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Maurice--

I thought the tone of my first response to what 
was, frankly, an ignorant and provocative post 
was very "gentle". I also think a little sarcasm 
is appropriate when the ignorance is not only 
repeated but magnified. I certainly think it's 
missing the point in a big way to equate my 
response with Eric E.'s double provocation, but 
you're entitled to your own opinion, of course.

Best,
Phil



At 9:44 AM +0200 7/25/07, Maurice Bazin wrote:
>Dear all,
>
>fascinating for me who will fly from Paris to 
>Rio de Janeiro (via Florianópolis) in a few 
>hours, to read a truly American exchange  about 
>technology and life in America.
>
>Claudia's contribution is very illuminating, 
>technical, social and full of feeling.  She does 
>not argue! She talks with us all.
>
>  I ask our friends Phil and Eric and more male 
>participants to learn from Claudia.  Learn to be 
>gentle! Please!  It is so good to read gentle 
>tones when one is afar and then wishes one were 
>there, with you all at the next AAAS meeting.
>
>Love.  Yours truly,
>
>Maurice
>
>Maurice Bazin, last hours in Paris
><mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]
>
>
>
>On Jul 25, 2007, at 7:04 AM, Claudia Hemphill Pine wrote:
>
>Umm... maybe we could all back off from 
>"prescriptive" values and take a more 
>descriptive look here.
>
>YES. Both in the micro-universe of this story, 
>and the wider personal experience of some of us, 
>low-income households appear to be more likely 
>to have TV's with cable than computers with 
>internet.
>
>Never mind that access being high-speed. I live 
>in a grad student/old people's "ghetto" in my 
>small university town and I only have dial-up. 
>Why? It's not the cost to me, but the 
>unwilllingness of either my local phone provider 
>or rental property owner to provide. Certainly, 
>my city isn't interested. 
>
>Not that cost isn't a consideration: I don't 
>have cable or a big TV, partly because it's an 
>expense I'm unwilling to pay. But my social and 
>informational needs are amply satisfied by 
>internet communities, list-servs and emails; by 
>the many local RL friends who I tend to see on 
>campus, or downtown, at the gallery, the 
>bookshop or the Saturday market; by occasional 
>trips out of town to see family; by newspapers 
>(online) and journals (delivered). I can watch 
>films on my laptop. If I want to see a 
>favorably-reviewed TV show or an entire season, 
>my family can often share it on TiVO or DVDs 
>when I visit.
>
>Ahhh.... that's why I can live without TV. It 
>isn't my source of news or shopping information. 
>It isn't the common conversational currency with 
>friends or colleagues. It isn't my escape from 
>the humdrum of home with kids during the day, or 
>when hiding inside from heat, a city's noise or 
>insecurity.  Or the "only thing there is," as 
>for so many older people who for health or 
>safety reasons, stay at home.
>
>So, I can turn my nose up at cable TV. But for 
>others, it's a key connection to news and 
>neighborhood, as well as recreation. I'd no more 
>ask them to trade it in for a computer & the 
>internet - with the associated learning curve, 
>hardware needs, shorter uselife, and mainly 
>single-user setup - than I would ask my Mom to 
>give up watching Wimbledon and Mystery to listen 
>to NPR and hang out on the internet like me. 
>Internet doesn't replace cable TV for her, just 
>augments it. But it added costs and 
>complications as well.
>
>Mom's house is actually wireless now. But she 
>was driven to the internet more than she was 
>enticed. She had to get email to stay in touch 
>with her peripatetic children (who don't write 
>snail mail letters) and eastern European friends 
>(whose letters take months).  She can use it to 
>shop beyond her smallish city.  To really 
>sweeten the pot, she gets unlimited free in-home 
>software and hardware support from 2 daughters 
>and a son-in-law with very high computer skills.
>
>I don't think it's as easy for someone like 
>those in this article to dump cable TV and shift 
>over to internet. They would lose as much as, or 
>more than, they gain.
>
>Claudia
>
>On 7/24/07, Phil Gasper 
><<mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]> 
>wrote:
>
>You're digging yourself in deeper, Eric. Why don't all those poor
>people stop eating at MacDonald's and start eating healthy organic
>vegetables? And if they just studied harder instead of wasting their
>money on "mindless entertainment" I bet they could get into Harvard
>too.
>
>This isn't the Science for Elitists list.
>
>--PG
>
>At 8:58 PM -0400 7/24/07, Eric Entemann wrote:
>>The article in question starts with this erroneous comment:
>>
>>"I am low-income and computers are not low-income," says Marcella
>>Morris, sitting on the front step of her apartment building on a
>>sweltering day last week.
>>
>>A $50 used computer and under $20 per month gets one on the internet
>>with broadband quite adequately, and a dialup connection can be had
>>for under $40 per year.
>>
>>My contention is simply that cost is not the cause of the so-called
>>"digital divide".  And that most low-income people in this country
>>spend far more than that on mindless entertainment, as do most
>>people of any income level.  Let's get real here.
>>
>>----Original Message Follows----
>>From: Phil Gasper <<mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]>
>>Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
>><<mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]>
>>To: 
>><mailto:[log in to unmask]> 
>>[log in to unmask]
>>Subject: Re: Binary America: Split in Two by A Digital Divide
>>Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 16:26:35 -0500
>>
>>I am uncomfortable with Eric's comment, which seems to be blaming
>>the poor for their lack of computer access.
>>
>>I also think that on a list about science it ought to be possible to
>>do better than make claims that begin "I bet". Why not do a little
>>research first?
>>
>>--PG
>>
>>At 1:31 PM -0400 7/24/07, Eric Entemann wrote:
>>>I'll bet a lot of lower-income people have big TVs and cable, but
>>>no computer or broadband.  A computer that is adequate for
>>>broadband net access can bought new for little and used for almost
>>>nothing. The primary computer I use is an old Pentium 3 that has a
>>>value of maybe $50.  And if need be, cable TV could be sacrificed
>>>for cable broadband.  So no doubt choice is a big factor here.
>>>
>>>But, of course, much more needs to be done toward the provision of
>>>technology education and low-cost broadband.  And more public
>>>access to computers on the internet as alternatives to libraries
>>>and schools and Starbucks.  For example, when I visited Tucson
>>>three yy ago, I was pleased to find the Univ. of AZ computer center
>>>to be open long hours and to have free public access with no time
>>>limit. Every computer even had a CD burner available for downloads.
>>>
>>>----Original Message Follows----
>>>From: Sam Anderson < <mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]>
>>>Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
>>><<mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask] >
>>>To: 
>>><mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]
>>>Subject: Binary America: Split in Two by A Digital Divide
>>>Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 08:38:17 -0400
>>>
>>>Binary America: Split in Two by A Digital Divide
>>>
>>>By Jose Antonio Vargas
>>>Washington Post Staff Writer
>>>Monday, July 23, 2007; C01
>>>
>>>CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Less than a mile and a half from the Citadel,
>>>the  site of the Democratic presidential debate tonight, sits
>>>Cooper River  Courts, a public housing project. Forget the Web.
>>>Never mind YouTube,  the debate's co-sponsor. Here, owning a
>>>computer and getting on the  Internet (through DSL or cable or
>>>Wi-Fi) is a luxury.
>>>
>>>"I am low-income and computers are not low-income," says Marcella
>>>Morris, sitting on the front step of her apartment building on a
>>>sweltering day last week.
>>>
>>>The unemployed 45-year-old adds: "I know how to use a computer. I
>>>just can't afford one right now."
>>>
>>>There exists "two Americas," as John Edwards, South Carolina's own
>>>son, likes to say: an America for the rich and an America for the
>>>poor. But what Edwards and the rest of the presidential field have
>  >>yet to adequately address are the two Americas online: one that's
>>>connected to high-speed Internet -- socializing, paying bills,
>>>uploading debate questions to presidential candidates on YouTube --
>>>and one that's not. This is the digital divide, now more than a
>>>decade old, a rarely discussed schism in which the unconnected are
>>>second-class citizens. In some parts of this so-called Internet
>>>ghetto, the screech of a telephone modem dialing up to get online
>>>is not uncommon. And with dial-up, YouTube is impossible to use.
>>>
>>>Between 40 to 45 percent of Charlestonians, city officials here
>>>estimate, subscribe to high-speed Internet. That figure is nearly
>>>in line with the national average, according to the nonpartisan
>>>group Free Press. And though a study released last month by the Pew
>>>Internet & American Life Project found that broadband use among
>>>African American adults increased from 14 percent in 2005 to 40
>>>percent this year, blacks continue to lag behind whites and
>>>English- speaking Latinos. In fact, a great number of American
>>>households , especially in rural areas and poorer parts of cities
>>>such as Charleston, are without broadband.
>>>
>>>And in a presidential election that's being fought as much online
>>>as off it -- all campaigns employ Web strategies -- some say the
>>>candidates have generally ignored the issue.
>>>
>>>"I would argue that the digital divide is worse than it was 10
>>>years ago. Back then everyone -- schools, businesses -- was trying
>>>to get online. These days every single Fortune 500 company has its
>>>employees, its customers and its suppliers connected 24 hours a
>>>day, seven days a week. In the meantime, while our students have
>>>online access at school, many of them don't have it at home," says
>>>Andrew Rasiej, a member of a panel studying universal Internet
>>>access in New  York, and co-founder of TechPresident, a nonpartisan
>>>blog that tracks  the online campaign.
>>>
>>>"Our presidential candidates may all have BlackBerrys, but they
>>>have no vision when it comes to bringing all our citizens to the
>>>21st century. If you go to look at the presidential candidate Web
>>>sites, the word 'Internet' practically doesn't exist. Breaking the
>>>digital divide has not been recognized as a critical issue," Rasiej
>>>continues.
>>>
>>>Two months ago, TechPresident challenged the candidates to adopt
>>>specific policies to get everyone online. "Declare the Internet a
>>>public good in the same way we think of water, electricity,
>>>highways," reads a policy statement. "Commit to providing
>>>affordable high-speed wireless Internet access nationwide," reads
>>>another. So far most of the candidates have not adopted any of it,
>>>Rasiej says.
>>>
>>>"At one level, the YouTube debate shows that the Web has really
>>>become a centerpiece of American political culture," adds Lee
>>>Rainie,  director of Pew Internet. "At another level, it also shows
>>>that the  debate is not for everybody. It's certainly not available
>>>to all  Americans."
>>>
>>>That is especially true at Cooper River Courts, where Tiara Reid,
>>>14,  in her jeans shorts and pink striped top, runs up and down the
>>>complex asking friends if anyone wants to go the library. Finally
>>>her  mom, Jossie, who works at a deli, drives her and a neighbor's
>>>daughter. With school out and without Internet access at home, the
>>>library is the only place where she can go on the Web -- for a
>>>maximum of two hours a day. Says Tiara: "It's 10 minutes to get to
>>>the library if someone drives you. It's 15 minutes if you take the
>>>30  bus. It's about 30 minutes if you walk." On the library's
>>>second floor, she folds herself up on a chair and updates her
>>>MySpace profile, sends e-mails on her Yahoo! account and, if
>>>there's time, surfs <http://Disney.com>Disney.com.
>>>
>>>Across from the Reids' apartment stands LaToya Ferguson, holding
>>>her grandson Marquis. She's one of the few residents here to have
>>>Internet access at home. It's a sense of pride for her. "You're
>>>falling behind if you're not online, now that's the truth," says
>>>Ferguson, a nail technician in her 30s.
>  >>
>>>Nearby Marcella Morris runs after her son Donny, who's nearly 2.
>>>Morris says she relies on "the three F's" -- food stamps, family
>>>and friends -- to provide for Donny and her 7-year-old daughter,
>>>Jordan. Money's tight. She has a phone, subscribes to cable, but
>>>that's it. No cellphone, no car, no computer. At 3 in the morning,
>>>when an infomercial about the Web-based Specialty Merchandise
>>>Corp.comes on TV, she dreams of owning a business, she says.
>>>
>>>A few weeks ago, she signed up for a computer program at Trident
>>>Literacy Association, a 10-minute walk from her apartment. At the
>>>end  of the 10-week program, she will receive a refurbished
>>>computer, free.
>>>
>>>"Never too late to start, right?" Morris says. "But after I get the
>>>computer I have to worry about the Internet."
>>>
>>>It's a familiar story around the country, even in places as
>>>Internet- savvy as San Francisco, Chicago and the District. Who can
>>>get online?  Who can't? And what can be done about it?
>>>
>>>Charlestonians pay as little as $20 or as much as $99 (which covers
>>>phone, cable and the Internet) a month to get online, depending on
>>>the package. There are a few free Wi-Fi "hot spots" in town, such
>>>as the Cereality cafe on King Street, where a cappuccino costs
>>>$2.99.
>>>
>>>Nearly two years ago, officials vowed to spread Internet access
>>>across the city. An initiative called the Charleston Digital
>>>Corridor  selected a proposal to build a citywide Wi-Fi grid. It
>>>was meant to  give everybody free Wi-Fi -- and the city didn't even
>>>have to pay for  it. As in other municipalities that are developing
>>>public Wi-Fi  projects, now numbering around 400, the goal is
>>>twofold: to empower  small businesses and to plug poorer
>>>neighborhoods such as Cooper  River Courts into the online world.
>>>
>>>But like other cities, including San Francisco, Charleston has
>>>struggled with its Wi-Fi project. The city originally said the
>>>service would be up and running at the end of 2005. It was delayed.
>>>Twice. When it finally was launched last spring, the Wi-Fi reached
>>>only about 30 to 40 percent of its intended coverage.
>>>
>>>And the Charlestonians tapping into the free Wi-Fi network --
>>>sometimes more than 200 surfers a day -- were largely the ones who
>>>could already afford to pay for it.
>>>
>>>Now the citywide Wi-Fi project is in limbo. But Ernest Andrade,
>>>head of the Digital Corridor, is optimistic: "We're evaluating
>>>right now and I know that we'll bring Wi-Fi access to the rest of
>>>this city," he pledges. Morris sounds upbeat, too. She plans on
>>>sticking with her  10-week computer course. "Not having the
>>>Internet in this day and  time makes me feel disconnected from a
>>>whole other world. Things I  could see, things I could hear, things
>>>I could do.
>>>
>>>"I could take my kids to other places on the Internet," says Morris
>>>as Donny naps on her lap. "Sometimes I feel shortchanged. Not
>>>envious, but shortchanged."
>>>
>>>She just turned 45 three days ago. By her 46th birthday, she hopes
>>>to  own a computer -- and be online.
>>>
>>>--------------------------------------------------
>>>s. e. anderson (author of "The Black Holocaust for Beginners" -
>>>Writers + Readers) + 
>>><http://blackeducator.blogspot.com>http://blackeducator.blogspot.com
>>>
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