Catching up on web news

I haven’t looked on my webby-internetty blog subscriptions for an age in e-language (translates to about 10 days), but this evening I have taken a look at some of the several hundred new posts that have accrued in the past couple of weeks.

First, bad news; Boing Boing, one of the most successful blogs (if success is measured by amount of traffic) is experimenting with adverts in its rss feeds. Actually I thought it was doing that already, as I sometimes see ads in its rss, but I guess they are not satisfied with being one of the top 3 on Technorati and want more. Pity. But at least we should (presumably) be thankful that it isn’t "malicious javascript".

Apophenia has an interesting post about the blogher convention — a convention of women bloggers that I found out about too late to sign up as it was full. "i’m faced with the challenge i always face when in a room full of women. I’ve definitely grown up in a boy’s world, trying to out-boy the boys. I’m used to being aggressive to get my voice heard; i’m used to a language of critique, not compliments; i’m used to trying to take up space to be seen. Here, i just feel so awkward and out of place in a place that should feel comfortable. ::sigh::"

Barry at Content Matters continues his series on the 50 companies that matter by featuring the New York Times as the newspaper "on top of the pile" of the rubbish heap generated by the Internet. Despite criticism in other quarters, Barry analyses why he thinks the New York Times is well placed to survive and thrive in the Internet era. In another post, Barry features MyBlogLog, a set of tools to help bloggers track activity on their blogs. I get swamped by all the companies offering these features, but Barry’s recommendations are usually pretty reliable.

Returning to news, Greg Linden asks when is news old on the Internet? The news cycle, I find, is ridiculously short, but it reverberates on, being recycled among all the blogs on that topic, cropping up again and again in a self-perpetuating long tail, if the basic story is good enough to pique interest as each blogger reads someone else’s posting on the topic and feels compelled to add their own personal take. See here for similar lessons of the web.

Finally, ten reasons why Liz (M. E.) Strauss doesn’t leave comments on blogs. Nevertheless, if the content is sufficiently compelling, "I lose all self-consciousness. My fingers can’t wait to share what you’ve started me thinking. My hands literally jump to the keyboard and start typing out the words."

News values

Last Thursday, like the rest of the world it seems, I read a story placed prominently in the Times (first inside right-hand page) about a guard dog attacking a teddy bear. Buried about twenty pages further on in the paper, I read a story that I don’t think has received any other coverage or discussion on the blogs I read.

Entitled "Cry for help from writer jailed for a book that no-one saw" , the story tells of an appeal by Dolma Gyab, a young (29-year-old) Tibetan writer who has been jailed for 10 years. "His case has been kept secret since his arrest in March 2005 in Lhasa, where he was teaching history at a city middle school. He had written a 57-chapter book called Restless Himalayas and had also begun a book on Tibetan geography, which was believed to touch on such sensitive topics as the locations of Chinese military camps in Tibet. These unpublished papers were apparently found in his home."

Gyab has now written to the United Nations for help. In the letter he wrote: “They can kill me but they cannot kill the love of nature, science and geography. I want to keep up my courage . . . I would like to draw attention to this situation and ask you to help me.”

According to the Times, Gyab’s sentence is the most severe to be given in Tibet to a "dissident" for several years. "When the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, visited China in November, he was given access to prisoners at Chusul. But the case of the young writer was not then known. Dolma Gyab writes that he was hidden from the visitor. “I did not have a chance to talk about the real situation here and my unfair trial.” "

The Times also adds:

"Last week officials closed down blogs maintained by the Tibetan writer Woeser, whose works are banned in China. Her blogs addressed such sensitive issues as the recently completed railway to Lhasa and the 40th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, when most Tibetan temples were destroyed. She told The Times: “This had to happen sooner or later. I will not start another blog but I will continue with my own writing.”

More than 100 writers and dissidents issued a letter yesterday to decry the closing of the Century China website that had been one of the few refuges for relatively unfettered views in the country."

The Times story is at this link.

Polygon 7 August

Polygon puzzle
Using the given letters no more than once, make as many words as possible of four or more letters, always including the central letter. Capitalised words, plurals, conjugated verbs (past tense etc), adverbs ending in LY, comparatives and superlatives are disallowed.

How you rate: 13 words, average; 17, good; 21, very good; 26, excellent.

Click here for rules and tips on how to play Polygon

Source: The Times

Answers on the continuation page.

Continue reading