Monday, January 23, 2006

Can ya dig it? Also, nuclear explosions.

Another useful find courtesy of the podcast "DLTV" (published by the same company that runs P.C. Magazine", the webiste "digg.com." The dltv folks didn't find it per se. They actually mentioned it, off hand, as if you're kinda supposed to have heard of it already. If you're geeky enough to be watching the podcast of dltv.

ANYWAY, if none of your facebook friends have updated their profiles, and if you've already looked up every movie title you can think of on imdb.com, digg.com is another route to just seeing how radically big the internet is. The concept (as far as I understand it), is that there are all these news stories, all over the internet. And if you have a login or username on digg.com, the website will list the most popular ones. And you can vote for it if you think it's worth reading, by clicking on a simple icon that says "digg it!". The articles that the most people have voted for, will appear on the homepage.

I haven't explored it yet, this may not exactly be how it works, but I find it fascinating, because it has a sort of "open source," uber-democratic idea to it. You can basically promote a story with a click of a button. And the "bigger" stories, are the ones that the most users have clicked on. But what makes it really interesting is that really, it's not just news, it's just as much internet finds in general. The sort of random stuff you wouldn't think to look for, you wouldn't run into just browsing around on your own, but nonetheless, here it is.

Here are a few examples of the headlines:

Hack Attack: Mouseless Firefox. 86 diggs. Not a huge deal. How to use firefox web browser with only your keyboard.

6 solid ways to view blocked sites at work & school (Facebook, Myspace). 475 diggs. Apparently, a bit more interesting than browsing firefox mouseless.

This was my favorite, and the only one that I'll link to, since I don't feel like going through the effort for every story:

Google Video - Huge 1958 Nuclear Underwater Explosion Footage! 1499 diggs.

I have not been to this website too often, but 1499 diggs, as you can see, is relatively a lot. And with good reason. Check out the video. You see a huge cloud/steam cloud, generated by an underwater nuclear explosion, blowing over a Navy test drone ship. The comments board doesn't list anything about it being a fraud, and there doesn't seem to be any reason to doubt its veracity.

So yes, this an interesting website, for just running into lots of cool stuff. But then, let's think about that video again. I'd "digg" it, had I a login, not because "oh man, neat explosion," but because I'd think. Wait. Wait now. Holy shit. At some point in time...we thought. It'd be a great idea. To set off nuclear weapons in the middle of the ocean. Now I know there are lots of pros and cons about this (probably mostly cons. Since, far as I know, we've stopped doing it), issues of "nuclear deterrence," maintaining gaps of different sorts and colors, sure. But let's think about this again.

"Let's take huge nuclear bombs. And explode them in the middle of the ocean."

The idea. To me...of purposefully blowing up nuclear weapons. Is just kind of crazy. It is, really ridiculous. And granted, that's from retrospect, so I'm not...hugely...contesting their policy decision at the time, I just think that it is sort of amazing that at some point, this is simply what we were up to.