At the request of several (well, ok, none bar myself) noders
I have taken it into my hands to try the above experiment with external links.
This follows the chatterbox question by sfc, "Are external links frowned upon?"
Thus is my attempted answer and methodology:
Picking out a node with an external link I brought it onto my IE5 browser page and placed the display in full screen mode 800x600. I shall not name the node for the moment, it seems a little tired following the experiment and should probably not be viewed for some time.
The experiment was conducted in three stages, the frown, the smile and the bounce. I commence with the frown then.
I initiated with a slightly disdainful look, rather than throwing the whole towel of the frown in there at once. I didn't want to scare the subject into any false reactions. However, this initiated no response and I followed through with the kind of look you give to someone who has blocked your path in the supermarket whilst you are in a moderate hurry, nothing too bad, just a "not in the mood for you" type look. Again, the node showed no visible response. Disapointed with my first two attempts I decided to go for the full "someone in the lift just farted and we're only on floor number 1 of 30" frown from hell. At this point there did seem to be a reaction of sorts, the node blurred, the writing on the screen becoming more and more difficult to read. The external link itself was now almost impossible to make out. I checked the mirror beside my desk briefly, as I do every thirty seconds or so, only to discover that it too was blurry. I then came to the realisation that the whole room was blurry and that this was quite possibly due to the fact that my entire face was deep set in frown mode and my eyes were barely open so furled was my brow. Sneakily I closed one eye altogether and opened the other fully, still maintaining a frown, if a slightly inane looking one. The node was fine.
Next up the smile. This was more tricky. Being a complete cynic and a hater of all that exists ( my lifes motto is "Its not life I hate, its the living") a smile is a difficult thing to muster at the best of times. In the midst of such a serious experiment it was going to be a real trial. Then the thought that England had just the other day been put out of the European Championship occurred to be. The first flicker came across my lips and I eyed the node for reaction. Nothing happened. I switched to the fact that it was the first round and that Portugal of all teams had beaten them and the smile more fully rounded itself on me. The node remained unchanged. Looking forward to the joy that their thug like fans would probably have them barred from the next World Cup I grinned fully and focused once again on the node. Zilch. And that being as much of a smile as I could possibly put together I moved on to:
The bounce. This I had to think about. How, exactly, does one bounce a node? It is, after all, just a bunch of pixels on a screen. It is not a physical entity. A thought occurred, as Scottie from Star Trek put it, "Its a crazy idea capt'n, but it just might work", in almost every episode. I backed away from my laptop and walked round the room, the intent being surprise. Coming up from behind I grabbed the laptop from its table-top position and hurled it to the floor.
I'm typing this from my desktop at the moment. I don't know how the node reacted but I can tell you this. Laptops don't bounce. They shatter, they bang, they break apart in a most alarming fashion but they do NOT bounce.
Nodes with external links show absolutely no reaction to any form of stimuli as far as I can tell. Go ahead, try it yourself.