Tag Archives | Cyberculture

Internet English Is Blur

Photo: chrislb (CC)

Grammar police, start your engines. The Internet is corrupting the English language at an alarming rate per this report from the BBC News Magazine:

Online, English has become a common language for users from around the world. In the process, the language itself is changing…

There are now thought to be some 4.5 billion web pages worldwide. And with half the population of China now on line, most of them are written in Chinese.

Still, some linguists predict that within 10 years English will dominate the internet – but in forms very different to what we accept and recognise as English today.

That’s because people who speak English as a second language already outnumber native speakers. And increasingly they use it to communicate with other non-native speakers, particularly on the internet where less attention is paid to grammar and spelling and users don’t have to worry about their accent.

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What’s Up With Hunter Moore?

A certain segment of the tech crowd is aghast at the prospect of the return of Hunter Moore to the so-called “revenge porn” segment of the web. A breathless story by Jessica Roy in the New York Observer makes him out to be a modern day Antichrist of the Internet, but I can’t help feeling as though Moore is punking the Observer and its outraged readers – any insight from the disinfoverse?

…Mr. Moore is the proprietor of Is Anyone Up, which until last Spring was the web’s most prominent revenge porn hub, a site where spurned exes post embarrassing images of former lovers. Deemed The Most Hated Man on the Internet by Rolling Stone, Mr. Moore revels in his position as a professional antagonist, gleefully flinging around his favored retort—“I really don’t give a fuck.” He doesn’t sleep well at night, but not because his day job haunts him: he’s an insomniac.

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When Will The World End? Is Neil Armstrong Muslim? Was George Washington Gay?

Apparently the most popular internet search question we have about celebrities is whether or not they are gay. Even, or perhaps especially, the Pope. Via the New York Times:

There are the questions you ask friends, family and close confidants. And then there are the questions you ask the Internet.

Search engines have long provided clues to the topics people look up. But now sites like Google and Bing are showing the precise questions that are most frequently asked, giving everyone a chance to peer virtually over one another’s shoulders at private curiosities. And they are revealing interesting patterns.

Frequently asked questions include: When will the world end? Is Neil Armstrong Muslim? Was George Washington gay?

The questions come from a feature that Google calls “autocomplete” and Microsoft calls “autosuggest.” These anticipate what you are likely to ask based on questions that other people have asked. Simply type a question starting with a word like “is” or “was,” and search engines will start filling in the rest.

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Inside the Deep Web

Chris 73 (CC)

Shawn Wasson at The News Junkie describes his journey into the other Internet:

The Internet has evolved quite a bit since I first logged on to CompuServe in 1994. I’d spent a few years tooling around on BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) connections throughout the country at that point and the most visible portions of a forming World Wide Web were quite innocent in appearance. But as I ramped up my father’s 4600 baud modem and looked around at the fringes of online existence, I unknowingly caught a glimpse at the Web’s early underbelly. From there, pornography, craziness and illegal activities were easily accessible. There weren’t many people logging on so, naturally, there weren’t many people to police this new digital space. Eventually, as AOL, Prodigy and other ISPs became more mainstream, the more nefarious outlets vanished into the shadows. But where did it all go? I recently took a plunge into the ‘Deep Web,’ a sub-surface area of the Internet not indexed by search engines and only available to those on the forefront of technology, namely people connected to the Tor Network.

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Misogyny, Misandry, Freedom of Speech … and Video Games

Ally Fogg, writing at Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men: ... I don’t have much in the way of informed opinions about misogyny in video games, I’ll leave that to others. Nonetheless I couldn’t help but be sucked in by the debate surrounding Kickstarter Anita Sarkeesian, as good an illustration as we’ll ever need of the vitriol of the new gender wars. An intense storm of hatred was roused by her modest idea to crowd-fund research into sexism in the games industry. The many thousands of hostile comments posted on Sarkeesian’s YouTube video were of course heavily gendered and sexualised, but so too was some of the retaliation – notably Charlie Brooker’s description of the mob as “idiotic pebbledicks” who are terrified of women. If one of the worst offences committed by sexists and anti-feminists online is to reduce women...
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Julian Assange: The Price of Being A Western Dissident

Julian Assange is doing humanity a favour by exposing through the US Embassy Cables that “Oil motivates U.S. policy more than fighting terrorists,” and that the killing and torturing of tens of thousands of civilians by the US and NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan through the Iraq War Logs and Afghanistan War Logs were evidence of war crimes.

However, to Assange’s dismay, as a western dissident, he does not enjoy the soft-power of being a Chinese dissident; the “free” world politicians not only fail to acknowledge the nobility of his work in exposing human rights violations and war crimes committed by NATO and the US, President Obama described his act as a “deplorable documents dump”; former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich believed that he should be “ treated as an enemy combatant”; Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell called him a “high-tech terrorist”; while Sarah Palin wanted him to be “hunted down like al-Qaeda”; Other politicians including some mainstream media “pundits openly calling for his death”.… Read the rest

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Mexican Drug Lords Vs. Cybervigilantes & Social Media

John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus write:

The Mexican drug war cannot be understood without reference to the virtual dimension. Cartels are seeking to aggressively shape the use of information within the drug war to promote an image of themselves as a source of unstoppable power and influence. Their methods range from the classic “propaganda of the deed” — killing for intimidation and effect — to psychological operations against Mexican police, military, and the public. By doing so, cartels struggle for information dominance. Civil society and press coverage of the cartel war have been quite literally silenced, pushing reportage to the margins of social media. However, the entry of cyber-vigilante organizations and use of new media by cartel gangsters have created a new dynamic that could change the rules of the game.

First, it is essential to understand that advances in information, while hailed as revolutionary, also tend to be excellent tools for facilitating the violent coercion and destruction of human life.

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How Microsoft and Yahoo Are Selling Politicians Access to You

Writes Lois Beckett on ProPublica:

Microsoft and Yahoo are selling political campaigns the ability to target voters online with tailored ads using names, Zip codes and other registration information that users provide when they sign up for free email and other services.

The Web giants provide users no notification that their information is being used for political targeting.

In one sense, campaigns are doing a more sophisticated version of what they’ve always done through the post office 2014 sending political fliers to selected households. But the Internet allows for more subtle targeting. It relies not on email but on advertisements that surfers may not realize have been customized for them.

Campaigns use voters records to assemble lists of people they’re trying to reach 2014 for instance, “registered Republicans that have made a donation,” Yahoo’s director of sales Andy Cotten told ProPublica. Microsoft and Yahoo help campaigns find these people online and then send them tailored ads.… Read the rest

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