WebScan Boten-Anna searches the Internet for email addresses. Within an hour, the Java program typically collects around 20k unique emails.
Previously, you could find an extract from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin DSO who was among the British soldiers to liberate Bergen-Belsen in 1945 on the webpage of the graffiti artist Banksy. I utilized the list of emails to distribute this text to people from all over the world.
After all, this project is of peaceful nature. The message is non-commercial. I use the emails to promote nothing but the extract from the diary. I will do my best, to send at most one message to any email address.
In the following, I report on how WebScan Boten-Anna functions. The Java program consist of three classes:
It has been my experience
that folks who have no vices
have very few virtues.
The NodeAnalysis thread parses a single webpage that is encoded in html, the conventional Hypertext Markup Language. The routine will
There is a connect- and a read-timeout of several seconds. The program reads and interprets line after line. Any line is chopped beyond 2kB. Parsing will abort after reading 2k lines or after a total of 50kB. Web resources with extension .php are intentionally not classified as links. I suspect them to circumvent the read-timeout when inquiring them.
BotenAnna is the central thread that creates the instances of NodeAnalysis. Sometimes, up to 70 webpages are parsed in parallel. Whenever a NodeAnalysis thread detects a link, the link is reported to BotenAnna. BotenAnna decides if the link should be analysed in the near future. If so, the link is appended to a list. BotenAnna creates instances of NodeAnalysis based on this list. Initially, the list contains several seed addresses. For instance, one could start with
http://www.cam.ac.uk/ http://www.city.ac.uk/index.html http://www.mdx.ac.uk/ http://alumni.kingston.ac.uk/NetCommunity/Page.aspx
BotenAnna permanently keeps track of the last links analysed, and emails detected. This memory effect prevents multiple visits of the same webpage. The synchronized data structures employed by BotenAnna are
Potentially, the program screens the Internet for hours. Stability is a main criteria. Therefore, all employed data structures are bounded in size. The use of the Hashtable is to count the web addresses of each domain. If the number exceeds a certain threshold, no more web addresses of this domains are added to the LinkedList. Instead, webpages of other domains are favoured. This mechanism results in a search in breadth rather than in depth.
Making the source code publically available is disputable. However, I would like to distribute the code for educational purposes. After all, the program can do other things than collecting emails. Note that the program does not send emails!
|WebScan Boten-Anna *||WebScan.zip||65 kB|
Useful references for this project are:
Ce qu’il faut craindre, ce n’est pas
tant la vue de l’immoralité des grands
que celle de l’immoralité menant à la grandeur.
Alexis-Charles-Henri de Tocqueville
In a first test run, I send the text to 15k unique recipients from all over the world. The emails are sent via smtp, the simple mail transfer protocol from one of my accounts
Philipp Hakenberg <philipp()hakenberg.org>
Anyways, this project promotes the excerpt from the diary and not my homepage. This solution is only temporary. I will switch to another non-anonymous from-address soon.
Sending 15k emails each 4kB in size via this single account takes 6 hours. Meanwhile, I receive about 200 notes of absence or retirement. If an email cannot be delivered, the report of failure is at least 4kB in size. Anyways, any incoming message greater than 1kB is deleted automatically from the inbox. Unfortunately this way I lose track of the number of broken email addresses.
In the following 48 hours, about 100 people visit hakenberg.org. Using Geolocation via IP Address, I determine that most of the visitors come from countries with English as national language. This is albeit quite a number of emails were sent to German emails. To better suit the people from nations all over the world, I asked friends of mine to translate the text into their native language:
An interesting auto-reply reads as follows
Sorry, your message was not sent out to 'netops-centrex' because the message is identical to a message you sent to 'info-access' recently. If you believe you are receiving this message in error, resend your message with slightly different content.
Maybe I can overcome this intelligence by appending a unique line like email number 24183 to every message. Previously, I have sent the emails in the same order that WebScan Boten-Anna has collected them. This way, a single mail server might receive 50 messages from my email address in a very short time. In the future, I will use the Hashtable iterator in Java that adds randomness to the order of the emails.
For a moment, I was struck by the thought that some of the recipients with gmail-accounts would mark my message as spam, and that consequently Google would degrade hakenberg.org. However, hakenberg yields hakenberg.org on page two. In any case, I am willing to pay this price.
I have received no complaints. Instead, there was one encouraging personal reply
Hi Philipp, Thank you for sharing the excerpt from Gonin's diary. Indeed, this gesture did restore hope and dignity, though initially one might not have expected it to do so. Best wishes, Steve
Money does not perform. People do.
I would like to send emails to people from as many nations in as many languages as possible. The number of emails sent to each country range from 7k to 40k.
Depending on the country, I choose a different name and subject for the email. For instance, the header to Mexico is
De: Jose Sanchez Rojas <pepe()hakenberg.org> Asunto: Parte del diario del coronel Gonin
Be sure you put your feet in the right place,
then stand firm.
Please respond to me via (do not reply to the email you have received).
Below, I reproduce the personal reviews in the order of their receipt. Empty lines, and contact information are removed. Unfortunately, I lost most of the replies that were addressed to any hakenberg.org mail address. If your message appears here, but you rather want it removed, a short note to me will do the job.
Hi Jan, What a fascinating project - I just read all about it on your web page after receiving one of your emails. Kind regards from Melbourne, Australia. Cheers, Marty.
Was soll den der Scheiss? Holen dich deine Mailaddi-Suchprogramm inzwischen ein oder was?
Danke für Deine Mail. Man fragt sich allerdings, was Du einem damit sagen möchtest.
Dear Jan Philipp Hakenberg, Interesting that I should receive this from you. I have recently been reading about Germany during and immediately following the war. I recently read W. G. Sebald's lectures on the air raids, Hans Erich Nossack's The End (in the recent English translation with photographs by Erich Andres), and the just-published New Yorker article by Günter Grass about his time in the war. The Banksy manifesto is very disturbing. I completely disagree with the judgement of the diarist and your email correspondent. This does not tell us about the recovery of human individuality, but about the mindless process of war, the madness of humans so violently displaced from their everyday lives, the ineffectuality of bureaucracy, in short about many things except for what your diarist and correspondent tell us. Brad [...]
Philipp, I have read what you wrote on your site about the email, and you should not be so certain that you have right on your side. The manifesto seems to be using these war time experiences as a justification for graffiti art in peacetime. This is controversial and may not be what the original author would have wanted. The manifesto is not really about promotion of peace, is it? It is an artist promoting his/her own agenda. Incidentally, I notice that you have your email address in image format on your website, presumably to avoid bulk email, but you are happy to send your own bulk email to email addresses found in plaintext format on other websites. Is that not a bit hypocritical? Alan
Gracias... La vida,cualquier suspiro de ella, la enaltece... Virgilio
Dear Jan Philipp Hakenberg, I consider the message you sent me as spam. I understand from your website that the project is intended to send an email to each address only once, but I still think this is an unethical and intrusive procedure. I consider Banksy to be an opportunist passing off commercial art as political commentary, and thus degrading both art and politics. His use of the diary extract is sensationalist and shows a lack of consideration for the just treatment of the victims of the Holocaust. As the author of a book on Adorno, I feel Banksy could learn from the suggestion that after Auschwitz one should not write poetry. Please do not reply to my message, as I do not wish to enter into a discussion with you about this. [...]
Le agradezco mucho el texto que nos envía. Estamos a sus órdenes. Saludos cordiales, Mtra. en Psic. [...] Directora del Centro Nacional de Diagnóstico Para las Enfermedades Emocionales.
MIL GRACIAS LOS RELATOS DE GUERRA SI QUE SON INTERESANTES COMO QUE SIENTE UNO EL DOLOR Y LA MISERIA POR LA QUE PASARON ESAS GENTES Y QUE FINALMENTE UNA INSTITUCION CIVIL SE ENCARGO DE BRINDAR AYUDA COMO SIGUES DE TUS HOJOS MEJOR
Pues, gracias por mandarme esto; es muy interesante, pero tengo que decir ¿porqué? Lic. Gareth [...]
Gracias, lo había leído en inglés... Mi padrastro fue camarógrafo de combate y le toco entrar a liberar con la tropa varios campos... Guillermo
Vaya historia! Perfecta para levantar el ánimo. Especialmente cuando uno está abrumado de problemas y se entera de que hay alguien en peor situación....
Muchas gracias. Siempre que caen en mis manos textos de ese periodo negro los leo con muchas dedicación. Atentamente Teresita [...]
esta bastante interesante el libro de casualidad tienes el resto??? gracias por escribir
Good morning, you sent me an interesting article from the diary of Colonel Gonin. I failed to place it please can you tell me more about yourself and the context of this article. I think it is very interesting and I could not help my mind ticking around it. I look forward to hear from you. Thanks Vimbai [...]
Please inform me why you have sent this to me at my place of employment, without any introduction or explanation. I read about the liberation of Bergen-Belsen while I was quite a small child and in the course of my lifetime have come to know concentration camp survivors in a number of countries, so the excerpt you have sent to me out of the blue is hardly new information. J. [...]
Creo que equivocaste el mail.... para que luego no esperes la respuesta que no vendrá... Suerte la próxima Ana María Avilés Muñoz
Qué lastima por usted y por todos los que sufrieron y se murieron, ni modo. NO SE COMO OBTUBO MI CORREO PERO LE RUEGO QUE ME QUITE DE SU LISTA YQ QUE YO NO PUEDO HACER NADA POR SUS TRAGEDIAS Y ADEMAS ME QUITA EL TIEMPO PARA HACER ALGO POR LOS QUE SI PUEDO AYUDARLOS A ESTAR MEJOR SALUDOS
Me pareció muy interesante y conmovedora la historia. ¿Te conozco?
Interesting stuff - I've come across this before in Wall and Piece too! J
Gracias mi estimado Pepe por email. Recibe de mi parte un cordial saludito. JC
Gracias Dr. Sanchez, no sabes como te agradezco tus palabras. Victor
Buenas tardes, Agradecemos mucho tu información.
Estimado José: creo que no nos conocemos personalmente, pero esta semana me llegó un fragmento terrible de un Diario del Coronel Gonim y trae tu remitente. Por favor ¿podrías darme una referencia más completa para conseguir dicho diario? Desde ya muchas gracias. Marcelino [...]
¿ Puedo saber a que razón obedece este envio ? Por otra parte, se lo agradezco. No por duro deja de ser inquietante e invita a la meditación. Gracias.
Thank you for your email - I am presuming that you intended to submit this extract to the Time Capsule. At present the Time Capsule website is under redevelopment and will be re-launched at the end of the summer. Kind regards [...]
indeed...from the website...some have suggested that banksy wrote it himself. back from germany now, will see you soon! noel and [...]
Hello, thanks for the interesting extract form the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willet Gonin DSO who was among The first British soldiers to liberate Bergen-Belsen in 1945. You have o send this extract to Schwabenakademie Irsee in German- language if you want to participate in "10. Irseer Pegasus". You can read the conditions of participation by uschtrin.de I hope that the information can help you. Yours sincerly [...]
HAlloo Philipp! Ich habe gerade unsere MAiladresse zum ersten Mal seit Ewigkeiten nachgeschaut und bin auf deine Mail gestoßen. Mir hat der Bericht sehr gut gefallen und ich bin ohnehin ein großer Fan von Banksy. Ich habe nur noch nicht ganz verstanden wo der Zusammenhang zur [...] Fachschaft besteht?? Kennen wir uns? Oder was hat es mit dieser Mail auf sich? Bring mal Licht ins dunkel... Grüße, Marina
Verzeihung, Ihre Mail lässt mich etwas ratlos zurück. S. [...]
Unfortunately, I lost some of the replies that were addressed to any hakenberg.org mail address.
One week after launch, my provider in Germany has sent me a kind request to stop. I am not being ironic - they have tolerated my activities for quite an amount of emails.