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Now Blogging Over at Wired Science!

Until further notice, this blog is going into hibernation mode, as I have started blogging over at Wired Science! The new blog is called Social Dimension and is about how to quantify the anthropic part of our world. And lest you be concerned about the frequency of the posts, Social Dimension will have more frequent (and longer) posts than over at arbesman.net.

So please update your RSS feeds and I hope you enjoy Social Dimension.

Blogging Scholarship Update

So, as I had hoped, I came in Not-Last Place in the Blogging Scholarship contest. As near as I can tell, I did this by about 2 votes. And from the fine print of the contest site, I think my prize is some sort of pre-worn gym clothing.

But about the contest itself. Shelley Batts, of Retrospectacle (a fellow science blogger who fared much better in the contest than I) wrote a little recap, and issued a wish to hear the other contestants’ thoughts. Additionally, she astutely noted that I haven’t “blogged much at all since the start of the contest”. Very true. (Though in my defense, I normally post rather infrequently and didn’t feel that strong of a yearning to change my style just for the contest.) Anyway, here are some thoughts:

Regarding the nature of the contest, Yes, it is sort of a popularity contest for the final part. But am I okay with that? I think I have made my peace with it. Frankly, it is somewhat of a fluke that I was a finalist at all. The Biourbanist is a tiny, infrequently updated blog, and is not really in the same league as most of the other blogs. Perhaps my essay on the joys of being a small and modest blog swayed the judges. And perhaps on quality I should’ve had a better shot. Nonetheless, my blog has a small following, and to be considered the best certainly must include some sort of readership metric. Yes, quality need not correlate with popularity, as many critics have discovered. However, a good blog should be good at getting readers, at least as one characteristic.

So, by being chosen as a finalist, I was bestowed with legitimacy (implying some aspect of goodness and probably the best thing to happen to a blog of my type), and the final portion of the contest was to see how influential my blog was (a different aspect of bloggy goodness). Are there other ways of measuring the quality of a blog? Certainly, and I would like to think that The Biourbanist would measure up in some of these categories (although frequency of posting certainly is not up there, Shelley). But am I okay with how it worked this time around? Yes. Perhaps a different contest next year could be in order, with judges actually doing the judging from start to finish. But, as they say, it’s an honor just being nominated as a finalist. Now, please excuse me as I go gently cry myself to sleep over lost scholarship money.

Frumination: a blog with lots of public transit info

Michael Frumin has a great blog, Frumination, chock full of information about public transportation, mainly the NYC Subway. There are graphs, maps, pictures, and much more, with lots of data and links to data. A few interesting posts:

NYC Subway capacity analysis

Urban GPS and congestion pricing

Sources of NYC Traffic Data

Enjoy playing.