Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Strange internet black holes that suck data

Ever have trouble getting your daily blogfish? Now we know why, startling new virtual "black holes" in the internet can suck in data and block communication.

The newly-discovered black holes last longer than 15 minutes and are found by tracking incidents of "partial reachability," where a particular site on the internet is reachable from some computers but not others. This means the site is working, but blocked from access by some users.

The strange virtual black holes open and close, and are now being mapped by a University of Washington research team, using the aptly named Hubble tool. See sample map above right or click to get a more detailed real-time map. At the Hubble link you can also check the status of your site, to see whether someone can't reach you!

Now I'm ready to look for virtual biology like internet sharks and virtual hagfish.

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