The Internet (s)
Posted: 09 August 2007 10:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I notice that in the “aluminum” thread, both Dave and Richard referred to “the Internets” (Dave with capital, Richard without). i am a poor, ignorant novice computerwise (otherwise as well, but that’s neither here nor there), and have until now believed that the Internet was One, like the Lord our God, or Rupert Brooke’s Heaven ;-).

How many Internets are there?

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Posted: 09 August 2007 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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lionello - 09 August 2007 10:10 PM

I notice that in the “aluminum” thread, both Dave and Richard referred to “the Internets” (Dave with capital, Richard without). i am a poor, ignorant novice computerwise (otherwise as well, but that’s neither here nor there), and have until now believed that the Internet was One, like the Lord our God, or Rupert Brooke’s Heaven ;-).

How many Internets are there?

Perhaps it was a reference to Dubya’s malapropism.

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Posted: 10 August 2007 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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maxqnz - 09 August 2007 11:42 PM

Perhaps it was a reference to Dubya’s malapropism.

One will also see references to the internet as “tubes”.  This is mocking Senator Ted Stevens:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_of_tubes.

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Posted: 10 August 2007 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Indeed, my usage was a reference to that malapropism.

Regarding capitalization, it is a question of style. The word was once almost universally capitalized, considered a proper noun. More and more publications are going with a lower-case i these days. (My personal style is a bit inconsistent, although I usually use lower-case.) The reason for the upper-case is that, in theory, there are many internets and the worldwide Internet that we know and love is just one of the them. The upper-case I signifies that you are talking about the big one. But as most people use the word solely to refer to the one big network, and not to other networks, the capital letter is being dropped as the distinction does not need to be made.

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Posted: 10 August 2007 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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We’ve talked about this before and I agree with the idea that another reason the cap is being dropped is along the same lines as the loss of the cap in words like Television. Once something becomes a commodity, it no longer gets the special treatment of a capital.

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Posted: 10 August 2007 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thank you all for trying to straighten the seams of my InterNet stockings. No wonder Mr. Bush talks about drafts on the Internets --- you’d expect a draft, with all those tubes Mr. Stevens observed, blowing away at nineteen to the dozen.

....logged on like one that hath been stunned
And is of sense forlorn,
A madder, not a wiser man
He browsed the morrow morn

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