December 5, 2008

Root Chopper and interesting Visitors to my blog

I found an old manglewurser chopper in the grass behind the barn a few months ago. It is ancient and rusty, with old chipped red paint, but still intact and useful. I had one on my old farm that we used a couple of season when we had the time and gumption to grow mangles (big fodder beets - some are yellow, white or orange but ours were striped red and white like chioggas) and I enjoyed the cold mornings in the barn cranking the handle as the wet pulpy chunks landed in the buckets for the cows salivating in a row. Yesterday a friend called to say he had a ton of turnips that he would plow in if he couldn't find a home for them. Well now there is a home for them turnip. I even have an insulated room in the barn.
So I want to assure the folks at Darpa (US military) and those from the Innovative industries that have come to visit my blog recently, that I really am a simple farmer, a curious one maybe, who chops turnips, grows food and writes silly poems.

post script: this might help explain the visitors


Bishops Homegrown said...

Interesting to say the least. It's a welcome to Prison Planet sort of world we are living in any more.

Patrick said...

My blog also gets visits from US military and government sites. Even Dutch and UK governments sometimes too.

I have a different kind of blog, Wordpress, and I pay a hosting provider to host it for me. Anyway, to make a long story short, I can block specific IP addresses. From time to time when I notice a lot of government related traffic, I block that range of IP addresses.

What I find most annoying is the volume. It's like they download the entire contents of my blog over and over, every few days. Like they can't just have a look at the front page and see if there's a new post or something.

Of course blocking their IP addresses doesn't stop them, but I think it sends the message that they aren't welcome.

It also forces them to monitor my blog with a normal volume of traffic, just like everyone else. If they start using too much bandwidth, I just block their current IP address again.

MissHathorn said...

May I ask what sort of site meters you folks are using? I'd be interested in one that is free and not connected to advertising, it that possible?

Patrick said...

MissHathorn, my hosting providor gives me a stats report. In fact, they give me the log files from my web server, and I write some of my own custom scripts to do analysis on the traffic. I have no idea how it works for Blogger or other stat counters you might find around the Internet.

Anne, I have the ISSI in my blogroll, is this who you mean? This is different from the IRRI... Otherwise, who exactly do you mean in my blogroll? I wouldn't knowingly add a pro-GM organization or company in my blogroll. A person maybe (if they had other merits to consider), but not any sort of commercial organization.

The traffic I was mostly referring to comes straight from the US Department of Defense. The IP addresses can be traced back to a defense contractor in San Diego, or other obviously US government related organizations.

Like I said, they are generally easy to spot because they usually account for more Internet traffic than all my other blog readers combined, and they come back every few days and download the entire contents of my blog over and over.

I don't pay for my Internet traffic volume, and I consider what I publish to be public, even to the US government.

My blog however is for humans to read, not for government computers to mindlessly suck clean and do automated processing on. If they want to read my blog, they should do it like everyone else!

By the way, they have been doing this almost from the beginning, and I don't have any reason to believe by blog is being targeted specially. I assume they do the same thing with most blogs.

As for other people in the US, UK or Dutch governments, I'm not surprised they read my blog. The analysis I've done of my log files suggest I have about 10,000 real readers (not computers or spammers) per month in the peak summer months, a number that's been sharply increasing over the last few years. It doesn't surprise me some of these are government officials.

anne said...

The big boys came (I'm pretty sure) by way of the Internation Rice Research Institute (GMO rice pusher) out of the Phillipines who came -for sure- by way of a blog I have removed connected to Global crop diversity trust (svalbard vault). I see you list this blog in your roll A.B. that could be it.

anne said...

It was just startling to see Darpa visit. When I saw the direct hit to the synbio post, and that Ag. biodiversity blog had referred the page to the IRRI I dug a bit further. I have ethical difficulties with the work of Rockefeller Foundation, the global Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), and its offshoot Global Crop diversity Trust. I didn't realize that the folks at Ag biodiversity were connected there, but did some research and. well, yes. I suppose I shouldn't feel intimidated, but I do. I guess this might be the point. They must have a lot of time on their hands or employees to be dickering around with a small blog, new blog like this.

Patrick said...


There is really a lot of underlying power in blogs, and governments are very much paying attention to this.

There's really no other medium, not only able to communicate information so fast without censorship, but also to be indexed by search engines and other computer processing. Well known bloggers are followed carefully, and what they write gets quickly picked up by others and spread around. People are able to work together and communicate with one another like has never been possible before.

This is one of the reasons traditional sources of journalism often feel under threat. They just don't know how to compete with technology in this way.

Many people are very afraid of blogs, and many other important people watch them carefully as an important source of information.

Trust me, by posting about nanotechnology and synbio, you've attracted a lot of attention. I don't ever remember seeing anyone post about them before (not that I read all that many blogs). Just the fact that you have people thinking about them is very significant.

Remember Obama just one a presidential election, in a large part do to his use of the Internet and blogs.

If you keep posting in the way you are now, you are going to have a lot more regular readers from all over the world.

While it's a bit out of date now, I made a post on this subject a year and a half ago: