Apparently there are more websites devoted to pornography than to anything else on the Internet. I can”t say that I”m at all surprised by that, although I do wish that there were more sites devoted to Hornography (I check daily. There seem to be none), but that”s another story.
The abundance of online porn is, in my opinion, technology at its finest. The traditional porn industry makes billions every year and their ability to earn that money, like their more socially acceptable older brothers the film and music industries, is being undermined by innovators and entrepreneurs on the web.
But the point of this column is not to praise the great pornography pioneers of the 21st Century. It is, rather, to direct your attention to the other high-water mark of the Internet age. I am referring, of course, to www.bored.com.
Bored.com was first brought to my attention during my senior year of high school. If your high school education was at all like mine, your day didn”t start until noonish, and finish by about 12:45. The rest of your day (that was spent on school grounds) was spent idling away the hours until you could notch another day-gone-by in the countdown to emancipation. In this pathetic state of worthlessness, bored.com found me, and my appreciation of the Internet grew to immeasurable heights. One could argue that this was also the beginning of the end. I don”t think I”ve ridden a book, or read a bike, or practiced proper syntax since then. But those acts of productivity, thoughtfulness and intelligence are in the past. Bored.com has shown me the Internet in its greatest moment.
Enter the URL, and begin a journey into a state of mindlessness and lost time. Bored.com is a list of links to the most, well, non-boring (let us say stimulating?) sites on the web. Among them are traditional IQ and relationship tests, movie and television scripts, and the like. But tread through those murky distractions, and find the most interesting sites that there be.
One link, found towards the bottom of the bored.com page, is a link to ATandT”s experimental “text to speech” software. Type in any phrase (my own experimenting lead me to conclude that any phrase either full of vulgarity or complementary towards David Horn seems to work fine), and listen to a man, women or child speak the phrase in impressively smooth English. You would think that this parlor trick would be but a momentary solution to your boredom, but you”d be wrong. It”s mesmerizing.
Another site that provides countless hours of entertainment is www.hotornot.com. Needless to say, its link can be found at bored.com. Hotornot.com is simple: It cues up picture after picture of average Joes and Judys like you and me, and asks you to rate their looks on a scale of 1 to 10. It”s shallow? Stupid? You”re above it? Let me tell you you”re not.
I thought I was, but it sucks you in like a little kid slurping up his last drop of chocolate milk. I, pathetically, even caved and posted my own picture.
My final highlight, although there are many that I urge you to discover on your own, is a little gem that is a collection of brilliant thought-provoking questions on the nature of things. For instance: “Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog”s face he gets mad at you, but when you take him in a car, he sticks his head out the window?” “If God dropped acid, would he see people?” and “If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren”t people from Holland called Holes?”
If questions like those can”t keep you scrolling down for the few minutes you have until your orgo or econ or poli sci lecture, then you”ve a stronger will than me. But the likelihood is that you don”t. Enjoy.
How does this crap keep me entertained? I don”t know. It does.
There are plenty of “productive” uses for the World Wide Web, of course. Scientists from all over the world can share their research. Students who are physically limited to their bedrooms can attend “virtual classrooms.” We can trade pirated music, and enjoy our pornography (and Hornography) without the awkward look of disapproval from the fellow at the newsstand.
But the bread and butter of the revolutionary tool that is the internet is the quintessence of procrastination: Bored.com.
This is how our society is utilizing the glorious possibilities of the WWW. I love it.
David Horn”s column runs every other Friday. Give him feedback at www.michigandaily.com/forum or via e-mail at email@example.com