Today's little etymology lesson:
The word blog -- now used to describe any continuously updated online writing project in which entries are separated timewise into "posts" -- started its life as a contraction of weblog. Time was, a weblog was a very different thing than a diary or a journal; "webloggers" were primarily content aggregators, who spent their time finding interesting links from around the Internet and condensing them down into a series of links, optionally with limited commentary. Much like Fark still is today.
Over time, the category spread to include people who would occasionally insert personal anecdotes or brief analyses/rants in between their links. (Or perhaps high-profile "webloggers" started feeling a little more free to share their life once their audience was established.) Gradually, distinctions such as that between "webloggers" and "E/N" sites ("entertainment/news", or "everything/nothing", depending on who you ask -- the term was coined to describe someone who used their webspace as a forum to rant and riff on all and sundry) were lost.
The "weblogs" also acquired the catchier nickname in use today, dropping the first two letters. I guess that's meant to be some sort of moral to the story. "Daddy, why won't you let me guest-post on your site?" "Because, son, there's no 'we' in 'blog.'"
Somewhere along that line, "blogger" entered the public lexicon, and soon afterward, every Guy With A Website became a "blogger." In a strange twist, the original meaning of "weblog" is becoming somewhat gauche among people who proudly and with no hint of irony call themselves "bloggers"; if you merely spew out links to stuff you like, adding no original content, your readers won't perceive you as making a significant contribution to whatever field you're blogging in.
Such are the ways in which language evolves, I suppose.
Blog links, Nov. 2004
That all having been said, for several months now I've been in the habit of regularly logging the interesting links I find around the Web. Y'know ... weblogging.
Why? Basically for my own convenience -- in much the same way I used to collect good quotes in the quotebook I still carry around and be able to dig them up again with a few flips of a page, it can be tremendously useful having those links you've been reading and finding interesting just a few clicks away. Trying to remember just where it was you read someone cracking a dark joke about Iraq resembling a game of Quake? *clickclickclick* Ah! Jesse at Pandagon.
Now that MT's working again, since they're just sitting around anyway, I figured I would share the cream of the crop with y'all. I may even do this regularly if the urge strikes.
These are just the ones which I found especially worthy of note -- about 10 percent of my list of several links per day. And they're more or less pasted in straight from my linkfile -- this is how I write the notes to myself to summarize the page's content.
** Best. Camera. Ever: The Gigapxl
* Hack your way out of writer's block
* How to fix breathlessness in 15 seconds:
* Add polish to writing - Ten ubiquitous mistakes to correct during editing process.
* Why are porn movies legal when prostitution isn't and they're both paying for sex?
** Electoral maps of the U.S. in purple, not winner-take-all red/blue:
* Wonderfully insightful dKos diary on terrorist strategy - radicalize sides; their first opponents are the people willing to compromise.
* "Abandoning Libertarianism" - great essay on many of the same gripes I've got
* Puritanism -- "the religion of the new commercial classes" in 1600s -- is becoming the model for GW Bush's American religious revival:
* Abraham Lincoln was a badass - he really did stand up to the South:
* Discussing the Bible with fundamentalists - steer the argument to whether it is
* Omnibus spending bill quietly added permanent user fees for public land (!):
You may get the same enjoyment out of them that I did. I hope at least one or two will prove useful. No warranty expressed or implied, etc.
We hope you have enjoyed this interlude of actual blogging, and now return you to your regularly scheduled journal.