Monday, March 19, 2007
Posted by Alan Childress
This blog is being blocked from internal access by the government of the People's Republic of China. At least so claims this website, greatfirewallofchina.org. It runs a test that tells you whether your URL is being blocked in China (I am hoping our tech-savvy reader Simon Pride will try it, read its caveats, and report whether it's for real). Our site is blocked, the tester repeatedly says. So is the blog by Frank Snyder et al. at ContractsProf -- but not some other blogs on the LPBlogNetwork that I tested. Which I won't name because I don't want the Chinese government surfers who built in their own backdoor to know which ones, but let me just say that this finally explains Paul Caron's numbers on TaxProf relative to ours).
The official Disney site comes up "available." Known fascists. Also available to China is Sesame Street. Commies, them, particularly Bert and Ernie. And I simply don't trust Bert's online game, Your Amazing Body (though I plan to still be a consumer of his sponsoring letter, "G" -- I'm not biG into sponsor boycotts for questionable proGramming). Perhaps unrelated, I once caught my son's pre-school teaching him the song, "Touch Your Nose." I spent the next week teaching him my new song, "Hey! Stop Touching Your Nose."
I found out about the testing site from reading Miami's Michael Froomkin at discourse.net (that site is not blocked but his other is, he reports). But two commenters question the accuracy and methodology of the testing site, and have no problem accessing either Froomkin site from China. Blocking issues, one writes, are technological not one big firewall: "this is an overblown topic. It is not a big deal; frankly everyone and their mother knows how to work around it." That gives us at LPB hope.
I very much appreciate the technological and political explanation why so much of the world's population does not read this blog. This world population site runs a counter telling us the total is, this moment, 6,697,415,882. China's population is 1,319,733,329 of that, says this site that lets you track by country.
Now I am using my law prof reasoning: ergo, the other odd 5.4 billion not reading LPB fail to do so for purely technological or political reasons. There is some support for this obvious conclusion: my mom and dad never read the blog, and it is because their Intel-486 based computer we brothers generously gave up for them sits dusty in the basement. I once caught my dad clicking the mouse like a remote but the screen he was pointing it at never flickered on. And my mother, unlike those in China, is unlikely to work her way around a firewall. That explains them, like China.
Then there are the citizens of France. Fundamentally, fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong, and it is obvious their government is blocking our site, too, just to maintain the truth of that vital political maxim (at least as to the men). Reading our posts would threaten the very foundations. It is not that we are always or often wrong, but there was no way the French could allow viewing to continue once they read my 12/6/06 post Jeff Is Wrong, also subtitled I Am Right. Either way, they'd be exposed to something wrong and might succumb. They could solve the dilemma, as I always do, simply by believing me over Jeff, but they clearly won't risk that. I understand: in many circumstances I would bet good money that Jeff is wrong, but I just don't have the arrogance to stake my nation's very identity on the statistical likelihood, though high, of that.
Given these data points, I am confident there is also an oppression and/or technology reason behind every moment our sitemeter does not click. That clearly accounts for nearly 6,697,414,000 of the world's population of LPB non-readers. But to those who see this: thanks for defying The Man by reading LPB.