Top 20ish blogs

April 20, 2010

Jim Mora invited me to do a spot on blogs on Afternoon’s  Critical Mass and started by asking which are the most popular blogs and how many people read them.

It’s difficult to answer that because for every unique visitor to a blog there will be many others who read it via RSS feeds.

Visits are only one measure anyway. Is a blog which attracts more visitors but fewer comments better or not than one with fewer visitors and more comments?

Tim Selwyn’s Blogosphere Ranking  takes account of visitors, posts, comments and links but it hasn’t been updated since January.

Two other bloggers also do rankings – Scrubone does the Half Done Stats and Ken Perrot at Open Parachute bases his rankings on the publicly available sitemeter  counter.

There are variations between the rankings with more similarity between the Blogosphere and Half Done rankings than Open Parachute’s but these 17 blogs regularly turn up in the top 20 of at least two of the tables most months:

Kiwiblog:  written by David Farrar. This is noted for both the quantity and quality of posts, widely read by who’s who of politics and media. He’s open about his blue bias but not bigoted. He’s widely read because of his political knowledge and analysis but also writes well on IT, travel, general news, reviews and sometimes he breaks stories.

Gotcha by Cameron Slater/Whale Oil. He’s been in the top 10 for months and at or near # 1 since starting his campaign against name suppression laws. I think he’d consider it a compliment to have Gotcha described as being towards the harder, sometimes even rabid, end of the right when compared with David; and some of his content may offend. But he also has moving posts on the realities of life with depression.

Cactus Kate is a New Zealand lawyer based in Hong Kong. She has incisive posts on business & politics and writes with attitude on her life and travels.

Not PC – Peter Cresswell runs the blog with occasional contributions from guest posters. He is a Libertarian who writes on politics, architecture, art and beer.

No Minister  is a team blog, most – but not all – of whom are somewhere in the blue range of the political spectrum. Several bloggers, me included, find No Minsiter is the blog which refers most visitors to their posts.

Dim Post: Danyl Mclauchlan specialises in satire. He writes with a pink to red perspective and his posts on politics are interspersed with observations on life in general

Tumeke!: Bomber Bradbury and Tim Selwyn – Bomber’s towards the rabid end of the political left. Tim is more measured, and often writes with insight on Maori and local body issues.

The Standard   is also at the rabid red end of the political  spectrum. It’s written by a team of mostly anonymous bloggers – at least some of whom work for the  Labour party and/or MPs.

Red Alert is the Labour MPs’ blog. It shows there’s more freedom in opposition, especially for senior MPs who wouldn’t have the time to post as often if they were ministers.

Frogblog is written by Green Party MPs and supporters though unlike Red Alert, sometimes gives a little credit to the government.

No Right Turn is written by Idiot/Savant. He’s left wing with insider knowledge of politics, who specialises in well written and researched posts.

Homepaddock: you’re reading it.

Roarprawn features Busted Blonde and occasional other contributors. BB posts on politics, life, food, Maori issues with insider knowledge of Ngai Tahu and life.

Inquiring Mind: Adam Smith posts a cartoon and quote of the day, supplemented by considered opinions on politics, life and also shares his appreciation of music.

Kiwipolitico: is written by a team. Posts are considered and mostly leftwing politics.

Hand Mirror:  a team giving a thoughtful feminist pink to red perspective on politics, general news and life.

Open Parachute:  Ken Perrot specialises in science and atheism.

Other blogs which often feature in one, or near at least two, of the top 20 rankings are:

In A Strange Land: Deborah is a New Zealander living in Adelaide who writes reasoned posts on feminism and politics from a pink to red perspective, leavened with others on her family, travels, life in general and recipes.

Macdoctor:  writes on medicine, health, politics and life with insight and wit.

Keeping Stock: Took a rest last year but has returned refreshed with a variety of posts on politics, sport, life and Christian music.

NZ Conservative is another team blog from the conservative, Christian sector who post on politics, religion and life and feature a regular Friday Forum.

Poneke is a journalist and it shows in his posts. He aims for quality rather than quantity and usually attracts a good number of reasoned comments.

Public Address – another team with a pink to red perspective on politics plus posts on a variety of general issues and topics.

M&M – Madeliene & Matt blog on science, religion, theism and explanatory idelness.

Something Should Go Here Maybe Later – does the Half Done Stats and also posts humorous posts mixed with the blue tinted  politics and religion.

I could go on, but this list has to stop somewhere.

Whichever way you measure it Kiwiblog is top blog with the most visitors, comments and links by a big margin and there’s also quite a big gap between the top few and the rest.

For every blog mentioned here there are many more which are written well and attract regular followers. As long as the blogger enjoys writing and visitors enjoy reading that’s what really matters.

Strange Fruit

April 20, 2010

Billie Holiday recorded the protest song, Strange Fruit, 61 years ago today.

What’s Up Doc

April 20, 2010

Happy birthday Ryan O’Neal – 69 today.

Did any teenage girl in the 70s not cry her way through Love Story and laugh at What’s Up Doc.

Tuesday’s poem

April 20, 2010

 Tuesday’s poem is  a newish blog which posts a poem once a week.

Today’s is Tryst by Sue Wootton.

The blog has links to 21 other blogs which are featuring a Tuesday’s poem.

Tuesday’s answers

April 20, 2010

Monday’s questions were:

1.  Who said: “You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears: your sons are now lying in our bossom and are in peace. And having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”? 

2. Who wrote “They went with songs to the battle, they were young/Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow”?

3. Where in New Zealand was the first Anzac Day marked?

4. What did General Bernard Freyberg say when a British General observed, “Your people don’t salute very much, do they?”

5. Who wrote the poem In Flanders Fields?

Points for answers go to:

Paul scored three – and half a bonus for what I think is the first gratuitous mention of Oamaru in an answer.

David got two and a bonus for honesty.

Gravedodger got three right and a good try for “somewhere in the North Island” – that’s usually close enough for a South Islander 🙂

Kelvin got four right and a bonus for honesty.

And JC can have four on trust.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Short term mining could leave long term beauty

April 20, 2010

Why the surprise that opinion is divided  on government plans to mine small, low value parts of the conservation estate?

Opposition has been strong of voice but high volume isn’t always a reliable indicator of the numbers who share a view.

If there were plans to touch areas of high conservation value I’d be joining those opposed. But providing it’s only a few,  small areas  of low value land that would be mined, the benefits will outweigh the costs.

It may not be pretty while it’s happening, although that doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting. In Kalgoorlie, mine visits are a tourist attraction and while I’m not keen on enclosed, underground spaces I found it fascinating.

Consent conditions will also require the companies granted licences to ensure that they leave the land in a better state than they found it.

That’s what’s happening around Macraes in East Otago and there are other examples where people have created beauty after minerals have been extracted.

We visited two former quarries while on a farm tour of the North Island last month.

Waitakaruru Arboretum and Sculpture Park near Hamilton has become a 42 hectare place of beauty.

Wrights Water Garden, south of Auckland, featuring native and exotic trees, water lilies and lotus flowers.

The end result of mining tiny patches of conservation land could be economic growth with the social gains that will bring and when the mining’s finished the land could be returned to the conservation estate in a much better condition than it was.

Otago research finds causes of quad crashes

April 20, 2010

Otago University School of Physiotherapy researchers have identified the major causes of quad bike crashes:

A study of 30 South Otago farm workers revealed those participants who steered uphill rather than downhill while tackling a left-facing slope had the most accidents, Dr Stephan Milosavljevic said.

Stability was compounded by the positioning of the throttle on the right side of the quad bike, making it more difficult for people turning uphill, he said.

Teaching people who ride quads to turn down rather than up when they’re on a left-facing slope sounds like a simple way to improve safety.

A narrow width between wheels, and drivers elevated in the seat posed further dangers.

Of the 30 people tested in the study, 63% had lost control of their quad bikes.

Dr Milosavljevic said anecdotal evidence suggested many farmers had fallen off their bikes at some point, and simply “got back on”.

Anecdotal evidence round here supports that. We’ve had one broken leg as a result of a quad crash which would show up in official statistics. We’ve had several other accidents which have given the riders a fright but no injuries. They’re recorded, as required by health & safety legislation, but they won’t show up in the official count.

The research also found that high levels of vibration from riding quads could result in back pain.

A 20% cut in quad bike use would save lives and cut down on vibration exposure, and for closer jobs farmers would be well advised to walk, rather than take the bikes.

“If the quad bikes don’t need to be used, don’t use them . . . they are just too convenient.

“Walking is a dramatically under-rated exercise.”

It’s the practice on some dairy farms for staff to take a quad out to round up the cows for milking, leave it in the paddock, walk to the shed behind the cows and back to the paddock afterwards where they get back on the bike. It doesn’t take any longer – comfortable walking pace for cows is similar to that for people – and saves fuel. This research indicates it is also better for backs.

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