Thursday, 27 December 2007

Five People Who Could Bring the World to a Screeching Halt With One Click of Their Mouse

There are many people in the World, most of whom have no power at all. They're useless, essentially, but generally - quite nice. However, there are at least five different people who could, if they so wished, destroy the World from their laptop. These people could easily click a button, and end life as we know it. So, just so you're warned, here are those five people you should never get on the wrong side of.


1: Jimmy Wales – President, Wikia. inc

What Power Do They Have?
Jimmy Wales was one of the two creators of Wikipedia, a website which aims to be a comprehensive encyclopaedia for anything you may wish to know. It does this by making every single entry accessible by anyone, so that as new information is discovered, it can be noted down by anyone. As such, Wikipedia has become the largest source for information in not just the Internet, but the World. It’s totally free to use, too, prompting students across the world to shout “Screw you, Oxford English Dictionary! Your website requires me to pay? I’ll just use Wikipedia instead! Ahahahaa!”

How Could They Halt The World?
Wikipedia is the first source for information for a whole range of people. As a student myself, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time searching through the articles about Walt Whitman and Post Structuralism, and I can testify that Wikipedia is incredibly useful for anyone. It’s become part of the world culture, too, in a way that few other websites have. The fact that anyone can add in information about their hometown or something they specialise in is enticing, and the fact it’s free means I can spend my money for more useless things such as alcohol and over-elaborate fancy-dress costumes. Imagine, then, if Jimmy were to take all this away from us. If he shut down the site. People wouldn’t be able to find things out anymore! My entire generation of students would suddenly find that the only way to learn things is through hard study and using a “library” filled with “books”. Needless to say, we’d all fail our exams, be thicker, and unemployable. No more scientists! No more anthropologists! No more… accountants! The world would shudder to a halt, no doubt.

Reason This Won’t Happen
If Jimmy ever went nuts and did this, you can rest easy in the knowledge that Wikipedia was co-created. Larry Sanger, who puts the “co” in that phrase, is currently at work on a successor to Wikipedia, written only by experts. Imagine that – a Wikipedia which is almost always correct! It’d be like an online Stephen Fry.


2: Al Gore – Former American Vice President

What Power Do They Have?
After losing to George Bush Jr in the American elections, Al Gore vanished into the wilderness reserved for forgotten politicians, and likely had a cup of tea with John Major and William McKinley (no, me neither) while he was there. We all thought he had gone for good, but then he cropped up in the film “An Inconvenient Truth”, which repeated the syllabus of all schoolchildren for the past TWENTY YEARS and made everyone WHO ISN’T UNDER 40 aware that global warming did, indeed, exist. He made it a global agenda out of nowhere, and helps numerous charities too. So to stand next to Al Gore is to tell the world “I’m a nice guy too” - even if you’re Bono, who secretly eats children*

How Could They Halt The World?
Many, many idiots have banded together to say that Global Warming doesn’t exist, saying that it’s something Al Gore has made up just to get attention. A few people even suggest that Al is causing global warming himself. Sounds stupid, but what if they’re right? What if Al Gore has a team of supporters grouped at the north and south poles even as we sit here, waiting for his word before whipping out some flamethrowers and melting that bad boy? In the event that this is actually true, we should probably start signing stuff that says we’re going to use more renewable energy now, eh? Y’know, before he gets his men to flame up the icecap some. He strikes me as the kinda guy who would be happy to kill off all the penguins if it means he becomes president, so the question here is not ‘if’, but ‘when’ he presses the button. On the plus side, his vice-president might well be his former roommate, Tommy Lee Jones. And that would just be awesome.

Reason This Won’t Happen
GLOBAL WARMING EXISTS


3: Bill Gates – Chairman, Microsoft

What Power Does He Have?
Bill Gates OWNS Microsoft, the company that reaches into practically every house in the Western World and provides us with webbing excellence (or, in the case of Vista, an online traffic jam). Microsoft not online provide computers, but also the software that runs them. Microsoft Office, which provides people with an electronic way to write, manage finances or create presentations, is used by an estimated 90% of all computer owners. Heck, just by typing in Microsoft to word, it automatically puts in a capital ‘M’. This guy essentially is the reason we can type our homework, dissertations, stock reports, letters, anything.

How Could They Halt The World?
One word: virus. It’s reasonably well-known that Gates releases software which needs to be updated every three months through extra ‘bonus’ patches and upgrades, which thus means you have to continually buy new packages. Bearing in mind this act of tricky genius, is it really such a stretch to believe, as I firmly do, that Gates installs a dormant virus into each piece of software his company creates, so that if anyone ever tries to hurt him, he can simply activate it and thus destroy most of the computer software known to man? Is that really so unlikely? My friends, this will happen one day – if someone tries to take out Gates, or perhaps if he gets really bored, then he’ll lean over and push that button. And then we’ll pay.

Reason This Won’t Happen
Bill Gates is a geek! He’s a nerd of the very highest stature, and if he were to activate the virus (which I like to believe he’d call “The Ballmer Ball-Buster”), it’d mean he’d no longer be able to watch Star Trek episodes through Windows Media Player. And I don’t think he could work a VCR.


4: Tom Anderson – Co-founder, Myspace

What Power Do They Have?
Myspace is a social networking site that allows millions of unloved teenagers to go online and complain about how unloved they are to nobody in particular. Myspace is a massive, massive site – and every time someone new joins, Tom automatically becomes their friend. At this very moment, Tom has approximately 215 MILLION friends. Many of these people worship the very feet of Tom. In their eyes, he’s a God. In the eyes of everyone who isn’t a 15-year old who can’t use the focus on the camera while taking photos (Stop taking photos from an elevated angle! It looks like you’re retarded and can’t work a camera!), Tom is a man who sold his company to (eeeeeevil!) Rupert Murdoch for trillions of dollars.

How Could They Halt The World?
Read what I just said. Tom has 215000000 friends. If he asked them all to revolt and announce him the new leader of the World, he only needs a very small percentage of them to join before he has a massive taskforce to hand. And then he’d march on us, followed by an army of short, fat teenagers with hair over their eyes. Normal people wouldn’t stand a chance against him, especially when you consider the fact that he has the power of Murdoch on his side. Together, the two of them would reshape the World in the way they wanted – and personally speaking, Murdoch is a terrifying man, as anyone who has ever watched an episode of Fox News will agree. This guy doesn’t even believe in Global Warming, guys.

Reason This Won’t Happen
There is much speculation as to what Tom Anderson actually does, with many people certain he’s just a figurehead for the company now, and doesn’t actually run the site himself. In any circumstance, the kind of people who use Myspace would likely explode upon contact with the outside world anyway, thus rendering any army Anderson may try to create ineffective at best. Against most major countries, with the obvious exception of France and Italy, he would likely lose.


5: The CPC – Communist Party of China

What Power Do They Have?
Well, they rule China, the quickest developing country in the World. That’s right, the biggest country in the world, with one of the largest populations, is ruled by the Communists. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just that as far as GCSE history has taught me, communism never ends well. Then again I had a tendency never to listen to my teachers, and China’s been doing significantly well as a nation over the past decade or so.

How Could They Halt The World?
What do the BBC, Wikipedia, Amnesty International, Project Gutenberg and the United Nations have in common? All their websites are blocked by China. Want to start a journal online or put up some photos from your last holiday? The CPC blocks livejournal, flickr, all those sort of websites. Try looking for China’s other political parties online, and you’ll find nothing. They’re blocked. And just you try to Google “Democracy” - you can’t do it. There are many more sites which the CPC have blocked, which includes most of the websites mentioned above. But how is this relevant? It’s relevant, because I have an irrational fear of Communism. At the moment, China is happy to have nothing to do with the rest of the country, but imagine if they started thinking ‘hey, we have voters who are currently overseas – what if they go online?” If they wanted, I’m convinced they could extend their censorship to other computers around the World. Imagine that – the BBC would be out of reach, charities and political parties would lose their footing, Google would be practically useless… Communism would take over, friends. And there’d be practically nothing we could do about it.

Reason This Won’t Happen:
There is no reason to suggest this won’t happen. The Chinese don’t care less what we think, y’all! They’re bad-asses - they’d destroy the internet and not think twice about it.



*DISCLAIMER: This may not be true.

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