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Mugged by muggles? (contains no spoilers)

From this morning's mailbag:

Hey where's clicked?  Did you get booted off for the Harry Potter
story or the political videos?
-Heather

Will's reply: Funny, I was just wondering the same thing.  We occasionally have hosting trouble with these blogs, but it appears to be pretty specific to Clicked this time and much longer than usual.  I see Torrent Freak was blasted for their story about the Harry Potter book.  I didn't think my post was that bad -no links, no spoilers- but now I'm wondering if it made someone upset.

At least torrent freak got a threatening e-mail. I'm left here just wondering.
-Will

Will adds: Doesn't look like BoingBoing is suffering any trouble and they link right to the Pirate Bay page and I don't enjoy anywhere near the attention of that site.

Will adds one more: Hopefully by my next post I'll have more info from the server guys on what happened.

As I mentioned in my update to the previous post, many of us around the water cooler are thinking the pirated copy that's making so much news is a fake.  And a few of the more conspiratorial-minded among us suspect there may be an actual conspiracy by online potter fans, not only to attack sites that try to spoil the book but to misdirect pirates by flooding the online zone with bogus spoilers and fake books. Contributing to that suspicion is the rising popularity of a page of supposed spoilers. The page includes different photos of the same pirated book, but if you read the text you see that some of the spoilers are contradicted by what's in the photos. Might that be an indication of a deliberate effort to muddy the waters?

(A separate, somewhat smirkingly suggested conspiracy theory is that the whole thing is a ruse to embarrass the media who in many cases are demonstrating their ignorance of the series as well as the pirated copy in the reports they're filing.)

To say the least, security measures surrounding the book have been extreme. But the article makes no mention of cyber-ops measures.  Maybe we'll get the whole story after the book is released.

Speaking of investigating the leak, assuming there's any crime to be prosecuted (impersonating a Harry Potter book?) one investigative tactic will surely be examining the hidden (EXIF) info in the photographs. If this leads to the arrest of the pirate it could replace the Cat-Schwartz-lesson-for-us-all as the biggest EXIF oversight ever.

Speaking of spoiling Potter, Harry Potter spoiler generator - It's just a jokey widget, the spoilers aren't real spoilers.

Speaking of Potter-related jokes, fake book covers to disguise your Harry Potter book. NOTE: Some of the titles contain curses or innuendo, don't forward this to your kids to show them how hip you are.

MIT team designs sleek, skintight spacesuit - Not exactly Barbarella.

Speaking of sexy space outfits (kinda), Farscape to return as Webisodes? I wonder how the finances of this works.  Does SciFi see it as a stunt or do they need a certain kind of ratings?

Speaking of money from the Web, How top bloggers earn money - Not really a how-to, more like a voyeuristic look at how much these people are making.

"The Guardian's award-winning photographer and filmmaker Sean Smith spent two months embedded with US troops in Baghdad and Anbar province. His harrowing documentary exposes the exhaustion and disillusionment of the soldiers." Some bloody graphic images but so street-level authentic it's really powerful.

Speaking of vivid images of war, never before seen WWI photos. There's another link seeing some extra traffic out there with the same title but it's a whole series of war-dead photos. As much as I recognize the dangers of ignoring the ugly side of war, my interactions with my readers have left me confident that we're aware of the horrible severity of war, so no link for that one.

10 Articles That Changed My Life

Andrew Sullivan on whether Obama can be a consideration for conservatives who don't like the Republican choices so far.

Speaking of Republican candidates, If Clicks Were Votes - Republican Candidates - I love these. Fascinating set of infographics that show where the visitors to Republican candidate sites are from. Hard to say what it really shows, but still interesting.

Judge Awards $68,685.23 in Attorneys Fees Against RIAA in Capitol v. Foster - Part of the "chilling affect" of the record industry lawsuits is that even if you're innocent, you wouldn't be able to afford the legal fees to defend yourself.  This ruling certainly dulls the edge of that particular weapon in the RIAA's arsenal.

The Future of Search - This is an interview with a guy from Google Research. Translation and voice is the part of the answer I found most exciting. I'm ready for a real-time voice input language translator even if technology isn't quite yet.

What I imagined the people around me were saying when I was... It's a funny piece about what teens think people are thinking about them.

The federal tax on each cigar could rise from 5 cents to $10. Am I a sucker for thinking cigars are not the same as cigarettes? I find cigar shops and even cigar smoking to be a quaint pleasure. Of course, I don't find mouth cancer to be a quaint pleasure, so you won't find me on a picket line or anything over this.

Speaking of cancer, get this:  I'm reading this story about the possibility that eating grapefruit actually increases the risk of cancer and I check MSNBC.com for the story to see if I can give the attention to the home team first. Instead I find this story that suggests drinking grapefruit juice with your cancer medicine to make it more effective. As if the specter of cancer wasn't scary enough...

Is there no one who can't be offended by a cartoon? At least the pagans only threaten rain magic. (I don't mean to say Pagans don't have grounds for offense.)

Speaking of cartoons, life imitates comic. It's all fun and games until someone gets a rook in the eye.

Still speaking of cartoons, Lifted: an absolutely hysterical Pixar short.

Speaking of video shorts and being left stranded, here's a fictional story made with Google Earth. Takes a pretty horrific turn, but nice use of the medium. (And by the way, if, like me, you had trouble getting Slate to load yesterday, I wonder if it had to do with the launch of this new video channel.)

Speaking of Google's maps, Google Streetview camera car fleet set to invade America - If you see one of these cars coming, smile and tuck in your shirt.

Greatest Living American Ignored - This kind of falls into the category of "good news is not news" or, as Jon Stewart said, no one reports the truck that isn't on fire, but still, it does seem worth giving some attention to good people every once in a while -especially when an American is being given a peace prize by an international organization. That might be news in itself.

Cool basically real if small and kind of fragile looking transformer.

15 Unfortunately Placed Ads - Some of these you may have seen before but I love that it includes a gallery of Web sites. The ability to automatically place ads on pages based on the text on the page has been a real time saver, but there's always the danger that the story about the plane crash will draw airplane ads or the story about the serial slasher will draw and ad for steak knives.

Photoshop of horrors - It's the job they did on Faith Hill for the Redbook cover. I've been meaning to make a separate category for these. Here's another good one that shows the retouches part by part.

"When you print on a color laser printer, it's likely that you are also printing a pattern of invisible yellow dots. These marks exist to allow the printer companies and governments to track and identify you." This site is proposing activism against such identification.

The Top 10 Weirdest and Funniest Japanese Condoms - It's not really the condoms so much as the packaging.

This is probably spam, but the idea of a goth dating site struck me as funny.

I didn't cover too much of the iPhone hype, so I don't want to give too much attention to the subsequent iPhone bashing backlash (leave that to the gadget bloggers) but this page (NOTE: Contains coarse language) does such an aggressive job of explaining why the Nokia E70 is better that it's worth a look.

Speaking of funny disses, this time favoring Apple, protect your iPod from theft by disguising it as a Zune.

"Imagine a library that collected all the world's information about all the world's books and made it available for everyone to view and update. We're building that library."

"This is the documentation of every intimate relationship I have ever had. The data spans 23 years." I'd be interested to see the reactions of the women who can look themselves up on this guy's chart.