Tag Archives | Blogging

Can blogging be academically valuable? Seven reasons for thinking it might be

via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

This post was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

I have been blogging for nearly five years (hard to believe). In that time, I’ve written over 650 posts on a wide variety of topics: religion, metaethics, applied ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of law, technology, epistemology, philosophy of science and so on. Since most of my posts clock-in at around 2,000 words, I’d estimate that I have written over one million words. I also reckon I spend somewhere in the region of 10-15 hours per week working on the blog, sometimes more. The obvious question is: why?

Could it be the popularity? Well, I can’t deny that having a wide readership is part of the attraction, but if that’s reason then I must be doing something wrong. The blog is only “sort of” popular. My google stats suggest that I’ll clear 1,000,000 views in the next month and half (with a current average of 35,000 per month).Read the rest

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The Most Censored Words On The Chinese Internet

UPDATE: How China Actually Gets the Internet to Censor Itself

Weibo is a Twitter-esque Chinese social media platform which boasts over 300 million regular users after just two years of existence. At the moment there are 378 words and phrases for which Weibo blocks search results. Blocked on Weibo has the continually updated list, with approximate English translation. (See the site for context.) I’ve compiled a sampling:


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Egyptian Blogger Maikel Nabil, Critical of Military, Jailed By New Egyptian Government

Maikel NabilVia BBC News:

A military court in Egypt has sentenced an internet activist to three years in jail for criticising the armed forces. Maikel Nabil was arrested last month for blogs that criticised the army’s role during anti-government protests.

The 26-year-old is thought to be the first blogger jailed in Egypt since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.

Activists said the trial set a dangerous precedent at a time when Egypt was trying to move away from the alleged abuses of the Mubarak era. Lawyers representing Maikel Nabil have criticised the conduct of the military court.

“We are in a state of shock because [on Sunday] they told us the decision would be on Tuesday, so the family and lawyer left. Afterwards the court announced its decision,” said Gamal Eid, a lawyer who heads the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

Mr Eid said the trial was unfair because the court did not even consider the content of Mr Nabil’s blog posts.

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Hate TSA Body Scans? Homeland Security Is Monitoring More Than You Realize

Body ScansLisa Rab writes on the Broward-Palm Beach New Times:

If you thought intrusive body scans and airport pat downs were just a fluke in the War on Terror bureaucracy, fear not: The Department of Homeland Security has plenty of other programs that will make your skin crawl.

For instance, Big Brother is reading your tweets and Facebook status updates, searching for dangerous words and phrases such as militia, Iraq, and, ironically, body scanner.

The program is called the “Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative,” and yes, it’s as strange as it sounds. The goal is appropriately vague, “to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture for the federal government.” Hmmm.

Scroll to page 17 of this recent Homeland Security report and you’ll find an extremely lengthy list of the terms — posted on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and other social media sites — that will grab the attention of government search engines.

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Cost Of Blogging In Philadelphia: A $300 License

oldcomputerPhiladelphia’s City Paper reports that city residents must now pay $300 for a business license in order to engage in blogging, if their blog earns even the tiniest amount of revenue (five dollars a year, in one example). With local governments across the country awash in budgetary troubles, will this concept spread to other municipalities? And what will be done to those who “blog illegally”?

Even though small-time bloggers aren’t exactly raking in the dough, the city requires privilege licenses for any business engaged in any “activity for profit,” says tax attorney Michael Mandale of Center City law firm Mandale Kaufmann. This applies “whether or not they earned a profit during the preceding year,” he adds.

So even if your blog collects a handful of hits a day, as long as there’s the potential for it to be lucrative — and, as Mandale points out, most hosting sites set aside space for bloggers to sell advertising — the city thinks you should cut it a check.

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Neil Gaiman: Back To Blogging

Carolyn Kellogg discusses the significance of Neil Gaiman's first blog post in a month, in the Los Angeles Times:
Neil Gaiman writes just about everything: books for adults, young adults and kids; comic books; film and television scripts; short stories; poetry; posts on Twitter and a lively blog. But lately he's found that he can't write everything at once. In late June, he stopped posting on his blog in order to focus on a couple of scripts. He was writing a screenplay adaptation of his bestseller, "Anansi Boys," and turning in the sixth -- but not quite last -- draft of his script for "Doctor Who." After almost a four-week blog hiatus, Gaiman returned on Friday.
Just as the draft of Anansi Boys was handed in, the word came down from the powers behind Doctor Who that I was going to have to do another draft...
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Blogetery And The FBI’s War On Terror

FBI_logoGreg Sandoval writes for CNET News:

The U.S. war on terror may have inadvertently stripped as many as 70,000 people of their blogs, but those bloggers may get their work returned to them.

Blogetery.com, a small blogging platform based in Toronto, was abruptly shut down on July 9 by Burst.net, its Web host, after FBI agents alleged Blogetery was home to links that led to bomb-making tips and the names of Americans targeted for assassination by al-Qaeda. Joe Marr, Burst.net’s chief technology officer, said Wednesday that the company is considering its options and there’s a chance executives there could hand over a copy of most of the information found on Blogetery’s server–it won’t be returning anything created by al-Qaeda. That means the service’s users could see their blogs again. What they won’t see is Burst.net hosting Blogetery in the future, said Marr. That relationship is severed.

After the FBI requested information about Blogetery, Scranton, Pa.-based Burst.net cut off Internet access for the service.

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