Your contribution to science: Link to this post

November 28, 2006

Really.

A psychology grad student is doing a paper on the speed with which a meme will spread through Bloggerland.  Scott Eric Kaufman is testing a hypothesis that posts and ideas are skyhooked by high-traffic sites (this is a low-traffic site, Millard Fillmore being dead all these years and all; I got the post from Pharyngula, who gets as many hits in a day as I would get in a year at this rate — the hypothesis might be right.

Your role?  You need to link to the original post at Acephalous from your blog, and then ask others to do the same.  Here is the link at Acephalous:  http://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/2006/11/measuring_the_s.html.

Well, Acephalous is a much better writer than I, so here’s how he explains it:

  1. Write a post linking to this one in which you explain the experiment.  (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, &c.)
  2. Ask your readers to do the same.  Beg them.  Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances.  Imply I’m one of them.  (Do whatever you have to.  If that fails, try whatever it takes.)
  3. Ping Techorati.

It’s all in the name of research.  Honest.

Think of all the poor graduate students in desperate circumstances.  Oh!  The humanity!


The rise of David Barton and bogus history

November 28, 2006

Some people were relieved when voodoo history maven Davin Barton’s term as vice chair of the Texas Republican Party expired.

Dallas Morning News editorial writer and occasional columnist William McKenzie warns that we have not seen the last of Barton’s involvement in politics — and textbooks are in Barton’s gunsights.

McKenzie wrote about Barton in the November 28 paper:

Pay attention to his work, because, as Newsweek reported after the election, the religious right is at a crossroads. With big-name leaders declining, lesser-knowns like Mr. Barton will fill the gap. And they will come with their own approach.

The most interesting thing I learned from him was that the next wave will revolve around networks of activists, not the big names who lobby Washington. Look for e-mail blasts that start with a small group upset about a comment or decision about abortion, homosexuality or textbooks. In the decentralized technological world, a David Barton doesn’t need the podium of a Jerry Falwell or a Ralph Reed to trigger a prairie fire.

In other words, watch him.


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