Archive for January, 2009

Why Men Can Fight Food Urges Better Than Women

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Everybody is blogging about today’s health science news item. It seems that women’s brains are not as effective as men’s brains at suppressing food urges. I read through a couple of media interpretations of these findings and they both highlight suggestions that pregnancy hormones may play a role. I can see how that makes sense, but I also want to suggest something completely different.

I think it’s possible that there has been an evolutionary advantage to having men resist the urge to eat things. They have been the strongest and largest of the genders since before we were even people. A short list of foods that a caveman might not have been able to resist include food intended for babies, babies and mothers. The caveman that was able to resist eating this stuff had a better chance of passing on his genes.

People Still Ask Jeeves?

Monday, January 19th, 2009


Jeeves was a fictional character created by what has become an ‘also ran’ in the cut throat business of search. He served a vital purpose to search because he encouraged participation by people who didn’t quite get the concept of search query. His influence is still felt today even though he retired years ago.

When I was checking stats on my environmental blog this morning I saw evidence of this phenomenon. Somebody asked Google what is the best choice for a toilet seat molded wood or plastic? I know that ranking number one for that query is not going to bring me much traffic, but it’s kinda cool that the person posing the question can get a relevant answer. I have to wonder if they got a more relevant answer than they would have if they had used conventional search query logic.

Common Blog Contest Mistakes Part 1: Sucky Prizes

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

prizeContests have been pretty popular on the blogosphere over the past couple of years. The trend seems to be waning quite a bit these days. This could be the result of the economic crisis or it could be that many bloggers felt that they got a lousy ROI from contests.

I have run a few contests on this and other blogs. By and large I would say they were failures. I have learned from my mistakes and I figured that I could fill in some space on this blog by telling you about some of them.

One of the most common mistakes is giving away something that nobody wants. I found a good example of this at Six Different Ways. There may be a few people who would want something that may damage your wall, door or the product if removed.

I have held two separate contests that had ‘mystery prizes’ and it seems that people don’t like surprises. I had one entrant for the first contest and zero for the second.

Some people offer fantastic prizes, but ask for a lot in return. Tyler Cruz is giving away PS2s and wide screen monitors, but only to people who become affiliates (downline from him) and earn high revenues.

Personally, I think that cold hard cash is often the best prize. I had a very simple contest a few years back that involved awarding cash (through PayPal) to the first person who congratulated me on reaching a certain web traffic milestone. This was modestly effective because it encouraged frequent visits from the people who had seen the contest details and decided that they wanted to win.