Here are some outstanding links from the last month to fascinate and delight you. After that, I have some words to say about this blog’s recent visitor stats.
- A number of astronomy terms have been devised for British Sign Language. Report here.
- Ed Yong on endosymbiosis. The idea that mitochondria were originally independent organisms is well-known, but I was not aware of the many variations on the idea.
- I contributed $25 to this research project on the fate of wood in the ocean. Lovely video.
- On literally feeling other people’s pain and pleasure (mirror-touch synaesthesia).
- Humorous, subversive fabric design that did the rounds on Valentine’s Day.
- David Attenborough on curling. I’ve said for years that sport should be presented as a wildlife documentary, although I must say I had outdoor sport in mind.
- Bouncy goats.
- Paul Willis is off to Antarctica soon (leaving 11 March), and here you can request photographs you’d like him to take. I asked for “pareidolic monster carved in ice“.
- 4D fractal journey.
This blog received a huge influx of visitors when my post If Conversation Were Chemistry was featured on Freshly Pressed — wordpress.com’s official editor-picked “Best Of” page. On February 22 it received 319 hits from 256 unique visitors, and the next day it recieved 478 hits from 143 visitors. The previous record was 295 views in a single day.
Since then, the number of visitors has settled back to previous levels, but the number of views has remained far higher than usual. I used to rarely get more than two views per visitor; now I’m getting around ten each day. For example, yesterday (March 5) I had 170 hits from 19 visitors, or 8.95 views per visitor, whereas two weeks before that (February 19), I had 37 hits from 19 visitors, or 1.95 views per visitor.
Looking at what people viewed, we see that yesterday there were 151 views of the front page or archives (i.e. pages that display multiple posts at once), and only 19 views of specific posts. Exactly two weeks previously, there were 6 views of the front page or archives, and the other 31 were views of specific posts. The number of hits on specific posts has not changed at all (the difference between 31 and 19 is within normal variation), but the front page and archives have received a dramatic increase in views.
If we look at where the views are coming from, we see something remarkable. Of the 170 views received yesterday, a whopping 144 came from Germany, and only 26 from all other countries put together. And it has been a similar story every day. In the last 7 days, I’ve received 890 hits from Germany — an order of magnitude more than from any other country. The runners-up are 72 from the United States and 28 from Australia.
- The number of views has increased dramatically, but the number of unique visitors has not.
- The increase has overwhelmingly been in views of the front page and archives, not of individual posts.
- The increase has overwhelmingly been from computers that identify themselves as based in Germany.
It looks very much as though ONE person in Germany has been visiting this blog more than a hundred times a day, every single day, ever since I got Pressed.
Before I invite this mysterious German to introduce themselves in the comments, there is an alternative hypothesis. Apparently German law forbids websites from collecting visitor statistics, and it’s possible that what I’m seeing is an artifact of that. Maybe all visitors from Germany are counted as the exact same visitor, or maybe some people who are not really in Germany find it convenient to pretend that they are.
But if you’re reading this from Germany, do say hello. And maybe you’d like to browse my photographs from last time I was there.