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.

Our Websites and Blogs

3D Printing and More 99 is not 100 Aabecis AK Photo Blog Ancient Egypt Weblog Ancient Signs (the book) Ancient World Blog Anthropomorphic Design Archaeology Travel Photos (blog) Archaeology Travel Photos (Flickr) Archaeo Pundit Arts Pundit Astrology and Birth Baltic Coachman Bible Pundit Biotechnology Pundit Book Pundit Chronology of the Ancient World Computer Pundit DVD Pundit Easter Island Script Echolat Einstein’s Voice Energy Environment and Climate Blog Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza EU Laws EU Legal EU Pundit FaceBook Pundit Gadget Pundit Garden Pundit Golf Pundit Google Pundit Gourmet Pundit Hand Proof HousePundit Human Migrations Idea Pundit Illyrian Language Indus Valley Script Infinity One : The Secret of the First Disk (the game) Jostandis Journal Pundit Kaulins Genealogy Blog Kaulinsium Kiel & Kieler Latvian Blog Law Pundit Blog LexiLine Group Lexiline Journal Library Pundit Lingwhizt LinkedIn Literary Pundit Magnifichess Make it Music Maps and Cartography Megalithic World Megaliths Blog Minoan Culture Mutatis Mutandis Nanotech Pundit Nostratic Languages Official Pundit Phaistos Disc Pharaonic Hieroglyphs Photo Blog of the World Pinterest Prehistoric Art Pundit Private Wealth Blog PunditMania Quanticalian Quick to Travel Quill Pundit Road Pundit Shelfari Sky Earth Drones Sky Earth Native America SlideShare (akaulins) Sport Pundit Star Pundit Stars Stones and Scholars (blog) Stars Stones and Scholars (book) Stonehenge Pundit The Enchanted Glass Twitter Pundit UbiquitousPundit Vision of Change VoicePundit WatchPundit Wearable Technology Wizard WeTechWi Wine Pundit Word Pundit xistmz YahooPundit zistmz