Try and do some research these days on google and chances are you’ll have to click through pages of sites trying to sell you anything contained in your search string, like
african animal trypanosomiasis
for less at eBay!
All right, that particular example is an exaggeration; real scientific research is amazingly easy to do, in fact. I can track down articles published in an Indian journal by simply copy/pasting a line of text. So I can’t complain about that.
Anything that can be sold, however, is a different matter. For example, I wanted to find out more about Milton Banana, the Brazilian drummer who set the standard for the bossa nova rhythm and the samba nova crowd. I was listening to Thievery Corporation last night and realized how repetitive their bossa loop was. Milton Banana’s own drumming is an ever-changing mix of subtle drum and cymbal; no two bars are exactly the same, as if he’s part of a mathematically-generated random rhythm program. But he’s not. He’s simply a human musical genius.
Back to googling for more info.: you try it, try and find something about Milton Banana that is on a non-commercial website. I also wanted to put a link to samba nova, to give more information, but guess what? There is a perfume with the same name. I get the feeling that, in a similar way that words and phrases are copyrighted and trademarked (e.g. I’m lovin’ it), what was a means of learning new things has become another means of selling stuff. As if buying has taken the place of thinking. Perhaps this should be a new definition of our species, homo emptoris.