Thursday, March 26, 2009

China is at it again.

How about I open up the real posts with a rant?

I have become a passionate defender of free speech. Open forums to share ideas are paramount to the advancement of society -- especially in science. China doesn't think so. It appears that youtube has been blocked again, the last time being the ban during the Tibet riots.

An initial, and perhaps well-founded, reaction to this story may be, "so what?" So what if the Chinese are cut off from youtube poop edits of Billy Mays and fifteen-year-olds proclaiming that high school problems really matter? A large percentage of youtube is dedicated to crap. Even though it's funny crap, of what importance is it?

As it turns out, there are youtube videos dedicated to serious debate, the proliferation of ideas, and good ol' fashioned, healthy free speech. Take as an initial example the Beauty in the Universe channel, which is dedicated to exploring knowledge of the Earth and nature. Or, more importantly, DonExodus, who works diligently to educate people on the origins and diversity of life on Earth, all the while fending off the onslaught of creationists who insist on poisoning the well of knowledge. These are only two of many contributors who submit material that educates viewers
and challenges worldviews. They make people think. This cannot be underestimated.

Now put this into the present context. During the Tibet riots, youtube was banned in China to keep citizens in the dark about what was happenin, to preserve positive views of the Chinese government. It is a method of control. It is subversive. The internet is more than jokes and porn, it serves as a medium to distribute knowledge of the world around this. To choke it off is deplorable. And it is happening again.

It just started snowing at PO Box 1663. This should make for an exciting weekend.

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