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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Why the media might want to use blogs

One of my favorite sites is Digg.com. I don't post to the comments area, but the comments on digg are amongst the best you will find anywhere (of course there are bozos on digg.com as well).

Here is an article describing a television story concerning filling tires with pure Nitrogen rather than "air" with the purported benefit being that the tires don't lose inflation as quickly.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the story is accurate. In fact, a little science shows that the story's claim might not even be physically possible:
This article is completely bogus. Anyone who has done at least a little bit of high school chemistry should know why.
1) Uhh, if I'm not mistaken (and I'm not) N2 has an atomic weight of 28.014 and O2 has an atomic weight of 32.00. Graham's Law of Effusion says that the rate of effusion is inversely proportional to the square of the atomic weight. Oxygen gas (and air) weigh more than Nitrogen gas, meaning that Nitrogen gas would leak _faster_ than air.
2) Air is already about 80% Nitrogen. What little difference 100% Nitrogen would make would be completely negative (faster leakage).

More comments here

I wonder if the media might somehow use the blogosphere to determine the legitimacy of their stories before they run them? I am not sure how that would work - if the story is released to the Internet it might as well be released to the television audience as well. On the flip side, perhaps more episodes like this, along with doctored photos, fake documents, and so forth, will force the media to police themselves more.

The third possibility, which no one seems to want to talk about, is that the media will become segmented based loosely on "Internet usage." There will be a part of the population that augments or substitutes the traditional media with the Internet - these folks will be less trusting of the traditional media. The non-Internet folks will only use the traditional media and will have little or no interface with the bloggers and so forth. This might actually push the traditional media to be less honest and to police themselves less because there is a lower cost to being wrong.

This argument is probably not well developed - I will have to think about this a bit more.

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