Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Google 65, Yahoo 19.6 and Bing 8.4. What’s that now? Bing(Yahoo) 28, Google 65, and the Rest 7 percent of Global Internet Searches?

By Paul K. Haeder

It’s a verb, “Google me”, or “go google that fact.” So, it’s ingrained in our brains, and yet we have seen that our country is indeed one that on appearances fights that dominating singular force in almost all aspects of commerce. Should it be all about Google as a search engine? Nope. Yes, Google, Bing,, and Yahoo are vying for ad space, for some sort of dominance in that market. The issues of on-line searches, what is to be trusted and not trusted on the Internet, the fight for Internet neutrality, the fight for small and medium sized independent magazines to not get hit with high postal rates, and what is the new rhetoric, digital rhetoric and what is plagiarism of materials on the Internet, and what constitutes legitimate web site information, all these issues and more hit the average college professor on a daily basis. Add to that the research writing and composition and tech writing instructors’ woes of getting students to read, think critically and move through their lives on a systems thinking basis, and we have quite the new challenges for our society (see past blogs on the he-cession and on the feminization of the workplace and the classroom).

Here’s the quickest lo down on Internet neutrality:

Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have been lobbying to kill net neutrality. They say they won't build an information superhighway if they can't build it as a closed system. No other industrialized country has made that devil's bargain, and neither should we. Without net neutrality, online innovation is vulnerable to the whims of cable and phone companies, which control 99 percent of the household market for high-speed Internet access. And Silicon Valley venture capitalists are unlikely to bet the farm on a whim.

Network owners say the threat of abuse is hypothetical. But actions speak louder than words. Last fall, Comcast was caught secretly blocking popular technologies that can bring HDTV to your laptop -- used by everyone from the Hollywood studios to NASA. It was no coincidence: Comcast is targeting a growing competitor to its cable TV service.

The fight e-zines like and to stay on the Internet without big cable companies and other media pit bulls pushing them out, or even hard copy (and they have their on-line presence like In These Times, the Nation, and Mother Jones -- independent magazines are fighting to stay afloat, which means the public and public citizen staying informed outside the double-think world of mainstream media. Pushing the alternative voice out of the American debate, as mentioned in past blogs – airing that fourth voice of global warming – is deadly to democracy:

“Postal Rates = Free Press

Rate hike pushed by media conglomerate Time Warner threaten small and medium-circulation publications”

By Robert W. McChesney

But this blog post is about a simple search engine war: Is Microsoft’s Bing less capable of garnering more layered hits than Google? Less comprehensive than Yahoo? There are size discussions – Whose Index is bigger? That is, how many pages has Bing or Yahoo or Google collected in their respective databases. Google has more than a trillion Web pages catalogued. Bing has a lot of catching up to do. However, how many pages of information, of all those potential sites, those many dead-end url’s and what-have-you and redundant and useless sites do we need? Advertisers bid for the space, to have their ads alongside certain search terms – they hand out payola when a user clicks on the ad. These search engine wars are about money.

Bing and Yahoo are combining, and the Bing search may be better to some users in that it allows the users to preview the site without clicking on it. So, Google’s goal now is to carry over simplicity and experience. However, take for example looking for a poet, a living one, or dead one, but obscure nonetheless. Google ranks old sites, non-English language to boot, higher, and Bing has English language sites that are more up to date higher.

Search for Michael Jackson on both Google and Bing – 120 mil. results for Google; 108 million for Bing. Again, there are so many other search engines to consider besides the three big ones – you have portals like Climate Ark,,

Climate Change and Global Warming Portal
Featuring Customized Search and News Feed of Reviewed, Authoritative Content

and then just plain old search engines that tout some slant or specialty:

Dog Pile --

Search Geek –

Altavista –

Metacrawler –

and a bunch of search engine guides –

[Internet search engines are categorized by topic in our searchable directory of general and specialty search engines. Also listed are resources and tools for exploring the deep web, performing advanced research, and for learning about using search engine tools and technology.]

Beyond the Big versus Google debate, we in education have this huge issue of what we as educators expect of college students (and high school ones too) when they embark upon research essays and projects and which sites they are allowed to go to, if the Wiki citation is worthy of scholarship, and how much of the web we will accept as acceptable or scholarly or juried. Here’s one spectrum (graphic below) I use to analyze what it is we are after. The funny thing is that red to regal blue, as the lettering shows, really is suspect and can be reversed easily. If Esquire is considered a popular magazine, not scholarly, and suspect, as is, Rolling Stone, or if Harpers or the Atlantic Monthly are moving a bit more toward acceptable, we have to look at the value in those popular magazines getting information right, soon, and from a cutting edge – still mainstream media-wise -- standpoint. The funny thing is those magazines like Rolling Stone have had some of the most cutting edge writing on the Iraq war, on HIV/AIDS, our industrial food system – see Vanity Fair’s “Harvest of Fear” –

way before these topics were either taken seriously or covered at all by the more “legit ones” on the scale below – WSJ, for example. Plus, many scholarly folk write for the magazines the academics might call popular, and therefore not juried or vetted by peers in a rarified field or discipline.

The New England Journal of Medicine may be so conservative or so slow on the uptake that a topic like “are organic veggies and fruits more nutritious than industrial ag raised produce?” or one like ”High Fructose Corn Syrup and the effects on obesity and the differences between HFCS and cane sugar” might be much more limited in NEJM’s scientific inquiry than even web sites put out by organics institutions or even renegade MDs who have collected tons of information from their practices and their intellectual travels.

Journals that require that articles be examined by other experts or scholars prior to publication are designated as “peer reviewed,” “refereed,” “juried,” or “blind reviewed” are called professional and scholarly periodicals. But that’s not always a legit place for beginning scholarship. In so many instances, the global warming-climate change arguments against the theories and the realities have come from people whose ideas and counter-theories have not been vetted by a system of peer review. Of course, that’s a double edge sword, since people like Darwin and Galileo would have been going up against their respective time periods and status quo in their respective fields of thought and sciences.

Here’s a list of articles on periodicals: Types of Periodical Literature and Peer Reviewed Articles, which shows the researcher how to use Ulrich's Periodicals Directory to determine if a periodical is a scholarly journal and if it is peer reviewed.

Then, back to using Bing, Google and others to help the web browser enter a more scholarly search:

Utilizing a specialized search engine such as Google Scholar, Windows Live Academic Search, PubMed, or National Science Digital Library may expedite the search process, but be aware that generally speaking these search engines do not index all of the resources covered by the subject-specific research databases and that you may have to pay for online documents that the library's catalogs and research databases provide for free.

[Academic versus popular journals]
When you select articles from an online search you need to make a distinction between scholarly and popular material. Scholarly or academic journals are usually published by a university or institution and contain research or specific information. Popular magazines are usually commercial, written for a general audience and contain current news. They can include secondary commentaries on research.]

Now, we move onto things like, say, this blog and PowerPoints and embedded video and lectures: Digital rhetoric. It includes, in scholarly research too, e-mail, electronic slides, web pages, blogs, wikis, video games. Given the importance of digital rhetoric in the academy government, and contemporary workplaces, the consequences of incomplete digital literacy can be serious. Those who never adequately acquire electronic competence now pay the price in wealth, professional success, social capital, and civic input. Furthermore, electronic miscommunication has contributed to many recent disasters and scandals. Our very ability to compete economically and co-exist politically in the face of globalization may depend on bridging a "Digital Divide" between what Manuel Castells has called the "interacting" and the "interacted." Because the stakes are so high, some policy makers have codified certain forms of public rhetoric, using the persuasive resources of the advertising industry, but access to desktop tools for creating and altering electronic files has also provided new avenues of political resistance. Does 'Digital Divide' Rhetoric Do More Harm Than Good?

"Some scholars fear that the discussion discourages the creation of content

Warnings about a continuing "digital divide" could be doing more harm than good to African-Americans and other minority groups"


Here’s a really fine essay, short, by Paul Lamb, about technology, eavesdropping and the divide between the poor's and underrepresented communities' lack of access to technology against those who are well-off and control the technology pipeline:

Published on Friday, June 23, 2006 by the San Francisco Chronicle

From Digital Divide to Digital Enlightenment

by Paul Lamb

I dreamed last night that a new era had arrived in the United States, a kind of digital enlightenment. We, as a nation, had developed a national technology plan -- a plan that makes electronic eavesdropping illegal and supports a stable, neutral and secure technology backbone that we can all equally benefit from.

In my dream, technology was an essential infrastructure for opportunity -- as important as the roadways, public buildings and school systems. I dreamed that all people, regardless of age, ethnicity, education, physical or economic capability, could tap seamlessly into a stream of knowledge and creativity unlike any the world had ever seen. Not only did people access information in a dynamic virtual library, but they also became the authors of its volumes -- individually or collectively.

They could innovate anywhere, anytime and in ways previously unimaginable, because they had free access to technology, the tools to get connected and the knowledge of how to use them.

In the dream, the federal government had joined with industry to create and support the Digital Opportunity Drive. A national broadband Internet platform had been rolled out, blanketing the nation with a public digital highway that supported voice, video and data exchange at super-fast speeds and through a single standard.

State and local governments had partnered with industry, communities and nonprofit groups to offer training and tools to their respective and unique populations.

The local public libraries, schools and community centers opened their own Digital Opportunity Centers. These centers were widespread and fully equipped spaces where anyone could come to learn about the latest and greatest technology. All of these centers were supported through the private sector, in exchange for the rights to set up community-based shops operating out of the centers. In my dream, the Digital Opportunity Centers eventually got themselves out of the access and training business and then transformed into thriving virtual town halls, online and offline village squares and places for face-to-face community organizing.

The digital enlightenment also saw the growth of democratic activity as a variety of online and community-based kiosks allowed people to vote and express their opinions directly and instantaneously to governments and policy-makers. Politicians were informed, in real time, of the mood and views of their constituencies; elections were immediate and more participatory, as voting could occur any place and any time.

The dream ended with a vision of people from all walks of life feeling more connected and empowered than ever before. I saw the disabled and seniors living full and productive lives in the world without worrying about how to move physically from place to place or how to keep up with technology changes. I saw the poor and socially isolated rejoining the mainstream, self-sufficient and filled with hope. I saw average citizens and new immigrants alike forsaking fear and doubt in the pursuit of a vibrant and now fully wired American dream.

Then, I woke up.

I remembered that technology cannot solve all of our problems, and is really nothing more than a tool in our imperfect hands. But there is no denying that technology is the single-most important tool driving economic growth in the United States, and that doesn't even begin to take into account how technology and the Internet have become an integral and essential part of all of our lives.

The real sleeper is that we have yet to fully acknowledge that technology is the infrastructure of the 21st century. Part of the reason that we rank 16th worldwide in terms of broadband penetration is because our leaders are content to let the market, localities and consumers figure it all out on their own. Meanwhile, Asian and European countries charge ahead with innovative public technology projects that are leaving us in the dust.

Let's not put off a national technology strategy any longer. Let's move beyond the digital divide and digital denial once and for all. Let's stop dreaming about it and move with purpose and planning toward a true digital enlightenment in our time.

Paul Lamb is a founder of and a fellow with the Community Technology Foundation of California. He can be reached at or at

Here’s a breakdown of what old and new narratives are – traditional versus hypertext:

Textual Qualities, Old and New

Traditional Narrative


 Ordered

 Unified

 Whole

 Singular vision

 Consistent

 Author controlled

 Establishes authority

 Passive

 Information delivery

 Linear

 Flat

 Singular path

 Logical progression

 Self-contained

 Random

 Fragmented

 Segmented

 Multiperspectival

 Contradictory

 Reader controlled

 Undermines authority

 Participatory

 Information agency

 Network

 Multidimensional

 Multisequential

 Associative links

 Encyclopedic

Hypertext is text which is not constrained to be linear.

Hypertext is text which contains links to other texts. The term was coined by Ted Nelson around 1965 (see History ). HyperMedia is a term used for hypertext which is not constrained to be text: it can include graphics, video and sound , for example. Apparently Ted Nelson was the first to use this term too. Hypertext and HyperMedia are concepts, not products. See also:

For more information on digital rhetoric in schools and in applications throughout the economies of most countries, go to Elizabeth Losh’s site –

These new genres often have already developed specific conventions for discourse, as the emergence of web style guides or guides to netiquette shows. Still

newer genres are developing with their intrinsically rhetorical character in mind, as webpages about the design principles of wikis or the rhetorical analysis of

blogs seem to demonstrate.

Not everyone believes that new digital genres are inherently rhetorical. In The Language of New Media,Lev Manovich argues that hyperlinking obliterates traditional hierarchies and ordered rhythms. He notes that Roman Jakobson, under the influence of "binary logic, information theory, and cybernetics," narrowed the vast encyclopedia of classical tropes to just two figures: metaphor and metonymy.

So we get back to the Internet’s value, and why some folk who spend countless human lives worth of time researching topics such as the history of the death of the interurban train :

"The Demise of the Interurban"

"The Great Trillion-Dollar Swindle"

by Sara Stewart

[Or what about this site, Tom Paine?]

[Or this NYT’s piece?]

"Downtowns Across the US See Streetcars in their Future"

The bottom line is that I want students to look at these web sites, read the articles even by folk not vetted by the big 40 newspapers or the scholarly journals covering transportation or history or what have you. I want them to read opinion pieces on the death of the streetcar. I want them to read James Howard Kunstler’s books – Geography of Nowhere is one – and I want them to see what it is that caused the streetcar to be killed and why they are coming back, or at least being proposed by hundreds of institutes, organizations, cities, and research and think tank outfits. Going to metacrawler or and putting in "New Urbanism and streetcars” or going to Bing and putting in “Smart Growth and streetcars, light rail” and going to other engines tied to e-zines like and putting in “light rail and climate change” are all part of the scholarship I expect from undergraduates and graduate students alike.

Finally, what to do about climate change? So, students have this mainstream, talk show, hate radio, FOX Not-the-News mentality, not always deeply embedded, but there, nonetheless. So when the English professor who teaches writing and research essays using climate change, sustainability and the like as the underpinning of the class, many students get whiplash and many others defer to uncles or granddads who just know more than a million experts in the fields studying the earth systems that are pushing our earth temperatures further and further up. So, the web does have those denial sites – and those students gravitate toward them. It’s a past blog here, on anti-intellectualism, and narrative framing and such. Here are some of the tidbits on climate change deniers. I don’t feel compelled to give you a half dozen of their sites to go to. Use Bing, Google or for that. In any case, you can see the Internet is full of information, and how that information is categorized or listed or paged entails a whole set of political and software-laden issues. We here at PacifiCAD believe in Internet neutrality and citizen journalism. We take a stand that climate change is the most important issues of our time – especially put through the 5 e’s of sustainability. Here are more than 30 web sites dealing with climate change and sustainability: The problems, the analysis and the solutions.
"Fox Trumpets Global Warming Denier Conference: ‘We Should Be Worried About Global Cooling’

This morning, Fox and Friends trumpeted the Exxon-funded Heartland Institute’s . . . . . "

Sen. James M. Inhofe once famously called global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." It's a deliciously concise phrase – so well said, in fact, that it demands repeating, because it is so sure of itself, and so wrong.

In the delirious tradition of American conspiracy theories (like that old farce, the Apollo 11 moon landing) Inhofe backs up categorical declarations with voluminous documentation.

Inhofe's latest claim is that "Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called 'consensus' on man-made global warming." It's a claim backed up by honest-to-goodness research, of the cut-and-paste kind.

Like any conspiracy theory, the sheer magnitude of the effort lends it a first-blush air of credibility. And, like any conspiracy theory, it just doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

But it takes a Hercules up to 12 labors-worth of boredom to prove it. Our Hercules is Mark V. Johnson, who works for AOL's He endured 413 labors, one for each supposed expert on Inhofe's list, so you wouldn't have to.

He combed through university profiles, oil money think tank rosters, news stories and the now-robust literature of climate skeptic debunking. He couldn't identify every name, and we'll say at the outset that there may well be a handful of skeptics on this list with legitimate knowledge of climate science who question some aspect of the theory. It is, however, useful to remember that a theory, in science, is as good as gold (lest we start doubting something so incredible as the theory of gravity).

Here's a quick breakdown of Johnson's findings:

· Inhofe's list includes 413 people. (Score one Inhofe; the math holds up.)

· 84 have either taken money from, or are connected to, fossil fuel industries, or think tanks started by those industries.

· 49 are retired

· 44 are television weathermen

· 20 are economists

· 70 have no apparent expertise in climate science

· Several supposed skeptics have publicly stated that they are very concerned about global warming, and support efforts to address it. One claims he was duped into signing the list and regrets it

Read more:

Okay, so we have students who just can’t get their arms around systems, feedback thinking holistically, and making abstract ideas real, and projecting out a few dozen decades. Here are just 30 sites to help them and to look beyond the one voice of climate change – irresponsible deniers. /

lifestyle changes are nowhere near enough

Climate Challenge simulator

the debate is over

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic


DeSmog Blog

the Live Earth site

David de Rothschild's



No comments:

Post a Comment

This blog is brought to you by

This blog is brought to you by
Paul Haeder

Fuse Washington

Fuse Washington