mm420: Thanks so much, WordPress.com!

June 25, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© averages roughly 50 hits a day. As reading L-HC indicates that faithful reader indubitably has exquisitely refined taste, I’m not unhappy with that number, exactly. It’s about 50 more people than ever read whatever I might have written before taking up blogging.

Today, 96 hits.

Wow, did my latest post, on web conferencing, hit a nerve?

Not exactly.

50 people clicked on a link from last August, a story about Barack Obama. And I have WordPress.com to thank.

It seems recently they added a delightful feature when one publishes a post: Possibly related posts: (automatically generated) wherein the system pulls out three or four stories that share a tag or category with the article just posted. It’s a handy resource, one small example of the feature-rich service that WordPress.com provides (in my case, nearly cost-free) to nearly 3.5million blogs.

Turns out that FoxNews.com, of all sites, is the source of today’s doubled traffic.

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mm412: Choice Two

June 16, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

As I start to write this post, it’s 8:56pmCDT, pretty late to begin a project on a Monday night.

Mondays. (Or, I guess Sundays. If you observe the Sabbath on a Saturday). (Or, I guess Saturdays. If you observe the Sabbath on a Friday).

Any way you look at it, the first day of the work week is the tough one. The alarm clock, which if one is fortunate, stayed off for the entire weekend, resumes working its mischief on schedule, in Mr. & Mrs. MUDGE‘s distressing case, at 5:10am. That’s a hurtful note, indeed.

So, an advantage of beginning the day with the roosters, is that one has the capacity to end the day reasonably early. And, as is typical, the nine-hour workday, and the two-hour round trip commute still had me home and ready to hit the ‘Sphere at a very reasonable hour.

But there were responsibilities that had prior call on my precious blogging time tonight. Spent the past 2-1/2 hours reconciling bank accounts and paying my various creditors and other mid-month obligations, something I might have done when fresher yesterday, had my good friends at Comcast cooperated and left me with a connection I could depend upon while accessing my on-line banking resources.

By the time service had restored itself just as mysteriously as it had gone away, two lengthy waits in customer service jail plus an hour or two later, the impetus to do the responsible thing had seeped away, restored in full tonight, thankfully.

Now, faced with limited access to blogging resources (suitable computer, software [see the Blogging Process Hall of Fame in the sidebar], and most of all, time) yr (justifiably) humble svt has arrived at two tactics to honor the blogger’s prime directive: Thou Shalt Blog Daily!

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mm397: Blast from the Past! No. 25

May 31, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

The Family MUDGE is happily celebrating the graduation of our youngest scholar with a party that will have taken prep time and cleanup time and party time, leaving no blogging time. So, as one must blog daily, we present the following in fulfillment of the obligation.

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

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Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last summer, originally posted September 9, 2007, and originally titled “Process, again”.

MUDGE’S Musings

Couple of months ago, we wrote about the process of blogging, as we understood it after about 2½ months of consistent posting.

Not sure that understanding has increased, although the consistency has remained. At least in frequency, if not quality.

The quality thing can always be improved.

Received a modest number of hits in the past four months; averages about 16 per day, day in and out. A couple of times about 90. A bunch of times, a loyal few. Some of the early weeks — totaled 20.

Thanks, loyal few!

Where do those statistics come from, you may wonder? From our weblog host, WordPress.com.

What a terrific organization! Hosting at this site is free. Support has been superlative.

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mm372: Year One: Done!

May 7, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

firstbirthday

Can’t help but notice that we’ve achieved a mini-milestone today: we began serious blogging one year ago, May 7, 2007.

We actually registered Left-Handed Complement with WordPress.com about nine months earlier, dashed off a couple of quick posts and then once that initial burst of enthusiasm and curiosity had passed, stopped.

We’ll consider that interregnum a gestation then, leading to the true birth of this site an entire year ago.

Fortunately, unlike my children, for whom we had no such demands, L-HC was born talking. This will be the 399th post (the numbering system of our titles has been irregularized by anomalies such as our occasional Web Conferencing Week posts, and our early propensity for decimalizing multiple posts on the same day. but I trust WordPress to deliver a straight accounting). That’s a lot of talking.

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mm339: WordPress.com – I love the new Dashboard!

April 5, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

We’ve occasionally been moved to comment about process.

Blogging process (highlights)

mm318: 10,000
mm297: 9,000
mm259: Nomination
mm255: 7,000!
mm252: A short word about the process of blogging
mm222: Encyclopedic, Careeric, Blogic
mm135: Process, again
mm119: Creating the sequitur
mm077: We pause for a few words about process

This hobby/pastime/obsession we know as “blogging” is made possible through a host of technological artifacts: the Internet itself; the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who, for better or worse, are the ‘Net’s gatekeepers; and, most of all, the indomitable urge for self-expression that has found such fertile ground to manifest itself in these times.

And then there are the tools that we bloggers use daily to self-express.

Shortly after we began for real this grand adventure called Left-Handed Complement, we were moved to comment about the fantastic, free of charge nature of this medium.

The platform, the means to access it richly (although said platform is highly capable in that area), and some on-line resources whose existence makes life easier — essentially, the only cost to self-expression is one’s time.

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mm297: 9,000

February 26, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

5000-alt

1000-dollar-US-bill-front

1000

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1000-alt

Not dollars, yen, pounds, rupees, tolars, etc. You.

WordPress.com, those absolutely wonderful folks who provide safe harbor for over 2½-million bloggers, is good enough to keep track of page hits.

And, as I write this, this infinitesimal nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© has received just over 9,000 hits in the 9½ months of its active lifetime.

That number represents a blink of a fraction of an hour for many blog sites out there, but it’s a significant number for yr (justifiably) humble svt.

So, I’m grateful.

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mm279: Aren’t you intrigued by nanotechnology?

February 8, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Well, I am. Been reading up, as an amateur, and I definitely am hooked. Even picked up on a previous story in The Economist some time ago.

Point is it’s still early days yet for nanotech. Science is coming up with ways of building really small things, but not yet how to apply many of them to create value.

But the work, and its resulting media coverage, continues to increase, and Economist seems as captivated as anyone. One senses that they believe that macro dollars (okay, £Sterling) are certain to be made.

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mm266: Follow-ups and other voices heard

January 26, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Responding to some internal and, interestingly, external disquiet regarding this space’s latest experiment with themes available here at the incomparable WordPress.com, we have, as we’re sure you’ve noticed, changed again.

Our latest choice is less visually jarring, at the cost of some blandness. Our critics might tell us that bland is beautiful, compared to the mess we left behind, and we apparently agreed. Responsiveness to the audience – what a concept!

Let us know whether you think we’re in a better place.

And, lest you, as does yr (justifiably) humble svt, miss our logo, as the new theme doesn’t allow header customization, here’s a fix.

l-hc780x95

Okay, let’s move on, shall we?

It’s a big planet, and there are a multiplicity of viewpoints and a waterfall of information pouring into this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© every nanosecond.

So, we’re taking a breath, and taking an alternate look at a couple of topics covered earlier.

You guessed it: another episode of SASB: Short Attention Span Blogging!©

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Culling the planet’s herd

A couple of days ago, we explored some of the implications of the FDA’s approval to introduce cloned meat and dairy products into the marketplace. The concern is that as producers go for the easy, repetitive score, i.e., clone what works and eliminate the rest, the planet will permanently lose something important: species diversity.

This week’s NYTimes Magazine explores the issue from a different direction (and continent!), selective breeding rather than cloning (two sides of the same coin, actually).

nytimesmagazine

herdextinct

A Dying Breed

By ANDREW RICE | Published: January 27, 2008

GERSHOM MUGIRA COMES from a long line of cattle-keepers. His people, the Bahima, are thought to have migrated into the hilly grasslands of western Uganda more than a thousand years ago, alongside a hardy breed of longhorns known as the Ankole. For centuries, man and beast subsisted there in a tight symbiotic embrace. Mugira’s nomadic ancestors wandered in search of fresh pasture for their cattle, which in turn provided them with milk. It is only within the last few generations that most Bahima have accepted the concept of private property. Mugira’s family lives on a 500-acre ranch, and one sunny day in November, the wiry 26-year-old showed me around, explaining, with some sadness but more pragmatism, why the Ankole breed that sustained his forebears for so many generations is now being driven to extinction….

In recent decades, global trade, sophisticated marketing, artificial insemination and the demands of agricultural economics have transformed the Holstein into the world’s predominant dairy breed. Indigenous animals like East Africa’s sinewy Ankole, the product of centuries of selection for traits adapted to harsh conditions, are struggling to compete with foreign imports bred for maximal production. This worries some scientists. The world’s food supply is increasingly dependent on a small and narrowing list of highly engineered breeds: the Holstein, the Large White pig and the Rhode Island Red and Leghorn chickens. There’s a risk that future diseases could ravage these homogeneous animal populations. Poor countries, which possess much of the world’s vanishing biodiversity, may also be discarding breeds that possess undiscovered genetic advantages. But farmers like Mugira say they can’t afford to wait for science. And so, on the African savanna, a competition for survival is underway….

The Food and Agriculture Organization, an agency of the United Nations, recently reported that at least 20 percent of the world’s estimated 7,600 livestock breeds are in danger of extinction. Experts are warning of a potential “meltdown” in global genetic diversity. Yet the plight of the Ankole illustrates the difficulty of balancing the conflicting goals of animal conservation and human prosperity. An estimated 70 percent of the world’s rural poor, some 630 million people, derive a substantial percentage of their income from livestock. Increase the productivity of these animals, development specialists say, and you improve dire living standards. The World Bank recently published a report saying it was time to place farming “afresh at the center of the development agenda.” Highly productive livestock breeds, the World Bank asserts, are playing an important role in alleviating poverty.

As controlled interbreeding takes place, Africa’s indigenous cattle are gradually converting into distinctly highly productive Holsteins.

One additional advantage of the imported genetic stock: Ankole cattle require huge swaths of grassland; Holsteins can be penned. Writer Andrew Rice quotes some experts who say that “ethnic” warfare in Rwanda and Darfur as “really a fight over grass.”

The diversity the planet is losing is dire:

Many tropical breeds may possess unique adaptive traits. The problem is, we don’t know what is being lost. Earlier this year, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization released its first-ever global assessment of biodiversity in livestock. While data on many breeds are scant, the report found that over the last six years, an average of one breed a month has gone extinct. “The threat is imminent,” says Danielle Nierenberg, senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental group. “Just getting milk and meat into people’s mouths is not the answer.”

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

A Dying Breed – New York Times

A lengthy, but most worthwhile read. The law of unintended consequences is one that will never be repealed.

shortattention_thumb2 ©

Ultimately, it’s ALL recycled, isn’t it?

The water crisis in the Southeast and Western U.S. was approached a couple of weeks ago here.

Wired magazine has an intriguing update.

wired

waterpurification

New Purification Plant Answers California’s Water Crisis

By Dave Bullock | 01.25.08 | 8:00 PM

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, California — As Southern California faces a worsening water crisis, Orange County has implemented a $480 million microfiltration system so advanced it can turn waste water into drinking water.

Fewer words than intriguing pix in this story.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

New Purification Plant Answers California’s Water Crisis

Facilities like this one are going to have to become the norm if people insist on living in the desert.

Not as cheap as piping it in from the Great Lakes, Orange County, but that’s not on the table anyway.

All the water on the planet has been here since the catalytic cataclysm that created it in the first place. We’ve been drinking recycled water forever.

Thanks to this Fountain Valley facility and others soon to follow elsewhere, engineers have simply shortened the recycling time.

shortattention_thumb2 ©

Democracy, it’s a virus

… and it could be catching on in China.

Several months ago, monks in Burma led massive demonstrations noted here, against the government which were ultimately suppressed, as usual, by the oppressive regime.

In Shanghai, people have been massing to demonstrate against expansion of a maglev high-speed rail line. The Washington Post has the story.

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Shanghai’s Middle Class Launches Quiet, Meticulous Revolt

By Maureen Fan | Washington Post Foreign Service | Saturday, January 26, 2008

SHANGHAI — Bundled against the cold, the businessman made his way down the steps. Coming toward him in blue mittens was a middle-aged woman.

“Do you know that we’re going to take a stroll this weekend?” she whispered, using the latest euphemism for the unofficial protests that have unnerved authorities in Shanghai over the past month.

He nodded.

Behind her, protest banners streamed from the windows of high-rise apartment blocks, signs of middle-class discontent over a planned extension of the city’s magnetic levitation, or maglev, train through residential neighborhoods.

They live in China’s most Western mainland city, and they’ve learned the advanced Western concept of NIMBY (Not in my back yard). And they’ve taken to the streets.

And Shanghai’s government has been forced to pay attention.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Shanghai’s Middle Class Launches Quiet, Meticulous Revolt – washingtonpost.com

The single most relentless enemy of authoritarian governments is the middle class. Even George III’s Venezuelan nemesis, Hugo Chavez, failed in his attempt to modify the constitution.

Citizens who have attained middle class status by dint of hard work, and loosened societal constraints, can embrace artifacts of civilization available to those living above the subsistence level.

Such as education.

Satellite television (Ronald Reagan and CNN both helped end the Cold War, to MUDGE’s generation’s eternal surprise).

The Internet and its blogs and bulletin boards (those portions that the Chinese government can’t censor).

Cellular telephones with text messaging.

Don’t think there’s much of a middle class in Burma as yet. So that 2007 effort was doomed. Like Chicago Cubs fans everywhere, one can only say, “wait until next year!”

Short Attention Span Blogging

… is only short for the reader, not, for heaven’s sake, the blogger! But kudos to faithful reader for getting this far!

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm259: Nomination

January 19, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

It’s in the air, right?

Just finished nominating our favorite blogging host, WordPress.com to the Webware 100 2008 awards.

webware100 Nominated WordPress.com in two categories, the obvious, Publishing and photography, and also the less obvious category, Social.

Nominations continue until January 25.

This was a no-brainer (just as well, I know); WordPress.com is a wonderful service that … okay, here’s what my two-sentence (that’s the rules, folks — if I want to say more, that’s what WordPress.com is for!) nomination stated:

WordPress.com hosts free of charge (for most) over 2,100,000 blogs, smoothly providing state of the art technology, awesome (it’s free, right?) reliability and brilliant, cheerful customer service. The very model of a modern web “better mousetrap” that also has grown into a unique global community of writers.

Yeah, when MUDGE gushes, the tub overflows. They’ll toss me out of the Curmudgeon’s Guild for sure. But, this is sincere.

I embraced this Web 2.0 adventure the world calls blogging seriously only last May. 275 or so posts later, Left-Handed Complement remains a force for good in a life that turns out was waiting forever for the opportunity and venue to write.

Thanks, faithful reader, for faithfully reading.

It’s satisfying also to have made the jump from voracious web content consumer (for 15 or more years!) to provider of content, even if confined to this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©.

And, entry into the social world of blogging that has become a fascinating destination in and of itself, threatening at times to swamp the time destined for writing.

wordpress1 As I’ve written consistently through the months (some of the more recent: here, here, here and speaking especially about the social networking element here), WordPress.com has provided the means to effortlessly exercise insufficiently used writing muscles, with little technical muss or fuss.

And, as a professional IT person, I know full well that only ferociously creative effort behind the scenes keeps it so simple and reliable where our rubber meets the road.

When the Webware 100 voting begins in February, and WordPress.com is indeed on the list of nominees, yr (justifiably) humble svt will operate in typical Chicago election fashion: voting early and often.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm255: 7,000!

January 15, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

5000-alt

1000-alt

1000-alt2

Yeah, the currency blog is back…

Those wonderful, wondrous folks at WordPress.com report over 7,000 visits to this micro-nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© since its inception, as of 14-January-2008. I remain totally aware that, 7,000 hits is an off day for many in the ‘Sphere (7,000 is an off minute for some!), but I’m impressed and grateful.

Thanks, especially, to faithful reader, to those of you who stop here regularly, whether or not you are regular or not (we’ll try to add more fiber!).

Thanks to those of you who subscribe to our feed.

BTW, wonderful, wondrous WordPress.com folks: can’t can’t can’t wait for those expanded feed stats you’ve teased us about!

Regardless, WordPress, thanks, thanks, thanks for everything: The free hosting that is so dependable; the fun you let us have with themes (changed for only the second time ever this past weekend – anybody notice?); it’s all terrific.

Thanks to aforementioned WordPress.com, and the other members of our Blogging Process Hall of Fame© (hmmm… we haven’t presented that lately)…

blogginghallv2 ©

Lately, BlogExplosion.com seems to be in a funk, but WordPress.com indicates that the site remains an origin for many of our daily readers. We like you a lot, BlogExplosion, get well soon!

And our latest find, FuelMyBlog.com, which had the astute good taste to award this site its coveted(?) “Blog of the Day” award yesterday, has both provided some traffic, as well as exposed yr (justifiably) humble svt to some superb blogging. Very humbling. Check them out at the top of our sidebar, and be sure to “Fuel” the ones you like (and us, too!).

Couldn’t do this without you, all.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE