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This article is my Sociology reading for Monday. My problem with it is not so much that it's defending Wal-Mart, but that it's written by a guy from the Ayn Rand Institute, which is enough in itself to trigger my skepticism. Rand is quite shitty as a philosopher, and I'm not inclined to think her followers are any better.

I quite enjoy the fact that there's a disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
sjester: (pistolas)
My Sociology textbook is pissing me off. First, there was the subtle mention of Milosevic "eventually" standing trial at The Hague. Wait a minute, I thought, wasn't that just going on? I know he just died, and I thought he'd kicked it in the middle of the trial? And his family was all upset about the trial killing him? (I guess this is what happens when you only glance over the headlines.)

But then, then! It's all, "The internet is wonderful and democratizing! Information can get to anyone, anywhere! Yay!" Uh, so what about the Chinese government controlling what its citizens can access on the internet? What about those Chinese bloggers whose blogs cannot be read inside the country? And that flap about Yahoo providing information to the Chinese government? And Google having a search engine specifically for China, which censors search results? (Although the regular, non-censoring Google can still be used in China. For now.) So, no, information cannot get to anyone, anywhere. A lot of people in a lot of places? Yes. But when you have a country as big as China censoring internet content, well, that's a huge restriction on the flow of information.

And if the overly rosy picture of the power of the internet weren't enough, the book then refers to the "2003 Iraq War" as if it were a thing of the past. Which... no. Just... no. It's not over, it wasn't over when the book was last updated (last year, I think), and it's not about to be over.

I just don't see the reason for referring to current events as if they are already past (the war and Milosevic). I mean, sure, it's a textbook, and likely to be used once the events are over. But surely it will go through another edition? You can update it to put that stuff in the past later.

But, I guess my tolerance for misinformation this week is pretty low. Yesterday I wrote to the KOAT news people and managed to restrain myself from ripping them a new one for confusing the abortion pill with emergency contraception. Instead, I was nice and polite and told them they need to be more vigilant about checking their facts. It was not a slip-up by the news anchor; the accompanying visuals clearly showed medicine bottles that said "RU-487" and "mifepristone." Which is not the Plan B emergency contraception they were reporting on. (Because Wal-Mart has to stock it, starting today. Ha, suck it, bitches!)

But, um, I think I should get off the soapbox now and get back to studying.

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