Last year’s blogging tallies up to 10,484 words in 47 posts.
There used to be a blog tradition of summing things up by listing the first sentences of each of first posts from each month of the previous year. Since all the old ways are coming back, I’ve assembled that list below.
Before I started this blog, I posted for more than a decade at Footnotes on Epicycles. The blog software I was using was somebody’s indie programming project, and they had stopped maintaining it years before I migrated over here. Sometime in the last month— possibly due to a server update— the code finally stopped working. So I spent some time over the last couple of days hacking together a solution which makes all the old posts available at most of the same URLs.1
At Daily Nous, there’s discussion of how much philosophy sites figure in Google’s C4 data set— and so in the training set of Large Language Models. The Washington Post has a widget to search for the rank of specific domains.
This very site— this blog plus my other foofaraw— ranks 612,096th with about 38 thousand tokens.
My old blog ranks close behind at 625,716th with about 37k tokens.
Although the tool isn’t designed to give this kind of result, the two together would rank somewhere around 300,000th.
I’ve been blogging since the mid-aughts. When it started, it seemed like I was a late adopter. Then it seemed like blogging died. Now, with exodus from Twitter, some people are looking at blogging again. It’s been here the whole time, man.
Last year, I wrote 12,701 words across 35 posts. Eye-balling the graph, a best-line fit has me writing zero words when I die of old age.
Today I discovered Midjourney, an AI image generator that’s rather more high-powered than other free ones which I’ve tried. Riffing on prompts by other users, I had it generate a Frank frazetta painting of a wombat newscaster. The result was pleasant enough that I’ve adopted it— for now— as the blog header.
For a while I had the minimal goal of writing at least one post every month, but I’ve failed at that for a couple of years now. The new goal is just to blog at least every once in a while, so that it doesn’t become moribund.
Last year I wrote 43 entries that totaled to over 15K words. As you can see below, that’s middling output. I have the sense that I wrote more about teaching this year than in previous years, because the shift on-line forced me to be more reflective about pedagogy.
I’ve formulated and not written several blog posts about life in the time of Covid-19.
Last week was Spring Break, which meant that events didn’t quite register the way they would have done any other week. Being at home and not seeing students would have happened anyway. Now classes have resumed, such as they are.
My minimal goal with this blog is to post something every month. I surpassed that in 2018, writing 46 entries which comprised over 16K words.
How does this compare to previous years?
The graph below summarizes the results. 2018 was a solidly middling year for blogging. Not the best, but not the worst either.
The curviness of the lines in the graph is just whatever meaningless smoothing Excel does by default.
At Footnotes on Epicycles, my old blog, I counted years from one blog anniversary to the next. I started the blog on October 4, 2005, so I counted words from one October 4 to the next. In the graph, numbers before 2015 are nudged to the nearest calendar year.
With 2015, I switched to counting by calendar years. So 2015 was worse than it looks in the graph, because I’ve added late 2014 and 2015 together to cover the gap.
B. Wombats poop cubes. There’s a recent study that’s been discussed widely on the internet about the mechanism by which they do this.
C. When I picked it as my Twitter handle, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to draw a wombat. The shaggy wombat sketch was my only successful attempt for the longest time. My attempts would end up looking like a bear, a monkey, or (sometimes) a pig.
After much practice, I’ve gotten a bit better. So today I updated the header graphic.