Re: Talking gently.
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.
At 9:44 AM +0200 7/25/07, Maurice Bazin wrote:
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
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
Love. Yours truly,
Maurice Bazin, last hours in
[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
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.
On 7/24/07, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]>
You're digging yourself in deeper, Eric. Why don't all
people stop eating at MacDonald's and start eating healthy organic
vegetables? And if they just studied harder instead of wasting
money on "mindless entertainment" I bet they could get into
This isn't the Science for Elitists list.
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
>Morris, sitting on the front step of her apartment building on
>sweltering day last week.
>A $50 used computer and under $20 per month gets one on the
>with broadband quite adequately, and a dialup connection can be
>for under $40 per year.
>My contention is simply that cost is not the cause of the
>"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 <
[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
><[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
>the poor for their lack of computer access.
>I also think that on a list about science it ought to be possible
>do better than make claims that begin "I bet". Why not
do a little
>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,
>>no computer or broadband. A computer that is
>>broadband net access can bought new for little and used for
>>nothing. The primary computer I use is an old Pentium 3 that
>>value of maybe $50. And if need be, cable TV could
>>for cable broadband. So no doubt choice is a big
>>But, of course, much more needs to be done toward the
>>technology education and low-cost broadband. And
>>access to computers on the internet as alternatives to
>>and schools and Starbucks. For example, when I
>>three yy ago, I was pleased to find the Univ. of AZ computer
>>to be open long hours and to have free public access with no
>>limit. Every computer even had a CD burner available for
>>----Original Message Follows----
>>From: Sam Anderson < [log in to unmask]>
>>Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
>><[log in to unmask] >
>>To: [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
>>the site of the Democratic presidential debate
>>Cooper River Courts, a public housing project.
Forget the Web.
>>Never mind YouTube, the debate's co-sponsor. Here,
>>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,"
>>Morris, sitting on the front step of her apartment building on
>>sweltering day last week.
>>The unemployed 45-year-old adds: "I know how to use a
>>just can't afford one right now."
>>There exists "two Americas," as John Edwards, South
>>son, likes to say: an America for the rich and an America for
>>poor. But what Edwards and the rest of the presidential field
>>yet to adequately address are the two Americas
online: one that's
>>connected to high-speed Internet -- socializing, paying
>>uploading debate questions to presidential candidates on
>>and one that's not. This is the digital divide, now more than
>>decade old, a rarely discussed schism in which the unconnected
>>second-class citizens. In some parts of this so-called
>>ghetto, the screech of a telephone modem dialing up to get
>>is not uncommon. And with dial-up, YouTube is impossible to
>>Between 40 to 45 percent of Charlestonians, city officials
>>estimate, subscribe to high-speed Internet. That figure is
>>in line with the national average, according to the
>>group Free Press. And though a study released last month by
>>Internet & American Life Project found that broadband use
>>African American adults increased from 14 percent in 2005 to
>>percent this year, blacks continue to lag behind whites
>>English- speaking Latinos. In fact, a great number of
>>households , especially in rural areas and poorer parts of
>>such as Charleston, are without broadband.
>>And in a presidential election that's being fought as much
>>as off it -- all campaigns employ Web strategies -- some say
>>candidates have generally ignored the issue.
>>"I would argue that the digital divide is worse than it
>>years ago. Back then everyone -- schools, businesses -- was
>>to get online. These days every single Fortune 500 company has
>>employees, its customers and its suppliers connected 24 hours
>>day, seven days a week. In the meantime, while our students
>>online access at school, many of them don't have it at home,"
>>Andrew Rasiej, a member of a panel studying universal
>>access in New York, and co-founder of
TechPresident, a nonpartisan
>>blog that tracks the online campaign.
>>"Our presidential candidates may all have BlackBerrys,
>>have no vision when it comes to bringing all our citizens to
>>21st century. If you go to look at the presidential candidate
>>sites, the word 'Internet' practically doesn't exist. Breaking
>>digital divide has not been recognized as a critical issue,"
>>Two months ago, TechPresident challenged the candidates to
>>specific policies to get everyone online. "Declare the
>>public good in the same way we think of water,
>>highways," reads a policy statement. "Commit to
>>affordable high-speed wireless Internet access nationwide,"
>>another. So far most of the candidates have not adopted any of
>>"At one level, the YouTube debate shows that the Web has
>>become a centerpiece of American political culture," adds
>>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
>>14, in her jeans shorts and pink striped top, runs
up and down the
>>complex asking friends if anyone wants to go the library.
>>her mom, Jossie, who works at a deli, drives her
and a neighbor's
>>daughter. With school out and without Internet access at home,
>>library is the only place where she can go on the Web -- for
>>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
>>30 bus. It's about 30 minutes if you walk." On
>>second floor, she folds herself up on a chair and updates
>>MySpace profile, sends e-mails on her Yahoo! account and,
>>there's time, surfs Disney.com.
>>Across from the Reids' apartment stands LaToya Ferguson,
>>her grandson Marquis. She's one of the few residents here to
>>Internet access at home. It's a sense of pride for her.
>>falling behind if you're not online, now that's the truth,"
>>Ferguson, a nail technician in her 30s.
>>Nearby Marcella Morris runs after her son Donny, who's nearly
>>Morris says she relies on "the three F's" -- food
>>and friends -- to provide for Donny and her 7-year-old
>>Jordan. Money's tight. She has a phone, subscribes to cable,
>>that's it. No cellphone, no car, no computer. At 3 in the
>>when an infomercial about the Web-based Specialty
>>Corp.comes on TV, she dreams of owning a business, she
>>A few weeks ago, she signed up for a computer program at
>>Literacy Association, a 10-minute walk from her apartment. At
>>end of the 10-week program, she will receive a
>>"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
>>Internet- savvy as San Francisco, Chicago and the District.
>>get online? Who can't? And what can be done about
>>Charlestonians pay as little as $20 or as much as $99 (which
>>phone, cable and the Internet) a month to get online,
>>the package. There are a few free Wi-Fi "hot spots"
in town, such
>>as the Cereality cafe on King Street, where a cappuccino
>>Nearly two years ago, officials vowed to spread Internet
>>across the city. An initiative called the Charleston
>>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
>>public Wi-Fi projects, now numbering around 400,
the goal is
>>twofold: to empower small businesses and to plug
>>neighborhoods such as Cooper River Courts into the
>>But like other cities, including San Francisco, Charleston
>>struggled with its Wi-Fi project. The city originally said
>>service would be up and running at the end of 2005. It was
>>Twice. When it finally was launched last spring, the Wi-Fi
>>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
>>could already afford to pay for it.
>>Now the citywide Wi-Fi project is in limbo. But Ernest
>>head of the Digital Corridor, is optimistic: "We're
>>right now and I know that we'll bring Wi-Fi access to the rest
>>this city," he pledges. Morris sounds upbeat, too. She
>>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,"
>>as Donny naps on her lap. "Sometimes I feel shortchanged.
>>envious, but shortchanged."
>>She just turned 45 three days ago. By her 46th birthday, she
>>to own a computer -- and be online.
>>s. e. anderson (author of "The Black Holocaust for
>>Writers + Readers) + http://blackeducator.blogspot.com
>>Local listings, incredible imagery, and driving directions -
>>one place! http://maps.live.com/?wip=69&FORM=MGAC01