Should I boycott Libya’s .ly domains?

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As a frequent Twitter user who prefers to share links to interesting articles and websites, I need a URL shortener. Most recently I’ve been using bit.ly. It works great for me. It also has the .ly domain, which means it’s registered in Libya. The company is based in New York, not Libya, but it paid $75 for the .ly domain. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal had a good article about who uses the Libyan domain, and how some companies are starting to steer away from it. Also worth noting: You cannot currently get a new .ly domain because of economic sanctions reimposed on Libya by the United States. And one startup, Letter.ly, just ran into trouble when it was unable to renew its domain. With the proliferation of domain hacks to represent names, such as Canv.as and Instagr.am, international politics can be a concern. But for the average Twitter user who uses an .ly URL shortener to share links, should they care? I support the military intervention in Libya and I hope to see Muammar Gaddafi toppled. However, boycotting a URL shortener won’t help the Libyan people fighting Gaddafi. I’m sticking with bit.ly. For those who wish to chose differently, is.gd touts itself as the “ethical URL shortener” and highlights the fact that it does not use a Libyan domain. Is.gd is registered in Grenada, which has not been controversial since Ronald Reagan was president. Is.gd is no-frills, which may be all you need (image above is from is.gd’s sister site, v.gd). There are many country domains to chose from. Or you can create your own vanity URL shortener.

Which governments are blocking the Internet?

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Worst Colonel Ever

Google’s Transparency Report is an excellent way to find out what is happening to Internet activity around the world (except China). You select the country and then a Google service, such as search or YouTube, and then get a pretty good idea of whether the people in that country are able to access the Internet or not. If unencrypted searches drop to near zero, you know something is up – like in Libya, on Mar. 3 around 11:30 a.m. EST (my time). More

The unloved orphan: Your unanswered Quora question

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How far removed must two family members be (who share the same bloodline) for their sexual relationship to no longer be considered incest?
Question added to topic Sex. 11:36pm on Friday • 0 Answers • Follow

Have you tried Quora? You go to the website, ask a question, and supposedly somebody with some knowledge on the subject will provide you an answer. Sometimes you get an answer straight from a key player, such as when the John Borthwick, the CEO of bit.ly, the URL shortener using the Libyan .ly, responded to this question: “What will happen to http://bit.ly links if Gaddafi shuts down the Internet in Libya due to protests?” So-called Q&A sites are hot, and Quora is red-hot with hype. The developers are trying to create social places with quality content, and that is a worthy goal. But can Quora avoid degenerating into a Yahoo! Answers site? That has been the biggest fear of the Quora enthusiasts. And their fear is being realized. Let us examine some unanswered Quora questions:

Is it true that Taco Bell uses a “meat hose” to create their tasty, tasty tacos? (and burritos, etc). Or is it just an urban myth?
Question added to topic Taco Bell. Jan 25, 2011 • 0 Answers • Follow

Is the diced carrot in vomit actually stomach lining?
Question added to topic Vomit. Jan 13, 2011 • 0 Answers • Follow

Has Justin Bieber been baptized?
Question added to topic Justin Bieber. 11:43pm on Sunday • 0 Answers • Follow