Education, religion and science are all in danger of losing their long-standing learning institutions. This is because of one very nasty, insidious aspect of the Internet that (I'm sure) the colleges didn't expect: information can be shared freely on the 'net. Oh, sure, that might have been the original idea behind the Internet, but I can't help but think that they ended up biting off a tad more than they could chew. I mean, it's All there! Everything! Philosophy, art, technology, news... anything you want to know can be gleaned from the HTML pages which serve as the boundless book that is the Internet.

Some of the things I learned from the 'net is:

No matter where you go, there's another idiot right next to you.

You cannot swing a stick on the Internet (both literally and figuratively) without swatting some bonehead who thinks that the age-old debate about "Is Mac or PC better?" is still a worthwhile exchange. Read: Apple, PC; Windows, MacOS, Unix; Mighty Mouse, Superman... give it up; grow a brainstem- it doesn't matter if all you're going to do is scrounge around on USENET for naughty pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar.


Just like in the real world, the Information Superhighway has pot holes. They are like a metaphor for the philosophical imperative: stop and smell the roses.

Come on. Who hasn't gotten a 404 message or been redirected to a site that doesn't exist or, worse, a site that's been totally revamped and no longer has the information you're looking for? I mean, there you were, trucking along at the cool speed of 100kb/s, and WHAM! You're met with popups, ads and a whole bunch of other stuff that neatly interrupts your train of thought. Surfing the 'net is not what it once was, no more so than real roads are what they once were, back when they had originally been paved. Due to the mind-boggling growth and influence of the Internet in the business community, these digital "pot holes" were inevitable. They are clear signs that you should just turn the damn machine off for a few hours and go play in a park and enjoy the sunshine.


You can change your phone number, you can move across the world and you can change your name, but Mom and Dad will always find a way to keep tabs on you- and nag, nag, nag.

"Hi, honey! It's Mom! Yes, I finally got one of those stupid idiot boxes you kids all think is the best thing since chipped ice. And you know what? You're right! This thing is great! I haven't seen or heard from you in ten years, but thanks to the Internet and this computer, I was able to do a Google search on your name and- voila!- your email address popped up (in search item #12,365). I've read a LOT of those node-thingies you wrote on that Everything site... honey, you spend WAY too much time there! When are you going to settle down and get a wife? I want some grandkids, damn it! Oh, well. You will do what you will do. I love you!

Mom

P.S. Dad got a sex change. We're calling him Danielle now. Thought you'd like to know."

If that doesn't sound familiar... well, just you wait and see.


You don't need to spend money on high-priced paintings at snooty art galleries to get some kick-ass art.

There's a starving artist just around the next IP address, simply begging to put his stuff on anyone's system that'll recognize the true artist within him. Thanks to software like Photoshop, 3D Studio Max, Maya and a whole slew of other stuff, the paintbrush has been replaced by the mouse and the eisel by the 21" monitor. What's really cool is that, if you look in the right places, you can become a digital artist, too... for free. When information started to get dissiminated willy-nilly, software that normally costs hundreds of dollars soon followed.


Crime is everywhere.

Just about everything a person does on the Internet could be considered illegal in the real world. Kids get their sex ed from the Internet today, with little more than a leisurely stroll through AOL; SPAM is a hotbed for one scam or another; thieves can hack your personal information in a hot second without you even knowing it; people freely regurgipost copyrighted material all over the Internet without a second thought... the Internet is rife with criminal activity and what makes this fact particularly interesting is that there is surprisingly little that can be done about it. Your Friendly Neighborhood Government (tm) is constantly working night and day to stop hackers, crackers and crooks, but they end up catching a frighteningly small number of them what for all their toiling. If you thought getting mugged in a dark alley was the worst that could happen then you haven't had someone scam your credit card at Sexwithgoats.Com, have you?

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