Stranger In An Even Stranger Land - blog by Gurdur


A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.


Authors, please don't do this on social-media. For your own sakes.

Posted 15-Jan-2015 at 10:28 PM (22:28) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 15-Jan-2015 at 11:13 PM (23:13) by Gurdur

Book authors, I get it's a long, lonely, grueling effort to sell one's books, even using the social-media of today. However, please do not do what is shown below. To explain the two screen-capture images: these are both screen-grabs of tweets immediately following each other on my Twitter timeline (TL) from three different Twitter accounts. In other words, they all posted the same tweet at the same time. It makes all three authors on Twitter look like sock-puppets of each other, and it also can...
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Oh dear.

Posted 20-Apr-2013 at 12:26 PM (12:26) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 20-Apr-2013 at 12:57 PM (12:57) by Gurdur

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Does anyone want to guess what country possibly trained the Czech terrorists? I'm guessing Pakistan..— Hannah Cassidy (@CassLovesJesus) April 19, 2013 For everyone to know. They are reported Czech. Believed to be overseas terrorists.— The Ben Schelling (@BenSchelling) April 19, 2013
These terrorists were from Czech? I'm surprised they weren't from Iraq/iran— Austin_Gorby (@Green_Giantt) April 19, 2013  
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Rating: 18 votes, 5.00 average.

Preliminary report on the Cologne (Koeln) 2012 European Atheist Convention, Germany

Posted 26-May-2012 at 04:01 PM (16:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-May-2012 at 02:20 AM (02:20) by Gurdur

I went to the 2012 European Atheist Convention in Cologne (Köln, a.k.a. Koeln), Germany, yesterday, and will go again today (if I can; other jobs are pressing too) and tomorrow. It's a bit of a mixed bag, and this is only a preliminary report; I'll blog more in depth on aspects later. You can find the convention schedule here. Embedded here are two audio clips I made, of the speeches by Dan Parker and PZ Myers. I didn't get to do more recordings, but there was a video team at the convention, and...
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Three short but big reasons you should be on Pinterest

Posted 25-May-2012 at 11:55 AM (11:55) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-May-2012 at 11:27 PM (23:27) by Gurdur

Three very short reasons why you should be on Pinterest - and later I'll blog more with tons of details, but it will only reinforce the point.
1) Pinterest works.

In March 2012, this year, Pinterest overtook Google+ to become the third most popular social-media site, behind Facebook and Twitter, but ahead of Tumblr, LinkedIn and Google Plus - and Pinterest has a high rate of referrals, meaning people will often follow links elsewhere from Pinterest posts.

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A short personal update and short notes on social-media training

Posted 30-Apr-2012 at 05:28 PM (17:28) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 02-May-2012 at 10:07 AM (10:07) by Gurdur

I know some are waiting for me to get some promised blog posts finished. My apologies for the delay, caused by illness and also by the rather very nasty withdrawal period of coming off heavy cortisone (prednisone) doses. The promised blog posts will be up soon, tomorrow. There will also be more coming along on the promised subjects.

In the meantime, some good stuff on social-media for you.

The Guardian does a small start towards looking at the science of social attention....
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One good reason for bloggers to use Pinterest....

Posted 13-Mar-2012 at 12:51 AM (00:51) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Mar-2012 at 01:26 AM (01:26) by Gurdur

There is a new social-media network out, Pinterest, which has gathered a fair bit of interest and of incomprehension. A lot of people don't see yet what exactly Pinterest is for. This post gives one reason for you to start using Pinterest, and one reason only; I will give a fair few more reasons in a later blog post. What is Pinterest? In principle, a social network for posting images. But it hosts images with links; users can "pin" or "re-pin" images from all over the net on their Pinterest pinboards....
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At Greenbelt Festival - the music group Dizraeli And The Small Gods

Posted 28-Aug-2011 at 11:56 AM (11:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 28-Aug-2011 at 12:13 PM (12:13) by Gurdur

I saw an item on the Greenbelt program titled "Dizaeli And The Small Gods", which I took to be the really smart title of a therefore-interesting talk about Benjamin Disraeli, who served a couple of terms as British Primie Minister in the late 1800's, skepticism, belief and nonbelief. So I took some time out from helping out at the social-media surgery and representing atheists there at the Greenbelt Christian festival to go along to what I thought was a talk. It turned out actually to be a music...
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Progress report so far (on my travels and meet-ups)

Posted 26-Aug-2011 at 12:45 PM (12:45) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

As you know, I was in Hurstbourne Tarrant for a while, staying at the place of @layanglicana and her husband (Laura and Robert Sykes). Some really interesting stuff on the history of the settlement of that village, on which I will blog a little later. Then yesterday I had lunch with @alantlwilson (Bishop Alan Wilson, who showed a surprising interest in neuroanatomy, a topic on which I've then promised to blog regularly later), Robert and Laura Sykes, in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire, nearish...
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How to contact me & meet up, especially at Cheltenham (Greenbelt)

Posted 24-Aug-2011 at 07:25 PM (19:25) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Aug-2011 at 12:27 AM (00:27) by Gurdur

If you send me an email ( - please note the .de ending, i.e. not .com), I can send you my cell phone number, or if you follow me on Twitter (@Gurdur), I can send it to you per DM. I will be in Cheltenham from late afternoon onwards tomorrow (Thursday) for the days covering Greenbelt and a day afterwards, six nights in all, after which I will be in London for five days, then back to where I live in Germany.

In the Greenbelt festival itself, much of the time I will...
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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Throwing the lion to the Christians

Posted 23-Aug-2011 at 12:34 AM (00:34) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 23-Aug-2011 at 01:25 AM (01:25) by Gurdur

As I've previously blogged, I will be attending the Greenbelt festival at Cheltenham in a week. You can find details about the Greenbelt festival here. I will be volunteering to help out with social-media usage advice; that side of things is run by Graham Richards, and I'll simply help out where I can.

As an atheist, why am I going to Greenbelt? To meet people and to talk with them - meaning originally I planned to go there to meet specific people, but of course it became being very...
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 10 August 2011

Posted 10-Aug-2011 at 05:26 PM (17:26) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-Aug-2011 at 07:11 PM (19:11) by Gurdur

So here's the Society, Ethics And Science (SEAS) Weekly blogs round-up yet again. You can see other blogs round-ups of mine here. Of course, times are rather overshadowed by the UK riots, but onwards we go. A little disordered, and some posts mentioned are from July, but hey. I'm still catching up in all of this.

Skepticism, atheism: Barbara A. Drescher gets really stuck into certain atheists wanting to take over the skepticism movement for their own, in "Take Back Skepticism, Part...
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Gimme some Klout-loving here, pretty please!

Posted 18-Jul-2011 at 04:17 PM (16:17) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

For reasons best known to itself. Klout has declared it believes I am influential about the "real world". And that's the way I like it, because a very large part of my blogging is about the need to be really affecting and changing the real world, not just bloviating on the net. I take care wherever possible to include what one can do practically about a situation (for example here, or here, or here, or here, or here); my biggest fear is of being impractical and inconsequential, so I do all I can...
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When opposites attract: volunteering to help at the Greenbelt festival social-media surgery

Posted 07-Jul-2011 at 10:20 AM (10:20) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I will be going to the Greenbelt festival in Cheltenham, Britain, at the end of August, for several reasons, one of them to assist with the social-media surgery run by @GrahamRichards, i.e. to offer help to anyone wanting to know how to get their own message out better. Your first question may well be, what do I have to offer? Well now, I'm reasonably good on social media, and simply discussing one's message and how to broadcast it can help in creativity and making things clearer.

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The next big steps in social media and SEO

Posted 04-Jul-2011 at 06:39 PM (18:39) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 04-Jul-2011 at 06:49 PM (18:49) by Gurdur

Everyone's going on about the new Google+ at the moment, but I think Google+ is not the biggest thing to have been announced by Google over the last few weeks. Bigger than Google+ is the news from Google (with thanks to @NiemanLab for the alert) that they will be implementing in Google search results a new system of cross-referencing piece-authors with the authors, and with that also matching where validated such search results with a icon picture of the author.

Now sit back a moment...
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Well, today is Social Media Day. Happy dayz!

Posted 30-Jun-2011 at 08:24 PM (20:24) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 02-Jul-2011 at 07:44 AM (07:44) by Gurdur

Happy Social Media Day to everyone! With a h/t to @laurenonizzle for the heads-up. I've done my bit for social media in recent blog posts, ranging from why you should have no fear of your Klout score, to reporting on others data-mining Twitter, not to forget that social media really, really matters - and that includes bulletin boards too! - to making great big long lists, and then using those long lists to say Twitter, Klout and PeerIndex are your friends. Well, more or less.

So bugger...
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Klout is about networking to change the world, not just reflecting it: why @BoraZ has more Klout than @NiemanLab, @jeffjarvis or @jayrosen_nyu

Posted 30-Jun-2011 at 06:14 PM (18:14) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 02-Jul-2011 at 09:18 AM (09:18) by Gurdur

I recently blogged about the Klout score and how to use it - in short, use it to build up any parts of social-media use you have been neglecting, don't use it in comparison to others. Yet comparative scores still matter in a way, as when @BoraZ recently tweeted about Klout that: "any algorithm (Klout) that gives me a higher score than @NiemanLab @jeffjarvis and @jayrosen_nyu makes no sense". BoraZ would get even more of a shock if he knew his Klout score is greater than Rachel Maddow's. So let's...
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Social media matters: Mumsnet majority in favour of #J30 strikers

Posted 29-Jun-2011 at 05:37 PM (17:37) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

It's often said that use of social media only distracts from the real world; in fact a couple of recent studies have shown that those who are heavily active in social media tend by majority to be heavily active in face-to-face mixing too. It's also often said that social media is only a mere distraction itself, an irrelevant hobby, inconsequential.

Well, here comes one bit of data to prove all of that wrong, and to prove even more. The background is that in Britain, strikes are planned for tomorrow...
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Data-mining Twitter for science, or is it? Mood-mapping and more

Posted 28-Jun-2011 at 06:00 PM (18:00) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 28-Jun-2011 at 06:46 PM (18:46) by Gurdur

Data-mining activity on the net is nothing new; it's been the Holy Grail of advertisers for the last 12 years or more. Data-mining the net for science is a bit more difficult, but it does get done - for example, Google data-mining Google to show flu infection trends around the world. Or the example of using Google Maps to plot swine-flu cases, then comparing that with air-travel traffic numbers between the USA and Mexico, and with tweets about swine-flu and other factors, which when all done as done here...
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Twelve practical suggestions for promoting ways of understanding history better

Posted 27-Jun-2011 at 10:56 AM (10:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-Jun-2011 at 12:37 PM (12:37) by Gurdur

This post is born out of a couple of things; one, the question being raised of "ways to get the insights of history of science, as developed by historians in the past few decades, more widely known", and two, some large and muddled fights involving many. Since I want to get back to positive blogging for a moment, I'm passing by the free-for-all random fights for the time being. So here are some practical suggestions for how to get more historiographically-informed discussion into the public sphere,...
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A short remark on using Klout in combination with Twitter for activism using social media

Posted 27-Jun-2011 at 04:27 AM (04:27) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-Jun-2011 at 04:54 AM (04:54) by Gurdur

This is just in short, about how to use Klout best in combination with Twitter, in overall usage of social media in activism and similar. It's prompted by the fact that yesterday (Saturday 26 June), the number of those following my personal Twitter account (@Gurdur) was for the very first time more than the number of those I follow (451 relative to 450), and my Klout score has greatly improved after diving right down into near-zeroness in the period where I wasn't saying much at all owing to still...
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