27 December 2008

Christmas vs. Halloween vs. Easter vs. Thanksgiving vs. Valentine's Day

My yummy Christmas dinner is almost digested ;-) Time to check on the old Yuletide's status in comparison with the other big—esp. in the US—holidays.

As expected, each holiday had its own seasonal peak and Christmas had the biggest one. Second was Halloween: everyone likes to dress up... Easter peaked in March-April (not fixed in the normal sense). Note that Canada's Thanksgiving Day in October was dwarfed by the US one in November. Valentine's Day was last. Let's have a look at the country rankings for each holiday:

The results were more or less as expected. A few observations: Halloween with its Celtic roots was also important in Ireland (no. 3) and even in Belgium (no. 6)—as a Belgian, I have actually no clue why that would be; of course, I haven't lived there in decades. Why Easter registered so heavily in Australia (no.1) and New Zealand (no. 3) was also kind of puzzling. That Thanksgiving registered at all outside the US and Canada might provide further proof of the supersized influence of esp. the US in the world. South African Googlers were the second-most interested in Valentine's.

Photo Copyright j_wijnands, CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

23 December 2008

Top 5 non-social blog-memetrackers: Technorati vs. Blogdex vs. Techmeme vs. Daypop vs. Memeorandum

Today, a look at web sites that aggregate/rank blog memes, sometimes called memetrackers. However, I excluded the social media sites where the content is determined by people's votes, e.g., Digg. Some no longer exist but were influential in the past: Blogdex and Daypop. The current leading non-social memetrackers are memeorandum, Techmeme, Technorati.

Guess what: Technorati obliterated all the others. However, it is also a very popular blog search site which probably explains the distortion. Note how it saw a steep climb between 2004 and 2007, the latter being its zenith. Anyway, let's leave out Technorati and get more meaningful results:

First was Blogdex, now defunct. It displayed the opposite trend of Technorati: a steep decline. Second was Techmeme which only started in 2006 but quickly overpowered all others. Next came Daypop which experienced a continuous decline into oblivion like Blogdex, just not as precipitous. Memeorandum has declined somewhat from its late 2005 peak but still finished second. Let's have a look at the country rankings for each term, starting with Technorati:

The top 3 was Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Then came Indonesia and the US was only fifth. Interesting! How about Blogdex?

It was almost uniquely Googled by people in the US, Canada and the UK. Maybe blogs were just not common elsewhere in 2004-2005? Not sure about that. Next, Techmeme:

The US came first, followed by India and Canada. This memetracker has an IT tech focus which potentially explains India's rank. It was remarkable that Southeast Asia, so prominent with Technorati, didn't even figure in the top 10. What were the rankings for Daypop?

I saw the exact same pattern as for Blogdex (1. US, 2. Canada, 3. UK) with one exception: France joined in on no. 4. Again though, no other countries were really interested in Daypop. Finally: memeorandum.

This one had an identical pattern as Blogdex: 1. US, 2. Canada, 3. UK, and almost nothing behind those.

21 December 2008

Guantanamo vs. Habeas Corpus vs. Rendition vs. Waterboarding vs. Wiretapping

Still-vice-president Cheney is making some news as of late with his blunt defense of the excesses of the Bush administration. I faced off a few terms considering only US Googlers:

The prison camp in Guantanamo came out on top overall. The highest peaks however were noted for waterboarding. Wiretapping didn't register much. How were the state rankings?

The District of Columbia, the center of the federal government, came in first every time. Virginia where among others the CIA is headquartered made two appearances (Guantanamo and habeas corpus). The other DC neighbor, Maryland, was second for habeas corpus and wiretapping. Most surprising was the presence of South Dakota (rendition) and Utah (waterboarding).