Bigbrotherliness

browsing for pornkindergarten behind my apartmenton the way to worknew housing near campus

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Some of my readership (i.e. one of the four) have asked about internet access in China. Let’s consider Wikipedia, about whose inaccessibility I have groused previously. The public facts go something like this: in the fall of 2005, when Microsoft and Yahoo and Cisco Systems, were falling over themselves trying to please the Beijing censors, the Wiki folks said “nothing doing, we’re all or none” — and were summarily nullified. Supposedly the ban was lifted a year later, when the Chinese satisfied themselves that they could filter out the bits they didn’t like without Wiki’s collaboration. But in fact, from March until now I have garnered nothing but “url unreachable” messages when I have clicked of Wikipedia links.

One would think that with all that negative reinforcement I would have given up on clicking wikilinks. But I did click – in my jubilation I forget the context – and was finally rewarded with the Wiki homepage! But hold on. Let’s click the Chinese version: sorry…; How about “Tiananmen”? “Tiananmen Square” yields all impressive discriptions and photos of the vast area. “Tiananmen massacre”: sorry…; “Tiananmen movement”: sorry…; sorry…; sorry… So I can happily conclude that indeed the Chinese university system is turning out crop after crop of very talented network engineers, who, quite without the collusion of amoral Western computer scientists, are quite able to put in place very nuanced “filters” on web content.

The good news — tongue now removed from cheek — is that I can talk to some of the students here in the Medical School about such things, and find them well informed. Remembering the PBS Frontline documentary last year on the “Tiananmen Tank Man”, the technological gauntlet is flung down; how can I resist? www.pbs.org: okay; Frontline: okay; there spread before my eyes are all the excellent documentaries. Almost there, let’s click “The Tank Man”: “An error condition occurred while reading data from the network…”! Damn it! So I reluctantly descend into the netherworld of “the pirate’s bay”. Searching for “tank man” …. there it is! Click “download” and …, got it! With sincere apologies to the intellectual rights of Frontline, but invoking the Jesuit doctrine of ends justifying means, I succeed in enlightening two-billioneths of the Chinese masses.

Maybe. Let’s hope neither are snitches.

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