How May 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog


I don’t know why my regular review of my past month’s readership keeps creeping later and later in the month. I understand why it does so on my humor blog: there’s stuff that basically squats on the Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday slots. And a thing has to be written after the 1st of the month. So it can get squeezed along. But my mathematics blog has always been more free-form. I think the trouble is that this is always, in principle, an easy post to write, so it’s always easy enough to push off a little longer, and let harder stuff take my attention. It’s always a mystery how my compulsive need to put things in order will clash with my desire to procrastinate my way out of life.

Still, to May. It was another heck of a month for us all. In it, I published only 13 posts, after a couple of 15-post months in a row. Since the frequency of posting is the one variable I am sure is within my control that affects my readership, how did getting a little more laconic affect my readership?

Bar chart of monthly readership for two years, five months, of work. The last three months have been fairly uniform at about two thousand readers each. October 2019 was abnormally high, around 8500 readers.
You have no idea how upset I am that I didn’t aimlessly hit ‘reload’ just eleven more times in May.

It’s hard to tell, thanks to the October 2019 spike. But my readership crept up a little. There were 1,989 pages viewed in May. This is below the 12-month running average of 2,205.3, but the twelve-month average still includes that October with 8,667 views. There were 1,407 unique visitors, below but still close to the running average of 1,494.0 unique visitors. There were only 35 likes given, below the average of 60.8. But there were 18 comments, above the running average of 14.9. Of course, the twelve-month running average includes December 2019 when nobody left any comments here.

Taking the averages per posting gives me figures that look a little more popular. 153.0 visitors per posting, above the twelve-month running average of 124.6. 108.2 unique visitors per posting, above the average 83.8. Only 2.7 likes per posting, below the 3.7 average. But 1.4 comments per posting, above the 1.0 average.

Where did all these page views come from? Here’s the roster.

Country Readers
United States 1,140
India 128
United Kingdom 109
Canada 96
Australia 45
Philippines 41
Singapore 41
China 22
Turkey 22
Germany 21
Italy 17
Netherlands 17
Austria 14
United Arab Emirates 14
Brazil 13
Sweden 13
Finland 11
Denmark 10
France 10
Japan 10
Malaysia 10
Israel 9
Croatia 8
New Zealand 8
South Africa 8
Colombia 7
El Salvador 6
Hong Kong SAR China 6
Hungary 6
Indonesia 6
Norway 6
Poland 6
Taiwan 6
Egypt 5
Greece 5
Pakistan 5
Romania 5
Belgium 4
Qatar 4
Russia 4
Slovakia 4
Spain 4
Albania 3
Chile 3
Jamaica 3
Jordan 3
Mexico 3
Portugal 3
Serbia 3
Switzerland 3
Thailand 3
Ukraine 3
Argentina 2
Cayman Islands 2
Czech Republic 2
Laos 2
Myanmar (Burma) 2
Palestinian Territories 2
South Korea 2
Vietnam 2
Bahrain 1 (*)
Bangladesh 1
Brunei 1
Bulgaria 1
Cyprus 1
Georgia 1
Guyana 1
Honduras 1
Iraq 1
Ireland 1
Kazakhstan 1
Luxembourg 1
Mauritius 1
Nepal 1
Peru 1
Puerto Rico 1
Zimbabwe 1

This is 77 countries or country-like things all told. There’d been 73 in April and 78 in March. 17 of these were single-view countries. There were 12 of those in April and 30 in March. Only Bahrain has been a single-view country for two months in a row, now.

Mercator-style map of the world with the United States in darkest pink. Most of the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand are in a fairly uniform light pink. Almost nothing in Africa is pink; nor are the Baltic states, the Arabian peninsula, Iran, or the adjacent former Soviet republics.
Someday I’ll have a reader in Greenland and I won’t know what to say to them.

All these people looked at, including the home page, 278 posts here. That’s comparable to the 265 of April and 255 of March. 153 pages got more than one view, comparable to the 134 of April and 145 of March. 33 got at least ten views, which is right in line with April’s 36 and March’s 35. The most views were given to some of the usual suspects:

The most popular thing posted in May? That was a tie, actually. One piece was Reading the Comics, May 9, 2020: Knowing the Angles Edition, the usual sort of thing. The other was Reading the Comics, May 2, 2020: What Is The Cosine Of Six Edition, a piece I had meant to follow up on. This is because it so happens that the cosine of six is a number we can, in principle, write out exactly. I had meant to write a post that went through the geometric reasoning that gets you there, but I kept not making time. But, for the short answer, here’s the cosine of six degrees.

First, this will be much easier if we (alas) use the Golden Ratio, φ. That’s a famous number and just about 1.61803. The cosine of six degrees is, to be exact,

\cos(36^\circ) = \left(\frac{1}{2} \cdot \phi\right)\cdot\left(\frac{1}{2}  \sqrt{3}\right) + \sqrt{1 - \frac{1}{4} \phi^2} \cdot \left(\frac{1}{2} \right)

… which you recognize right away reduces to …

\cos(36^\circ) = \frac{1}{4}\sqrt{3} \phi + \frac{1}{4}\sqrt{3 - \phi}

This is a number pretty close to 0.99452, and you can get as many decimal digits as you like. You just have to go through working out decimal digits, ultimately, of \sqrt{5} . I include the first line because if you look closely at it, you’ll get a hint of how to find the cosine of six degrees. It’s the parts of an angle-subtraction formula for cosine.


WordPress estimates me as having published 7,442 words in May. That’s an average of a slender 496.13 words per posting. My average post for the year has fallen to 656 words; at the start of May it had been 691. To the start of June I’ve published 41,978 words here. I don’t know if that counts picture captions and alt text, and have not the faintest idea how it counts LaTeX symbols.

As of the start of June I’ve published 1,467 things, which drew 106,429 views from a recorded 58,907 unique visitors.

I’m hoping next week to start publishing the All 2020 Mathematics A-to-Z. Posts from it should be tagged so as to appear at this link. If you want to be sure you don’t miss any of them, I’m quite flattered. The RSS feed for all my essays as this link, and if you lack an RSS reader, you’re mistaken! You can get a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal and use their Reading page to read any RSS feed you like. Or you can click the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on this page, and add it to your WordPress reader.

For a short while there my Twitter account of @Nebusj was working. It’s gone back to where it will just accept WordPress’s automated announcements of posts here, though. I can’t do anything with it. I do have an account on the mathematics-themed Mastodon instance, @nebusj@mathstodon.xyz, and occasionally manage to even just hang out chatting there. It’s hard to get a place in a new social media environment. You need a hook, and you need a playful bit of business anyone can do with you, which both serve to give you an identity. Then you need someone who’s already established to vouch for you as being okay. The A-to-Z is a pretty good hook but the rest is a bit hard. I’m in there trying, though.

Thanks always for reading, however you do it.


Also, because I will someday need this again: to write the ^\circ symbol in WordPress LaTeX, you need the symbol string ^\circ and do not ask me why it’s not, like, \deg (or better, \degree) instead.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

2 thoughts on “How May 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog”

    1. You’re welcome, and I’m just glad that sharing stuff like this sometimes helps other bloggers — or me — work out whether something’s off in the global blog ecosystem. There’ve been some months that readership was way down and it’s somehow reassuring to know it’s way down for everyone together.

      Liked by 1 person

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