Top 50 P-12 Edublogs? - Technorati shakeup

I read with great interest the other day Jeff Utecht's post regarding his declining Technorati authority. Although I agree with others that Technorati has some deficiencies as a blogging metric, it still can be a useful tool to help monitor conversations and online presence.


Like Jeff and the handful of other blogs that he mentions, I also have seen Dangerously Irrelevant's authority decline, particularly in the past few months. I have been attributing this to:

  • my less frequent posting this semester;
  • a return in late September to the blog's appropriate level after a temporary 'authority boost' from an unusually popular post last March; and
  • the natural competition for comments and links that results from an ever-increasing number of high-quality edublogs.
  • Jeff hypothesizes that another factor may be Twitter. As many of us move our conversations that direction, fewer posts and/or comments are occurring in the edublogosphere. I'm an infrequent tweeter, so while Twitter may explain The Thinking Stick's decline, it doesn't really explain my own. In Jeff's comments section, Sue Waters also notes that the decreases in authority may be due to the recent changes in Technorati's indexing methodology.

    It's hard to say exactly what's going on here. Probably all of the reasons above and more. I wasn't losing sleep about my own Technorati decrease, but Jeff's post intrigued me because I hadn't thought about the fact that others might also be having a similar decline. I found the time this morning to extend Jeff's quick calculations to the entire list of edublogs from my post in June. Here's what I found...

    [note: I simply worked with the list from June. I did not recalculate the 'top 50' nor did I determine if any new blogs should be included instead of those listed.]

    1. Nearly all of the top edublogs (as measured by Technorati authority) saw a decline in their authority since June.

    As the chart below shows, some edublogs had quite dramatic decreases. The average authority decrease was 88; the median decrease was 62. [click on the image for a larger version]

    2. Using today's numbers, the list would look like this instead.

    3. Here's the list ordered by gain/loss in authority rather than overall authority. Only six blogs saw an increase in authority since June.

    4. Here's the list ordered by change in overall rank (again, within just this list and not the overall edublogosphere).

    5. Finally, here's a graphic that shows each blog's change in rank since June (ordered by overall authority). Red is a decline; green is an increase; blue is no change.

    Last thoughts

    • Like Jeff (and unlike many of you!), I find much of this fascinating. For example, think:lab's rank went up 11 spots despite the fact that Christian Long quit blogging there in August. That was a neat trick, Christian (and, BTW, I hope your new gig's working out well for you)!
    • The top part of the list was pretty stable. Most of the movement occurred outside of the top 10 or so positions.
    • Students 2.0 had the biggest drop in the rankings. Was it so high before because we liked the content better compared to now? Or were we simply giddy with the idea behind the blog but now have realized that the content is not as relevant to many of us?
    • Is the TechLearning blog's decline due in part to its general inability to accept comments?
    • The K12 Online Conference blog rankings likely are cyclical. Up in the fall just before and after the conference. Down six months later as all of the traffic regarding the conference drops off Technorati's radar. Time will prove if I'm right or not on this one!
    • Kudos to the bloggers (Angela Maiers, Jennifer Jennings, Steve Dembo, George Siemens, and Chris Lehmann) who actually increased their Technorati authority in the face of steep overall declines. Wow.
    • Any of you have thoughts on this fairly esoteric stuff?

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      The image of an undead brain coming back to live again is the stuff of science fiction. Not just any science fiction, specifically B-grade sci fi. What instantly springs to mind is the black-and-white horrors of films like Fiend Without a Face. Bad acting. Plastic monstrosities. Visible strings. And a spinal cord that, for some reason, is also a tentacle?

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      The researchers did not hail from House Greyjoy — "What is dead may never die" — but came largely from the Yale School of Medicine. They connected 32 pig brains to a system called BrainEx. BrainEx is an artificial perfusion system — that is, a system that takes over the functions normally regulated by the organ. The pigs had been killed four hours earlier at a U.S. Department of Agriculture slaughterhouse; their brains completely removed from the skulls.

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      As a control, other brains received either a fake solution or no solution at all. None revived brain activity and deteriorated as normal.

      The researchers hope the technology can enhance our ability to study the brain and its cellular functions. One of the main avenues of such studies would be brain disorders and diseases. This could point the way to developing new of treatments for the likes of brain injuries, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and neurodegenerative conditions.

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      An ethical gray matter

      Before anyone gets an Island of Dr. Moreau vibe, it's worth noting that the brains did not approach neural activity anywhere near consciousness.

      The BrainEx solution contained chemicals that prevented neurons from firing. To be extra cautious, the researchers also monitored the brains for any such activity and were prepared to administer an anesthetic should they have seen signs of consciousness.

      Even so, the research signals a massive debate to come regarding medical ethics and our definition of death.

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      "This is wild," Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, told the New York Times. "If ever there was an issue that merited big public deliberation on the ethics of science and medicine, this is one."

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      She's right. The researchers undertook their research for the betterment of humanity, and we may one day reap some unimaginable medical benefits from it. The ethical questions, however, remain as unsettling as the stories they remind us of.

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