Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Here's the site for the person that has everything (including bad breath
and itching in unmentionable places).
The Journal of Mundane Behavior
Alas, I was hoping there'd be no mention of all the exceptional events
surrounding the terrorist attacks on the USA -- but even this site succumbed
to the temptation. Ah well - maybe it'll stick to the mundane in future?
Don't Believe What You Read
I've mentioned in previous columns that you ought not believe everything
you read on the Web and the revelation that Yahoo's news site was
quietly hacked, and stories altered, makes my point.
According to reports, a rather clever hAkr d00de managed to trick his way
past Yahoo's seemingly inadequate security and "tweak" the facts a little.
This obviously raises an important issue -- how can online news be trusted?
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Now I could be a cynic and say - how can any news report be trusted
in these days of electronic media and 24-hr news channels?
The emphasis is not on being right so much as it is on being first.
Far too many news providers are focusing on sizzle and forgetting the steak.
And why not? After all, it's what the public are demanding!
I read with interest how, in the wake of the hacking fiasco, Yahoo admitted
that it's the quirky or sensational stories that get the most views -- the
boring old factual accounts rate pretty poorly.
Only since the terrorist attacks of last week has "real news" rated ahead of
sleazy sex stories or humorous human interest stuff.
Perhaps now people can see why I called my latest news site
and tend to steer away from mainstream subjects in favour of "interesting"
One solution to the problem of news-sites being hacked and their content altered
was suggested on
Slashdot where one poster
mooted the use of digital signatures for each article. The idea being that
even if a hacker could alter the story, he couldn't produce a valid signature
for it without the authorised key.
Personally I think it's probably a good idea -- but all too often, the stories
we read are rushed out the door so quickly that even a signed copy is no
guarantee that it's facts are correct.
For example -- the other night, One News claimed that this evil new computer
worm Nimda had already infected 150 servers world-wide. Yes, folks -- the
Net was being crippled by a mere 150 servers?
Okay... it was probably a simple reader or transcription error (the figure I
read on the wires was 150,000 -- but how would your average couch-potato know
that this fact was out by three orders of magnitude??
Then of course there was the bogus Nostradamus prophesy that did the rounds.
People all over the world were telling their friends that this attack was
accurately predicted by Nostradamus in his writings. Only problem was that
it turned out to be a totally fictitious piece of prose made up by goodness
Finally, a couple of readers emailed me yesterday to point out a chilling
"fact" in relation to Microsoft and the attacks.
Apparently, one of the flights that smashed into the WTC towers was given
the designation Q33NY and, if you type those 5 characters into MS Word,
change the font-size to 26 point and switch to WingDings font -- well just
try it and see!
Of course there was no flight Q33NY -- but I heard it on the Net :-)
Save The Aardvark Fund
Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those
who put their money where their mouse is :-)
If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.
Just drop by and
hand over your loot.
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