Over time, iRights has become more and more news, and I've been increasingly self-censoring my personal opinions since I felt I had some sort of "obligation" to suppress that. I finally realized consciously that I'm doing that (it's been running around in my subconscious for a while), so I think I'm going to stop self-censoring. Looking around, even the focused successful weblogs don't limit themselves exclusively to news. (In fact, I suppose the better you know me, the better you can analyse my commentary on my chosen topic. At least that's my current rationalization...)
That said, I offer the following two items for your consideration:
First: Like Manila sites have their /stats/referer pages, I've been reading my stats on Jerf.org. Looking at the referers often allows you to see how people have found your site on search engines, which is useful information. The other day, I say somebody find my site from the search "Jeremy Bowers" on Google. That's a little wierd. Do I know them? Are they another "Jeremy Bowers" looking for others with that name? (I've done that myself, so I know it's not impossible.) I'm not paranoid enough to think I'm being stalked, but it's kind of wierd.
One thing, though: While I own neither "Jeremy" alone nor "Bowers", I dominate the Google search for both together. The most interesting hit to me is hit number 8 (as I write this), Rap Sheet - Person : Jeremy Bowers. That's actually not me... but until I told you that, I bet you would have thought it was. There are also some high-school football players (yes, plural) with that name... those are DEFINATELY not me!
And hey, there's my wife's maiden name, from a completely different address. I never saw this when I was on editthispage.com...
Two: I've been watching the show "Weakest Link" off and on the last couple of weeks... as usual, I don't watch it for the same reasons as everyone else does. Many don't like it and I can't say I blame them. As something of a student of game theory, both in the formal and informal senses, I think it would actually be somewhat easy to fix the show, without ruining it: If the "strongest link(s)" (the players who answer the most questions correctly) could not be voted off, much of the percieved unfairness would disappear, but the core of the show would be untouched. Only the final rounds would really be changed, which, IMHO, is where the greatest injustices are committed.
What's currently got me hooked is how amazingly well the show is suited to a Psychology dissertation. With a bit of straightforward analysis on the shows statistics, one could obtain interesting, if non-definitive, insights into the current real status of racism and sexism (while people aren't "on guard") by analysing correlations: Are males more likely to vote females off, even if they do better, or vice versa? Are certain ethnic groups likely to vote other ethnic groups off preferentially? How do the later round compare to the earlier ones? (It looks like people start voting "threats" off, but is that just a cover for *-ism or the truth?)
Really, if the show runs long enough to gather a decently consistent baseline, it would be some very interesting and relatively easy to work with data, because I bet that contestent's predjudices, sub-concious and otherwise, are all allowed to express themselves, every way but verbally. You also get to compare the UK to the US for extra bonus points. I think if I was a grad student in Psychology instead of Comp. Sci, I'd at least pitch this to one of my profs to see how they feel.
I watch the show and try to do an informal analysis of this sort of thing. Like I said, I doubt this is the normal reason people like it. But I can't think of any other game show as amazingly suited to potentially be a window into the collective unconscious.