Archive for Blogs

To Like and to Like not

Posted in Biographical, Poetry with tags , , , on March 8, 2019 by telescoper

Travelling today, I was reminded that exactly a week ago, WordPress sent me this notification:

I was a bit surprised, to be honest, as that I posted a St David’s Day poem and usually when I post poetry the traffic goes down. Last Friday however it seems all my St David’s Day poetry posts going back years attracted traffic (and ‘likes’), so I was quite pleased.

Some time ago a senior astronomer emailed me to say that he thought that, for a science blog, there was far to much other stuff for his liking. Other stuff presumably including poetry, music, sport and the rest.

Anyway my response was that this isn’t really a science blog. It’s just a personal blog written by someone who happens to be a scientist. I post about science fairly often but I wouldn’t enjoy blogging half as much if I only covered that.

Some people have asked me why I post poetry and music and the rest. The answer is simple: to share things I enjoy. If just one person were to discover a poem they like by reading it here then it makes it all worthwhile!

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A Decade In The Dark!

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags on September 16, 2018 by telescoper

When I logged onto WordPress yesterday I received a message that it was the 10th anniversary of my registration with them as a blogger, which is when I took my first step into the blogosphere; that was way back on 15th September 2008.

I actually wrote my first post on the day I registered but unfortunately I didn’t really know what I was doing on my first day at blogging – no change there, then –  and I didn’t actually manage to figure out how to publish this earth-shattering piece. It was only after I’d written my second post that I realized that the first one wasn’t actually visible to the general public because I hadn’t pressed the right buttons, so the two appear in the wrong order in my archive. Anyway, that confusion is the reason why I usually take 16th September as this blog’s real anniversary.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes, and to thank, everyone who reads this blog, however occasionally. According to the WordPress stats, I’ve got readers from all round the world, including  the Vatican!

If you’re interested in statistics then, as of 14.00 Irish Summer Time Today today, I have published 4,225 blog posts, not counting about 20 that I wrote but have not yet published; I’ll probably save these for my memoirs.. These posts have received 3,688,023 hits altogether; I get an average of about 1200 per day.  This varies in a very erratic fashion from day to day, but the annual average has been fairly constant over the last several years. The greatest number of hits I have received in a single day is 8,864 (at the peak of the BICEP2 controversy). Some of the most popular posts have not been about science at all, including  my rant about Virgin Media and a post about the last episode of Inspector Morse.

There have been 30,372 comments published on here and  2,213,145 rejected by my filters. The vast majority of the rejected comments were from automated spam bots, but a small number have been removed for various violations, usually for abuse of some kind. And, yes, I do get to decide what is published. It is my blog!

While I am on the subject of comments, I’ll just repeat here the policy stated on the home page of this blog:

Feel free to comment on any of the posts on this blog but comments may be moderated; anonymous comments and any considered by me to be abusive will not be accepted. I do not necessarily endorse, support, sanction, encourage, verify or agree with the opinions or statements of any information or other content in the comments on this site and do not in any way guarantee their accuracy or reliability.

It does mean a lot to me to know that there are people who find my ramblings on this `shitty wordpress blog’ interesting enough to look at, or even read, and sometimes even to come back for more, so I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to all those who follow this blog and especially those who take the trouble to comment on it in such interesting and unpredictable ways!

The last decade has been eventful, to say the least, both personally and professionally. I started blogging not long after I’d moved into my house in Pontcanna, Cardiff. Since then I moved to Sussex, and then back to Cardiff, and now to Ireland. More importantly we’ve seen the discovery of the Higgs Boson and gravitational waves, both of which resulted in Nobel Prizes, as did the studies of high-redshift supernovae. The Planck mission mission was launched, did its stuff, and came to a conclusion in this decade too. Science has moved forward, even if there are many things in this world that seem to be going backwards.

I don’t know how long I’ll keep blogging – vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam – but I’ve got no immediate plans to stop.

Nine Years In The Dark!

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags on September 15, 2017 by telescoper

When I logged onto WordPress today  I received a message that it was the 9th anniversary of my registration with them as a blogger, which is when I took my first step into the blogosphere; that was way back on 15th September 2008. I actually wrote my first post that day too. Unfortunately I didn’t really know what I was doing on my first day at blogging – no change there, then –  and I didn’t actually manage to figure out how to publish this earth-shattering piece. It was only after I’d written my second post that I realized that the first one wasn’t actually visible to the general public because I hadn’t pressed the right buttons, so the two appear in the wrong order in my archive.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes, and to thank, everyone who reads this blog, however occasionally. According to the WordPress stats, I’ve got readers from all round the world, including one in the Vatican! If you’re interested in statistics then, as of 14.30 BST today, I have published 3,806 blog posts, and have received 3,220,896 hits altogether; I get an average of about 1200 per day, but this varies in a very erratic fashion. The greatest number of hits I have received in a day is 8,864 (at the peak of the BICEP2 controversy). There have been 27,590 comments published on here and  1,705,410 rejected. Most of the rejected comments were from automated spam bots, but a small number have been removed for various violations, usually for abuse of some kind. Yes, I do get to decide what is published. It’s my blog!

While I am on the subject of comments, I’ll just repeat here my comments policy as stated on the home page of this blog:

Feel free to comment on any of the posts on this blog but comments may be moderated; anonymous comments and any considered by me to be abusive will not be accepted. I do not necessarily endorse, support, sanction, encourage, verify or agree with the opinions or statements of any information or other content in the comments on this site and do not in any way guarantee their accuracy or reliability.

It does mean a lot to me to know that there are people who find my ramblings interesting enough to look at, and sometimes even to come back for more, so I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to all those who follow this blog and especially those who take the trouble to comment on it in such interesting and unpredictable ways!

 

Incidentally, I noticed that another auspicious anniversary falls today. It is now thirty years to the day since my second refereed paper was published!  Here’s the front page:

 

Reading through it again now it seems incredibly simplistic and dated. It may not exactly be a classic, but it still gets the odd citation!

Eight Years In The Dark

Posted in Biographical with tags on September 15, 2016 by telescoper

8th-birthday-badge-pink
When I logged onto WordPress today  I received a message that it was the 8th anniversary of my registration with them as a blogger, which is when I took my first step into the blogosphere; that was way back on 15th September 2008. I actually wrote my first post that day too. Unfortunately I didn’t really know what I was doing on my first day at blogging – no change there, then –  and I didn’t actually manage to figure out how to publish this earth-shattering piece. It was only after I’d written my second post that I realized that the first one wasn’t actually visible to the general public because I hadn’t pressed the right buttons, so the two appear in the wrong order in my archive.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes, and to thank, everyone who reads this blog, however occasionally. According to the WordPress stats, I’ve got readers from all round the world, including one in the Vatican! If you’re interested in statistics then, as of 14.00 BST today, I have published 3,343 blog posts, and have received 2,853,105 hits altogether; I get an average of about 1200 per day, but this varies in a very erratic fashion. The greatest number of hits I have received in a day is 8,864 (at the peak of the BICEP2 controversy). There have been 24,907 comments published on here and 1,556,259  rejected. Most of the rejected comments were from automated spam bots, but a small number have been removed for various violations, usually for abuse of some kind. Yes, I do get to decide what is published. It’s my blog!

While I am on the subject of comments, I’ll just repeat here my comments policy as stated on the home page of this blog:

Feel free to comment on any of the posts on this blog but comments may be moderated; anonymous comments and any considered by me to be abusive will not be accepted. I do not necessarily endorse, support, sanction, encourage, verify or agree with the opinions or statements of any information or other content in the comments on this site and do not in any way guarantee their accuracy or reliability.

It does mean a lot to me to know that there are people who find my ramblings interesting enough to look at, and sometimes even to come back for more, so I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to all those who follow this blog and especially those who take the trouble to comment on it in such interesting and unpredictable ways!

 

 

 

Seven Years In The Dark

Posted in Biographical with tags on September 15, 2015 by telescoper

7th Birthday Badge Superhero

When I logged onto WordPress to write today’s post I received a message that it was the 7th anniversary of my registration with them as a blogger and thus took my first step into the blogosphere; that was way back on 15th September 2008. I actually wrote my first post that day too. Unfortunately I didn’t really know what I was doing on my first day at blogging – no change there, then –  and I didn’t actually manage to figure out how to publish this earth-shattering piece. It was only after I’d written my second post that I realized that the first one wasn’t actually live, so the two appear in the wrong order in my archive.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes, and to thank, everyone who reads this blog, however occasionally. According to the WordPress stats, I’ve got readers from all round the world, including one in the Vatican! If you’re interested in statistics then, as of 13.30 today, I have published 2,934 blog posts, and have received 2,460,789 hits altogether; I get an average of about 1300 per day, but this varies in a very erratic fashion. The greatest number of hits I have received in a day is 8,864 (at the peak of the BICEP2 controversy). There have been 22,482 comments published on here and 1,391,901  rejected as spam or abuse; a lot goes on behind the scenes here that you really don’t want to know about!

Anyway, the numbers don’t really matter but it does mean a lot to know that there are people who find my ramblings interesting enough to look at, and sometimes even to come back for more!

 

 

 

Six Years In The Dark

Posted in Biographical with tags on September 16, 2014 by telescoper

When I logged onto WordPress to write yesterday’s post I received a message that it was the 6th anniversary of my registration with them as a blogger and thus took my first step into the blogosphere; that was way back on 15th September 2008. I actually wrote my first post that day too. Here it is, in all its glory:

So here we are then. I’ve finally decided to start writing a blog. I’ve been reading quite a few of them recently and most appeared to consist of a load of ill-informed opinionated drivel. So I thought “I can do that!”. And here we are.

I don’t know who (if anyone) will be reading this or even what I’m going to write, but let’s see how it goes until everyone concerned gets bored with it.

And before I start, I’d like to thank Phil Brown from the British Association for the Advancement of Science for inviting me to set this up. I never would have got around to it if he hadn’t done so.

So blame him!

Unfortunately I didn’t really know what I was doing on my first day at blogging – no change there then –  and I didn’t actually manage to figure out how to publish this earth-shattering piece. It was only after I’d written my second post that I realized that the first one wasn’t actually live, so the two appear in the wrong order in my archive.

I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes, and to thank, everyone who reads this blog, however occasionally. According to the WordPress stats, I’ve got readers from all round the world, including one in the Vatican! If you’re interested in statistics then, as of 9.15 this morning, I have published 2537 blog posts in all, and have received 2,032,090 hits altogether; I get an average of about 1300 per day, but this varies in a very erratic fashion. There have been 20,201 comments published on here and 857,904 rejected as spam or abuse; a lot goes on behind the scenes that you don’t want to know about!

Anyway, the numbers don’t really matter but it does mean a lot to know that there are people who find my ramblings interesting enough to look at, and sometimes even to come back for more! This blog is read by a number of powerful and influential people too, as well as John Womersley….

 

 

 

To Hype or Not to Hype?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 18, 2012 by telescoper

Like many bloggers on this site, I have set up my WordPress account to send a tweet every time I publish a new post. I did have it set up to post to Facebook too, but that mechanism seems no longer to work so I usually post my offerings there by hand. I joined Google+ some time ago, and did likewise, but found it to be a complete waste of time so haven’t logged on for months. Sometimes if a topic comes up that I’ve covered in an old post, I’ll tweet it again, but that’s the extent to which I “pimp” my blog.

However, I have noticed that over the last few months my Twitter feed is increasingly clogged up with multiple copies of blog advertisements from people I follow, often with requests like “Please Retweet”.  I have to say I don’t like this at all. It seems very tacky to me to be constantly screaming for attention in this manner. If people want to retweet or link to my posts then I’m very chuffed, of course, but I don’t think I’d feel the same way if I touted for traffic. Anyone who blogs already runs the risk of being labelled an attention-seeker. That doesn’t bother me, as in my case it’s probably true. But there are limits…

These thoughts came into my head when I stumbled across a couple of posts about self-promotion (here  and here). The author of the first item says:

Whenever I write a blogpost, the extent of my self-promotion is this: tweet my blog-link about 3 or 4 times in the same day it’s published…

I think even that is excessive. I’m very unlikely to read a blog post that’s been rammed down my neck on Twitter four times in a single day, very unlikely to retweet said link,  and indeed very unlikely to read anything further from an author who indulges in such a practice. Call me old-fashioned, but I struggle to keep up with Twitter anyway and I only follow about 100 people. I can do without this unseemly conduct. It’s nearly as bad as the “promoted tweets” (i.e. SPAM) that also plague the Twittersphere. More importantly, people don’t seem to realise that there is such a thing as too much publicity.

The answer is simple. Write interesting stuff, put it out there and people will be interested in it. It’s the same with scientific papers, actually. Write good papers and people will find them and cite them. Simples.

I realise my attitude in this regard is quite unusual and shaped by my own experiences and circumstances. I don’t make any money from this blog – it’s really more of a hobby than anything else – and I don’t particular care how many people read the items I post. If I did I wouldn’t put up things about Jazz or Poetry or Opera, as these have very little popular appeal. I just enjoy writing about such things, and sharing things I come across. I’m not denying that I like it when posts prove popular and/or provoke discussion, of course. But I don’t get upset when others sink without trace, as many do.

Moreover, having more blog hits isn’t going to advance my career one jot. Possibly quite the opposite, actually. I know there are plenty of important and influential people out there who think having a blog is some sort of aberration and in order to keep it going I must be neglecting my duties as an academic (which, incidentally, I don’t), so if anything it probably has a negative overall effect.

I realise that, as an amateur blogger, my attitudes are probably very different from the majority of those who actually earn money from this activity. The Guardian science bloggers, for example, get paid according to the number of page hits they generate. Unfortunately the result is that the Guardian itself repeatedly tweets links to every new post, as does every individual author. The resulting deluge of tedious advertising no doubt generates traffic that helps increase revenue, but its effect on me is that I no longer read any of the posts there.

There. I’ve said it. No doubt there’ll be angry reactions from fellow bloggers. If this post has offended anyone then I’m sorry, but  please remember to retweet it, share on Facebook, Google+, etc.