Posts tagged ‘Glenn Reynolds’

Gas Prices a Crisis??

The media is just longing to make current gas prices into a crisis.  And you can already see them gearing up to bash oil companies for "record" profits (by the way, when reading the profit announcements, pay attention not to just total dollars but to profit margins, then read this).

Glenn Reynolds links this gas price chart this morning at Random Useless Data, showing that in real terms, gas prices are still below their peaks, and not at "all-time highs."


I took this one step further, based on the assumption that it isn't the price per gallon that matters for gas, but the price to drive a fixed mileage, say 100 miles.  Since average automobile fuel economy has continued to improve, in real terms we are far below the peak cost of gasoline.  Using this and this MPG data (for passenger cars) and the inflation adjusted gas prices here, I got this chart (1979 dollars)


By the way, just so you know my personal incentives, there are very few people out there who run a business whose fortunes are more sensitive to gas prices than my recreation business.  This will not be a very good summer for me, but if we leave the market alone to do its work, things will likely be better in 2007.  Intervention by Congress will pretty much assure that things will get worse.

Congrats to John Scalzi

Congrats to John Scalzi for his Hugo nomination for "Old Man's War".  I hope he wins.  I read a lot of science fiction including several of the other nominated books but Old Man's War was one of those instant classics, a book that 25 years from now could easily be included in a best of science fiction series.  I also have to agree with Glenn Reynolds on the accesability of his work.  If I wanted to get someone excited about science fiction, I would likely hand them "Enders Game", "The Foundation", and "Old Man's War"*.  I just finished Vernor Vinge's "Deepness in the Sky", which was awesome.  It and his previous book "Fire Upon the Deep" are beautiful and rich and deep and textured masterpieces, but I would never hand them to a SciFi first-timer.  SciFi needs writers who bring the general population back to SciFi, and Scalzi along with Card and a few others will certainly help.

* Honestly, if you rank yourself as someone who hates or just doesn't read science fiction, give just one or two of these three a try.  Scifi is not all cute robots and Imperial Star Destroyers.  And for those looking for the next step beyond these books for more hard-core stuff I might suggest classics like "Mote in God's Eye", "Ringworld",  "Dune", or about anything by Louis McMaster Bujold.  After that, your ready for anything, from Charles Stross to Harlan Ellison (the latter if you want a good downer).

My Wife as Fashion Diva


My lovely and talented wife Kate made the Flypaper fashion blog today:

Kate G., 44, is a handbag designer who hails from Boston, but lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. She recently won the Arizona Rising Star Fashion Award for best new accessory designer.

+ top: Studio M from Macy's
+ skirt: Frou Frou
+ handbag: made by Kate!
+ boots: Paolo Corelli "I got them at EJ's in Scottsdale." 
+ bracelet: Metal Pointus in Paris
+ earrings: local designer Amy Mac
+ best Scottsdale shopping: Frou Frou and Carole's Couture "I am mostly a jeans and T-shirt gal," says Kate.
+ favorites in her closet: James Jeans, Carmen Marc Valvo, and local designer Stephanie Edge

Eat your heart out Glenn Reynolds.

Update:  The #1 biggest issue my wife is trying to deal with is how to ramp up her business to larger scale production.  Nordstroms and Nieman-Marcus are interested in her bags, but its just a whole 'nother level of volume.  Turns out one of our Coyote readers addresses the issue of growing fashion businesses and manufacturing with her own blog here.

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

Via Glenn Reynolds:

Rep. Mark Udall has joined Republican budget hawks on legislation
that would give the White House new authority to pare congressional
spending bills. . . .

It would authorize the president to pull specific items out of
massive appropriations bills and then force Congress to hold up-or-down
votes on the proposed cuts. It would apply to fiscal year 2006 spending
bills, plus the huge, multiyear transportation plan that critics have
said is loaded with wasteful, pork barrel projects.

Doesn't mean a thing.  A)  Congress will never pass it.  B)  There is no evidence that Bush cares one whit about spending control and C)  There is absolutely no evidence that Bush is willing to veto anything out of Congress, since he already holds the veto pen rust award.

Alice Cooper

Arthur Cherenkoff and Glenn Reynolds seemed surprised that aging shock-rocker Alice Cooper had some sensible opinions on foreign policy issues.  Those of us who live in the Phoenix area, however, are not.  Oddly enough, Alice Cooper has become something of an elder statesman in Phoenix, keeping a fairly high profile leading various community and charity events.  Its a little odd living in a town where your most visible community leaders include Alice Cooper and Charles Barkley, especially given the area's attraction to many of the rich and famous as a retirement location, but it seems to work.

One story that comes to mind:  Alice Cooper is a regular at Suns games.  A couple of years ago, my company had some nice season tickets just a few rows up from Mr. Cooper, who had seats in the first row on an aisle.  Just about every game I attended, at least one pair of guys would come down the steps, kneel on the floor next to Alice's seat, and bow down saying "We're not worthy" ala Wayne's World and then head back up the aisle without another word.  Always made me laugh.


This morning my sitemeter here at Coyote Blog rolled over the 50,000 visit mark.  I know that Glenn Reynolds gets more than this during his bathroom breaks, but it really exceeds my expectations after just 5 months online.  Thanks to all you readers!

Thought on Hosting the Carnivals

I have had a lot of questions about my experience hosting both the Carnival of the Vanities (COTV) and the Carnival of the Capitalists (COTC) in February.  For aspiring hosts, here is an FAQ:

What are these Carnival things?

In 2002 Silfray Hraka was looking for a way for smaller blogs to get more attention - kindof like rural electrification for the Blogosphere.  He came up with the idea of the Carnival of the Vanities, a weekly roundup of posts from smaller bloggers, hosted each week at a different site.  Today, the COTV is in its 128th week and dozens of other spin-offs have been created.

How much of a traffic spike did you see?

This seems to be the number one question.  As a submitter each week to both the COTC and COTV, I usually see between 100-300 new visitors for the post I submitted, depending on how compelling the post's description looks.

For hosting the Carnival, of course, the traffic spike is more dramatic:

My normal mon-tue-wed traffic (unique visits): 300

Day of COTC: 1680

Day after: 500

2 days after: 325

Note that I actually got a bit more traffic from the Carnival of the Vanities:

Day of COTV: 2400

Day after: 600

2 day after: 325

The key of course is Glenn Reynolds linking.  Glenn can't read every small blogger that would like him to link to them, but he does a good job of publicizing various Carnivals that highlight smaller bloggers.   Glenn deserves all of our thanks for this.  By the way, I am pretty sure I got more non-Instapundit traffic for the COTC than the COTV.

I think that I leave my Sitemeter stats un-password protected and that you can view them here (link is to the monthly page but you can navigate around).  Here are the hourly stats for the COTV.  Below you can see my daily visits and page views for February.  I will leave it as an exercises for the reader to figure out when I hosted the Carnivals (COTV was first):


I do not really know how to track RSS feed traffic, but I think that the above numbers do not include RSS traffic. I do know that in the month I hosted these two carnivals my Bloglines subscribers have gone from 2 to 25.

The only other traffic related observation I can add is that my page views went up even higher on these days.  I generally run at 1.6 page views per visit but on these two days I went well over 2.  Hopefully that means that new visitors were looking around.

Is it hard to host a Carnival?

No, not really, it just takes some time.  I probably spent about 6 hours each to host the carnivals.  The COTC is very easy - submissions end up in a Gmail account in relatively standard format.  About 6 days before the publish date, the COTC folks will send the host an email telling them how to get into the Gmail account.  The COTV doesn't have this submission system, and relies more on the host providing an email contact in advance that people can send submissions to.  Make sure at least a week in advance of COTV that you post on your web site, preferably sticky at the top or with a link high in the margin, instructions for bloggers who want to submit to the Carnival you are hosting.  (Here is my post - I fiddled with the date in Typepad so that it would stay on top of the page for the whole week).

When hosting, do you need a theme?  How about Categories?

Both are optional.  I did a theme for my COTC just for fun, but did not have time, or any good ideas, for my COTV.  I highly recommend categorizing the entries because it makes the reading experience so much easier.  It is not hard to do as long as you put them in categories as you are building the post.

When Hosting, how do you keep up with all of the submissions?

I had 50 submissions for the COTC and 47 for the COTV.  I took everything, by the way, even if the post was a little out of bounds of the rules.  It is not too hard to keep up with the submissions as long as you:

  1. Create a draft template a week in advance and
  2. Add submissions every day rather than waiting to the last minute. The COTC submissions were easier to handle than COTV - COTC submissions came spread out through the week whereas COTV all came in the last 2 days.

A lot of my time was spent reading all the posts.  Not only was this fun, but I preferred to create my own summary of the post rather than just using the submitter's summary (which was often waaaaaay too long).  I tried to be fair as possible to everyone, particularly those I disagreed with.  I will say there were a couple of submissions I just did not understand or get what they were saying in their post -- in these cases, I used their description.  By the way - after you publish your post, check the links!  No matter how careful you were, you will have made some mistakes.

When Hosting, what did you do to publicize the Carnival?

First, I was careful to collect as many trackbacks as I could.  Some submitters included these in their email, but some did not.  Since I read every post, I always skimmed down to the bottom to see if there was a trackback.

Second, I sent every submitter a reply email saying that their post was included and giving them the link and trackback where they would find it on my site.  This did not take as long as you would imagine, since I copied the first one I wrote and just hit reply-paste-send on all the others.  This also let submitters check their links to make sure everything worked.  By the way, you may have a different policy, but I claimed editorial privilege and did not accept an requests to change my summary of their post.

All the submitters will generally send you traffic, as well as a number of regular readers.  As mentioned before, Glenn will generally link as well, and you can send him a brief reminder with the link, though both times I hosted he had the post linked before I thought to email him.

How do I sign up?

Instructions for hosting the COTV are here.  To submit to the COTV, go to Silfray Hraka's main page, scroll down for the list of hosts, and visit the host site for instructions.  Instructions for hosting the COTC are here.  You can submit to the COTC by filling in this form.  A list of other Carnival spin-offs is here.

Good luck

I Was Right

I predicted just a week ago that recent media credibility issues would lead to (misguided) calls for tighter credentialing and licensing of journalists:

I resisted the call by a number of web sites at the beginning of the
year to make predictions for 2005.  However, now I will make one:  We
will soon see calls to bring a tighter licensing or credentialing
system for journalists, similar to what we see for lawyers, doctors,
teachers, and, god help us, for beauticians
.  The proposals will be
nominally justified by improving ethics or similar laudable things,
but, like most credentialing systems, will be aimed not at those on the
inside but those on the outside.  At one time or another, teachers,
massage therapists, and hairdressers have all used licensing or
credentialing as a way to fight competition from upstart competitors,
often ones with new business models who don't have the same
trade-specific educational degrees the insiders have.

Hah, it didn't take a year - it only took a week.  Several commentators point out that those jumping all over the Jeff Gannon affair are effectively arguing for tighter credentialing.  From Glenn Reynolds:

I also think that the people who are trying to inflate this into a big
issue are making a dreadful mistake. I eagerly await the reaction when
the White House responds to this criticism by requiring everyone who
attends a press briefing to make a full financial and sexual
disclosure, and starts rating news outlets as "real" or "fake"
according to bias. (If I were Rove I'd make some rumblings about this
to the press corps, and I'd explicitly cite the lefty bloggers by name,
just to stir up trouble . . . .)

David Corn warns:

There is a need for professional accreditation; space is limited. Yet
there is nothing inherently wrong with allowing journalists with
identifiable biases to pose questions to the White House press
secretary and even the president. And if such a reporter asks a dumb
question--as did Gannon/Guckert (which triggered this scandal)--the
best response is scorn and further debate. Bloggers should think hard
when they complain about standards for passes for White House press
briefings. Last year, political bloggers--many of whom have their own
biases and sometimes function as activists--sought credentials to the
Democratic and Republican conventions. That was a good thing. Why
shouldn't Josh Marshall, Glenn Reynolds, John Aravosis, or Markos
Moulitsas (DailyKos) be allowed to question Scott McClellan or George
W. Bush? Do we want only the MSMers to have this privilege?

Anatomy of An Insta-lanche

Had a record day today hosting the Carnival of the Vanities.  Guess what time in the traffic chart below that Glenn Reynolds linked to me?


Democracy Bloc at the UN

This is a great idea, and one I missed the first time it came around.  It seems that the US has finally gotten tired of the U.N. being a big dictators club (the membership of the U.N. human rights committee is particularly appalling) and is doing something about returning the U.N. to some sort of sane and moral mission.  More here about the newly forming democracy bloc at the U.N. in a Reason article by Jonathan Rauch.

The idea has been given new currency with the growing movement to draft Vaclav Havel to replace the reprehensible and corrupt Kofi Annan, a movement currently being cheerled by Glenn Reynolds