Critical Section

Archive: November 13, 2003

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Thursday,  11/13/03  05:31 PM

This afternoon I went through my extended blogroll, clicked every link, and 1) verified the site is still there (most were) and 2) verified the blog is still being updated (many were not).  I deleted all the dead and dying links.

You'd think noticing that a bunch of people had stopped blogging would make me sad.  But it didn't.  In fact, it kind of made me happy.  Like I was part of a little club.  If everyone were blogging, then my little voice would get lost in the wilderness.  Or something like that.  It takes persistence, messed up priorities, a raging ego, and flat-out weirdness to keep on blogging, day after day :)

There are some blogs I miss.  Daniel, etc. was a great blog.  And now it is gone, with nary a trace.  It is actually better to disappear like that, stored only in the memory of those who visited (and in Google's cache :), than to stay up in a frozen limbo.  Some people even leave their site with a page that says "I'm coming back someday".  A great gravestone.

In a few cases, the blog was still there, the blogger was still active, but I didn't see anything interesting.  And if I don't find it interesting, I'm not going to link it.  Your mileage may vary!

I find the shorter someone's blogroll, the better.  I like following people's recommendations.  But if you have 200 sites in your blogroll, are you honestly recommending them all?  I doubt it.  If you simply link every site you've ever visited (or every site which has ever linked to yours) then your blogroll doesn't mean anything.  It is simply using up bandwidth.  I think anyone who has over 50 sites in their blogroll should clean it up!

Compounding the problem, a lot of people link to the same sites.  For example, I like Dave Winer and Glenn Reynolds.  Well, guess what; so do a lot of other people!  If you see Instapundit on someone's blogroll, it doesn't do much for you...  On the other hand, how many people have visited The Slumbering Lungfish?  Aha!  I knew it.

I while back I decided the best solution was to keep my on-homepage blogroll short, limited specifically to the sites I visit every day.  (Nowadays they are the sites whose feeds I subscribe to with SharpReader.)  And I moved all the other sites I like onto my extended blogroll.  So if you're in the mood to check out some new sites, there you go...  And each time the home page is loaded, I pick two sites at random from my extended blogroll and link them at the top; my "blog roulette".  So you can serendipitously discover new sites that way...


Thursday,  11/13/03  09:55 PM

Zogby blogs about the dumbing down of the California High School Exit Exam.  "They actually have the gonads to look a reporter straight in the eye and tell them that they're not dumbing down the test when they're replacing high school level math questions with 6th and 7th grade math questions."  How long can this stuff keeping going on?  Outrageous.

Check out this Palestinian brainwashing.  How sad.  How completely, thoroughly, discouragingly sad.

And speaking of sad, do you know what 300,000 really looks like?  (That's the number of people Saddam Hussien's government buried in the 263 mass graves found so far.)  Remember, every dot represents someone's son, or daughter.

Turning to more positive things, Eric Gagne easily won the NL Cy Young award.  The Dodger closer converted all 55 of his save opportunities with a 1.20 ERA, and had 137 strikeouts and 20 walks in 82 1/3 innings.  One of the best seasons anyone's every had.  Unbelievable.

103 carat D/IF diamondWant to see what perfection looks like?  Check out this 103 carat D/IF diamond.  D is the "whitest" color, and IF means "internally flawless".  The cut isn't mentioned, but my guess is 000 (why not, with such a perfect rough), so what you have here is - indeed - a perfect diamond.  This pic is about actual size, too!

Note: this grade of diamond is rarely made into jewelry.  Most flawless diamonds are purchased as investments, and spend their lives in bank vaults, like some kind of bearer bond.

Martin Spernau notes Eigenpolls.  "The problem with normal polls is that it find the most popular option.  But if you are looking for a solution to a problem you don't want the most popular, what you want is the best solution to the problem.  Eigenpolls try to solve this by letting the voters compare and rank the options, and then use a algorithm similar to Google's PageRank on the result."  Excellent!

Mark Morford lauds the famous Apple out-of-the-box experience: Lick Me, I'm a Macintosh.  "This is what Apple does.  This is what they are known for and why their design team is so famous and why they win so many awards and why they engender such passionate devotion from their adherents and why Macs are still far, far superior to PCs and always will be.This is the goal; I want my company to have people feeling this way about our products!


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