Sex Blogger Belle de Jour Reveals Herself As Dr Brooke Magnanti

Image via the Times

Well known sex blogger Belle de Jour came out today to the Times. She’s Dr. Brooke Magnanti.

She’s real, all right, and I’m sitting on the bed next to her. Her name is Dr Brooke Magnanti. Her specialist areas are developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology. She has a PhD in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science and is now working at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health.

Magnanti is a medical research scientist. The reason why she became a prostitute are pretty straightforward. She was in London, having given in her PhD thesis and preparing for her viva, when she was running out of money. She didn’t want to go into debt, so she started turning tricks. I am really surprised. I didn’t expect her to be an academic. This paraphrase of her explanation sounds a bit simple ―and it is― so it’s best to read the original article at the Times, where the reporter actually met her.

She was a London call girl for 14 months, from 2003 to 2004. She worked for an agency, and continued being a call girl after she found a job as a computer programmer for 3 or 4 months.

Georgian Blogger Was The Target Behind DDOS Attacks

A Georgian blogger has revealed that he was the target behind the cyber-attacks on Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal and Blogger. He accuses Russia of using DDoS attacks on the online services that have been disrupted since Thursday.

All except Twitter have recovered functionality. There are still problems with Twitter.

Twitter Down Facebook Experiencing Problems

Image via Wired
Image via Wired

Twitter is down. Facebook is experiencing intermittent problems. The world is going to end. Currently, Twitter is defending its servers against an DDoS attack. More about denial of service attacks here.

Twitter has shown its importance during the Iran election debacle a few weeks ago. It was the main way for citizens to get news out about what was happening inside the country, as the government wouldn’t let much out since it has a firm grasp on the media.

It’s a quicker, ephemeral medium. Much more so than blogs, and those are also ephemeral and quick compared to traditional media. It’s launching the real time web, which is something very exciting.

Update: It appears that the source is a Georgian blogger’s account. Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal and Google’s Blogger were targeted. While Google was never affected, and Facebook worked well but with intermittent problems during the day, Twitter is still out of commission.

Boing Boing And Violet Blue

Valleywag sheds more mystery into the break-up between Boing Boing and Violet Blue. Valleywag is making it sound like a broken up love a triangle. It’s possible, but how could it the other Boingers be convinced to remove Blue from their archives? There is more to this story, of course.

The whole “We don’t find her wonderful anymore” line by Xeni Jardin stinks to high heaven.

Boing Boing Responds To Violet Blue

Boing Boing finally responds to Violet Blue

Speaking for all the Boingers–

Boing Boing has been caught in the middle of a real internet shitstorm and pile-on over the last few days. A blogger named Violet Blue noticed that we unpublished some posts related to her. Some people wanted to know why.

Bottom line is that those posts (not “more than 100 posts,” as erroneously claimed elsewhere) were removed from public view a year ago. Violet behaved in a way that made us reconsider whether we wanted to lend her any credibility or associate with her. It’s our blog and so we made an editorial decision, like we do every single day. We didn’t attempt to silence Violet. We unpublished our own work. There’s a big difference between that and censorship.

Be that as it may, it is a form of censorship. Boingboing didn’t like Violet Blue, so they removed any reference of her from their blogs.

We hope you’ll respect our choice to keep the reasons behind this private. We do understand the confusion this caused for some, especially since we fight hard for openness and transparency. We were trying to do the right thing quietly and respectfully, without embarrassing the parties involved.

It is a bit hypocritical to talk about openness and transparency when something like this happens. Clearly the way that Boingboing does business needs to be reconsidered. This whole episode is anything but transparent. It’s one thing if the decision was taken, then the blogger was informed and proceeded in a normal, albeit private matter. It’s another thing doing it behind closed doors, not being transparent and clear, and just editing her contributions out.

Clearly, that didn’t work out. In attempting to defuse drama, we inadvertently ignited more. Mind you, we weren’t the ones splashing gasoline around; but we did make the fire possible. We’re sorry about that. In the meantime, Boing Boing’s past content is indexed on the Wayback Machine, a basic Internet resource; so the material should still be available for those who would like to read it.

Yeah, whatever. That’s not the same thing. I just hope Boingboing is able to resolve this with Violet.

Xeni Jardin’s response:

We, too, prefer that drama be reserved only for one’s momma.

But when the apparent campaign to turn this into some kind of a petty blog fight went on for days and escalated, we felt like the responsible thing to do for you, our readers, was to address it.

Blog fights are stupid, airing personal grievances in public is stupid, picking troll wars is stupid. We just want to blog (and make internet TV).

The “unpublishing” versus “deleting” issue is this: the posts were removed from public view while an evaluation of what to do took place. We didn’t want to pay to host them on our blog anymore. This is also why we remove hateful, ad hominem attack comments from public view, too: this is our home, we are proud of the home we built and the guests who visit here with us, and we like spending time here ourselves.

This is a directory of wonderful things. If we no longer think something is wonderful, we have every right to remove it from this directory.

This is not Wikipedia or the New York Times. Boing Boing began as a personal blog, and still is in some ways, even though Boing Boing is a bigger thing now. When new information becomes clear, or someone’s behavior changes, sometimes a creator of work reconsiders what aspects of their personal creative work they’re proud of, and removes them from public view.

The posts still exist in our archives, and they’re also available on the Wayback Machine.

We realize that we’re now bigger and more complex, and we’d probably handle something like this differently now that we’ve grown (and now that we are more aware of how things can play out when someone’s determined to pick a public fight over it). This hasn’t happened before.

But this was not intended to cause harm to anyone, least of all the subject of the posts. We mean no one any harm.

Nobody was “disappeared.” When we start doing extrajudicial blog executions, or showing up to livejournals in the dead of night in unmarked cars and putting bags over people’s heads, or slicing the power cords off of other people’s own blogs, come talk to me about “disappearances” and “unpersoning.”

We didn’t want to pay to host them anymore? WTF is that? What does it cost, like 0.02 cents a year? That’s the stupidest excuse that I’ve ever heard. Posts/articles and comments are most definitely not the same thing. A comment is just a response. To compare both is ludicrous.

The comments are interesting to read on that post on Boing Boing. However, there are over 700 comments. I got tired after 240.

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Relevant Posts

Boing Boing deletes Violet Blue

Boing Boing Deletes Violet Blue

Boing Boing has deleted any reference to Violet Blue, including all of her posts. From my research, she is involved in a legal dispute over the use of her pseudonym Violet Blue. Other than that, I can’t find out why this has happened. The author Violet Blue seems as mystified as everyone else. Boing Boing refused to comment. By doing this, they have also deleted any reference to William Gibson.