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Election-Day's Effect on the Net 108

eastMike writes "ABC News has an article that tells of how "a good chunk of the Internet crashed ? spectacularly" during the election in 1996. I wouldn't have thought this would be much of a concern, but if it had that much of an effect in '96, then who knows. The internet has come a long way since then, but there are also a lot more people using it now." Sort of like the old Victoria's Secret/Super Bowl problem, over the whole net. I doubt we'll see much this year, but it still will be interesting.
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Election-Day's Effect on the Net

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  • I touched on that briefly in my Pro-Gore Rant [slackersguild.com] over at Slackers Guild [slackersguild.com]. I submitted the article to /., but it was rejected.

    So much for my dreams of being slashdotted.

  • I'm expecting at least localized outages. Particularly the drudgereport.com [drudgereport.com] site, since Drudge has pledged to post the results of exit polling. Slate [slate.com] and National Review [nationalreview.com], which in the past have posted this only-available-to-the-press (i.e. not supposed to be released to the public) data, but have said they won't this time. This will cause a great deal of traffic at the Drudge site, which has been crashed in the past by some breaking stories. It wouldn't surprise me if that resulted in related 'spill-over' outages, like everyone trying to call a particular telephone exchange at one time.
  • Sorry, mixed up my Leons. I think it's Leon Harris.

    I know his first name is Leon. But I can't remember for sure what his last name is.

    Slow moving marsupials and the women that love them
  • In fact, election night turns out to be anti-climactic in most cases. I designed and built the election returns system for Washingtonpost.com in 1998. I busted my ass for a month prior to the elections. On election night, I ate pizza and watched returns. There was simply nothing for me to do.

    Considering how many of us in the West have Cable modems and DSL and T1 (I've got all three), you might be in for a bumpy ride, since we're going to watch your returns to figure out whether we can risk voting Green or not.

    You might want to make sure you have some good cache in San Fran ...

  • Er, hasn't that 'W' hand signal already been taken by West Coast rappers in the States? :)

  • Well, his car crashed, but that was before Al Gore invented the internet.
  • Besides, most people will probably check in only once or twice while their at work (as only the exit poll results will be available), and traffic will only be heavy once people get home, and since few people have dedicated connections at home, it will not be that heavy as if it was happening during the day. You also will have all major stations covering this, so it won't be that hard to find info.

    Few people back East or in the South, maybe. But here in the West, where Washington State, Oregon, and maybe California will all be waiting to see if we can vote Green or not, is another thing. We have way more high-speed than the rest of the nation put together - some of us have multiple high-speed net connections like me - Cable modem and DSL is rampant in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, and San Francisco, hotbeds of Green supporters, and we don't wait for noone.

    Hope you've got some akamai - better have local cache on the West Coast or it'll surge across the country and take down the pipelines with it ...

  • I wonder how many people would tune into a live webcast of VS models providing election coverage. ;-)
  • Considering how many of us in the West have Cable modems and DSL and T1 (I've got all three), you might be in for a bumpy ride, since we're going to watch your returns to figure out whether we can risk voting Green or not.

    Oh, grow a pair and vote your conscience.

    (Us Republicans would appreciate it).
  • Hey, I like Bush as much as the next guy

    Hey! I am the next guy and I don't like Bush at all.

    I'm not voting for Gore, I'm voting against Bush.
  • I remember reading the Metcalfe column predicting the imminent demise of the internet and thinking at the time that it was clearly a case of chicken little or sensationalism or both. But I never heard what eventually came of it. Thanks for filling me in. Anybody know if there's an .mpeg or videotape of him chowing down on that column? I'd love to see that!

  • As a matter of fact, the superbowl incident was not just a matter of overwhelming traffic (though, ultimately, thats what happened) it was bad management.

    VS had a website designed to handle about a million hits a day, and while their video feeds were not coming from their website, it was linked from their site, so all traffic to the video feed was funneled through their site, so to speak.

    they never communicated their plans or intentions to The Big Company that was hosting their site.

    So, a website that was built to handle about a million hits a day too kover a million hits an hour.

    webserver fall down go boom.

  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @10:35AM (#645593) Journal
    Cross-country pipes in 1996 tended to be skinny things, T3 at best, and you really needed them. Today, most of the big sites use caching services such as Akamai (used by Slashdot, though not its victims :-) and AT&T (handled the Democratic National Convention just fine) which spread the data out to geographically diverse caches, so Easterners get their copies from servers on the East Coast and Westerners get theirs from the West. Plus those T3 backbones are now OC48 backbones (with occasional OC192, but most of it will really be OC48 or smaller until the routers mature a bit more) - that's 48 times as large,
    plus there are a lot more OC48s than there used to be T3s.
  • by hndrcks ( 39873 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @10:36AM (#645594) Homepage
    This article is really aimed at the lowest common denominator. The metaphors are lame!

    My favorite quote, what a mental image is creates:

    "The immediate culprit was a busted cross-country Internet pipe which was spewing out bad data."

    So they've got this side street in Ames, Iowa blocked off - big hole in the ground, data spewing everywhere, the data pumps can't handle the flow!

    There's a bunch of DPW sewer guys standing around in hard hats drinking coffee... those sawhorses with the flashing lights... a backhoe... and all that bad data 'spewing' into the storm drains. Do you have to call the EPA on a bad data spill?
  • I guess that should have said, "I like Bush a lot more than the next guy". Sorry.
  • As per my previous reply, I mixed up my Leons. Sorry about that.

    Slow moving marsupials and the women that love them
  • Well, just my $0.02. A major outage in Chicago (one of UUNet's major hubs) nuked itself from traffic because I bet ALOT of peeps are trying to get the lastest poll results and junk. Look for tomorrow to be MUCH slower and possibly dead for traffic due to outages!
  • I would think that with the elections being so close that the traffic would be a lot greater, since people will likely be looking for updated stats on how each race is going, and probably be doing this many times. Back in 1996 it wasn't as close and not as many people had access to view stats on line, much less there wasn't as much material back then as there is now.

    People just need to sit back and relax, once they have voted they can't change anything by legal means, and should just go to bed and hear it the next day. But of couse due to overwelming needs for their latest fix of info, they just cant be patient.
  • I really hate that about the mountain time zone. Saturday morning cartoons (specifically Toonami rising sun on the cartoon network) come on so late that it's not even morning. Prime time becomes late night (in some cases)... it's all very annoying! (But I guess the cable networks are just lazy but at least central time gets it an hour early.. sheesh!)
  • Way off-topic for a "news site traffice on election day" thread ... but hey. I can burn some karma.

    The common criticism of the Electoral College is that "the founders didn't trust the people", so they devised the college to thwart populist movements. If that were so they would have kept King George. In fact, the Electoral College was designed because of States' Rights. When the Constitution was written, there was still a strong sense that we were Thirteen United (and somewhat separate) States. The Electoral College is designed to ensure that the winner is approved of by a majority of the states, or something closer to it than a simple population majority. A population majority would have favored Yankees from Philadelphia, New York, and Boston for President; instead, the first three Presidents were all from rural, agrarian Virginia.

    Today, this Federal method of electing the President still has merit. Instead of campaigning simply in the largest states, a candidate must campaign by region. Individual voters' power is increased, on average, fifty times over a national election, because there are fifty times more opportunities for a single voter to influence the outcome. And smaller states that might be ignored have outsized electoral votes (one Representative by population, but three Electors), compared with the big prizes like California and Texas.

    Even so, it's no surprise that an outsized number of presidents are from large states than simple chance would imply.
  • *Yawn* but apocolyptic stories are always good slashdot traffic generators.

    Yeah, look what we started when Taco put up that story about Y2K! ;)

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:17AM (#645602)
    Somewhat off topic, but related:

    Bush was in Florida yesterday (sunday), and was attacking Gore. From what I remember on NPR, his speech was something like this. "Take Gore, he claims to have invented the Internet! If so, then why does every internet address start with 'dubya'?!? 'Dubya, dubya, dubya!'". Oy, and people want to trust him with the presidency??

    (For those not following the campaigh, Bush Jr is advocating that those following him go around with his middle initial 'W', either with fingers on the hand, or on t-shirts, or chanting it, as a rally cry.)

  • Everyone vote Gore before he starts charging royalties for the use of his great invention (the net)
  • by Jeff Vogel ( 246235 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:20AM (#645604) Homepage
    The Internet was never designed to survive a nuclear war. Nuclear war was never a design consideration. Please let this UL die?

    Vote for me and only the right people get hurt.
  • If you've ever been online when a major significant event occurs where there is continuing coverage (the last best one I can remember is Ted Kennedy's plane crash), CNN converts their normal front page into one that just covers that story; the related articles will be located on the main server, but any stories other than that main one, as well as the normal front page, will be pointed to a backup server, maybe not as fast, but able to handle the normal volume load of CNN. I bet the same thing will happen tomorrow; about noonish EST, CNN main site will be strictly election coverage, while the backup site will be everythjing else. I also figure that most major news sites will follow suit.

    Besides, most people will probably check in only once or twice while their at work (as only the exit poll results will be available), and traffic will only be heavy once people get home, and since few people have dedicated connections at home, it will not be that heavy as if it was happening during the day. You also will have all major stations covering this, so it won't be that hard to find info.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It was a problem EXACTLY because there was low voter turnout. Everyone was home, surfing the internet.

    Quod Est Demonstrandum.
  • BTW - that link was nice (like most Straight Dope columns), but didn't have anything to do with the internet. Try again?

    Hey, if there are two Victoria's Secret / Super Bowl incidents, and he doesn't distinguish between them, then I'm free to infer whatever I want. :-) He shouldn't assume that I surf lingerie shops while watching football...

    Still, this is interesting to read. This is the first I've heard of the web site crash. (Gah, I hate it when /. authors simply assume that their readers know about every little server downtime. Misunderstandings like this are what results. Ah well.)

  • I am sick of these stupid, scare tactic headlines.
    "Doomsday, Tuesday" is the title of the ABCnews.com article...when in the second paragraph it states, "The good news is, experts say that's unlikely to happen again."

    Also at the end it states,
    "Odds are good that we'll still see some sub-optimal performance numbers on election night, but it will be far from catastrophic,"

    Sounds REALLY doomsdayish to me....

  • Ted Kennedy's plane did not crash, but John F. Kennedy Jr's did. Ol' Teddy is alive and well (so-to-speak).
  • Bush will win the popular vote (by a minority), Gore will win the Electoral College and the presidency

    There are plenty of available airline seats from DC to Nashville, as well as plenty of hotel rooms, whereas Austin-bound airline seats are virtually non-existent (the last ones in the middle of the night are going for $1600). Plus, Austin hotels are full. This tells me the press and assorted hangers-on know that Bush will win, and want to be there for his acceptance speech.

  • Well at least Gore "invented" the internet... what did Bush invent?

    Seriously, though I think Gore did has some influence in helping making the internet what it is today but I think perhaps he takes a little too much credit for it just like him and Clinton taking credit for our booming economy. The great economy is a result of many more factors than one little president and his immediate staff. I think we can thank Alan Greenspan more than anybody and the internet itself for making this happen. Politicians don't always have as much influence as they would like to think. However, in the case os some such as Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan I think we would all agree that they were able to truly make changes in our world, the only think Clinton ever achieved is notariety.

    I'm not exactly happy with either candidate at this point in the election but as Ross Perot said on CNN Larry King Live, "It's now come down to who is the better of the two horses". Since I"m sick of Clinton and all his lying etc... I think I'll give the Republicans a chance this time...

    Nathaniel P. Wilkerson
    Domain Names for $13
  • I'd like to point out that Austin is quite a bit smaller than Nashville

    According to this [nashvillechamber.com], the Nashville population is 516,800 (est). According to this [austin.tx.us], the Austin population is 643,988 (est). Looks like Austin is actually larger than Nashville, which would skew things even more in support of my argument.

  • I read on Dubya's web site [georgebushlovesyou.com] that if Al Gore loses he will crash the internet!!!!

    Can this be true!?!? :)
  • by Bob Uhl ( 30977 ) <eadmund42&gmail,com> on Monday November 06, 2000 @10:17AM (#645614) Homepage
    The electoral college system was instituted because the Founders didn't want a democracy. The idea is that government should be of the people, not by the people. There was also a much stronger idea of the individual states as entities in their own right. `The United States' was once a plural...

    Originally Senators were selected by their states' legislatures, not by popular vote. The idea is that the Representatives would represent the people, but the Senators--an older and wiser group--would represent the states themselves. The reason for the electoral college is that it enabled the states, not the people, to select the president.

    And electoral votes are allocated on the basis of population--they more-or-less reflect the distribution of the popular vote. Only once in more than 200 years have they disagreed. And those who think the the college keeps third parties down are more than stupid. What keeps third parties down is the fundamentally dual nature of almost every issue, and the fact that single-issue voting is incorrect. An official will decide many issues--one votes for the cadidate who most nearly matches one's own opinion. All parties try to maximise the number of people willing to vote for them--if there is a party A with 40% of the vote, then party B will be its polar opposite, in order to get that other 60%. When the majority of the people agree on an issue, then so too will the parties, for the most part.

    This is why the two big parties--as well as Nader's Greens--are flip sides of the same authoritarian coin: the populace likes telling others what to do, and is willing ot be told what to do. It's who does the telling they care about. Most people are stupid, selfish sheep. They will vote to kill their neighbour if it enriches them (= voting socialist; rob the rich and give to the poor!), to pry in their neighbour's bedroom (= voting far-right; husbands and wives cannot do as they consent), to placing their security in the hands of an unworkable bureaucracy (= voting far-left). They care little for their own liberties and not a bit for anyone else's.

    The situation is really quite hopeless. Rule of one fails because the one is selfish. Rule of the few fails because the few are selfish. Rule of many fails because many are selfish. Rule of all fails because all are selfish.

  • What the hell was The Ladies Man doing on CNN?
  • Beastie the BSD Daemon. BSD Daemon Copyright 1988 Marshall Kirk McKusick
  • Wow, I bet the sysop was pissed.

    - A.P.

    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • Crap, guess you are right.. I work in Austin quite a bit and I just remember Nashville looking quite a bit larger last time I was there... damn statistics.
  • Ted Kennedy was in a plane crash, but that was back in the '60s.
  • I'm just wondering whose site will get hacked first, W's or Gore's.

    Kris Felscher

  • I suggest the election will have a similar amount of interest. And be duller.

  • I don't know about election day, but the net is lagging for me because registration is going on right now.
  • . . .is the truest indication of system reliability. I've always found it good engineering practice to design for a MUCH higher load than the system is expected to take. That goes for physical engineering, not just for computers and networks.

    Mind you, it costs more that way, but what does a catastrophic failure cost ???

  • by Sheeple Police ( 247465 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:48AM (#645624)
    I can just imagine it now... One last chance to exchange barbs between Gore and Bush...

    Gore: Well, I 'invented' the Internet
    Bush(not knowing his mic is on):Yeah, and you also crashed it.

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:52AM (#645625) Homepage Journal
    This could be good news for second-teir news sites. If the major news sites get swamped, many people will hit Yahoo to find other news sites.

    Personally, I expect to do a lot of searching to find full results (ballot issues, local candidates, sixth-party results [let alone third-party results], and such).
  • You guys remember the Victoria's Secret crash?
    That was my LAN party =)

  • how the fuck do you get +2 for that? god damnit!

  • What I wanna know is how you land a job at VS, because I'm quite interested.

    Hmmm, I think I'm gonna have to verify the integrity of the image databases again....I'll be back in a few.
  • by billybob2001 ( 234675 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:49AM (#645629)
    Al Gore's got a fix for it already.
  • When suddenly cnn.com halts from the 7PM EST final exit pool figures rush of hits, well then... I guess everyone would find a good book and start flushing...

    Perhaps the phone lines will be flooded with both internet traffic, and emergency calls for repetive stress to their pointer fingers.

    Maybe my cable modem light will start blinking ;)

    Quite possibly a rush of news-station office types trying to get some quick little tidbit off the net will have reprocussions through their local LAN, and the scheduling computers will crash, 'causing the whole TV network to go down...

    Perhaps nothing will happen. *Yawn* but apocolyptic stories are always good slashdot traffic generators.


  • Whenever there's a major news story in the UK, the major UK news sites (such as the BBC) are inaccessible.

    This has been most evident during a couple of fatal train crashes. When these occurred, the BBC website would be effectivly slashdotted, not serving pages, or even serving older pages than before.

  • If we want to know what's happening, we just switch on the TV. Lots of us over here will be at home with work finnished by the time a lot it starts.

    Pour saps, having to catch up on the sly with the internet while your boss isn't looking.


  • heck, take a look at the ./ homepage!! "who do you think will win this election" :P
  • Internet empty during the finale of Next Gen? Well, I certainly know I wasn't online. But, hey, it's easy enough to shoot down. TNG was (and is) syndicated. The finale was on at different times in every city (or however far depending on your TV habits).
  • I haven't got a clue what your article has to do with Victoria Secret and or the net. Can you help?

    IF there are two different Victoria's Secret / Super Bowl incidents, you ARE free to infer whatever you want. But your article isn't an example of such an "incident" (Victoria Secret != violence against women) so as far as we're concerned you haven't had your coffee yet today.
  • Well, it sound like the entire net is going to get slashdotted. I wonder if this needs a new name? The AOL effect(tm)? when everyone from AOL clicks on a comment board link to say ME TOO?
  • I was working as a tech support monkey for a local ISP when this happened. It was more bad luck than anything else, as I recall. I believe Sprint had a mad outage (back-hoe fiber cut) and a lot of places were either knocked off-line or dropped to their much-slower secondary connections.

    This, combined with the added traffic and some problems with new routes getting propogated exasperated the problem. The network wasn't nearly as robust as it is now, so the "spectacular" outage is much less likely to happen now. But still, it's a good thing I've still got all that Spam and bottled water left over from Jan 1.

  • It could very well be the trigger mechanism.

    Picture this:
    Everyone comes home from work (since for the people that do work, skipping for something as trivial as 'election day' is not an option) and sit down at their computers to download their daily dose of tunes and porn. Within a few minutes they realize that there is something terribly wrong, but aren't quite intelligent enough to understand what. After three or four reboots of their computers, they finally give up and try masturbating (a common after-work relaxation technique for many I'm sure), but without their daily dose of porn it just isn't quite working out. Picture it, thousands and thousands of horny and frustrated morons, unable to get satisfaction from their masturbation, running crazed through the streets, screaming for porn and music, trying to hump dogs and cats and anything else they can get ahold of. Anything, as long as they can take out their frustrations on something.

    Of course, at some point one of them will get the idea of grabbing some nice firm young teen and soon the streets will be filled with an orgy of rape and slaughter as young women are raped and beaten. Oh god, the humanity!

    Slow moving marsupials and the women that love them
  • The story on the front page implied that the sites went down in 1996 because of the high demand for elections related news... the story actually says that's not the case:
    • The immediate culprit was a busted cross-country Internet pipe which was spewing out bad data, Witt said. But that wasn't the only flaw. Like many sites at the time, PoliticsNow had its servers in one place (in their case, Palo Alto, Calif.) meaning a breakdown in a long-distance line would cut the East off from their systems. Most large sites now have backup servers in various parts of the country so users are automatically directed to the nearest "branch" server."

    Oh well, that almost sounded like an exciting story until I read it. Slashdot not quite reading their own submissions again I suppose.
  • ... there will be one small consolation. At least we won't have to continue hearing from all the (half-)wits who think that referring to a Republican exaggeration of a Gore comment for the nth time (as n approaches infinity) is funny.

    (Off-topic, I know. Go ahead, take away a karma point ...)

  • by DeusExLibris ( 247137 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:44AM (#645641)
    As someone working for one of the major political websites in 1996, I can tell you two things:

    1) There were more than "localized" outages in 1996.

    2) It is not going to happen to the major news sites this year.

    Now for some explanation:

    1) On Election Day 1996, about 6:30pm, UUNet had a major outage. What caused it, I don't remember. This caused a cascade effect, with everyone trying to route around the UUNet outage clogging the peering points (particularly the MAEs) causing widespread congestion.

    The outage only lasted for about an hour. But once traffic started to flow, an hours worth of queued updates and requests flooded the servers causing additional congestion and/or failures.

    Combine the above with the fact that no one had any idea how many people were going to look to the net for election coverage and we basically underestimated the impact that this would have.

    2) I know most of the people that designed the systems used by the major news sites (WashingtonPost.com, NYTimes.com, CNN.com, ABCNews.com, USAToday.com) and they will not make those mistakes this year.

    Clearly, the last four years has allowed us to gather a great deal more information about traffic patterns and ways to improve throughput (CDNs, lightweight pages, proxy caches, etc.). In addition, bandwidth is cheaper and more reliable than ever.

    In fact, election night turns out to be anti-climactic in most cases. I designed and built the election returns system for Washingtonpost.com in 1998. I busted my ass for a month prior to the elections. On election night, I ate pizza and watched returns. There was simply nothing for me to do.

    When considering the events of 1996 as compared to 2000, you have to remember that we were all flying by the seat of our pants in 1996 and had no idea what to expect both in terms of traffic and problems. We have learned a great deal since then and I would be incredibly surprised to hear of problems of this sort at any of the mainstream news sites on the net.
  • I heard this part of the speech on NPR today. He was talking to an audience that I gathered was largely hispanic, and was saying the letter 'W' in Spanish, something phonetically like 'doobla vay'. He later said 'tres doobly vay' for 'www'.

    I can think of better ways of endearing himself to the hispanic population of Florida, like maybe ending all embargos of Cuba. Oh wait, that would only endear him to me and a couple of million people who would love to be able to buy Cuban cigars in the US instead of having to drive to Canada!!

    (Apololgies to the hispanic readers in the audience for the hideous buthering of a lovely language ... I took French in school.)
  • Frankly, I won't use the internet to glean a glimpse of election results. I'll be watching ABC or NBC for up to the minute analysis and commentary by experts. Granted, you can get the same thing on the net, but why? I won't be frustrated because my page(s) aren't loading fast enough. Sorry, you can't beat TV for live coverage - yet.

    What I will use the 'net for is post-election coverage. I'll be able to get what information I want, when I want it. In this case, coverage will be far more comprehensive, and I don't have to listen to boring guys with toupees. (once is enough)

  • Yeah, I read the article, but I still fail to see how the stupid election can cause the web to crash. Three points:

    Point 1: Most people still watch the election results on the TV.
    Point 2: How much data does it take to refresh the CNN ticker??
    Point 3: Can this traffic really compare to the traffic when Unreal was released???

    I think that this is just more media hype.
  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @10:23AM (#645645) Journal

    ...front-end-only load balancing.

    That may be the best euphemism for the WonderBra that I've ever seen :)

  • I don't know about everyone else but I plan on wathing Comedy Centrals live edition of the Daily Show for all of my election night updates and analysis!

  • [shrug] Yeah, I'd roll my eyes at that kind of "humor", too. It's at about the same level.

    Anyway, there's obviously no shortage of losers who are still trying to use the "invented the internet" (mis-)quote as if it was actually funny, and not (supposedly) funny because it's unfunny. So trying to use it to be funny because it's unfunny only works if you know that your audience knows it's unfunny, and they know that you know that. Which doesn't describe using it on Slashdot.

  • There are plenty of available airline seats from DC to Nashville, as well as plenty of hotel rooms, whereas Austin-bound airline seats are virtually non-existent (the last ones in the middle of the night are going for $1600). Plus, Austin hotels are full. This tells me the press and assorted hangers-on know that Bush will win, and want to be there for his acceptance speech

    Hey, I like Bush as much as the next guy and am voting for him, but I'd like to point out that Austin is quite a bit smaller than Nashville, which may skew your "leading indicator" here.
  • What difference does it make? It's not like we can vote online anyway.
  • The biggest effect of election day on the net is the lack of interesting news because everybody is covering the election

  • "We have DSL and Cable modems, and we're not afraid to use them, especially at..."

    "Considering how many of us in the West have Cable modems and DSL and T1 (I've got all three), you might be in for a bumpy ride, since we're going to watch your returns to.."

    "We have way more high-speed than the rest of the nation put together - some of us have multiple high-speed net connections like me - Cable modem and DSL is rampant in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, and San Francisco, hotbeds..."


    Go in the head and jack off or something.

    So you've got high-speed connectivity, this makes you the center of the universe?

    It's twits like you that've ruined Seattle...

    I think not; therefore I ain't®

  • I'm pretty sure that they don't do it, but how come the news media isn't required to black out coverage until the polls close?

    There are 3 hours of voting after they close on the East Coast, but at around 8 or 9 eastern, they start declaring a winner. Thus possibly having a major effect on voters, who see a declared winner, and feel no need to go out to the polls, and vote.

  • I'd say the biggest effect that the outcome of this election with have on the Net, will be the mass downloads of everything (mp3's, pr0n, websites with damaging evidence on campaign contributors) that the newly elected canidate will likely " protect " us from in the coming years.
  • ---
    Check out Ralph Nader for President. He doesnt need a .com

    Huh? Yes he does.

    http://www.votenader.com/ [votenader.com]

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com [velocinews.com])
  • by hawk ( 1151 )
    As I type (9:45 easter), cnn's realaudio feed is down . . .
  • Heh, and I voted against *both* of em ;)
  • There have been at least 2 and I think 3 times that the person who won the popular vote did not win. In 1876 and I think 1832 and again in 1888. In the 76 case there was some level of fraud involved.

    The real reason we have never gotten rid of the electoral college is that for the last 100 years at least it has elected the person who got the most votes and thus has never pissed the nation off enough to warnent trying to change it.

    The Cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

  • I noticed that MSNBC has been running really slow, and has replaced their front page with a really stripped-down "light" version because of the "heavy load". CNN seems fine, abcnews.com seems fine, etc...

    Is MSNBC just more popular than everything else, or is their .asp architecture showing its limits?
  • The story is here& lt;/a> . [cnn.com]


  • You are right the Internet was not designed to survive a nuclear war, the concept of a distributed digital packet switching network was designed to survive a nuclear war. But the Internet is a distributed digitsl packet switching network.

    But the folks that independently designed the packet switching that was used in the ARPANET (predecesor to the Internet) didn't have war-survival in mind. They designed an academic network to link researchers together in an interoperable way. Only later on did they run across the folks at RAND that were worried about survivability. Check out Where Wizards Stay Up Late - the Origins of the Internet

    The truth is much more inspirational. than this old misconception.


  • I know the story. Flash crowd is also referenced in the Jargon file.
    Thanks for an informative comment but flash crowd just doesn't have the same connotations as AOL Effect.
  • What I want to know is how in the world it really had that big of an effect in 96! Wasn't 1996 one of the worst years ever for voter turn out?

    And you have to figure only a small percent of those who voted in 96 had internet at that time also!

    Sounds to me like this is the only semi interesting information the news conglomorates could find since all the election coverage this year to date so far has been pretty for a nap at best!


  • by Anonymous Coward
    the Vickie's problem was localized - it wasn't an internet problem at all. The load balancers they were using were doing two-way traffic management for the intial site, and fell over. They were later replaced with front-end-only load balancing.


    A Former Victoria's Secret Admin.
  • by jonfromspace ( 179394 ) <jonwilkins@gmCOF ... m minus caffeine> on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:56AM (#645664)
    Here are a few links for those that wish to monitor Internet Usage durring the election.

    Intenet Health Report [daze.net]

    Internet Traffic Report [internettr...report.com]

    Internet Weather Report [mids.org]

  • the phrase "the Internet crashed" just makes no sense I very much doubt that a network designed to withstand nuclear war went down because too many people were on it. Most likely they mean that a large number of servers on which sites reporting news about the election were ,in effect, /.ed. But of course in 1996 it did not take alot to bring a site down with too many people a bit harder these days in particular for a big news site. Also most ISPs are much better today then they were at that point. Kind of silly but it does bring up the fact that most people out there do not understand at all what is going on in the tech world. Stories like this on /. make me sad come on people at least use the right terms and don't spread the ignorance of those who think that "the Internet crashed".
  • That's a good point. Where will we be able to find 3rd party results? You know the major networks won't be providing this info. Except maybe to say that Nader's 4.5% showing in such-and-such state gave it to Bush. (Which we all know isn't true, but the media treats all votes as if they already belong to The Duopoly.)

  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:57AM (#645667) Homepage
    As someone trying to get results from the 1996 election online, I remember that.

    What happened is a major link/core router/something really important like that died unexpectidly, and then people trying to get the election results had to be redirected around it, which made a huge mess. It wasn't a result of the election.

    Kind of like if you have a hockey game in Toronto, it generates more traffic downtown around that time. If the Subway unexpectidly closes for another reason, the traffic will get worse as people find other ways to the game. But the Subway closing may be the result of construction or a terrorist, and not because of the hockey game. Its just that you see the results of the closure get magnified during the time of the hockey game, when the Subway is more needed.
  • The internet in 1996 was experiencing growth in traffic that the net couldn't handle. You may recall, back when InfoWorld was a good magazine, that Bob Metcalfe predicted& amp; lt;/a> that the internet would collapse - and then he famously [infoworld.com]ate his column [infoworld.com] when it didn't. Why? ISPs were building capacity, which ultimately met demand, and servers were getting bigger and more powerful as well.

    Since then, four years have passed, and the amount of capacity and computing power on the net is orders of magnitude more. ISPs that used to run at 45Mbps now run at 5Gbps and more - a hundredfold increase in capacity (and at least 10x more if you count the increase in the number of national backbones). Meanwhile, political news is still mainly statistics, photos, and the occasional video clip - and nobody has shown that there's been a huge increase in interest in politics via the web. So this time the election-driven traffic is very unlikely to have an impact at all.

  • by Tairan ( 167707 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @08:58AM (#645669) Homepage
    you mean there are other 'organizations' that cause web servers to burst into flames? I thought Slashdot was the only reason servers 'spontaniosly' combusted..

  • by Open Source Sloth ( 232878 ) on Monday November 06, 2000 @09:48AM (#645670)
    Don't know why, but this reminds me of what I heard on CNN this morning while eating my Raisin Bran (yeah, yeah, I know).

    Leon Phelps (sp?) was whining to a professional political analyst that said the electoral colledge system is one of the big reasons that people are not turning out to vote. He was proposing that we get rid of the electoral colledge system (which I'm all for).

    The conversation went basically like this:
    Leon: Don't you think that getting rid of the current system would be the end of our country as we know it.

    Analyst: No, I don't.

    Leon: Well, are you actually saying that the person that wins the popular vote should REALLY be the person elected president?

    Analyst: Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. And what would be wrong with that. After all, isn't that the entire point of a democratic system?

    Leon: Well, you have to admit that the American public are probably not the best qualified to chose their leadership. After all, the system has worked properly for over 200 years.

    Analyst: What you are saying is very insulting to the general population. And it hasn't worked 'perfectly' for over 200 years. The originators of the system looked at this as a temporary fix for the problem that would be reviewed, analyzed, changed and evolved over time. And instead we have people that are basically worshipping the current system of election as if it was handed down by god himself and absolutely refuse to accept that change is even a possibility. Put the power in the hands of the people. Don't fool around with this garbage of electoral votes (which don't reflect the real popular vote at all).


    Basically, (this was paraphrased, but you get the jist) Leon was trying to say that we cannot change the current system because that runs the risk of removing power from the big two and the analyst was saying that the people should have the power that the are told the have and the popular vote should actually determine the winner. It's sad that the media is so biased. And at one time I had thought that CNN was half-way non-biased on political garbage. But it appears that it's non-biased as long as we are only accepting the big two as political parties. Everyone else sucks (and this has been reinforced over and over as CNN states continuously not to 'waste votes' on third parties or "W" will be elected because third parties are just removing votes from the 'good guy' Al Gore. What shit!).

    Anyway, sorry for the rant, now back to our regularly scheduled political garbage.

    Slow moving marsupials and the women that love them
  • You obviously missed the point. The inventing the net joke is funny because its nowhere near being funny. So unfunny it makes you laugh.

    like saying "poopie" during a meeting.

  • Football (violence), V.S. (sex),
    elections (old grumpy guys).

    Doesn't exactly inspire a primal response, thus we wont see the driven masses logging in over it.

  • Trying again:

    Metcalfe predicted collapse [infoworld.com] and 1 year later ate his column [infoworld.com].

  • Sorry, I even saw this one in a CNN story the other day. It's not going away. :(
  • Here's your Internet IP forecast for the West Coast. Expect Net brownouts and timeouts all along the West Coast, especially since we're waiting on Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, and other swing states to declare victors in the Presidential races to see if we can vote Green or not.

    We have DSL and Cable modems, and we're not afraid to use them, especially at Election Night Ballot Stuffing parties where we plan to drop our absentee ballots off at 11 pm PST based on the votes already cast. It's legal, it's fun, and it really upsets those East Coast voters, cause they realize we get to find out who they voted for and then swing the vote back.

    Prediction: Win, Win, Win - Bush will win the popular vote (by a minority), Gore will win the Electoral College and the presidency (due to nice people like me), and Nader will win national recognition for the Green Party, especially in Texas, with more than 5 percent of the vote.

    If you don't believe me, I'll buy you a hard lemonade (or a beer, if you're one of those old fogies) if I'm wrong - collectable in person, just come up to me and say the magic words: "Will in Seattle, you owe me a drink or your karma will suffer." If you're not sure who I am, it's not like there's tons of Afflecks in the phone book, right? Especially ones involved in politics ...
  • The American Electoral system does actually create a 2 party system, not because of the system itself (where electors are elected, rather than presidential candidates directly), but because it is a (except for a few states) "winner-take-all" system.

    What happens to third parties in a winner-take-all system is plainly obvious, as most people are not willing to help their least favorite party win the election just to support a losing cause.

    When you have a proportional system, however, the opportunity for coalitions and partnerships between parties is created. For example, you could have a coalition government consisting of 3 small parties win over a single party that is larger than the other three.

    The problem with this, however, is that the situation inevitably arises where a small party gains a disproportionate amount of political influence due to their capacity as a swing vote. For example, imagine a situation where there are 2 parties each with 45% of the vote, and a third with 10%. In this case, the small 10% party is catered to by each of the others, so that while the third party's representation may be a small fraction of the whole, they still gather a large amount of the attention.

    Alexander Hamilton was aware of this fact, and mentioned it as one of his reasons why the Electoral system was created (to prevent "cabal, intrigue, and corruption", in his words), and I think that in all, it has done a fairly admirable job.

    But while third parties are rarely successful in the American electoral system, this doesn't mean that they are ignored. For what happens is that the larger parties, in order to avoid the sapping of their numbers by a 3rd party, tend to absorb the ideas of the smaller parties. What results is a more moderate version of a (typically radical) agenda that helps bring more people into the fold of the larger party.

    A book that goes contains a good discussion of this phenomenon, in the context of the apparent failure of socialism in america is the book It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States [amazon.com].

  • Um, I believe he was reffering to when the Victoria's Secret ad ran during the superbowl and resulted in a crashed website.

    Although your link made interesting reading.
  • That's not what they were referring to. They were referring to th is [ideamarketers.com] ad campaign during the Superbowl.

  • Reading through the article, their biggest example is their own site having gone down, thus being an indicator that all websites were "brought to their knees". Even if a chunk of the U.S. Political websites of the day were brought down by overload, then it has jack to do with the internet as a whole.

    In the early 80s (as far as I go back on large scale networks like telenet and others that became the internet), they were already talking about how the net was about to be overloaded. The common phrase: "Death of the Net Predicted, Film at 11" was used to show how that common "Next month is it! The net is dead!" kept being said, but never happened.

    When Delphi first gave their subscribers net access (followed by AOL, then Prodigy), many people screamed the same thing. There was a Urban Legend that said the internet was deserted, all the irc channels closed due to lack of users, and no usenet posts were made during the finale of Star Trek: Next Generation. I've got a feeling this "the internet died during the election of '96" is similar. Hey, Ozzies... how were your connections? Anybody in the UK care to comment?

    The net's always "about to die!!!", but it hasn't happened yet, and it won't. Bandwidth may change, and people who think that not getting their http request fullfilled in less than 2 seconds counts as the "death of the net" may be correct for a time... but even then, I doubt it. From (where I started) promptless tty connects at 60 baud in 1979 to today, it's been a steady stride up, and the net has always been "about to die". Someone always figures out another neat thing to do with it, and make it even more valuable (and thus protected).


  • the Victoria's Secret / Super Bowl thing is complete crap.

    GAH!!! One of the fabricators of the made up figure is Janet Katz. Coincidence? Relative? Female pen name?

    BTW - that link was nice (like most Straight Dope columns), but didn't have anything to do with the internet. Try again?


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