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Dana Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist for over 25 years and has covered the online world professionally since 1985. He founded the "Interactive Age Daily" for CMP Media, and has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age, and dozens of other publications over the years.
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Moore’s Law defines the history of technology. It held that the number of circuits etched on a given piece of silicon could double every 18 months as far as its author, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, could see. Moore’s Law has spawned constant revolutions since then, not just in computing but in communications, in science, in a host of areas. Moore’s Law applies to radios, and to optical fiber, but there are some areas where it doesn’t apply. In this blog we’ll take a daily look at new implications of Moore’s Law in real time, as it rolls forward to create our future.
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February 14, 2006

Yahoo Gets Lost in Translation (Badda-Boom, Badda-Bing)

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Posted by Dana Blankenhorn

freedom.jpg Yahoo tried to draw some favorable press coverage today.

(That's actress Charlize Theron, but she's very small, hard to recognize. That's deliberate, as you'll see.)

In the wake of a scandal over the fact its Chinese affiliate cooperated with authorities to silence dissidents, the story Americans were told by Yahoo today was that it will do everything it can to fight Web censorship.

That’s not the way the story was carried in China. An American correspondent to Dave Farber’s list wrote:

“In my Beijing hotel room this morning CNN aired a piece about Yahoo calling for search engines to cooperate to deal with China's ‘search engine rules.’”

As the TV correspondent was about to say the word censorship, this writer added, the sound went blank, so it might have appeared to Chinese that Yahoo was, in fact, continuing to cooperate with its government. The Farber correspondent used asterisks in writing the word censorship, in order, he said, to get it past possible Chinese censorship. It got through.

The use of asterisks, of inference, of badda-boom badda-bing, in discussing subjects like freedom in China is widespread. It’s titillating – as sex was in America under the Hays Office. The level of sex in America didn’t decline under the code, but many Americans who were alive then say it was enjoyed more than it is in today’s era of free Web porn.

Could this be true for freedom as well? Chinese people share the government’s fear of anarchy. Americans, fortunately, have not faced the prospect in centuries, and this generation firmly shied away from it in the 1960s. We still prefer Nixon to Woodstock.

Should the Chinese be any different? Must they be?

Which brings up the question – how do you express your freedom, in order to defend it? Do you push the boundaries? Do you loudly proclaim it? Do you try and act as though you deserve it? Do you not even think about it?

Because Chinese people do think about it. I believe thinking Chinese people think about it quite a lot. Perhaps a lot more than you do.

And perhaps that is America’s biggest deficit.

Find the cost of freedom
buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
lay your body down

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business Strategy | Copyright | Futurism | History | Internet | Journalism | Politics | Security | blogging | ethics | faith | law | personal


COMMENTS

1. Jesse Kopelman on February 15, 2006 12:28 PM writes...

I don't know, not having to think about freedom may be our biggest advantage. Not spending time worrying about censorship and how to get around it gives more time for the actual creation of content. This is why erosion of freedom in the US is a big deal. It is not so much that we necessarily need or will even miss freedoms that we give up for the sake of safety, it is that once we enter into a climate where we have to carefully weigh each action for proper authorization we lose valuable productivity.

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