RDF Semantics

The elephant strikes again

Danny Ayers and Bill de hÓra got into a bit of back and forth on RDF and Bill’s response reminded me again of the blind wise men and the elephant. Each person describes a different creature when asked to describe the whole from just the part they touched: one touching the leg assumes the creature is a large, stumpy creature; the tail, skinny and flexible and so on.

Bill lists out several areas where attention paid by the SemWeb group could increase overall adoption of RDF. In turn:


Better communication, algorithms, tools, etc. to map RDF into relational databases. How can we do so and increase efficiency. This one has actually happened, but perhaps not been as marketed. I know that in the Java world, the Jena folks have put a great deal of thought and energy into efficient RDF storage opimized for SPARQL access (do we use Sparql now?). As Danny stated, tests have been made in systems with millions and millions of triples stored, and relatively quick access of same using Sparql–as quick as a relational query against joined relational tables.

I think this is one that has to go back to Bill: exactly what language/API or data store solution did you use that resulted in such slow performance?

Bill’s issues associated with integration was, at least to me, a bit confusing. I don’t think one can say to companies: use RDF thus and thus and you’ll save so much money, because one can’t say the same about the relational model or the network model or even the old hierarchical model. However, give us a specific task, and we might be able to point out where RDF can be used effectively. Or perhaps we’ll say, no, a relational model is better for that purpose. We might even recommend hierarchical–no one model is perfect for every use.

Where Bill seems to be focused is on data interchange: moving data from tool to tool. Well, now that is one I am very familiar with and this is one that can be extremely effectively managed by RDF as much, or more, than a specifically defined XML vocabulary.

Think of a hub-and-spoke system, whereby heterogeneous applications all access data from a common core, which acts as a buffer to prevent hard coded dependencies between these applications. One can define an XML format to be used between each application and the buffer, but this means that each application has to create XML to whatever format is needed for each buffer. Commercial applications won’t do this, so this means the company has to create a mapping–a layer between the application’s API and the system core, which adds to the overall complexity of the system.

The company developers have to do this not because the business model might differ in whatever degree between the core and the application, but because XML is physically dependent, and this means that the mapping has to be just so before the data can even be processed in order to be merged. In other words: there’s a pure tech dependency on the structure of the XML that transcends even the business model.

RDF eliminates this. A statement is a statement is a statement. It removes positional dependencies, very similar to how the relational model removed such when it was adopted over the older network or hierarchical models. If all the spokes ‘spoke’ RDF (sorry, couldn’t resist), then all that the hub/core would need to do is map each to the other, and this doesn’t even require any additional coding if such business mapping is defined using OWL. All that would be required to add a new application that produces an RDF conversion of its data export/service response is the addition of rules to the core’s rules database using OWL.

You can’t get there with relational databases. I know, I worked with EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) for years. You also can’t get there with XML because there is no rules mechanism inherent in XML. Of course not: why over-complicate a nice, clean syntactic format? XML wasn’t meant to be a rules database. Relational wasn’t meant to be a rules database (but does very nicely for pre-defined, isolated business model use). RDF, on the other hand, eats rules for lunch.

Think of Scotty: Use the right tool for the job.

Moving on to Bill’s list, his big item is ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) and widgets, and it’s true, I’ve not necessarily worked with an object-relational mapping or direct form to RDF widgets. As such, I can’t respond to this one, other than to say if people have created these, I’d like to see them myself.

I think what’s a bigger issue, though, is that Bill demonstrates the wise men and the elephant conundrum: Bill has certain items he considers important, including one that I wouldn’t necessarily consider important. He sees ORM as bigger than syndication feeds, yet for all my tweaking of syndication feed folks, I consider feeds probably one of the most significant advances in technology in years. Why? Because it has had a major impact on relatively standard behavior: how we get access to current news.

That’s the deal: Bill is thinking purely as a developer working with specific problems, and wants to see how RDF can help him. If we continue to get caught up in specific tech-to-tech comparions, RDF will continuously be placed into a position of loss: being compared against specific uses of technology for which it really wasn’t designed, and when it comes up short, which of course it will, being discounted in such a way that it’s not considered for use where it would be effective.

What the RDF community needs to do is go beyond just the technology-to-technology mapping and look at the overall picture: where does the semantic web community want to go, and what piece of this best fits RDF?

Sheila Lennon writes about the John Markoff Times’ article on common sense and Web 3.0 and gives her interpretation of what she sees as the semantic web:

Real world: When restaurants are online in realtime (yet to happen), my computer could display Providence restaurants serving cordon bleu tonight at what prices, ask me to choose one (around when?), then make a reservation, reserve a portion of chicken cordon bleu for me, and notify the restaurant’s computer if I’m hung up in traffic. It will not think about chicken cordon bleu. Its mouth will not water.

And — being my agent — it will not suggest I’ve had enough calories already today and should have salad instead.

Spot on. Sheila is looking at the elephant, not the trunk, tail, and so on.

My mistake with my first interest in RDF and the semantic web is I wanted a web of meaning. Perhaps something like this will happen in the future, but I doubt it because from my earlier attempts at getting others involved I found out something important: what I wanted was not what most people wanted. What most people want is what Sheila is describing: systems that work together seamlessly; that integrate immediately; that help us do something we couldn’t do before.

However, they don’t want these systems to do what we can do well, which is have an opinion or differentiate based on nebulous qualities such as taste and desire. We do this very well ourselves, thank you. What we need from computers is to help us sift through the raw stuff and that’s where the semantic web enters the picture.

Ultimately the semantic web consists of data stores in relational databases, hierarchical data structures, RDF, and even tags embedded into a page–anything that gets us closer to realtime data access (“What’s cooking tonight?”), ‘smart’ agents, and the restaurant’s cooking schedule integrating with our portable GPS devices (and given a rule of locations in thus and thus zone is equivalent to so many minutes from restaurant). No one data model will work for all of this, which is why we need to carve out that piece that best belongs to RDF, and stop trying to force it into a relational model replacement, or microformat killer.

(“Woman on camel comes upon man in the desert; crawling on his hands and knees, faintly crying out “Water, water.” She grabs her bladder filled with pomegranate juice and jumps down, holding the the opening to his lips. The man tastes the juice and pushes her away. “I asked for water”, he says.)

Which leads us back to the last issue of Bill’s I’m going to touch on and that is tags and other microformats. I have been one of those who scoffed at microformats, and I still do. I can see the value of tags, but whether you call them ‘keyword’ associations or categories, they’re a way of adding a description to an item, but not necessarily anything more complex. As such, they have value, but only to a point: in many social software tools such as Flickr, people use these as mnemonics more for themselves than others. Their value to a global whole is directly proportional to the amount of time a person puts into the effort, and most people don’t care that much.

Where tags work well is when a group of people get together and mutually decide on one tag to differentiate the association, such as the tags for a conference. People use the agreed on tag because it’s simple (the tag has already been provided), and they can immediately see the usefulness of such (querying on the tag returns items associated with the event).

Thus the same requirements for metadata can be defined for microformats and RDF: we have to make the effort to define such easy. We have to demonstrate value.

Now, one can say microformats make things easier, but I have a real problem with shoving everything under the sun into one single HTML attribute: class. The class attribute is defined to hold values for stylesheet settings or ‘whatever other use devised by user agents’. What we’ve done, as end users, is shove both microformat AND Ajax information into these attributes, and frankly, I don’t know how much this is impacting on and will continue to impact on these ‘user agents’.

For instance, if I have eight different terms within a single class attribute, all properly separated from each other, does Firefox look at each of these, and then spend time reviewing the stylesheet settings to see if any match? If so, and this use of class is scattered all about a biggish page, and the CSS stylesheets are quite large, this strikes me as impacting, perhaps significantly, against page load times.

We are misusing the class attribute, and that’s my biggest pushback against microformats. The same goes for the use of the class attribute with Ajax.

Now, generating an RDF output from metadata associated with a page, and then serving this up when you tack ‘/rdf/’ (or ‘/meta/’) to the end of the page URL strikes me as a superior method of providing metadata to smart agents. The browsers don’t have to deal with microformat creators and RDF/XHTML mappers converting the HTML class attribute into a CLOB, and the resulting metadata doesn’t have to be limited to whatever layout elements are provided through valid uses of HTML. I’ve never had anyone give me a reason why they feel this is wrong.

(Declarative HTML for Ajax developers is another thing, and best left for another post.)

If the pages are dynamically generated, then the metadata page can be dynamically generated. If the pages are static, when they’re created, the metadata page can be created. And if someone comes along and says something about the page being created by hand, I’m going to come back with, “Oh yeah?”

One last issue that Bill had in his list was with the syntax of RDF/XML. We get so hung up on this so frequently that I think it would be a good idea for the W3C to re-visit this one. After all, if the organization is revisiting HTML in the interest of moving forward, there is that much more reason to revisit RDF/XML.

Environment Events of note

Johnson’s Shut-Ins: Then and now

The proposed new plan for the rebuilding of Johnson Shut-Ins park can be found here. As can be seen, the changes are rather drastic, including a restructuring of the stream through the park. Additional parking, scour overlook, new trails, new interpretive centers–the changes are rather extensive, and meant to support a larger number of visitors due to people coming to see the Shut-Ins and now the results of the dam break.


The camping has been moved, as no one was particularly interested in camping in a flood-plain valley with the reservoir dam being re-built.


A shuttle will move people about, and there’s also room for a helipad, though I imagine that’s for emergencies.


It’s certainly much grander than the old park. I spent time yesterday with several people who came out to see the park one last time before closing. One older gentleman told me tales of coming down with his uncle to fish by lantern light. He kept pointing out rocks hat didn’t belong in the shut-ins, and his eyes would, from time to time, tear up as he surveyed the damage.


Johnson Shut-Ins is gone. What replaces it will be nice, but it won’t be the same.


Note that according to state park employees, the park could be closed up to two years in order to do this restoration, starting


Monday, October 2nd.


Edited September, 2006


Johnson Shut-Ins will close for the winter this Monday, Oct. 2, for long-term repairs to be made. I visited today (Sept. 26th) and may go again this weekend, getting one last set of photos. I apologize for the scattered nature of the coverage and the Flash shows, but am planning on pulling them together into a complete show, along with details on the story of the dam break. When finished, I’ll add a link.


Edited June, 2006


I visited the park after it re-opened May 27th. The shut-ins are closed for swimming and exploration, though the boardwalk is open. The Ozarks Trail through that area is still closed, and efforts are underway to route around the damage. My plan is to pull together a more cohesive site incorporating all my photos and the story behind the dam failure, as well as the history (and future) of the park at Missouri Green.


The boulder field is a fascinating place, and the park has opened up that portion not being worked for exploration. If you’re into geology, this is a rare and rich opportunity.


Edited, 2/18/06


On December 14th, the Taum Sauk reservoir dam failed, sending a billion gallons of water rushing down the mountain; sweeping trees and boulders in its path, and cutting through the Johnson Shut-Ins State Park. This story is based on this event, and includes observations from a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) media tour held 02/09/06.

The first thing I noticed when driving to the Johnson Shut-Ins last week was the smoke of the burning pile of debris; appearing as a cyan-gray stream in the sky miles before the Shut-Ins turn off. A few minutes later I crossed the bridge over the Black River, passing a county sheriff’s jeep and then an AmerenUE’s security SUV, both parked by the side of the road.

The small, temporary trailer used by the work and security crew the last time I had been to the Shut-Ins had been replaced with a larger, more permanent looking construction trailer with a Dish Network satellite on top. I was early, and there weren’t many cars in the lot. I pulled up to the security gate to check in, passing two men wearing white vests with writing I couldn’t read, and carrying umbrellas who were standing on the road.

(Later I were to find they were members of the Teamsters, protesting Ameren’s hiring of non-union labor for the park restoration.)

Security is run by AmerenUE, which I thought was unusual. It’s true that the company is the one covering the costs of the restoration. However, Johnson Shut-Ins is a state park, and I assumed security would be managed by the state and then reimbursed by Ameren. Regardless, the gentlemen who stopped me had a clip board and when I mentioned I was there for the media tour, found my name, and passed me in.

As we waited for the tour to start, we were instructed to sign a disclaimer absolving DNR from responsibility if we hurt ourselves during the media tour. Once signed, we were issued bright fluorescent orange vests, and either orange or blue hard hats. These vivid colors stood out against the browns of the landscape, forming one of the strongest images I have from Thursday. Missouri is a place of muted color in the winter–brown, rusts, some green and the bright blue of the sky. But Johnson was almost a uniform brown of the silt and the rock that covered much of the park. So much so that the vests and hats the we all wore seemed preternaturally bright and alien.

After orientation, we were loaded into the vehicles to begin the tour. There were enough of us so that we were loaded into three vehicles. The largest bus/van was reserved primarily for the television crews as they needed the room. The smallest was a regular passenger mini-van. I sat in the second to the largest van with 12 others including Greg Combs from DNR, who ended up providing most of the information during the tour.

Instead of following the paved road into the park, we headed out onto the highway and from there entered a dirt road that had been carved into the debris field. The way was very rough, and we passed the burning pile that had sent the smoke I’d seen earlier into the air. A blower, named the Destructor, was sending air into the pile to keep it burning as hot as possible. Tractors and cranes were busy loading trees and bushes too damaged to be salvaged on to the pile, to be burned until reduced to ashes.

The field differed from the last time I visited the Park. Right after the flood, it was full of flattened trees and brush, and the only cleared area was around the Park Ranger’s home–the one that had been destroyed. I remembered the only green that showed at the time was from the flattened evergreens and, oddly enough, a cacti, damaged but still living in the dirt. Now there wasn’t a glimmer of green–it was all in browns with faint shadows of magenta from the pink granite in the area.

We bumped our way across the road until the river, stopping by a miniature lake formed by the scour of the flood; parking directly in the flood path from the mountain. Boulders pushed down the mountain lay tumbled along the side of the ‘road’– larger than some of the people walking around; almost larger than the vans. Across the river, these were joined by chunks of concrete and reebar from the dam itself, as well as the by now ubiquitous silt and black tarp.

The reporters with pads of paper and microphones and television cameras formed around Combs, as he explained much of what we were seeing. I walked around the newly formed lake, checking out the clarity of the river, but found my eyes drawn, time and again, to the path carved into the mountains. Standing there, you forget that the area around the river had once been all trees. Now, all around us was dirt and rocks. Everywhere. In the winter, we expect to see mainly brown in our forests. Come spring, though, when we normally expect the Missouri green to exert itself, we’ll really come to know this flood.

From the flood path, we loaded back into the vans and the next place we visited was what was once the campground area, and the special fen that was home to many endangered and rare plants. The campground and I believe the play area were basically one flat, featureless field. The only breaks were the concrete slabs that used to house RVs. Toward the park road and the fen area, though, there still were some standing trees. In and among these hardy survivors were dozens of workers and small tractors. The workers were digging at the dirt using shovels and pitchforks and loading the silt, by hand, into small sandbags.

In the area, plants currently dormant from the winter are buried by two to five feet of silt. If the ground can be uncovered by spring, there’s a chance to salvage these rare and precious bits of green. However, bigger equipment can’t be used or it could damage the already vulnerable area. Most of the work, then, has to be done by hand. To date, the effort has removed over 3000 dump truck loads of sediment, and 1625 truckloads of trees and related organic material.

At the fens, I talked for a time with an Ameren employee who hadn’t had a chance to visit the park since the flood. The Governor has been making all sorts of noises about pressing criminal charges from this incident, which is, in my opinion, absurd. Ameren had accepted responsibility for the event the day it happened, and hasn’t stopped accepting responsibility since. The company is funding the 60 or so workers currently clearing the dirt, as well funding recovery efforts for the river.

I asked the employee if the company was going to re-build the reservoir. She said they didn’t know yet, they were still exploring the options, how much they could guarantee that it wouldn’t fail and so on. I mentioned that whatever man can make, can break. She smiled ruefully and said she wished the engineers at the company would accept this.

(Since the tour I’ve read that an email was sent by one Ameren employee to others in September warning about previous overflows of the dam and its vulnerability. )

Our last stop was at the park store and would include a hike up the remaining park of the Ozark trail connected to the park, and to the Shut-Ins themselves. Normally I take the boardwalk, as it features one of my favorite tree-lined paths. However, the boardwalk was damaged and still hasn’t been recovered.

When we arrived, I again wondered off to watch the trucks loading up the organic material piled into a mountain in the parking lot. Returning to the group, one of the other reporters pointed out to me the different colors of wood along the store wall. He mentioned that this was the high water mark. I was surprised, as the park store is located on a hill some distance from the river.

In the back of the store area, salvaged picnic tables and bar-b-que stands lay in piles–all damaged beyond use.

We then headed toward the Shut-Ins, on foot. According to the reports, the Shut-Ins themselves weren’t damaged. They didn’t seem to be damaged, but I could see a great deal of silt and smaller rocks and trees tumbled about. More importantly, the silt had moved around the rocks, filling the hollows and spaces. I imagine that some rains will help wash some of this out, but it won’t happen quickly.

There’s hope to open the Shut-Ins for day use this summer, but after this tour, I’m not sure that’s going to be viable. One of the popular summertime uses of the Shut-Ins is swimming. No matter how careful the crew is on cleaning up, there’s going to be sharp edged pieces of concrete, rock, and reebar in and around the Shut-Ins for some time to come. If the state opens the Shut-Ins and doesn’t allow swimming, unless they staff the area, people will climb on to the rock, and paddle through the water.

In addition, I’m not sure that the Shut-Ins did manage to escape unscathed from that much water. One of the reporters, from the West Plain Quill, I believe, asked me if I remembered from my previous visits one particular cracked pink granite boulder on the other side of the river. I said I couldn’t remember it specifically. Combs came up and she asked him and he said it had been there, but shifted by the water. Checking my old photos, I do find the rock, and it does look shifted. More than that, some of the other smaller boulders also looked shifted.

If any of the boulders had been moved slightly from the force of the water, and silt pushed underneath, they might seem stable at first. However, as time goes on the and silt is washed away from the flow of water, these rocks could shift. More importantly, they could shift with people among them. The Shut-Ins will survive, but someone getting trapped under a boulder that moves unexpectedly may not.

Still, it was good to be at the Shut-Ins again. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the park, especially during the winter months, when I could visit and there wouldn’t be anyone about. This is unlikely to happen this winter. I can hope for next.

I was last leaving the Shut-Ins, and walked back with the temporary park superintendent. It was quiet in the woods, away from the cleanup effort and the jumble of orange vested press. We talked about how quiet the park normally is in the winter. For a moment, it seemed almost normal.

Back at the park store, they loaded us into the vans and dropped us back at our cars. The members from DNR, the park services, Ameren, were all universally friendly, helpful, and doing their best to be informative. One bit of humor from the tour is that people kept coming up to Greg Combs asking what his position was. Every time we would stop somewhere, another member of the press would come up and ask, “What’s your job with DNR”. “I’m Field Operations Manager”, he would patiently reply. At the end of the tour when he was helping us out of the van and reminding us to turn in the vests and hats, one last person asked the same question. When I shook his hand in thanks, I was tempted to suggest next time he have a t-shirt made up reading:

“I am Field Operations Manager”

There was also a town meeting later that evening, which I didn’t attend. The questions concerned how soon will the river clear and will they re-build the reservoir. I don’t know about the reservoir, but after the tour, I think the hopes on the part of some of the people in the area about the clarity of the river this summer are overly optimistic. That much silt won’t go away in a year. That much silt won’t go away in a decade.

(Later note: Ameren has decided to re-build the reservoir.)

As for the park, it will never be the same again. To paraphrase Field Operations Manager Combs, they won’t be recovering the park so much as carving a new one.

Just Shelley

Tight corners

It doesn’t rain, it pours, or some such thing. Sometimes there seems to be little work, other times, too much. Lately I’ve had a good amount of work, enough that I thought about going on hiatus with the weblog–focusing on work, the development server, et al. Rather than some kind of formal break, though, I’ll just do what I have been doing. Whatever that is.

There was a possibility of me traveling on one job, but this has had to be put temporarily aside, primarily because of issues of health. I’ve had some long standing work I’ve needed to have done by an oral surgeon, and unfortunately, as I found this week, this work can no longer be put off. In fact, I’m pushing it to hold off on the work until my medical and dental insurance kicks in March 1st.

The great thing about being busily and gainfully employed is knowing that you can take care of what needs to be taken care of. It used to be, years ago, that I would measure the worth of my work in conspicuous consumption. Now I measure it in necessities purchased (new tires) and tasks finished (the surgery). And it feels good. When I do get the rare treat (from friends or what I buy myself), such as a new DVD or book or my new iPod, it makes them that much more special, and appreciated.

Back in the dot-com era, I made a great deal of money, and did not value myself. I spent the money on frivolous toys, overpriced dinners, and clothes I didn’t need. I once took the entire company out for an expensive lunch, just because I could. What a waste.

Now, I make a fraction of what I used to make, I value every penny, and I’m more content.

Social Media

Some of my best friends are z-listers

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Adam Green has a suggestion for Doc Searls and his quandry about being a gatekeeper:

The answer is simple Doc, just find a good post from a blogger you haven’t noticed before and link to it. You can direct a firehose of traffic to a blog by doing this. On the basis of karma alone it is a good idea. Think about how you would have felt if one of the cool crowd in high school had asked the buck-toothed kid to sit with them at lunch.

Doc is one of the most loyal webloggers I know. As such, he will rarely, if ever, criticize one of his friends. I don’t necessarily agree with this, but I can admire his consistency in his support.

Doc is also willing to link to those who criticize him, and patiently respond to same. I admire him for this. He’s also one of the few A list tech bloggers who will still link to me, and I’ve been critical about his writings for years, so you might say I have a bias in this regard.

But when Doc does link to me, he rarely sends me much traffic. The same can be said for Scoble and Winer and others. In the great scheme of things nowadays, no one weblogger in the tech ranks is really capable of directing that much traffic. There are some in the political sphere, or the heads of the hordes like Boing Boing that might send a lot of traffic one’s way. But the days when the techie A listers ruled the waves are over.

However, even if Doc could direct that much traffic, I would rather he not link me, then to link me because I’m equivalent to the buck-toothed kid being asked to eat lunch with the cool kids. The thought of this makes me feel faintly nauseous.

If I want anything from the A Listers, it’s honesty. It’s following through on their glowing beliefs in this environment. It’s a cessation of the games, and a reduction of the small minded petty meanness that characterizes too many of the A listers (and which makes one realize that perhaps this environment is not so utopian after all).

A Listers: When you make a comment related to something you’ve read one someone’s weblog, link to it. Don’t talk about it in a sideways manner. Don’t wait until someone you approve of writes about the topic and then link to them. Don’t attach ‘nofollow’ or not add a link, because you don’t think they deserve your ‘link juice’.

If one or more people spend a considerable amount of time responding, thoughtfully, to your post, don’t respond only to those who you consider your ‘equal’. Respond to the argument or discussion, not the person. Don’t hold your response to criticism until someone makes it who you consider to be ‘worthy’.

When people are critical, don’t label them with being a bitch, shrill, hysterical, whining (oe whinging), flaming, or any combination of the same. If this environment was full of people who only smiled, who only agreed, who went around as if we’re all partaking of joy joy juice, and nary a harsh word was heard–you wouldn’t be where you are today. You need us. You need us, a hell of a lot more than we need you. Your fans may make you feel good, but it’s your critics who made you famous.

I have no respect for the linking/attention games played and those who play them, and neither should you. When you see this bullshit, call it bullshit. This will do more to ‘tear down the gates’ then begging an A lister, even a nice one like Doc, for a link.

Now excuse me, this buck-toothed weblogger needs to go brush her teeth.


No, I own the new gatekeepers

While I work on both the Johnson Shut-Ins post, in addition to trying to wrap my head around ExpressionEngine modules, there have been some writings too good to miss.

Seth Finkelstein writes New Gatekeepers are still Gatekeepers:

This world is exactly the same as *every* *other* *media* *world*, in that there’s a few participants who have enormous reach, while most have little to none (”Power Law”). That’s just a mathematical fact. One obvious corollary is that if an A-lister (very high audience) writes a personal attack on a Z-lister (very low audience), the Z-lister has no *effective* means of responding, to any comparable extent. This is hardly life-threatening, but it’s not pleasant.

Irony is introduced when one realizes that it is Doc Searls’ response to Seth, not Seth’s original writing, that rates top billing in Tech Memeorandum. (Dave Rogers also notes another bit of associated irony–leading to the title on this piece. Sorry Jon.)

Along similar lines, Phil Sims writes The Piss-Ant Blogosphere. In the post, the Squash Man notices that the A-Listers don’t send him the traffic to go with their ranks, and this tends to cast doubt on the power of webloggers in influencing the success of startups.

I can agree to this: other than blitz of traffic for my Parable of the Languages, and the flurry of links to my Men Don’t Link writing, the most traffic I’ve ever had was for a blonde joke; I still get close to 4000 unique visits a day for this. Perhaps I can get Clairol to advertise on my site in the future.

Turning to more serious matters, 3 Quarks Daily has two thoughtful and should-read entries on the explosive situation about the Danish cartoons: one an original writing by Abbas Raza, and one referencing a New Republic article. I was asked in my comments, can’t we have a dialog on this topic? My answer is yes, but only if we all understand none of us has the answer, because we’re still trying to figure out the question.

From the tech side, Kim Cameron has InfoCards working with WordPress and PHP. This was in response to a challenge made to him some time back about implementing InfoCards in a LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) environment. I’m not necessarily sanguine of the concept of InfoCards, but the effort that Kim has done deserves recognition and a well done. More on this when I have a chance to look more closely at the implementation.

Danny Ayers has two posts on mining microformatted and other munchkin metadata formats for richer semantic data: Out of Eden and Out of Eden: possible implementation architecture. More on this topic later, too.

Damn it people — stop writing such good stuff. I want to respond individually and there’s only so many hours in a day.