Monday, 31 December 2018

Top posts of 2018

This is a small-time blog, but I do see it cited here and there, so it’s not without its impact, in a minor way. Here are the big hitters from 2018 -- though I should perhaps also mention that a post from January 2017, ‘Salt and salary’, continues to be one of the most heavily visited, and would be occupying third place for 2018 if I counted it here.
  1. Not ‘the oldest written record of the Odyssey’ (12 July). Just because the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports says it, doesn’t make it so. It is, however, pretty damn cool. Because it’s a clay tablet and it’s sloppily written and it’s at Olympia and everything about that is fantastic.
  2. The citation problem (21 September). Lazy people writing outside their own field don’t bother to look over existing research: OK, fine, in other news, water is wet. What’s really worrying, with well known journals like PLoS ONE and PNAS, is that apparently the editors and referees couldn’t care less.
  3. Ancient Greeks climbing Mount Olympus (25 April). Yes, they did climb the mountain. No, it isn’t a difficult climb. No, we don’t know if they expected to see gods up there. Yes, they did have at least one cult-site up at the top.
  4. Why are there no Romans named ‘Quartus’? (16 April). ‘Quintus’, ‘Sextus’, and ‘Decimus’ come from the same origins as ‘Marcus’, ‘Maius’, and ‘Junius’. There’s no ‘Aprilus’, though. Maybe because it’s Etruscan? Also, there’s a boo-boo in the Cambridge Latin Course.
  5. The not-so-cryptic oracle of Delphi (28 June). The oracle was a decision engine, not a prediction service. When the oracle spoke, it said ‘yes’ or ‘no’, ‘this’ or ‘that’. It didn’t try to confuse people.
  6. Fake quotations (27 September). ‘In quotations, truth is the first casualty.’ -- Albert Einstein. ‘A room without books is like a quotation without a source citation.’ -- Abraham Lincoln.
  7. Cosmos #1. Eratosthenes (20 November). We live in a world where people rely on Megan Fox and Giorgio Tsoukalos for their history. Some people go for Carl Sagan instead, and I guess there’s no denying he’s a step above them. But that’s a bit like upgrading from a clown car to a Trabant. I mean, come on.
  8. Paying the iron price: Spartan money (19 February). Maybe, just maybe, the Spartans did indeed use iron rods as money. But ‘money’ doesn’t mean what you probably think it means.
  9. Concerning Yule (18 December). Present-day Christmas customs are nearly all modern, but not pagan. Most Christmas customs are too recent to be based on Yule. The Yule log originated as a Christmas log, it seems.
  10. Thunderbirds in Atlantis (6 August). The 2015 series, not the 1965 one.
Also showing up in the stats --
  • Typically 30%-45% of people reading this blog are in the USA. UK readers accounted for anywhere up to 15% in the first half of the year, but dropped to 7%-9% in the second half. Other countries pop up in the stats inconsistently. NZ readers are typically around 1.5% to 4%.
  • Desktop computers provide the steadiest stream of readers. But when a post gets popular, it’s because it’s being read on iPhones. Nearly all the volatility in the visitor stats comes from iPhones. Android users have their moments too, but usually they track pretty closely with desktops, just a fair way behind. Linux users are normally around 4%-7% of the audience, but were more prominent in the first half of the year (10.5% to 14.5% between March and June: truly, this has been the year of the Linux desktop. That is, unless they were all bots, which is, let’s face it, likely).
  • This blog is not exactly big-time, so when bots and link farms come calling, they distort the stats quite a lot. This has been particularly noticeable in December, with unusual bursts of activity especially from Russian and Moldovan IP addresses. But there were also similar bursts of activity in March, May, and August.

No comments:

Post a Comment