On Friday, Dec. 18th, Mark Nottingham, chair the IETF HTTP Working Group, announced in his blog that the IESG (the Internet Engineering Steering Group responsible for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards process) approved publication of “An HTTP Status Code to Report Legal Obstacles“.
Error 451 will now be used in cases when the page cannot be displayed because of the requirements of the copyright owner or a ban imposed by the government of the country where the user is located. It is a bit like a warning on YouTube, where some videos won’t play in a particular country or region.
Usually, error codes are neither “political”nor they reference any political phenomenon. Error 451 seems to be an exception. Besides, 451 is clearly a sendoff to the Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451.
And now let’s veer off the subject of the error 451 and into the subject of 451 degrees of Fahrenheit. Many people who habitually get their factual scientific knowledge from works of fiction, particularly science fiction, are absolutely convinced that 451 degrees Fahrenheit is ‘The Temperature at which Book Paper Catches Fire, and Burns’.
If you search the Internet, you might find that with Bradbury’s blessing, even some popular American educational sites quote the temperature as 451 ° F, further explaining that it depends on the type and quality of paper. This figure is given only for books and newspapers, the articles elaborate, apologetically.
Ray Bradbury was mistaken, misled into believing that if you put a piece of paper into the oven and turn the heat to 451 degrees Fahrenheit, the paper will burn. It won’t.
In fact, the spontaneous ignition temperature of paper is 450–451 degrees Celsius, which is approximately 843 ° Fahrenheit.
«The ignition temperature of paper is about 450 degrees C, but it is somewhat dependent upon the paper quality. The ignition temperature is 450 degrees C for rayon fibers, 475 degrees C for cotton, and 550 degrees C for flame-resistant cotton (treated with N-methyl-dimethyl-phosphonopropionamide).» (Handbook of Physical Testing of Paper by Jens Borch (2001)).
Ray Bradbury lived in Europe when he wrote his novel. He asked a firefighter, and a firefighter said that paper burns at 451 degrees. Habitually, an American, Ray Bradbury assumed the given number of degrees is in Fahrenheit. Error 451!