According to CNN, Americans didn’t understand a speech delivered yesterday by President Obama because he was using language that was too advanced for them to comprehend. The speech is generally accepted as having been written to a 10th grade level. On the other hand it’s now a hell of a lot easier for us foreigners to understand how George W. Bush managed to win two Presidential elections.
The DPRK made it to the world cup and beating expectations, but their fans are a little odd — but then they would be, as they’re not actually North Koreans, but rather Chinese volunteers paid by Pyongyang to attend the games and cheer loudly.
Like the World Cup but can’t stand the vuvuzela, that plastic horn that just fills the air with an indistinct drone for literally every second of the game? Lifehacker has you covered by showing you ways to get rid of that dread scourge while still enjoying some good football.
For a long time I’ve been a member of reddit.com, which is a fairly popular blog of sorts, but recently I’ve started to wonder if it hasn’t jumped the shark and entered its natural period of decline.
I’m not usually a big fan of the whole “is this what this site has become” whines, and this isn’t going to be a note about how the content used to be so much better than it is now (although one may say that such naysayers have a point, what with imgur.com now practically being the most prominent source of links). The site has grown tremendously and recruited users from outside its traditional scientist/engineer base to become more of a general content site, although it does have its overall tendencies, viz. atheism and political liberalism.
That being said, over the past few months it seems that the site is succumbing to its own success. Site performance is generally marginal, and during busy times you’re disturbingly likely to get a 502 error page instead of the comments page you wanted. The search functionality, which was never one of the site’s strengths, is now basically unusable; when doing a search you’re most likely to get the message that reddit is “under heavy load”. Likewise when you attempt to check your unread messages, you often end up with the picture of the reddit alien sweating while carrying a big object on his back (get it? “under heavy load”? harharhar). And of course there has recently been a bit of outright downtime.
The problem is that this just isn’t supposed to happen, not for a site which prides itself on its tech-heavy roots, and especially not for a site which has been acquired by a large corporation. Availability issues are understandable for sites such as this one, which do not have a server farm available to accommodate an excess of requests; but in reddit’s case it’s owned by CondÃ©-Nast, a company with a lot of resources at its disposal. The site has had a few upgrade-related outages in the not-too-distant past. It would appear that the upgrades did not really resolve the underlying issues. It would seem that reddit doesn’t scale as well as its owners think it does.
At the same time it’s not like demand for sites such as reddit is showing signs of abating. The site’s pageviews have grown 1200% since January 2009 (acc. to Alexa) and over 10% in the past three months. So reddit’s capacity problems, it seems, are only going to get worse with time, especially given that they can’t really cope now. Which is really odd for a site whose membership could once be relied on to say that they knew 20 programming languages and “only” used 5 or 6 on a regular basis…
If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if a sea turtle managed to get hold of a camera in a waterproof case and shoot its own videos, wonder no longer. The camera was dropped in the water near Aruba and has resurfaced 7 months later in Key West.
I never thought about it much besides it being a plot element in Trainspotting, but apparently toxoplasmosis could be a bigger influence in human behavior than people think.