Last week I reported on how Americans are watching the Dutch speed skating supporters in Richmond with great bewilderment. Today Luke Winn, blogger for SI.com, writes on his experiences in the Dutch olympic fan headquarters, the “Holland Heineken House”, after the men’s 10k race yesterday. It was a terrible day for the Dutch. 6.1 million Dutch viewers (out of a population of 16 million) watched their skating hero Sven Kramer make a fatal error, which cost him the gold medal. After the tragedy Dutch fans in Richmond partied hard anyway in the Heineken House. Here are Luke’s party experiences:
Tuesday was shaping up to be the party of the Olympics — Kramer, the most famous speedskater in a speedskating-mad nation, would be coming to celebrate his gold in their favorite race, the 10,000, and the night would close with a set from Armin van Buuren, the world’s most famous trance DJ.
The Heineken House scene we witnessed later in the day was a conflicted one: Fans still showed up to drink, but they tortured themselves by watching endless replays of Kramer’s fatal lane change on banks of flat-screen TVs. Kramer, already the winner of one gold, was their most beloved Olympian; as fan Bram Van den Boom said to me, “He’s kind of like [our] Team Canada.”
When the 10,000-meter medal ceremony from Vancouver’s BC Place hit the big screens, and the Korean national anthem played, chants of “Holland! Holland!” erupted from the back of the room. The party slowly recovered after that. Van Buuren still showed, as did Holland’s bronze medalist in the race, Bob de Jong, who didn’t act conflicted about the way he’d backed into third place. I took a few moments off from consuming Heinekens to film a FlipCam movie, which includes de Jong pulling a Mark Madsen.
Click here for more, and for a video interview with Dutch fans.
The internet in its current form has been around for about 16-19 years (depending on your definition), which makes it old enough for people to have nostalgic feelings about its early days. Ofcourse computer networks were already introduced in the 1960′s and universities, the military and big companies were already communicating through the internet in the 1970′s and 1980′s, but “the web” didn’t start until the invention of HTML and web browsers. I was introduced to the internet in 1996 and got access to it from my own pc in 1998. At that pre-Google moment in internet history (remember ICQ, Geocities, the old Hotmail, AltaVista, IRC & De Digitale Stad?) there were already millions of webpages, today there are billions or trillions. It seems like many people are sharing these nostalgic feelings nowadays. They reminisce about the days in which you would dial in with your 28k8 modem, which took about 5 minutes, type in yahoo.com and wait at least a minute for all the images to slowly appear. But the wait was worth it, because it was all very exciting. Then there was still something epic and mystical about this new mysterious world, which everybody still called by its full name, the “world wide web”.
There are now many websites which let you dwell on these nostalgic feelings, like for instance http://www.internetarchaeology.org/. But the best one is: http://www.archive.org , which lets you browse the history of all frontpages through the years. For instance type in: http://www.whitehouse.gov on the “Wayback Machine” and see how it evolved from a terribly amateuristic site in 1996 into what it is today.
If you’re getting this nerdy nostalgic vibe about the early internet here’s some other interesting stuff:
- Visit the first ever registered domain, Symbolics.com, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in two weeks.
- In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee (scientist at CERN), the inventor of the Hypertext Markup Lanuguage (HTML), put the first website in this format online, a copy of the original can be found here.
- Here’s an article on Salon about what an internet user in 1996 was doing on the web, conclusion: not much.
- An artefact of internet archeology: “A Guide to Cyberspace“, put online in 1994 and still online!
- The Onion’s take on internet archeology.
- Check out this great documentary series on Discovery Channel, Download: The True Story Of The Internet: or read the Wikipedia entry on The History of the Internet
SALT LAKE CITY—In a paradigm-shattering revelation that has shocked the scientific community, paleontologists from the Utah Geological Survey offered definitive proof Wednesday that, for the past 175 years, everyone has been looking at dinosaur fossils upside down. “How they moved, what their appendages were for, we were wrong about everything,” said Dr. Brian Kirch, explaining that new evidence indicates the animals slid along on what was once believed to be their backs. “Basically they scooted around by grabbing nearby vines with their mouths and pulling their bodies. Almost like a snake. What we used to think were legs were actually big flippers that flapped about in the air, driving them forward. Incredible.” Kirch told reporters that when you think about it, paleontology makes a lot more sense now.