We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Discussion Point XXXVIII

What have you failed to find on the internet that you expected to be there?

55 comments to Discussion Point XXXVIII

  • alecm

    a haven from stupidity. alas.

  • Regional

    An American pundit P.J.O’Rouke is quoted as saying ’90% of everything is ********’ or words to that effect, perhaps he was being to kind.

  • Alsadius

    Canadian government budget tables. Even getting answers to simple questions like “How much do we spend on the national pension plan” are near-impossible in this country, as compared to most others where it’s easy. Makes it a real pain in the ass to mock government spending, I have to say.

  • chuck

    Regional, that’s commonly known as Sturgeon’s Law.

  • PK

    Depression era money supply data in detail.

  • Russ

    All that money that I was supposed to hold onto for a Nigerian prince.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Telepathic search engines, which know how to get me what i am thinking about, even when I don’t know all the right words to type! (For instance, I’ve tried simply to find out the name of a cute redhead in a banking commercial, but can’t find the parameters.)
    Any other Australians who know more about the ‘Keeping tabs’ cutie?

  • The photos from my 23rd birthday party, thankfully.

  • Alisa

    Romney’s and Reid’s tax returns.

  • boy on a bike

    Obama’s college transcripts

  • Gerry N.

    Alisa,
    You won’t find Romney’s cause he had no taxable income. He took no salary and lived on his investments.

    You won’t find Reid’s because he’s a slimy dirtbag and is widely rumored to be a pederast.

    Gerry

  • Snag

    Obama’s long form birth certificate.

  • Spectre765

    Discussion Point XXXVII

  • PeterT

    If you have a technical question but don’t know the technical lingo, then I often find that it is hard to get good results. (But is this a fault of the internet? Not really). If you are lucky you might get directed to pages that are tangentially related and perhaps introduce some phrases or words that it might make sense to do some additional searches on. Eventually you might get there.

    It has led me to believe that my educashion would have been vastly improved by rote learning of technical terms (within reason. Parts of cars and houses, yes; components of particle accelerators, no).

  • John

    1) A nice topological map of Manitoulin Island.
    2) Does one really have to scrape paint off your plastic model parts if you’re using Tamiya liquid glue and Tamiya paints?

  • Alisa

    Since when is being a pederast a taxable activity, Gerry? Not that I’m saying that it shouldn’t be – hmmm…

  • Tedd

    A proliferation of wikis.

    I’ve tried to start a couple myself, but with no success. There seem to be no end of forums, which are fine as far as they go. But forums are terrible repositories of knowledge, whereas wikis are excellent repositories of knowledge while also providing much of the social aspect of forums. I’m genuinely surprised that they haven’t caught on more.

  • Hippos dressed as Imperial Stormtroopers. Inexplicable.

  • I completely failed to find the reason why a very scruffy policeman knocked on my door the other night asking if I’d “heard anything ” next door, and then insisted I wake my wife and ask her, as it was “very serious.”

  • Alisa

    Yep. At first I was skeptical about that claim…

  • The two unfound internet things that made me think of this post were

    (a) truly easy to follow instructions on how to prolong the life of various types of battery. Yesterday I finally found Battery University: Summary of Do’s and Don’ts, although these instructions still demand more mental engagement from the instructee than this instructee wants to supply.

    and

    (b) In 1940 C S Lewis made a speech to a pacifist society called “Why I am not a Pacifist.” It included the words

    From the dawn of history down to the sinking of the Terris Bay, the world echoes with the praise of righteous war.

    From context, the Terris Bay was a ship, presumably recently sunk in the course of the war, although it could also have been a poem or story about the sinking of a ship of that name. I can find no other mention of it. I can’t even find a reliable-sounding mention of a place called Terris Bay, although there is a Terrace Bay in Ontario.

  • Like all commenters to this post, I run the risk / anticipate the pleasure of being shown up as being not the discoverer of unexplored territory but merely a person not very good at using Google.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I have so far failed to find the how-to-do manual for cold fusion.

  • Alisa

    There is a place called ‘Terris Bay‘ in Australia.

  • jsallison

    Riverdancing Borg. You know you want to see them.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Thanks, XJ!! I still think we need telepathic search engines, so we are intuitively guided to these sites!

  • Trespassers W

    All the porn.

    No matter how hard I try, I’ve only ever found some of the porn.

  • guy herbert

    @Natalie 09:18 -

    (b) Submit this is a misprint. The internet very literal-minded. If you know the naval-historical context it is obvious Lewis would have been referring to the Jervis Bay

  • Alisa

    Guy, the net is full of references to that speech, and all of them have it as ‘Terris Bay’ (I tried to google ‘C.S. Lewis and ‘Jervis Bay’ together, and nothing came up). If that is a mistake, it seems to have been made either by Lewis himself or by a chronicler.

  • Alisa

    Smited, through no fault of mine.

  • Paul Marks

    Some stuff is not on the internet because it does not exist – such as American newspaper circulation (actual physical newspapers SOLD) or State and local tax burden more recent than 2009 (although I am expecting the news any day now).

    But one has to know where to look.

    Things like Google searches will tend to bring you to things the left wants you to see (sorry to sound “paranoid” but that is how it is).

    If you actually want nonleftist stuff (for example defences of Paul Ryan’s entitlement program proposals – or attacks on the basis that the plans do not go far enough) then you have to know how to look for them, and that starts with where to look.

    Someone just randomlly going on to the internet (using search engines and so on) is likely to just find what the left want them to find – they might as well just switch on a television set, or open a newspaper (they will get much the same stuff).

  • Alisa,
    I have unsmited your comment of 08:19, thus, I trust, removing it from your personal list of things you failed to find on the internet that you had expected to be there.

    Alisa & Guy Herbert,
    I think you are both right. Guy’s suggestion that Lewis meant the Jervis Bay rather than the Terris Bay sounds very probable. If the sacrifice of the Jervis Bay was very recent at the time he spoke, it would make perfect sense for him to place it at the near end of a line of accounts of heroism in righteous war stretching back to ‘the dawn of history’.

    Assuming that the date of the speech, which I only see given as “1940″ can be shown to have been after 5th November 1940, you may have solved a minor literary mystery.

    The introduction by Walter Hooper to Timeless at Heart, the collection of essays where I found the speech, says that “Lewis made a copy of the manuscript for his former pupil and friend, George Sayer, and I have Mr Sayer to thank for providing me with a reproduction of it.” That suggests that the line of transmission was a single handwritten manuscript, and it would be very easy to misread a handwritten “Jervis Bay” as “Terris Bay”.

  • Alisa

    This is great, Natalie. All that’s left to do to set the record straight, is to add an appropriate note to a relevant Wikipedia entry.

  • Alisa: but is Samizdata a reliable source?

    On topic: I always assumed that it is impossible to make things disappear from the Internet, but sometimes they do disappear. I was recently looking for an article famously deleted from a rationalist discussion site I read. Can’t find it anywhere. People who have read it say that it is for the best, but there is something fascinating about forbidden knowledge. :)

  • That might well be the incentive that finally gets me to learn how to edit Wikipedia, Alisa. The fact that I have never yet done a Wikipedia edit suggests one possible explanation for the issue Tedd raised above. He said,

    There seem to be no end of forums, which are fine as far as they go. But forums are terrible repositories of knowledge, whereas wikis are excellent repositories of knowledge while also providing much of the social aspect of forums. I’m genuinely surprised that they haven’t caught on more.

    It is just that little bit harder to edit a Wiki than to participate in a forum. Another possible reason is that if you have laboured long and hard on your gem of an explanation for some technical point even criticism in subsequent posts is less painful than having it wiped away! Yes, I know that it is not really as absolute as that and that many wikis do have a friendly atmosphere – but when you come down to it there is an unavoidably rivalrous aspect to a wiki, because it can only have one text at any one time.

  • That might well be the incentive that finally gets me to learn how to edit Wikipedia

    On the other hand if anyone else has any inclination to do it for me, be my guest. Dunno if it’s advancing age or the fact that I am having to learn some new skills in that tedious ‘real world’ we have to fool around with sometimes, but my poor old brain seems to turn to goo at the prospect of the prospect of having to learn any more internet/computer stuff at the moment. Brian Micklethwait once described all those things you have to think about before you can do things on the computer as being like the corks round the brim of one of those hats Australians used to be pictured as wearing swinging in front of your eyes and obscuring your vision.

  • Alisa

    My own thoughts on the subject are very similar:-)

  • The ONE

    MY WIFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chin up, The ONE. It’s better than finding your wife on the internet when you didn’t expect to find her there.

  • Alisa

    …which is exactly what happened to some poor guy a couple of years ago…

  • Ernie G

    It’s hard to find reliable quotes:

    “You can’t believe everything you find on the internet.”
    -A. Lincoln

  • A cheat sheet for Google-Proof Trivia Night at the tavern.

  • Dom

    The meaning of “A” in “IMAO”.

  • A free, easy way to bypass HDCP(Link) so I can watch my legally-purchased Blu-rays on my legally-purchased blu-ray player in my legally-purchased computer on my legally-purchased computer monitor – because in 2010 computer monitors did not have HDCP compliance as a standard. I don’t even know if it is standard now. The physical work-arounds are questionable, and the software ones are currently expensive (and I’m not going to pirate them).

  • Dom

    This comment that I am posting right now.

  • Dom

    Wait! I just found it on google!

  • Dom,

    I’ve always confidently supposed that IMAO stood for “in my arrogant opinion” as opposed to the once-common phrase IMHO, “in my humble opinion”. I didn’t need to check because, well, I’m just the sort of person who knows these things without checking.

  • Greg

    The link to an old Usenet post (that was also mirrored online) about “why socialism needs death camps”. I lost it, now I can’t find it on any search engine.

  • Tedd

    Natalie:

    Another possible reason is that if you have laboured long and hard on your gem of an explanation for some technical point even criticism in subsequent posts is less painful than having it wiped away!

    Something about the wiki concept seems to cause people to focus on the small negatives and miss the huge positives. Trust me, the first time you start a brand new article and then return, some weeks later, to discover that it has blossomed into a beautifully written and formatted, well-detailed article beyond what you could have possibly done yourself, you will stop worrying that someone is going to edit your prose.

    My Wikipedia contributions will almost certainly be the most lasting thing I create in my life. Something to consider.

  • guy herbert

    @Alisa:

    Guy, the net is full of references to that speech, and all of them have it as ‘Terris Bay’ (I tried to google ‘C.S. Lewis and ‘Jervis Bay’ together, and nothing came up). If that is a mistake, it seems to have been made either by Lewis himself or by a chronicler.

    The net is full of people copying wrong ‘information’ off one another. It often happens with tendentious quotes out of context from people the whispering circle would like to vilify, but also with other stuff. Cut-and-paste is the enemy.

    I suspect in this case there was just one occasion on which someone *scanned* an old printed copy using OCR [Jervis ~Terris] and everyone else cut and pasted the only digital version available.

  • Alisa

    That was exactly what I was trying to say, Guy.

  • sporkliftdriver

    Things like Google searches will tend to bring you to things the left wants you to see (sorry to sound “paranoid” but that is how it is).

    Even worse is Apple. No matter how I word a search I’ll have to wade through dozens of pages of links to articles about Steve Jobs being the reincarnation of Isaac Newton if I try to find the original quote about Apple trying to patent gravity. Never found the quote in the context I originally encountered it.