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For what it's worth

— The other newsy Gawker media item that's been circulating online (the first being the new sci-fi blog) is that they changed the way their writers are paid so that now they receive bonuses based on traffic, with the emphasis on quality of posts versus volume of posts (countering traditional blog logic that more posts means more return visits, better traffic, better user loyalty, better search engine recognition...). While there's a gossip element to the interest in this story, its larger relevance is hard to ignore while professional writers are striking over the value of their material online.

The pay scheme calls to mind the Metacafe plan which is more directly tied to traffic.

Speaking of the value of traffic, Free WSJ.com Would Need 12x Traffic To Offset Loss - That's figuring $6 CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

I'm skeptical that the top search terms in China are a reflection of Chinese culture as much as they're a reflection of the class of people with Web access in China. (And why are they searching for MSN? Isn't that an easy one?)

Jason Kottke's The Best Links 2007 - There are few individuals online who are as influential as Jason Kottke so a lot of these eventually made it onto Clicked as they spread across the Web. Still, You can easily spend the rest of the week on this. Go ahead, no one's at work this week anyway.

Speaking of year-end traditions, here's the BBC's 100 things we didn't know last year and the Edge annual question and the banished words list and the Darwin Awards.

Before going on vacation I read Roger Ebert's list of the best movies of 2007 with Juno in the surprising top spot. For that reason (and because whatever corporate moneybot controls the movies available to North Floridians has apparently deigned No Country For Old Men unsuitable for viewing) I saw Juno last week and loved it - though another list it could be on is "most poorly marketed movies of 2007." The commercials make it look like some sappy Lifetime Network special about teen pregnancy. Totally not; quite the contrary. The movie is already taking the country by storm so it hardly needs my endorsement and neither does the equally buzzy soundtrack but I mention all of this because of course I looked for the soundtrack online and ended up using The Hype Machine which is a combination music blog search engine and media player. Pretty handy. (Right now I'm listening to the Seeqpod offerings for Kimya Dawson).

Speaking of listening, and year-end lists, a Journey mash-up with Afrika Bambaataa is better than I expected.

Sleuth TV (?) is airing the Keen Eddie shows on Thursdays among other times. UPDATE: Waddaya know, it's an NBC property.

Speaking of TV watching, there's a bus stop near my house with a huge poster of the floating Terminator torso from the new Fox show. Very cool but awkwardly reminiscent of the Queen Borg from First Contact.

Would it really be useful to have a ruler on your arm? How many times have you used a digit of your thumb to measure inches?

I never would have believed Ron Paul supporters have the clout to cause a drop in the value of NewsCorp stock. They're protesting his exclusion from the Fox News debate even though he's polling better than Fred Thompson (who is not excluded).

"This website has been set up to be the definitive online resource for all things Whisk(e)y." It appears to still be very new but could be a lot of fun. (I'm currently working my way through a bottle of Jefferson's but I'm very bullish on the new Hudson Whiskey spirits both in flavor and principle.

Slate takes a shot at a counter argument to the scorn many direct at the Starbucks invasion. The argument is that Starbucks functions as a sort of coffee evangelist, generating converts to the Church of Caffeine which ultimately benefits independently owned coffee shops. Even with the insistence that the facts prove the case, I'm skeptical that picking up the spill-over crowd from Starbucks is really all that lucrative, especially when "The key for independent coffeehouse owners who want to thrive with a Starbucks next-door is that they don't try to imitate Starbucks." So people who want Starbucks will go to a place that is deliberately not Starbucks? Regardless of this particular issue, the greater objection to Starbucks is homogeneity. Even if it isn't a threat to independent merchants when six new Starbucks move into a community, the fact remains that it's six identical (mediocre) businesses and they happen to be identical to the thousands of others around the world. That's a problem for people (like me) who value the local character of where they live.

Random: Am I crazy or do jeans not fade the way they used to? I have
memories of new jeans that would turn my kneecaps and underwear blue in
the first couple of wearings and by the time the knees wore out they'd
faded nicely at all the pressure points including in a square over my
wallet in my back pocket. You knew you needed new jeans when they were
faded. Somehow I have two pairs of jeans that are worn out to the point
of having holes but are the same color as when they were new. When did
that happen and how do I find the old blue kneecap kind? I've managed
to learn that synthetic indigo was invented in 1987.
And something called Padazoic was used as an indigo substitute. I
wonder if the synthetic indigo is more colorfast, thus necessitating
all those "pre-faded" styles and causing my jeans to wear out without
fading. Maybe I should buy cheaper jeans, but I'm pretty sure I've been
wearing Levi's since at least 1987.