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Andrew Sullivan on the origins of the word “log” in the “an official record of events” sense, from which we derive the word “blog”:
A ship’s log owes its name to a small wooden board, often weighted with lead, that was for centuries attached to a line and thrown over the stern. The weight of the log would keep it in the same place in the water, like a provisional anchor, while the ship moved away. By measuring the length of line used up in a set period of time, mariners could calculate the speed of their journey (the rope itself was marked by equidistant “knots” for easy measurement). As a ship’s voyage progressed, the course came to be marked down in a book that was called a log.
Today everyone is a blogger, but where are the readers? A New Yorker cartoon reverses the usual picture of a literary festival with book lovers lined up to get the author’s autograph. The cartoon shows a table and a queue, but authors line up to see “The Reader,” who sits behind the table. On the Internet, articles, blog posts, and comments on blog posts pour forth, but who can keep up with them? And while everything is preserved (or “archived”), has anyone ever looked at last year’s blogs? Rapidly produced, they are just as rapidly forgotten.
—Russell Jacoby, “Big Brains, Small Impact”
Food for thought courtesy of Jorn Barger: