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Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a celebrity law professor for the Information Age. He teaches law and technology at the University of Tennessee College of Law. He writes books and articles with titles like “Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy.” He produces techno music under the name Mobius Dick. And he blogs. A blog — it’s shorthand for “Web log” — is like a personal bulletin board. It’s a place to post anything you care to write about, whenever you care to write about it. Then you hope someone out there in cyberspace stops by and starts to read. Reynolds, 41, named his blog InstaPundit. On it, this self-described “disenchanted libertarian Democrat” posts his thoughts on material that he excerpts from a mountain of other blogs, Web sites and reader e-mail. He includes a hyperlink to the source. A typical day might begin at 8 a.m., with a couple of sentences on the wisdom of attacking Baghdad, and end after 11 p.m. with a paragraph on the possibility that an incoming asteroid could be mistaken for a nuclear weapon. In between there might be two or three dozen quick posts on subjects ranging from the right to bear arms to college newspaper sex columnists to jokes about Canada. Each weekday, 15,000-20,000 people visit www.instapundit.com to see what’s on the professor’s mind. Reynolds thinks that puts him in the same league as the online editions of The New Republic and The American Prospect, although bloggers and e-magazines can spend days arguing the fine points of counting e-readers. Reynolds’ joyride through the blogosphere began in August 2001, when he used a free online service called Blogger to set up InstaPundit. He started out with a small but high-powered following from chat boards, e-mail exchanges, and the like. Then came 9/11. After the jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center, Reynolds posted some shocking news that he had picked up from a watchdog group: a right-wing organization called Posse Comitatus was praising the attacks on its site. That night, the online version of The Wall Street Journal included InstaPundit in its “Best of the Web Today” feature, and Reynolds was on his way. Reynolds continued to comment on the attacks and the U.S. response. InstaPundit’s readership grew webponentially. Fox News Channel and Tech Central Station (a technology news site) asked Reynolds to write a regular online column. Print journalists started to notice blogging, especially “war blogs” like InstaPundit, and mentioned the site in almost every story. Before long, InstaPundit was “the 800-pound gorilla of blogging culture,” as columnist John Leo put it in one such story for U.S. News & World Report. Journalist Mickey Kaus, a blogging superstar in his own right, attributes InstaPundit’s success to volume and intellect: “Reynolds is amazingly prolific, so you have to keep checking back to see what the latest thing is.” How does Reynolds know so much about so much? He says he is just naturally curious — about everything. “I literally read the encyclopedia when I was a kid,” he says. “I’m a geek. I’m a dweeb. I’m not ashamed of it.” He also gets help from readers. Reynolds credits them for referring him to about half his primary sources. The other half comes from his favorites list and general Web surfing. He reads it all and composes his posts during those little breaks in the day when the rest of us are daydreaming or getting another cup of coffee. On campus, the law school dean loves all the attention, but the left-wingers on the faculty don’t care for Reynolds’ “strong libertarian, anti-P.C. stances,” according to associate professor of law Benjamin Barton. As for Reynolds, he clearly enjoys being blogger royalty, but at the end of the day he’s an academic, not a talking head. Why blog instead of grinding out an extra law review article, or at least cutting the next Mobius disc? “For the same reason I’m a professor,” Reynolds says. “I have lots of ideas, and I like to share them.”

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