In principle the last change on the what's hot list is an improvement. More pictures is a good idea, I think. And the list seems to have no certain ranking, at least I cannot detect any, and that's also fine.
But the way how pictures are selected is still a mess. I can't be that a picture is hot if half of the comments are self generated (which leads to the curiosity of pictures with more comments than views in the list) or that comments are only from four or five very talkative people.
If one want to have really hot pictures in this list one should not count absolute numbers, one should count the number of individual visitors and the number of different people who left a comment. And I don't see why this is not done, cause in the beginning it worked (at least for your personal popularity charts) in this way and suddenly it was changed.
But maybe I miss the intention of this list, and the list is doing exactly what the team wants, but in that case I personally don't agree with this intention.