Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Strange Observations in Cyberspace

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you all
December night sky looking north in the southern hemisphere.
I left a comment on Clive Shepherd’s post Blogging is No Longer What It Was. But this post isn’t directly about what I wrote on Clive’s blog.

It’s just that I love blogging. I love the blogosphere and everything that’s in it. I’m not on a doctor’s prescription. But when I see a new post, I just feel like I’m witnessing something fresh and newly created – very very new - shiny, like a newborn star.

Primal observation in space:

I’m sure that the feelings I get when I discover things in the blogosphere are similar to the feelings my ancestors had when they looked up at the stars. Their eyes filled with wonder at what hung above them.

The sky must have been a great sight in those days. No city lights to haze the atmosphere. Come to that, no haze. Astronomers using optical equipment today, talk about the ‘seeing’, when they refer to how clear the atmosphere is above their telescopes. The ‘seeing’ way back in the days I’m talking about must have been something special!

Present day astronomers refer to the magnitude of a star - a number that they hang on how easy it is to see a star, or other visible light source in the sky. The fainter the star, the larger is its magnitude number.

Our ancestors would have been able to see faint stars of about magnitude 7. Today, we are lucky to see stars of magnitude 5 near a town - that’s about 7 times brighter. It's simply because the glare of streetlights prohibits us from seeing objects much fainter than that in the sky.

Observation in cyberspace:

Often, when I look into cyberspace, I feel like an early, prehistoric observer, sitting high on a hill, looking up to a vast night sky.

I make observations, and think that no one has ever spotted them before. Of course, like my ancestors, I am probably seeing some things that have been witnessed many many times - long before I saw them.

In cyberspace there are some beautiful stars, some brilliant stars - some with planets, interesting nebulae and scatterings of faint luminescent clouds. There are comets and shooting stars. Now and again, a supernova explodes and releases so much energy that the whole of cyberspace seems to resonate with it.

One of the observations I've made is to do with how commenters put their comments on a new post. Have you ever noticed, when a post first appears in the blogosphere, how most of the comments appear almost immediately afterwards? Logical don't you think?

Some posts differ from others though. Some attract no comments at all. Others are like supernovae, attracting so many comments immediately after posting, that it takes a while before it all stops. But it is very, very rare that a swarm of comments appears against a post well after the period when that first activity has ceased.

I often wonder about this. I take pity on these cold, abandoned, commentless posts.

I even think about racing around cyberspace with a bagful of comments, specifically looking for old posts, perhaps ones with no comments at all (and there are millions) and just dumping comments, willy-nilly, wherever I can – copy and paste fashion - just to give these lonely posts a bit of company. A bit like one of the tasks in the past Comment Challenge, when participants were asked to write 5 comments in 5 minutes on 5 different posts. That caused a bit of a stir among sedate bloggers!

Black holes:

But posts go off y’know, like stars that appear in the night sky and then just disappear! They shine bright over a brief period, perhaps get brighter, fade a bit, glow dimly for a while, and eventually collapse into a black hole – lost in cyberspace, never to be found by the average observer. Not even winked at.

Eons later, an intrepid wanderer might stumble across a darkly hidden post and check it out. Seeing this frozen, abandoned site of past activity, the observer realises that no one has been there for ages, and bounces off again into cyberspace, searching for newer, fresher territory.

As I post this, I realise that what I’ve written is like a newborn star. It may shine for a short while. It may even attract some attention - a comment or two. But eventually, it will join a growing mass of black holes, lost in the vastness of cyberspace.

They say that black holes are the re-cycling centres of the Universe.
I wonder how long it will take for this post to be recycled?

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Paul C said...

Hi Ken,
What a wonderful poetic post. What's empowering about blogging is that it suddenly provides a voice for some really good writers, many of whom in the past only wrote in the solitary reaches of their study never to be discovered by others.

If I could change your metaphor, this post is a ten tonne asteroid that streaks across the sky. This happened across the Canadian prairies in Alberta and Saskatchewan last weekend and may be seen on You Tube. Pretty spectacular!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Paul!

What a hoot. A ten-tonne asteroid - hmmm. Does that mean it's heavy reading?
Here's the link.

Ka kite

Paul C said...

No, the post is dazzling as it passes and valuable if pondered.