Saturday, November 8, 2008


When I moved my blog over to, the quickest and easiest way to give my page a unique look was to make my own banner graphic. I decided to make a depiction of the "blogosphere" as I envisioned it based on the mimetically virulent xkcd 239. Randal Munroe stakes claim to a literal interpretation of the popular term "blogosphere": a layer of the atmosphere where free speech enthusiasts convene aboard various flying platforms and hawk their ideas in a sort of aerial or ethereal bazaar.

According to xkcd, Cory Doctorow from the EFF is the only blogger who actually wears a cape and goggles. I caught a certain implication that he's the only person crazy enough to dress up when they passionately jotcast. This is not true. I put on my robe and wizard hat. Don't take that the wrong way.

So, I drew a depiction of the blogosphere. Over the last few weeks, I've taken some time to characterize more of my web neighborhood.

  • Ryan and I are in the foreground in the guises we took for our web comic, Punnished.
  • Cory Doctorow occupies his ironclad balloon on the opposite side of the scene. (?:T)?ron Paul lurks behind in his blimp.
  • Like the wizards and witches of Harry Potter, in this metaphysical representation of the web, microblogging is facilitated by sending flocks of Twitter bird messengers from balloon to balloon. I called out Josh Lewis, a prolific blogger in my network, by putting him and his family in a balloon the same initial color as his old blog, emanating a halo of tweety birds.
  • Ars Technica is heralded as one of the largest "blogs" on the Internet. My long-time MUD project partner and friend, Ryan Paul edits the Ars Open Ended journal. While the blogosphere is not quite high enough to qualify as "orbital" in the sense of Ars's purported "Orbital HQ", I decided to put Ryan in a nearby balloon emblazoned with a likeness of the Ars logo. Ryan is wearing a cloak of Roman imperial purple.
  • One of the earliest bloggers, Peter-Paul Koch flies in the dark-blue Quirksmode balloon, from which he provides a steady hail of browser compatibility tables.
  • Zeppelin enthusiast, Simon Willson, flies a Django themed zeppelin. He is trailed by the mimetically unstoppable Django Pony.
  • A man I believe saved JavaScript from horrible doom, Doug Crockford occupies a balloon in his blog's colors.
  • As a nod to all the fabulous people who participated in #wotw2, a Martian Unpowered Inter-planetary Attack Cannister falls through the scene on the left.

I've posted an annotated version of the current banner as a larger image, including a version in the original Scalable Vector Graphics format, wherein the annotations are a hidden layer.

I plan to add to the scene every once in a while.

1 comment:

JL! said...

I love the cylinder! Er... I mean, "Martian Unpowered Inter-planetary Attack Cannister." Excellent addition.