Al Gore: Ask not, what semiconductors can do for you

The former vice president talks to engineers in San Jose, and probably wishes he'd never invented the Internet

Published April 10, 2007 11:58PM (EDT)

Sometimes it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the dialogue enabled by the Internet is simply an infinite loop of the same conversation running over and over again.

Witness this almost perfect distillation of Al Gore memes offered up by commenters at a blog hosted by Electronics Design, Strategy, News, an Internet front-end for a group of trade magazines that focus mostly on the semiconductor industry.

On April 3, Gore gave a speech to engineers at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose. By most press accounts, his impassioned call for engineers to find opportunities for new innovations as part of meeting the challenge of climate change was well received -- the audience gave him a standing ovation. The blog poster, Debra Bulkeley, the executive editor of Electronic Business, found Gore's argument "very compelling."

  • Commenter #1 asked how anybody could trust someone "who claimed to have helped invent the Internet!"
  • Commenter #2 attacked Commenter #1 for ignoring "the conclusions from the vast majority of scientists" about global warming.
  • Commenter #3 debunked the claim that Al Gore had said he invented the Internet.
  • Commenter #4 said the engineers who applauded Gore were not "granola eatin' hippies." (Thank goodness!)
  • Commenter #5 said Gore "is very far from being a role model in energy saving as his own house uses about $2K of energy per month and [he] flies around in private jets."

The Internet: a never-ending nightmare where the same tortured poem of talking points is read endlessly by a mob of brain-dead zombies, each reciting their favorite line before going in search of fresh flesh to rend, and ultimately signifying nothing, without even any sound or fury.

OK, maybe that's a little harsh. Actually, I laughed out loud when I read the above exchange. People are funny.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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