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Day January 23, 2006

Internet: Freedom or Privilege?

David Isenberg:

At issue: Is Internet access a freedom or a privilege? Just as Freedom of Speech means that, with very few limitations, nobody has the right to tell somebody else what to say, so should Internet freedom mean that gatekeepers should not control Internet applications or content. This is essential not just as a matter of freedom, but also as a matter of commerce, because the Internet’s success is directly due to its content-blindness. If the United States fails to understand this, U.S. Internet leadership will follow U.S. leadership in agriculture, in steel, in autos, and in consumer electronics to other countries that do.

Democracy in America, Then and Now, a Struggle Against Majority Tyranny

Adam Cohen:

During the War of 1812, an angry mob smashed the printing presses of a Baltimore newspaper that dared to come out against the war. When the mob surrounded the paper’s editors, and the state militia refused to protect them, the journalists were taken to prison for their own protection. That night, the mob broke into the prison, killed one journalist and left the others for dead. When the mob leaders were brought before a jury, they were acquitted.
Alexis de Tocqueville tells this chilling story in “Democracy in America,” and warns that the greatest threat the United States faces is the tyranny of the majority, a phrase he is credited with coining.

Turbocharging

Don Sherman:

The turbocharger recently turned 100 and the supercharger is even older. And despite their long histories, neither seems a clear winner.

Which is best suited to a vehicle depends on the intended use. With both alternatives at their disposal, engineers consider cost, driving characteristics and the space available under the hood to determine which system belongs where. Even on the same basic engine, the choice may change depending on the vehicle in which it will be used.

The Fall of the Traditional Wedding Album

Ben McConnell:

Here’s an indicator of when a product crosses the rubicon of word-of-mouth phenomenon to mass-market adoption: the iPod as an accessory in the $80 billion wedding industry.