New: Book Report: Cyber China (part 3)

Yet more essays in Cyber China...

Patricia Batto; Government Online and Cross-Straits Relations

This paper gives an overview of some China- and Taiwan-related web sites.Something interesting perhaps fell out of that. I didn't catch it, though.

Chin-Fu Hung: The Internet and the Changing Beijing-Taipei Relations: Toward Unification or Fragmentation

Here's a new phrase for your enjoyment. I just coined it: "regurgitated snake oil." When reading about the internet, you need to be on the look-out for snake oil. Some con artist needs to justify his bogus business plan. So he waves his arms and talks about a "new economy." That's snake oil. When other people fall for it and start spreading the meme of a "new economy," that's regurgitated snake oil.

This paper is regurgitated snake oil. And it's wordy. Check this out:

My main research questions pose: (a) how and to what extent this new Information Technology (IT) of the Internet might reshape cross-straits relations; and (b) to which trafectory would it lead: to unification or fragmentation? These are two primary research questions that this chapter endeavors to answer. It takes as a premise in this research chapter that, in order to elucidate contemporary global political and economic phenomena with particular reference to cross-straits relations, a deeper understanding of the new media--Internet as well as exploration of Internet's impacts are critical, if not necessary.

What does this mean? I think it means, "This chapter addresses two questions: (a) how much does the Internet affect cross-straits relations; and (b) which way? Actually, this chapter addresses only one of those questions. I assume the answer to (a) is 'plenty.' I assume this because I've chosen it as my research focus, so if that's wrong, I might as well go home."

Did you notice that my wording took only 2/3 the space and yet conveyed the same information? That's because I'm not trying to lull you into a sense of complacency before I reveal that I've been drinking snake oil.

This paper's waves of verbiage had almost rocked me into alpha state when I suddenly realized that it was quoting Nicholas Negroponte. It did not quote him ironically, not as an example of a cobbled-together ball of buzzwords meant to fool credulous millionaires into throwing money at the MIT Media Lab. This quoting happens more than once. It was all I could do not to throw the book on the ground and attack it with a hatchet. Only two things stopped me: (1) it was a library book, and (2) I had no hatchet.

This paper was not very good.

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Posted 2005-03-24