"For some people, the Internet is the killer app -- literally.
From newspapers and the yellow pages to personal privacy and
personal contact, the Net has been accused of murdering,
eviscerating, ruining, and obliterating more things than the
Amazing Hulk. Some claims are more true than others, but the Net
certainly has claimed its share of scalps.
"Here are 10 things the Net is making virtually extinct, plus
five that have flourished.
"1. Trust in encyclopedias
When I was a kid, if something was in the Encyclopedia Britannica
(or even Grolier's), it was true. Now -- thanks to Wikipedia --
having "encyclopedic knowledge" of a topic isn't as impressive when
there's a good chance most of what you think you know was concocted
by a 12-year-old. After a 2005 study by the British journal Nature
showed Britannica and Wikipedia to be equally inaccurate, faith in
all encyclopedias plummeted. Britannica attacked that study's
methodology as "fatally flawed," but it was too late. Also dead:
trust in studies of encyclopedias.
"2. Barroom arguments
It used to be you could kill many hours and even more brain cells
drinking beer and arguing over arcane trivia. Who was a more
fearsome slugger, Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron? Who'd win a one-on-one
match between Kobe Bryant and Doctor J? (Sorry Kobe -- we love ya
man, but in 1972 the Doc was unstoppable.) Now whenever there's a
question of fact, somebody just whips out a smartphone and does a
search on Google or dials up Wolfram Alpha and runs a statistical
analysis. Where's the fun in that?"
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