Sunday, August 15, 2004

Object Permanence

Object Permanence. n. The ability of the brain to retain and utilize visual images. It develops at about eight months of age.

I was taught rather early on to write things of importance down. If I took a telephone message for the parents, I was supposed to write it down. Now if I take one for the wife, I'm supposed to write it down. I'm still not perfect at this.

I am disturbed by the lack of permanence the internet brings us. History is already in danger enough from those who want to rewrite it with the political agendas of the day. At least with history you have always been able to pick up an older text or historical novel that revealed the way things really were before the thought police jumped in and changed Columbus or the Cold War or the Roman Empire. With e-data, though, who is going to keep yesterday's news from being altered today? How can you prove that Charley had 145 mph winds? How can you disprove a website where the winds have been altered to be 245? What happens when someone altars my email ever-so-slightly and then forwards it to others?

I certainly love the accessibility of the online news which has basically made the television news more of a recent historical review. However, the whole format of constant change that you see with online news is a drastic transformation when compared to receiving the daily print edition with a set amount of information that was compiled by the deadline the previous day.

This editorial in Scifi and this article both give some interesting insights into the phenomena of ever-changing information online.

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