Senseless Waste of Bandwidth
(Annotated Version)

by Grant R. Griffin

(Before reading this, be sure you’ve read the original Senseless Waste of Bandwidth.)


Some of the literal-minded among us didn’t seem to quite get this, and since things have been slow today (at least in comp.dsp), I thought I might add a few little annotations. Those of you who have something better to do can go do it now.

First, a note on the form. This is written in my own “rant form”, as a single sentence. Strictly speaking, it really is a _series_ of long sentences, disguised as a single sentence by the absence of periods. This single long sentences, and the relative lack of punctuation and whitespace are simply part of the “form”. Form, in art, is neither good nor bad; it’s just form. What counts is what you do with it. Still, certain forms stand the test of time, for example the “sonata” and the “haiku” have been around for a long time. It remains to be seen if this rant form will stand. But for me, it works.

Now, into the criticism. Consider the title, “senseless waste of bandwidth”. Is the author for or against wasting bandwidth? I guess we’ll have to read it to see…

Senseless Waste of Bandwidth


Sets a positive tone.

I followed the recent thread “Turn OFF the HTML BS please” with interest though I never participated in it because I don’t want to encourage people to curse on Usenet because let’s face it we’re all adults here and there really isn’t any need to curse because heck there are just

“heck”? heck, isn’t that just a substitute curse word?

much better friggin ways for us to express ourselves here in a public

in case you didn’t pick up on “heck”, “friggin” is a red flag. what difference does it make if we use “curse words” or their “substitutes”? Not much really; still, “heck” and “darn” are somehow “charming” rather than vulgar. (Friggin, though, is somewhat vulgar…)

venue which is read worldwide by people of All Nations and All Cultures

For those of you who can’t read, this says that Usenet is read worldwide by people of All Nations and All Cultures. This means you.

however that’s not to say that I want to limit your freedom of expression because let’s face it nobody died and put me in charge of

rant idiom: “died and put … in charge of”.

Usenet so it really isn’t my place to set any rules like for example if I wanted people to turn off the HTML I guess I could express that sentiment in some mature sort of way to try to build a concensus but I

this is an example of leadership by example.

still would have to respect the freedom Usenet offers us to post literally anything we want because let’s face it who can stop us but

Am I part of the solution or part of the problem? Heck, it doesn’t matter: “who can stop us”?

that being said the thing I really tuned in on was this whole “waste of bandwith” thing which pops up on Usenet from time-to-time and one can’t help but notice that each time this topic gets discussed it seems to be a waste of bandwidth

I probably wasn’t the first person to ever think this thought. But it’s a worthwhile point.

so I’m not here to discuss bandwidth so much as waste and to tell you about some of my experiences in that vein like the time I went on a tour of the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream plant in Vermont

The theme of “Ben and Jerry’s” runs throughout. For those of you who don’t know, “Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream” is very expensive, premium ice cream. Ben and Jerry have taken a clever tack in their marketing, by tapping into the back-to-nature values of their customer base–which, ironically, seems to be composed primarily of fat yuppie people who can afford premium ice cream.

and the gal there that gave the tour said something that made a lot of sense to me so I’d like to share it with you here namely that we should all “reduce, reuse, and recycle”

Seriously: I think this is a good concept.

which one can hardly disagree with take reducing for example, which of us can’t get along with a little less and

Like Ben and Jerry, for example.

of course there’s reusing which seems like a sensible thing to do like for example why do we always throw out our VCR the first time it breaks why can’t we get it fixed because it costs more to fix it than to buy a new

Ironic point: there really are sound economic reasons to throw things away sometimes. Take, for example, disposable diapers. If you try to reuse them, it simply doesn’t work. Please throw them away.

one OK so that was a bad example

Irony: so why did you bring it up, idiot?

and then there’s recycling which I think everybody can agree is a good thing like for example when I walk down the hall at work carrying a big box of empty pop cans to the recycle bin I get a good feeling

True–although I also feel like a dork.

not only because I’m saving the environment and stuff like that but also because I’m wasting my employer’s time which is far more important

True–which makes me feel better about feeling like a dork.

which really brings me to my next point which is that America used to the the Land of Waste

Satire here: Why was America _ever_ the Land of Waste?

and that was What Made America Great

rant idom: “That was What Made America Great”

and we all had big scary cars which had lots of steel and chrome and even tail fins

Scary, because Buicks had big chrome teeth. Add the tailfins, and they look like land sharks.

but then the OPEC decided that they could make more money by not selling us as much oil as they used to which seems to defy common sense

though easily understood using the “law of supply”: we all learned about that in Econonsense 101.

but it just goes to show how smart those OPEC guys are

but are they really smart? we’ll see…

because it really worked so all of a sudden Americans were willing to give up steel and chrome and tailfins for little economy cars that didn’t take a whole lot of gas


so you didn’t have to stand in a long line at the gas station but you still had to stand in line at the Toyota dealer so it makes you wonder how much time those guys really saved

Irony: you only had to stand in line at the Toyota dealer once.

but in any event the Japanese began to eat the lunch of the American car manufacturers because they were still pumping out big wasteful steel-and-chrome monstrocities

this is a callback to the concept of “scary”

though they had given up on tailfins a long time ago

again, scary

and then there was the whole quality issue but to make a long story short

let’s not waste bandwidth on that one.

For those of you who comprise “All Peoples and Cultures”, “Detroit” is synonomous with “American car manufacturers”

eventually figured out over a long period of time

why did it take so darn long?

how to make relatively

“relatively”? I’m hedging here–let’s not waste bandwidth arguing this.

high-quality, fuel-efficient cars that people liked almost as well as Toyotas which seem to have something of a fanatical following

I’ve never owned one, so I guess I just don’t understand…

if I may editorialize just a bit and

Waitaminute? Isn’t this whole _thing_ an editorial?

I don’t know if the Toyota fans know that they now make Toyota’s in America which just goes to show that you can take the Toyota out of Japan

We in America can make a car that’s just as darn good as a darn Japanese car (IMHO). Na-na-nana-na.

but you can’t take Japan out of Asia

A silly, though undeniably true, statement…has vaguely racist overtones.

Also, this uses a rant idom: “you can take the … out of … but you can’t take the … out of …”

but now that people have gotten used to Toyotas or at least are driving American cars which get good gas milage Americans over a period of years have caught on to the fact that it is Good not to be wasteful

Why use a capital “G”? This conservation thing has become something of a religion for some people…

though people few articulate this as well as Ben and Jerry inasmuch as they encouraged us to “reduce, reuse, and recycle”


for example they told us that if they ever end up with any excess ice cream or they have a batch that doesn’t turn out just right they sell it

“sell”? Maybe these guys aren’t environmentalists so much as just good businessmen…

to the local hog farmers who feed it to the hogs and the hogs just love it but then again what else did you expect the hog to do

Well, what else _did_ you expect the hog to do? A hog would have to be pretty darn dumb not to like ice cream…

but speaking of waste I must say that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is a tremendous waste of money inasmuch as it costs so darn much

This “reduce, reuse, recycle” thing might have bad implications for sales, if yuppie ice cream customers with too much disposable income begin to really practice it. Beware Ben, beware Jerry!

but if the hogs don’t have to pay as much as we do I can see why they like it so


and even though I complain about Ben and Jerry’s itself I still like the concept of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”


and I have tried to apply this in my own life starting with reducing the amount of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream I eat but a lot of other Americans have begun to reduce waste

double tieback

which was once a lifestyle for us and was once something that made us Proud to Be Americans like for example we now recycle pop cans and newspapers and even plastic milk cartons which they’ve probably been doing in Europe for years


but it is a big step forward for us Americans

irony: it’s really just a little step.

though much as I agree with the concept of reducing waste I think the true reason we Americans are doing it is a little strange

honestly, I do.

if you’ll paron me saying so

irony: once again–you can’t stop me.

that reason being that now that we have cheap oil

waitaminute! Sure, OPEC made some good dough for awhile, but then they taught us all to drive cars that get good gas mileage, and to find lots of new sources of oil. Then they started fighting amongst themselves. I’m not sure those OPEC guys are so darn smart after all…

again our Nation’s Most Precious Resource has become The Landfill yes you heard me right The Landfill now who would ever think that Landfill’s would ever become our Nation’s Most Precious National Resource because

Satire: “Our Nation’s Most Precious National Resource”

admittedly there is only a certain amout of oil in the ground there seems to be no limit to the number of Landfills we could dig up because let’s face it a Landfill is nothing more than a hole and if there’s one thing you can dig up anywhere you plant your shovel it’s a hole

I was rather proud of this one. It has a nice sort of “Lewis Carroll” flavor to it.

but of course it’s not really that simple because of the fact that nobody wants to live near a landfill because they smell bad like the hogs that eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and they pollute the ground water like the hogs that eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream

Ben and Jerry are basically hypocrites.

so in that context maybe Landfill’s really are Our Nation’s Most Precious National Resource so that just puts us back to the idea that we should “reduce, reuse, and recycle”


because if we don’t throw so much stuff away we can conserve Our Nation’s Most Precious National Resource although I gotta tell you that if landfills had only the stuff in them that we recycle like newspapers, pop cans, and plastic milk bottles nobody would really mind living next to one

an honest point here: the things we recycle wouldn’t be bad things to put in landfills: we’d just have to dig a little bigger hole.

because those things don’t smell nearly as bad as Ben and Jerry’s hogs

sell it, brother, sell it!

and let’s face it pop cans don’t pollute ground water

(ok, this one was a little weak)

but this just brings me to the main point of all this

Finally! But there’s still another mile to walk…

which is that since we can no longer waste anything of any kind given that the Landfill is Our Nation’s Most Precious National Resource then I think we at least ought to be able to waste bandwidth because you don’t even have to bury that after you’re done with it

unlike most other stuff we waste

though to be fair

rant concilliation

there are probably lots of fiber optic cables with lots of bandwidth which are buried

I just stumbled onto this one as I wrote it. Beautiful!

that archeologists a thousand years from now will dig up and ask themselves, “what did these people have to talk about that was so important” and they’ll scratch their heads and keep on digging

Satire: ALL of Usenet is a waste of bandwidth, silly!

but for the time being I think we Americans should get back to our Heritage of Waste and never loose sight of What Made This Country Great which let’s be honest about it

more rant idioms

involved a great talent for waste

what “talent” is needed?

which again brings me back to the main point

hey! I thought we were already there!

which is that in these latter days of cheap computing and instant telelcommunications

redundancy for the sake of parallel structure: what other kind of telecommunications is there besides “instant”?

the least we can do is to treat ourselves to a little waste in terms of bandwidth which when you get right down to it

rant idiom: “when you get right down to it”

really doesn’t hurt anybody

serious point: when you get right down to it, it really doesn’t hurt anybody

and even for those of you who aren’t Americans and who don’t come from a culture and a

For those of you who can’t read, the phrase “even for those of you who aren’t Americans” means “even for those of you who aren’t Americans”.

heritage of Waste I invite you to join me in this Noble American Pursuit

Irony: NOBLE American Pursuit?

because much as John F. Kennedy went to Berlin and declared “Ich bin ein Berliner”

I honestly didn’t know about the donut thing [that Kennedy had declared himself to be a donut]. Still, if I may backpeddle a bit (and remember, you can’t stop me), I think it only adds to the value of the piece. And it makes me glad that the Soviets didn’t build a wall in Hamburg. Or Frankfurt.

I invite you to declare “Ich bin ein American” and to

Deliberately silly use of German here: it would have been more sensible to say “I am an American”.

Note that this entire paragraph was intended to include those of you who _aren’t_ Americans in my “Noble American Pursuit”. Much as Kennedy wasn’t really a “Berliner” (either kind), this phrase works primarily for those of you who aren’t Americans.

I’m well aware that there are many non-Americans out there. In fact, scientific studies have proven that the vast majority of people outside America aren’t Americans. Note that playing a bit of the “Ugly American” is part of the ironic undertone of the piece. It’s intentional. But I totally respect you for whoever you are. Even if you people wear funny hats.

senselessly waste bandwidth wherever you find it.

serious point–let’s have fun here on Usenet


for those of you who don’t know a rant when you see one.