Ever seen a flock –a very large flock– of starlings flying in to roost? Here’s one of many videos: starlings on Otmoor. It starts slowly but by the 4 minute mark it is quite impressive. Google “starlings flocking” for more.
The shifting patterns of the co-ordinated flight do not arise from communication bird to bird. The individual birds follow simple rules which govern their flight and the patterns emerge.
Which is what is happening right now in the ongoing saga of Operation Payback in the Wikileaks story. This is from The New York Times:
The coordination and the tactics developed in those campaigns appeared to make this week’s attacks more powerful, allowing what analysts believe is a small group to enlist thousands of activists to bombard Web sites with traffic, making them at least temporarily inaccessible. Experts say the group appears to have used more sophisticated software this time that allowed supporters to repeatedly visit the sites at a specific time when the command was given.
Right now, the hackers are communicating across their flock a bit more than starlings do. But they don’t need to. Just follow the rules, hackerstarlings, patterns will emerge of themselves, and your flock will seem to coalesce, giving shudders to the powerful, and fodder to the bloggers.