Georgia Magazine - November, 2009 - (Page 5)

GEMC ® M A G A Z I N E (800) 544-4362, in Georgia; (770) 270-6950 GEORGIA Magazine, the largest-circulation monthly magazine in the state, is published by Georgia Electric Membership Corp. (GEMC), the trade association for Georgia’s 42 consumer-owned electric utilities. On average, more than 500,000 members welcome the magazine into their homes each month. Georgia’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives provide reliable, safe and affordable electric service to more than 73 percent of the state’s land area serving 4.5 million residents. For more information, visit EDITOR Ann Orowski, CCC MANAGING EDITOR Jennifer Hewett, CCC ASSOCIATE EDITOR Victoria Scharf DeCastro ASSISTANT EDITOR Clay Narron PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Steve Jacobs STAFF ASSISTANT Sonya Devereaux EDITORIAL INTERN Andrew Widener CONTRIBUTING WRITERS George Orwell got it wrong BY PAUL WOOD President/CEO, Georgia Electric Membership Corporation W Lynn Coulter, Jane F. Garvey, Rachel Gray, Pamela A. Keene, Jackie Kennedy CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lynn Coulter, James Gathany, Will Gray, Mitchell Griffin, Chris Hornaday, Steve Humphry, Thomas James Photography, Jackie Kennedy, Tommy Lackey, Gregory E. Lang, Carrie Whitney Laurel George, Laine Kirby Wood, ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE (404) 541-0628 ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE (770) 289-5700 DESIGNERS Trudie Thibodeaux, Kerstin Weis Mary Wellman, (770) 270-6981 SUBSCRIPTIONS 2009 ADVISORY BOARD Larry Chadwick, Ken Cook, Greg Crowder, Stacey Fields, Jane F. Garvey, Rick Gaston, Charlie Gatlin, Linda Harris, Emmett Harrod, Linda Jordan, Sandy McClurd, Jeff Murphy, Terri Statham, Jere Thorne, James White GEORGIA EMC OFFICERS CHAIRMAN Tim Garrett, Jefferson Energy VICE CHAIRMAN Neal Talton, Flint Energies SEC.-TREASURER Randy Crenshaw, Irwin EMC PRESIDENT/CEO, GEMC A. Paul Wood georgia Magazine (USPS-473120, ISSN 10615822) is published monthly by Georgia Electric Membership Corp., P.O. Box 1707, 2100 East Exchange Place, Tucker, GA 30085. Periodicals postage paid at Thomaston, GA, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to GEORGIA Magazine, P.O. Box 1707, Tucker, GA 30085. Printed in Georgia by Quad/Graphics. Acceptance of advertising by GEORGIA Magazine does not imply endorsement by the publisher or Georgia’s electric membership corporations of the product or services advertised. GEORGIA Magazine’s LIABILITY FOR ERRORS IN, OR OMISSIONS OF, ADVERTISEMENTS, WHETHER IN CONTRACT OR IN TORT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO DAMAGES TO THE ADVERTISER’S BUSINESS, SHALL IN NO EVENT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF CHARGES FOR THE ADVERTISEMENT THAT WAS OMITTED OR IN WHICH THE ERROR OCCURRED. hy do we so frequently, and sometimes even eagerly, accept as absolute truth the unfounded claims, opinions and exhortations made by every Tom, Dick and Harriet on the Internet? “I read it on the Internet,” people declare, as if the source was as good as gold. May I tell you something? The Internet is an open sewer. Everything gets poured into it. What comes out is often little more than a stream of consciousness put together by the ill-informed who care little for getting the facts straight. Most of them are at the keyboard seeking only to find that similarly ill-informed individual out there who will agree with them. And sometimes, it’s an intentional hoax. A few days ago, I received a serious e-mail from an information technology specialist warning me that the government was going to release cell phone numbers to telemarketers within the next 30 days, and so to prevent being deluged by nuisance calls, he urged me to immediately call the Federal Trade Commission and put my cell number on the “Do Not Call” registry. I was shaking my head before I finished reading because this hoax has been going around the Internet since 2005. “But it’s on the Internet, it must be true.” How many times have I heard that? I also received an urgent e-mail from someone who claims the Federal Communications Commission is about to issue a rulemaking that would take religious programming off the public airwaves. I knew this one was false because it started as a direct-mail piece sent to the unsuspecting in 1975. That’s right, before the Internet—as we know it—was invented! But that didn’t stop some prankster from circulating it on the Internet in 2009, some 34 years later. The bottom line is this: There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of hoaxes and, unfortunately, even more outright scams on the Internet. Take it all with a very large grain of salt. No, make that a barrel of salt because you’ll need it. I worry about the influence of all the misinformation that gets spread as truth on the Internet, especially when the “truth” is about something important to our lives, such as the food we eat, the medicine we take, the public officials we elect. As a people, we are a trusting lot, often to our detriment. Perhaps author George Orwell got it wrong in his classic dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Maybe it is not some repressive, totalitarian regime we should fear; maybe the real threat comes from our willing acceptance of nearly everything we read on the Internet. This harsh critique notwithstanding, I wouldn’t put the Internet genie back in the bottle if I could. Its good far outweighs the abuse we must endure. But I do believe each of us should apply a strong, personal filter to the information it brings us and evaluate it carefully before taking action. And if, after evaluation, we still feel we don’t have information we can trust—why, that would be a good time to discard all of it and look for new sources altogether. November 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - November, 2009

Georgia Magazine - November, 2009
Picture This?
Georgia News
Holiday Festivities Guide
Thanking Disabled Veterans
New, Inspired and Tasty
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Georgia Gardens
Georgia Cooks

Georgia Magazine - November, 2009