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Black holes on the Internet

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  • derhexer@aol.com
    URL to an interesting article on MSNBC _http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24067737/_ (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24067737/) This is the point where the Twilight
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 11, 2008
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      URL to an interesting article on MSNBC

      This is the point where the Twilight Zone music keys in

      First few paragraphs
      "You’re pounding the keyboard, double-clicking away, sighing and grumbling,
      but to no avail: That devilish little hourglass icon refuses to give way to
      the Web site you’re trying to reach. Most Internet users have encountered
      trouble reaching online destinations, but they often attribute the problem to
      their wireless network cutting out or a server momentarily going down.
      Sometimes, though, the problem is more mysterious. At any given moment,
      messages throughout the world are lost to cyber black holes, according to new
      computer science research.
      Ethan Katz-Bassett, a graduate student in computer science at the University
      of Washington, and his advisor, Arvind Krishnamurthy, designed a program to
      continuously search for these strange Internet gaps, when a request to visit
      a Web site or an outgoing e-mail gets lost along a pathway that was known to
      be working before. To make sure the black holes they detect are not simply
      due to a problem with the end user or the host server, they look for computers
      that can be reached from some, but not all, of the Internet, meaning the
      issue must be occurring en route.

      _Story continues below ↓_
      (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24067737/#storyContinued) advertisement

      "We were astounded when we did an initial four-month study and we saw how
      many problems there were," Katz-Bassett said. "It seemed infeasible that this
      could be happening so often. They’re definitely more common than we thought."
      Now the team constantly monitors the Web for black holes and posts a map of
      where the problems are around the world at any given moment. They hope their
      data will help Internet service providers track down the route of problems
      experienced on their networks.
      "Network administers are definitely interested in it," Katz-Bassett said. "I
      think we need to do more analysis of the data and see where exactly these
      problems are occurring. It would be interesting to come up with predictions
      about where problems were most likely to occur."


      (entropy always wins)

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