With a little less than a week to go, I have fallen behind in the 3rd Annual Blogging Scholarship contest. Thanks to the many links and referrals I received from friends during the weekend and the beginning of the week I was able to hold on to third, but later this week The Burnt Orange Report came out of nowhere and buried me. At present I'm barely holding on to 4th, with the MIT Admissions blog catching up.

Even if I was able to make it back into the top 3, the far-and-away leader of this contest is the USS Mariner, a sports analysis blog. With nearly 7,000 votes, it is doubtful that anyone is going to be able to beat it short of receiving the "Colbert Bump." I must admit I am a little disappointed that I have little prospect of obtaining enough votes to beat it, but what I find troublesome is the poor sportsmanship being expressed by some of my own supporters.

To put it bluntly, I don't care a whit about about professional sports. I find baseball, in particular, is insufferably boring, and the last time I went to a game I had more fun reading than watching the players scurry about the field. That said, if David Cameron has been able to run such a good blog that he has gained the respect of so many people, then I say "Good for him." I have never heard of his blog before, nor do I intend to start reading it, but if he has done such a good job at sports analysis that he has developed such a large following, then I can do little but congratulate him.

The same goes for the other top blogs, The American Papist and The Burnt Orange Report. I am about as interested in their blogs as they are in mine (being not at all, most likely), but they have both worked hard at what they do. I do wish that I was beating them in this race, but I am not going to deride their efforts simply on the basis of the topics they most often cover.

Even as science blogs go, Laelaps is only moderately popular. I work hard at what I do and I feel that I am contributing something more important (and less ephemeral) than some of my competitors in this contest, but I knew going in that I probably did not have a large enough readership to win. Despite the effort I put into this blog, I consider topics that are only of interest to a small set of blog readers, and over the past year the amount of traffic coming here has been generally steady. Without the flood of links from friends, I certainly would have received far less votes than I did.

Please do not misunderstand; I am not giving up on this contest. I knew going in that I was going to be an underdog and be reliant on the help of others if I was going to be a contender for the top prize. Yet my own difficulties in drumming up votes is no reason to denigrate the work of other college bloggers because they prefer to write about sports or religion. If you have a look at their blogs and decide they are not very good bloggers, than so be it, but let us not be poor sports.

[Like what you see here? Then vote for me in the 3rd Annual Blogging Scholarship contest!]

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I think I should be allowed to denigrate the MIT Admissions blog. I mean, I went there; I feel like I'm entitled. "No, no, you're not telling your readers the awful truth about the Institute! They deserve to know what really happens on that campus! Which is — mmmf, mmmmmmmf!"

Precisely, Blake! You've got some personal knowledge, so you're a qualified judge. :)

I'm all for criticism if there's a good reason; I just didn't like the "Oh, come on, the front-runner is a sports blog?" attitude that seemed to be prevalent.

You spent your last baseball game reading, I spent mine in the stands learning to crochet. Good for you for encouraging good sportsmanship!

Sci to the C; The only distraction I had were my co-workers asking me why anyone would want to read at something so exciting as a baseball game. :P (It was one of those office outings where my presence was expected.)

The price I paid for reading, though, was that I got a pretty good sunburn on my arms from holding the book up all day in the hot summer sun.

I sent your blog link to some of my friends and family and asked them to vote for you. My friend Kim already has, and enjoyed your "devilution" post. My mom thought perhaps I was sending her spam... but I set her straight! I'm disappointed that the front runner is a sports blog, too, but it goes to show the priorities in this country. New football stadium, anyone?

I'm still rooting for you!!

I think one makes a mistake by ignoring experiences. What can one learn and appreciate by watching a baseball game? One can observe and consider how is is possible for humans to throw a ball so accurately. How is a it possible for a human to hit a ball with a slender bat, when the the ball is traveling 100 MPH and jumping around. How is it possible for an outfielder to figure where a fly ball is going and make a diving catch? What happened in our evolution that we (some of us, anyway) have these capabilities?

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 14 Nov 2008 #permalink

I found your blog through Earth Wind Water. Your content is interesting,your writing skills sufficient for good communication of ideas plus your character and personality comes through to the reader.
After reading several of the other blogs and finding one other of interest closer to my own
I still voted for you, all the while feeling like a specimen in a social experiment.

If some did not comment would it be so clear how they went about both the decision process and what actions were taken to influence others.
Is there a way to figure out if the merit of the blog itself made a clear leader to jump in with, or did the tactics used, influence enough voters to galvanize a clear lead? Much to ponder.

Laelaps, you're blog is one that I've followed for a while now, and I've always been a loyal reader. And will continue to be so, for as long as you write. I did vote for you in the contest. So what, if the sports comment blog has more votes than you. It ought not to be news to you that sports are more popular than science. It would have been better had there been categories that would take such bias into account. But consider this. All the other sports blogs were not deemed better than yours. You made it to the list.
I'm so proud of you!

Brian, your attitude speaks well of you.

Personally, I am very disappointed in the poll. I visited the poll several times but was unable to register my vote, due to the problem we discussed previously. And comments from other Laelaps supports indicate that several of us are being prevented from voting.

IIRC correctly, you wrote to the poll people about this, and I even posted about the problem (politely, I believe) in the poll's comment section. Sadly, the poll folks seem to be totally uninterested in acknowledging or addressing the problem, and in the inherent unfairness of certain voters being under-counted.

For what it's worth, know that the official tally of votes you receive must represent only a fraction of the appreciation and support that exists for you and your blog.

By Stevo Darkly (not verified) on 16 Nov 2008 #permalink