Pretending to see the future

…no online database will replace your daily newspaper…no computer network will change the way government works. … Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.” We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?

“It sucked. Can I have my £1m now?”

A couple of months ago, 15 UK troops were taken hostage in Iraq. They were eventually freed. Then I started seeing news stories about how everyone was furious because the troops were selling their personal stories to the highest bidder. Maybe I’ve been in the US too long, but I didn’t understand what people were upset about. I still don’t. Those troops went through a hideous ordeal. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to get money in return for telling people what it was like?