strange spurts

In a period of 41 seconds on December 21, this site got hits purportedly following links from 75 different pages on scholarsandrogues.com, 21 on russia-insider.com, 21 on www.africaresource.com, 21 on irwinvillagetourzjamaica.com, 20 on jaykeating.com, 18 on *.ox.ac.uk, 17 on www.zylstra.org, 16 on www.nobleprog.de, 13 on ciaplescounreds.me.pn, and 10 pages on 5 other sites.

And then in 33 seconds on December 26: 57 pages on blog.tcmpage.com, 21 on worldpeace.org, 20 on faoumonso.strefa.pl, 14 on hudepajuw.inmart.asia, 13 on www.greendirectory.com, 11 on amary.site90.com, 9 on piratebox.site, 8 on www.strangehistory.net, 8 on masini.00author.com, 7 on lints.atwebpages.com, and 63 pages on 38 other sites.

No site appears in both of these clusters. Some are obvious spammers; some are genuine blogs; fourteen are small Picasa galleries, with no outgoing links.

The requests came from 99 different addresses; again none are in both clusters.

Later: When I finished examining my referral log for December, I decided it’s no longer worthwhile, particularly since Google usually doesn’t tell me what the search string was.

uncanny tedium

A month or two ago, the load of junkmail intercepted for me by Pobox suddenly jumped from about one hundred pieces a day to well over two hundred. (The difference, to judge by titles, consists of repeated pleadings from alleged horny women.)

I have long been in the habit of carefully searching the spam reports for false positives, typically finding one every 3–4 days. (Each of these is a mass-mailing to which I subscribed; I don’t recall if Pobox has ever held up genuine personal mail, though Gmail did, back when that was my primary mailbox.) Now that the burden of this chore has suddenly doubled, I find myself wishing Pobox would make more errors, to reward me.

I see an analogy with the uncanny valley phenomenon, and wonder whether anyone has tried to find a psychological optimum in error rates for problems like this.

I once read somewhere that a “teaser” toy for cats should let the cat catch the “prey” one time in six.

is insincere appreciation better than nothing?

This may be the most effusive comment ever received on this modest blog:

Thanks so much for providing individuals with remarkably terrific opportunity to discover important secrets from here. It is usually so fantastic and as well , full of a lot of fun for me and my office co-workers to visit your site not less than 3 times a week to see the fresh tips you have got. And of course, I’m so actually contented concerning the mind-boggling things you give. Certain 1 facts in this posting are indeed the very best we have all ever had.