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The end of the Internet is closer than you think

According to information collected and provided over the Internet, it has been determined that 62 million Americans do not use the Internet.

Connect2Compete, a national nonprofit that states it's "on a mission to eliminate the digital divide for all Americans," blogs that this comes out roughly to 1-in-5 of all Americans ... or basically the same percentage of dentists who choose a gum other than Trident.

As with the case of much of the information delivered by the Internet, it's difficult to determine what value it is knowing that 62 million people have never seen the video examining whether Darth Vader actually was behind a conspiracy to destroy the Death Star (www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dvv-Yib1Xg) ... or that a ballpark in Allentown, Pa., has installed a video-game system that is operated by men, ummm, using the urinal (www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCWa8FYUjk0).

And the less said the better about how the Webless will discover the sad tale (www.avclub.com/articles/the-internet-finally-reaches-its-apex-as-man-marry,94206/) of the self-proclaimed "fiance" of Twilight Sparkle — and his angry email to an artist who graphically depicted the "My Little Pony" character doing things a cartoon pony shouldn't do before she marries a human using an assumed name for his virtual identity.

Let's turn our focus instead on the "digital divide" that ... hey, you, stop looking at the Star Wars video ... the "digital divide" that Connect2Compete says is preventing Americans from reaching their full potential.

For instance, if there's a demographic that should be immersed fully in computer culture, it would be today's college students — who aren't likely to remember when having to "cut and paste" written material required you actually to have scissors and a glue pot.

One national, cyber-culture phenomenon that has reached Southern Oregon University, for instance, is the Facebook "confessions" page.

On this site, students share their opinions on everything from relationships to sex to classwork to sex to the day-to-day pressures of college life to sex to musical tastes to sex to pizza.

It is not a site you will want to read if you are paying tuition for someone going to college, for the confessions get very personal and sometimes graphic ... such as the SOU senior who confesses they might graduate before fulfilling their pledge to sleep with at least one professor during college.

Confessor 1676 rambles, meanwhile, that "I drunk confess here instead of drunk texting or calling, now if only you could send a girl to my door when I'm drunk."

Confessor 1698, laments, "The library is lacking in hotties tonight ... shame, makes final week work that much more tedious."

Love isn't lost for everyone, though, as Confessor 1682 has been smitten: "To the beautiful blonde girl with glasses: your the beautiful nerdy girl ive been lookin for. We should talk."

The beautiful blonde girl with glasses will just have to track down an admirer called 1682. If she's nerdy enough, she should be able to figure it out ... and know the difference between "your" and you're."

Web administrators of Southern Oregon University Confessions told the college newspaper, The Siskiyou, that the site (www.facebook.com/SouthernOregonUniversityConfessions) "promotes freedom of speech and a sense of community" ... although predominantly for a community of anonymous confessors.

The brightest star on the Information Superhighway with Rogue Valley ties these days, however, is former Medford waitress turned murder suspect turned media sensation Jodi Arias.

Arias — a Yreka High School graduate whose trial for the killing of boyfriend Travis Alexander has cost $1.4 million since it began Jan. 2 in Maricopa County, Ariz. — has become a multimedia magnet, dominating segments of mainstream news organizations and Internet fringe alike.

ABC News interviewed her in jail, while CBS ("48 Hours Mystery: Picture Perfect") and NBC ("Along Came Jodi, Life and Death in the Fast Lane") devoted specials to the case ... all of which can be found online.

Not to outdone, HLN has devoted a Web page (www.hlntv.com/clusters/jodi-arias) to the case, while The Huffington Post ran a survey Saturday (www.huffingtonpost.com/tanya-young-williams/post_4575_b_2979512.html) that sought out trial-devotee opinions on such questions as "If convicted, do you think Jodi will be sentenced to death?" (52 percent said No) and "Who do you think enjoyed their sexual exploits more?" (71 percent said Jodi).

In all, there are 54.1 million (and counting) Google links to the Arias case available through the major search engines — running the gamut from JodiAriasIsInnocent.com to her own page on the website People You'll See In Hell (pysih.com/2009/06/21/jodi-ann-arias/).

Can you imagine how envious those 62 million people without the Internet are, now that they see what they're missing on their side of the digital divide!

And to think, it was only a week ago that the most disturbing cyber question facing Rogue Valley residents was relatively quaint by comparison:

As in ... if the members of the Medford City Council share over their new tablet computers a video of a kitten's amazing ability to catch paper balls, would it be considered an illegal executive session?

Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at rgalvin@mailtribune.com. Read previous "Rogue Viewpoint" columns at www.mailtribune.com/rogueviewpoint ... on the Internet.