Is America technologically competitive?

Topic: The First Amendment and the Internet

Jimmy Wales: I think we’re doing just fine. I’m not as pessimistic as some people.  Sometimes when people look at levels of broadband penetration and things like that, where we don’t necessarily rank in the highest rank, I think that some of those comparisons are a little bit invalid. In other words, trying to figure out an economical way to get broadband Internet access throughout the entire United States – which is quite a large place with many remote places where people live – it’s very different from supplying broadband Internet access in South Korea, for example, or Finland. These are very small places by comparison, very concentrated populations.

I think that the biggest advantage that the U.S. has with the Internet is something that we should really be careful about, is it’s still the best jurisdiction in many ways for freedom of speech. The First Amendment is of enormous importance for the Internet. It’s kind of an interesting thing because in the past, the First Amendment rights for most ordinary people had very little actual impact. You had a secondary impact.

In other words, it’s important to me in 1970 that the press is free, and that books can be published because then I can consume all of those things. But as a person producing content to share with others, the First Amendment had very little impact on my day-to-day life.

Nowadays it does, right? We can all publish. We can all reach out. We can all have a voice. It’s really important that we have freedom of speech because that’s what generates this amazing bounty of great stuff.  So today it’s really not a problem. The First Amendment is constantly under assault from here and there and yon. But for the most part it holds up reasonably well.

 

Recorded On: Aug 10, 2007

The Internet is still the best jurisdiction for freedom of speech.

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less