Monthly Archives: January 2006

attack of the 800-pound gorillas

Here’s another strange blog artefact. I’ve mentioned before how “odd searches bring people to this site”: One of the popular search terms has been *tiananmen*, which leads searchers to a “brief note commemorating the 1989 massacre”: It consistently gets 300 or so hits per month, while other top search terms average 20.

When Google started “censoring searches from China”:, though, that number exploded. Traffic to the site has tripled in the past few days, with 5000 searches for tiananmen landing on that bit of a page. Apparently, “tiananmen square”: was used as the most obvious query Google is blocking.

The strangest part of all this is that I can’t even find that page in the Google search results. Think of what the traffic might be if it showed up on the first page…

my heroes

A group of Georgetown law students responded to a shill session by Alberto Gonzales in the best way possible: “they turned their backs on him”: The protest is being downplayed by some media outlets, but it warranted a mention in the “Washington Post”:

bq. Gonzales’s appearance, which was part of a three-day White House campaign to defend the NSA program, was punctuated by a silent protest from more than a dozen students who turned their backs to Gonzales, who continued to speak without acknowledging them and did not take questions afterward.

bq. Five of the students wore black pillowcases over their heads — an apparent reference to the mistreatment of U.S. detainees overseas — and held a banner roughly paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”

I hope this beat continues long enough to influence the elections this fall.

tales from the mash pit

(Author’s note: Chris Messina implored us to blog about Mash Pit. I didn’t want to just parrot other excellent posts, so here’s my demented version of the event.)

Four thirty. A.M., as in oh-dark-thirty. Ben and Karen will be asleep for another three hours. Uh huh. Why am I up this early? Because I have to leave for the airport in an hour. Uh huh. Why is that again? It takes me a moment to focus, to remember. Oh yes. It’s because I go into berserker paroxysms of geeky hyperactivity whenever the triggerword API is spoken, and I don’t stop until some kind soul utters the safeword.

In this case the fiend is Chris Messina, and the cause of the utterance is Mash Pit. It’s the latest bud from the BarCamp bush, a one-day test to see if meatspace interaction can produce cyberspace results. If successful, a number of Mash Pits would follow, each building on the the code and content of the last. It’s in San Francisco, of course. I’m in San Diego, of course. “It’s not that far,” I think, glossing over the realities of security checkpoints, delays and AirBART. “The flight is barely as long as my old commute to Encinitas.” Uh huh.
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i am internet famous

Not really, but my entry in the “Mashup Camp logo contest”: was chosen to be the official logo. Yay! (Not bad for half an hour’s work on the bus.)

our active galaxy

The galaxy is a more exciting place than you might think. From

bq. A new “X-ray movie of the Milky Way Galaxy”: shows stars erupting and black holes pulsating over a full decade of time.

It’s strangely compelling, like signal lights from a distant shore… [Thanks to Bryan for the link.]