The Null Device


Google have developed a solution for stopping comment spam, or, more precisely, for denying spammers any search engine-related benefits from getting their URLs all over blogs, guestbooks and bulletin boards. From now on, any links on a web page with the rel="nofollow" attribute will be ignored by search engines. This has broad support; on the search engine side, Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search are heeding this tag, and various blogging tool providers, including SixApart, LiveJournal, Blogger and WordPress, have added automatic support of this link to their comment/trackback mechanisms. (As, of today, has this blog.)

Which seems like a pretty elegant solution; rather than shutting down comments or removing functionality (such as the ability of commenters to include links to their sites or relevant pages or otherwise leverage the hypertextual nature of the web), marking the links as not endorsed by the site, and to be ignored by participating search engines (which should soon be all of them, given that it's an excellent indicator of potential link relevance, and not heeding it can impair the relevance of the engine's results).

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A defense attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, met his match with the jury pool from hell: (via jwz)

Right after jury selection began last week, one man got up and left, announcing, "I'm on morphine and I'm higher than a kite."
When the prosecutor asked if anyone had been convicted of a crime, a prospective juror said that he had been arrested and taken to a mental hospital after he almost shot his nephew. He said he was provoked because his nephew just would not come out from under the bed.
Another would-be juror said he had had alcohol problems and was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover officer. "I should have known something was up," he said. "She had all her teeth."
Another prospect volunteered he probably should not be on the jury: "In my neighborhood, everyone knows that if you get Mr. Ballin (as your lawyer), you're probably guilty." He was not chosen.
(Alternate title: "strategies for evading jury duty")

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