Monday, December 22, 2003

Is Google good for you? - BBC News

BBC NEWS | Technology | Is Google good for you?: "Is Google good for you?"

Technology analyst Bill Thompson gives an up-to-date resume on Google ® - which he says has become the Coca-Cola ® of search engines in spite of becoming more ad-oriented and less consumer-oriented in recent years.

See here.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The ABCs of Management

Mullings: An American Cyber-column by Rich Galen writes:

"Some of you might remember my very excellent management theory which holds that:
'A' people hire other 'A' people. 'B' people hire 'C' people.
That is, in any organization the brightest and most creative will tend to clump together. The 'A' people.
And those who are not so will also tend to clump together. The 'C' And the leader of that group will not be comfortable around 'A' people because he or she will believe that surrounding himself with weaker folks will make him look stronger by comparison.
Nothing you can say or do will dissuade a 'B' person from hiring 'C' people. And nothing will tempt an 'A' person to hire a 'B' person - or, if a 'B' person is hired, nothing will tempt the 'A' person from keeping the 'B' person around long.
And all concerned are happy with this arrangement."

Bravo. That is correct.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Wizbang Weblog Awards 2003

Wizbang is currently taking votes (until December 14 only) for its Weblog Awards in the following categories:

Best Overall Blog
Best New Blog
(Established in 2003)
Best Group Blog
Best Foreign Blog
Best Humor Blog
Best Looking Blog
Best Female Authored Blog
Best Liberal Blog
Best Conservative Blog
Best Media/Journalist Blog
Best Ecosystem Higher Beings &
Mortal Humans Blog
Best Ecosystem Playful Primates Blog
Best Ecosystem Large Mammals Blog
Best Ecosystem Marauding Marsupials Blog
Best Ecosystem Adorable Rodents Blog
Best Ecosystem Flappy Birds Blog
Best Ecosystem Slithering Reptiles Blog
Best Ecosystem Crawly Amphibians Blog
Best Ecosystem Flippery Fish Blog
Best Ecosystem Slimy Molluscs (and below) Blog
Most Egregious Omission

I have many personal favorites which are not included in the Wizbang lists and think that the blog selection is one-sided toward political blogs but it is still useful to look at Wizbang for lists of popular blogs.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

All Stanford Law Students to Have Blogs and the Power of Blogs

All Stanford Law Students to Have Blogs and the Power of Blogs

Diebold and the Power of Blogs and the Internet

Word is getting around that the "blog concept" of internet information and dispersion is a tremendous source of power.

Via John Palfrey and his article: "As if Diebold folding weren't enough..." we learn that:

All Stanford Law Students to Have Blogs

"Word is that every SLS student entering next year will be offered a weblog, says Prof. Lessig."

Gee, was I not just reading Dvorak's opinion that blogs are dead?

See the previous posting on the Future of Blogging.

The Future of Blogging

The Future of Blogging

Via Shel Israel's blog ItSeemstoMe at "An Open Letter to John C. Dvorak: Time to Retire", we are directed to an attack on blogs by John C. Dvorak at his November 19, 2003 PC Magazine article "Co-opting the Future".

Dvorak's article has drawn cogent rebuttal, e.g. at

1. Steve Gillmor - "Gillmor Takes On Dvorak's Anti-Blog Stance", November 20, 2003

2. Adrian's Blog - Adrian Bacon has a great rebuttal to Dvorak's attack on blogs, November 21, 2003 and I like what he writes as a comment to Dvorak's post at Dvorak's site. I quote Adrian below [Update: September 22, 2004: Please note that Adrian has informed me that his blog has moved and now uses WordPress. He appears to have edited the original posting. That original posting is found below.]:

"I don't agree with you at all on this.

I blog. I Have done so for a long time. [Adrian's Blog]

I blog because it's an outlet. It lets me write what I want to write about, when I want to write about it, and how I want to write about it, because unlike you, I don't get paid for my writing, and I don't have to worry about deadlines or subject content. Even though I actually have quite a few regular readers, I really don't care if nobody reads my blog. It's there for me to put my thoughts down. I don't usually show any of the feedback I receive from my readers on my blog, but believe you me, I get comments about my blog. Some are sarcastic, some are funny, and some are a note of thank-you because I said something touching or provided a link to something that they found useful, or something like that. Some of it is hate mail. Some of the comments make it completely worth blogging. You never know how what you say is going to affect someone. By some counts, I have a bland blog. Others find my blog very interesting. You'd be surprised how many regular readers become regular readers because of one or two small things that you wrote that struck a chorde with them. A blog is a blog because it's personal, and it's about you.

Contrary to what you say, blogging is a complement to media companies. Jim Lynch said it best in his post."

3. In fact, see Jim Lynch and his November 21, 2003, writing on the future of blogging.

The opinion of PunditMania is...

The journalistic "pay for brains" model has its place in capitalist society, but it is not an exclusive phenomenon.

Many will find it to be a novel, revolutionary idea, but yes, people can also think, even if they are not paid to do so.

Indeed, he who is NOT paid to think or to write, has in some way far more freedom to write what he is thinking, than someone who must constantly look to see that he is not biting the hands that feed him.

So, blogging will not disappear. Quite the contrary, blogging will expand - indeed, into many new and novel areas.

Here are some areas in which blogging will influence the world or is already influencing that world substantially:

1. The Legal Profession. The legal profession is at forefront of blogging. See InstaPundit and the Volokh Conspiracy.

2. Publishing. The Publication of Ideas for many motives, e.g. Recognition and Establishment of a Reputation are important. Some forms of blogging will replace conventional publications.
Olaf Brugman at the Knowledge Bridge blog has posting that "Academic Publishing inhibits the Free Flow of Knowledge". Brugman writes:
"Publishing a book or chapter doesn't pay. And for most authors, to be paid is not the motive to publish. It is the recognition, the start of new conversations, the personal reputation that motivate to publish." These motivations are not going to disappear.

3. RSS and blogging. Blogs were the first to popularize the use of RSS, and RSS will be a gigantic development on the interent in the future - indeed, it alread IS a gigantic development.

4. RSS and the corporate world. RSS and blog-type communication at Triple Point show us the future of corporate interaction.

5. Blogs, RSS and PR (Public Relations). This is a natural field for blogging.

6. Weblogs in Education. Blogs in education will be one of the biggest areas in active applied learning. See the next posting at PunditMania for an inkling of what is to come.

7. Weblogs in Politics e.g. Bush/Cheney, Howard Dean, The Blogging of the President 2004 show this phenomenon already in action.

8. Blogs and Science. The so-called "scientists" are - remarkably - a bit slow, conservative and feeble, but even they will ultimately join the blog bandwagon, once they understand what blogs can do for them, their research, their understanding and their command of their areas of expertise.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

New York City - The Big Apple - blogs index

New York City is still the Big Apple, so that the blogs index of Big Apple bloggers at the site nyc bloggers (New York City bloggers) is a must review for people interested in blogs. There is an A-Z list of New York City blogs and a map overview of their city location by subway line - a neat idea.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Important Bookmarklet Tips for All Bloggers : Technorati PopDex Waypath

Important Bookmarklet Tips for All Bloggers : Technorati PopDex Waypath


Technorati is a page which can be added to your Internet Explorer by dragging the red javascript link "Technorati Anywhere!" on the Technorati pages to your menu links toolbar on the IE browser (then rename the long text to something like Tchnrti to take up less space on the toolbar). Anytime you are on ANY blog page you can click on this Technorati button and it will instantly take you to Technorati, which will tell you how many inbound blogs and how many inbound links point to that blog page. For example, when at the LawPundit blog page one clicks on the Technorati link button, is taken to Technorati, which opens a page showing that LawPundit has 50 Inbound Blogs and 54 Inbound Links (as of November 3, 2003), listing these links in numerical order.

You can of course also go to Technorati at any time, plug the name of ANY desired blog URL in the search box on this page at Technorati and then click "Get Link Cosmos" to find out who is linking to that blog.


To find out WHO has linked to your blog and WHEN they did it, use PopDex:

Go the PopDex addlink page side-bar-listed as Add Popdex Search/Link, then scroll down a bit to "Popdex Citations Bookmarklet"
and drag the link "Get Popdex Citations" to your Links Toolbar in Internet Explorer.
After that, rename the text on the button to something like Ppdx so it does not take up as much space.

Once you have this bookmarklet on your menu tool bar, any time you are on ANY blog page, including your own blog - and that is of course the most important aspect - you can click on this bookmarklet and it will take you to PopDex telling you which sites have linked to your blog and when they did so. As PopDex writes: "This bookmarklet can be used to get the Popdex citations for whatever page that you are viewing at the time."


Waypath can be dragged to your menu links toobar so you have it available for instant access. Waypath allows you to search blogs for particular subject postings by entering either Keywords or a URL in the search box.
Note that the clickable scroll on the drop-down box offers BOTH of these options.

Waypath describes its method of working as follows:
"Waypath's Related Weblog Navigation engine analyzes weblog entries to determine their core conceptual makeups, compares them with one another to find out how related they are, and presents you with its best guess as to what's related to your original input. This is done all automatically, using available technology."

First enter your weblog URL, then click Waypath It! and Waypath looks for weblog entries which touch upon subjects related to those to which you have posted on your blog.
You must enter a VALID URL or you will get a text-based ERROR page.

If you search by "Keyword" topic rather than URL, you have to scroll the search box drop-down list to "Keywords". Now enter e.g. "patent law" and you get ca. 3000 entries. Too many. Enter e.g. "patent law Eolas" and it becomes a manageable ca. 150 hits.
Note that these hits are distinctively different than what search engines such as Google or AllTheWeb produce with the same search words.

The only problem I have found with Waypath is that it is agonizingly slow - perhaps it is used by too many people and the servers are unable to handle the load?

Saturday, November 01, 2003

LivingRoom >> A space for Life: Blog Statistic - Length of Stay

Via Blogcount I was led to Darren Rowse's Living Room : A Space for Life blog and his posting Blog Statistic - Length of Stay, analyzing blogs whose site statistics are monitored by Site Meter.

He has many interesting things on his site.

For example, he cites to a list of "god blogs" at Blogs4God for those seeking other "Christian Blogs". This is not my thing - I just note it since there seems to be a lot of this around.

Darren's blogs links are here.

Knowledge Management

Numerous blogs related to knowledge management are available at the site of Knowledge Board, The European KM Community at:
KnowledgeBoard blogroll - 15 Sep 2003 a list as of September 15, 2003.

Friday, October 31, 2003



The distribution of words in the speeches of American Presidents clearly shows that success in politics requires a much more balanced female / male type of man - at least in speech expression - than we might otherwise require in real life. (Some of this may be due to speech writers.)

President's speeches are a near balance of both female and male elements in most cases, with few exceptions. In fact, the President's speeches are not that different from speeches by the ladies. But there ARE exceptions.

President George W. Bush - Acceptance Speech Dec. 13, 2000
Words: 1302 Female Score: 1095 Male Score: 1435
President George W. Bush - Inaugural Address - January 20, 2001
Words: 1583 Female Score: 2469 Male Score: 2134

President William Jefferson Clinton - First Inaugural Address - Jan. 20, 1993
Words: 1583 Female Score: 2145 Male Score: 2286
President William Jefferson Clinton - Second Inaugural Address - Jan. 20, 1997
Words: 2157 Female Score: 2288 Male Score: 2626
By comparison:
Hillary Rodham Clinton - 4th UN World Conference on Women, Beijing, China, Sep. 5, 1993
Words: 2152 Female Score: 2104 Male Score: 4208

President George H.W. Bush - Inaugural Address - January 20, 1989
Words: 2315 Female Score: 2796 Male Score: 4107
For comparison:
Barbara Bush - Commencement Address, Wellesley College, June 1, 1990
Words: 1205 Female Score: 2022 Male Score: 2038

President George Washington - First Inaugural Address - April 30, 1789
Words: 1428 Female Score: 1868 Male Score: 1885
President George Washington - Second Inaugural Address - March 4, 1793
Words: 135 Female Score: 127 Male Score: 160

President Thomas Jefferson - First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1801
Words: 1721 Female Score: 2376 Male Score: 2199
Interesting, as Jefferson was known as the master writer.
President Thomas Jefferson - Second Inaugural Address - March 4, 1805
Words: 2149 Female Score: 3060 Male Score: 2667

President Andrew Jackson - First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1829
Words: 1126 Female Score: 1115 Male Score: 1427
President Andrew Jackson - Second Inaugural Address - March 4, 1833
Words: 1173 Female Score: 1046 Male Score: 1380

President James K. Polk - First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1845
Words: 4799 Female Score: 5412 Male Score: 6521
Under Polk's administration, the U.S. territory expanded more than under any other President.

President Abraham Lincoln - First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1861
Words: 3630 Female Score: 5120 Male Score: 5060
President Abraham Lincoln - Second Inaugural Address - March 4, 1865
Words: 699 Female Score: 921 Male Score: 888
President Abraham Lincoln - Gettysburg Address - Nov. 19, 1863
Nicolay Draft Version - Words: 239 Female Score: 260 Male Score: 403
Hay Draft Version - Words: 268 Female Score: 280 Male Score: 424

Theodore Roosevelt - First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1905
Words: 983 Female Score: 1290 Male Score: 1496

President Harry S. Truman - First Inaugural Address - January 20, 1949
Words: 2272 Female Score: 2477 Male Score: 3585

President John F. Kennedy - First Inaugural Address - January 20, 1961
Words: 1362 Female Score: 1495 Male Score: 1897

For Comparison

The Declaration of Independence - July 4, 1776
Words: 1331 Female Score: 1039 Male Score: 1400

The U.S. Constitution - Original Version
Words: 4406 Female Score: 4997 Male Score: 4756

And For Interest by Comparison

British Prime Minister Tony Blair - Speech to the Irish Parliament - November 26, 1998
Words: 2980 Female Score: 2480 Male Score: 4686

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - Victory Speech - California Governer Election, October 8, 2003
Words: 955 Female Score: 989 Male Score: 1020
Surprise, surprise. Even here, a balanced match.

Vice-President Al Gore - Statement, December 13, 2000
Words: 1048 Female Score: 1338 Male Score: 1408
Al Gore - Speech to, August 7, 2003
Words: 4604 Female Score: 4168 Male Score: 6671

Patrick Henry - Give me Liberty or Give me Death - March 23, 1775
Words: 1215 Female Score: 1878 Male Score: 1909

President Ronald Reagan - famous speech in Berlin - Tear Down this Wall - June 12, 1987
Words: 2683 Female Score: 2080 Male Score: 3353

President Jimmy Carter - On US Foreign Policy - June 1977
Words: 2633 Female Score: 3223 Male Score: 4036

William Jennings Bryan - famous Cross of Gold Speech - July 9, 1896
Words: 2621 Female Score: 3531 Male Score: 4730

Jesse Jackson - Time for Goliath to Fall - January 16, 1984.
Words: 678 Female Score: 572 Male Score: 1180

Winston Churchill - Blood Sweat and Tears speech - May 13, 1940
Words: 664 Female Score: 939 Male Score: 838


Mother Teresa - Nobel Prize Speech - December 11, 1979
Words: 3823 Female Score: 6299 Male Score: 5595

Pearl S. Buck - Nobel Prize for Literature - December 12, 1938
Words: 9065 Female Score: 10494 Male Score: 14307

Elizabeth Cady Stanton - The Destructive Male Speech - 1868
Words: 955 Female Score: 1028 Male Score: 1272

Madam Curie - Nobel Prize Speech - December 11, 1911
Words: 4293 Female Score: 3591 Male Score: 6231
Madam Curie - Speech on the Discovery of Radium - May 14, 1921.Vassar College
Words: 838 Female Score: 868 Male Score: 1351

Susan B. Anthony - On the Right of Women to Vote - 1873
Words: 483 Female Score: 420 Male Score: 764

Kathleen L. Sullivan - Dean of the Stanford Law School - Fall, 2003 Stanford Lawyer
Words: 761 Female Score: 673 Male Score: 1141

For other great speeches, see also The History Channel.

The Genie Gender confirms that the LawPundit is a Male

The Genie Gender confirms that the LawPundit is a Male

Via Insta Pundit I found the bookblog which has a page called "The Gender Genie" and an input box into which one can type or paste text to determine whether The Gender Genie thinks it is written (or spoken) by a male or a female - based on the frequency of certain key words used in the text.

We ran The Gender Genie on numerous of our texts in blogs and websites and received a clearly definite, correct identification every time - we now know even more where we stand, and, we mean this sincerely, we now understand why some of our postings receive aggressive responses from - especially - males, while females are often attracted to them - they ARE - based on The Gender Genie - pure male. In fact, the male output of words dominates the female output by on average more than 4 to 1 with a top near 90 percent. We are pleased.

Thank you Genie Gender for confirming what we suspected all along.

(we try to exclude quoted texts from our count):

Thursday, October 30, 2003
SnipURL service for Long URLs of Case Law or Statutes
Words: 191 Female Score: 25 Male Score: 458
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Words: 1955 Female Score: 1670 Male Score: 6505
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Controversial Succession Plan for Congress in Emergencies
Words: 323 Female Score: 192 Male Score: 678
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
The Perfidious Senate Bill S 1558 IS
Words: 589 Female Score: 433 Male Score: 1917
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Separation of Powers - Checks and Balances
Words: 343 Female Score: 124 Male Score: 1067 (89%)
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!
Part of that text - excluded from our count - is our selection of passages from the Federalist Papers, Number 51, by John Madison, a quite even-handed writer who has more female elements in his writing, i.e. THE FEDERALIST No. 51 excerpted Words: 706 Female Score: 921 Male Score: 1141

Thursday, October 23, 2003
Senate Anti-Spam Bill passed - Can Spam Act (S. 877)
Words: 643 Female Score: 485 Male Score: 1476
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!
Part of that text - excluded from our count - is a press release by Burns and Wyden which is definitely more femalely : Words: 852 Female Score: 738 Male Score: 1155
Also part of that text - excluded from our count - was a section of a proposed Congressional Bill which we suggested was poorly drafted - Genie Gender says about this text
Words: 51 Female Score: 24 Male Score: 19 - looks like ladies are doing the Congressional drafting

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Law Dictionaries English-German German-English
Words: 1176 Female Score: 628 Male Score: 2729
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Headscarves and the Law
Words: 574 Female Score: 463 Male Score: 1514
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!
We excluded from the count a quotation by Prof. Balkin of Yale which Gender Genie analyzed as follows:
Words: 69 Female Score: 119 Male Score: 174

Saturday, October 18, 2003
Spam and Spam Laws
Words: 1100 Female Score: 667 Male Score: 3025
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Saturday, September 27, 2003
LawPundit (TM) - The Law is a Seamless Web - Or is It?
Words: 777 Female Score: 494 Male Score: 1949
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Is God recognized "under Law"?
Friday, October 17, 2003
Words: 2914 Female Score: 2433 Male Score: 8181
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Friday, October 17, 2003
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Words: 896 Female Score: 630 Male Score: 2095
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!


Home Page Text
Words: 265 Female Score: 46 Male Score: 352
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

MEGALITHS.CO.UK - The Megaliths
Interesting is the remarkable change in male/female wording at my website - i.e. same person writing, however, having a different subject, and different objectives.
Words: 1711 Female Score: 1024 Male Score: 2401
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Index Page - here also we have different results based on the subject
Words: 935 Female Score: 912 Male Score: 1660
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!
Page on Sources
Words: 1749 Female Score: 1700 Male Score: 3332
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!
Person (here we go back to the more standard distribution as found in legal writings)
Words: 590 Female Score: 244 Male Score: 813
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!
Academics (there seems no question that academics are more "female" in orientation)
Words: 594 Female Score: 564 Male Score: 624
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!
Publications (academic publications and writing have a more female element)
Words: 379 Female Score: 459 Male Score: 579
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!
Success (appears to require a good blend of both elements)
Words: 777 Female Score: 1006 Male Score: 1489
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Snip URLs - Reduce long URLs

Via TVC Alert from Genie Tyburski at The Virtual Chase
I spotted through her unusual URLs pointing to the domain
- also at -
that there is a service to "snip" long URLs and reduce them to a specific small URL
which can then under certain circumstances be better used for linking.

The SnipURL website has the motto "Snippenty snip snip with your long URLs!" and offers a free service for snipping long URLs "into small, friendly and persistent links for sharing and remembering".

Register for SnipURL service here.

You can also drag the "Snip This!" link to your browser bar as a "bookmarklet" for quick snipping.

There is also e-mail spam protection for the snipped URLs.

As a registered user you can also keep track of your snipped web pages.

More features are also described.

This is a very useful service particularly since website services can truncate URLs by wrapping them to a new line and thus breaking longer URLs, which can make them "unclickable" - a problem that I have had up to now, for example, with the LexiLine group that I moderate on Yahoo Groups.

This problem should now be a thing of the past with the SnipURL service.

Please note, based on my experience, that there can be glitches at SnipURL: Sometimes I got the message that the website had already been snipped, along with its snipped URL (which was not true) and sometimes I got an error message that the nickname I had entered was already taken, even though I had entered nothing, or had entered a nickname so contrived that it could not have possibly already been taken. This occurred right after my registration and at the beginning of the snipping process. Later, the snipping worked - perhaps the server needs to time to register the registration information? In any case, do not give up if does not work immediately. It did work later for me and continues to work now.

For purposes of illustration, here are the snips of two blogs and my other websites: - gives The LawPundit Blawg - gives The PunditMania Weblog - gives The InternetLawWeb Website - gives The Andis Kaulins Website - gives The Website - gives The Website - gives The LexiLine Website - gives The LexiLine Learning Website - gives The LexiLine Learning Website in Germany - gives The Dainas Website - gives The Isandis Website - gives The Tauta Website

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Analysis of Blogging - La-Legal Annotated

La-Legal Annotated: has a posting entitled "Analysis of blogging" in which reference is made to an article by Perry de Havilland entitled Shadows and Blog, which Steve Covell finds to be the best article not only on the current blog scene but also on the future of blogging. Definitely worth a read, especially for the point that "blogs have an immediate peer review mechanism", to which I might add, yes, but that statement is correct only if the "true" peers are actually reading a particular blog.


I think part of the process of blogging, and I do see it as a process, is in fact the "peer-finding" element: who does - or does not - read a given blog is a matter of choice of each individual and that has something to do with "groupiness" and "birds of a feather flocking together", which I guess is one element of "peer-finding". This of course is greatly affected by blog indexing and especially linking practices and blogrolls.

On the other hand "eagles do not flock", and blog-reading loyalty also is subject to group dynamics in which we find leaders and followers - and most of humanity, of course, prefers to follow: it is generally safer than leading.


As for the motivation for reading blogs, Benjamin Disraeli is quoted to have said: "There are no permanent alliances, only permanent interests," and of course blog-flockers are pursuing what they view to be their interests. The determination of just what interests those are can be a complex undertaking. For example, it can be useful to follow blogs critical to one's own views, since these often provide new insights and new impetus for the development of one's own position.

I imagine that it will not be long before a tenured professorship on weblogging will make the academic scene somewhere. It is a rich field for research and study of human communication.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

PressThink - Weblogs as Journalism

PressThink, which has a Motto "Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine" contains two interesting postings for October 17, and October 16, 2003:

1. What's Conservative About the Weblog Form in Journalism? These ten things....
2. What's Radical About the Weblog Form in Journalism? These ten things....

the latter ten of which is augmented at HypergeneMediaBlog

all of which enthusiasm is somewhat dampened by The Blogging Iceberg at

Blogs are in coming ... no doubt ... but one should not "over-expect".

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Jay Allen :: The Daily Journey Movable Type Spam-Blacklist

For those of you out there using Movable Type, it may be in recent days that you have received a lot of spam as comments to your blogs from organized spammers. There is apparently a solution for you at Jay Allen :: The Daily Journey: and his "MT-Blacklist: Stop Spam Now At long last, it is here, MT-Blacklist."

I myself do not use Movable Type so I can not judge how well this works, but I imagine it would be wortwhile looking at this site.

Monday, October 13, 2003

NITLE Weblog Census and Blog - Register Your Blog

As noted at the website of The National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE), the Institute:

"was established in September, 2001, through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to serve as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration for national liberal arts colleges as they seek to make effective use of technology."

One of the activities of NITLE is an apparently continuous weblog census enabled by ca. 40 robots at
NITLE Weblog Census. That website page enables blog registration as well.

To facilitate this ongoing census, we recommend that everyone who has a blog register their blog with NITLE.

The NITLE also has a blog:
NITLE Census News is a blog devoted to the results and interpretation of the results of the census.

Blogs - The Wave of the Future

Scott Loftesness: cites to eMarketer which reports on a survey by Perseus Development Corp on the age distribution of bloggers.

According to that survey, 50 percent of bloggers are under 20 years of age and 40 percent are between 20 and 30 years of age. We are already talking here about several million people, and the serious applications of blogging are in their infancy. Perseus estimates that there will be 10 million blogs by the end of 2004.

The Kicker - New York Magazine Blog

Blogging continues to march into the journalism mainstream. As reported by, New York Magazine has hired Elizabth Spiers to write articles for its new and first weblog, The Kicker, which will cover the New York City scene. Spiers used to be editor for the popular blog Gawker, a Big Apple blog, now edited by Choire Sicha.

CYBERJOURNALIST.NET reports MATTHEW YGLESIAS BLOG TAPPED reports the first case - at least the first one known to us - of someone getting a job over his competitors because of his "well-known" blog. The news story relates to Matthew Yglesias getting a job at the political magazine, The American Prospect, which now has its own new weblog TAPPED at TAPOnline.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

The Vardi Paradox


Who is Yossi Vardi? and what do you know about Mirabilis?

You will find the answer here where
Thomas Friedman writes about the Vardi paradox:

"The Vardi paradox states: 'The value of any Web site is in inverse relation to what it costs to attract new users.' The biggest cost for most e-commerce sites is ads, so the more people come for free the more valuable your site."

By that standard, blogging - which thus far is "for free" - has a great future. It is steadily attracting increasing numbers of users and readers, most of them without yet being paying customers and by word-of-mouth, i.e. without advertising.

There thus is sound financial reason that Google has recently purchased Pyra Labs, the owners of Blogger - who host their blogs at, the most popular of the blog hosters.

As a sign of the times, difficult-to-install but free Movable Type has launched its easy-to-operate fledgling "pay to blog" Typepad blogging system.

I imagine that Blogger will be coming soom with substantial changes and improvements (RSS, Trackback, etc.) in its program to counteract the emerging competition.

Dennis G. Jerz: On the Trail of the Memex. Vannevar Bush, Weblogs and the Google Galaxy


While looking for an explanation of the term "Meme" in the Yale Law Blog named LawMeme, I came across an absolutely wonderful online article by Dennis G. Jerz entitled "Dennis G. Jerz: On the Trail of the Memex. Vannevar Bush, Weblogs and the Google Galaxy". Vannevar Bush, an important computer pioneer, himself wrote a superb article prophesying the World Wide Web in the 1945 Atlantic Monthly, which is accessible online here. Absolutely must reads.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Tyler Cowen - Volokh Conspiracy - Internet Publishing by Academia

Sunday, October 05, 2003 posted by Tyler Cowen, 7:53 PM, at The Volokh Conspiracy:
"Why not publish everything on the Internet? I've been thinking lately about why my discipline, economics, doesn't publish everything on the Internet, with subsequent commentary on the Internet as well. Some people, such as Brad DeLong, think this scenario is in the cards, only a matter of time. Many parts of physics already operate this way. So why don't all fields?"

Cowen then posts five possible reasons why much of academia avoids open publication of articles on the internet, which may all have an element of truth to them.


There is another, less benevolent, answer I would propose, which I would suggest accounts for part of mainstream academic reluctance to join the web openly, especially the peer-review journals:

Physics uses the internet because physics is a naturally-closed high-level mathematically-oriented and specialized field. The physicists need not worry too much about opening themselves up through internet publication. It is a rare erudite layman or even highly profiled academic from another field who can evaluate a physicist's work, even at the most rudimentary level of this profession.

Not so in many other disciplines, however.

Whereas an engineer can not build a motor and claim that it works - without also having proven that the motor actually runs - the same is not true for all sciences, especially the "soft disciplines".

Many academic disciplines, particularly the humanities, operate according to an antiquated system of so-called "science" whereby publications - and the theories in them - are accepted or rejected as the result of the political clout of the so-called "acknowledged" mainstream authorities in their fields, often operating through crony (peer-review) journals, which do not publish anything that rocks "their" mainstream boat, following the theory that what is "generally accepted" to be true by the mainstream, is true. We cite here to the landmark decision in Daubert where that view is rejected in modern law.


If the mainstream started publishing to the internet, many humanities would come under scrutiny by highly profiled intellects and/or highly intelligent people from other fields who would start asking the humanities to prove that their theoretical motors actually run. Alas, I would predict that many of these motors do NOT run.

Questionable fields in my opinion, from the standpoint of the test of "probative evidence" and from the standpoint of the tenets in Henri Poincare's Science and Method and Science and Hypothesis - are, just to name some that are quite familiar to me:
Archaeology, Old Testament Studies and the History of the Ancient Near East, Egyptology, Historical Linguistics and the History of Astronomy prior to the Greeks.

Some fundamental mainstream precepts in these disciplines are nothing more than educated guesses based in part on wishful thinking. And yet we permit possibly erroneous views of ancient history to form our views of e.g. the Middle East. After all, the full-page map at page 233 in Ian Shaw, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, shows the Pharaohs of Egypt to have ruled the area we today call Israel and Palestine - clear up to Ugarit - at the time of Pharaoh Thutmosis I, which is ca. 1500 B.C. There is no record of this territory having been lost by pharaohs after Thutmosis until the rule of Ramses III, at whose time a Syrian migdol was buit in Egypt , indicating Syrian influence. So if Egypt ruled this land in 1500 BC, which seems to be unquestioned in Egyptological circles, who does this territory belong to really? and is ancient Ugarit - the northernmost border in 1500 B.C. for the Pharaonic sphere of influence on Shaw's map - in fact the historical border between the Pharaonic rulers/Hebrews - see below- and the ancient Syrians (ancient Mittani viz. Naharin)?


Here is what Cosma Shalizi, DARPA Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Michigan's Center for the Study of Complex Systems writes about mainstream scientific method and theory:

"Philosophy of science these days seems largely concerned with questions of method, justification and reliability --- what do scientists do (and are they all doing the same thing? are they doing what they think they're doing?), and does it work, and if so why, and what exactly does it produce? There are other issues, too, like, do scientific theories really tell us about the world, or just give us tools for making predictions (and is there a difference there?). The whole reductionism---emergence squabble falls under this discipline, too. But (so far as an outsider can judge), method is where most of the debate is these days.
Of course, most scientists proceed in serene indifference to debates in methodology, and indeed all other aspects of the philosophy of science. What Medawar wrote thirty years ago and more is still true today:
'If the purpose of scientific methodology is to prescribe or expound a system of enquiry or even a code of practice for scientific behavior, then scientists seem to be able to get on very well without it. Most scientists receive no tuition in scientific method, but those who have been instructed perform no better as scientists than those who have not. Of what other branch of learning can it be said that it gives its proficients no advantage; that it need not be taught or, if taught, need not be learned?' "


Some of the points raised above seem to reflect similar questions about the law asked by Mr. Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, in his article
"Chaos and the Court," 91 Colum. L. Rev. 110 (1991).


In any case, take a look e.g. at my postings about numerous and hardly believable recent archaeological blunders and oddities at:

1. Fake Jesus chalk ossuary shown to 100,000 visitors at the Royal Ontario Museum as if it were genuine.
2. Mummy alleged by a British archaeologist to be Nofretete actually a man?, with a wonderful follow up in Al-Ahram, Egypt by Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Director of the Giza Pyramids.
3. What the Guardian calls blundering archaeologists regarding supposedly ancient rock drawings in Britain
4. What the Washington Post writes about archaeology and the doubt of the existence of the Queen of Sheba, and I suppose in the same breath, the doubt of Hebrew history (the identity of the archaeologist here is interesting).
5. We need not go into the situation in Iraq here, but also that arena is not conducive to establishing confidence in Archaeology.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Open publication of materials in this field would open the academics in those fields to long-term public controversy and often derision - such as that visible above - until they got their scientific standards of evidentiary proof up to snuff. Much of the mainstream account of man's history is based on hearsay, superstition, mythology and witchdoctor-like historical perception - probative evidence is often lacking to establish key landmarks, especially those assigned to chronology.


In this vein, I repeat here again my long-standing open challenge to ANY scholar worldwide for ONE piece of probative evidence for the current chronological dating of Biblical Moses, a Moses alleged by Artapanus (see David Rohl, A Test of Time) - the only probative written historical source - to have been born in the reign of Pharaoh Chaneferre [as his grandson], which, by present Pharaonic chronology, and without trying to move the Egyptian chronology forward, as Rohl erroneously then does try, would place the birth of Moses ca. 1700 BC - as a grandson of the pharaoh [so who were the pharaohs then? if not the progeny of the Jews], with all of the changes in our view of world history that this date would engender. My challenge has stood for years - there have been no takers, which is understandable, they would be ripped to shreds under cross-examination by even an average counsel.


As for economics, what advantage would ranking mainsream economists (as opposed to economics per se) gain by publishing to the internet, except to water-down their power base? Established capacities in the field are unlikely to do it, as they gain nothing by it, so it will be up to the newer generations to move forward.

We see this development in blogging, which is not populated by a lot of aging tenured professors, but rather by dynamic newbies who see the future - and that future belongs to them.


Let us close with a somewhat different view of academics, as posted by Eugene Volokh, 10:31 AM, October 6, 2003, under the title:

"Profbloggers: Why are there so many of the leading bloggers academics? A few thoughts:

1. The observation bias explanation: Even if the blogging impulse is as common (or rare) among academics as among others, academics are more likely to become relatively prominent. First, we have a credential that makes people notice us more (whether rightly or wrongly). Second, we do actually tend to know quite a bit about certain fields, which brings in readers, readers who stay even when we write outside our field of expertise. So it looks to you like there are a lot of blogger academics, because you judge their number based on what you see, and you disproportionately see the more prominent blogs. (Special twist: You are reading a mostly academic-written blog, which probably reveals that you tend to like academic blogs. People who don't read InstaPundit, this blog, and various other academic blogs probably perceive academic blogs as rarer than you or I do.)

2. The job description explanation: You're getting what you're paying for. University professorships are a way that society subsidizes intellectuals (through tax money, through charitable contributions, through social conventions that give research universities special prestige as validators of undergraduate quality, and so on), by giving them lots of free time to think and write about whatever they like. Why would society want to do a silly thing like that? Because, the theory goes, intellectuals who are hired as professors will create intellectual public goods -- things that people will ultimately benefit from, but which are hard to make money on. A classic, and especially valuable, example is basic research. Another is popularization of technical ideas for laypeople, for instance when a professor is used as a (free) resource by journalists, or when a professor bypasses the middleman and blogs instead.

Maybe if micropayments became really cheap and easy, such popularizers and opinionistas could get paid directly (Andrew Sullivan is trying to do that on the opinion journalism front), and not have to rely either on book sales or newspaper columns (which have their limitations, in terms of timeliness, format, and subject matter) or on an academic job. But for now, we profbloggers are paid through the "give academics enough to live on, and see what goodies they'll come up with" system. It's not obvious that blogging is the optimal use of our time (or even part of the basket of uses for our time). On the other hand, it's not obvious that it's not, since the other rival candidates (e.g., writing law review articles) have their own drawbacks (e.g., limited audiences and limited relevance).

3. The academic selection bias explanation: Professors went into the academy because they like to spread their ideas, and because they like to talk. Blogging is a good way of doing that.

I'm sure there are plenty of other explanations, too, but these are just the ones that struck me at this moment as being likely the most relevant."


And that is surely true, although I think there are a 4th and 5th (and maybe 6th) primary reason:

4. Prestige: Blogs provide an academic with the means to quickly and effectively propogate his or her ideas and to bypass the antiquated peer-review process, and - in case the peer-review process is viewed as an alternative down the road - blogging can serve as a means to create, develop and refine new ideas, all of which can now or later lead to an image increase.

5. Larger audiences (Volokh mentions this point as an aside): Quite apart from the "job description" point of view, your average academic, whatever his professorial credentials, has a relatively small audience. This is not a good situation for someone who thinks he has something valuable to say. Some profs today may even teach less than the lecturers or adjuncts, who may be the ones with the greatest student (i.e. audience) contact in classes. For example, in semesters where I have taught Anglo-American Law, Legal Research and Legal Writing at the University of Trier Law School as a Lecturer, I have had ca. 200 students per semester and ca. 20 student assistants - few professors can match those numbers. As every academic knows, teaching reaches larger audiences, but does not move careers. Research reaches much smaller audiences, but these small audiences are the "right" ones in terms of career advancement. Research is of course thus preferred in academia and is done in the last analysis for the so-called peers, a handfull of people, and to what effect? You show me a professor with 50 peer-review publications and his career will move forward, regardless of the merit of the publications. An average book by a professor sells, let us guess, 250 copies (?), and most of these go to the various libraries or to the peer-review journals as review copies. Who else reads this stuff? In other words, the young profs who are now blogging may subconsciously - and probably correctly - see a greater immediate possibility of influencing the world through blogs - while at the same time also establishing an expert image among peers of their own age - than through articles on dusty shelves, where they may be rewarded for their expertise - in the days when they turn 60. Blogging seems the more alive thing to do and I do not think it will go away - rather - it will increase. If I were a chairman of a department, I would have everyone on the faculty blogging under the motto: "so, you think your ideas are good? - let's see who reads them and what they say about them. Let us not write only for the library shelf."

6. Practically seen, blogs as communicative tools seem to be tailor-made for education and learning, so it may be no accident that they attract academia. Indeed, education is an area where blogs are really taking off.

In any case, my prediction is that in the immediate future, more disciplines, and especially the "soft sciences", will ultimately publish peer-review type journals to the internet, but will do so chiefly behind closed doors, i.e. on protected websites and only to a select audience of "subscribing" cronies (academic subscriptions are a nice way to keep the market closed). Anything else might otherwise prove to be contra-productive for many members of the mainstream, whose work then would be subjectable to intense, immediate broad and "strict scrutiny". This would run contra to the maxim of "publish or perish", which presumes that peer-review publication means honor and prestige, regardless of content. The key thing is - publish. You need not be read or agreed to, to become an authority - you merely have to get your articles into the right journals. And to do that, you have to write the right things - as determined by the reviewers. Those of you who have run the gauntlet know what this entails. By contrast, consider, do the older, established "good old boys" of academia really want to publish to the internet and be the focus of possible public criticism, with the accompanying possible loss of the very image plusses which are sought to be gained? No. So, it is up to the younger generations - as it always is for progress. And do not be too angry with those in established positions - Elizabeth is STILL the Queen of England and the Pope is still the Pope. People hang on to their established positions as long as they can. That is the rule of much of the world.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Kitchen Cabinet

Written by Lily Malcolm at The Kitchen Cabinet is : "Yesterday at work I had to submit my yearly plan, in which I was supposed to inform the powers that be what percentage of my time I plan to spend for the year on actual work and what percentage I plan to devote to writing, speaking, etc.

Kate [Malcolm] suggested I write, 'I plan to spend 100 percent of my time doing whatever the heck I'm told.'"

That last sentence for some/many/most (take your pick) employers defines the perfect employee. This can go either way - positive or negative. After all, we ARE hired to do a particular job.
Humans being humans, it always depends on who is doing the telling and what they are saying and when they are doing it.

The Volokh Conspiracy

At The Volokh Conspiracy: "[Eugene Volokh, 5:02 PM] Eugene Volokh writes:
Existence and food: Apropos my observation below that in Russian the word roughly meaning 'is' or 'exists' is the same word as 'to eat,' Sasha writes:
In German, 'you are what you eat' is: 'man ist, was man isst.'"

My addition:

Latvian and Lithuanian are the oldest still spoken Indo-European languages.

In Latvian
es = "I, the self"
esu = "am, i.e. being" whence "es esu" in Latvian means "I am"
and in Latvian est = "to eat"
hence, this means that the concepts of self, being and eating were intially one and the same in Indo-European.
The explanation?...contrary to the theories of the mainstream linguists, is that
I(self) - ARE (IS) - EAT are all basically one word in origin, i.e. the concept of "Selfing", which has been dissimilated over time.
Note that the English concept of "is" is simlar to Latvian es(u) for "self".

Monday, October 06, 2003

Family Medicine Notes

Best Medical Blogs

Family Medicine Notes at Docnotes refers to a Forbes article about "Best Medical Blogs".

DeanLand.WebLogs.Com : Quick Saturday Night Update

From the BloggerCon, Deanland identifies some of the fascinations of blogs:

DeanLand.WebLogs.Com : Quick Saturday Night Update: "The ability to link, to edit (even after the date of original post), to exponentially expand via threaded ongoing discussion, adds an electric and immediate, interactive quality to the weblog experience that is different from, say, websites as extensions of more traditional media. "

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Blogger Con: Blogroll for BloggerCon

BloggerCon Blogroll (RSS Title)

Nr. 12 - October 4, 2003 - posted by Andis Kaulins

BloggerCon (the Blogger Conference) is ON !

Turn off the TV football games, flick the PC online instead and take a look at the blogging "who-is-who" on the BlogRolll at the BloggerCon NOW taking place at Harvard Law School, Oct. 4-5 2003.

Click to those blog sites on that BlogRoll and get a scintillating close-up view of where the world is going. Some bloggers are of course reporting on the proceedings on site, so you have a movie theater back seat to the goings on.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

PunditMania and the Google Toolbar Blogger Button

Google Blogger Button (RSS Title)

Nr. 11 - September 25, 2003 - posted by Andis Kaulins

This is a test of the Google Toolbar "Blogger Button" which can be installed on the Google Toolbar using Microsoft Internet Explorer. If it works properly, this "InstaButton" means that website pages can be commented instantly from the Google Toolbar - albeit with minimal formatting options, but this should not be overly critical to blogs, since substance should rule over form.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Moreover Weblog Search (RSS Title)

Nr. 10 - September 24, 2003 - posted by Andis Kaulins
Press Release © 2003 Moreover Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved.

[The increasing importance of weblogs ( also known as blogs, or in jargon, if related to the law, often called "blawgs" ) as a source of information is highlighted by the following press release from]



World first real-time weblog search to offer enterprises access to high value information

San Francisco, CA - September 22, 2003 - Moreover Technologies, the leading provider of aggregated online business information to enterprises, today announces that it has launched the first real-time weblog search tool for the enterprise. The product harvests information from over 25,000 hand selected, business-critical weblogs in real-time and enables corporate users to gain access to the high value news, commentary and consumer opinion that resides within weblogs.

Weblogs, or "blogs", are frequently-updated, private websites with a chronologically dated 'log' format. They take the form of personal commentaries on a diverse range of topics, from the writer's own life to their observations on business, politics and world events. This highly individual content can provide businesses with invaluable insight into perceptions of their business as well as highlighting news and information that is of particular interest. Blogs are increasingly becoming a key part of the media mix, both in terms of content creation and consumption. There are over 3 million active "bloggers" in the US and, according to the Pew Internet Report, approximately 8 million Americans visited blogs to find Iraqi war coverage.

To overcome the issue of the variable quality of blog content the team of human editors at Moreover Technologies assigns each blog a ranking that corresponds to the reliability, integrity and caliber of the blog thus enabling users to instantly identify high value information. Additionally, each blog is tagged with a wide range of metadata including, but not limited to, the number of incoming and outgoing links to it as well as the blog's status in the wider blogging community.

The aggregated blog information is also available to users as pre-configured or customized topical 'feeds' that provide users with access to relevant information as it appears online. Blog content will also be made available via Moreover’s ci-metabase product - a complete and constantly updated XML feed of all information harvested by Moreover - allowing a completely customised solution for the enterprise.

Jim Pitkow, CEO, Moreover Technologies, said: "Weblogs are increasingly being recognized as an important source of business-critical information. Blogs highlight the news that matters as well as providing instantaneous commentary and opinions on a wide variety of topics and events.

The addition of blogs to the content we already harvest again demonstrates our position at the forefront of aggregated, online business information. By looking for information beyond traditional news sites, Moreover can offer businesses a truly comprehensive service ensuring that our clients receive the information that is important to them wherever it appears and as soon as it appears."

# # #

For more information contact:
Patrick Herridge
Mantra PR

About Moreover Technologies:
Moreover Technologies is a leading provider of online aggregated business information. Its technology searches more than 5,500 hand selected news, corporate or government websites and discussion boards as often as every 15 minutes for new content. This content is then categorized and fed out to users - giving them a real-time insight into the news and issues that matter to them.

Headquartered in the San Francisco and the UK, Moreover Technologies serves blue chip customers, including Hill and Knowlton, CitiGroup and Microsoft.

© 2003 Moreover Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

More Best Blogs Blogged

More Best Blogs Blogged (RSS Title)

Nr. 9 - September 15, 2003 - posted by Andis Kaulins
Copyright © 2003 by Andis Kaulins


The Blogging Network WEBLOG

The Blogging Network is trying the concept of "blogs for bucks". Will it work? I doubt it. Even the well-known and quite successful writer Stephen King tried to serialize a book (The Plant) online and was unsuccessful.


On the other hand, let us say that a top-ranked, prolific and near-to-immediate blog such as InstaPundit went the way of "Pundit for Pay" - how many readers would stay?


We might look to the "remains" of Napster (although iShareIt claims that "Napster lives on") and observe what happened when Napster tried to collect for file-sharing from its otherwise non-paying million membership. They were KaZaA'd by a program that has been downloaded over 200 million times worldwide and has pased ICQ as the world's number one download. Who is going to pay for something they can get just as easily elsewhere for free?

SARAH LANE'S Blog Report

Sarah's weekly series at Tech TV on "news and views from the world of bloggers" covers a broad spectrum of blogs, such as Sarah's July 2003 blog report on MoBlogs - Mobile Blogs, or her short blurb on Alternative blog-entry programs.


Root Blog is a blog aggregator which they themselves define as
"aggregating the PoweR of Blogs! - Web Blog Directory"


Blogcritics describes itself as a "sinister cabal of superior bloggers on music, books, film, popular culture, and technology - updated continuously."


Akablog is a blog by a technical writer at AOL who has a broad range of postings, many worthwhile.


Crescat Sententia by Will Baude has the answers to the recent 20 Questions for Tyler Cowen, which are a superb commentary on blogs in general.


Daniel W. Drezner has a recent very useful posting on "Advice to new bloggers".


Euro Pundits gives a view of what the people on this side of the Atlantic are thinking.


The Baltic Blog focuses on a region of the World set to enter the European Union.


All About Latvia currently has good information on the European Union expansion.


Laurel McMechan's Physics Web Log "for 21st century physics and astronomy" cites to some of my best stuff on Stonehenge and the megaliths. Thank you, Laurel.


The Edge of England's Sword, "Voices from the Anglosphere", quotes the Queen of England. The Royals still are symbols for many - representing the historical vestiges of leadership of the modern civilized world.


Anthony Wells' Journal is a solid bulwark in the British blogosphere.


Oliver Kamm defines his sphere as "politics, economics and culture" and definitely leans to the right of The Guardian, to which his latest posting gives a sound thrashing.


Groklaw is an excellent legal blog by a paralegal par excellence.


VodkaPundit touts itself as "Stirred, Not Shaken".


The Agonist sees itself as "thoughtful, global, timely".


Is intelligence AND passion the political answer? Tom Paine discusses punditocracy and liberal pundits while cogently faulting neo-liberalism for falsely intellectualizing passion out of the political equation - this is a great read regardless of your political persuasion.


Chris Lawrence "Signifying Nothing - Infinite Diversity in Two Combinatons"
has some very good stuff posted on political science.


The Man with the Golden Truck has to be a classic.


This blog's motto is that "Out of the Crooked Timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made". Seems to be anti-Volokhite, but erudite. "Chris" posts the important truth that people tend to believe information which is congenial to their interests and disbelieve information which is not.
Hear, hear.


Jack Balkin's Balkanization blog states punnily that "Balkanization is an unanticipated consequence of Jack M. Balkin". Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School and his legal analysis of legal issues shows deep insight (see particularly his posting on Thursday, August 21, 2003 on Chief Justice Moore As Administrator, Not Judge), even if one does not share his political leanings.


Not a blog but great reading for all parents with college-going kids, one should read
How to get your child into the right university - you may not like it, but it apparently works.


STRATFOR (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.) uses the motto "Predictive, Insightful Global Intelligence" and we agree. Compare what the "war blogs" write with what you read here.


The Tailored Blog by Brendon Sinclair (also SitePoint Tribune author)
has a simple, basic, sometimes innovative and thus excellent blog on marketing.


Along the same lines, Sinclair also a different kind of "blogg" (not "blog") for client hunters, employers looking for new staff, prospective employees, resume writers, college applicants, job seekers and just plain marketing folks,
at Joe/Julia "Bloggs".


Lying in Ponds tries to show the "absurdity of partisanship" by drawing a line between party preference and excessive partisanship.

PunditMania ® Mentions


One Father for Dean describes itself as "A father and his politics" and as "A minor political odyssey for all the right reasons...and Howard Dean in 2004".
One Father for Dean picked PunditMania ® as a "Blog to Watch" - thank you - so I thought I better look at this blog and this man Howard Dean a bit closer. Dean is not only the first Presidential candidate to recognize and use the power of blogs effectively, but he has also profited from so-called "Meetups", so look for the internet concept found at ("Meetup is a free service that organizes local gatherings about anything, anywhere") to become a solid part of the social fabric in coming years.


The Truth Laid Bear has the motto "A bear, the world, and the strong urge to hibernate". The Truth Laid Bear pointed its bear claw at PunditMania ® when we started the blog up. Thank you.

Saturday, September 13, 2003


The Value of Blogs (RSS Title)

Nr. 8 - September 13, 2003 - posted by Andis Kaulins
Copyright © 2003 by Andis Kaulins



Guilted by Google: "Ethan Zuckerman has a weblog with the motto "...dragged kicking and screaming into the world of user-created media"
He finds that blogs make the rankings at Google.... how right he is.


Yet, I understand but disagree about Zuckermann's wondering
"whether blogs [are not] just personal homepages that get very well indexed by search engines"
or his not being convinced
"that blogs are any more than an evolutionary, not revolutionary, change from personal publishing".

Ethan, from my point of view, I find that blogs are truly revolutionary - and rightly ranked highly by Google - because they represent a development at the forefront of "ultimate" democracy, sort of an instant online "Hyde Park" soapbox from "any man" to "any other man".

The future impact of blogs over time should not be underestimated. The impact will be enormous.

Through blogs, this is the first time in history that we can actually "look inside so many people's heads in such detail" at the same time and almost instantaneously and see what is going on inside in that gray matter, something which most web pages do not do, being a more static medium. Education, business, politics, advertising, marketing, personal relationships, etc. will all change due to the absolutely unique insight into the workings of the human mind that blogs are providing for us. That is also why blogs are so popular - it is communication at its best, reflective but quick.


When we studied 1st Amendment "free speech" at Stanford Law School, I was known to wryly proclaim that for most Americans, free speech was an illusion, because it gave citizens the clear right to speak what they thought they wanted to say, but not the equally necessary right that what they said would be heard by anyone ... anywhere.

Blogs provide a forum which opens up a new world that what we say might also be heard - and, due to keyword indexing and the like - we can find the people who are commenting on subjects that interest us. Thus, the right speakers find the right audiences, mind you, for better or worse. In this manner, minds come into swift contact that would otherwise never "find each other". This phenomenon will lead to the formation of "mental alliances" of a sort never before seen in human interaction and will change the way we do things in many areas of human interchange.



Arnold Kling at Corante "tech news, filtered daily" in his article "Is Blooging a Fad?", on the THE BOTTOM LINE, after sophisticated analysis of the issue, has determined that blogs are here to stay, especially when they serve the function of being a a very efficient filtering system for information.


Rory Perry's weblog on "Law, technology and the courts" touts blogs as being of value for the judiciary "as a public information tool".


Brendan O'Neill in his Gone to the Blogs states that the value of blogs to him is that it gives him the ability to "connect otherwise disparate pieces of knowledge and information".


Outside the Beltway (OTB) finds that blogs have a value because they:
1) "highlight stories that aren't widely covered elsewhere, bringing them to the attention of people who are interested in them"
2) "bring expert analysis to the forefront that would otherwise be ignored"
3) "are more interactive than other media, including even talk radio"

see USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review ®

see SlashDot

see Lead and Gold

see Berlin Blog

see Body and Soul

see WebmasterWorld

see Blogging Fantastic

see A Networked World

see Emergic.Org

see Gadgetguy
and the article of reference at the N.Y. Times
which indicates clearly that

GOOGLE uses blogs for internal communication among its workers.

That would seem to settle the issue.

Are blogs here to stay? No doubt about it.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Stopping Google Redirection in Foreign Countries

Stopping Google Redirection (RSS Title)

Nr. 7 - September 12, 2003 - posted by Andis Kaulins
Copyright © 2003 by Andis Kaulins

Google Redirection in Foreign Countries - Solutions

Living in Germany I have gotten quite angry about Google's recent redirection from (in English) to (in German), so I sent them a "legal" e-mail about it, suggesting that any practice of redirecting a URL to a different web page with different content in a different language is probably prima facie illegal. Plus, it is a considerable source of a waste of time if you are, for example, in France and do not read French.

They sent me a nice reply which I include below in full for other Google users suffering from the same problem, especially while on private or business trips overseas.

From :
To :

Subject : Re: [#3808823] Why automatic switch from .com to .de in Germany

Date : Thu, 11 Sep 2003 16:20:16 -0700

Hi Andis,

Thank you for your note. Google normally redirects users in certain
countries from to one of our local destination sites (for
example, for Google France). We use the Internet address
assigned to your computer, which is frequently the Internet address of
your Internet service provider (ISP), to determine which Google site
corresponds to your geographic location. We also offer you the option of
avoiding this redirect and using instead.

If you've been redirected incorrectly or aren't being taken to the Google
site you prefer, follow the instructions below to direct your browser back
to As long as you have cookies enabled in your browser,
you'll only have to do this once; after that, your browser will connect
directly to each time you visit Google. For more
information on cookies, go to

On the bottom right-hand side of the page is a link that says
"" When you click on this link, you'll be taken to on all future visits.

It's very important to note that your browser will only "remember" that
you are opting out of Internet address detection if you have cookies
enabled. If cookies are disabled, you'll experience the same redirect each
time you visit Google. You can solve this either by enabling cookies in
your browser or by setting a new bookmark for
In the latter case, you'll be taken to (this
is exactly the same as each time you select the bookmark.

We apologize for any inconvenience this process may cause you. If you need
further assistance, please let us know.

The Google Team

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The Robb Report presents the Best of the Best

Robb Report Best of the Best (RSS Title)

Nr. 6 - September 10, 2003 - posted by Andis Kaulins
Copyright © 2003 by Andis Kaulins

The Robb Report, Magazine for the Luxury Lifestyle

If you are looking for the "best of the best" in terms of luxury products and a luxury life style, you should look at the Robb Report online, where one can subscribe to the Magazine and/or the eNews. The Robb Report will keep you up on what you could do, buy and consume if you could afford it. If you are among the best of the best - a status which of course is not necessarily a function of income or net worth - maybe you CAN afford it. Whatever the case may be, The Robb Report is a consumer's ultimate delight.

The magazine this year has / had the following editorial schedule:

January Private Travel
February Car of the Year
March Spring Style plus the Special Yachting Section
April The Ultimate Home Tour
May Adventure and Travel plus the Special Motorcycling Section
June Best of the Best
July Wealth Management and Family
August Exotic Cars
September Fall Fashion
October Private Preview 2004
November Watches and Jewelry plus The Host Guide
December The Ultimate Gift Guide

I subscribe to the Robb Report because it gives me perspective on life in general.

Human Work and Skills and the Value of Luxury Items

We live in a world where money, fame, success, achievement, wealth etc. are held in high esteem. This is not simply the so-called "materialistic" side of the world, as detractors of material wealth might be apt to proclaim. The best of the best luxury consumer goods are also a stunning panorama of HUMAN SKILLS as well - and this is something that we too soon forget in passing judgment on "material goods".

Nearly everything that we buy or consume is made by human work and expertise - albeit using the materials of nature - which I call the spiritual side of materialism. You can not make a product which does not in some way use the natural resources which our planet provides - so, for those of you out there who are "God-fearing" - you need not deny yourself luxury goods for religious reasons. In the last analysis, these material goods also derive ultimately from the hand of the Almighty. Man can only use what is THERE to begin with and nothing else.

Still, it is what Man does with natural resources which often sets the value of what we call "luxury items". After all, even diamonds have to be skillfully polished to shine, and most things "worth having" involve the application of the best technological or craftsmen skills that mankind has to offer.

The Word "Luxury"

The word "luxury" is thus really in part a misnomer and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th edition) gives three definitions for "luxury", all of which in my opinion do not necessarily hit the nail on the head:

1) something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort
my comment: so what is "non-essential"? and is a heavy diamond around your neck really "comforting"? or, is having a castle in Scotland a luxury? - perhaps only after you put in the lacking central heating.

2) something expensive or hard to obtain
my comment: many forbidden drugs are expensive and thankfully hard to obtain - I would not call them luxuries

3) sumptuous living or surroundings
my comment: anyone can sit on a beautiful beach and watch the sunset drinking a glass of pure water - that is sumptuous living and surroundings too.

So, "luxury" must have yet another - missing - element.

Having what your Neighbor does NOT have

To my mind, luxurious goods are generally those which can in fact sometimes be easily obtained (IF you have the money) but which the rest of humanity does not have - the scarcity of which goods, due to the laws of supply and demand, makes them exorbitantly expensive and in our eyes "valuable". For example, in the formative years of the automotive revolution, it was a luxury to have an automobile. Today, nearly everyone in the Western world has "a car". So, to have a true "luxury car", you drive a Daimler-Benz (Mercedes), or some similar brand, which the masses either can not afford or which they do not purchase due to other priorities.

In other words, the dictionary definitions of "luxury" above miss the essential point of "luxury" items, which is their relative scarcity among our fellow humans. We often want what the other guy has and we do not have it. This grass is greener view of the world is not always accurate.

Be this as it may, as the famous saying goes, "You can tell the size of the boys by the size of their toys", and, indeed, a certain degree of one-upmanship is at the root of all "luxury" thinking. Especially men are competitive among each other and constantly jockeying for position somewhere - even if it is only something as simple as winning a round of golf at the local country club.

I will not comment on the competitiveness of the ladies here, because, as a man, I can not look inside their heads, but THEY are the ones who WEAR the diamonds. The question remains, who is paying for it. For many men, women too, are a luxury - and, I think, in fairness, vice versa in many cases.

What Makes Luxury Items Expensive?

One major reason that products are luxurious and cost a fortune to buy is the amount of human work and skill involved in making them.

The name Ferrari is not synonymous with luxury just because it is expensive. Rather, everyone knows that a Ferrari represents the absolute apex in the state of the art of making the fastest consumer automobiles, often incorporating modern new knowledge gained from professional auto racing. There was a day when only race cars had disk brakes. Now we find disk brakes on normal consumer vehicles.

Similarly, the most expensive watches are masterpieces of state-of-the-art technology and design - and, interestingly, most of the websites of the world's leading watchmakers reflect these best-of-the-best design elements. Take a look at some of these mostly unique websites:

Patek Philippe
Tag Heuer
Audemars Piguet
Vacheron Constantin
Jaeger LeCoultre
Girard-Perregaux Ferrari Watch
Baume & Mercier
A. Lange & Soehne
De Grisogono
Alain Silberstein
Wempe - Overview
but then again - a prolific blogger ! - has a link to what David Gagne calls the World's Best Watches at far less cost.... It just depends on what you need.

Just as in the making of time-pieces, where years of experience are at the heart of the watchmaking art, the most fabulous houses incorporate thousands of years of experience in architecture and building, using the best construction materials available, and applying the newest technologies: see

Microsoft Encarta ® a history of architecture and building

The "spiritual" lesson perhaps to be learned here about "material" goods is that some things may have an "intrinsic" value - independent of advertising and similar variables - an intrinsic value based on their content in natural resources and based on the amount of human work and skill that has gone into making them. In my view, these are generally the products which later become "classics", i.e. products which retain their value. We might put art and music into this category particularly.

The "theory of intrinsic value" is a branch of philosophy which can be found explained online in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Much of our life depends on our decisions with respect to the "value" of things.
So, the next time you "buy" anything "luxurious", ponder what makes it so.

You may be buying a "luxury" item which is not such at all - it might just all be hype, or you may be deluded.

On the other hand, if the product has a legitimate intrinsic value, you might be purchasing a masterpiece of human workmanship which you will enjoy for a long time. So, caveat emptor (Latin for "buyer beware").

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