Yup, and it works for other protocols and clients, too! Guess we're onto something here
How about having the IRC application shorten the visible text and have them pop up the entire URL on request (i.e. onMouseOver)? Then the shortening service becomes more redundant, which is (as I see it) good for everyone.
We have CAT5 cables that were installed in 1997, some of which are longer than 100m and run past elevator engines and probably lots power cabling (it's in a theatre). With some cables, I could only get a stable link on 10MBPS and sometimes even that was too much to ask. I used simple 8 port switches (sweex, broadcom, etc) for most of these connections. After I plugged in these cables into a decent 24 port 3Com switch, the connection turned out to be steady as a rock. Kind of obvious perhaps, as a more expensive switch would be expected to have better noise tolerance, but it did save me from the impossible and expensive job of reinstalling the cabling. Decent network switches can be lifesavers. Yay for vlans!
New Scientist has a piece about Comet Machholz 1, whose uncommon molecular composition suggests, but does not prove, that it may be an interloper from another star system. "Comet Machholz 1 isn't like other comets. David Schleicher of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, measured the chemical makeup of 150 comets, and found that they all had similar levels of the chemical cyanogen (CN) except for Machholz 1, which has less than 1.5% of the normal level. Along with some other comets, it is also low on the molecules carbon-2 and carbon-3."