...And yet another enlightening email forwarded to me:
>Subject: Fwd: Re: Information & Power (was: RE: Einstein's Brain on the
>Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 21:23:02 -0700
>--------- Forwarded Message ---------
>Washington: The Net Must Pay
>by Declan McCullagh
>2:30 p.m. 27.Apr.99.PDT
>WASHINGTON -- Whenever a new form of evil extrudes into American society,
>regulation seem to arrive faster than a greyhound on crack.
>Remember the TWA 800 crash three years ago? By the time investigators
>that the airline
>disaster was not a terrorist act, Washington officials already had spent
>part of a year
>complaining about the dangers of the Internet.
>Rescue workers were still pulling bodies from the rubble of the Oklahoma
>federal building when
>Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced an amendment to censor
>bomb-making Web sites.
>Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) joined her in moral outrage, claiming his
>unearthed a recipe on
>Usenet for "baby food bombs" that were "so powerful that they can destroy a
>Those disasters, of course, had little to do with the Internet. But when
>out that the alleged
>gunmen in the Littleton massacre were Doom-playing, AOL-subscribing,
>geeks, calls for censorship came even more quickly than before. Bolstered
>Americans feel Internet controls are necessary, Washingtonians spent this
>During a speech Tuesday afternoon devoted to a proposal to limit handgun
>restrictions on firearm ownership, President Clinton said his plan would
>out of the hands of
>He also blamed "violence on TV, in the movies, on the Internet, in songs,
>video games that you
>win based on how many people you kill." Gun rights advocates have argued
>saves lives, pointing to research at the University of Chicago that found
>states made it legal to
>carry concealed weapons, murders dropped by an average of 8.5 percent.
>At a White House briefing earlier Tuesday, the Washington press corps
>about the lack of
>controls on Web publishing. One reporter asked whether government officials
>come up "with
>some solution to get all this hatred and bigotry and violence [off] the
>Replied Bruce Reed, an adviser to President Clinton: "I think that that is
>[a] larger discussion
>we have to have not only with Internet providers, but also with Hollywood
>manufacturers, and everyone else who contributes in some way to making this
>[as] violent as
>Reed said the First Amendment limited how aggressive the government could
>be in a
>another official said he could see a way around it.
>"The court has really struck down every government effort to try to
>Internet]. We tried
>it with regard to pornography. It is going to be a difficult thing, but it
>me that if we can
>come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people
>on the Internet,
>that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably
>at," Eric Holder, the
>deputy attorney general, said Sunday on NPR's All Things Considered.
>A poll shows broad support for such plans. Three-quarters of Americans
>information should not be allowed online, according to a survey of 450
>conducted by CBS News
>on Thursday. Some 68 percent want the FBI or other federal law enforcement
>to monitor the
>Internet. Free speech advocates argue that such a rule would violate the
>Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) said Monday he had renewed hopes that
>quickly approve his Internet Gun Trafficking Act. Introduced in March, the
>would require Web sites
>that include information about gun sales to be register with the Bureau of
>All this jockeying for political position could be considered unseemly in
>of a tragedy, but it
>also appears to be inevitable.
>"Scapegoating takes us further from the root of the problem," said Solveig
>Singleton, director of
>information studies at the Cato Institute.
>"The main responsibility must lie with the perpetrators themselves, their
>and others in a
>position to have a good understanding of the danger -- those who are
>closest to the
> > > Oh well, I'm looking forward to the day when finally all information
> > > available online.
> > Me too. <Name deleted>, I was at Yale a few years ago with a friend who
> > was an alumnus of that establishment. He showed me a library there
> > which houses a collection of books, most of which were published in
> > the 18th century. I was astounded there were so many of them, in
> > the days before automatic typesetting. As it turns out, one cannot
> > browse these books, as they are too delicate. I asked the librarian
> > if there is any effort to download their contents into ascii files, and
> > as it turns out, there is no such effort, nor most likely ever will be.
> > Reason: the information found therein is perfectly useless. There is
> > scientific speculations perhaps, useful only to the historian, some
> > historical information, same as above, but the overwhelming majority
> > of the information found in all those old books: (have you guessed?)
> > sermons! If that is not bad enough, they are all heavily dependent
> > upon each other. With the more lax standard of those times regarding
> > intellectual property rights, we have jillions of versions of a very few
> > sermons.
> > I now suspect that within 20 years, *all* the information currently
> > in print-only format will be no more useful in that form than the
> > mostly sermons in the stacks at Yale.
>--------- End Forwarded Message ---------
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Good stuff, huh?