August 6, 2005 | 2:04 PM ET

" Don't fall for the hype behind inflated blog numbers.  The cause of blogging is not helped by unwarranted and blind enthusiasm about their success that ignores the threats to their authenticity and independence."  Most folks are by now accepting that blogging -or at least popular participation in media through easy online tools - is not a temporary fad.  What more people are becoming impatient with, however, is the attitude that everything blog is gold.  We've almost passed the point where every article about blogs has to offer a parenthetical "short for Weblog" explanation, but how long before "blog" is just another part of the media, not warranting any special attention?

One new trend that may take some of the wind out of the blog sails is tagging - the practice of Web users labeling sites to help organize and make recommendations from the chaos of the Internet.  Take, for example, this fun blog post about the real answer to why manhole covers are round.  I spotted it on a list of most popular tagged sites.  The page itself is quite old, which would usually disqualify it from this blog, but then I check again this morning and it had gone up in popularity on the tagging site.  BUT (yes, there's a point coming) when I ran a Technorati search on the link, it was not seeing any blog action at all.  It's entirely likely that a page like this can gain traction from taggers and spread to bloggers until something like Boing Boing picks it up and it's suddenly all over the place, but it's worth noting that there's definitely a new game in town.

Speaking of tagging: State of the Blogosphere, August 2005 Part 3: Tags and Tagging   Remember that tags are user created, so it's not like there's a standard set that are pre-assigned.  With that in mind it's cool to check out the video Technorati put together that shows all the different tags people have come up with over time as the tagging idea has caught on.

"Just about every major online news source uses RSS to deliver content to subscribers. ... Unfortunately, most of these media companies do not yet understand the impact that RSS is having on their Web site traffic, also known as the 'RSS Effect.'"

Isn't Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pratt a hero?  Also, significant to the above, this post points an accusatory finger at the blogosphere for not linking.  Taken with recent complaints about the A List bloggers keeping an "old boys club," I see this as a continuation of my theory that we are in the midst of a backlash against A listers.  The A list has blended into the mainstream media and are tasting their own medicine.

The stranded Russian submarine continues to be a big story.  I clicked this great round-up on the story and from there I clicked this group submariner blog.

Remember Banksy, the artist who hung his own art in prominent museums?  He's made news with paintings on the West Bank wall in Israel.

At first I thought it was nothing more than interesting that someone had posted a lot of photos of a music festival online.

But after reading reports of police killing some people at a music festival in the Czech Republic, I realized that the photos are seeing heavy linkage because of the later pages that show the police breaking up the party.  Things start to get ugly around page 9.  (Note:  I haven't looked at all of these, so some may be unsafe for work.  The thumbnails are small though, so a stray bad item won't be obvious.)  This site has video.

By now you've probably read about or seen Robert Novak's meltdown on CNN, but for the record, this is what I clicked:  Having missed the segment, I went to the most reliable Poor Man's Tivo I know on this subject matter.  Crooks and Liars has the video in a variety of formats (unbleeped) and also a hefty round-up of blog reaction.  Among bloggers, Media Matters appears to be seeing the most link traffic.  Mickey Kaus is serving as a hub for speculation on what caused the freakout.

One of my first thoughts was to wonder what James Carville thought about it.  He's been on TV with Novak for a while, there must be some friendship between the two of them, so to have caused his colleague to bug out like that must have been upsetting.  Turns out, not so much really.

" That alphabet.  It’s been around a long time, and I, for one, have some complaints.  Don’t you think it’s time for a redesign?  I mean, the thing’s not exactly 'fresh' anymore, is it?"

Top 30 torrent sites of 2005

Bloggers pretend to be fans of the band Creed and get the singer to drive a long way to a Denny's only to be generally mocked (and have the whole thing passed around the Internet.)  I should clarify, this wasn't designed as a blog prank, it just happens to have been blogged and photographed.

The Blogger Twins are looking for your help to get them on the CBS reality show "Amazing Race."

What's the deal with porn in the woods?  I've also seen a disturbing amount of porn discarded on roadsides.  I can only imagine this will be a phenomenon of the past given the role of the Internet.

Michael Yon has yet another compelling account of hunting insurgents in Iraq.

Fire from water, hydrogen fireplace

"While researchers probe sleep's functions, sleep itself is becoming a lost art."  What's bad about this article is that there's a chance that if you're not getting enough sleep it's because you have a lot to do or are feeling stress.  So to read an article about how unhealthy it is to not be getting sleep doesn't really help matters.

10 steps to better meetings

Commuter Click: What business can learn from open source — At first I didn't think I would get this, but I read the section on workplaces and loved it so I'm going to have to print this up and read the rest later.

What is podcasting

Satirist Scrappleface makes fun of Democrats who see the silver lining on their loss in Ohio this week:  "It feels so good to almost win," said DNC chairman Howard Dean. "We now believe we can rally our base around the hope of down-to-the-wire losses in traditionally Republican districts coast-to-coast."

Folks who work at Google get free food there and now they're holding a competition to hire two executive chefs.  I've heard that free food at work is actually a bad thing - ceaseless eating.  When I've visited my colleagues out in Redmond I've appreciated that they get free sodas at work.  Here at MSNBC in New Jersey, we get free sunlight if we happen to wander near one of the building's three windows.

Yahoo has launched a new audio search engine, explained on their blog.  I had a hard time making good use of it, but this is surely a good and necessary idea.

Speaking of audio, these are the awesomest rockin' guitar lessons ever.  The Steve Vai-esque metal god plays riffs based on what keys you press.  Even though it shows the tablature, I'm can't imagine actually learning anything from this.  But in the end it's great fun to dual with Satan on an accordion.  I'm thinking this should be the Video of the Day, if you could call it that.

If you don't accept that as the Video of the Day, check out these cool super slow motion video clips.  Jell-o cube drop is pretty amazing.  Pierced face and tongue jiggle is also a hoot.

POGO blog - blogging on corruption, blogging for solutions  (POGO stands for Project On Government Oversight.  It apparently specializes in whistleblowers.)

This week's Carnival of the Recipes

A little weekend mini-golf in French

I haven't tried Geominder, but it's a neat idea.  You install it on your cell phone to remind you of things when you're in a certain place.  "Next time I'm at the grocery store, remind me to see if they have anything in an aluminum bottle."  And then when you get to the store, your phone rings with your own reminder.

Speaking of products I haven't tried but are neat ideas, check out how Mountain lets you visualize your e-mail.  The appearance reminds me of the Baby Name Wizard.

It seems like everyone is linking to this picture.  It took me a second to figure out what it was of.

Is it wrong to love Microsoft?

xBlog: The visual thinking Weblog — Lots of good clicking to be had here.

Many bloggers are enjoying the online materials accompanying the PBS American Masters program Good Rockin' Tonight:  The Legacy of Sun Records.

Obscenities uttered by Jesus Christ

A CD full of neighbor-annoying noises.

The 100 greatest movie characters of all time.  (Right now they're fighting over the 20 most over rated films.)

Clip Tip — Indie music video blog.  Good driving song from The Bees

The Watt - Daily energy news and discussion

Given the bad press baseball has received lately, this is a nice story.  I wonder how it will resolve in the kid's psyche that on the day his grandfather died he also had an amazing baseball experience.

I know a lot of readers come to this page through the Tech/Science section of the site, so I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this blogger's lengthy critique/assessment of the U.S. space program.  It's a longer read than I wanted it to be, but if you're a space head you'll probably find a lot of food for thought here.

16 reasons managers can't get employees to perform  (Or, 16 things you wished your boss understood about what he's asking you to do.)

Related?  20 ways to say no.

August 4, 2005 | 9:34 AM ET

Blogger and freelance journalist Steven Vincent was murdered in Iraq Mudville Gazette has considerable reaction.  It's morbid to say, but I always find a person's blog to be a very effective monument to them in their death.  Blogs are so raw that you can feel the person's vital energy right up to the point where the posts abruptly stop.

I clicked the news that the D&AD awards have been announced, but frankly, the story's kind of dry.  So I went and looked for the awards themselves and found them here.

Most of them require some kind of login, but the television & cinema advertising videos are playable.  A few were already familiar, but for today's Video(s) of the day, I liked Pilot and Getting Dressed.  It looks like Grrr was the big winner.  This one from the non-English category makes fun of Japanese people taking pictures.  I can't imagine getting away with that with an American ad.

Judith Miller is not quite the media martyr one might expect her to be.  In explaining why she won't be getting an award, the phrase "Miller's career, taken as a whole" comes up.  I think they're talking about the fact that many journalists blame her for misleading the nation into war.  This Huffington Post item surfaced on popular lists yesterday explaining that view.

Top Five Venues for Tailgating

This blogger has come up with the idea that if trolls and other PITAs (Pain In The...) want to post comments on her blog, they (or someone on their behalf) have to pay for the privilege.

"Writing and the Internet and my novel"

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

The folks who made MSN's Virtual Earth mapping program share what they've learned from user feedback since launching the beta.

Speaking of my colleagues in Redmond, it looks like MSN Spaces is grouping similar themed blogs for the purposes of extrapolating buzz.  They call it " filter" but it looks more manual than that name implies.

A new comic book series is drawing a lot of attention.  "America’s future has become an Orwellian nightmare of ultra-liberalism.  Beginning with the Gore Presidency, the government has become increasingly dominated by liberal extremists."

The Leaky Cauldron has photos from the next Harry Potter movie.  I think the kids still look relatively age-appropriate to the story.

Would you ride in a bus dressed as a Hearse?

Leah explores the role of poo in global culture

Online dating tips (Semi-serious)

Ann Althouse gives thorough consideration to the Pajamas Media blog ads proposition.  Can bloggers make more money collectively than they can on their own through AdSense?

The Busy Center of the Lagoon Nebula

Coudal has a new viral contest that's spreading well.  Folks who like to waste time at work will love this one.  It just seems so damn figure-out-able!!

New book answers why men have nipples — As you may have noticed in the box on the right, I'm chatting with the authors of this book next Friday so let me know if you have one of those questions.  Should be a fun one.

I knew that a lot of folks in eastern Canada of are interested in splitting from the country, but I didn't realized the degree of that sentiment in the west as well.  Though according to this article it doesn't appear to be a majority movement, it does sound more serious than Jesusland jokes.  UPDATE:  Of course by "eastern" I meant Quebec.  Tune in to tonight's letters for an interesting discussion of why that's not necessarily accurate.

State of the Blogosphere, August 2005, Part 2: Posting Volume

"The U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled to ban off-duty worker 'fraternization,' at the employer's discretion. So getting together for a beer after work can now be prohibited by the boss."  The folks at SlashDot go to great lengths to figure out if this is true.

Future Tense - a new Corante blog about the future of work.

"A judge has finalized a settlement in which film studio Sony will pay $1.5m (£850,000) to film fans after using a fake critic to praise its movies."  Apparently you can get $5 back if you saw one of the movies in the case.  I'm not sure how they came up with 5 bucks since I haven't seen a movie for that much in 20 years.

"Design Snack is a database of websites rated based on the quality of their design and presentation."  I'm still getting familiar with it, but I bet there's some interesting clicking to be had here.

"For those of you who have expressed confusion over the many forms of diet and sugar free cokes now available to you, I offer an explanation, because I was confused so I did the research."

We've seen a few time lines that show the pattern of terrorist violence around the world by Muslim extremists.  Now Juan Cole offers another time line, this one showing the history of the region.  He calls it "Fisking the War on Terror."

Episode 11 of " The Scene" is available.  That actually meant nothing to me.  I had to read the FAQ.  Turns out it's a fictional show distributed solely on the Internet, about the media piracy underworld.  This episode is a guy typing in different IM windows.  The story seems to have some drama, but you're basically reading the show.  I don't know if the other episodes are like this, but I imagine someone will write in to correct me if I'm not getting it.

A quick dip into the mail:

From National Geographic: Fuel Cell Motorbike to Hit U.S. Streets

Looks like something out of “Batman”…

"If you go for a ride in the countryside, as you ride through it, you can smell the countryside, hear the birds singing, and you are not disturbing nature," Eggleston said. "Birds will not fly out of the way because they are terrified of the noise."

I’m all for nature, but dear lord man.  If you can’t terrify some birds (and the occasional car alarm), you just got no business on a motorcycle.
Ed Doherty II
St Louis, MO

Dear Ed,
I love the idea of a fuel cell motorcycle.  I wish this one went a little faster.  I'll be interested to see how much it ends up costing.  That will probably play an important role in whether people actually use them or if it becomes another "Segway."

I can see the appeal of a silent ride in the country side - although if you're going at any rate of speed above, say, 35, the wind is all you hear anyway.  Any place where there are cars, however would need some kind of noisemaker or at least a nice heart-jump-out-of-the-chest horn.  Between cell phones and the way they sound-proof cars and the fact that people don't pay attention when they drive anyway, motorcycles definitely need way of drawing attention to themselves.  Yesterday on the way home from work a guy in one of those huge SUVs (I think it was the Chevy Galactica, or maybe it was a Ford Deathstar?) almost changed lanes right into me and I was literally sitting right next to him.
Keep the shiny side up,
Will

August 3, 2005 | 3:23 AM ET

President Bush has expressed the opinion that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools .  Much of the blogosphere has been less than receptive to this idea.  What I clicked:

Imagine five of the top voiceover artists in the country in one car.  I feel like this was a Saturday Night Live skit once, but this is done with the real guys.

How much will religion play a role in the vetting of John Roberts to the Supreme Court?

I saw that Mighty Mouse was one to the top search terms on Technorati and wondered what the heck could have brought that up.  Turns out it's a new computer mouse from Apple.

... Russell Beattie actually tried one.

"Ever wonder how to hack an elevator to own it for your trip and not be stopped on any other floors?"  No good can come from this secret getting out.

The Smoking Gun has mug shots of strippers busted for various charges.  The photos convey so much, the movie practically writes itself.  (Totally safe for work.)

State of the Blogosphere, August 2005, Part 1: Blog Growth — Includes among its revelations: One blog created 'every second'

" HEL LOOKS is selected street fashion from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The pictures are taken in the streets and clubs of Helsinki from July 2005 onwards."  It's like virtual people-watching in Helsinki.

Yesterday we saw Accordion Guy play hardball with a moving company.  Today:  Fighting a crooked tow truck company and winning

BlackFive explains what "Soldiers' Angels" is.  (Very moving.)

Local weather reports on Google Maps — probably good for traveling forecasts.

What Comes After King Fahd?  This is some kind of business news Web site, but the background info and tribal context is interesting.

"The "crack baby" scare of the late 1980s and early '90s, debunked by research showing that the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure had been grossly exaggerated, is now being recycled as a "meth baby" scare."

Speaking of anti-drug hype, here's a story that's a big deal in some quarters but I haven't seen in mainstream media.  The short version is that the U.S. wants to go after some Canadians for pot related crimes and it looks like Canada, whose marijuana laws are considerably less strict, is going to comply with extradition.  Cannabis Culture's update drew links today.

How many old fashioned computer punch cards would it take to read a 3-minute mp3?

A new (to me) carnival:  Carnival of Personal Finance (they're up to #7)

Republican candidate Schmidt won the special election in Ohio, as predicted.

  • Democratic activists at The Daily Kos seem to feel successful regardless.
  • Atrios points out how few people it takes to make a difference

Hate crimes soar after bombings — This would not have been my guess before reading the headline.  I would have thought the British people would feel some satisfaction in the successes of the police there and feel less as though they had to take matters into their own hands.

White House denies existence of Karl Rove

" Why we're a fat country"

The Washington Post Tells Us About Iran - Or Does It?

The BBC does a round-up of Irish blog reaction to the IRA's declaration that its armed campaign is over.

If the Internet had a high school yearbook full of embarrassing pictures it might look like this.

Movie rumor:  Did Harrison Ford really say yes to Indiana Jones 4?

Run out of summer reading yet?  Recommendations from the folks at Ask Metafilter.

Tiny's pizza wiggle (Note: host site has NSFW content.)

If you could take only ten blogs to a desert island, what would they be?  Steve Rubel offers his and then points to a new Technorati tag for others to share their lists.  It's interesting to see this come on the heels of discussions at Blogher about the meaningless of the Technorati Top 100.

" The conventional news media are embattled. Attacked by both left and right in book after book, rocked by scandals, challenged by upstart bloggers, they have become a focus of controversy and concern."  Though I should probably know better, I'm going to print this one out to read later.

Video of the Day:  We've seen cool base jumping video before, but these guys made me flinch more than once when I thought they were going to splat.  (While some unsafe material might be findable on the site hosting this video, at least it's not covered in bikini girl personal ads.)

Mailbag!  Mailbag!

Greets, Will.
re: "How to build the best paper airplane in the world"

I beg to differ.

This one has the benefit of some conspiracy theory flavoring in the story.  The subject can still raise the ire of engineers who insist all the tests show it's not a good design, because it flies so well anyway.
Dr. Dennis McClain-Furmanski
Cameron University
Lawton, OK

Dear Dennis,
Holy moly that's a lot of documentation for a paper airplane!!
Regards,
Will

Simple question for Will...
I read your post somewhat regularly, and I typically find it worthwhile.  I have never truly understood the concept of the blog and why people are paid to do it.  How is your column any different than my buddy’s “entertaining links of the day” page?  I hope for a reasonable explanation in due time.
~David Neal.

Dear David,
I've tried to explain that in the FAQ list on the right side of the page, but I can take a shot at something more condensed.  This is not "Will's entertaining links" primarily because of where I find the links.  These links come from "most linked" lists with the goal of highlighting some of the blogosphere's buzz (and not just the pundit blog buzz that's hogged all the spotlight lately).  Every day I start with a blank Notepad doc and every day I get a new picture of what is being discussed/debated/spread/played with online.

To be sure, I do exercise some editorial judgment here.  I don't just copy the links over, I look for good ones and skip the ones I don't find appropriate.  But I also try to stay true to the mission, so I don't just go randomly hunting for fun links (though I don't doubt some of my readers would prefer that).

Also, "people" aren't paid to do it, it's just me.  And really, it's only part of my job and generally something I do after I do the rest of my daily chores (hence the odd hour time stamps, something I'm trying to make more regular).

Recently someone wrote to me that this blog is the enemy of work productivity because people kill time at work playing with the links.  But I think there's also an argument to be made that it's a time saver.  While I don't have a very clear idea of who Clicked's audience is exactly, I imagine that some percentage is people who don't have time to go roaming through the Web, so they appreciate a quick overview of some of the major items being passed around.
Any clearer?
Will

Subject: Mint Royale
Hi Will-
The Singing in the Rain song has been featured in a VW commercial for the yet-to-be-released in the US Golf GTI V.  It can be seen here.

And another copy here.

And a discussion on a popular VW website here.

I’ve been waiting for awhile for it to be released, we’d heard that the song wasn’t going to be.
-Adam Bancroft

Dear Adam,
I could tell by the link text that there was some excitement about the video, but I wasn't sure what it was about.  Thanks for the context.
Cheers,
Will

Hello Will,
Superballs in SF. Fake. There are no shadows under the balls.
Thanks for your time,
Sean Gephardt

Dear Sean,
You're not alone in expressing that opinion, but I clicked this photo with a note claiming to show shadows.  And more convincingly, here's a video of the balls rolling down the street.  That said, for some reason I'm still totally ready to learn that it's a hoax after all.
Cheers,
Will

August 2, 2005 | 8:53 AM ET

If a blogger writes an entry and no one reads it, was it really posted?  Does blogging mean being part of public discussion or is it the online version of singing in the shower?

Though blog triumphalists continue to insist that the equal access blogs allow to the Internet means all blogs are equal, anyone who understands the dynamics of the blogosphere and indeed the Internet itself knows this is not true. 

I gather from reports that one of the more hotly discussed subjects at this past weekend's BlogHer conference on women in blogging was how to deal with the commerce of links and the hegemony of the A-Listers.  The discussion seemed to revolve around whether to play the game or ignore it.  As we've seen from links in the past couple of weeks, another alternative may be to wait for technology to resolve the matter.  Better search algorithms, tagging, and mainstream sites like Newsweek providing blog reaction with the stories they present may serve to flatten the power curve.

Before I get carried away, this is what I clicked to catch up on the Blogher conference:

Speaking of all this blog lingo, Posting, Subscribing, and Tagging — Though the definition of blogging is a little stretched, this is a nice summary of three major themes in user generated media.

Experts Warn About Powdered Alcohol — No, it's not for astronauts.

Speaking of booze, Droogle is a drink recipe search engine.

World turning its back on Brand America — Elsewhere today (sorry, lost track of the link) I read that anti-terror is slowly taking the place of anti-Americanism as the global mood, but the pocketbook context of that FT headline is bound to make some important people pay attention.

Speaking of rejecting the U.S. (but as a good thing this time), the U.S. gets booted from Uzbekistan

What if you only have £200?  (Or how to buy a suit cheaply without looking like you bought a cheap suit.)

Video of the Day:  What do you mean he dunks over five people?  (Host site generally work safe, but read before you click of course.)

The official rules for calling shotgun — Technorati puts this one at almost a year old, but I've never seen it before and there's no discernable A-list resurfacing that has caused it to jump in popularity.  It's amazing when a link can stay in circulation that long.

Interview and HowTo with the folks from lockpicking101.com

I love these Sci Fi interstitials.  The ones they play on USA during " The 4400" are good too.

San Francisco had a zombie flash mob this past weekend.  I clicked these photos and accounts of the day here and here.

Speaking of zombies, should humans be allowed to live forever?

How to build the best paper airplane in the world

Related: Yamaha papercraft

There are two stories that are absolutely dominating the pundit blogosphere lately.  Both are very specific to that community so I don't plan to follow them very closely here at Clicked, but for the sake of familiarity:

  • The Ohio second congressional district race has drawn the interest of political horserace fans.  Though the district is traditionally very "red" so the Republican, Schmidt, is generally given the edge, Democrat Paul Hackett, however is seen as having a shot, and "blue" bloggers are rallying in a rehearsal for the 2006 elections.
  • Bloggers on the right are going to town with a story of the Air America radio network borrowing some money from a charity and not paying it back.  The blogstorm is pretty dense on this one.  This is a good catch-up post, though obviously written from a perspective, to get an idea of where people stand.

Iraqi blogger Khalid tells the very dramatic story of his imprisonment in Iraq.

INDC writes at length about Republican support for stem cell research and the fate of frozen embryos.

Speaking of divisions on the right, Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select Their Least Favorite People On The Right — Some surprises on here.

Accordion Guy helps sort the wheat from the chaffe in the Toronto moving community (to the chagrin of one moving company in particular).

Time wasting game of the day: Stackopolis

... and in case we haven't had a sufficiently deleterious effect on the nation's productivity, The Trebuchet Challenge.

Pieter Hugo's Hyena People of Nigeria

Arianna Huffington continues on Judith Miller's role in the Valerie Plame case.

250 KM/h Crash Pictures ( Google figures that at about 155 mph.)  This looks like the kind of thing they put on the front lawn of the high school around prom time.

Speaking of not enough reaction time, here's a nice illustration of how dangerous deer are on a dark highway.  NOTE:  This is police dashboard video of a car hitting a deer, it's not bloody, but it's not pretty.

Y'know those stipple portraits in the Wall Street Journal?  The artist's name is Noli Novak.

The guy who got fired from Google because of his blog has started a new site for people to tell their stories about getting fired.  (And it looks like it has the dual purpose of being a job hunting site as well.  Clever idea.)

The future of hearing — imagining hearing aid ideas for folks who want something other than "louder."

The artistocrats joke — The other day I clicked a link to a bit of video in which the South Park kids told a joke so offensive I didn't even consider posting it here.  The punchline had to do with The Aristocrats, which I knew to be a movie about comedians, but it made no sense.  Now it makes a little more sense.

Milblogs have not had a very positive reaction to FX's new Iraq War TV show " Over There."

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