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February 28, 2004
An episode in search of a metaphor
Please read the following non-fiction passage and answer the essay questions at the end. Be sure to use a #2 pencil.
Last night, coming back from the airport, my cab driver stopped to pay the $4.50 (!) tunnel toll. "Mikey!" he called out to the guy in the tollbooth. "How's it goin'?"
"Not bad. You?"
"Great, my man. See you later."
As we entered the tunnel, I asked, "A friend of yours?"
"Do you know him outside of the toll booth?"
"How many times a day do you go through these tolls?"
"Oh, it's gotta be five or six times."
1. Please compare and contrast with various Internet relationships you have had.
2. If the cab driver were to receive an Orkut invitation from the tollbooth guy, should the driver say "Yes, the tollbooth guy is my friend" or not? Explain your reasoning.
3. Are tollbooth attendees the A-List of real-world bloggers? Analyze their traffic in terms of power laws. Be sure to show your work.
4. Does this two-person group constitute an echo chamber? (For extra credit: Is the Callahan Tunnel an echo chamber? Even if your windows are rolled up?)
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