17 September 2006

Beetle mortality - Return to normalcy - Google Search goes wild

Inquisitive Found in China readers, all four or five of them (Hi, Mom!) have been asking, "Yeah, yeah, thanks for all the links relating to the Huangyangtan facility. But what we wants to know is: how are the beetles doing that Daughter and her friend found last week?"

Ah, yes. The beetles. You might recall that the KenGroks (not really our last name) went toadstool collecting last week, and Daughter and friend used the time to catch dung beetles. They were brought to our home, given a dung-beetle friendly environment to hang out in and have been part of the childrens' daily routine since then. Ida and Edelstein have been doing well, but sadly enough Blümchen went on yesterday to the Big Manure Pile in the sky. She hadn't been doing well for the past few days, moving about rather sluggishly (probably quite embarassing for Blümchen, behaving like a slug) and not participating in swimming hour which the girls conducted each day in a Tupperware container.

Still, the other two beetles appear to be doing well. They rotate between the two apartments, thus teaching the girls important lessons relating to sharing, responsibility, empathy and beetle care. Daughter's friend has a guinea pig, which provides these pets with a bountiful supply of tasty dung beetle food in pellet form. READER POLL: do you think guinea pig doodoo will be enough or, based on your experience with raising dung beetles, should the girls round up some additional forms of doodoo-based nourishment?


Since that article last Monday about 4,160 visitors have stopped by Found in China; normally I'd see about 50 a day. Since the numbers are leveling off now I should get back to updating this blog; I had stopped with the post previous to this in order to give first-timers a chance to see it and find more links to the HYT news, which Monday's article hadn't given.

Speaking of which, while monitoring the buzz over the past couple of months I've learned that traditional media are less likely to provide links to further information in the web relating to the subject they're reporting on. I can imagine there are a number of reasons for that. From my own experience many times an article or report was interesting enough that I wished it would include a URL to relevant information, especially when the subject related to the internet itself.


When I searched the word Huangyangtan yesterday it told me there were over 70,000 results; today it gives over 42,000. That's triple or double the usual number. Yet as I page through these, I see only the usual 15 or so pages of results; nothing appears to have changed. That's another thing that I've learned, that the number of Google search results tends to vary. As I've mentioned before, after a spike the numbers tend to head back down, as the search database needs time to weed out exact duplicates.


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