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Old 6th September 2006, 07:32 PM
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Why the internet is at risk of splitting

The internet is a global revolution in communication - as long as you speak English. Kieren McCarthy reports.

ACCORDING to Kaled Fattal, "People say the net works, but it only works for those communities whose native language is Latin-based. The rest of the world is totally isolated." Fattal speaks perfect English but, as chairman and chief executive of the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium (MINC), and an Arab, he knows most of the world's population does not.

And he knows this makes the internet a bewildering place for the billions of people who live east of Greece.

If your first language is Chinese, Arabic, Hindi or Tamil, you will be scrabbling to find a link to a translated version in your language on most websites. Even finding a website in the first place requires that you master the Western alphabet - have you ever tried to type ".com" in Chinese?

If you think this situation needn't worry you as an English speaker, think again. At a recent meeting in the British House of Commons, a number of prominent MPs and industry experts named internationalised domain names as one of the internet's most pressing priorities. In June, at a meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) in Marrakech, the "father of the internet", Vinton Cerf, highlighted the introduction of IDNs as vital for the future of the net.
Why the urgency? Because many companies - and even countries - that frustrated by years of delays have started offering the internet in their own languages by working outside the existing domain name system (DNS). The DNS is the internet's global directory and links particular websites to particular computers, so if you type in, for example, "theage.com.au", no matter where you are on the internet you always end up at the same website. The problem is that the DNS only works with Western languages.

The logic of maintaining a single global directory has so far prevented the building of system that includes other languages, but in the past few years there has been such a build-up in demand that the previous agreements are starting to unravel and risk causing the internet to split.

If that were to happen, the web address you type in could suddenly end up at an entirely different website, depending on where in the world you are or which ISP you use. You may want to buy a book from Amazon.com but end up at a Russian website about the world's longest river. Email sent to you in Australia could end up with someone in Korea.

The internet community had a scare in February when China announced that it had created three new top-level domains that were the Chinese equivalents of ".com", ".net" and ".china". If China had decided to break away from the global internet, others would certainly have soon followed. There was a huge wave of relief when the Chinese Government explained it had made the new domains available only in China. But the fact that the experts didn't doubt China was willing to separate from the global internet was a wake-up call in itself.

And it's not only China. Israel has set up its own internal system for domains in Hebrew. Korea has done the same in its language - as have Iran, Syria and Japan.

As the world grows smaller, they are no longer prepared to stick with their add-on systems, accessible only from their own countries. They want to register a domain name accessible throughout the world in the same way that Western domains have been from day one.

At a May meeting of the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva, however, the Western world finally woke up. MINC's Mr Fattal demonstrated a prototype system that allowed new languages to be added.

"We have found a way of connecting these islands (of different-language networks) and also connecting to the global internet," Mr Fattal says. "We can leave the current DNS untouched and safe while helping co-ordinate between other countries in the name space. In other words, now there's a choice."

To understand how we have reached the point where there is a real risk of internet fragmentation, you need only review the term ASCII. It stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange and is the code devised to enable computers to represent and process all the characters in the English alphabet (a to z, plus 0 to 9 and the various symbols on your keyboard such as % and &).

It was developed in 1967 and written into the internet's foundations by US scientists. It is now so hard-wired into the net that the only way to include other characters such as accents on letters, or Chinese or Arabic script, is to use complex combinations of letters that don't exist in English words.

The problem is that each of these domains must still use the existing domain system with ".com" or ".net" - suffixes that are virtually incomprehensible to non-Latin-derived language users.

People want their own domains in their own language, as was made clear by a recent addition to Japan's own internal domain name system that advertised itself: "At last - the domain name you can spell!"

There is only one organisation that can add new top-level domains to the global internet, a non-profit-making company based in California and controlled by the US government: Icann. Created in 1998, Icann was to have introduced "internationalised domain names" into its system. But it has yet to introduce a single one. Many members of the global internet community have cried foul at the endless delays.
These accusations have only been strengthened by the fact it is US companies that own and run global domains and so have the most to lose from new foreign-language additions. These companies not only have disproportionate influence over Icann but have also been insisting on automatic ownership rights to any foreign versions of their domains - an argument of such corrupt logic that the very fact it is even being discussed is of concern.

On top of that, Asia, Africa and the Middle East are offended by the suggestion they should need to apply to a private US company to have their languages accepted as legitimate on the internet.

As co-ordinator of the domain name system, Icann is caught in a bind that makes it desperate to avoid the political repercussions of approving or not approving languages while maintaining overall charge of the domain name system to prevent everything falling apart.

Icann has successfully delayed the day it has to make such decisions by pointing to the complex technical decisions that must first be made. However, Icann has been left with no choice but to speed up the technical side to keep the net together. Once that technical side is completed, it will take a masterstroke of international political will to keep the internet as we now know it together.

The Guardian

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/why-t...222139446.html
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Old 6th September 2006, 07:50 PM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

Those that have delayed the introduction of IDN are responsible for holding back development in some of the World's poorer nations. This has resulted in lost opportunities to escape poverty, hunger and even death. The biggest accolade on this front should go to Mr Gates (International Billionaire Philanthropist). I wonder whether what has been done on the plus side can ever out weigh the damage caused by the decision not to IDN enable IE 6. The only thing that can be done, however, to mitigate the damage now is to get IE 7 out as quickly as possible to where it matters most, and that ain't the East Coat of the USA.
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Old 6th September 2006, 07:58 PM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
Those that have delayed the introduction of IDN are responsible for holding back development in some of the World's poorer nations. This has resulted in lost opportunities to escape poverty, hunger and even death. The biggest accolade on this front should go to Mr Gates (International Billionaire Philanthropist). I wonder whether what has been done on the plus side can ever out weigh the damage caused by the decision not to IDN enable IE 6. The only thing that can be done, however, to mitigate the damage now is to get IE 7 out as quickly as possible to where it matters most, and that ain't the East Coat of the USA.

For pure curiousity...does someone know WHY they did not turn the switch on for ie6? interesting what excuse would be used if questioned about that.
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Old 6th September 2006, 08:02 PM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by 261275
For pure curiousity...does someone know WHY they did not turn the switch on for ie6? interesting what excuse would be used if questioned about that.
Because the rest of the World didn't have a voice where it mattered. The theoretical phishing risk has outweighed what amounts to Commercial Genocide.
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Old 6th September 2006, 08:05 PM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

I was hoping they can come up with something better than that bs...
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Old 6th September 2006, 08:19 PM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by 261275
For pure curiousity...does someone know WHY they did not turn the switch on for ie6? interesting what excuse would be used if questioned about that.
Ask he US government, Microsoft is only a good citizen.
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Old 6th September 2006, 08:25 PM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

You Ask. :p

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Old 6th September 2006, 10:11 PM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

I hope that is a Tornaque he is wearing?
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Old 10th September 2006, 11:42 PM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

The Sunday Times September 10, 2006


Bush IQ low on presidential league

Roger Dobson



GEORGE W BUSH has the lowest average IQ of all but one American president since the start of the 20th century, according to the estimates of psychological researchers.
He “is definitely intelligent . . . certainly smart enough to be president of the United States”, says Dean Keith Simonton, a psychologist at the University of California.



But his intellect falls below all other presidents of the past 110 years except Warren Harding, who was in the White House briefly in the 1920s and regarded as a failed president.

Bush’s estimated IQ is about 20 points below that of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, “a disparity that may have created a contrast effect that made any intellectual weaknesses all the more salient”.

Simonton has drawn up a table of estimated presidential intelligence by amassing data created by other researchers. Writing in the journal Political Psychology he says that estimates of Bush’s IQ range between 111.1 and 138.5, with a mean of 120, “which is about the average for a college graduate in the United States”.

Clinton’s IQ ranged between 135.6 and 159, and Ronald Reagan’s between 118 and 141.9. John Quincy Adams, president from 1825-9, was the cleverest with a range of 165 to 175, well into genius territory.

The data used by Simonton was created by the filtering and analysis of personality descriptions from biographical sources — an academically recognised system known as a “historiometric” study.

Bush may be “much smarter” than the findings imply, says Simonton, but he scores particularly unimpressively for “openness to experience, a cognitive proclivity that encompasses unusual receptiveness to fantasy, aesthetics, actions, ideas and values. In the general population this factor is positively associated with intelligence”.

Bush’s openness score of zero — compared with 82 for Clinton and John F Kennedy, 95 for Abraham Lincoln and 99.1 for Thomas Jefferson — “placed him at the very bottom of US presidents”.

This assessment can only be considered tentative because of lack of available evidence on a sitting president, but it is corroborated by a measure of Bush’s “integrative complexity”. Simonton says: “Low scorers on integrative complexity can only see things from a single perspective — their own.”

Bush’s score, he says, is comparable to “extremist Islamic fundamentalists in the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leadership — with the notable exception of Osama Bin Laden, who is lower still”.

Trevor McCrisken, lecturer in American politics at Warwick University, said: “This is going to give added ammunition to those who dislike Bush, and who particularly dislike his folksiness, and his apparent lack of intellectual vigour. A major part of his public persona, to some extent, I think deliberately, is that he is not an intellectual. But he went to Yale, he has had an exclusive upbringing and he is by no means a dimwit.”
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Old 11th September 2006, 12:39 AM
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Re: Why the internet is at risk of splitting

Please take this in the spirit I have intended. Bush will be out of office soon and there is nothing anyone here can really do about it, so can we focus on IDNs?

You do realize that I live here and that big bro and Rush Limbaugh and every other right-wing AM radio station pundit really are watching the internet. Complain all you want, but Bush will have no impact on IDNs. All you are going to do is stir up trouble. We don't need to stir up anti-American hoopla against IDNs.

Maybe you think I am overreacting, but when IDNs are open to the general public, we (in the USA) will probably have to hear about the anti-USA statements on this forum and will ultimately have to defend your posts.

I notice that no one is bashing the leaders of the PRC or Russia or other countries with a greater risk of IDN intervention and a more authoritarian governmental system.... The same anti-foreigner sentiments will be a danger in many other countries.

I live in Georgia. If that means nothing to you, then PM me and I will explain. Please help keep the peace. Please.

That's all I will say.
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