Friday, August 26, 2005

Eugene Volokh Considers Gay Sex
Yesterday, UCLA law professorEugene Volokhthrust into the public debate a very long post of turgid prose which rams the argument down our throats thatgays are converting people:

If you persuade someone to become a vegetarian, you can be said to have converted him to vegetarianism. He's still biologically an omnivore, but his practices are now different. Likewise, changing someone from (a) being an orientational bisexual who engages solely in heterosexual relationships to (b) someone who is an orientational bisexual who engages solely in homosexual relationships, or to (c) someone who is bisexual both by orientation and practice strikes me as quite rightly called a"conversion."

I am too juvenile a person not to snicker about Volokh's comparison between eating meat and sexuality.

Volokh, a former computer programmer who became a UCLA freshman at age 12 and clerked for Sandra Day O'Connor, is like the anti-John Roberts.

Unlike Roberts, who has been taking the fifth his entire adulthood, Volokh makes regular practice of sharing controversial opinions like this bizarre riff on homosexual conversion, which values a Humpty Dumpty-like fixity of the definition of the word"conversion"over the anti-gay persecution that results from the irrational fear of gay recruitment.

His contrarian outspokenness is a great trait for bloggers (or Internet trolls), but will forever disqualify him from consideration for the Supreme Court.

Pimping Your Pagerank for Profit
The tech blogger Phil Ringnalda istaking heatover criticizing O'Reilly about some questionable link ads on the company's web sites. Tim O'Reilly posted athoughtful responsethat shows he's not entirely comfortable with selling ads that trade on a site's Google pagerank, rather than visitor eyeballs.

This is a good discussion for web publishers to be having, because the practice ofpimping pagerankis becoming more pervasive. I've received numerous offers to put such links onSportsFilter, a booming sports weblog that recently received a pagerank of 7, but I've ignored them. Most seek to promote junk sites for mortgage refinancing, phentermine, and the like -- the same kind of shady marketers who are hammering my servers with comment spam -- and I don't want to damage the site's well-earned good reputation.

There's also the risk of linking to a site that Google demotes to pagerank 0, which some pagerank kremlinologists believe will adversely affect your own pagerank.

In response to Ringnalda,Andy Baio askswhether he should have discussed his concerns privately:

Did you try to contact anyone at O'Reilly before posting this? It would've taken very little effort to get a response from them before you released the rest of the world on them. Like Anil said,"the blog world likes nothing more than a good old-fashioned pile-on."

I received a similarchallengeto mypost on Bram Cohen, coincidentally from Anil Dash.

I think Baio and Dash are being excessively reasonable. A personal weblog's a place to think out loud. You can't let fear of being wrong or fear of how others might respond stop you from voicing an honest criticism. If I was afraid of looking stupid, I'd never leave the house.

Nobody likes being called out in public -- just look at how fast O'Reilly responded to Ringnalda. But this is a strength of blogging, not a weakness.

USA Todayis running acover storyonPatrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomasof the University of North Texas Mean Green, the NCAA-leading rushers in 2003 and 2004.

They'll become the first season leaders to ever share the same backfield when my alma mater loses by several touchdowns to LSU on Sept. 3.