Sunday, January 02, 2005

Lost in (cyber)space

Even readers of this blog are entitled to enjoy good writing from time to time. Accordingly, I want to share a nice riff by Michael Bywater, a Cambridge professor and columnist for the Sunday Independent in the UK. The snip is from Michael's book "Lost Worlds" (Granta Books):

For this most documented of all ages, 404 is the Warhol Number: the sign that your moment of fame (or at least your existence's being made available to others outside your immediate circle) is over. You typed out your story, your thoughts, your theory of conspiracy or angels, your tale of triumph or defeat, laboriously, perhaps. You scanned in your photographs. You checked your links. You worked out how the hell to get the stuff into...cyberspace. For a while, you were, if not known, knowable.

Then something changed. Your account expired. You remarried, moved away, died; your Internet company went bust; a hyperlink broke; something. There is always something, the third man in the diabolical trinity: Death, taxes and...something.

So you became 404: Not found. A blank where something once was. And in due course, the web-crawlers, the spiders and the netbots will give up, and even the link to your unfound memory will cease to appear; presently you will become unfit for consideration and disappear into the void beyond the reach even of Google. World
Aleph: the infinity of infinities.


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