“Al-Qa’eda has prospered and as it were regrouped largely because of the energy and effort it has put into its propaganda, largely through the internet.”
Sir Richard added that the internet had become the main channel for “radicalisation” and coordination between al-Qa’eda cells. He said: “In dealing with this problem, there is no alternative to imposing significant controls over the internet.”
This is what I call the "cup of tea" problem, after Douglas Adams:
Newsreaders still feel it is worth a special and rather worrying mention if, for instance, a crime was planned by people 'over the Internet.' They don't bother to mention when criminals use the telephone or the M4, or discuss their dastardly plans 'over a cup of tea,' though each of these was new and controversial in their day.
Some people have been surprised that tea was controversial, but William Cobbett's 1822 'The evils of tea (and the virtues of beer)' had this to say:
It must be evident to everyone, that the practice of tea drinking, must rended the frame feeble and unfit to encounter hard labour or severe weather, while, as I have shown, it deducts from the means of replenishing the belly and covering the back. Hence, succeeds a softness, an effeminacy, a seeking for the fireside, a lurking in the bed, and in short, all the characteristics of idleness, for which, in this case, real want of strength furnishes an apology. The tea drinking fills the public-houses, makes the frequenting of it habitual, corrupts boys as soon they are able to move from home, and does little less for the girls, to whom the gossip of the tea-table is no bad preparatory school for the brothel. At the very least, it teaches them idleness.
Which brings me to the attack on MapReduce today, which spectacularly misses the point by attacking a programming technique for not being a database and contains the striking line:
Given the experimental evaluations to date, we have serious doubts about how well MapReduce applications can scale.
(MapReduce is what Google uses to run complex data-manipulation problems on lots of computers in parallel to do things that databases fail at, like building an index for all the webpages it has found, or rendering map tiles for everywhere on earth in Google maps).