Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Greetings 810 Blog Mates--
Three "thought provoking" questions from reading (to date):

1) My wife helped with this one, as we were discussing the implications of health care questions being asked via the Internet: Are the extremely large number of health-related questions posted to the Internet (search engines) directly proportionate to the high cost of health care in this country? When we lived and worked in Japan, we were on the Japanese system, which was a "socialized medical system," and it was no big deal, financially (sometimes wait times were great), to see the doctor and pay a very reasonable amount of money (yen) for the doctor visit plus whatever medications were prescribed. I wonder if one looks at data such as this for those countries with socialized medicine, if Internet usage wouldn't be considerably lower.

2) E-mail is listed as the "killer app" (application, one would presume) and a very high number of Internet participants use it. I receive so many "forwarded" e-mails, that someone besides the sender actually wrote, that it makes me wonder at how many people who use the Internet actually write their own messages. Further, I wonder if there aren't a lot of people who master the forwarding procedure and then feel "smart" because they're transmitting e-mails (working on their personal computer) but don't grow much beyond that.

I can also imagine there are many who would never have learned keyboarding skills except for the ubiquitous e-mail barrage that one automatically is born into these days. These issues of keyboarding and/or writing literacy being helped along by the electronic age are implicit in "Digital Divides discussions," so that's my question's intent, to get at that discussion.

3) The findings of the Pew Institute regarding Online Blacks/Hispanics being "more likely" than Online Whites to go onto the web for "fun" is puzzling. In the first place, what is construed as "fun," I wonder (learning can be fun, for example, but also pornography--the word needs more definition), and why would that finding be so staggering? (I forget the percentages attached, but I'll try to find them before class on Thursday).

That's all for now,

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