So as you might remember, my previous web hosts suddenly noticed that I was running a site with a forum, a blog, a wiki, and 90,000 unique visitors a month (12,000 a day) on a jokey little budget web hosting plan that cost $6 a month. They promptly pulled the plug and I had to fight just to get the blog back up temporarily.
Amazingly a minor avalanche of hot web2.0 geeks came to my aid, and then Positive Internet stepped in to give us a free and rather enormous dedicated server. This is generosity beyond my wildest dreams, especially since I clearly lack the funds to keep the site up with anything like that kind of resource, and as a result, badscience.net is now spectacularly overpowered: I want you to picture a small hornby carriage being dragged up the east coast mainline at 140mph by a full-size nuclear powered freight locomotive. This is Orca. She’s hot.
Now obviously I nearly died with shock, but it’s fair to say that Positive Internet are a pretty amazing organisation. They also host, for example, Richard Stallman, free software guru and digital activist, and various free software projects, like this GNU/Linux distribution. This is clearly a company with a very strong commitment to geek politics issues, which is very much where I see us (once my book’s polished off at the lawyers I’ve got a second column in the pipeline, ramming the cultural impact of things like IP, CC, and GNU down the throats of a wider and unwilling audience).
The people at Positive have also been incredibly helpful and funny, and they hosted the Ricky Gervais podcast. I think it’s fair to say that they are the clear geek’s choice for web action, and I for one will not be missing any opportunity to explain how wonderful they are whenever I get the chance.
So the blog is now back up and fully running (your old logins should all work here) and if there are any problems just let me know and I will promptly bash my head against the desk and pass it on to some of the amazing people who’ve helped me out, specifically (so far) Alex Lomas, who is undoubtedly the main star of the show so far, and very kindly did the migration patiently and with (let me be clear) truly astonishing competence. That level of high end geekery to me is indistinguishable from magic and someone should give him an even better job than the one he already has, if they know what’s good for them.
I hadn’t seen world science expert Dr Damian Counsell from pootergeek for ten years – he was a popstar and much cooler than me in Oxford – but he popped up out of nowhere to help during the initial panic and I will be forever indebted (he is a tiny bit war-mongery these days, but the kind of warmonger you can chat to, which is what it’s all about).
The forum is next to come back on, and then next come the plans to develop badscience.net into an uber-participatory quack-busting pseudoscience-fighting media-monitoring comedy community evil empire, which I think will be rather good fun. I have a small band of hot web2.0 geeks who I have ensured are neither undercover saboteurs sent in by the vitamin pill industry nor emmisaries of corporate media satanism, and hopefully now we’ve migrated some will stick around. If you’d like to chip in then drop me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org as ever, I can offer love, microfame, booze, and I know a lot of hot girls.
A bit of money came in before through paypal when we were down which was great – I’m incredibly grateful and was slightly startled at a couple of the donations – it’s quite safe and will be spent on all the other stuff besides servers, especially the evil empire expansion, but mainly crack cocaine and sex workers. Thank you all so so much, seriously.
On a slightly weepy note, I have to say this has been a truly motivating object lesson in how the voluntary skills exchange no-dosh economy can really come up with the goods, and even if I did moan very briefly about spending all my time giving talks in schools for free and then losing the train receipts like a dick (thus losing money), and even though there were times when I considered starting a cynical vitamin pill company or tedious “readers’ health worries” magazine column (I’d rather slam my balls in the car door) just to pay the webhosting bills, I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. This experience has totally put my fighting shoes on.
Hot badscience 2.0 action
There are a few ideas I’ve chatted around with a couple of people, and I’d be really interested to hear anyone’s views on what they’d like to see here. My feeling is there is a massive community of sharp interesting people who hang out here, and a massive amount of interesting material out there to discuss. The one boring thing I’d like to do quickly is get the forum so that it integrates with the design of the blog and uses the same login, so it’s less of a hassly different world (maybe using Vanilla).
The first proper thing I really want to do is get the links miniblog (on the right) running so that when you click on a link, you go to a page, with the link at the top, and discussion beneath. This would be great because it would allow for a lot of entertaining real-time discussion (and debunking) of a large number of dodgy media science and health stories, as well as remote parallel discussion of other loopy blogs, and crucially commentary on all kinds of stuff like webpages, commercial sites, and mainstream media, that resist commentary by design.
It would also be great because the google rank is quite high on badscience.net so it would bring more people into our discursive rational clutches. Also it would be good to expand and have more pages, especially for other people to post interesting quack/scare links.
This is just a snippet of the fun stuff and extra content to come (buckets, audio, written, buckets, seriously), but beyond that I don’t want to suggest too much here, because I wouldn’t want to colour your suggestions, and I really do want to hear if there’s anything people would be up for, especially community stuff.
And meanwhile, let’s not forget that Positive have an excellent shared hosting plan for just over a tenner a month, as well as rather delicious dedicated servers of all varieties for every scale of need, not to mention their managed servers for gigantic projects.
Seriously though… post below, just so I know you’re still there…