Colin Delany History, Perspective September 11, 2013

The Man Who Helped the Internet Survive 9/11…And Was Its First Victim

Molly Knight Raskin has a completely unexpected 9/11 story in Slate today, about the man who was quite likely the first victim of that morning (a former member of an Israeli counter-terrorism team who happened to be on board the flight that would hit the World Trade Center North Tower and who died resisting the hijacking). The really weird angle? Danny Lewin was also a serious techie and one of the founders of Akamai, whose web traffic optimization technology that day kept news sites from being swamped as hundreds of millions of people hit the “refresh” button again and again:

But that act of heroism was not the only way Lewin made his presence felt on that terrible, unique, awful day. In a tragic twist of irony, the algorithms he helped develop, and the company he co-founded—Akamai Technologies—helped the Internet survive that day’s crush of traffic— the Web equivalent of a 100-year flood.

Talk about weird connections! And talk about one tough bastard — he took on an armed group of hijackers alone in a claustrophic aircraft cabin, and paid the price. Read the piece for more.

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