[Coral-List] Internet, terminology, facts; was Re: city analogy for coral reefs
David M. Lawrence
dave at fuzzo.com
Sun Nov 29 10:39:37 EST 2009
This "invented the Internet" joke has gotten way too much mileage. I'd
like to correct the record. One one hand, it would seem best to led bad
jokes and urban legends die of their own accord. Unfortunately, reason
and historical documentation have not been able to correct the
collective embrace of fiction as fact. Given that the potentially
devastating effect of this bit of disinformation on the history of the
early 21st century, I generally feel compelled to speak up every time
someone brings it up.
Gore never claimed to "invent" the Internet, at least not in terms of
devising communications protocols, hardware, etc. A strong case can be
made that he coined the term, "Internet." For anyone interested in
facts -- published research by John Pavlik, a journalism professor now
at Rutgers, who focuses on the "New Media," -- indicates that Gore used
the term during hearings in the 1980s that ultimately led to the High
Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991, otherwise known as
the Gore Bill.
Gore did a lot more than merely add to our vocabulary. The Gore Bill
helped establish the infrastructure that we take for granted today.
According to Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf -- the guys who did a lot of
the background protocol research and design that made the Internet as we
know it possible:
"Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of
the Internet and to promote and support its development.
"No one person or even small group of persons exclusively 'invented' the
Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among
people in government and the university community. But as the two
people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that
make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's
contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other
elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over
a longer period of time.
"Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his
role. He said: 'During my service in the United States Congress I took
the initiative in creating the Internet.' We don't think, as some
people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he 'invented' the
Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving
as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect
on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was
talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were
So please, whether talking about Al Gore, expanding lexicography,
rewriting constitutions, etc., let's please try to make sure we get our
facts straight. Honest mistakes are understood and accepted, but
careless mistakes or willful misstatements do little to advance our
understanding of anything.
Les Kaufman wrote:
> Oh, by the way, I also invented the Internet.
David M. Lawrence | Home: (804) 559-9786
7471 Brook Way Court | Fax: (804) 559-9787
Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | Email: dave at fuzzo.com
USA | http: http://fuzzo.com
"We have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo
4/17 of a haiku" -- Richard Brautigan
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