What a tangled web we have weaved!
(part one of a two part series)
Conservative Republican Ronald W. Reagan was the 40th president of the United States. Shortly after taking office on January 20th, 1981, he began his goal of making America great again by implementing sweeping new political and economic initiatives. Dubbed “Reaganomics”, his supply-side economic policies advocated reducing government spending, economic deregulation, and most importantly tax rate reduction. These measures to spur economic growth were directly responsible for the prosperity seen in the 1980’s.
One of the most radical changes to society which sprang from ‘the decade of wealth’ was the sudden birth of the home computer. Once a staple of science fiction, the idea of actually owning your own computer became a reality. The earliest practical uses were business applications and word processing, as well as early text based games. Computer technology advanced rapidly. An observation by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years, while production costs halved, became known as Moore’s Law.
Many tech savvy individuals experimented with software development to justify the cost of purchasing these very expensive machines. There was no easy way of transferring data although there were some primitive networks for those who knew how to contact and connect to them with a modem. This changed on March 12th 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee dreamed up a system of Information management allowing data to be exchanged by multiple computers over a vast network, which we now refer to as the Internet and the World Wide Web. In 1992, IBM developed the first ‘smartphone’ called the Simon Personal Communicator. Today, thirty years after the birth of the internet, people have the sum total of human knowledge at their fingertips and the world has never been more connected.
A fist full of dollars
The are many ways to make money or save money using the internet and the world wide web, whole books have been written on it, thousands of them.
There are crowd-fund platforms to help you market your invention, e-banks which promise better interest rates and less fees, sites with personal finance tips and tricks, streaming media to watch or download, market places to buy and sell new or used items, the list goes on. The net is big business!
The magnificent seven
- Staying in touch – E-mail and text messages now exceed personal letters and phone calls.
- Making friends – Social media allows us to connect with people we would never have met. InstantCoffeeWisdom has over a hundred followers from sixty countries around the world. My twitter account has over seven hundred followers, dozens of whom I’ve met and interact with. I’m grateful for all my friends and supporters.
- Being creative – There are endless DIY tutorials online to demonstrate and inspire.
- Finding help – Got a problem? There’s a website that has an answer or solution.
- Learning – Online courses teach you anything if you study and apply yourself.
- Media – Nearly everything that’s ever been written, recorded, or filmed, exists somewhere online, usually available for free if you take the time to search for it.
- Shopping – E-commerce has changed the way we shop, and in many cases has brought about the death of some prominent chains. Radio Shack, Toys R Us, and Borders Books are all long gone, casualties of online shopping. Someone, somewhere in the world has the exact same, or very similar item for much less, and in some cases with free shipping. You just need to search for it.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Everything I’ve listed so far has been good. The bad part is that with so much information and equal mis-information it’s easy to get the wrong source and end up believing in lies. Not everything online is beneficial, and sometimes digging through the ‘fake news’ to unearth the facts isn’t like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s like trying to find a needle in Kansas! The signal to noise ratio is just that great. Worse yet, certain social media platforms use algorithms to selectively edit what you see. Cookies stored in your computer’s memory record and track your browsing history, and bots customize what you see.
The ugly part of the web can range from annoying to horrific. There are some things online that you do NOT want to see, the stuff of nightmares placed online either as a warning, or because some sick individual wanted to share it because they liked it. What has been seen cannot be unseen, beware! There is an entire ‘dark web’ that’s lying under the surface and is just one misplaced or misguided keystroke away. There are internet ‘trolls’ who live to post hateful and hurtful comments in any post that has a reply field. Whole web pages have been created by cyber-bullies to intimidate and humiliate their victims. People have committed suicide over such personal attacks.There are more scams to trick you into handing over personal info than you can shake a stick at. Black-hat hackers have created so many forms of malware that anti-virus protection is a must on any computer. And then there’s the 800 lb gorilla in the room, PORN. When I was a young boy, porn was sold wrapped in plastic, and not kept on display. XXX theaters were in the seedy part of the city where you were afraid to walk in broad daylight. You had to go way out of your way to obtain smut, and now it’s in nearly every home in America, just a click away.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” – Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45 ESV
The internet is a tool, and like any tool it can be used for good or evil. Whoever controls the flow of information can control you. Are you being lied to? Do you even realize it? Who is Q? Ponder these questions until next week, and check back for part two, HOW DEEP IS THE DEEP STATE? As always, I wish you success and happiness!
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