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Friday, September 2, 2005

Wash Out

"The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

In June 2004, the private firm Innovative Emergency Management Inc won a large contract from the US Department of Homeland Security to develop an emergency hurricane plan for New Orleans. IEM produced a press release, which was posted on its website.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. A curious side-effect of this devastation was that the press release seems to have disappeared from IEM's website. Unfortunately for IEM, a politically motivated blog called Lenin's Tomb captured (and has now published) the before-and-after, which can also be found on other internet archives.

Difficult to delete or hide stuff on the Internet, isn't it?

[updated to add] You have to be smarter than that to erase a memory, as Professor Slughorn found in the latest Harry Potter novel. Internet archives are unforgiving and implacable (when you want to forget something), although they can also be hopelessly muddled (when you want to find something). But I still think it's a bit rich for Leninists (of all people) to complain about a bit of innocent and clumsy airbrushing.

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