I think Jan 16th was the height of the Emilie Parker, Sandy Hook, nonsense.
The number of people "online" is really just the number of people who have been online in the last 30 minutes. I don't think we've been above 300 actual simultaneous viewers (i.e. people with a page actually open).
We run at around 4,000 - 5,000 visitors a day. Peaked around 30,000 with Emilie parker. The most I ever had was 100,000 in a day for the mystery missile stuff on CS.