orlowski then completely distorts the quote from Patrick Nielsen Hayden [] I posted to the list. Discussing a report on the very disruptive, street-blocking protests, where protesters in San Francisco, Boston, Washington and elsewhere shouted the same slogan, "This is what democracy looks like!"

    Patrick said
    No, that's not what democracy looks like.

    It's what protest looks like, and it's often the right thing to do. And of course "democracy" had better entail significant tolerance of unruly protest, or it's not very democratic.

    But that slogan is stupid, even by the standards of slogans. Long and often boring meetings are what democracy looks like. Tiresome horse-trading is what democracy looks like. Talking to your neighbors is what democracy looks like.

    Democracy can function perfectly well without people painting their faces and blocking streets. It can't function at all without that other stuff.

    The emergent democracy group is about how to build tools and structures to capture democratic intent in a digital world. If you're interested in this, join in.

    Perhaps what Orlowski is really worried about is that a group who aren't part of the clerisy of professional Journalists and activists are taking an interest, and actually discussing ideas calmly and rationally, and thereby attracting links from other people, Doc and Dave earned their high Google ranking by writing lots of things that people found interesting enough to link to, day after day for over 5 years.

    Andrew, if you have interesting things to say about the future of democracy, join the discussion, but don't troll for cheap links by stooping to selective quotation and ad hominem attacks.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:31PM (#5658021) Journal

    A Google search for "eighth superpower" returned zero hits, so I hereby declare myself [] the eighth superpower. First through Seventh already had hits. I didn't check 9 so there may be no single digit superpowers left! Ha!

    What is my superpower? I make people puke over the network. Hey... whaddya expect, I mean, by the time you get to 8th all the cool stuff like teleportation and x-ray vision is taken. At least I got single digit though. I pity the foo who has to settle for 135th superpower.

    Oh, BTW, negative superpowers are evil.

  • I would add a new twist to this matter: this story has appeared on The Register and on Slashdot. I predict that, in a couple of days, when you google for "the seccond superpower", this story will have a high ranking. Even higher than when it first appeared on Dave's Winner

    Oh! The irony!

  • by AnyoneEB ( 574727 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @11:16PM (#5658260) Homepage
    42 Days
    Orwell would be amused, indeed.
    Orwell would be amused? What about Douglas Adams? ;)
  • News vs blogs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaoudaW ( 533025 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @01:38AM (#5658842)
    There are different nuances, but I think the blog is within the bounds of legitimate discussion on "Second Superpower."

    But there are two important issues raised by this example. One, James F. Moore never credits Tyler (or anyone else) with coining the phrase. The only mention of The New York Times is in the context of the importance of big, possibly biased news media. That is out-of-line for legitimate discussion, especially since he seems to indicate a connection to Harvard in his byline.

    The second issue is the way Google separates news from the rest of the web. A search of "Second Superpower" in Google news provides a much broader discussion of the concept than a Google web search. Maybe the real issue is that blogs are not static content, but actually a new form of journalism. A simple fix would be for Google to list blogs with news.
  • by Michael.Forman ( 169981 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @03:21AM (#5659166) Homepage Journal

    The referenced Register article, which chronicles the "Googlewashing" of the term "second superpower", is an excellent example of social network theory and its effect on language.

    Unfortunately, the Register incorrectly assigns the blame on alluded conspiratorial behavior of webloggers. In fact, the phenomenon is not the result of a conspiracy, but a natural consequence of the dense network that interconnects bloggers.

    The critique of the Register article along with an introduction to social network theory is provided here [] .

  • by edxwelch ( 600979 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @06:35AM (#5659661)
    Google isn't the only one that's twisting around facts to mean something else. The American media has been doing this througout the war campaign.
    Just look at these two reports, as an example:

    "Civilians shot dead by US troops" 04911.stm

    "U.S. soldiers kill 7 in van when it doesn't stop" prj.irq .van.shooting/index.html

    I agree that every newspaper is allowed to have a bias, but subtly removing certain facts from the report prevents people making their own jugment. Maybe other papers are doing it as well, that doesn't make it right.
  • by SolemnDragon ( 593956 ) <solemndragon&gmail,com> on Friday April 04, 2003 @09:45AM (#5660250) Homepage Journal
    This paper [] was where the term came to my attention.

    And although it sounds idealistic- although it is idealistic... It also really does represent something that is finally happening. How do i know? Because i'm watching it among my peers. I've watched a bunch of lazy, disengaged twentysomethings suddenly start asking where to get unbiased war news. I've heard my best friend finally turn around and ask what actually happens to all those bottles she's recycling. And i've watched people suddenly realise that the information really is out there, and that informed people can make choices- something that they didn't feel that they could do before. I can't vouch for this happening worldwide. I can't promise that it will rock the vote.

    But when my electricity company called me in a customer satisfaction survey, and i finally told her to skip to the comments section, and that i'd be willing to pay more and put up with crappy service if i could just, finally, get some electricity from a renewable, environmentally sound resource (since i'm in an apartment and they won't let me do it myself, and i can't run appliances on moral outrage alone... *sigh*)...She responded, "You know, that's the umpteenth time i've heard that today, and i'm having to keep writing similar comments.... I'm afraid they're going to think that i'm making this up, but i'll put it down for you..."

    That's satisfying. That means that total strangers out there really are paying attention. The article above does talk about our lack of teeth, about how we don't have enough power yet. But it also mentions that given how things are going, we might just gather some critical mass. And that's optimistic, that's idealistic, and it might also be true. The hippies will not run the world. But the technologically literate children of today just might have a shot at giving the starving and underprivileged a chance to join their ranks. I'm all in favour of this, and it heartens me to see that people are at least paying attention. They don't have to be americans. They don't have to be the UN. We are, in the end, another UN, and we whom they govern must be complacent if they are to rule.

    We're just raising the bar a little- make it better, because we won't be complacent till government and the people are a little more closely aligned.

    I hope that i haven't gone too far offtopic. My point was merely to post the link and explain why i felt that it was important, and true.

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.