Website Update Archive

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Official Commenting Policy, Updated

No SpamI posted an Official Commenting Policy a few years ago, but I figure it's time for an update. Additionally, this policy will now get a link in the sidebar so that it's available for everyone to see.

This policy is an attempt to foster constructive discussions, as well eliminating spam.

  1. As usual for any blog, I reserve the right to do anything I want. This is my blog, not a completely open public forum. If you disagree with my reasons for deleting a comment, write about it on your own blog.
  2. Threats or extremely vile comments will be deleted (not that I've yet had any problems with that).
  3. No one line insults, please. I've been fairly liberal in the past about leaving these up, but it really adds nothing to the discussion if your only contribution is to call me an ass (example). If you disagree with me, please take the time to point out where and why you think I'm wrong.
  4. Do not simply copy-and-paste comments from other sites. This isn't a problem if you're only leaving the comment on a couple sites, but it is irksome if I do a Google search and find your comment repeated on a few dozen sites. If you're using the same comment on so many sites, it probably means the comment isn't targeted to my post or any possible discussion in the comments.
  5. Do not copy-and-paste articles to post as a comment, even if it's something you wrote yourself. You can leave links and a brief summary of the article, or short, relevant excerpts from other sources, but not entire articles. Also, if you're only copying excerpts, be sure to reference what you're quoting, preferably with a link, and not presenting it as your own original material.
  6. This is more of a request than a rule, but please, please, please provide references for any factual claims you make. Anybody can claim anything they want in a comment, but you'll give your claim some credibility if you back it up. However, keep in mind...
  7. There is a limit of two links per comment before the comment will be tagged as possible spam. If you want to include more links, simply e-mail me right after leaving your comment, and I'll approve it.
  8. Spam and pure advertising comments will be deleted. I've had such a problem with this that I tend to err on the side of caution. Links to commercial sites are allowed, but if it seems like nothing more than an advertisement, the comment will be deleted. If the comment linking to a commercial site doesn't add anything constructive, it will be deleted. If the comment is nothing but a short compliment about how great my writing is, with a link to a commercial site, it will be deleted. I've noticed a trend of spammers parroting part of my original entry, and then giving links to commercial sites with no relevance at all to the entry. Deleted.

All that being said, I try to remain fairly open. I don't usually delete comments, even if they're not particularly constructive (for example, the first comment on the entry where I acknowledged my atheism, or the numerous comments disagreeing with my stance on MBT shoes or politics). In short, comments are welcome, even (especially) comments disagreeing with me. Just please, leave comments that further the discussion at hand. Spam will be deleted, as will any comments in the grey area between spam and legitimate comments.

On a side note, let me just add that I love the canned meat product, Spam. So, don't confuse the image in this entry as being in any way against that delicacy.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Website Update - Top 10 Page List for March 2015

Top 10 ListWith another month come and gone, it's time once again to take a look at the server logs to see what pages were most popular on this site. There was one newcomer to the list, 22 Responses to 22 Creationist Misconceptions. I'm actually rather happy about that, because I rather like that entry. There was another entry making its first appearance on the list in over a year, Response to an Editorial by Ken Huber. It's also nice to see the Autogyro History & Theory page maintaining a spot on the list since it had been absent for a while.

Overall traffic is up a bit from the previous month, back to being in line with what it's been for a while now.

Anyway, here's the list for last month.

Top 10 for March 2015

  1. Origin of Arabic Numerals - Was It Really for Counting Angles?
  2. A Skeptical Look at MBT Shoes
  3. Response to Rabbi Steven Pruzansky - Why Romney Didn't Get Enough Votes to Win
  4. Golden Compass - A Surprise at the Bookstore
  5. Email Debunking - 1895 8th Grade Final Exam
  6. Aviation Books
  7. Response to an Editorial by Ken Huber
  8. 22 Responses to 22 Creationist Misconceptions
  9. Autogyro History & Theory
  10. Review of Ray Comfort's New Movie - Evolution vs. God, Part I

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Blueberry MuffinI've just posted a new recipe to the How To & Recipes portion of my site, Blueberry Muffins.

To describe this reciple, I'll just quote what I put on that page, "Usually when making a staple like muffins, I'll just go to the Joy of Cooking (or the 1975 Edition) and follow the recipe there. But for the first time ever, after dozens and dozens of successful recipes, the Joy of Cooking let me down a bit. The muffins were only okay. So, we tweaked the recipe - a bit more leavening agent, a bit more sugar, and some raw sugar sprinkled on the tops, and the modified muffins came out much better. We've also had a head-to-head competition in the kitchen between these muffins and ready made mixes (just add water and fresh blueberries), and these muffins were the winner."

In fact, my wife took a few to work the other day, and one of her co-workers said it was the best blueberry muffin she'd ever had. I suspect she might have just been hungry.

I'll add a special note on the image source here. Usually it's just a small note at the end of the entry, but I stole this image from another site with their own blueberry muffin recipe, Diva Entertains - Best Blueberry Muffins, so I felt like I had to give a little more of a call out here. Her recipe does in fact look very good - a bit more complicated than mine, perhaps, but good. I think I might actually give it a try the next weekend we get a bunch of blueberries.

Image Source: Diva Entertains

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Blog Facelift

Men at WorkI've given the blog a minor facelift. It was mostly changes to the CSS to give what I think is a cleaner look. The other big one was that I made all the pages on the blog the two-column layout, whereas before most of the pages, including individual entries and archives, were a single-column layout. This gives me a chance to put a few more links in the right-hand column of each page, maybe getting people a bit more interested in some of the other content I've got on the site, getting them to stick around a little longer.

If you want to see what the blog looked like before, you can see the front page on the Wayback Machine. And for a direct comparison of individual entries, here's one of my most popular ones, Origin of Arabic Numerals - Was It Really for Counting Angles?. And here's the old version on the Wayback Machine.

So, the facelift was nothing major, but do I think it makes the blog look a bit better.

Image Source:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Website Update - Top 10 Page List for February 2015

Top 10 ListIt's time again for my monthly look at the server logs, to see which pages were most popular on this site. Every page on the list had made it before, so no surprises. It was nice to see my Autogyro History & Theory essay make the list again - it had been a while.

Traffic's down a bit, partly due to February being a short month. It's always tough to tell, though, what fraction of the traffic is spam, and what's real people (especially since I only skim over the logs and don't delve into the junked comments on the blog or how many 'likes' the different entries get). And it seems like the spammers sometimes lag my attempts to thwart them. i.e. When I do notice a swell in spam comments and institute some change to the commenting policy to stop them, the attempted spam comments will take a little while to die back down. It makes me wonder if spammers share information, and once they figure out how to spam my site, they let others know and my site becomes a target, but then it takes a while for all those new spammers to realize that their method isn't working anymore (not that my security is particularly sophisticated, but it does block the vast majority of attempted spam).

Anyway, here's the list for last month.

Top 10 for February 2015

  1. A Skeptical Look at MBT Shoes
  2. Origin of Arabic Numerals - Was It Really for Counting Angles?
  3. Golden Compass - A Surprise at the Bookstore
  4. Response to Rabbi Steven Pruzansky - Why Romney Didn't Get Enough Votes to Win
  5. Autogyro History & Theory
  6. A Skeptical Look at Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
  7. Book Review - Archaeopteryx: The Icon of Evolution
  8. Creationist Dishonesty and a Follow Up to Previous Entries
  9. Running AutoCAD R14 in XP Pro 64
  10. Email Debunking - 1895 8th Grade Final Exam


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