Monday, April 11, 2005

If you don't need it...

The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem is marvellous. Every day you can see how many sites have linked to your site and, therefore, where you stand in the Bear's grand scheme.

When Pratie Place was new and I discovered this "ecosystem," it amused me. I didn't at all mind being some squishy invertebrate or other at the bottom of the heap.

When my blog started to accumulate links, though, its ecosystem ranking started to prey on my mind a bit.

A few weeks ago, I had 121 links and that made me sort of happy. But since then, my linkage has eroded by half. I slipped out of the marsupial category and became a rodent again.

I'm not sure whether links "wear out" after a while and you need new ones, or whether half the people who at some point decided to link here now decided they don't like this place after all.

The point, though, is not link erosion. It is that the very existence of the ecosystem has caused this dismay. If the ecosystem weren't accessible, I wouldn't care about the links. I wouldn't know about them.

Initial fascination also tempted me into a permanent state of too-much-information at, where you can find out, hour-by-hour if you like, how many people visit your blog. I find I visit the way people check stock quotes: when things are going up, check all the time; when things are going down, stop checking and mope.

An obsession with "more" is as bad for an individual person as it is for our planet in general. As long as the business model (or personal goal) is "always more," we are doomed. So in this part of my life I'm working on being happy with "some."

I'm starting to want less of most everything. Information, for instance. I also don't need to know about every horrific crime committed in every time zone. Newscasts run all day and all night and there's always something going badly wrong someplace in the world. What does knowing this improve?

Technology, another example. The fact that something has been invented doesn't actually require us to have it or even want to have it. (Satisfying poster is from Grow A Brain.)

In the last couple years I've thought more and more about things it isn't better to have. Some of these:
  • Leaf blowers. Loud, heavy, blow the leaves in one direction and then the other.
  • New cars. Depreciate immediately, high insurance rate, tempting to carjackers and fate.
  • Gew-gaws of any kind which cause people to go into debt.
  • Large houses with empty rooms that must be heated and air-conditioned.
  • Anything in storage.
  • Rarely used kitchen appliances.

STUFF is getting on my nerves.

From an interview with Eric Brende:
Physical exercise: Look at the car. Here's something we have to work many hours to pay for, maintain, fuel. Over a lifetime we spend more on our cars than on our houses. That money translates into work we have to do. Then we sit in this vehicle a couple of hours a day, and miss out on the exercise we would have gotten if we walked or biked. Then, on top of it all, we have to go to a gym, or jogging, to recover the exercise that we missed. Or else suffer terrible medical consequences. So if we'd simply done what came naturally in the first place? Used our bodies to do work and to travel?

Obviously, to be continued.

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At 6:31 AM, Blogger Badaunt said...

I don't have a car, and can imagine how lazy I'd get without one. Walking is a fact of life for me.

But your comment about having too large homes with empty rooms that need to be airconditioned/heated puzzled me at first, until I understood that this is an American thing - I've heard my American friends complaining about it here. In Japan you do not heat houses. You heat rooms. And sometimes you only heat the part of the room your feet and legs are in. (In other words you use a kotatsu in winter rather than heating a room - a kotatsu is a table with a futon over it and a heater under it.) Of course this thrifty habit is mainly caused by the fact that heating is EXPENSIVE here. (Our gas bill doubles in winter, and we only heat one room.)

But it is also totally alien to me to heat a room I'm not using. I didn't even do that in NZ. I wonder if that is because NZ and Japan the winters are not VERY cold. I think in Hokkaido they heat houses, but around here it rarely goes below 0C.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Waterfall said...

I'm not sure what's up with the ecosystem these days. I've catapulted from Flappy Bird to Crawly Amphibian to Slithering Reptile within the last month.

(Yes, I spend too much time looking at this kind of stuff!)

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

I've had the urge recently to move everything in our basement out onto the curb, with a big "free" sign. My husband suggests that there might be ways turn some of the stuff into cash. He's welcome to do that, but he'd better get to it.

Big houses with rooms that people don't use, but heat and cool anyway, are a particular pet peeve. I'll be writing more on the question of the "right-sized" house soon, I think.

I also wondered about the TTLB Ecosystem. Here's what I found: the ranking depends on the number of links to your blog from the "front page" of other peoples' blogs. Therefore, if they link to you in a single post, rather than in a blogroll, you "lose" their link in your tally once it's in their archives.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Sharon said...

Was going to explain, but kimberley did it for me. Perhaps you got a lot of links to a particular post or series of posts at one point a few weeks ago and now they've dropped off people's front pages.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Mirty said...

There was a funny moment last week.... We recently got a new sofa and moved the old, dog-chewed sofa into the garage, to wait there until "Bulky" day when it could be picked up and hauled to the landfill. (I did try to pawn it off on the Salvation Army, but they rejected it. It is in really bad shape.) Anyway, I mentioned to the kids that the "Garage Sofa" would be gone soon, because there is usually a Bulky Pickup day in April. Both kids went, "Ooohh Nooo. We like the garage sofa!... Can't we keep it?" Things you never knew you needed: A sofa in the garage.

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

Once again, I oversimplify seeking to understand:

I was once told that a man will pay $2.00 for a $1.00 item that he needs, while a woman will pay $1.00 for a $2.00 item she doesn't need.

As I recall, the original version said something along the lines of "life, liberty and the pursuit of property." Wording having changed, I wonder if the mentality ever did.

Let's all be Amish.

AND... about the ecosystem: can I be a frog? I want to be a frog... or an ugly, horned toad...

Someday... my prince will come...

At 8:26 PM, Blogger kenju said...

Have a garage sale, Melinama, it's a great way to rid yourself of all things unused and unwanted. I wrote all about how to do it in the first few weeks of my blog. Just promise yourself that anything left over after the sale will be taken to Goodwill or the dump!

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Bernadette said...

Many children=less stuff!

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Pearl said...

Less is definitely more. Hopefully we'll all be gadgeted out soon and news fatigue will bring us all back from overstretched, overstimulated, overly outward looking back to inner resources, community and 7-generatiosn planning rather than cash and rash and run.

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Kimberly wrote:

Therefore, if they link to you in a single post, rather than in a blogroll, you "lose" their link in your tally once it's in their archives.

Actually, that's partially right, but the real key is whether the incoming link is to your blog in general or to a specific post. Links to specific posts (termed "unique links") are counted individually in the Ecosystem, as long as they appear on the front page of the linking blog. However, links to your blog in general do not only get one such link in your Ecosystem ranking.

That's one reason for the genteel practice of linking to specific posts when you refer to another blog, instead of just giving a general link. Not only do you do your readers a favor by sending them to the right post, you do the linkee a favor by giving them a "countable" link in the Ecosystem...if only temporarily.

Hope that makes sense!

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont fret traffic will come


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