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Chris Nelson: “I'm not in any way saying that weblogs by themselves are something to be shunned. I enjoy writing in my weblog, and I also enjoy using it for some of the very purposes that I described above. But I believe that we shouldn't hold weblogs up as icons of democratization or information clarification. Doing so will only have the effect of fooling us into believing that we're getting closer to the truth, when in fact the truth may be slipping further away.”

Absolutely—nothing fundamental about human discourse is changing with weblogs. People still have biases. They're convinced by emotional appeals, missampled or misrepresented facts and mistaken conclusions, even when they try to present a balanced viewpoint or “the truth”. At best, any statement is presented as a statistical sampling of people the author has encountered.

I have largely stopped paying attention to mainstream news sources (radio, TV, newspapers). Weblogs are not a complete replacement. But the distance between an interested reader and someone who knows what they're talking about is decreasing, and I can't see how that is bad.

Dave Hyatt: “So my brother works on bioinformatics and computational biology, my sister works in isotope geochemistry and metamorphic petrology, and me? I add toner supply links to browser menus. Woo woo.”

This comes back to my motivation for not just getting a job out of college, but pursuing what I'm pursuing. It's too easy to get stuck being told what to do when you're a programmer; perhaps because many of the best programmers are self-taught. Relationships on the job with programmers often involve lack of discipline on one end, and lack of respect on the other. Not that the same credibility issues don't exist for scientists and other professionals (say, physicians), but things seem to work out better for them. I may discover that I'm wrong, the grass isn't greener over there after all, but at least I'll have the trip to learn from. :-)

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