The 3%: "Digital Citizens"

Khare (
Sat, 27 Dec 1997 06:20:26 +0530

[Originally written 12/19]

First off, what a clumsy damn name! Wired/Jon Katz should just rename the
demographic "The 3%" and keep it that way...

What this is about: the December 1997 Wired cover on the Digital Citizen.
Pollster Frank Luntz tried to dissect the psyche of, well, Wired readers.
Lo and behold, the 97% rise again:

29% completely unwired
62% no email, but use computers/cellphones/beepers
7% email + some tech
2.5% all of the above

Of course, their four talismans were, home pc, laptop, cell, and beeper. In
my lifestyle, I count that as two: homelaptop and pcsphone. Nevertheless,
an interesting chart. And Luntz proposes that this 3% is the head of the
linebacker: slap it, and the body politic must follow.

I don't know if I buy that in the least, but it is interesting to hear all
the conventional wisdom about wireheads reflected back (though Katz claims
most of them to be 'surprising'). Free markets, private schools,

In other news, there's a book recommendation in there from John Warwicker:

_Real Time: A Catalogue of Ideas and Information_
by John Brockman and Ed Rosenfeld.

"Similar to the Whole Earth Catalog... a compendium of ideas about the
world, many of which are condensed into diagrams like chemical formulae:
very simple, concise, yet deeply complex and relative. The condensation of
experience or the translation of the physical into the cerebral world is
one of the reasons I make marks on paper."

Any votes -- someone want to review this for the FoRKbooklist? I think it's
right up Adam's alley...


PS. Adam's Alley -- is that like XeNT's Lair?

[12/27 Addendum]

Random stat I came across claims that the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the
English Language lists India as the third largest English-speaking country
at 33 million speakers or so, after the US and UK.

In other words, 3% of the population can speak English. But that 3%
includes the entire ruling elite; it's the only unifying national language.
97% of our leaders, though, are corrupt fools. 97% of our English college
graduates I'd classify with our high-schoolers (for problem-solving; their
rote memory is much more staggering -- even newspapers run A-level trivia
contests next to the comics)

My cousin here in Nagpur who's studying Architecture is making great
strides. On the other hand, their main text on Architectural history was
printed in 1954, based on a first edition from 1940. There's one copy of
this text in the city, which her entire class has photocopied over the
years. Hell, my casual reading library has more depth than this, and I'm
not even equipped to use it properly... if only!

If only should be the damn motto of the country. I'm so frustrated with it!
India is the only thing that stands in the way of the Indian Century:
outdated laws, priggish lawmakers, outright criminal elites. The UP
governor decided to buy state-parliament votes by insanely increasing the
cabinet from 23 to 93 -- each "minister" with a state bungalow, protection,
staff, rail and air travel allowances, yadda yadda. Some of these
"ministers" are all-but-convicted felons. The governor of Bihar just came
out of 4 months in protective jail custody to keep him from tampering with
evidence in an animal-feed embezzelment scheme -- during which time he
installed his illiterate wife as puppet Chief Minister -- and is leaving
her there now that he's out and campaigning for national office -- and
having hs licked by the PM!


PS. Upside, Nov 97 (an Excellent issue! 8th anniversary):
97% of 800-numbers have been sold (which is why 888 was introduced). Why?
studies show that 800 numbers on a box connote quality inside. Gee, I
wonder if URLs do, too? :-)