Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blog Stats

Here's an interesting article on blogs with some fascinating statistics:

According to blog search and indexing site Technocrati, around 75,000 new blogs are created every day. US-based Technocrati said it tracks about 1.2 million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour. Nearly 14 million bloggers are still posting three months after their blogs are created, the report found. And, at least 2.7 million bloggers update their web journals at least once a week.

"The blogosphere is more than 60 times bigger than three years ago, and is doubling in size every 5.5 months," said Technorati's Dave Sifry.

However, the report also found that about 9 per cent of new blogs are spam or machine generated. "Nine per cent of new blogs are spam or machine generated, or are attempts to create link farms or click fraud," added Sifry.

In October 2005, the number of online weblogs recorded by Technocrati was nearly 19 million.

We also note with some pride that according to the rankings at N.Z.Bear who tracks such things (but does not track Viewpoint because we apparently are a stealth blog), to be among the top 2000 blogs in the country requires about 200 hits per day which we've been averaging for several months now (actually our traffic is about 225 hits/day). Out of the tens of thousands of blogs in the U.S. we're feeling pretty good about ranking that high.

Thanks for putting us there and please remember to link us to your friends.

Cheering the Defeat of Critical Analysis

Bill Dembski notes that Darwinist bloggers are ecstatic that the Ohio State Board of Education has removed "critical analysis of evolution" from its standards and wonders whether:

[T]here is any other field of inquiry - other than evolution, that is - whose advocates become ecstatic when critical analysis of its subject is suppressed. Usually, advocates of a position are happy to entertain critical analysis because such criticism highlights the importance of their subject and facilitates its further development. Of course, there's a qualifier that needs to be added to this question: Are there any legitimate fields of inquiry that discourage critical analysis of their subject areas?

Good questions. The reaction of the anti-ID crowd to this step by the Ohio Board looks less like the response of dispassionate objective scientists and very much more like the reaction of religious enthusiasts.

Magnificent Comeback

This is wonderful news. The bald eagle is likely to be removed from the endangered species list within the year:

Seven years after the government said the fierce raptor is no longer threatened with extinction, officials finally have a plan for removing it from the endangered species list."Partly it just fell through the cracks," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, who proposed delisting the bird in 1999 while she was President Clinton's Fish and Wildlife Service director. The process has taken far longer than the typical year, partly because updated counts are required from each of the states, and some of those have rules that add red tape.

Clark called the bald eagle "a success story" for the embattled Endangered Species Act, which Republicans in Congress and the Bush administration have been pushing to reshape so that more responsibility is given to private landowners instead of the federal government.

"Across the range, you can't deny the incredible success of the return of the bald eagle," she said. "A lot of attention, energy and money was put into its recovery."

The bird has battled back from the threat of extinction because of habitat loss and the pesticide DDT.

The Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service issued draft voluntary guidelines spelling out how landowners, land managers and others should protect the bird once the 1973 law no longer safeguards it. It also proposed prohibitions on "disturbing" the bald eagle, which could include anything that would disrupt its breeding, feeding or sheltering or cause injury, death or nest abandonment.

Officials said Monday's action could lead to the bald eagle coming off the endangered species list within the next year or so.

Hall said at least 7,066 known nesting pairs now exist in the contiguous United States. The bald eagle's territory stretches over much of the North American continent. Tens of thousands more live in Alaska and Canada, where their existence never was imperiled.

However, 43 years ago, there were just 417 known nesting pairs left in the lower 48 states, mainly because of the widespread use of DDT and other pesticides that weakened the bald eagle's eggshells and reduced its birth rate. The brown-bodied bird with the distinctive white head and tail also suffered from lead poisoning - eating waterfowl pierced by a hunter's lead shot.

In 1967, under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act, the bald eagle was declared an endangered species in the lower 48. In 1972, the Fish and Wildlife officials in 1978 listed the bald eagle as endangered in 43 states and threatened in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. The government hatched detailed recovery plans, with specific population and reproduction goals. Sometimes eggs were imported from Canada and installed at artificial eyries.

By 1995, the species had rebounded enough to be reclassified as threatened throughout the lower 48.

In 1970, when I first came to live near the Susquehanna River in southcentral Pennsylvania the sight of an eagle was exceedingly rare except perhaps during fall migration. Now they are nesting up and down the river and concentrating in its basin during the winter.

On a recent trip in January to the Conowingo dam in Maryland there were eight birds perched on a single power line tower and a dozen within a single binocular field of each other. They would sit until one of their number sallied forth to seize a fish and then a half dozen would give chase to try to dislodge the morsel from the talons of the bird which caught it. They swooped and soared along the river bank a mere twenty feet above our heads as we basked in the beauty of these gorgeous birds spinning their pirouettes in the clear blue sky. They are indeed magnificent creatures and engineering their comeback is an example of a task that the federal government has done very well and for which future generations of Americans will be grateful.

Republicans should not begrudge the federal government the role they play in protecting our natural heritage. As we have said before, if being conservative means anything, it means conserving what is beautiful and good, not just in our traditions and our culture but also in our national resources, including our wildlife. A genuine conservative should not tolerate the loss or erosion of a single species of plant or animal due to greed or short-term economic expediency.