Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
19 November 2004

A cute link for someone feeling a little lonely or un-loved guaranteed to make them feel better. (I don’t usually pass this kind of thing on but this is inoffensive – indeed a little heartwarming – and only takes a few seconds of your day to check out…

P.S. If you are an academic who reads blogs this may be the 100th time you read about this but Google has just entered the scholarly research market with “Google Scholar”:http://scholar.google.com/. There’s a short article about it in the “New York Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/18/technology/18google.html?oref=login&pagewanted=print&position=

I was pleased to discover that according to Google Scholar the one article I am known for so far – ‘Lost in Cyberspace’, which I wrote while at New Scientist – has been cited 25 times online and in journal articles.


  1. Hello David, I just swam across the Atlantic to post this reaction to my perception of world misinformation on a UK Blog. I’m still cold and wet so hopefully I can be forgiven if it doesn’t have anything to do with your current postings.

    An open letter to the British People
    From an American Citizen

    Dear British People,

    I am compelled to write you after hearing on the radio of the families of Scottish soldiers and others protesting your involvement in the Iraq war. This is not the first thing which has disturbed me, but the final thing which has motivated me to write you. One of your towns wrote one of ours during the election, so since we are establishing a dialogue I thought I’d set electron to screen because, well, I have something I would like to say. I don’t know who, if anyone will read these words but I must pen them even if I am only writing to myself. If I err in some factual way in my perception of you or your points of view, then I apologize in advance. I may have misperceptions of you, just as I believe that you have misperceptions of us. It is a wide water which separates us, though until recently I have thought that our minds met far more closely than distance would suggest.

    I am an ordinary American. I am not wealthy, powerful, or highly educated. Whatever I know and who I am is what I have taught myself to know and to be. But as such, I know that what I know and feel is shared by millions of my countrymen and women. I am one of those “dumb” 59 million Americans who voted for George Bush and a Democrat as well. If you don’t have an agenda then you will be pleased to learn that we are not quite the unwashed heathen fools that your left wing press has led you to believe. You, my gentle British Citizens are the victims of a distorted, arrogant, overeducated, and under common-sensed, press which has turned idealism and progressiveness into a dogma that they try to hang around your neck every day of the week. They have forgotten the meaning of balance and common sense. They have a strangle hold on your consciousness. How do I know? We have the same thing over here. But we are fighting back. We have created new outlets that reflect OUR values and points of view, and they grow and flourish (Fox News being in the Vanguard). No longer are we at the mercy of the lies, distortions, and political correctness which have been crammed down our throats for the last thirty years. When I look to the TV for news and analysis, I and millions of my fellow citizens can now listen to people who don’t skew their commentary to a political or personal agenda. We now have news outlets which inform us as to what is really going on (as much as it can be known) behind the scenes and under the covers of politics. There are now plain spoken commentators who, without pretense, inform us instead of trying to ‘mold’ us. What a vast relief! It is a kind of Revolution going on here, one that is long overdue. The reelection of George Bush is not a fluke. It is part of a growing awakening or rediscovery of what and who we are as Americans. The silent majority is waking up and discovering that we have power. Power to think and feel what we want to think and feel. To do the shaping instead of being shaped by a small, self-elected, self important, self deluded elite. The back of the left wing media monopoly is broken here and it will never again be able to exert the power over our minds that it has in the past. Take a moment to roll that over in your mind because it’s a god-honest fact. I just thought you should know since the world seems to be rather concerned about political realities here in the US. It is also fitting that an ordinary, unimportant guy such as myself should be one of the humble proponents of this message. The whole, spontaneous event is made up of millions of people very much like me.

    We are all spiritual beings, no? I do not attend church nor am I interested in doing so. Yet I have a very spiritual view of life. There are also millions of Americans just like me with parents who attended church regularly, but whose children have taken a more expansive view of spirituality. Also, all these so-called evangelicals who reportedly gave the election to Bush are not as prevalent as the press would have you believe in order to shock your secular sensibilities. The press has parodied these religious people in order to shrink and turn them into a caricature. I can tell you that if you met these people you would like them a lot. They are not one dimensional. They are complex humans just like you and I. Everyone must find a spiritual core or they WILL become a caricature and do stupid, evil things- that’s just the way it is. These people have found the goodness inside themselves in their own way and I honor them for it.

    Now, I would like to set you straight about George W. Bush. How can anyone know the truth about the man with the kind of press coverage he gets in England and the rest of Europe? He gets nothing but negative coverage here among the old guard press as well. But we (all us dumb people) know some things that you are not allowed to see. I guess everyone needs someone to look down upon and he does fit all too nicely into those cowboy stereotypes that you guys get from our movies but you know what they say about something that works too easily… It probably ain’t so. And guess what? It ain’t so! So, what do we know that everyone else is missing? George Bush has heart and he has backbone! He’s not dumb either and that is an easy, cheap shot. Well, so what you say. Everyone has heart and will in some way or another, except of course politicians. But George Bush has the heart of a Lion! I have seen it with my own eyes. When he takes a fireman by the shoulders and looks into his eyes you won’t find any politicians crocodile smile there. When he hugs a little girl to his breast whose mother has been slaughtered by terrorist filth he’s not playing for the cameras. He feels. He really feels. Just go ahead and try to tell me that’s something small. When he says he is going to do something, well, by God he goes ahead and does it! That’s something we like here. We like it a lot. We are sick and tired of politicians who blow in the wind (and the polls) without a moral compass or a fundamental core. Like John Kerry, for example! Nobody knew what Kerry stood for… Because he wouldn’t say! Kerry is an effete, opportunistic, cold blooded politician who in the final analysis stood for nothing but John Kerry. That’s why he lost, if you would like to know. Most of the votes he got were simply votes ‘against’ Bush! Yes, George Bush made mistakes. He didn’t properly prepare for the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. Many people continue repeating that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that he lied. Well, here is a news flash. He did not lie. He had an intelligence failure. There is a difference. Everyone around the world thought Saddam had W.M.D. including your own intelligence service for chrissake. Try to tell five thousand murdered Kurds that he did not have W.M.D. … oops; you can’t because they are all gassed dead. George Bush took us into to Iraq to defend this country and to protect us- the American people, and he did it without the permission of the French. That is another big reason why we like him. George Bush has failings, just like us, just like us all. But we forgive those shortcomings- to a point, because George Bush is one of us and we love him. George Bush does what he believes needs to be done not what is expedient. Then he stands up, takes the criticism and does not waver. It’s called leadership, and it’s something that’s sorely lacking in most politicians. It would seem that your Mr. Blair also has more than an average dose of true grit himself. There is truth and eloquence in Blair’s words and we see him as a visionary and equal- not a poodle! (or even a Cocker Spaniel ;

    Comment by Gary Morrison — 21 November 2004 @ 4:16 am

  2. Hello,

    It is me again. I just came by to see if the parchment had dried and my letter had made it onto your site. It seems that I am so long winded that two rather large paragraphs have been cut off. You can find the letter in its resplendent entirety at: http://british-american.blogspot.com/2004/11/chirac-blair-is-bushs-french-poodle.html#comments along with a couple of polite criticisms from Mr. Galvin and my reply… if you care. It seems that Andrew Galvin is one of those British Journalists- and a really good sport, whom I criticize in the letter.

    Also, every apostrophe in the letter on your site has been replaced with characters roughly resembling barnacles. No doubt that is left over from my many months at sea… That’ll teach me not to write the way I speak!

    All the best,

    Gary Morrison


    Comment by Gary Morrison — 22 November 2004 @ 5:19 am

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