Top 20ish blogs


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


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

What’s Up Doc


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


 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


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


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


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.

Life or meth?


Life or meth? It’s your choice.

That was the message from Mike Sabin, managing director of MethCon – a specialist company which provides drug education, advice and specific training programmes relating to methamphetamine and other addictive drugs.

He said New Zealand has the highest rate of addiction in the world and that drugs are the cornerstone of most crime.

With methamphetamine it’s much more likely to be violent crime – a meth addict is nine times more likely to murder someone than a non-addict.

The former police detective with several years in drug investigation said that laws are for the law abiding, prison is for the rest.

“It takes a community to solve social problems, laws and politicians can’t do it for us.”

Sabin’s company works with employers to help them recognise and deal with drug addiction. He said that drug problems cost the country about $10 billion a year and around half of that is in lost productivity.

Drug dealing is pyramid selling and dealers aim at middle and upper income earners because they want their money.

Sabin linked New Zealand’s high rate of child abuse to our high rate of meth addiction. Babies are born with withdrawal symptoms, they have difficulty feeding, they cry a lot and are hyperactive.

“It would be difficult enough for anyone to deal with that let alone P addicts who react with violence.”

Sabin said 35% of meth labs found by police have children living at the address and almost all suffer from the effects of toxic levels of chemicals to which they’ve been exposed.

He was scathing about the harm minimisation approach and said that we won’t get rid of the problem at the supply end. Reducing supply just increases profits for dealers. We have to cut demand to get rid of the problem.

He was supportive of getting rid of cold and flu medications which contain pseudoephodrine. Drug dealers cruise the country buying a little here and a little there then book into a motel to cook a batch of P.

Motelliers and people with rental houses should be on the look out for labs and no lightbulbs was a sign that people were smoking P.

Sabin explained how P affects the brain. His address included video footage with horrifying pictures of real addicts and the impact P had on their physical and mental health.

 He said that arrogance, ignorance and apathy were enabling the P industry to flourish and that society is sending young people a message that they can’t just go out and rely on their own devices to enjoy themselves, they have to take a pill to have fun.

April 20 in history


April 20 in history:

571 Muhammad, (traditional date) Prophet and founder of Islam, was born.


1303 The University of Rome La Sapienza was instituted by Pope Boniface VIII.

Logo Sapienza 2006 - 3D.jpg

1453 The last naval battle in Byzantine history when three Genoese galleys escorting a Byzantine transport fought their way through the huge Ottoman blockade fleet and into the Golden Horn.

1494 Johannes Agricola, German Protestant reformer.


1534  Jacques Cartier began the voyage during which he discovered Canada and Labrador.

1535 The Sun Dog phenomenon observed over Stockholm and depicted in the famous painting “Vädersolstavlan


1653  Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament.


1657 Admiral Robert Blake destroyed a Spanish silver fleet under heavy fire at Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Robert Blake.jpg

1657  Freedom of religion was granted to the Jews of New Amsterdam (later New York City).

1689 The former King James II of England,  then deposed, lay siege to Derry.

1775 American Revolutionary War: the Siege of Boston began.


1792 France declared war on Austria, beginning of French Revolutionary Wars.


1809 Two Austrian army corps in Bavaria are defeated by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France at the Battle of Abensberg on the second day of a four day campaign which ended in a French victory.

Abensberg .jpg

1810 The Governor of Caracas declared independence from Spain.


1828 René Caillié becomes the first non-Muslim to enter Timbouctou.


1861 American Civil War: Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia.

Robert Edward Lee.jpg

1862 Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard completed the first pasteurization tests.


1871 The Civil Rights Act of 1871 became law.

1884 Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical Humanum Genus.

Leo XIII..jpg

1889 Adolf Hitler, German Nazi dictator, was born.

1893 Joan Miró, Spanish painter,

1902 Pierre and Marie Curie refined radium chloride.


1907  Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Haitian president, was born.

1914 Forty-five men, women, and children died in the Ludlow Massacre during a Colorado coal-miner’s strike.


1918 Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, shot down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the following day.


1926 Western Electric and Warner Bros. announced Vitaphone, a process to add sound to film.


1939  Billie Holiday recorded the first Civil Rights song “Strange Fruit“.

1941  Ryan O’Neal, American actor, was born.

1945  World War II: US troops captured Leipzig, Germany.

1945 World War II: Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler made his last trip to the surface to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.


1948 Craig Frost, American musician (Grand Funk & Bob Seger), was born.

1949  Jessica Lange, American actress, was born.


1953 Sebastian Faulks, British novelist, was born.


1958  The first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Southern Hemisphere opened in Hamilton.

Mormon temple opens in Hamilton 

1961 Failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of US-backed troops against Cuba.

1964  BBC Two launched with the power cut because of the fire at Battersea Power Station.

On a teal background, the letters "BBC" in solid white squares above larger "TWO" in white capitals letters.

1968  Enoch Powell made his controversial Rivers of Blood speech.

1972 Apollo 16 landed on the moon commanded by John Young.


1978  Korean Air Flight 902 was shot down by Soviets.

1980 Climax of Berber Spring in Algeria as hundreds of Berber political activists were arrested.

1985 ATF raid on The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord compound in northern Arkansas.

1986 Pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed in his native Russia for the first time in 61 years.

1986 Cameron Duncan, New Zealand director, was born.

1986 Professional basketball player Michael Jordan set a record for points in an NBA playoff game with 63 against the Boston Celtics.

1998 German terrorist group Red Army Faction announcesd their dissolution after 28 years.


1999 Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado.


2007 Johnson Space Center Shooting: A man with a handgun barricaded himself in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston before killing a male hostage and himself.

2008 Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race.

Sourced from Nz History Online and Wikipedia

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