Greg Downey’s top 10 of 2009

At the risk of being accused of self promotion (but, of course, what else is blogging?), I’m going to offer my own top 10 list of myself for 2009. These are the most read posts I wrote during the course of the year. Of course, by ‘most read’ I mean that people clicked through to them. In a few cases, I’m fairly certain that a substantial majority never actually read the longer ones through to the end.

That said, I’m pleased that some of my longest, most substantial posts seemed to attract the most readers. I think it bodes well for and the willingness of people to consult serious work on line, or at least as serious as I can manage here. Thanks for all your support in the past year, and I’ll keep trying to produce the goods in 2010.

1. What do these enigmatic women want? — Right after the new year, in a fit of irritation with a piece about women’s sexuality research in The New York Times, I dashed off this snide little piece, and it’s had great legs (no gender-related pun intended). Every once in a while, some other blogger notices it and links to it, so it keeps getting little bumps up in the standings.

2. Lose your shoes: Is barefoot better? — In July, I test drove a chapter from the sports book I’m working on, exploring the pitfalls of barefoot running and the effects of shoes on our feet. A few barefoot running advocates and podiatry websites have linked to this posting, which I think is more about the intertwining of biology, culture and behaviour than about condemning shoes or anything. But then again, as an anthropologist, I should be suspicious about authors’ claims to authority over what they write.

3. Fear of Twitter: technophobia part 2 — I spent way too much time putting this post together, inspired mostly by a cartoon about Twitter and irritated yet again by the Baroness Lady Susan Greenfield, PhD, serial technophobe and media addict. Although I have zero vested interest in Twitter, I wound up defending what is likely an annoying social networking technology by arguing it was no more vapid or shallow than most human communication.

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Daniel Lende’s top 10 of 2009

Daniel’s been a busy boy this year, and he’s snowed under right now, so it falls to me to do a few year-end house-cleaning type chores. One of the easier ones (thanks to WordPress) is for me to compile a brief list of our top posts for the year. Rather than put them into a single posting — and thereby reveal that Daniel’s probably got way more of the more popular posts than I do — I’m going to take the liberty to do at least two separate 2009 lists with a bit of commentary, in case you missed these the first time around. I’m also going to leave out the posts that Daniel put up that were written by his students (they’ll be on another list); these were some of our most popular of the year.

My statistics may be slightly distorted by the fact that I’m a few days pokey getting around to doing this, but here’s Daniel’s most popular posts of 2009, starting with the one that got the most traffic:

1. Wednesday Round Up #47 — Leading off in January 2009 in high style, Daniel put up our second most popular post of all time (second only to Jim McKenna’s widely read piece on Mother-Child co-sleeping, an article that draws constant readership). The normal Wednesday Round Up was extraordinary because it focused on the inauguration of Barack Obama, providing an extraordinary wealth of links to posts about many aspects of his life, thought, and character. This post still ticks over constantly due to the depth of the list that Daniel provided.

2. Encephalon #71: Big Night — Daniel can’t take all the credit for this one, as the moving feast that is Encephalon came to, but he did all the heavy lifting on this blog carnival, offering a really remarkable edition of the blog carnival of the brain.

3. Trance Captured on Video — One of the more startling postings on, Daniel’s posting provided a single place to find a series of videos of trance states discussed on the Medical Anthropology listserv, as well as his own notes. If you haven’t checked it out, you should – there’s some great stuff on the list! It’s become a point of reference online for those interested in the anthropology of altered states of consciousness.

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