New blog design ideas wanted

I am thinking of having this blog redesigned. Any ideas, suggestions or improvements which could be made?

I think the width should be reduced to make reading easier, and maybe one of the side columns removed.

Do you find that the pages tend to load slowly?

Would extra features help, like receiving an email when someone else comments after you? What about the ability to vote on comments?

I think that the ability to share posts to Facebook and Twitter is now the done thing, so that should be happening.

Would having to type in a security code make you less likely to comment or would it just irritate you slightly?

You’ll no doubt be glad to know that adverts won’t be appearing, apart, perhaps, from ones for my own businesses, which I really should link to, if only for SEO purposes.

I know I need to put the blogroll back up. It disappeared some time ago of its own accord. I didn’t suddenly get grumpy with the rest of the blogosphere.

Do you like the masthead? For a bit of fun, I was thinking of adding a bit of graffiti now and then as the mood takes me!

Is there a blog or other website that you really like the look of?

Are long posts better than short posts?

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on any or all of these things.

—————–

UPDATE 13.27PM: English Viking makes a good point for consideration – “Having a ‘reply’ button next to each comment is helpful in maintaining a coherent thread.”

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64 Responses to New blog design ideas wanted

  1. bjedwards says:

    Many people like Stewart suffer unfortunate condition:

    “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments”

    Justin Kruger and David Dunning
    Cornell University
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
    1999, Vol. 77, No. 6. ] 121-1134

    “People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically,
    improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.”

    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.64.2655&rep=rep1&type=pdf

  2. Stewart Cowan says:

    Oh dear, BJ, more psychological profiling via copying and pasting.

    Let me just say how wrong you are – yet again. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do a complete analysis on you, as I am sure it would help you cope with the reality of life outside of the copy and paste world of the internet.

    People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains.

    All I can say to that is that my social abilities are limited – I am the first to admit that. I realise that my intellect is higher than average, and through this blog I attempt to use it to get to the truth about all sorts of things. That doesn’t mean I am always right. I know I could be wrong about WTC7. You don’t seem to think that YOU could be wrong, so ask yourself in all sincerity which of us has the “Inflated Self-Assessment” syndrome.

    Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability.

    I’m not Groucho Marx, but I think my sense of humour is quite good. My grammar also. I have also been described as “the most logical person I know.”

    So, again, your attempts at junior psychology and character assassination have backfired on you.

    Keep ‘em coming. This is actually starting to become fun! I don’t think I will ban you after all.

  3. English Viking says:

    Stewart,

    Yes it does, but I don’t know how anyone could rig a building that size with enough explosive to drop it, without anyone noticing.

    I’m not an explosive expert, but I do know you need to put the stuff in the right places or the building will either topple length-ways or not go down at all. Girders would have needed to be exposed and partially cut, brickwork removed, etc. I just don’t know how they could have done it.

    I think the whole thing stinks, particularly the fact that Bush started an oil company with OBL’s half brother a few years previously, then allowed him and 18 other direct family members of OBL’s to fly out of the US, without investigation, during a No-Fly edict that covered the entire country.

    PS Please don’t ban him; once a precedent has been set I won’t last 5 minutes ;-)
    I’m more inclined to believe that the US gov found out about a plot, and maybe ‘assisted’ a little bit, without the terrorists knowing, and probably ran another op alongside it.

    I also find it amazing that someone with just a few hour flying time in very light, 2 seater aircraft, could manage an enormous commercial carrier with zero training and manage to navigate it with military precision, not once but twice. I also remember being astonished that the towers came down (I was watching it live). In the 90 odd years of the history of high-rise buildings, worldwide, a similar structure has NEVER collapsed due to fire, let alone two on the same day. That includes the Empire State building, which was accidentally hit by a plane.

    I have yet to see any convincing footage from the Pentagon ‘crash’, no wreckage aside from a bit of turbine, which could as easily come from a Cruise missile as a aeroplane. This despite it being one of the most heavily surveilled buildings in the world. Guess what? Same as Diana, the cameras weren’t working for the few moments prior to impact.

    Very dodgy, but i still can’t see how the buildings could have been rigged to blow without people either realising beforehand or survivors realising afterwards.

  4. English Viking says:

    The PS ended up in the middle for some reason, don’t know why.

  5. bjedwards says:

    Poor Stewart,

    Logical and critical thinking is foreign to you. You are indeed a poor, blinkered soul, unaware that the real world is passing you by. No rational person would still be repeating irrational, illogical, and long-since debunked claims about 9/11 as you do. Rational people, if they did indeed had a slight leaning to fanciful, amazingly large and complex conspiracy theories as you, would easily reject them in a few contemplative minutes as absurd.

    But not you 9/11 Truthers. There is no amount of evidence that would or could possibly change your mind. It is not possible for you. As was already pointed out to you:

    “Examples of common topics in which denialists employ their tactics include: Creationism/Intelligent Design, Global Warming denialism, Holocaust denial, HIV/AIDS denialism, 9/11 conspiracies, Tobacco Carcinogenecity denialism (the first organized corporate campaign), anti-vaccination/mercury autism denialism and anti-animal testing/animal rights extremist denialism. Denialism spans the ideological spectrum, and is about tactics rather than politics or partisanship….Belief in the Illuminati, Zionist conspiracies, 9/11 conspiracies, holocaust denial conspiracies, materialist atheist evolution conspiracies, global warming science conspiracies, UFO government conspiracies, pharmaceutical companies suppressing altie-med conspiracies, or what have you, it almost always rests upon some unnatural suspension of disbelief in the conspiracy theorist that is the sign of a truly weak mind. Hence, our graphic to denote the presence of these arguments – the tinfoil hat.”

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/about.php

    And you wonder why you get the derision you earned, Stewart?

    Funny enough, the BBC is airing a show tonight on 9/11 conspiracies. I got a laugh at an interview on the World Service this morning interviewing a 9/11 Truther who just repeated all the debunked nonsense you have stated. The host could barely conceal his contempt for the crank Truther — who managed to reverse logic by stating the attack on Afghanistan and Irag was “proof” 9/11 “was an inside job.” The host ended the interview with, “Yeah, and World War II was a conspiracy too”.

    The arrogance of your ignorance is pathetic, Stewart. Take a course in logical and critical thinking rather than continue to make an ass of yourself.

  6. bjedwards says:

    Quote of the Day:

    “I could point out that Mr. Perry is buying into a truly crazy conspiracy theory, which asserts that thousands of scientists all around the world are on the take, with not one willing to break the code of silence. I could also point out that multiple investigations into charges of intellectual malpractice on the part of climate scientists have ended up exonerating the accused researchers of all accusations. But never mind: Mr. Perry and those who think like him know what they want to believe, and their response to anyone who contradicts them is to start a witch hunt.”

    Republicans Against Science
    By PAUL KRUGMAN
    Published: August 28, 2011

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/29/opinion/republicans-against-science.html?hp

  7. Whilst I don’t agree with Stewart in regard of most of his 9/11 views, I hardly find it reasonable to classify most of his 9/11 thinking as amounting to conspiracy theorising from the realms of the ridiculous.

    There are plenty of real conspiracies – historical and present day, large and small – and there are many more nonsense conspiracy theories on every subject under the sun.

    There are many legitimate and unanswered questions about 9/11. The lack of definitive answers has led to many conspiracy theories.

    Stewart is a thinking man and I think it’s good that he is sceptical of the official version of events in the absence of all the answers. The fact Stewart is asking questions and not just swallowing everything he’s fed by the mainstream media is no bad thing.

    I’ve never known Stewart to come out with anything that I personally would consider to be completely beyond the pale such as denying the Holocaust.

    There is much merit in what Stewart writes on such ‘conspiracy themes’ as globalism or pseudo-democracy [i.e. whether we vote Lib/Lab/Con they’re all pursuing much the same agenda].

    I don’t agree with Stewart’s take on 9/11 but trying to portray him as some sort of wacko from the fringe is clearly way off the mark.

    Whilst Stewart’s ‘tone’ on this blog is probably more negative than positive [dare I say ‘reactionary’ – though not meaning to be disparaging by that term], any balanced appreciation of his best quality blog-posts presents a man of sound mind and principle. Occasionally he lets himself down by being careless (or perhaps tired) to not give enough thought to opponents’ line of argument – he probably speed reads and misses things – but then he is not a full-time blogger (few are).

    Cowan cannot credibly be classified as belonging to the ‘lunatic fringe’… such slurs are just laziness on the part of his secular-humanist enemies. Mud slinging at Cowan is just pathetic.

    Similarly, general arguing over such a broad theme as 9/11 leaves so much room for both sides as to generate only a lot of hot air as both sides throw in everything apart from the kitchen sink.

  8. Stewart Cowan says:

    English,

    Thanks for pointing out these things. Once you start to dig, you uncover so many strange “coincidences” and unanswered questions that only a fool would automatically believe the government’s version of events, especially on finding out that they dismissed a lot of the testimonies which didn’t fit in with what they wanted the world to believe.

    Perhaps the greatest flying feat for the 9/11 novice pilots was the Pentagon strike. And of course, the terrorists didn’t have bombs or guns, but ‘boxcutters’ i.e. Stanley knives. Like none of the passengers or crew is going to risk getting a cut to save their lives.

    And just to ‘prove’ that there really were these terrorists on board, one of their passports appears on the ground, yet the black boxes couldn’t be recovered.

    The entire episode has obviously been scripted. There are just too many things that are wrong with it to be believed.

    Building 7 could have been fitted with explosives easier than almost any other building in New York City, seeing as it had offices of various government departments, including Giuliani’s command bunker and the FBI.

  9. Stewart Cowan says:

    BJ,

    I don’t have time to joust with you at the moment, even though you have come into the arena once again without any armour or weapons.

  10. isitfoggy says:

    I’m with Stewart on the 9/11 conspiracy theories. There are a lot of unanswered questions and let’s not forgot that Bin Laden’s recent death had several misleading accounts of what happened and no physical body to confirm any of them.

    I love Richard defending Stewart’s inability to be classed as in the “lunatic fringe.” I do firmly believe that this area is currently occupied by Richard himself.

  11. bjedwards says:

    Richard Carvath wrote:

    “There are many legitimate and unanswered questions about 9/11. The lack of definitive answers has led to many conspiracy theories.”

    No, there are not. They have all been repeated addressed and answered. There have been no “new” questions in many years.

    Such claims as yours only show the inherent dishonesty of those who have no interest in the truth.

  12. bjedwards says:

    Stewart continues repeating nonsensical claims by writing, “Once you start to dig, you uncover so many strange “coincidences” and unanswered questions that only a fool would automatically believe the government’s version of events, especially on finding out that they dismissed a lot of the testimonies which didn’t fit in with what they wanted the world to believe.”

    That was a cut-and-paste from early 2002. Fortunately, rational people know there never was a “government version” of anything but instead multiple lines of independent evidence that neither originated with nor was controlled by “the government.”

    As you continue to demonstrate, you have nothing to go on, Stewart. Not a stitch of evidence. The only ones you are fooling is Carvath and isitfoogy.

  13. I don’t believe I’ve been fooled. I’ve never made a detailed public statement of my views on 9/11. My position is basically that I don’t agree (with Stewart) that 9/11 was either in whole or in large part some vast US Establishment conspiracy, at the same time as I think there are many valid and as yet unanswered questions across a broad range of 9/11 issues. Because I think there are legitimate concerns about the official version of events, I’m willing to respect Stewart’s sincere dissension from the official account.

    9/11 was in many respects a larger event than the assassination of JFK; I think few intelligent people would now dispute that there are significant discrepancies with the official JFK account, or deny that there is merit in various JFK conspiracy theories… even if the official 9/11 account is largely correct [as I think], are we seriously to believe that it’s 100% spot on – the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

    It’s not long to the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I remember when it happened – I was working as a baker’s assistant at the time. How the world has changed in just ten years.

  14. bjedwards says:

    No matter what you claim to think, Richard, there are no legitimate “questions” remaining concerning 9/11. To claim that you think there are is meaningless and serves no purpose other than to perpetuate fanciful conspiracy theories.

    And to resort to the canard of the “official version” only serves to deny the reality that the evidence never originated with, nor was controlled by, the “government.

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