Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bytes, Bits, and Body Bags

Unfortunately, sometimes the only way that the troops have been coming home to their loved ones is via the Internet. A few weeks ago, when I searched for the world "webcam" on the Los Angeles Times website, I was stunned to see that all of the results had to do with military personnel who were stationed abroad. Sometimes there is a certain pathos to these stories, such as "Soldier Who Set Up Webcam Dies." The New York Times has recently reported on this trend in "An Internet Lifeline for Troops in Iraq and Loved Ones." So remember to put a webcam in that care package, along with the chocolate and the cigarettes.

The debate on high speed computing is scheduled for next week, and Senator Ted Stevens assures us that only greedy, selfish users who slow down the Internet (which is composed of a series of tubes) would want live, streaming video. These soldiers are fighting and often dying on behalf of a government that has allowed telecommunication lobbyists to redefine the meaning of "broadband" to a snail's page while also taking tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars in tax subsidies to build a promised infrastructure that has never been delivered. See this screed from New Networks for the details.

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