There’s an scenario out there called The Slashdot Effect. This is driven by the mention of some website in a story on Slashdot, and is the effect of the subsequent flood of traffic to the site mentioned in the story. Frequently, this crashes websites, and is more than a little irritating to the website owner and the network provider supplying its pipe.

Now, magnify that by a gazillion. That’s what NBC did tonight.

On the Nightly News, NBC reported on the floating tool bag accidentally lost during the shuttle mission, and mentioned that a website that shows the tracking of the bag was linked off their site. Like any good monkey, I swung from webvine to webvine. Apparently, I wasn’t alone, and found that the tracking site was cratered. No response. Not a whisper. (BTW, it appears — from the domain name — that this is an individual ham radio operator’s site.)

I can’t imagine the number of folks trying to hit that site, all at once, and probably at a substantially higher rate for days or weeks. I sure hope the webmaster has a lot of time on his hands. I suspect there will be quite a bit of webdust to sweep up after this little event!