Socializing Online and Elsewhere

Prompted by Eric’s question about the nature of modern romance I offer the following links: Knight Ridder report on a study that finds more Americans feel isolated It found that men and women of every race, age and education level reported fewer intimate friends than the same survey turned up in 1985. Their remaining confidants were more likely to be members of their nuclear family than in 1985, according to the study, but intimacy within families was down, too.

Blue Pills, Red Pills, Rabbitholes..

My quest for more information on defense technology continues to move through odd paths and unexpected troves of information. Today I followed a single link from Wikipedia to the Federation of American Scientists and discovered a whole set of pages on current military technology, some we know is true and other we can only speculate about There’s stuff on space, smart weapons, ballistic missile defense, etc. I’ve been a subscriber to Stephen Aftergood’s Secrecy News email for some time and it appears he’s now publishing similar information at the Secrecy News Weblog.

Real Life Tech Support

Dampening the Echo

David Weinberger has a nice essay at Salon about the “echo chamber” meme that seems to be pervading analysis of Howard Dean’s fall and the supposed insularity of the internet. Behind the echo chamber controversy lies the question of whether the Internet causes people to solidify their beliefs or to diversify them. Does it open people up or shut them down? This is a really tough question, and not just because it’s hard to quantify.

Language, and the Limits of the Web and Thought

Paul Ford of Ftrain has produced 4,500 words (Processing Processing via wood s lot) on a topic that has fascinated me since I argued about whether language or thought came first in Mr. Borgerding’s high school English class. How, in particular, do the languages we use to program computers affect the way we think? I took a class in Scheme two years ago, when I was toying with the idea of going back to school to get a computer science degree, and was blown away by the elegant recursive structures you could create.

Mapping the Technology Debate