Sunday, May 01, 2011

Blog performance & a blogging meander

Just a meander this morning, starting with the monthly stats. 

Stats April 11 2 The attached graphic shows visits (yellow) plus page views (yellow plus red) to this blog over the thirteen months to end March.

The previous upward trend has peaked, although the increase April on April is quite good. I suspect that I am getting a bit too boring for my regular visitors!

About 20% of my traffic - the number bounces around - comes from repeat visits.

The top ten page views in April were:

The top two are constantly in the top two places. The next eight vary from month to month.

Having disposed of the monthly statistical entrails watching, a few comments on posts of interest on other blogs.

On Club Troppo, Nicholas Gruen's “It is good sense to appoint individual people to jobs on their merit. It is the opposite when those who are judged to have merit of a particular kind harden into a new social class without room in it for others” puts an argument on for monarchy based on the very apparent illogicality of the concept.

Staying with Club Troppo, Ken Parish's Rooting out Cognitive Bias 101seeks advice - a wisdom of crowds thing - on some seminars in jurisprudence seeking to correct perceptual bias. This led skepticlawyer to write a companion piece, Crowdsourcing bleg – getting lawyers to think creatively.

Now this must seem pretty dry stuff, and in some ways it is. However, bear with me for a moment.

One of the issues that I have been trying to think through is the reason why lawyers so often fail to address the real needs of their clients. This is directly related to cognitive bias installed during legal training, as well as the dynamics of the profession.

I decided to write a companion post, but found it almost impossible. Both Ken and SL address the issue from a macro level whereas my concern is very micro, professional failure in the handling of individual matters. I do want to write something on this, for I actually spend a lot of time on this blog trying to address cognitive bias, the way in which our mental frameworks affect our perceptions and judgements. However, it will have to wait.

In Kartini's Day and Indonesian women, Tikno looked at the role of women in Indonesia. Tikno notes that Kartini's Day is taken from the name Raden Ajeng Kartini, a heroine for the emancipation of Indonesian women during Dutch colonial. Not unexpectedly, I had never heard of Raden Kartini, so I found it interesting.

By coincidence, at the time I was trying to find out about a little known episode in Australian and New England history that linked Australia, the Netherlands and the Indonesian struggle for independence. This led me to write Victory Camp & the Casino Boys as a preliminary introduction. Have a look. I bet that you have not heard of it either!

1906 Raincoat This photo shows a 2006 Canadian women's raincoat. The hat could have come from the recent royal wedding! The photo is from Barbara Martin's My Town Monday - Going In Style.

Climate forms fashion. Looking at Barbara's reproductions, I can see visual similarities with women's clothing in Australia at the same time, but Canada's climate requires different physical solutions.

Staying with Canada, Christopher Moore's History News has been exploring past elections. In case you don't know it, the current Canadian federal election campaign is coming to an end.

I had intended to write something on it, but other events have intervened.

Why bother? Well, Canada is part of the Commonwealth and broadly has the same constitutional tradition as Australia and many other Commonwealth countries. So what happens in Canada actually has an influence elsewhere. More importantly, Canada has regional divides based on history, geography and ethnicity that make those in Australia look like a pussy cat.

The very survival of Canada as a political entity is remarkable. It's not all that long ago that the betting was that Canada could not survive, yet somehow it has muddled through. I also find considerable enjoyment in the confusion that Canada creates in the US. Like many Australians with New Zealand, many US people including the commentariat look down on Canada. The sneers are quite remarkable!

But if we look at the immediate past, the US has given us the Tea Party, Canada a resurgent NDP. Actually, history means that Australians can understand Canada in a way that many US people cannot. Blame the Empire!

Turning to India, Ramana's Musings continues to entertain me. I know that I mention Ramana a lot, but he really is worth reading for his Indian insights. I don't read him every day, but I do read all his posts on at least a weekly basis.

Finally, finishing with a plug for my Armidale Express columns.

The last column brought on line (the Express sadly does not put the columns on-line because, or so Christian Knight as editor argues, they do not want to reduce the attraction of the columns for those buying the paper) was Belshaw's World - coming up thistles in government wasteland.

   Writing for the paper is a different discipline to blog posting. Obviously the standard of the column varies, but I actually think that there is some good stuff there.  You can see all the columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011.   


Legal Eagle said...

Can't wait for your cognitive bias and lawyers post, Jim. One of my theories is that lawyers get too tied up in the arguments and the joy of the fight, and forget that they are there to do what is best for their clients... I saw it a few times when I used to work for a judge...

Jim Belshaw said...

I think that's right, LE. Thinking further, however, my own focus has been on commercial law/contracts, so there is a bias there on my own part. The core problem that has concerned me is the application of legal "solutions" to non-legal problems. This comes back to a failure to really understand client need in the first place.

Legal Eagle said...

That reminds me of a barrister I knew who had been a builder before he did law. Naturally enough, when he practiced, he did construction law. One day a client came complaining about a chimney at her new house. It looked like being an extremely unpleasant and drawn out battle between herself and the builder. However, the barrister looked at the chimney, said, "That's easy enough to fix", and fixed it within half an hour...problem solved.

Jim Belshaw said...

I really that story, LE. It exactly captures a problem!