Monthly Archives: January 2011

Egypt disconnects from the Internet



Image credit: Arbor Networks.

From the Renesys blog, "Egypt leaves the Internet"

At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet's global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt's service providers. Virtually all of Egypt's Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.

Renesys has tracked other widespread Internet routing disruptions; the comments on that site are good.

The BGPmon blog is tracking this from the routing perspective, "Internet in Egypt offline".

One ISP that appears to not be down is, at least as of Friday midnight EST.

For another network perspective, Netcraft is tracking reachability of Egyptian government sites that had been attacked by Anonymous.

News coverage

The Guardian has a live blog, Protests in Egypt.

Al Jazeera has comprehensive news coverage, under the headline Anger in Egypt.

The New York Times has new Egypt cables from Wikileaks, Cables show delicate US dealings with Egypt's leaders.

They show in detail how diplomats repeatedly raised concerns with Egyptian officials about jailed dissidents and bloggers, and kept tabs on reports of torture by the police.  But they also reveal that relations with Mr. Mubarak warmed up because President Obama played down the public “name and shame” approach of the Bush administration.


Anon_VV Anonymous 
Everything ██is█████ ████ ████fine ███ █ ████ love. ████ █████ the ███ Egypt ███ ████ government ██ #jan25 #Egypt #censorship



You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

The video, entitled “It is pitch dark”, from nerdcore hip-hop grandmaster MC Frontalot.

The lyrics, in part:

You are likely to be eaten by a grue. If this predicament seems particularly cruel, consider whose fault it could be: not a torch or a match in your inventory.

What is a grue?

The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

More on “Grue” and Grue, The Philosophical Review © 1961 Duke University Press.

Mr. Grue believes that grass is grue, taken here to mean that it is green until the year 2000 and blue afterward.

Grue is the color of the y2k problem – green (providing riches) until the year 2000, and blue (providing sadness) afterwards. Noted here, as The Year 2000 Crisis: One software engineers’ perspective”:

This is not a new problem. There is a paradox, called “Goodman’s Grue-Bleen paradox”, which describes what we’re facing. See The fall 1983 issue of the Bulletin of the Santayana Society, “on Grue and Bleen”, by Angus Kerr-Lawson. See also Goodman’s Paradox. In the paradox, an object is “grue” if it is green between a certain time, T, and blue after T. An object is “bleen” if it is blue before T, and green after T. The paradox is how to tell the difference between something which is green and something which is grue. At the moment, it is impossible to know. After T, it will be easy. Similarly, it is easy to tell the difference between something which is green and something which is bleen. But after T, it might not be. Further, any system built on distingushing between green and blue will work properly now with green, blue, and bleen objects, but will fail after time T.

Is there a relationship between the “grue” of Zork and the “grue” of the color paradox?

daily aliquot of love

A very brief writeup of a technique for doing online task management, in a world where there are so many social media channels that you need a spreadsheet to keep track of them all.

The software is Google Spreadsheet, used with a private sheet all for myself.

The structure of the worksheet is a set of columns, with column headings indicating the piece of software, online system, or media channel that you are tracking; the rows are dated or time stamped.

Each cell has a brief summary of events, activities, or other goings-on for that channel at that time. "Birthday deals" is my notation from Facebook for Jan 5, 2011, noting that on that day I wished people a happy birthday by sending them the Arborwiki birthday deals page (my customary greeting card). Keep it short, down to a name, a keyword, a tag, or anything else minimal.

The key technique is hyperlinking each of these (column header and activity cell) where possible, so that you can go back and re-animate your activity on a minimum notice. The syntax is


which is simple enough to make it not be a big deal to do.

The locus of activity moves. Rather than opening a new window, looking for page changes to the more frequent sites that you visit, and hoping mindlessly that there's something new, the unit of online activity becomes working your way across the columns and methodically filling in each of them with a daily aliquot of love.

The challenge is getting the column headers right, so that you focus on the correct systems, and ignore the irrelevant ones.

Why do I call it task sandwich? Darned if I know, that's what got typed in.

Australia flood map, January 10, 2011

Source is the Australia River and Rainfall Conditions page from the Australia Bureau of Meteorology.

Also of note is the 1 week rainfall map from the Climate page on the same source

More maps and map collections:

VerySpatial: Australian flood maps. A very good comprehensive collection of flood maps, from which several of the maps below are sourced.

Larvatus Proveo: Brisbane flood maps and up to date flood information. Updated regularly with the latest from this Australian group blog.

The Guardian: Australia floods, an interactive map.

Brisbane Business News: 1974 Flood map (pdf). Flood levels for Brisbane neighborhoods during the 1974 floods, showing where the riverbanks overflowed their banks.

Brisbane flood maps. Detailed maps, neighborhood by neighborhood, of predicted flooding; this site is a mirror, set up after the Brisbane City Council official site went down under heavy load. (pdfs)

NASA: Flooding in Rockhampton, Queensland. Satellite photography with false color showing the extent of the deluge.

World News Australia: Queensland flood map

ABC: Queensland flood map, a crowdsourced map.

Wikipedia: 2010-2011 Queensland Floods

Personal story, from the "City of Sound" weblog: Flood.

I'm writing this by candlelight as the power at home went some 12 hours ago now. The irony of using an iPad by candlelight is not lost on me. The iPad is in 'flight mode' to conserve power. Though 'fight mode' might be better description, as we're staying put rather than heading out of town. 'Fight or flight mode' perhaps.

On the air, ABC radio South Queensland has emergency coverage streaming audio from their AM radio services.

Scanner is running on UStream, "South east qld flood scanner", with audio from emergency services, and video from one of the tv networks (Sky news national?)

More audio/video, television from ABC News 24 (global access).


Link blogging, from pinboard?

Once upon a time this blog featured (?) a daily link dump from delicious. It was completely automated, so that once a day something got dumped in. I don't know if anyone read it except search engines, but it was a handy way to replicate some content.

There must be a way to do this from pinboard, which is what I am using now, but I don't see a one-click from the pinboard FAQ.


What to do with Flickr?

Once upon a time, Flickr was just an experimental part of Game Neverending. Then it was a full blown society, full of interesting people who happened to express their interestingness through photography. Digital photography was new then, and special, and there was some first flush of enthusiasm for having a system that "got it".

Time and space happened, and Flickr became part of Yahoo. A piece of the fun drained out, and the Internet got bigger. Digital photography got more ordinary, and the camera I carry around everywhere felt more and more like a crappy camera and not like something I could capture the essence of the world with.

I'm at a point where I could easily take a photograph every day and send it somewhere. Should Flickr be that place? Will the time come not too soon when I will want to be a refugee from it, downloading my photos in the hopes that I can re-upload them somewhere else, tags and annotations intact and some fragment of society reconstructed around them?

I loved Flickr once, in the way that I'm sure that people once loved Compuserve. There is still a Game Neverending to play with photographs, but I don't know yet where to play that game.