Most of what happens on the internet is out of sight, so therefore out of mind. Please spare a second thought for it on Internet Day on October 29th. There’s hope, but we must act now.
What is streaming?
The Internet, defined as a remote connection between two computers, was first achieved by Leonard Kleinrock, Charley Kline and Bill Duvall on October 29, 1969 as part of the project “ARPANET” (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network). The characters “L” and “O” were the first bits of data ever sent over a computer network before the connection crashed, and about an hour later, the complete “Login” message was sent. J.C.R. Licklider could be considered the “father of the internet”, which is probably considered the most important invention in human history after the wheel and Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. It is not the same as The World Wide Web, which is often incorrectly used synonymously, became possible in 1989 and would not have existed without many other innovations. Nowadays it’s virtually unthinkable imaging a world without connectivity, even with some of the downsides it brings, including being at the whim of your boss 24/7/365. The upsides, of course, are now obvious with the free movement of data allowing us to pursue a million new pastimes or see our favourite series on demand or watch cat videos or simply pay the bills…
What is on the internet (and what should not)?
Whenever people think of the internet, many think of The Matrix film. So, would you like to take the red pill or the blue one? Anyway, I digress. Where did it all start to go wrong, or right, depending on your point of view? Establishing trillions of connections every second requires a vast network of phone lines, undersea cables, satellites, internet service providers (ISP), data storage centres and a whole lot of power to keep the thing alive. In 2010, it was reliably claimed that running it took 3% of the electricity produced (Nowadays, 200 billion kWh / year). According to Gartner Dataquest’s statistics, in April 2002, the billionth personal computer was made and the second billion was supposedly reached in 2007. Forrester Research claims there were over one billion PCs in use worldwide by the end of 2008, and over 2 billion by the year 2015. With the population now at 7.9 billion people, I began to wonder how many of them have access to the internet, and the answer is 4.6 billion, with half of them in Asia. Of those 4.6 billion users, 27% speak English, 25% Mandarin and 8 % Spanish as their first language. 55% of websites are in English, 6% Russian and 4% Mandarin. To satisfy 4.6 billion people, we need a lot of hardware and software, which is probably why Bill Gates from Microsoft is one of the richest men in the world. Computers come in all shapes, sizes and specifications to meet the desires of everyone. However, much of the obsolete electronic waste nowadays often ends up in junk sites in developing countries, usually in Africa and Asia. Just imagine all the peripheral objects as well, like keyboards, laptop coolers, speakers, headsets, mouse pads, mouse, etc. Many precious metals and elements go into the making of these components, so it’s becoming increasingly important to recycle them so as not to put further strain on the world’s finite resources, with Earth Overshoot Day in mind, which fell even earlier this year on July 29th. The 2019 outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19 or SARS Cov-2) has caused a massive shift in internet usage. More people than ever are using the internet for work and pleasure. So much so, that streaming services, like Netflix, have had to reduce their quality settings to allow more users access. This kind of strain makes it all the more obvious we need to maintain it and contribute wisely to it. However, the internet is under attack and it could soon come to an end if the likes of Ajit Pai, the former Federal Communications Commission Chairman and former Verizon General Council, has anything to do with it. If successful, this move would give unprecedented power to ISPs like Comcast, allowing them to limit your access to Netflix, Facebook, and any other service that refuses to pay them for preferential treatment. This would also allow your ISP to create tiered packages that limit or block your access to “premium” websites, as they have done in other countries like China. There is even a scary place called “The Dark Web” which has many black sites and where data often bypasses filters, or is so encrypted that it’s impossible to distinguish a cupcake recipe from a paedophile’s child pornography upload. Porn sites and many a mischievous soul inhabit this underworld. There are entire government departments like the National Security Agency (NSA) dedicated to trying to discern the difference between legitimate activities and criminal ventures.
Online Climate Activism
So you want to become a climate activist? Great! We need all the help we can get. You’ll soon realize when fighting for climate action that you’ll probably end up fighting your own corrupted governments, because the main reason we have so many environmental issues is because governments all over the world have been allowing these things to happen for many many years. Please allow me to help you on your way with a useful list to start from…
You may want to consider creating secondary online accounts to operate from, similar to the bots the Fossil fuel industry use when infiltrating our Social media platforms and internet forums. When you make your new profiles, you can have some fun and confuse the algorithms. To the uninitiated, it is difficult to recognize bots, but you will soon, because their profiles tend to lack personal details, photos and friends/followers. Just like with online scammers, tie up the bad guy’s resources with questions (For example, FAQs is usually a good place to start from. Start easy with trivial enquiries and get more complicated by asking companies to explain their future plans, greenwashing strategies, etc). You may find you become one of the good Internet trolls and I wish you luck against those fossil fuel giants, agrochemical monsters, pharma bros, banking powerhouses, big polluters, etc. Bad trolls are prone to writing long rants and diatribes, but you should try to avoid their trap! They have nothing else better to do with their time than waste yours, so a hit and run strategy is advisable, but if you do get dragged into a war of words, remember that the truth is always your best defence/offence. Keep your calm, because cold hard logic, facts and truth are more infuriating than any insult to any troll. It can get fast-paced out there, so prepare a document list of reliable “go to websites” for quick “copy and paste” responses. If you choose to engage them, here’s a Top 10 list of fallacies to avoid that are commonly made in arguments of logic:
AD HOMINEM – Attack the argument, NOT a person’s character, which is the second lowest form of disagreement, according to Paul Graham’s Hierarchy. The first being name-calling, you fossil fool 😉
HASTY GENERALISATIONS – Avoid using small numbers to represent totality, and make sure you have studied the subject enough before you make conclusions.
BEGGING THE QUESTION – Do not assume your entire argument is correct because one of your premises is true, and you should make all efforts to prove your point before using it to support your argument.
FALSE DILEMMA – Arguments can rarely be resolved with two possibilities. Not everything is “Black & White”, and that world of grey in between can be vast.
AD IGNORANTUM – Don’t use a person’s ignorance of a claim to suggest that something is true or false, but suggest lack of contrary supporting evidence.
BURDEN OF PROOF REVERSAL – Don’t lay burden of proof on those who are questioning you, by trying to avoid having to do your own dirty work.
NON SEQUITUR – Don’t assume or make connections that don’t exist. Avoid conclusions or replies that don’t follow on logically from the previous statement.
How does humanity benefit from streaming?
We have access to knowledge the likes we have never known before and yet we prefer to watch videos of pets and people failing. There are also many hobby enthusiasts willing to record them enjoying their passions and encouraging us to enjoy it too. Not everything is wonderful obviously as there are those who would use it for dubious purposes like scamming old people or even worse, like distributing child pornography.
How to Save Our Streaming?
Individually: Try to do no harm, as even internet trolls have feelings, apparently 😉
Collectively, including Governments: We must defend the right to an open network without gatekeepers. We should be grateful we have access to so much information, even though it comes with a lot of disinformation. Try not to believe everything you see, read or hear unless the information can be verified by multiple sources.
Unpopular opinion: The internet, like Wikipedia, is a collective project and so we have a responsibility to take care of it and not to waste resources like viral challenges or bitcoin mining does.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to check the veracity of the information contained within, certain limitations could result in not all data being current or completely accurate. Please feel free to contact us if you feel particular data needs updating.
Save Our Streaming Test
Here are 10 questions...
How it started
How it's going
SOSquiz Glossary of Terms (with links to Wikipedia)
AEEA (Asociación Española de Educación Ambiental)
ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Coronavirus (Covid-19 or SARS Cov-2)
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
National Security Agency (NSA)
Particulate Matter (PM 10, 2.5 & UFP)
Quality of life (QOL)
Ultrafine particles (UFP)
World Wide Web (www)