Blogs I am following (June 2009)

by Robert Nagle on 6/12/2009

in Art of Blogging,General,Open Media,Personal

Occasionally I feel compelled to mention which blogs I follow on a semi-regular basis. It’s funny how often I change regular haunts,  and that usually happens whenever I lose my Firefox bookmarks.  My blog consumption tastes are fickle, but here are the ones I return to reliably (because generally they haven’t let me down). Looking over the list, it is obvious to me how much I discriminate against blogs that give incomplete RSS feeds and blogs which hide most of their content under the fold with the More link. Doing that forces the read to click the link for every single damn post I wish to read.

  • James Fallows does some extraordinary (and entertaining) reporting about living in Beijing. Unfortunately, this reporting is about to end, but he will still be blogging.
  • Climate Progress is an influential blog about the science of global warming.  Less wonky but more into political and social issues is Grist.
  • For general liberal commentary I check Think Progress’s Wonk Room. (I would call this my main news source these days). I also follow Matt Yglesias pretty closely. I also follow Washington Monthly blog , but not as often because it covers much of the same ground as Think Progress (even though it’s extremely well written).
  • Tiny Revolution is a political satire blog. Very funny sometimes.
  • Robert Reich is a liberal economist who has always been ahead of the curve on policy issues. (For conservative dissent, I check Cafe Hayek) .
  • The Business Desk with Paul Solman. Solman is a great PBS News Hour reporter about economics. He started a recent blog answering one question a day from readers. A lot of great things come up.
  • Houston Chronicle blogs. One reason I hate Chronicle blogs is that they don’t have full RSS feeds. But I end up reading Techblog with Dwight SilvermanLoren Steffy, Lisa Falkenberg, Eric Berger (aka Science Guy). Only senior columnist Leon Hale seems to have a full feed these days. Update: Techblog does have a full RSS feed—horray!
  • Marginal Revolution is an economics blog run by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok.  I find a lot of off-the-wall social science stuff from there.
  • Sex & Relationships: Roissy has a NSFW blog about picking up women. It’s mildly offensive,  but insightful and well written. I just discovered Savage love blog and expect to be reading this a lot more often. (Dan Savage’s well written dating columns are frank and not to be missed).  For the woman’s perspective on dating, I check out divas on a date .
  • 2blowhards is a general arts blog (with a nonfunctioning RSS feed as well). Focus on movies, sexy links and light-hearted conservatism. Ray Sawhill (the uberblogger behind 2blowhards) has a NSFW cultural blog with personal touches  (with lots of risque pictures—warning).
  • Oddly, I follow  few literary blogs. The reason is simple. I almost never read literary stuff on the computer! (Instead I download longer literary things onto my PDA RSS Reader so I can read it at the supermarket). But I follow Literary License (a Houston literary blog with brief reviews), Fictionaut blog (run by editors of the always-in-beta literary community) and Complete Review/Literary Saloon (outstanding litblog with unfortunately defective RSS feed). On my PDA I always follow Conversational Reading, Mumpsimus, Reading Experience, Useless Tree , Virginia Quarterly Review, Critical Mass National Book Critics Circle blog, The Guardian’s Book Blog , Joy Castro as well as a few dozen by writer friends.
  • Amyshealth. One of the best friends from college developed breast cancer and is describing her experience via blog. It’s harrowing to read, but Amy writes with an almost ghoulish sense of humor. Amy is one of the most upbeat people I know, and it shows.
  • David Hudson’s IFC The Daily is probably the most distinguished film blog I’ve found, marred only by the fact that I can only get partial feeds. House Next Door delivers  in that department. It’s a group blog about cinema, comics and the arts.
  • Bigpicture (gigantic photos about a single topic) and Postsecrets (people send their most private secrets via postcard)  are 2 fascinating. Less known but still fascinating is Mardecortesbaja, a site about public domain art, old Hollywood and comics.
  • Tom Johnson’s I’d Rather be Writing covers tech writing and blogging. Daily blog tips covers useful info for bloggers. Sometimes the lists  begins to seem tiresome (“10 Ways to Make your Blog more fruity” etc).  I still look at the Content Wrangler’s RSS feed though the site itself is unusable.
  • I get a lot of recommendations for downloading free music from Jamendo’s blog.
  • Brad Ideas is a blog of the EFF chairman Brad Templeton. Lots of musings about innovation and government policy.
  • Get Rich Slowly and Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist are two practical blogs about finances and careers.
  • Thenonsequitur analyzes political rhetoric and uncovers the logical fallacies in them. Written by 2 philosophy professors. Even though they sometimes choose easy targets, they also identify many subtle errors in logic which has only made me more careful about what I read.  A similar blog which analyzes fallacies from the point of view of empirical science is the Denialism blog.
  • Ebooks: I am deeply involved in ebook publishing. I used to write/run Teleread (even though now I catch it only on RSS, and not on the blog itself (too much under the fold). Mike Cane’s Ebook Test site covers technical issues as does Threepress blog and Tools for Change Oreilly blog. Finding free ebooks is about what you’d think it’s about.

Blogs I no longer follow religiously for various reasons:

  • Boingboing – still well written and lots of original finds, but too trendy for my liking.
  • New York Times blogs. I read a lot of entries from them, but they have no full RSS feeds and their comment moderation policy for blogs seem inconsistent. (Besides, NYT features individual blog posts on its main site, so I keep up).
  • Oreilly Radar – very well written and cutting edge, but I don’t have time for it.
  • Easter Lemming Liberal is a Texas liberal blog run by Gary Denton. Recently, after he vowed to post less this year, he has been turning his energy to Facebook posts instead.
  • Off the Kuff. Chuck (a college friend) is the place to go for the inside scoop about Houston and Texas politics. I check it when I’m doing research about a political or local issue.
  • Photomatt is still interesting and full of the latest about blog technology, but probably too esoteric for me by now. I’ve kind of veering  out of  software blogs recently.
  • How to learn Swedish in 100 Difficult Lessons. Funny blog by gay American living in Stockholm. I don’t read it often, but generally enjoy it thoroughly every time I do.

Podcasts I follow. By the way, I am extremely picky about the podcasts I follow. I download lots of stuff, but don’t listen to as much as I should. I have several other podcasts I download and listen to, but not reliably, or more selectively. The ones below are ones I listen to almost every episode of.

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