January 14, 2005 | 7:07 PM ET

As issues of blog ethics continue to be debated (Glenn has opened the post we linked to yesterday to comments.  Watch and participate in the blogosphere establishing its own standards.)  We come upon some serendipitous related stories. 

Wired looks at the question of whether Citizen Journalist is an oxymoron.  Can journalism and blogging co-exist?  As if in illustration, today I clicked this journalist blogger who seems to be making it work.  And the story of one who couldn't.

The story will probably linger a bit longer.  Dave Winer hopes to interview Howard Dean advisor Joe Trippi on the matter tonight.  Stay tuned.

This week we've looked at some Social Security arguments outside the he said/she said numbers spinning.  Here's an a look at Social Security as a tool in 2006 Democratic election strategy.  You'll recognize it when you see it.

Speaking of spinning numbers, The Wall Street Journal launches a new column about the use and misuse of numbers in the news.  Perfect timing.  Bloggers are naturally very interested.

Commuter Click:  Norman Podhoretz is a well known neoconservative thinker who has contributed a lot to the philosophy behind current U.S. foreign policy.  His essay World War IV was widely read and discussed, and judging by the blog linking lately, so is his follow-up, The War Against World War IV.  I plan to print it up for weekend reading.

Body and Soul blog draws attention for asking questions about empathy and charity that are on a lot of folks' minds lately.

Video of the Day: A weirdly inappropriate Cheerios commercial.  (From TV party.)

Not quite video of the day even though I watched one:  Ethics videos.  I watched/listened to the one on Just War Theory while clicking links today.

Paging Dan Brown...

Researchers have discovered the hidden laboratory used by Leonardo da Vinci for studies of flight and other pioneering scientific work in previously sealed rooms at a monastery next to the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, in the heart of Florence.

The LiveJournal community demonstrated how the Internet brings war closer to home.  Word is spreading rapidly of the death of one of their own, whose blog has become a memorial.  (As far as I can tell, not a hoax.)

I was curious to see if I could find some feminist blog reaction to Maureen Dowd's column yesterday, so I went to Alas, a Blog, where instead I found a reaction to something that has drawn a lot of blog attention but I've been wary to link to because of its graphic language.  Take that as a warning before you check out her realization that sexism/racism is a bi-partisan problem.

A local Maryland radio station recently changed formats from alternative rock to Latin music.  The story, though heavily linked in the blogosphere, seemed too local for this blog, but now that there's an online petition (coming up on 20,000 names last I looked), it's official in my domain.

When does setting a record in high school basketball not draw the attention of NBA scouts?  I think they deserve some credit for having enough focus to pull it off.

The story of Iraq replacing Afghanistan as a training ground for terrorists has certainly drawn a lot of link attention from bloggers.  The magic of the Internet is that you don't have to take the Washington Post's word for it, you can read the report yourself.

Who's killing off the microbiologists?

Remember earlier in the week I mentioned that the word Carnival has come to mean a regular comprehensive blog link roundup?  Behold:  History Carnival #1  You can now say you were there when it all started.

We ran into the World Changing blog a couple weeks ago when looking at tsunami links.  I came upon it again today, entertaining a discussion of whether environmentalism is dead.

What does data sound like?

Space bloggers are all worked up over the new Titan probe.  What's the big deal?  (The link has the answer, I'm not fishing for mail.)

Everything you ever wanted to know about cookies.

January 13, 2005 | 8:01 PM ET

The continuing Armstrong Williams scandal has led to an interesting discussion in the blogosphere about bloggers who've been paid for consulting work with politicians ( Glenn for links and letters, Jeff for analysis).

One of the revelations in the discussion is the realization that bloggers who thought they were being paid for their knowledge and insights were also being (tacitly) paid for their influence and audience.  If I may make a prediction, this is something bloggers had better get used to quickly.  Bloggers know well the practice of link solicitation and general link exchange commerce.  If an A List blogger links to you it means instant traffic.  Two bloggers linking to each other can help raise each other's profiles.  Why wouldn't politicians and the media want to participate in that game?

Bloggers have already proven that they can pundit with the best of them.  Why would any TV booker invite a think tank talking head when they can book a blogger with the potential to send a secondary media ripple across the Web?  (Most TV bookings don't pay money by the way.)  That blogger might think they've been invited for their insights, but they'd be foolish to think their online assets have nothing to do with it.  As far as I'm concerned, the only reason this isn't happening already is that so many TV types are still reading newspapers.

Healthy is no way to live!  The food pentagram.

Juan Cole's vision of a 3rd Baathist coup in Iraq draws some link attention from bloggers.

According to this Washington Post story, vlogging is about to get closer for everyone.

I know we've seen convincing arguments for tourism in Southeast Asia being a good, healthy thing for the people and economy over there, but actually seeing it makes me less convinced.  ***I haven't verified these photos, for all I know the tourists and destruction are photoshopped together.  Regardless, they make a statement.

Why do I have the feeling the U.N. food for oil scandal is going to hit closer to home than many people expect?

Today's Click Again:  In this age of political correctness and equal rights there's no way a woman could be fired for not wearing make-up, right?  And if she was she'd surely sue and win, right?  Click Again.  ( Commentary here.)

Large mammals once dined on dinosaurs .  And not Fred Flintstone with Brontosaurus Burgers.

Folks offering to help child tsunami victims by adopting them seemed to be making a good and generous offer.  But I guess this is a case where too much of a good thing can highlight the shortcomings of an idea.  -Especially if anyone in Indonesia read last Sunday's Times.

The blogosphere's discussion of torture swings to Jane Galt's open comments in response to her question, " Where do we draw the line?"

Check out this amazing food timeline.  Two things I learned, grape tomatoes were created in 1998, and hot dogs go all the way back to 1484.

This sheriff has raised a bit of ire online.

HitMaps tracks where your users are coming from.

Mark Glaser has a piece on the bandwidth strain and tsunami video.  We saw a lot of what he's talking about as we chased links over the last couple weeks.  The very last comment stood out to me though.  That's the first time I've seen someone say that BitTorrent was the wrong solution for distributing video.

Speaking of BitTorrent, I realize that at this point we've talked quite a bit about it, so if you don't care, there's another Commuter Click farther down.  But if you're interested in more, I plan to print this one out.

Metacritic "compiles reviews from respected critics and publications for film, video/dvd, books, music and games."  Not quite as populist as Blogcritics, but still handy.

Video of the Day: Dropping sodium into a tub of water causes a pretty good explosion.  ( More)  The site's a little slow, so while you wait for it to load, here's the same guy making ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

As long as you have your science lab goggles on, take a look at this open source beer.  It's the opposite of a "secret recipe."

Test your psychic abilities with strangers using the ESP game.

As you know if you read the FAQs for this blog (linked on the right), the intention is to reflect the general buzz online.  The way I discern this is by reading through index pages of what's being most linked to by bloggers.  Given that, power laws are something I often keep in mind.  In short, the idea behind power laws as pertains to blogs is that a few bloggers get most of the traffic and a whole lot of bloggers get a little traffic, and somehow that's all part of the natural order of things. 

The reason I bring this up is that today enough people linked to this MIT power law course description for me to stumble upon it.  Obviously we can't take the course, but the syllabus contains links to lots of great resources on the subject.  You can take your pick of any for today's Commuter Click.  If you need a place to start, the essay that really brought this to the fore for a lot of people like me is Clay Shirky's Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality.

The Raterbator is not a new toy, but it's new to me.  The idea is that you can upload a picture and blow that picture up to a huge size and then print it out in pieces for assembly.  Further instructions.

CC Mixter is a legal sampling/mashup community.  It may seem a little limiting, but if you want to learn how to sample and mix songs together, it's a good place to do so relatively safely.

A common theme we've seen in the Letters to the Editor mailbag lately is that if CBS producers are to be held accountable for basing their story on misinformation, then the Bush administration should be held accountable for basing the war in Iraq on misinformation.  Folks who are interested in this line of reasoning will appreciate The Poor Man's comparison chart.

Speaking of letters, let me take a few from the mailbag:

MSNBC.com receive a few angry letters today from India about a story I hadn't heard anything about.  Apparently a couple of obnoxious radio jocks made a prank call to an India phone bank.  It's ironic that the point of the prank was to protest outsourcing of jobs, and they end up sending global ripples online.  (P.S. The future of radio can't come soon enough.)

And one from the Clicked mailbag:

Hey Will.  I enjoy your blog.

Maybe you have the wherewithal to answer this question:  Is the fact that CBS is apologizing all over itself proof that Mr. Bush did finish his National Guard obligations?  Or is the question just moot now?  It felt like there was some obfuscation during the presidential campaign about this issue, but no one has ever cleaned up the rhetoric and spelled out the final results.  Is this going to be one of those historical deadends that nobody seems to care about?


Dear Bill,
When you were a kid you used to throw rocks at bee hives, didn't you?  The answer is that the CBS story is about media lies and/or sloppiness, not the president's military service.  The reason you don't hear much about it now is that most of the leg work really took place back in September.  What I clicked back then to follow the story was, in the mainstream, The Boston Globe and Salon.com.  And on the niche level, the more inflammatory AWOLBush and The AWOL project.

If you look at those sites you'll understand why the story didn't really take off and why the fake documents were so tempting for CBS.  The story requires squinting through a lot of old blurry documents and an understanding of military procedure and custom in the 70s.  Dense stuff, with no real smoking gun that I've seen.

Also, since we started this entry with Kos, we can end with him as well.  He took up this subject yesterday.

January 12, 2005 | 9:22 PM ET

For today's Video of the Day, McDonalds is scoring big on the viral video scene with this commercial -even among people who hate McDonalds.

Of course, a better way to take advantage of viral video marketing is to have fans make the video and distribute it -like fans of the TV show Lost.

And while we're going on about musical videos, I thought this was spam, but it looks like a real service.  All the citations for it that I saw were from LiveJournal users.  It gives you a bit of code to embed a rock video on your blog.

What would happen if Long Island broke loose and rammed into a floating glacier?

In the face of large scale government organized sympathy for tsunami victims, Colby Cosh warns against overdoing it.

Guantanamo a concentration camp???  That's a pretty outrageous analogy, but the argument is an interesting one.

An argument for mangrove trees as a natural solution to natural disaster.

Transform a face -I made this work with a Johnny Cash photo.

Commuter Click:  Pew: The Future of the Internet  ***Note:  The report has 62 pages so you may not want to print the whole thing.

Why does it sometimes pay to watch TV?  Because at least you'd know who Ali G is so you wouldn't become a victim of his parodies.

Speaking of TV, Mythbusters recently proved that it is in fact possible to blow up your house with bug foggers.  Now it's been re-proven with the added test for whether it actually kills the bugs.  ( It doesn't.)

Kerry critic Mickey Kaus laughed at the idea that Kerry would blame his handlers for his mistakes and shortcomings, but not everyone thinks that's an entirely far out idea.

" The Hurricane's two engines -- one in front, one back -- combine to make 670 horsepower, and offer 740 foot-pounds of torque."

No wonder I've been feeling out-of-sorts since Christmas, I thought it was just the holidays, but it turns out a day is now shorter, the earth is a different shape, and the north pole moved.

Looks like the "dollar per comment" fundraising/traffic boosting idea we saw in connection with tsunami aid has caught on for good.  Here's an example raising money for breast cancer.  Did this exist before tsunami fund raising?

Though we've seen elements of public feedback on sites like Citysearch, how do you feel about using a travel guide written by the public?

If that's not a problem for you, maybe you'll be interested in having the public help write your resume.

Stalking will bring you closer to finding out who you are, what you are doing with your life, and let you know that you are not alone in asking questions that academia will never answer, including, “Why does the boy who works the express lane shut his blinds as soon as he gets home every night?”

Did you ever start to google something and as you type in the http://www.goo... the autocomplete feature shows you everything you've ever googled?  Ever wish, for whatever reason that is purely your own business, that it didn't do that?  This appears to be the more secretive alternative, the Scroogle Scraper.  All the Google, none of the footprints.

A colleague here e-mailed me this story that MSN is offering RSS aggregation on its MyMSN pages now.  I mention it because I also clicked Dave Winer's idea about dealing with what he calls the Yahoo problem.  In a nutshell, the Yahoo problem is that Yahoo offers a button that will add an RSS feed its aggregator ( example).  Now we can expect MSN to offer a similar button, and other aggregators offer buttons.  So unless someone steps in to come up with a universal button, there's gonna be a problem.

Dan Drezner sees Thickburger marketing in red state/blue state terms.

Speaking of political labels, check out this extensive taxonomy of Libertarian pet peeves.

And for today's volley in the Social Security debate, from the other side of the net we go to Josh Marshall.

Howard Dean still finds use for that old blog that made him so famous.  It just goes to show, it's good to keep a blog around just in case you have something important you want to say.

The Click Again feature really has turned out to be almost daily.  For today, do you think people who play video games are pasty overweight no-lifters?  Click Again

I'm not totally sure of this derivation, so correct me if you know a better answer, but about a million years ago, cavebloggers started a weekly tradition of taking turns highlighting posts from fellow bloggers in a massive round-up called Carnival of the Vanities.  Since then, big round-ups of blogs based around a theme is often called a carnival.  That said, here's this week's Christian Carnival.

We're seeing a lot about how much is being spent to celebrate Bush's inauguration and how extensive the security measures are going to be.  If you've wondered what Internet activists have planned in the face so much preparation, I have seen two initiatives.  Addressing the tight security at the event is Turn your back on Bush.  And addressing the expense is Not one damn dime.

January 11, 2005 | 9:53 PM ET

It seems like every day we have a new "is this the future of radio" item.  So here's today's Future of Radio of the Day.

Speaking of amateur radio, the secrets of the pros revealed!  This is the first time I've seen advice on do-it-yourself broadcasting that wasn't about how to work the computer.

Continuing with audio links, this has an exciting illegal sounding headline, but what I found most valuable about it is the useful explanations of all the different audio formats. 

Tech bloggers have been buzzing about Apple going after bloggers who are leaking company secrets.  I always thought Apple encouraged product leaks as a way of generating interest in their products, but I guess not.  What's interesting to see is how this very techie story is merging with other fields under the broader heading of bloggers as journalists.

With a single click I learned that my pony tail is a symbol of protest against North Korean cultural oppression.  And when I say oppression, I mean OPPRESSION.

Yesterday we saw how Google could be used to find web cam streams that were clearly assumed to be private.  Today Boing Boing shows us a link that was definitely assumed to be private.  This is a piece of the shift diary of a Ft. Lauderdale escort service from 1998.  I can't imagine why it's still being hosted, but as long as it is, it names names and even has full uncensored phone numbers of both customers and employees.  Staggering.

Pssst... hey buddy, wanna buya biosphere?  It took me a minute to figure out why this link to Biosphere 2 kept coming up.  Then I found the story .  ( Pauly Shore not included.)

Folks who followed the CBS National Guard document story know that the Powerline blog was pivotal in bringing the story to light.  So I was pretty amazed to read in their response to yesterday's report that John Hinderaker had just finished an interview with CBS.  Part of the reason I'm never crazy about all the cries of "media bias" (from both sides) is that "the media" is such a moving target.  One day you're campaigning against it, the next day you ARE it.

Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks and Conundrums (with answers)

A lot of bloggers are grumpy about this report that Homeland Security money in Texas is being spent on... well, other interests.  I don't know what the problem is, it's not like anywhere else in the country needs the money .

Bloggers in the Baltic nations pitch in with local coverage of severe regional weather.  The links included some video, but like with the tsunami video, heavy traffic busted the bandwidth capacity.  So in lieu of a video of the day today I want to point to a potential solution to what is clearly a hitch in the Citizen Journalist model.

Yesterday I finally made my way over to the blog of my colleague Jon Dube, Cyberjournalist.net to see what tsunami links he'd found, and I came upon his explanation of the tsunami video hosting initiative and The Media Bloggers Association.  If citizens can get together to report the news, they can get together to present it.

This link (and the comments), though obviously not exactly a non-partisan source for Social Security analysis is a good window on some of the other arguments we'll likely be hearing.

  • Democrats are keeping you from getting rich.
  • Social Security pays poorly, surely you can do better on your own.
  • The government is incompetent so we're better off taking our retirement money out of their hands.
  • There's more on the blog...

From what I've read of the S.S. debate so far, both sides come armed with official and accurate sounding numbers, which means for most folks, the numbers argument is out the window.  I expect to hear more like the above instead.

Commuter Click: Intellectual treason.  An interesting essay about the erosion of secular science.  I got half way through and then had to catch the bus, so I printed it out.  So, by definition, a Commuter Click.

Blogs and democracy.  This blogger became aware of legislation she didn't like and through her blog was able to spread the word and rally support and actually bring a change to the legislation.  Be sure to read the follow-up links.

Clicked homework:  This isn't actually homework you have to do, but sitting here at the cube farm I didn't quite get my head around how this works as a resource  so I'll try to play with it at home.  The idea seems to be that if you like the idea of getting active about a piece of legislation before it's actually law, you can track it with this site.

Luckily it comes with a blog so hopefully I can find some guidance and examples there.

Speaking of the political power of blogs, prominent Persian blogger Hoder reports another crackdown on blogs by Iranian authorities.  Oppressive Iranian authorites clearly recognize the threat.

And speaking of cracking down on blogs, some folks think a bloggers' bill of rights is a good idea.  (Note also the list of "blogophobic companies.")  This is clearly a reaction to the occasional news of bloggers being fired because they keep personal blogs.  It's interesting to see Microsoft on the list with a qualifying note.  I remember the story of the blogger who was fired for posting a photo from the Microsoft campus.  But obviously Microsoft isn't averse to its employees blogging or else there'd be a lot of pink slips

The most recent blog-related firing I know of.

The big news today on TV is the CBS document report .  Given the important role blogs played in making this story happen, there are any number of bloggers out there gathering links and making comments.  The first click I found with a substantial collection is Jeff Jarvis, so I recommend starting there.

As for the blogosphere, the big story appears to be this Newsweek piece about a potential new tactic being considered bythe U.S. in Iraq.  Reaction seems to range from outrage that the U.S. would consider "death squads" to outrage that Newsweek would suggest that the U.S. would consider "death squads" to genuine consideration of whether some kind of special forces action would be better than the operations we have there now.

Another media scandal that is all but lost in the mainstream media now that the CBS story has broken, but that remains viable in the blogosphere is White House pay-off of Armstrong Williams.  Q and O takes a useful look.

And if all that talk of journalistic ethics gets you thinking, they're workshopping ideas in that theme here.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz is blogging and coincidentally it comes with a code of ethics.  (No mention yet of their hydrogen car, but I'll check back now and then to see.)

Memeorandum presents an automated hourly synopsis of the latest online news and opinion, combining weblog commentary with traditional news reports.

For the last few days folks have been worked up over the fact that googling bits of code produce search results containing surveilance camera streams whose owners probably think no one else can see.  I would have mentioned it earlier, but for the life of me I can't get any of the search results to produce anything interesting- nevermind scandalizing.  Today I finally found a page that shows what I would have found had I clicked the right spot and installed all the necessary plug-ins.

Also today came a cool tip on a site wholly devoted to what I can't help but think of as picking through Google's garbage.

Commuter Click: A long piece about everything you've every wanted to know about sleep, and probably a few things you don't care about.  Too long to read off the screen, I'll be printing this one.  I wonder if there's anything in there about staying up 'til 2:30 in the morning because Starship Troopers was on Showtime last night.

Speaking of wasting time staring at a screen, are you reading this at work?  Calculate how much your company is paying you to do so.

Video fo the day: Not quite the romance of a player piano, but still pretty cool.  (You may have to download this from a mirror site.)

Speaking of unconventional music video, if you're into rhythmic expectoration and hyperventilation, you'll want to check out the beatbox philharmonic (human, that is).  I didn't even know there were human beat box competitions and tours.

One more on the music theme, is that the twinkle of rock n' roll I see in those eyes?

Do you speak American?

Think you know the Abu Ghraib torture story well?  Click again.


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