Prediction that Blogosphere to Peak Next Year

The BBC has reported on a number of tech predictions made by Gartner. These include a prediction that the number of blogs will level off at 100 million next year, up from an estimated 57 million blogs at present. “Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer said the reason for the levelling off in blogging was due to the fact that most people who would ever start a web blog had already done so.”

Perhaps they are right. After all, 100 million is a lot of blogs. However there are some factors that I could see causing a continued increase. The bulk of on line activity still comes from a relatively small percent of the population. While most who are interested might have blogs by next year, I could see this causing a decrease in number of new blogs but there may also be a number who gradually get hooked. The 2008 elections could get a whole new group interested in political blogging. Other things will happen which will attract others to blogging. The increased ease of setting up free or inexpensive blogs might also attract more people, as well as encouraging some bloggers to set up mulitple blogs to represent different interests. Not all blogs are like Liberal Values, mixing posts on politics, the culture wars, and Gilmore Girls on the same day.
Even if the number of bloggers isn’t increased due to new people getting interested, there’s also the increasing number of spam blogs. While the number of real blogs may level off, if spam blogs are like any other type of spam they will continue to increase.

Scientists Protest Interference From Bush Administration

The BBC reports on a statement from 10,000 US scientists protesting government interference in science which was released at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. The statement includes signatures from science advisors to previous Democratic and Republican Presidents going back to Eisenhower. They have expressed the hope that the new Democratic Congress will show a greater commitment to protecting the integrity of the scientific process:

Some 10,000 US researchers have signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process.

The statement, which includes the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demands a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy.

According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, data is being misrepresented for political reasons.

It claims scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives.

The Union has released an “A to Z” guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education.

Campaigners say that in recent years the White House has been able to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration because a Republican congress has been loath to stand up for scientific integrity.

“It’s very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it’s even harder to make good public policy with bad science,” said Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security.

“In the last several years, we’ve seen an increase in both the misuse of science and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources.”

Joking About Democrats

Now its Jeff Greenfield of CNN who says he was just telling a joke. Recently Greenfield compared Barack Obama’s dress to that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on The Situation Room. Obama’s dress is described as “a jacket, collared shirt, no tie.” That’s hardly something radical with which to compare him to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

So now Greenfield says that he was just joking, just like he’s joking about Obama’s middle and last names:

GREENFIELD: Now, it is one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread. Or is that threads? — Wolf.

It’s apparently all right for Greenfield to joke, but it is not ok for John Kerry to tell jokes at George Bush’s expense:

Greenfield: Which is why it’s reasonable to think that the principal victim of the Kerry comments is John Kerry, who has been out campaigning for Democratic candidates around the country, building up markers for a possible second White House run, just as Richard Nixon did, very successfully, in the 1966 midterms.

With Kerry canceling appearances this week to minimize fallout, that piece of a presidential campaign strategy now appears inoperative.


GREENFIELD: And maybe the most puzzling part of this whole story is What Senator Kerry was trying to accomplish with that botched joke in the first place.

Mocking President Bush for not studying hard sounds just like that sort of Ivy League college campus, elitist ridicule that has proven utterly ineffective, even politically counterproductive. If the polls are right, the country has turned negative on President Bush because of what is happening in Iraq, not because of his SAT scores — Wolf.

At least Greenfield got it right that Kerry was joking about Bush and not the troops, but misses the point about how this fit in with Kerry’s frequent comments about Bush getting us stuck in Iraq. The problem with Bush is not his SAT scores but that he to us into a war without any understanding of the mess it would create or that the war was unnecessary. Even though Kerry botched the delivery, his joke made sense as there was an element of truth to it and it was pertinent to the issue of Iraq. Greenfield’s joke simply made no sense.

Although it made no sense, the joke is part of a larger picture of avoiding the issues with irrelevant jokes about Democrats. We’ve seen this with Dukakis in the tank, Gore supposedly inventing the internet, and John Kerry wind surfing. Now the joke is apparently that Obama is like the Iranian leader who is spending this week denying that the Holocaust occurred. Greenfield complains about the liberal bloggers who criticized him for his “joke.” I’m glad to see the blogosphere stand up to Greenfield on this, and wish it had done a better job of sticking up for John Kerry, and had been around for Dukakis and Gore.