Bloggers get paid? What the *uck is going on? But I back The BlogMD Initiative personally to win out

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The BlogMD Initiative

August 26, 2002
Announcing the BlogMD Initiative

“The number of Weblogs now tops a half-million, by most estimates. So it’s no surprise that some bloggers, as the writers of these link-filled, diarylike sites are known, are carving some order out of chaos.

There is no easy way to search for blogs by content or popularity. The major blog directory, at, has only 6,000 listings. But a bevy of new sites offer interesting ways, if somewhat esoteric ones, to browse the blog universe. ..”

– The New York Times, August 22

And now, there’s one more site — or at least, project — devoted to helping match readers with writers, and to advancing the work of making the Blogosphere an easier neighborhood to get around in.

Welcome to the BlogMD Initiative.

It is estimated that there are 1/2 million blogs on line at this stage and web analysts say a new blog is being added every 40 seconds. It is also known that every blog is as unique and as individualistic as the person who designed and writes it. With the explosion of blogging it is difficult to sift through them all and find potentially outstanding (unique|like minded) blogs. Because of this, blogs are clustering into like minded groups which is a normal social construct.

At present, numerous applications are available in the weblog world which provide interesting and useful methods of tracking weblogs and help users perform that vital sifting function. Some tools track when a weblog was last updated ( ; some track the most popular Internet links currently being pointed at by weblogs (Blogdex) and more recently, the Blogosphere Ecosystem at The Truth Laid Bear has tracked the links passing between weblogs (as does the similar, but more powerful Myelin Ecosystem.)

All of these applications are, at their core, doing the same thing. One way or another, they are gathering information about weblogs — metadata — storing it, analyzing it, and presenting their results on a web page.

The guiding principle behind the BlogMD initiative is that by creating standards in the weblog metadata “problem space”, we can enable greater collaboration and interaction between existing applications, as well as paving the way for future, currently unforeseen metadata applications by reducing or eliminating much of the redundant, “reinventing the wheel” work currently involved in creating a new weblog metadata application.

Effective immediately, the initiative is opening a web home here at TTLB. Here you’ll find background documentation on the project, and more importantly, a discussion board. We are inviting any and all interested weblog authors, readers, and application developers to come join in the discussion of the issues facing the project and to participate in the initiative as it moves forward.

The BlogMD founding board, responsible for driving the initiative forward, currently consists of:

N.Z. Bear of the Blogosphere Ecosystem and The Truth Laid Bear
Phillip Pearson of the Myelin Ecosystem
Dean Peters of and

In addition, invitations have been sent to several additional individuals who have made significant contributions to the weblog world to join the board; we are awaiting their replies.

So what now? Take a look around. We suggest you read the FAQ or the Key Benefits document first. And then if you’re getting excited, read the Concept Doc for the complete, detailed view of the entire vision.

And then, we sincerely hope you’ll join us on the Forum, and join in the fun!

– The BlogMD Board

Posted by N.Z. Bear at August 26, 2002 12:00 AM

The BlogMD Initiative

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Blogging and Journaling News

Think AI won’t happen – it will in some shape or form, sooner than you thought

Radio emerges from the electronic soup

19:00 28 August 02
Duncan Graham-Rowe

A self-organising electronic circuit has stunned engineers by turning itself into a radio receiver.

What should have been an oscillator became a radio
This accidental reinvention of the radio followed an experiment to see if an automated design process, that uses an evolutionary computer program, could be used to “breed” an electronic circuit called an oscillator. An oscillator produces a repetitive electronic signal, usually in the form of a sine wave.

Paul Layzell and Jon Bird at the University of Sussex in Brighton applied the program to a simple arrangement of transistors and found that an oscillating output did indeed evolve.

But when they looked more closely they found that, despite producing an oscillating signal, the circuit itself was not actually an oscillator. Instead, it was behaving more like a radio receiver, picking up a signal from a nearby computer and delivering it as an output.

In essence, the evolving circuit had cheated, relaying oscillations generated elsewhere, rather than generating its own.

Gene mixing

Layzell and Bird were using the software to control the connections between 10 transistors plugged into a circuit board that was fitted with programmable switches. The switches made it possible to connect the transistors differently.

Treating each switch as analogous to a gene allowed new circuits to evolve. Those that oscillated best were allowed to survive to a next generation. These “fittest” candidates were then mated by mixing their genes together, or mutated by making random changes to them.

After several thousand generations you end up with a clear winner, says Layzell. But precisely why the winner was a radio still mystifies them.

To pick up a radio signal you need other elements such as an antenna. After exhaustive testing they found that a long track in the circuit board had functioned as the antenna. But how the circuit “figured out” that this would work is not known.

“There’s probably one sudden key mutation that enabled radio frequencies to be picked up,” says Bird.

19:00 28 August 02
(c) New Scientist