How September 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog

Better than it treated me! Which is a joke I used last month too. But it’s been a rough while but that’s all right, it’ll all turn around as soon as I buy one winning PowerBall lottery ticket. And since my custom, when I do play, is to buy two tickets at once, I look to be in very good shape as of Monday’s drawing. Thank you for your concern.

I posted seven things in September, including the much-delayed start of the Little Mathematics A-to-Z. Those postings drew 1,973 views altogether from 1,414 unique visitors. These numbers are far below the running averages for the twelve months running up to September. The mean was 2,580.6 views from 1,830.4 unique visitors per month. The median was 2,559 views from 1,801 unique visitors. So this implies a readership decline.

Per-posting, though, the numbers look better. I recorded 281.9 views per posting in September, from 202.0 unique visitors. (Again, this is total views, of everything, not just of September-dated essays.) The running mean was 273.7 views per posting from 194.0 unique visitors. The running median was 295.9 views per posting from 204.3 unique visitors. That’s all quite in line with things and suggests if I posted more, I would be read more. A fine theory, but how could it be implemented?

Bar chart showing two and a half years' worth of readership figures. After a fairly steep three-month decline both page views and unique readers rose slightly in August before drooping again in September.
I keep looking at that Insights tab and I never get any better at positioning myself.

31 likes were given to things in September, below the running average of 51.6 and the running mean of 47.5. It’s not much better per posting, though: 4.4 likes per posting in September, below the running mean of 5.2 per posting and median of 4.9 per posting. Comments are down a little, too, 10 given in the month compared to a mean of 18.0 and median of 15.5. That translates to 1.4 comments per posting, below the running mean of 1.9 per posting and running median of 1.6 per posting. So, yeah, if Mathematics WordPress isn’t dying it is successfully ejecting me from its body.

The things I posted in September ranked like this, in order of popularity:

Most popular altogether was How To Find A Logarithm Without Much Computing Power. That’s an essay which links to a string of essays that tell you just what it says on the tin.

WordPress estimates that I published 2,973 words in September, a modest but increasing 424.7 words per posting. My average essay so far this year has grown to 565 words. So far for 2021 I’ve posted 38,988 words. This is terse, for me. There have been years I did that in two months.

As of the start of October I’ve had 144,287 page views from 85,603 logged unique visitors, over the course of 1,651 posts. If you’d like to be a regular reader, please use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button at the upper right corner of this page. If you’d rather have essays sent to you by e-mail, use the button a little below that.

If you have an RSS reader you can use this feed for my essays. If you don’t have an RSS reader, I recommend it. They’re good things. You can get one from This Old Reader, for example, or set up one using NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Use or to add RSS feeds to your Reading or Friends page.

My Twitter account has gone feral and only posts announcements of essays. But you can interact with me as, on the Mastodon network. Thanks for reading, in whatever way you’re doing it, and here’s hoping for a good October.

Do You Know a Friend Who Needs a Mathematician?

Recent events let me know I should make something explicit. I am interested in and looking for mathematical work. My particular skills are in numerical computing but anyone familiar with my writing knows my interest in education and communication. So I am not looking only for major projects. If you need someone to tutor you through the lesson on the directrix or the separatrix, I am game.

I am open also to computer programming work. My day job for the last decade and a half has got me terribly familiar with Asp.Net C#, SQL, Javascript, jQuery, and the OpenLayers GIS tools. Also I keep thinking to take a weekend and pick up Cobol, to put on the shelf beside my Fortran background.

Thank you for thinking of me.

How August 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog

Better than August 2021 treated me! I don’t wish to impose my woes on you, but the last month was one of the worst I’ve had. Besides various physical problems I also felt dreadfully burned out, which postponed my Little Mathematics A-to-Z yet again. I hope yet to get the sequence started, not to mention finished, although I want to get one more essay banked before I start publishing. If things go well, then, that’ll be this Wednesday; if it doesn’t, maybe next Wednesday.

Still, and despite everything, I was able to post seven things in August, a slow return to form. I am still trying to rebuild my energies. But my hope is to get up to about two posts a week, so for most months, eight to ten posts.

The postings I did do were received with this kind of readership:

Bar chart showing two and a half years' worth of readership figures. After a fairly steep three-month decline both page views and unique readers rose slightly in August.
I’m going to have such mixed feelings when that great big spike in October 2019 times out of these monthly recaps. I need to figure some way to get someone on Reddit or whoever to just casually mention me, once a week, until I get a book publishing deal. If you know how to arrange the details please leave a comment that I’ll answer by October at the latest.

So that’s a total of 2,136 page views for August. That’s up from July, though still below the twelve-month running mean of 2,572.6 views per month. It’s also below the median of 2,559 views per month. There were 1,465 unique visitors recorded. This is again below the running mean of 1,8237.7 unique visitors, and the running mean of 1,801 unique visitors.

There were 43 things liked in August, below the running mean of 53.4 and running median of 49.5. And there were a meager 10 comments received, below the mean of 18.7 and median of 18. I expect this will correct itself whenever I do get the Little Mathematics A-to-Z started; those always attract steady interest, and people writing back, even if it’s just to thank me for taking one of their topics as an essay.

Rated per-post, everything gets strikingly close to average. August came in at an mean 305.1 views per posting, compared to a twelve-month running mean of 257.2 and running median of 282.6. There were 209.3 unique visitors per posting, compared to a running mean of 182.7 and median of 197.0. There were 6.1 likes per posting, compared to a mean of 5.0 and median of 4.4. The only figure not above some per-post average was comments, which were 1.4 per posting. The mean comments per posting, from August 2020 through July 2021, was 1.9, and the median 1.4.

Here’s how August’s seven posts ranked in popularity, as in, number of page views for each post:

My most popular piece of all was a six-year-old pointer to Robert Austin’s diagram of the real number system and how the types of numbers relate to each other. Not sure but a lot of my most durable pieces just point to someone else’s work. The most popular thing that I had a hand in writing was a Reading the Comics post from December 2019 featuring The Far Side.

WordPress estimates that I published 2,440 words in August, a meager 348.6 words per post. I told you I was burned out. It estimates that for 2021 I’ve published a total of 36,015 words as of the start of September, an average of 581 words per posting.

As of the start of September I’ve had 142,313 page views, from 84,192 logged unique visitors. That over the course of 1,644 published posts. If you’d like to be a regular reader, please do. You can add the feed of my essays to whatever your RSS reader is. There are several ways you can get an RSS reader. You can use This Old Reader, for example, set up on NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Use or to add RSS feeds to your Reading or Friends page.

You also can get essays e-mailed right to you, at publication. Please use this option if you want me to be self-conscious about the typos and grammatical errors that I never find before publication however hard I try. You can do that by using the “Follow NebusResearch via Email” box to the right-center of the page. If you have a WordPress account, you can use “Follow NebusResearch” on the top right to add my essays to your Reader. And I am, the mathematics-themed instance of the Mastodon network. Thanks for being here, and here’s hoping for a happy September.

How July 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I didn’t quite abandon my mathematics blog in July, but it would be hard to prove otherwise. I published only five pieces, which I think is my lowest monthly production on record. One of them was the monthly statistics recap. One pointed to a neat thing I found. Three were pointers to earlier essays I’ve written here. It’s economical stuff, But it draws in fewer readers, a thing I’m conditioned to think of as bad. How bad?

I received 1,891 page views in July, way below the running mean of 2,545.0 for the twelve months ending with June 2021. This is also well below the running median of 2,559. There were 1,324 unique visitors in July, way below the running mean of 1,797.1 and median of 1,801. The number of likes barely dropped from June’s totals, with 34 things given a like here. That’s well down from the mean of 56.8 per month and the 55.5 per month median. And comments were dire, only four received compared to a mean of 20.5 and median of 19.

Bar chart of two and a half year's worth of monthly readership and unique-visitor counts. There was a great peak in October 2019, but more recently two months of decline after several months of steadily high reader counts.
Now I’m a bit curious if there is a WordPress Statistic that tells you how many posts you had per month. It’d be nice, I guess, to see just how strong a correlation there is between “posting stuff” and “getting read”.

That’s the kind of collapse which makes it look like the blog’s just dried up and floated away. But these readership figures are still a good bit above most of 2020, for example, or all but one month of 2018. I’m feeling the effects of the hedonic treadmill here.

And, now — if we consider that per posting? Suddenly my laconic nature starts to seem like genius. There were an average 378.2 views per posting in July. Not all July posts, but the number of views divided by the number posts given. That’s crushing the twelve-month mean of 232.9 views per posting, and twelve-month median of 235.0 views per posting. There were 264.8 unique visitors per posting. The twelve-month running mean was 165.2 unique visitors per posting, and the median 166.3.

Even the likes and comments look better this way. There were 6.8 likes for each time I posted, above the mean of 4.7 and median of 4.3. There were still only 0.8 comments per posting, below the mean of 1.9 and median of 1.6, but at least the numbers look closer together.

The order of popularity of July’s essays, most to least, was:

The most popular essay of all was No, You Can’t Say What 6/2(1+2) Equals. From this I infer some segment of Twitter got worked up about an ambiguous arithmetic expression again.

WordPress estimates that I published 3,103 words in July. This is an average of merely 517.2 words per posting, a figure that will increase as soon as I get this year’s A-to-Z under way. My average words per posting for 2021 declined to 611 thanks to all this. I am at 33,575 words for the year so far.

As of the start of August I’ve had 140,178 page views from an 82,728 logged unique visitors. If you’d like to be a regular reader, I’d like to be regularly read. Heck, I’d like to be read any old way people manage. You can get all my essays by adding the RSS feed to your reader. If you lack an RSS reader? There’s several good options. You can use This Old Reader, for example, set up on NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Use or to add RSS feeds to your Reading or Friends page.

If you’d like to get new posts without typos corrected, you can sign up for e-mail delivery. Use the “Follow NebusResearch via Email” box to the right-center of the page here.. Or if you have a WordPress account, you can use “Follow NebusResearch” on the top right to add this page to your Reader. And I am, the mathematics-themed instance of the Mastodon network. Thanks for reading, however you find most comfortable.

How June 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog

It’s the time of month when I like to look at what my popularity is like. How many readers I had, what they were reading, that sort of thing. And I’m even getting to it earlier than usual in the month of July. Credit a hot Sunday when I can’t think of other things to do instead.

According to WordPress there were 2,507 page views here in June 2021. That’s down from the last couple months. But it is above the twelve-month running mean, leading up to June, which was of 2,445.9 views per month. The twelve-month running median was 2,516.5. This all implies that June was quite in line with my average month from June 2020 through May 2021. It just looks like a decline is all.

There were 1,753 unique visitors recorded by WordPress in June. That again fits between the running averages. There were a mean 1,728.4 unique visitors per month between June 2020 and May 2021. There was a median of 1,800 unique visitors each month over that same range.

Bar chart showing two and a half years' worth of readership figures. There's an enormous spike in October 2018. After several increasing months of readership recently, June 2021 saw a modest drop in views and unique visitors.
Hey, remember when I tracked views per visitor? I don’t remember why I stopped doing that. The figures were volatile. But either way had a happy interpretation. A low number of views per visitor implied a lot of people found something interesting. A high number of views per visitor implied people were doing archive-binges and reading everything. I suppose I could start seriously tracking it now but then I’d have to add a column to my spreadsheet.

The number of likes given collapsed, a mere 36 clicks of the like button given in June compared to a mean of 57.3 and median of 55.5. Given how many of my posts were some variation of “I’m struggling to find the energy to write”? I can’t blame folks not finding the energy to like. Comments were up, though, surely in response to my appeal for Mathematics A-to-Z topics. If you’ve thought of any, please, let me know; I’m eager to know.

I had nine essays posted in June, including my readership review post. These were, in the order most-to-least popular (as measured by page views):

In June I posted 7,852 words, my most verbose month since October 2020. That comes to an average of 981.5 words per posting in June. But the majority of them were in a single post, the exploration of MLX, which shows how the mean can be a misleading measure. This does bring my words-per-posting mean for the year up to 622, an increase of 70 words per posting. I need to not do that again.

As of the start of July I’ve had 1,631 posts here, which gathered 138,286 total views from 81,404 logged unique visitors.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, this is a great time for it, as I’ve almost worked my way through my obsession with checksum routines of 1980s computer magazines! And there’s the A-to-Z starting soon. Each year I do a glossary project, writing essays about mathematics terms from across the dictionary, many based on reader suggestions. All 168 essays from past years are at this link. This year’s should join that set, too.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, thank you! You can get all these essays by their RSS feed, and never appear in my statistics. It’s easy to get an RSS reader if you need. This Old Reader is an option, for example, as is NewsBlur. Or you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Use or to add RSS feeds to your Reading or Friends page.

If you’d like to get new posts without typos corrected, you can sign up for e-mail delivery. Or if you have a WordPress account, you can use “Follow NebusResearch” to add this page to your Reader. And I am, the mathematics-themed instance of the Mastodon network. Thanks for reading, however you find most comfortable.

How May 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I’ll take this chance now to look over my readership from the past month. It’s either that or actually edit this massive article I’ve had sitting for two months. I keep figuring I’ll edit it this next weekend, and then the week ends before I do. This weekend, though, I’m sure to edit it into coherence. Just you watch.

According to WordPress I had 3,068 page views in May of 2021. That’s an impressive number: my 12-month running mean, leading up to May, was 2,366.0 views per month. The 12-month running median is a similar 2,394 views per month. That startles me, especially as I don’t have any pieces that obviously drew special interest. Sometimes there’s a flood of people to a particular page, or from a particular site. That didn’t happen this month, at least as far as I can tell. There was a steady flow of readers to all kinds of things.

There were 2,085 unique visitors, according to WordPress. That’s down from April, but still well above the running mean of 1,671.9 visitors. And above the median of 1,697 unique visitors.

When we rate things per post the dominance of the past month gets even more amazing. That’s an average 340.9 views per posting this month, compared to a mean of 202.5 or a median of 175.5. (Granted, yes, the majority of those were to things from earlier months; there’s almost ten years of backlog and people notice those too.) And it’s 231.7 unique visitors per posting, versus a mean of 144.7 and a median of 127.4.

Bar chart of two and a half years's worth of monthly readership figures. The last several months have seen a steady roughly 3,000 page views and 2,000 unique visitors a month, an increase over the preceding years.
The most important thing in tracking all this is I hope to someday catch WordPress giving me the same readership statistics two months in a row.

There were 48 likes given in May. That’s below the running mean of 56.3 and median of 55.5. Per-posting, though, these numbers look better. That’s 5.3 likes per posting over the course of May. The mean per posting was 4.5 and the median 4.1 over the previous twelve months. There were 20 comments, barely above the running mean of 19.4 and running median of 18. But that’s 2.2 comments per posting, versus a mean per posting of 1.7 and a median per posting of 1.4. I make my biggest impact with readers by shutting up more.

I got around to publishing nine things in May. A startling number of them were references to other people’s work or, in one case, me talking about using an earlier bit I wrote. Here’s the posts in descending order of popularity. I’m surprised how much this differs from simple chronological order. It suggests there are things people are eager to see, and one of them is Reading the Comics posts. Which I don’t do on a schedule anymore.

As that last and least popular post says, I plan to do an A-to-Z this year. A shorter one than usual, though, one of only fifteen week’s duration, and covering only ten different letters. It’s been a hard year and I need to conserve my energies. I’ll begin appealing for subjects soon.

In May 2021 I posted 4,719 words here, figures WordPress, bringing me to a total of 22,620 words this year. This averages out at 524.3 words per posting in May, and 552 words per post for the year.

As of the start of June I’ve had 1,623 posts to here, which gathered a total 135,779 views from a logged 79,646 unique visitors.

I’d be glad to have you as a regular reader. To be one that never appears in my statistics you can use the RSS feed for my essays. If you don’t have an RSS reader you can sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. You can add any RSS feed by or and have it appear on your Friends page.

If you have a WordPress account, you can add my posts to your Reader. Use the “Follow NebusResearch” button to do that. Or you can use “Follow NebusResearch by E-mail” to get posts sent to your mailbox. That’s the way to get essays before I notice their most humiliating typos.

I’m @nebusj on Twitter, but don’t read or interact with it. It posts announcements of essays is all. I do read, on the mathematics-themed Mastodon instance.

Thank you for reading, however it is you’re doing, and I hope you’ll do more of that. If you’re not reading, I suppose I don’t have anything more to say.

How April 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog, and a question about my A-to-Z’s

I grant that I’m later even than usual in doing my readership recap. That news about how to get rid of the awful awful awful Block Editor was too important to not give last Wednesday’s publication slot. But let me get back to the self-preening and self-examination that people always seem to like and that I never take any lessons from.

In April 2021 there were 3,016 page views recorded here, according to WordPress. These came from 2,298 unique visitors. These are some impressive-looking numbers, especially given that in April I only published nine pieces. And one of those was the readership report for March.

The 3,016 page views is appreciably above the running mean of 2,267.9 views per month for the twelve months leading up to April. It’s also above the running median of 2,266.5 for the twelve months before. And, per posting, the apparent growth is the more impressive. This averages at 335.1 views per posting. The twelve-month running mean was 185.5 views per posting, and twelve-month running median 161.0.

Similarly, unique visitors are well above the averages. 2,298 unique visitors in April is well above the running mean of 1,589.9, and the running median of 1,609.5. The total comes out to 255.3 unique visitors per posting. The running mean, per posting, for the twelve months prior to April was 130.7 unique visitors per posting. The median was a mere 114.1 views per posting.

There were even nice results in the things that show engagement. There were 70 things liked in April, compared to the mean of 54.1 and median of 49. That’s 7.8 likes per posting, well above the mean of 4.1 and median of 4.0. There were for a wonder even more comments than average, 22 given in April compared to a mean of 18.3 and median of 18. Per-posting, that’s 2.4 comments per posting, comfortably above the 1.5 comments per posting mean and 1.2 comments per posting median. It all suggests that I’m finally finding readers who appreciate my genius, or at least style.

Bar chart showing two and a half years' worth of of monthly readership figures. There's a huge spike in October 2019. Beyond that, the past several months of 2021 have shown a fair rise to around 3,000 page views and 2,000 visitors per month.
I would have sworn I’d managed ten posts in April. No way to tell, really, except by counting.

I have doubts, of course, because I don’t have the self-confidence to be a successful writer. But I also notice, for example, that quite a few of these views, and visitors, came in a rush from about the 12th through 16th of April. That’s significant because my humor blog logged an incredible number of visits that week. Someone on the Fandom Drama reddit, explaining James Allen’s departure from Mark Trail, linked to a comic strip I’d saved for my own plot recaps. I’m not sure that this resulted in anyone on the Fandom Drama reddit reading a word I wrote. I also don’t know how this would have brought even a few people to my mathematics blog. The most I can find is several hundred people coming to the mathematics blog from Facebook. As far as I know Facebook had nothing to do with the Fandom Drama reddit. But the coincidence is hard to ignore.

As said, I posted nine things in April. Here they are in decreasing order of popularity. This isn’t quite chronological order, even though pieces from earlier in the month have more time to gather views. It likely means something that one of the more popular pieces is a Reading the Comics post for a comic strip which has run in no newspapers since the 1960s.

My writing plans? I do keep reading the comics. I’m trying to read more for comic strips that offer interesting mathematics points or puzzles to discuss. There’ve been few of those, it seems. But I’m burned out on pointing out how a student got a story problem. And it does seem there’ve been fewer of those, too. But since I don’t want to gather the data needed to do statistics I’ll go with my impression. If I am wrong, what harm will it do?

For each of the past several years I’ve done an A-to-Z, writing an essay for each letter in the alphabet. I am almost resolved to do one for this year. My reservation is that I have felt close to burnout for a long while. This is part of why I am posting two or even one things per week, and have since the 2020 A-to-Z finished. I think that if I do a 2021 A-to-Z it will have to be under some constraints. First is space. A 2,500-word essay lets me put in a lot of nice discoveries and thoughts about topics. It also takes forever to write. Planning to write an 800-word essay trains me to look at smaller scopes, and be easier to find energy and time to write.

Then, too, I may forego making a complete tour of the alphabet. Some letters are so near tapped out that they stop being fun. Some letters end up getting more subject nominations than I can fulfil. It feels a bit off to start an A-to-Z that won’t ever hit Z, but we do live in difficult times. If I end up doing only thirteen essays? That is probably better than none at all.

If you have thoughts about how I could do a different A-to-Z, or better, please let me know. I’m open to outside thoughts about what’s good in these series and what’s bad in them.

In April 2021 I posted 5,057 words here, by WordPress’s estimate. Over nine posts that averages 561,9 words per post. Things brings me to a total of 17,901 words for the year and an average 559 words per post for 2021.

As of the start of May I’ve posted 1,614 things here. They had gathered 131,712 views from 77,564 logged unique visitors.

If you’d like to be a regular reader here, you have options. One is, if you have an RSS reader, to follow essays from the RSS feed. If you don’t have an RSS reader but want one, good news! Sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. You can use their Reading/Friends page as an RSS reader. Add any RSS feed using or

If you have a WordPress account, you can use the “Follow NebusResearch” button, and posts will appear in your Reader here. If you’d rather get posts in e-mail, typos and all, you can click the “Follow NebusResearch by E-mail” button.

On Twitter my @nebusj account still exists, and posts announcements of things. But Safari doesn’t want to reliably let me read Twitter and I don’t care enough to get that sorted out, so you can’t use it to communicate with me. If you’re on Mastodon, you can find me as, the mathematics-themed server there. Safari does mostly like and let me read that. (It has an annoying tendency to jump back to the top of the timeline. But since Mathstodon is a quiet neighborhood this jumping around is not a major nuisance.)

Thank you for reading. I hope you’re enjoying it. And if you do have thoughts for a 2021 A-to-Z, I hope you’ll share them.

Here’s how to get rid of WordPress’s Block Editor and get the good editor back

So I have to skip my planned post for right now, in favor of good news for WordPress bloggers. I apologize for the insular nature of this, but, it’s news worth sharing.

This is how to dump the Block Editor and get the classic, or ‘good’, editor back. WordPress’s ‘Classic Editor Guide’ explains that you go to your — not your blog’s — account settings. That would be Under ‘Account Settings’ look for the ‘Interface Settings’ section. There’s a toggle for ‘Dashboard appearance’. Click it to ‘Show wp-admin pages if available’, and save that setting. There! Now you have the usable editor again.

Here’s what it looks like:

Screenshot of showing the Account Settings / Interface Settings section. A red ellipse outlines the 'Show wp-admin pages if available' toggle.
There it is! ‘Show wp-admin pages if available’ and if they ever stop being available, I’m out of here.

Now for how I came to this knowledge.

About two months ago WordPress pushed this update where I had no choice but to use their modern ‘Block’ editor. Its main characteristics are that everything takes longer and behaves worse. And more unpredictably. This is part of a site-wide reorganization where everything is worse. Like, it dumped the old system where you could upload several pictures, put in captions and alt-text for them, and have the captions be saved. And somehow the Block Editor kept getting worse. It has two modes, a ‘Visual Editor’ where it shows roughly what your post would look like, and a ‘Code Editor’ where it shows the HTML code you’re typing in. And this past week it decided anything put in as Code Editor should preview as ‘This block has encountered an error and cannot be previewed’.

It’s sloppy, but everything about the Block Editor is sloppy. There is no guessing, at any point, what clicking the mouse will do, much less why it would do that. The Block Editor is a master class in teaching helplessness. I would pay ten dollars toward an article that studied the complex system of failures and bad decisions that created such a bad editor.

This is not me being a cranky old man at a web site changing. I gave it around two months, plenty of time to get used to the scheme and to understand what it does well. It does nothing well.

For example, if I have an article and wish to insert a picture between two paragraphs? And I click at the space between the two paragraphs where I want the picture? There are at least four different things that the mouse click might cause to happen, one of them being “the editor jumps to the very start of the post”. Which of those four will happen? Why? I don’t know, and you know what? I should not have to know.

In the Classic Editor, if I want to insert a picture, I click in my post where I want the picture to go. I click the ‘Insert Media’ button. I select the picture I want, and that’s it. Any replacement system should be no less hard for me, the writer, to use. Last week, I had to forego putting a picture in one of my Popeye cartoon reviews because nothing would allow me to insert a picture. This is WordPress’s failure, not mine.

With the latest change, and thinking seriously whether WordPress blogging is worth the aggravation, I went to WordPress’s help pages looking for how to get the old editor back. And, because their help pages are also a user-interface clusterfluff, ended up posting this question to a forum that exists somewhere. And, wonderfully, musicdoc1 saw my frustrated pleas and gave me the answer. I am grateful to them and I cannot exaggerate how much difference this makes. Were I forced to choose between the Block Editor and not blogging at all, not blogging would win.

I am so very grateful to musicdoc1 for this information and I am glad to be able to carry on here.

If you are one of the WordPress programmers behind the Block Editor, first, shame on you, and second, I am willing to offer advice on how to make an editor. First bit of advice: it should be less hard than using a scrap of metal to carve a message into Commander Data’s severed head for recovery 500 years in the future. There’s more that’s necessary, but get back to me when you’ve managed that at least.

How do I do a matrix in WordPress LaTeX?

I wanted to walk through the calculation that Atlas the Mental Giant did in that installment of Barnaby which I shared on Monday. I’ve been stymied, though. To have anything comprehensible, I need a matrix. (To be precise, I need the determinant of a matrix.) It needs to be typeset in a particular way.

In normal mathematics communications this is easy. We can use the LaTeX typesetting standard, and I would write something like this:

\left(U - TS\right)\left|\begin{tabular}{cc} -dT^2 & S \\ e^{\imath \pi} & \zeta(0) L \end{tabular} \right|

I haven’t checked that I have the syntax precisely right, but it’s something like that.

WordPress includes a bit of support for LaTeX expressions. Here I mean the standard free account that I have; I can write in some line like

\int_0^M \sum_{j=1}^{N} a_j x^j dx

and it will get displayed neat and clean as

\int_0^M \sum_{j=1}^{N} a_j x^j dx

Thing is, the standard installation only has a subset of LaTeX’s commands. This is fair enough. It’s ridiculous to bring the entire workshop out when all you need is one hammer. What I can’t find, though, is a description of what LaTeX tools are available to the standard default WordPress free-account user. My experiments in my own comments suggest that the tabular, and the table, structures aren’t supported. But I can’t find a reference that says what’s allowed and what isn’t. I might, after all, be making a silly error in syntax, over and over. When you make an error in WordPress LaTeX you get a sulky note that the formula does not parse. There’s no hint given to what went wrong, or where. You have to remove symbols until the error disappears, and then reverse-engineer what should have been there.

(And the new WordPress editor does not help either. There is not a single point in the new editor where I am fully sure what clicking the mouse will do, or why. Whether it’ll pop up a toolbar I don’t need, or open a new section I don’t want, or pop up a menu where items have moved around from the last time, or whether it’ll jump back to the start of my post and challenge me to remember what I was doing. I realize it is always popular to complain about a web site change, but usually the changes make at least one thing better than it used to be. I can’t find the thing this has made at all better.)

So I’m hoping to attract information. Does anyone have a list of what LaTeX commands WordPress can use? And how the set of what’s available differs between the original post and the comments on the post? And what, for a basic subscription, you can use to represent a matrix?

Incidentally, here’s how to make WordPress print a line of LaTeX larger. Put a &s=N just before the closing $ of your symbol. That N can be 1, 2, 3, or 4. The bigger the N, the bigger the print. You can also put in 0 or negative numbers, if you want the expression to be smaller. I can’t imagine wanting that, but it’s out there.

How March 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog

March was the first time in three-quarters of a year that I did any Reading the Comics posts. One was traditional, a round-up of comics on a particular theme. The other was new for me, a close look at a question inspired by one comic. Both turned out to be popular. Now see if I learn anything from that.

I’d left the Reading the Comics posts on hiatus when I started last year’s A-to-Z. Given the stress of the pandemic I did not feel up to that great a workload. For this year I am considering whether I feel up to an A-to-Z again. An A-to-Z is enjoyable work, yes, and I like the work. But I am still thinking over whether this is work I want to commit to just now.

That’s for the future. What of the recent past? WordPress’s statistics page suggests that the comics were very well-received. It tells me there were 2,867 page views in March. That’s the greatest number since November, the last full month of the 2020 A-to-Z. This is well above the twelve-month running average of 2,199.8 views per month. And as far above the twelve-month running median of 2,108 views per month. Per posting — there were ten postings in March — the figures are even greater. There were 286.7 views per posting in March. The running mean is 172.9 views per posting, and the running median 144.8.

Bar chart showing monthly readership for the preceding two and a half years. After a loose deecline in January and February both readership and visitor counts were up sharply in March, though still far below the October 2019 peak.
While I am curious what kind of insights Cloudflare Analytics could hope to offer me, I suspect what it really amounts to is “Cloudflare will allow me to give them some money in exchange for confirmation that the most popular stuff is the things that lots of people like”.

There were 1,993 unique visitors in March. This is well above the running averages. The twelve-month running mean was 1,529.4 unique visitors, and the running median 1,491.5. This is 199.3 unique visitors per March posting, not a difficult calculation to make. The twelve-month running mean was 121.1 viewers per posting, though, and the mean a mere 99.8 viewers per posting. So that’s popular.

Not popular? Talking to me. We all feel like that sometimes but I have data. After a chatty February things fell below average for March. There were 30 likes given in March, below the running mean of 56.7 and median of 55.5. There were 3.0 likes per posting. The running mean for the twelve months leading in to this was 4.2 likes per posting. The running median was 4.0.

And actual comments? There were 10 of them in March, below the mean of 14.3 and median of 10. This averaged 1.0 comments per posting, which is at least something. The running per-post mean is 1.6 comments, though, and median is 1.4. It could be the centroids of regular tetrahedrons are not the hot, debatable topic I had assumed.

Pi Day was, as I’d expected, a good day for reading Pi Day comics. And miscellaneous other articles about Pi Day. I need to write some more up for next year, to enjoy those search engine queries. There are some things in differential equations that would be a nice different take.

As mentioned, I posted ten things in March. Here they are in decreasing order of popularity. I would expect this to be roughly a chronological list of when things were posted. It doesn’t seem to be, but I haven’t checked whether the difference is statistically significant.

In March I posted 5,173 words here, for an average 517.3 words per post. That’s shorter than my average January and February posts were. My average words-per-posting for the year has dropped to 558. And despite my posts being on average shorter, this was still my most verbose month of 2021. I’ve had 12,844 words posted this year, through the start of April, and more than two-fifths of them were March.

As of the start of April I’ve posted 1,605 things to the blog here. They’ve gathered 129,696 page views from an acknowledged 75,266 visitors.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, there’s a couple approaches. One is to read regularly. The best way for you to do that is using the RSS feed in whatever reader you prefer. I won’t see you show up in my statistics, and that’s fine. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can open a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal and add any RSS feed you like. This from or depending on what you sign up for. If that’s too much, you can use the “Follow NebusResearch By E-mail” button, which will send you essays after they’ve appeared and before I’ve fixed typos.

If you have a WordPress account you can use the “Follow NebusResearch” button to add me to your Reader. If you have Twitter, congratulations; I don’t exactly. My account at @nebusj is still there, but it only has an automated post announcement. I don’t know when that will break. If you’re on Mastodon, you can find me as

One last thing. WordPress imposed their awful, awful, awful ‘Block’ editor on my blog. I used to be able to us the classic, or ‘good’, editor, where I could post stuff without it needing twelve extra mouse clicks. If anyone knows hacks to get the good editor back please leave a comment.

Thank you all for reading.

How February 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I hadn’t quite intended it, but February was another low-power month here. No big A-to-Z project and no resumption of Reading the Comics. The high points were sharing things that I’d seen elsewhere, and a mathematics problem that occurred to me while making tea. Very low-scale stuff. Still, I like to check on how that’s received.

I did put together seven posts for February — the same as January — and here’s a list of them in descending order of popularity:

I assume the essay setting out the tea question was more popular than the answer because it had a week more to pick up readers. That or people reading the answer checked back on what the question was. It couldn’t be that people are that uninterested in my actually explaining a mathematics thing.

That’s it for relative popularity. How about for total readership?

Bar chart of monthly readership statistics for two and a half years worth of blogging. After a rise in late 2020 the readership's been dwindling the last several months, though not precipitously.
Oh, WordPress has given up on that little window promising a strategy to make money while blogging. I’m gratified they admitted it so swiftly.

I had expected readership to continue declining, since I’m publishing fewer things and having my name out there seems to matter. But the decline’s less drastic than I expected. There were 2,167 page views here in February. But in the twelve months from February 2020 through January 2021? I had a mean of 2,137.4 page views, and a median of 2,044.5. That is, I’m still on the high side of my popularity.

There were 1,576 logged unique visitors in February. In the twelve months leading up to that the mean was 1,480.7 unique visitors, and the median 1,395.5.

The figures look more impressive if you rate them by number of postings. In that case in February I gathered 309.6 views per posting, way above the mean of 157.9 and median of 135.6. There were also 225.1 unique visitors per posting, again way above the running mean of 109.9 and median of 90.7.

I’ll dig unpopularity out of any set of numbers, though. There were only 47 likes granted here in February, down from the running mean of 55.8 and median of 55.5. That is still 6.7 likes per posting, above the mean of 3.9 and median of 4.0, but it’s still sparse likings. There were a hearty 39 comments given — my highest number since October 2018 — and that’s well above the mean of 17.0 and median of 18. Per posting, that’s 5.6 comments per posting, the highest I have since I started calculating this figure back in July of 2018. The mean and median comments per posting, for the twelve months leading up to this, were both 1.2.

WordPress’s insights panel tells me I published seven things in February, which matches my experience. I still can’t explain the discrepancy back in January. It says also that I published 3,440 words over February, my quietest month since I started tracking those numbers. It put my average post at 590 words for February, and 573.3 words for the whole year to date.

I start March, if WordPress is reliable, having gathered 126,829 views from 73,273 logged unique visitors. This after 1,595 posts in total.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, I’d be glad to have you. You can read without showing up in my statistics by adding my RSS feed to whatever your RSS reader is. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can make one by signing up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Then you can add feeds from here, or any web site with an RSS feed. Use for Dreamwidth or at for Livejournal. More blogs than you think have RSS feeds, even if they’re not advertised. Try adding /feed or /?feed=atom to the end of a blog’s URL. It may work!

If you have a WordPress account you can add me to your Reader by clicking the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on this page. I’ve also re-enabled the “Follow NebusResearch By E-mail” option, for people who want to see posts before I’ve fixed the typos. The typos will never be fixed. Every time an author looks at an old blog post there are three more typos, even if they’ve corrected the typos before.

My Twitter account is still feral; it announces posts but I don’t read it. If you want to social-media-engage me the way to go is on the Mastodon microblogging network.

Thank you all for reading, whatever way you do that.

How January 2021 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I did not abandon my mathematics blog in January. I felt like I did, yes. But I posted seven essays, by my count. Six, by the WordPress statistics “Insight” panel. I have no idea what post it thinks doesn’t count, but this does shake my faith in whatever Insights it’s supposed to give me. On my humor blog, which had a post a day, it correctly logs 31. I haven’t noticed other discrepancies either. And it’s not like any of my seven January posts was a reblog which might count differently. One quoted a tweet, but that’s nothing unusual.

I’ve observed that my views-per-post tend to be pretty uniform. The implication then is that the more I write, the more I’m read, which seems reasonable. So what would I expect from the most short-winded month I’ve had in at least two and a half years?

Bar chart of about 30 months' worth of readership figures. January 2021 sees a slight rise in views and visitors from December 2020, though the number's below that of October and December 2020.
It’s exciting to think what this implies for the month when I publish nothing at all.

So, this might encourage some bad habits in me. There were 2,611 page views here in January 2021. That’s above December’s total, and comfortably above the twelve-month running mean of 2,039.5. It’s also above the twelve-month running median of 2,014.5. This came from 1,849 unique visitors. That’s also above the twelve-month running mean of 1,405.8 unique visitors, and the running median of 1,349 unique visitors.

Where things fell off a bit are in likes and comments. There were 41 likes given in January 2021, below the running mean of 55.2 and running median of 55.5. There were 13 comments received, below the running mean of 16.5 and running median of 18.

Looked at per-post, though, these are fantastic numbers. 373.0 views per posting, crushing the running mean of 138.8 and running median of 135.6 visitors per posting. (And I know these were not all views of January 2021-dated posts.) There were 264.1 unique visitors per posting, similarly crushing the running mean of 95.8 and running median of 90.7 unique visitors per posting.

Even the likes and comments look good, rated that way. There were 5.9 likes per posting in January, above the running mean and median of 3.7 likes per posting. There were 1.9 comments per posting, above the running mean of 1.1 and median of 1.0 per posting. The implication is clear: people like it when I write less.

It seems absurd to list the five most popular posts from January when there were seven total, and two of them were statistics reviews. So I’ll list them all, in descending order of popularity.

WordPress claims that I published 4,231 words in January. Since the Insights panel thinks I published six things, that’s an average of 705 words per post. Since I know I published seven things, that’s an average of 604.4 words per post. I don’t know how to reconcile all this. WordPress put my 2020 average at 672 words per posting, for what that’s worth.

If I can trust anything WordPress tells me, I started February 2021 with 1,588 posts written since I started this in 2011. They’d drawn a total of 124,662 views from 71,697 logged unique visitors.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, you can add the feed for these essays to whatever your RSS reader is. If you don’t have an RSS reader yet, sign up for a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. You can add any RSS feed to your Reading/Friends page from or And, if you have a WordPress account, you should be able to click the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on this page, and add this to your reader.

On Twitter I have an account that announces new posts; I guess I’m never going to work out what I have to do to access my account again. My actually slightly active social-media front is on the Mastodon microblogging network. I’m still working out how to be talkative there.

Thank you all for reading. And, I hope to have a follow-up to that MLX post soon. I’m enjoying working towards it.

How 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I like starting the year with a look at the past year’s readership. Really what I like is sitting around waiting to see if WordPress is going to provide any automatically generated reports on this. The first few years I was here it did, this nice animated video with fireworks corresponding to posts and how they were received. That’s been gone for years and I suppose isn’t ever coming back. WordPress is run by a bunch of cowards.

But I can still do a look back the old-fashioned way, like I do with the monthly recaps. There’s just fewer years to look back on, and less reliable trends to examine.

2020 was my ninth full year of mathematics blogging. (I reach my tenth anniversary in September and no, I haven’t any idea what I’ll do for that. Most likely forget.) It was an unusual one in that I set aside what’s been my largest gimmick, the Reading the Comics essays, in favor of my second-largest gimmick, the A-to-Z. It’s the first year I’ve done an A-to-Z that didn’t have a month or two with a posting every day. Also along the way I slid from having a post every Sunday come what may to having a post every Wednesday, although usually also a Monday and a Friday also. Everyone claims it helps a blog to have a regular schedule, although I don’t know whether the particular day of the week counts for much. But how did all that work out for me?

Bar chart of annual readership figures. After rising for several years both readership and unique visitor counts stabilized in 2020 to about the same numbers they'd been the year before.
I find it interesting that apparently my readership is just a couple of plateaus and if the trend of the last decade points to anything, it’s another year at about this level before doubling again, if I can hold out that long.

So, I had a year that nearly duplicated 2019. There were 24,474 page views in 2020, down insignificantly from 2019’s 24,662. There were 16,870 unique visitors in 2020, up but also insignificantly from the 16,718 visiting in 2019. The number of likes continued to drift downward, from 798 in 2019 to 662 in 2020. My likes peaked in 2015 (over 3200!) and have fallen off ever since in what sure looks like a Poisson distribution to my eye. But the number of comments — which also peaked in 2015 (at 822) — actually rose, from 181 in 2019 to 198 in 2020.

There’s two big factors in my own control. One is when I post and, as noted, I moved away from Sunday posts midway through the year. The other is how much I post. And that dropped: in 2019 I had 201 posts published. In 2020 I posed only 178.

I thought of 2020 as a particularly longwinded year for me. WordPress says I published only 118,941 words, though, for an average of 672 words per posting. That’s my fewest number of words since 2014, though, and my shortest words-per-posting for the year going since 2013. Apparently throwing things off is all those posts that just point to earlier posts.

And what was popular among posts this year? Rather than give even more attention to how many kinds of trapezoid I can think of, I’ll focus just on what were the most popular things posted in 2020. Those were:

I am, first, surprised that so many Reading the Comics posts were among the most-read pieces. I like them, sure, but how many of them say anything that’s relevant one you’ve forgotten whether you read today’s Scary Gary? And yes, I am going to be bothered until the end of time that I was inconsistent about including the # symbol in the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival posts.

I fell off checking what countries sent me readers, month by month. I got bored writing an image alt-text of “Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in dark red and most of the New World, western Europe, South and Pacific Rim Asia, Australia, and New Zealand in a more uniform pink” over and over and over again. But it’s a new year, it’s worth putting some fuss into things. And then, hey, what’s this?

Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in dark red and most of the New World, western Europe, South and Pacific Rim Asia, Australia, and New Zealand in a more uniform pink.
Now that I’ve had readers from Greenland I just have to try getting a reader from … that bunch of islands north of Scandinavia. Svalbard, I guess? They’ve got upwards of eight people on them, one of them might turn up here by accident someday.

Yeah! I finally got a reader from Greenland! Two page views, it looks like. Here’s the whole list, for the whole world.

Country Readers
United States 13,527
Philippines 1,756
India 1,390
Canada 1,123
United Kingdom 1,040
Australia 506
Germany 410
Singapore 407
Italy 244
Brazil 232
South Africa 173
Thailand 157
Austria 153
Sweden 143
Japan 142
Finland 138
Netherlands 138
Indonesia 134
France 131
Spain 118
Malaysia 108
Denmark 91
Turkey 88
United Arab Emirates 86
European Union 82
Hong Kong SAR China 81
Argentina 73
Mexico 68
Poland 66
Russia 65
Taiwan 63
New Zealand 60
Belgium 59
Switzerland 59
Norway 58
Pakistan 57
South Korea 57
Romania 51
China 49
Saudi Arabia 49
Colombia 47
Israel 47
Greece 45
Ireland 43
Hungary 40
Portugal 39
Puerto Rico 33
Vietnam 32
Croatia 31
Kenya 30
Egypt 28
Nigeria 25
Oman 24
Chile 23
Czech Republic 22
Jamaica 20
Bangladesh 19
Macau SAR China 19
Qatar 19
Peru 18
Serbia 18
Costa Rica 16
Zimbabwe 16
Albania 15
Bahrain 14
American Samoa 13
Slovenia 13
Sri Lanka 13
Bulgaria 12
Ghana 12
Nepal 12
Ukraine 12
Kazakhstan 11
Trinidad & Tobago 11
El Salvador 10
Lebanon 9
Uganda 9
Cyprus 8
Dominican Republic 8
Ecuador 8
Estonia 8
Honduras 8
Iceland 8
Jordan 8
Belize 7
Brunei 7
Lithuania 7
Slovakia 7
Algeria 6
Iraq 6
Azerbaijan 5
Cameroon 5
Guyana 5
Kuwait 5
Morocco 5
Bahamas 4
Cayman Islands 4
Georgia 4
Luxembourg 4
Macedonia 4
U.S. Virgin Islands 4
Uruguay 4
Venezuela 4
Belarus 3
Bolivia 3
Cambodia 3
Guam 3
Guatemala 3
Laos 3
Latvia 3
Myanmar (Burma) 3
Palestinian Territories 3
Panama 3
Sierra Leone 3
Tanzania 3
Afghanistan 2
Benin 2
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2
Fiji 2
Greenland 2
Tunisia 2
Uzbekistan 2
Barbados 1
Bermuda 1
Bhutan 1
Côte d’Ivoire 1
Cuba 1
Faroe Islands 1
Kyrgyzstan 1
Libya 1
Malawi 1
Malta 1
Mauritius 1
Mongolia 1
Nicaragua 1
Northern Mariana Islands 1
Rwanda 1
Seychelles 1
St. Lucia 1
St. Martin 1
Yemen 1

This is 141 countries, or country-like constructs, all together. I don’t know how that compares to previous years but I’m sure it’s the first time I’ve had five different countries send me a thousand page views each. That’s all gratifying to see.

So what plans have I got for 2021? And when am I going to get back to Reading the Comics posts? Good questions and I don’t know. I suppose I will pick up that series again, although since I took no notes last week, it isn’t going to be this week. At some time this year I want to do another A-to-Z, but I am still recovering from the workload of the last. Anything else? We’ll see. I am open to suggestions of things people think I should try, though.

What I Learned Writing My All 2020 Mathematics A to Z

And now, finally, the close of the All 2020 Mathematics A-to-Z. You may see this as coming in after the close of 2020. I say, well, I’ve done that before. Things that come close to the end of the year are prone to that.

Color cartoon illustration of a coati in a beret and neckerchief, holding up a director's megaphone and looking over the Hollywood hills. The megaphone has the symbols + x (division obelus) and = on it. The Hollywood sign is, instead, the letters MATHEMATICS. In the background are spotlights, with several of them crossing so as to make the letters A and Z; one leg of the spotlights has 'TO' in it, so the art reads out, subtly, 'Mathematics A to Z'.
Art by Thomas K Dye, creator of the web comics Projection Edge, Newshounds, Infinity Refugees, and Something Happens. He’s on Twitter as @projectionedge. You can get to read Projection Edge six months early by subscribing to his Patreon.

The first important lesson was that I need to read exactly what topics I’ve written about before going ahead with a new week’s topic. I am not sorry, really, to have written about Tiling a second time. I’d rather it have been more than two years after the previous time. But I can make a little something out of that, too. I enjoy the second essay more. I don’t think that’s only because I like my most recent writing more. In the second version I looked at one of those fussy little specific questions. Particularly, what were the 20,426 tiles which Robert Berger found could create an aperiodic tiling? Tracking that down brought me to some fun new connections. And it let me write in a less foggy way. It’s always tempting to write the most generally true thing possible. But details and example cases are easier to understand. It’s surprising that no one in the history of knowledge has observed this difference before I did.

The second lesson was about work during a crisis. 2020 was the most stressful year of my life, a fact I hope remains true. I am aware that ritual, doing regular routine things, helps with stress. So a regular schedule of composing an essay on a mathematical topic was probably a good thing for me. Committing to the essay meant I had specific, attainable goals on clear, predictable deadlines. The catch is that I never got on top of the A-to-Z the way I hoped. My ideal for these is to have the essay written a week ahead of publication. Enough that I can sleep on it many times and amend it as needed. I never got close to this. I was running up close to deadline every week. If I were better managing all this I’d have gotten all November’s essays written before the election, and I didn’t, and that’s why I had to slip a week. I have always been a Sabbath-is-made-for-man sort, so don’t feel bad for slipping the week. But I would have liked to never had had a week when I was copy-editing a half-hour before publication.

It does all imply that I need to do what I resolve every year. Select topics sooner. Start research and drafts sooner. Let myself slip a deadline when that’s needed. But there is also the observation that apparently I can’t cut down the time I spend writing. The first several years of this, believe it or not, I wrote three essays a week for eight intense weeks. These would be six to eight hundred words each. Then I slacked off, doing two a week; these of course grew to a thousand, maybe 1200 words each. For 2020? One essay a week and more than one topped 2500 words. Yes, the traditional joke is that you write a lot because you don’t have the time to write briefly. But writing a lot takes time too.

The third lesson is about biographies. I wrote more biographical sketches for 2020’s than for any previous A-to-Z. Six, if I’m not miscounting, and that without counting historical pieces like Hilbert’s Problems or statistics. These biographies had enlightening minor discoveries. Here I mean learning that Fibonacci seems to have been much less important than I’d imagined. They’re great fun to write, and a different set of challenges from describing what a cohomology might be.

They’re challenging. In the pandemic particularly, as I can’t rely on the university library for a quick biography to read. Or to check journals of mathematical history, although I haven’t resorted to such actual information yet. But I’m also aware that I am not a historian or a real biographer. I have to balance drawing conclusions I can feel confident are not wrong with making declarations that are interesting to read. Still, I enjoy a focus on the culture of mathematics, and how mathematics interacts with the broader culture. It’s a piece mathematicians tend not to acknowledge; our field’s reputation for objective truth is a compelling romantic legend.

I do plan to write an A-to-Z for 2021. I suspect I’ll do it as this year, one per week. I don’t know when I’ll start, although it should be earlier than June. I’ll want to give myself more possible slip dates without running off the year. I will not be writing about tiling again. I do realize that, since I have seven A-to-Z sequences of 26 essays each, I could in principle fill half a year with writing by reblogging each, one a day. I’m not sure the point of such an exercise, but it would at least fill the content hole.

There is a side of me that would like to have a blogging gimmick that doesn’t commit me to 26 essays. I’ve tried a couple; they haven’t ever caught like this has. Maybe I could do something small and focused, like, ten terms from complex analysis. I’m open to suggestions.

When will I resume covering mathematical themes in comic strips? I don’t know; it’s the obvious thing to do while I wait for the A-to-Z cycle to start anew. It’s got some of the A-to-Z thrill, of writing about topics someone else chose. But I need some time to relax and play and I don’t know when I’ll be back to regular work.

How November 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I am again looking at the past month’s readership figures. And I’m again doing this in what I mean to be a lower-key form. November was a relatively laconic month for me, at least by A-to-Z standards.

I had only 15 posts in November, not many more than would be in a normal month. The majority of posts were pointers to earlier posts yet. It doesn’t seem to have hurt my readership, though. WordPress says there were 2,873 pages viewed in November, for an average of 191.5 views per posting. This is a good bit above the twelve-month running average leading up to November. That average was a mere 1,912.8 views for a month and 81.6 views per posting. This is because that anomalously high October 2019 figure has passed out of the twelve-month range. There were 2,067 unique visitors logged, for 137.8 unique visitors per posting. The twelve-month running average was 1,294.1 unique visitors for the month, and 81.6 unique visitors per posting. So that’s suggestive of readership growth over the past year.

Bar chart of monthly readership figures. After a great spike in October 2019 there's a general, steady rise from June through October 2020. November 2020 is about 90% the height of October 2020's local maximum.
I’ve gotten far more successful at taking these statistics screenshots right at the transition from one month to another now that there’s nothing to do but refresh web browsers. Ill winds, you know?

The things that signal engaged readers were more ambiguous, as they always are. There were 60 things liked in November, or an average of 4.0 likes per posting. The twelve-month running average had 57.5 likes for a month, and 3.5 likes per posting. There were 11 comments given over the month, an average of 0.7 per posting. And that is below the twelve-month running average of 17.2 for a month and 1.1 comments per posting. I did have an appeal for topics for the A-to-Z, which usually draws comments. But they were for unappealing letters like W and X and it takes some inspiration to think of good mathematics terms for that part of the alphabet.

I like to look over the most popular postings I’ve had but every month it’s either trapezoids or record grooves. I did start limiting my listing to the most popular things posted in the two prior months, so new stuff has a chance at appearing. I make it the two prior months so that things which appeared at the end of a month might show up. And then that got messed up. The most popular recent post was from the end of September: Playful Math Education Blog Carnival 141. It’s a collection of recreational or education-related mathematics you might like. I’m not going to ignore that just because it published three days before October started.

November’s most popular things posted in October or November were:

I have no idea why these post reviews are always popular. I think people might see there’s a list or two in the middle and figure that must be a worthwhile essay. Someday I’ll put up some test essays that are complete nonsense, one with a list and one without, and see how they compare. Of course, now you know the trick and won’t fall for it.

If WordPress’s numbers are right, in November I published 7,304 words, barely more than half of October’s total. It was my tersest month since January. Per post it was even more dramatic: a mere 486.9 words per posting in November, my lowest of the year, to date. My average words per posting, for 2020, dropped to 678.

As of the start of December I’ve had 1,568 total postings here. They’ve gathered 119,685 page views from a logged 68,097 unique visitors.

This month, all going well, I will finish the year’s A-to-Z sequence, just in time. All this year’s A-to-Z essays should be available at this link. This year’s and all past A-to-Z essays should be at this link.

You can be a regular reader, without showing up in my readership figures, by adding my essays’ feed to whatever your RSS reader is. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can get a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. Then add this or any RSS feed to your friends page from or as you like.

If you’d like to follow on WordPress, you can add this to your Reading page by clicking the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on the page.

My essays are announced on Twitter as @nebusj. Don’t try to talk with me there. The account’s gone feral. There’s an automated publicity thing on WordPress that posts to it, and is the only way I have to reliably post there. If you want to social-media talk with me look to the mathematics-themed Mathstodon and my account Or you can leave a comment. Dad, you can also e-mail me. You know the address. The rest of you don’t know, but I bet you could guess it. Not the obvious first guess, though. Around your fourth or fifth guess would get it. I know that changes what your guesses would be.

Thank you all for reading. Have fun with that logic problem.

How August 2020 Saw People Finding Non-Comics Things Here

I’d like to take another quick look at my readership the past month. It’s the third without my doing regular comics posts, although they do creep in here and there.

I posted 19 things in August. That’s slightly up from July. I’m not aiming to do a post-a-day-all-month as I have in past A-to-Z sessions. It’s just too much work. Still, two posts every three days is fairly significant too.

There were 2,040 page views in August, a third month of increasing numbers. It’s below the twelve-month running average of 2,340.3, but that twelve months includes October 2019 when everybody in the world read something. Well, when six thousand people read something, anyway. There were 1,384 unique visitors, as WordPress figures them, in August. Again that’s below the twelve-month running average of 1,590.3. But, you know, the October 2019 anomaly and all that. Both these monthly totals are above the medians, for what that’s worth.

Bar chart of monthly readership for the last two and a half years. There's a slight increase in August compared to July 2020.
I couldn’t wait for 8:00 pm exactly. … Also, hey, exactly 888 followers, says the ticker, although I know that includes people who forgot they had a WordPress account back in 2013. It’s still a nice round number.

65 things got liked in August, barely above the 62.8 running average. There were 18 comments, a touch above the running average of 16.8.

Prorating things per post, eh, everything is basically the same. 107.4 views per posting, compared to an average of 126.2. 72.8 unique visitors per post, compared to a running average of 85.3. 3.4 likes per posting, compared to an average of 3.5. 0.9 comments per posting, compared to an average 1.0.

The most popular post in August was an old Reading the Comics post. The most popular posts from August this past month were:

You see what I mean about comics posts sneaking back in. Apparently I could have a quite nice, low-effort blog if I just shared mathematics comics without writing anything in depth. Well, I know it’s not fair use if I don’t add something to posting the comic.

As of the start of September I’d had 1,517 posts total here. They’d gathered 111,336 views from a logged 62.216 unique visitors.

I posted 12,051 words in August, my most verbose month by about 800 words. The average post was 634.3 words, which is well down from the start of the year. It’s all those Using My A to Z Archive posts. An A-to-Z essay I always aim for being about 1,200 words and it always ends up about 2,000. And it keeps getting worse.

This coming month I’m still planning to do an A-to-Z post every Wednesday. All of this year’s A-to-Z essays should go at this link. This year’s and all previous A-to-Z essays should be at this link. Also, I’m hosting the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival later this month and would appreciate any suggested blogs worth reading. Please give a mention in comments here.

And I’m always glad to have you as a regular reader. You can be one by clicking the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on the page. Or you can add the RSS feed for essays to whatever your reader is. If you don’t have an RSS reader, get a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal. You can add any RSS feed to your friends page from or as you like.

My essays are announced on Twitter as @nebusj, However, Twitter doesn’t like working with Safari regularly, so I don’t read it. If you actually want to social-media talk with me look to the mathematics-themed Mathstodon and my account It’s low-volume over there, but it’s pleasant. Thank you for reading.

How July 2020 Showed People are Getting OK With Less Comics Here

I’d like to once again take a short look at my readership figures, this time for July 2020. All my projects start out trying to be short and then they billow out to 2,500 words. I don’t know.

I posted 18 things in July. This is above what I do outside A-to-Z months, even without the Reading the Comics posts. There were 1,560 page views in July, which is a higher total than June offered. It’s below the twelve-month running average of 2,323.2 views per month. That stretch includes the anomalously high October 2019 figure, though. Take that out, my page view average was 1746.5, so I’m getting a better sense of how much people want to see me explain comic strips.

There were 1,005 unique visitors here in July. I’m always glad to see that above the 1,000-person mark. The twelve-month running average was 1,579.0 unique visitors, which is a bit higher. That includes the big October 2019 surge, though. Take that out and the running average was 1,144.2 unique visitors, closer to where I did end up.

This is dangerous to observe, but the median page view count the previous twelve months was 1,741; the median unique visitors count was 1,130. Medians are less vulnerable to extremes in a sample (extreme highs or lows), so maybe that’s a guide to whether the month saw readership grow or what. I’ll keep this up until I have no clear answers yet.

Bar chart of monthly readership for about two and a half years. There's a ridiculously high peak at October 2019. The monthly readership and unique visitors rose in July after a big drop for June 2020.
Oh, yeah, I don’t know what this offer about earning money is supposed to be but I also know anyone talking about earning money blogging is pulling a scam.

There were 74 things liked in July, above the running average of 60.3. There were 26 comments, comfortably above the running average of 16.3. A-to-Z months have an advantage in comments, certainly.

Rated per posting, the views and visitors were less good. 86.7 views per posting, well below the mean of 129.2. 55.8 unique visitors per posting, below the 87.2 average. But, then, 4.1 likes per posting, above the 3.5 average. And 1.4 comments per posting, above the 1.0 running average.

I want to start looking at just the five most popular posts of the month gone by. That got foiled when three posts all tied for the fifth-most-popular posting. Well, I can deal. The most popular things posted this past month were:

I started the month with 1,498 posts, that have gathered altogether 109,307 views from a logged 60,842 unique visitors.

I published 11,220 words in July, even though so many of my posts were just heads-up to older pieces. It works out to an average 863.1 words per posting in July. My words per post for the year 2020, so far, has dropped to 663. It had been 672 the month before.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, please use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on this page. Or add my RSS feed to whatever reader you have. If you lack an RSS reader, get a free account at Livejournal or Dreamwidth: their Friends pages can load RSS feeds from whatever source. (Also, if you see any blog you like, try adding /rss or /feed or /rss+xml or /rss+atom to the end of its URL. One of these will often work.) The automated announcement of posts on my Twitter account of @nebusj although that’s been going through a stretch of not letting me on again. I’m trying to hang out more on the mathematics-themed Mathstodon account at Thank you for reading.

How June 2020 Taught Me How Many People Just Read Me For The Comics

As part of stepping back how much I’ve committed to writing, I had figured to not do my full write-ups of monthly readership statistics. Too many of the statistics were too common, month to month; I don’t need to keep trying to tease information out about which South American countries got a single page view any given month. But I’m not quite courageous enough to abandon them altogether, either.

In June I published 13 pieces, which is a pretty common number. A-to-Z months usually have more than that — last year I managed a several-month streak where I published every single day — but I’m deliberately trying not to do that this time. The number of page views dropped, though. There were 1,318 page views in June, from a recorded 929 unique visitors. That’s way below the twelve-month running averages of 2,289.3 views from 1,551.2 visitors. It’s my lowest page view count since June of 2019, when everybody had that mysterious drop in readers. It’s my lowest visitor count since December 2019.

Bar chart of monthly readership and unique visitor count. After several months holding steady around two thousand page views, June saw a drop to about 1,300 page views.
Mostly I’m not including the map of countries that sent me any readers because I hate having to look up whether it’s Mercatur or Mercator in describing the map projection. You’d think the spell checker would help me, but I have managed to misspell Cincinnati(?) enough times that it won’t tell me when I’m doing that wrong, so I can’t trust it on other words now. Also I’m not positive that WordPress is using Mercator rather than some other casually-similar-looking projection and somehow that’s a distinction I treat as important for my alt text?

There were 22 comments given in June, above the average of 15.4, thanks in part to how A-to-Z sequences appeal directly for comments. There were 43 likes, which is down from the running average of 60.1.

In all, a stunning rebuke to cutting back on my comic strip content. Maybe, anyway. Viewed per posting, it’s a less dramatic collapse. Per posting, there were 101.4 views, compared to an average of 129.2. That’s about four-fifths my average, rather than the three-fifths that the raw numbers implied. There were 71.5 unique visitors per posting, compared to an average of 86.8. Again, that’s a one-fifth drop rather than the two-fifths that the raw figures said I had. 3.3 likes per posting, compared to an average of 3.6. That’s barely a drop. And 1.7 comments per posting, compared to an average 1.0.

The most popular pieces … you know, I don’t need to support the popularity of my grooves-on-a-record-album or the count of different trapezoids. Let me list the five most popular pieces published in June, from June. You can almost see the transition from comics to A-to-Z:

I started July having posted 1,480 things here, gathering 107,748 views from a recorded 59,837 unique visitors. So somewhere along the lines I’ve missed visitor #60,000. Sorry, whoever you were.

I’d published 9,771 words in June, at an average 751.6 words per posting. My average post length so far this year has been 672 words. I’m curious how this will change with me writing one big piece a week, and then a bunch of shorter ones around it.

And I’m always happy to have more readers, even as I’m afraid of answering their comments. You can “Follow Nebusresearch” using the button on this page. Or you can add my RSS feed to whatever reader you like. I do announce posts on my sometimes-accessible @Nebusj Twitter account, and I’m trying to post announcements of new A-to-Z essays to my account on the mathematics-themed Mastodon account, Thanks for reading, however many of you remain.

Reading the Comics, June 7, 2020: Hiatus Edition

I think of myself as not a prescriptivist blogger. Here and on my humor blog I do what I feel like, and if that seems to work, I do more of it if I can. If I do enough of it, I try to think of a title, give up and use the first four words that kind of fit, and then ask Thomas K Dye for header art. If it doesn’t work, I drop it without mention. Apart from appealing for A-to-Z topics I don’t usually declare what I intend to do.

This feels different. One of the first things I fell into here, and the oldest hook in my blogging, is Reading the Comics. It’s mostly fun. But it is also work. 2020 is not a year when I am capable of expanding my writing work without bounds. Something has to yield, and my employers would rather it not be my day job. So, at least through the completion of the All 2020 Mathematics A-to-Z, I’ll just be reading the comics. Not Reading the Comics for posting here.

And this is likely a good time for a hiatus. There is much that’s fun about Reading the Comics. First is the comic strips, a lifelong love. Second is that they solve the problem of what to blog about. During the golden age of Atlantic City, there was a Boardwalk performer whose gimmick was to drag a trap along the seabed, haul it up, and identify every bit of sea life caught up in that. My schtick is of a similar thrill, with less harm required of the sea life.

But I have felt bored by this the last several months. Boredom is not a bad thing, of course. And if you are to be a writer, you must be able to write something competent and fresh about a topic you are tired of. Admitting that: I do not have one more sentence in me about kids not buying into the story problem. Or observing that yes, that is a blackboard full of mathematics symbols. Or that lotteries exist and if you play them infinitely many times strange conclusions seem to follow. An exercise that is tiring can be good; an exercise that is painful is not. I will put the painful away and see what I feel like later.

For the time being I figure to write only the A-to-Z essays. And, since I have them, to post references back to old A-to-Z essays. These recaps seemed to be received well enough last year. So why not repeat something that was fine when it was just one of many things?

And after all, the A-to-Z theme is still at heart hauling up buckets of sea life and naming everything in it. It’s just something that I can write farther ahead of deadline, but will not.

Thanks all for reading.

The Boardwalk performer would, if stumped, make up stuff. What patron was going to care if they went away ill-informed? It was a show. The performer just needed a confident air.

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,, 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.

How April 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog

Yes, I feel a bit weird looking at the past month’s readership this early in the month too. I was tempted to go back and look at March’s figures all over again just so I stay tardy. But, no sense putting it off further, especially as I’m thinking to over-commit myself again already.

In April I managed to publish 15 things. This amazes me given that my spirits are about like everyone’s spirits are. I did not repeat having 2,000 readers this past month. But it came surprisingly close. Here’s a look at the readership figures.

There were 1,959 pages viewed over the course of April. This is a bit under the twelve-month running average of 2,127.1. But I’m going to be under the twelve-month running average at least until that October 2019 spike fades into the background. I’m all right with that. There were 1,314 unique visitors, which again is under the running average of 1,440.2 unique visitors in a month.

Bar chart of about two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures. After three depressed month the readership has popped up two months in a row to about two thousand people. October 2019 is a prominent spike above all this.
So while the total number of page views decreased, the number of unique visitors rose. What this means: I’m getting better at driving people off fast. That’s comforting.

The measures that I think of as showing engagement were poor, as they usually are. There were nine comments received over the month, down from the 15.3 average. More surprisingly there were only 44 likes given over the month, noticeably below the 60.4 average.

Everything looks a bit better when pro-rated per posting. The 130.6 views per posting are above even the twelve-month average for that of 120.8 views per posting. The 87.6 unique visitors per posting beats the average of 81.1. It’s still 0.6 comments per posting, below the average of 1.0. And only 2.9 likes per posting, below the average of 3.8. Can’t have everything, I suppose. But I may be doing something to affect that pattern.

There were, counting my home page, 265 postings that got any kind of views in April. That’s up from the 255 of March and 210 of February. 134 of them got more than one view, down from March’s 145 but up from February’s 108. 36 of them got at least ten views, compared to 35 in March and 25 in February. And what got the most page views? About what you’d expect:

The most popular thing I published in April was Rjlipton’s thoughts on the possible ABC Conjecture proof, which is pretty good performance for a post that just says someone else wrote a thing. I don’t know why my headsup posts like that are so reliably popular. But I suppose if people trust my judgement about stuff that’s almost as good as people trusting my prose.

73 countries or country-like things sent me readers in April. 12 of them were single-view countries. This is down from the 78 countries in March, but up from the 67 in February. There had been 30 single-view countries in March and 19 in February, so I guess people are doing more archive-reading, though. Here’s the details for that:

Mercator-style map with the United States in darkest red. Most of the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand are in a fairly uniform pink. A smattering of African countries are also in pink.
When you hold the mouse over a country that sent you any readers the map pops up with the name of the country and how many views it got. So I went slightly crazy trying to figure out some of those little South Pacific islands until I learned they were lint on my screen. I’d like to know how to zoom into this map.

Country Readers
United States 1,160
Canada 128
India 105
United Kingdom 102
Australia 34
Singapore 31
Germany 29
Poland 21
Romania 21
Austria 15
Brazil 15
Philippines 15
Finland 14
Netherlands 14
China 13
Italy 13
Ireland 12
Kazakhstan 10
South Korea 10
Thailand 10
American Samoa 9
Japan 9
Saudi Arabia 9
South Africa 9
France 8
Spain 8
Hong Kong SAR China 7
United Arab Emirates 7
Albania 6
Belgium 6
Indonesia 6
Portugal 6
Turkey 6
Kenya 5
Israel 4
Malaysia 4
Slovenia 4
Sweden 4
Switzerland 4
Argentina 3
Croatia 3
Egypt 3
European Union 3
Greece 3
New Zealand 3
Russia 3
Trinidad & Tobago 3
Uruguay 3
Vietnam 3
Bangladesh 2
Czech Republic 2
Denmark 2
Dominican Republic 2
Estonia 2
Greenland 2
Mexico 2
Norway 2
Peru 2
Puerto Rico 2
Serbia 2
Taiwan 2
Bahrain 1
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1
Bulgaria 1
Hungary 1
Kyrgyzstan 1
Lithuania 1 (**)
Malawi 1
Nigeria 1
Pakistan 1
Seychelles 1
Sri Lanka 1
St. Lucia 1

Lithuania has given me a single view each of the last three months. No other countries are on a similar streak.

WordPress says I published a mere 8,566 words in April. That’s my most laconic month since January. With 15 posts, that gives me an average of just under 571.1 words per posting, which is my shortest of the year. It brings my average words per posting for the year down to 691; it had been 721 at the start of April. As of the start of May I’d published 50 posts and 34,536 words since the start of the year.

As of the start of May I’ve posted 1,454 pieces altogether. They’ve drawn 104,439 views from 57,501 acknowledged unique visitors.

I’d be glad, always, to have you as a regular reader. You can put this blog in your WordPress reader by using the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on the upper right corner of the page. If you prefer to use an RSS reader, the feed is available to you. If you don’t have an RSS reader, you can get one as your friends page with a free Dreamwidth or Livejournal account. And, excitingly, my Twitter account @Nebusj has resumed working. I’ll maybe even get back into the habit of using it. I am also on the mathematics-themed Mastodon instance, and trying to figure a good habit for that. We are all on journeys of discovering our new habits, though.

Thank you for reading this. I hope you read more, and maybe comment some. Please take care.

How March 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog, Finally

And now I can close my books on March 2020. Late? Yes, so it’s late. You know what it’s been like. It was a month full of changes of fate, not least because on the 10th I volunteered to tape the empty slot hosting Denise Gaskins’s Playful Math Education Blog Carnival, and right after that the world ended. Hosting such an event I can expect to bring in new readers, although the trouble organizing things meant I didn’t post until the last day of the month. Still, I could hope to see some readership bump. How did that all turn out?

In March I posted 15 things, which is about as busy as I could hope to manage for a month that’s not eaten up by an A-to-Z sequence. And that for a month when I didn’t feel I could point out my series on information theory as explained by the March Madness basketball tournament. I believe the frequency of my own posting is the one variable in my control that affects my readership numbers. And this looks to be true. There were 2,049 page views here in March. This is a bit below the twelve-month running average of 2,072.3 views, but remember, that figure has the October 2019 spike in it. Take October out of it and the running average was a mere 1,472.7 page views.

Bar chart showing two and a half years' worth of monthly readership figures, both page views and unique visitors, captured at the very start of April.
Not denying that it’s nice I was ready at exactly midnight, between the 31st of March and 1st of April, Universal Time to catch a screenshot where no April views had been gathered. I’d just rather have been out messing around at the hipster bar where we play pinball Tuesday nights instead.

There were 1,267 unique visitors in March. That’s again below the running average of 1,414.1, but again, the October spike throws that off. Without the October spike the running average was 964.3. 1,267 unique visitors is still my fourth-greatest number of unique visitors on record.

There were 61 likes given to any of my posts in March, essentially tied with the running average of 63.4 likes for a month. There were 21 comments, a nice boost from my running average of 13.9.

Per posting, my averages look pretty good. There were 136.6 views per posting in March, above the running average of 117.7. There were 84.5 visitors per posting, above the average 79.7. There were 4.1 likes per posting, above the average of 4.0 for the first time in ages. And there were even 1.4 comments per posting, well above the 0.9 comments per posting average, and my highest average there since January 2019.

So what all was particularly popular? The Playful Math Education Blog Carnival, alas, posted too late to take the top spot, although it’s looking good to place in April. The top five postings last month in order were:

I assume the popularity of that March 11 Reading the Comics post came from people looking for Pi Day strips. Why they ultimately found the 2016 Pi Day comics, rather than another year’s, I don’t know. I think the 2016 was a good year for strips, so maybe that’s what drew people in.

Counting my home page, 255 pages got any views at all in March. That’s up from the 210 of February and 218 of January. 145 of them got more than one page view, up from 108 in February and 102 in January. 35 posts got at least ten views, up from 25 in February and 27 in January.

Mercator-style map of the world with the United States in deepest red, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Western Europe, the Baltic states, and South and Southeast Asia in a more uniform pink.
Also, won’t fib here: my least-favorite part of this is trying to think of alt text that describes a map like this. Some month I’m just going to re-run the previous month’s and see if anybody says anything. … Wait, no readers in Japan? That seems unusual.

There were 78 countries or country-like entities sending me readers in March. Hey, one for each episode of the Original Star Trek, nice. That’s up from 67 in February and 63 in January. But this time there were 30 single-view countries, well above February’s 19 and January’s 18. Here’s the list of them:

Country Readers
United States 1,244
Philippines 125
Thailand 80
United Kingdom 75
Canada 69
India 60
Germany 53
Singapore 35
Australia 27
Puerto Rico 26
Italy 17
Finland 16
France 14
Taiwan 12
Turkey 11
Brazil 10
Spain 10
Indonesia 9
Israel 8
China 7
Greece 7
Malaysia 7
South Africa 7
Denmark 6
Pakistan 6
Belgium 5
Hong Kong SAR China 5
Sweden 5
Switzerland 5
United Arab Emirates 5
European Union 4
Mexico 4
Netherlands 4
Saudi Arabia 4
Sri Lanka 4
Bulgaria 3
Croatia 3
Czech Republic 3
Nigeria 3
Norway 3
Qatar 3
Romania 3
Fiji 2
Hungary 2
Luxembourg 2
New Zealand 2
Oman 2
Serbia 2
American Samoa 1 (***)
Bahamas 1
Bangladesh 1
Bermuda 1
Cambodia 1 (**)
Colombia 1
Costa Rica 1
Cyprus 1
Egypt 1 (*)
Georgia 1
Guam 1
Ireland 1 (*)
Jamaica 1
Kenya 1
Latvia 1
Lebanon 1
Lithuania 1 (*)
Macau SAR China 1
Malta 1
Nepal 1
Nicaragua 1
Panama 1
Russia 1
Rwanda 1
Slovenia 1
South Korea 1 (**)
Trinidad & Tobago 1
Ukraine 1
Uruguay 1
Vietnam 1

Egypt, Ireland, and Lithuania were single-reader countries two months in a row. Cambodia and South Korea are single-reader countries three months in a row now. American Samoa is in its fourth month of a single reader for me.

In March I published 10,113 words by WordPress’s counter. This was 674.2 words per posting. So while that’s about five hundred more words than I wrote in February the average post shrank by nearly two hundred words. For the year to date I’m averaging now 721 words per post, down from 755.1 at the end of February.

As of the start of April I had collected 102,481 views from 56,182 logged unique visitors, over the course of 1,439 postings.

If you’d like to be among my regular readers, please do. You can use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on the upper right corner of the page to add this to your WordPress reader. Or you can use the RSS feed to read my stuff without showing up in any of my statistics. If you need an RSS reader, get a free account on Dreamwidth or Livejournal, which still exists. You can use their Friends pages as RSS readers. I’m still officially on Twitter as @Nebusj, and sort-of on the mathematics-themed Mastodon instance as, although I haven’t really got the hang of what to do there yet. We’ll see. Thank you for reading.

How February 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog

Oh, yes, so. I did intend to review my readership around here last month. It’s just that things got in the way. Most of them not related to the Covid-19 pandemic; it’s much more been personal matters and my paying job and such. If someone is interested in paying me to observe that I had readers WordPress records as coming merely from the European Union, drop me a note. We can work something out. Heck, slip me ten bucks and I’ll write an essay on any mathematics topic I don’t feel wholly incompetent to discuss. Or wait around for the 2020 Mathematics A-to-Z, coming whenever I do feel up to it.

Also, do please remember that I’m hosting the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival at the end of this month. If you’ve spotted anything on the web — blog, static web site, video, podcast — that enlightened you about some field of mathematics, please let me know. And let me know of your own projects. It’ll be fun.

Now to see what my readership was like back in February, impossibly long ago as that does seem to be.

Bar chart of four and a half years of monthly readership statistics, with the readership having returned to a level after a huge spike in October.
I mean, yes, the anomaly in October makes the rest of my readership look like nothing, but if you look at the apparent floor I’ve had since July and compare it to one or two or three years ago I’m clearly managing to get a nice steady influx of readers and bots that WordPress doesn’t recognize as such.

I posted 11 things in February. January had been 10. There were 1,419 page views in February. That’s just about what January was. It’s below the twelve-month running average of 2,060.3 page views. This looks dire, but it’s about the same as January’s readership. And the twelve-month average does have that anomalous October spike messing things up. If we pretend that October didn’t happen, well, that mean was something like 1460 page views.

There were 991 unique visitors in February. That’s again rather below the twelve-month running average of 1401.1 unique visitors. But again if we pretend there was no October, then the running average was something like 950 unique visitors, so things aren’t all that dire. Just that the occasional taste of popularity spoils you for ages to come.

A mere 36 things got likes here in February, below the running average of 64.1 and I’m not working out what that is with October included. Most of that readership spike didn’t convert to likes or comments anyway. Those were well-liked months but they were also ones that got something posted every single day. There were 12 comments in February, roughly in line with the 13.8 comments running average.

Per post, all these figures look a bit better. There were 129 views per posting, just over the 116.6 running average. There were 90.1 unique visitors per posting, above the running average of 78.6. There were 3.3 likes per posting, below the anemic average of 4.1. There were even 1.1 comments per posting, technically above the average of 0.9. If I could just post something four times per day that October peak would be merely an average month.

The most popular postings in February were mostly the usual suspects. Just one surprised me with its appearance:

The most popular thing written in February were two equally-popular Reading the Comics posts, Symbols Edition and 90s Doonesbury Edition.

There were 210 pages that got any views at all in February, close to the 218 of January. 108 of them got more than one view, just about the same as January’s 102. 25 pages got at least ten views. The previous couple months saw 23 and 27 posts that popular.

67 countries or country-like entities sent me any readers at all in February. That’s up from 63 in January and 60 in December. 19 of them were single-view countries, up from January’s 15 and December’s 18. Here’s the roster:

Mercator-style map of the world with the United States in darkest pink. Most of the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceana are in a more uniform pink. Mediterranean Africa and a few scattered other countries are also represented, though not Mongolia or most of the former Soviet republics.
Aw, my Scandinavian readers are all moving on to other stuff.

Country Readers
United States 851
Philippines 85
India 57
Canada 53
United Kingdom 41
Germany 35
Australia 26
Finland 23
Singapore 23
Brazil 19
Thailand 14
Denmark 13
Hungary 13
Hong Kong SAR China 10
South Africa 10
Russia 9
Japan 8
Netherlands 8
New Zealand 8
Vietnam 8
Mexico 7
Indonesia 6
Poland 6
Malaysia 5
Belgium 4
France 4
Italy 4
Sweden 4
Austria 3
Colombia 3
Greece 3
Jamaica 3
Uganda 3
Ukraine 3
Algeria 2
Azerbaijan 2
China 2
Cyprus 2
Ghana 2
Israel 2
Kenya 2
Nigeria 2
Portugal 2
Slovenia 2
Spain 2
Switzerland 2
Turkey 2
United Arab Emirates 2
American Samoa 1 (**)
Argentina 1
Bulgaria 1
Cambodia 1 (*)
Croatia 1
Dominican Republic 1
Egypt 1
European Union 1
Ireland 1
Libya 1
Lithuania 1
Northern Mariana Islands 1
Peru 1
Puerto Rico 1
Saudi Arabia 1 (**)
Slovakia 1 (**)
South Korea 1 (*)
Sri Lanka 1
Taiwan 1

Cambodia and South Korea were single-view countries in January also. American Samoa, Saudi Arabia, and Slovakia have been single-view countries for three months.

In February I posted 9,699 words by WordPress’s counter. That’s 881.7 words per posting. For the year my average post, as of the start of the month, was 755.1 words per post. Some months are talky. I had started the month with 100,432 page views, just missing out on being number 100,000 myself. And these came from a logged 54,920 unique visitors. And I had posted a total of 1,424 things from the dawn of time to the 1st of March, which by some strange fluke was itself fifty thousand years ago.

Well, I hope to keep posting and to review March a little closer to the 1st of April, which looks to be about fifty thousand years in the future. To follow along with me, add the feed to your RSS reader. If you need an RSS reader, sign up for a free account on Dreamwidth or Livejournal; you can put RSS feeds on your Friends page. Or if you prefer a more old-fashioned way that shows up in my statistics here, use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button at the upper right corner of this page and follow it through your WordPress account. Or follow my fallow @Nebusj account on Twitter where new posts get announced at least. As ever, thank you for reading. Be well, please.

How January 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog

Let me now take a moment to review my readership figures for the last past month. I know February is already off to a sluggish start for me as a writer. I’ve had, particularly, my paying job demanding more mental focus than usual. But I got a wonderful crop of comic strips to discuss last week, so that’ll be some nice fun posts to write over the current week.

The month was, in readership, almost a repeat of December 2019. There were 1,436 page views from 951 unique visitors. December saw 1,386 page views from 909 unique visitors. These figures are both well below the twelve-month running average of 2,055.2 page views from 1,393.2 unique visitors. I am going to be filing a lot of reports like that, at least until either the great spike of October 2019 fades into history. Or I get another like it.

Bar chart of several years' worth of readership figures, by month. The great spike in October is moving into the past; January's is nearly a duplicate of December's.
I finally did it! I caught my statistics right at midnight server time! … Wait, this says 950 visitors in January, while the statistic now says 951. Did I get this before the 11:59 UTC page views were logged?

There were 34 things liked here in January, down even from December’s figure and about half the twelve-month average of 66.5. There were also seven comments in January, not quite half the twelve-month average of 15.0. But, compared to December’s 0, that’s a great rise.

The per-post figures look generally better. This is because January was a laconic month, with a mere ten posts. And two of them were statistics-review posts. But that gives me 143.6 views per posting, above the average of 114.2. And 95.1 visitors per posting, above the average of 76.6. There were 3.4 likes per posting, below the average of 4.2. And 0.7 comments per posting, a statistic I didn’t need my spreadsheet to calculate. But that’s still below the twelve-month running average of 1.0.

218 pages, including my home page, got any page views in January. There’d been 224 getting such in December. 102 pages got more than one view in January, which is exactly the count that got more than one view in December. This underscores what a duplicate month January was. 23 got at least ten views, down from 27, so that’s a difference finally.

The most popular posts in January included two perennials, that one linear programming post that got linked from somewhere, and one that seems like it must have fit some weird search engine term:

Really, though, why would a comics post from January 2019 get back to the top of the pile suddenly?

63 countries sent me any page views at all in January, down from 60 in December and 94 in November. There were 15 single-view countries, down fro 18 the previous month and 24 the month before that. Here’s the roster:

Mercator-style map of the world with the United States in darkest pink. Western Europe, South Asia, Australia, and much of South America are in a more uniform pink.
Oh, hi, Tunisia. Nice to see you! I hope everything’s okay. Uganda’s the landlocked African country to show up here and that’s honestly going to help me remember where Uganda is now.

Country Readers
United States 847
United Kingdom 65
Philippines 60
Canada 58
India 47
Germany 41
Australia 37
Argentina 35
Brazil 22
Singapore 21
Spain 19
Finland 12
Japan 12
Thailand 9
Sweden 8
France 7
Netherlands 7
Romania 7
South Africa 7
Norway 6
Greece 5
Italy 5
Malaysia 5
Mexico 5
Nigeria 5
Uganda 5
Austria 4
Denmark 4
Guyana 4
New Zealand 4
Russia 4
Costa Rica 3
Croatia 3
Hungary 3
Israel 3
Lithuania 3
Poland 3
Serbia 3
Switzerland 3
U.S. Virgin Islands 3
Vietnam 3
Bahrain 2
Brunei 2
Hong Kong SAR China 2
Ireland 2
Pakistan 2
Taiwan 2
Turkey 2
American Samoa 1 (*)
Bangladesh 1
Belgium 1
Cambodia 1
Chile 1
Ecuador 1
Indonesia 1
Panama 1
Portugal 1
Saudi Arabia 1 (*)
Slovakia 1 (*)
Slovenia 1
South Korea 1
Tunisia 1
United Arab Emirates 1

American Samoa, Saudi Arabia, and Slovakia were single-view countries in December. None of these were also single-view countries in November.

In January I published 6,158 words, says WordPress. I don’t know how that counts things like subject lines and image captions. It’s a shame there’s literally no way to find out, ever. But with that spread over ten posts, I have an average of 616 words per posting for the month, and so far for the year. My average post for 2019 was 861 words. This was driven up by things like the A-to-Z sequence.

As of the start of February I’d posted 1,413 things on this blog. They attracted 99,013 views from a recorded 53,928 unique visitors. I’m trying to not watch obsessively as I approach 100,000.

If you’d like to take a chance at being reader number 100,000, please visit this page, or click on the “Follow Nebusresearch” button at the upper right corner of this page. If you don’t care about being reader 100,000, I don’t mind. You can use your RSS reader to watch the at your leisure. And my automated-but-lost-to-me Twitter account @Nebusj posts announcements of things as they are published.

Thank you for reading, whatever way you choose to do it.

How All Of 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I’d promised during my review of the past month that I’d also look at my readership for the whole of 2019. It took a bit longer than I figured, but I’ve gotten there. 2019 was the eighth full year that I’ve been mathematics-blogging. I started in September of 2011 and needed a while to figure out what the heck I was doing. I think I knew what I was doing for roughly half of last year’s A-to-Z sequence. I’ve since forgotten it.

2019 was my most-read year to date: 24,662 page views from 16,718 unique visitors. It’s a heck of growth from even my 2018 figures, of 16,597 page views and 9,769 unique visitors. This 49 percent growth in year-to-year page views is the second greatest I’ve had. 2014-to-2015 saw a 60 percent growth. 2015 is also the first year I did an A-to-Z and I’m certain that made a difference. The 71 percent growth in unique visitors was the greatest growth in that statistic.

Bar chart showing annual readership, which rose significantly in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2019, and held steady or drifted downward in the other years.
WordPress only started tracking, or at least reporting, unique visitors partway through 2012 which is why the darker unique-visitors bar in these makes it look like I had two visitors who read three thousand posts each that year.

A good part of that is a fluke event, though. One post in my A-to-Z sequence got linked from somewhere and that brought a flood of readers in. Easily something like five thousand people came in, read one or two posts, and left again. I’d still have a record year without that influx. But I don’t see anything else getting a reference like that, so I have to suppose that 2020 is going to be a more challenging year.

Bar chart showing the number of likes over the years; 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019 were at roughly a thousand likes, with 2015 and 2016 four times and two times that figure.
Again, those 2012 and 2013 figures look suspiciously low, but I can’t think of any changes in how WordPress reported statistics which would make that make sense.

I always talk about how I’m getting fewer likes and even fewer comments than I used to. The yearly statistics show just how big the drop off is. There were 798 things liked in 2019, the lowest number since 2013. I’m not sure that the statistics for 2011 through 2013 are quite right. The jump between 2013’s 262 and 2014’s 1,045 seems suspicious. I’ve had a steady decline since 2015, though.

Bar chart showing the number of comments over the years. 2015 had the unquestioned peak, with 2016 and 2018 next-best, but the progression is a decline from that 2015 high point.
I certainly am not looking at this chart and the Likes chart and thinking that my chance to be a successful blogger came and went in 2015, nope!

And there were 181 comments in all of 2019. That’s half of 2018’s comment count. It’s my lowest number since 2013. I suspect part of the trouble is Reading the Comics posts. They’re good content, yes, but as initial posts they’re fairly closed things. Even the A-to-Z posts, apart from the appeals for subject matter, are pretty closed topics. I’ve clearly forgotten how to write open essays.

Besides my home page there were 797 pages that got at least one page view over 2019. There were 635 that got at least two page views, 304 getting at least ten views, 16 getting at least a hundred, and two that got over a thousand page views. Also, 109 of the pages viewed were Reading the Comics posts. The most popular of these were:

The first and third of these were posted in 2019. The top five essays posted in 2019 would be the linear programming and the Hamiltonian essays, plus:

Apart from the linear programming essay, I understand why these A-to-Z topics should be so popular. They’re big topics, ones that support wide swaths of mathematics.

Over the whole of 2019, people from 148 countries or country-like entities read something here. I feel pretty good about the spread of people, really. The only anomaly is that it’s been yet another year with no Greenland readers. I know there’s 14 people in Greenland but it does seem like someone would have read a page of mine by accident. Madagascar is a similar curious anomaly. 31 countries had only a single page view, which is really not that different to how many single-view countries I’ll have in any one month. Here’s the full roster of reading countries:

Mercator-style map of the world. The United States is in the darkest red, but most of the world has at least some pink in it. The exceptions are some of Saharan Africa, Greenland, Cuba, Madagascar, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.
I normally don’t mind Mercator but it does create this enormous visual over-estimation of how many people in Greenland refuse to read me.

Country Readers
United States 13,872
India 1,161
United Kingdom 1,153
Canada 997
Philippines 907
Germany 562
Australia 466
France 347
Sweden 294
Singapore 250
Italy 245
Brazil 244
Netherlands 232
South Africa 180
Finland 176
Denmark 175
Spain 166
Russia 148
Poland 146
Switzerland 129
Ireland 121
Hong Kong SAR China 120
Norway 111
Japan 110
Belgium 106
Mexico 106
Pakistan 89
Slovenia 86
Turkey 85
Malaysia 77
New Zealand 74
Austria 66
Thailand 65
Indonesia 63
Portugal 62
Israel 59
Czech Republic 58
China 54
Greece 54
South Korea 54
Romania 52
Taiwan 52
United Arab Emirates 52
Colombia 51
European Union 47
Argentina 42
Ukraine 40
Hungary 39
Vietnam 39
Nepal 36
American Samoa 35
Latvia 32
Macedonia 31
Serbia 31
Slovakia 31
Bangladesh 30
Croatia 28
Chile 25
Kenya 24
Saudi Arabia 24
Nigeria 23
Egypt 18
Lithuania 18
Peru 18
Puerto Rico 18
Sri Lanka 17
Ecuador 16
Bulgaria 15
Jordan 15
Jamaica 14
Morocco 12
Lebanon 11
Belarus 10
Algeria 9
Belize 9
Uruguay 9
Bosnia & Herzegovina 8
Guatemala 8
Iceland 8
Malta 8
Myanmar (Burma) 8
Panama 8
Uganda 8
Costa Rica 7
Estonia 7
Tanzania 7
Cyprus 6
Ghana 6
Guam 6
Iraq 6
Trinidad & Tobago 6
Tunisia 6
Bolivia 5
Cape Verde 5
Georgia 5
Luxembourg 5
Venezuela 5
Zimbabwe 5
Armenia 4
Bahrain 4
Ethiopia 3
Kuwait 3
Mongolia 3
Albania 2
Azerbaijan 2
Botswana 2
Cambodia 2
Dominican Republic 2
El Salvador 2
Fiji 2
Martinique 2
Mauritius 2
Namibia 2
Papua New Guinea 2
Paraguay 2
Rwanda 2
Uzbekistan 2
Angola 1
Bermuda 1
Brunei 1
Burundi 1
Cameroon 1
Congo – Kinshasa 1
Côte d’Ivoire 1
Curaçao 1
Djibouti 1
Faroe Islands 1
Guyana 1
Honduras 1
Iran 1
Kazakhstan 1
Laos 1
Maldives 1
Marshall Islands 1
Moldova 1
Montenegro 1
Nicaragua 1
Oman 1
Palestinian Territories 1
Qatar 1
Réunion 1
Senegal 1
Sint Maarten 1
Somalia 1
Sudan 1
Turks & Caicos Islands 1
U.S. Virgin Islands 1
Zambia 1

I’m delighted there were three countries that had at least a thousand page views. I’ll try not to think how there could have been a fourth thousand-view country if only I’d hit refresh a couple times more when I was in Canada back in June.

So for the whole of 2019 I posted 173,087 words, according to WordPress’s figures. This was the third-greatest number of words I’ve written in a year, after 2016’s 199,465 words and 2018’s 186,639 words. These were spread over 201 posts. That’s my second-greatest number of posts in a year, after 2016’s 213 posts. This implies my average posting was 861 words. This I’m glad to see. It’s the first time in four years that I’ve averaged under 900 words per posting.

For the year, I averaged 1.5 comments per posting. That’s the lowest figure I’ve had for any completed year. It’s under half the average for each year from 2013 through 2018. The average likes per post is a less dire dropoff. For 2019 I had an average 3.8 likes per posting; that’s the first time since 2013 that it’s been fewer than five likes per posting.

Twice over 2019 I set a new record for daily views. My record now was set the 16th of October, when 5,003 page views came in. 720 came in the next day. It was a bit much. That 16th of October, I believe, upset the previous record that was set the 2nd of October. Before that, my greatest number of page views had been some weird day back in … I want to say March 2014. Sometime around then, anyway.

And that’s last year, in reading around here. I remain quite happy to have you as reader here this year. You can do that by using the “Follow Nebusresearch” button that’s currently on the upper-right corner of the page. (I am doing my annual thinking about changing the theme around here, if I can find a new theme that I like at all. If I do change, that might relocate the button.) Or you can use an RSS reader with the feed to view posts as they come in without my being able to track anything. And again, a free account in Dreamdwidth or Livejournal, which both still exist, lets you use their Friends page as RSS reader.

How December 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I have not been putting off the regular monthly review of my readership statistics because I didn’t like how they looked. I’ve had things occupying my day and haven’t had time to tend the blog is all. That’s come to a stop now, though, and I can look seriously at how things went around here last month. Later, I hope to do a review of the last year.

So, I don’t like how the readership around here looked. I knew there’d be some falling off, as last year’s A to Z project wrapped up. Fewer posts correspond very well with fewer page views, and fewer unique visitors. I wasn’t expecting the fall-off to be this severe, though. Here’s how it looked.

Bar chart of views per month for the last several years. The bars grow quite large in fall of 2019, with a spike about three times anything else's size for October 2019. They've dropped considerably two months in a row.
Still, the views per visitor of about 1.5 is holding around my average. That’s mediocre enough, isn’t it?

There were only 1,386 page views around here in December. That’s the lowest page views count since July. It’s well below the twelve-month running average of 2,057.1 visitors per month, too. The consoling thing: there were “only” eighteen posts in December. This is 77.0 views per posting, which is well below the average of 114.7 views per posting of the past year. But it’s basically identical to November’s record of 77.8 views per posting, and to September’s 81.5 views per posting. October 2019 is and will long remain an anomaly, unless someone else discovers me in some forum.

There were 909 unique visitors in December, again the smallest number since July. And well below the running average of 1,390.3 unique visitors. Per post, it’s 50.5 visitors, which is again way below the running average of 76.7 visitors per post. But it’s right in line with November’s 52.3 and September’s 46.2 visitors per post.

Still there’s things to be discontent about. There were 44 things liked in December, a mere 2.4 likes given per posting. That’s below the running averages of 69.7 likes per month, and of 4.4 likes per post. And then the most shocking statistics of all: zero comments in the whole month. I can’t find that that’s ever happened before, even in the earliest days of the blog when I would hit refresh to make the place seem busier than it is. The running averages are 16.4 comments per month, and 1.1 per post, and it’s hard to believe how far short of that I fell.

Well, there’s not much for me to do but lick my wounds. And to think about what I want in the blog: do I want a chatty comments section? If so, why? I like writing. But I do seem to not be good at blog conversations. I can either work to be better at that, or I can focus on what I am already enjoying. There are good things to say about both approaches.

There were popular posts in December, no matter how much I wasn’t particularly liked. The five posts most often read in December 2019 were:

All told there were 224 pages, including the home page, that got at least a single view in December. That’s down from November’s 300 and October’s 311. 102 of them got more than a single view, down from 160 and 187 the previous few months. 27 got at least ten views, down from 42 and 52 in recent months. Mm.

There were only 60 countries that sent me any page views in December. That’s down from 94 in November and 116 in October, although it’s getting close to September’s 69. There were 18 single-view countries, down from November’s and October’s 24. Here’s the readership figures for them all:

Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in darkest red. Canada, Mexico, Brazil, most of Europe, South Asia, and Australia and New Zealand are in a fairly uniform pink too. There are a smattering of African and South American countries also offering readers.
I like to think I did Australia any bit of good by letting a couple dozen of its residents read about comic strips or other such nonsense given everything they’ve been going through, but I’m not positive this doesn’t reflect some people having left ‘curl’ processes running while they were out dealing with the fire crises.

Country Readers
United States 875
India 62
Philippines 58
Australia 55
Canada 47
United Kingdom 35
Germany 28
Brazil 23
Finland 13
Italy 13
Singapore 13
France 10
Denmark 9
Sweden 9
Israel 8
Belgium 7
Mexico 7
Bangladesh 6
Indonesia 6
Netherlands 6
Pakistan 6
Romania 6
Turkey 6
Russia 5
Spain 5
Switzerland 5
Thailand 5
Poland 4
South Africa 4
South Korea 4
Belize 3
Japan 3
New Zealand 3
Portugal 3
Chile 2
Colombia 2
Egypt 2
Nigeria 2
Serbia 2
Taiwan 2
Ukraine 2
Vietnam 2
American Samoa 1
Belarus 1
Bolivia 1
Bulgaria 1
Czech Republic 1
Georgia 1
Greece 1
Ireland 1
Jordan 1 (*)
Kenya 1
Kuwait 1
Latvia 1
Myanmar (Burma) 1
Norway 1
Oman 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Slovakia 1
Sri Lanka 1 (*)

Jordan and Sri Lanka were the only single-view countries in November, and neither of them was a single-view country in October too.

In December I had 18 posts. These had a total of 8,842 words, for an average of 491.2 words per posting. I’m surprised there’s so few of them too. This is obviously quite below the year’s average of 861 words per posting. December did a fair bit at bringing my words-per-post count down, too. December ended with my having written 201 posts over the whole year, my second-greatest number ever. And 173,087 words in total, my third-most-verbose year. I’ll get into the statistics for the full year in the look back at all 2019 that I mean to write soon. But 861 words per posting is the median of my words-per-posting average, so far.

From the dawn of time to the start of 2020 I’d had 1,403 posts around here. They drew a total of 97,577 views, from 52,978 logged unique visitors.

If you’d like to read these posts regularly, please do. You’ve already gotten much of the way there. If you have a WordPress account you can use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on the upper right corner of this page to have it appear in your Reader regularly. If you have an RSS reader — and a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal will give you one, by the way — you can add the feed at to it. And, as I’ve warned, my Twitter account @Nebusj posts announcements of things as they’re published. But I haven’t had the spoons to figure out how to actually get at it myself, so it’s not a way to chat with me. I’m not sure what is a way to chat with me. Ask my parents what it’s like.

Nevertheless, thank you for reading, however it is you do it, and however often you do it.

How November 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

A couple months back I switched to looking at comparing monthly readership figures to a twelve-month running average. Running averages offer some advantages in looking for any signal. They make statistics less sensitive to fluke events. The cost, of course, is that they take longer to recognize trends starting. But in October I had a singular freak event, with the A to Z essay on linear programming getting liked to from some forum vastly larger than mine. So that got an extra 4,900 page views in one day, and an extra six hundred or so the next, and so on. Can’t expect that to be regular, though.

There were a “mere” 2,333 page views around here in November. That’s small only compared to October’s spike. It’s a little down from September, but still, it’s above the twelve-month running average of 1,996.9 views in a month. Those views came from 1,568 unique visitors, which compares nicely to the running average of 1,330.3 views per month.

Bar chart of monthly views and visitors for the past two years. There's a spike to a bit under 9000 views from over 5000 visitors in October; it's fallen back to 2,333 views and 1,568 visitors for November.
As with my humor blog this month, I was so delighted that I was able to get the statistics at exactly the start of December, WordPress server time, that I forgot to do the URL hacking to get like five years’ data at once. Ah well.

There were 95 likes given to things around here in November, which is also above the running average of 68.8 likes in a month. And 23 comments, once again above the running average of 17.5 comments. So, posting stuff every single day works; who would have guessed, apart from everyone who knows anything about attracting audiences?

Well, more about posting to a predictable schedule, and stuff that people are interested in. But “just post a lot” can work too.

Or can it? November saw 77.8 views per posting, which is close to what September offered. But both are below the twelve-month running average of 114.0 views per posting. There were 52.3 visitors per posting, down from the average of 75.4 visitors per post. It’s back to around September’s 46.2 visitors per post though. There were 3.2 likes per post, down from the running average of 4.4. And there were 0.8 comments per posting, below the average of 1.1. It all implies there’s a best rate for these things. Or that filling out Fridays and Saturdays with mentions of older posts is not all that engaging.

Counting my home page there were 300 pages that got any views at all in November. There’d been 311 in October and 296 in September. 160 of them got more than one view, a bit undre the 187 of October and 172 of September. 42 posts got at least ten views, down from October’s 52 but comparable to September’s 37. The most popular pieces, meanwhile, were:

Nice to see trapezoids back again. Also I’m happy that the versine’s been liked. I’m coming to enjoy this obscure trig function, although not so much as to use it for anything I care about.

Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in darkest red, India in a less-dark red, and much of the Americas, Europe, and Pacific Asia in a roughly uniform pink. Not much from Africa, though, nor an arc from Syria through Iran and up to Kazakhstan.
I’m a touch surprised to learn I haven’t had a single page view from Madagascar all this year. Less surprised that I can’t tell whether I’ve had any page views from Comoros. (It’s several islands between Africa and Madagascar and is invisible at WordPress’s mapsize.)

94 countries or country-like entities sent me any page views in November. That’s down from October’s 116, and even September’s 69. 24 of these were single-reader countries, the same count as in October and above September’s 19. Here’s the roster of reading lands:

Country Readers
United States 1,205
India 172
Philippines 91
Canada 89
United Kingdom 72
Australia 55
Germany 50
Finland 36
Spain 33
Singapore 28
France 25
Hong Kong SAR China 23
Latvia 22
Mexico 21
Malaysia 20
South Africa 19
Ireland 16
Italy 16
Pakistan 16
Brazil 15
Sweden 14
Turkey 14
Poland 13
Netherlands 12
Bangladesh 11
Indonesia 10
Norway 10
Vietnam 10
Austria 9
Belgium 9
Greece 9
Japan 8
Ukraine 8
Israel 7
Nigeria 7
Bulgaria 6
China 6
Malta 6
Romania 6
Switzerland 6
Thailand 6
Belarus 5
Colombia 5
Ecuador 5
Kenya 5
New Zealand 5
Portugal 5
Taiwan 5
Egypt 4
Morocco 4
Myanmar (Burma) 4
Russia 4
Serbia 4
South Korea 4
United Arab Emirates 4
Croatia 3
Czech Republic 3
Hungary 3
Slovakia 3
Tanzania 3
Algeria 2
Cyprus 2
El Salvador 2
European Union 2
Ghana 2
Luxembourg 2
Mongolia 2
Saudi Arabia 2
Slovenia 2
Uganda 2
Albania 1 (*)
Argentina 1
Azerbaijan 1 (*)
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1
Botswana 1
Brunei 1
Chile 1
Denmark 1
Estonia 1
Jordan 1
Laos 1
Lithuania 1
Macedonia 1
Marshall Islands 1
Mauritius 1
Moldova 1
Nicaragua 1
Palestinian Territories 1
Papua New Guinea 1
Puerto Rico 1
Rwanda 1 (*)
Somalia 1
Sri Lanka 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1 (*)

Albania, Azerbaijan, Rwanda, and Trinidad & Tobago were single-view countries in October too. No countries are on a two-month single-view streak. The Philippines are back to being among the three countries sending me the greatest number of page views. Hi, whoever there finds me interesting.

From the start of this blog through the start of December I’ve posted 1,385 things. These have drawn a total of 96,191 page views, from 52,069 logged unique visitors, which does not count people from the earliest couple years.

From the start of 2019 to the start of December I’d posted 183 things, putting me one up over all of 2018 already. Only 2015 (188 posts) and 2016 (213 posts) have had more, to date. I’ve had 164,245 words published so far this year, which is also already my third most verbose year on record. 24,185 of these words were posted in November, for an average post of 808 and one-sixth words per posting in November. That’s below the year’s average of 898 words per post. October’s posts averaged 803.8 words, by the way, so apparently I’ve stabilized some.

Tomorrow I hope to post thoughts on what I learned doing the Fall 2019 A to Z sequence, the traditional close of that sort of project. And I do hope to keep up at least one Reading the Comics post per week. Past that, who can say what I’ll do?

If you’d like to know, you can follow me regularly. The easiest way is to add to your RSS reader. If you don’t have an RSS reader, a free account at Dreamwidth or Livejournal will serve as one: you can add it RSS feeds to your Friends page. If you’ve already got a WordPress account, you can use “Follow Nebusresearch”, a button on the upper right corner of this page. My Twitter account as @Nebusj remains fallow, but still posts announcements, so that hasn’t broken at least.

In any case, thank you for reading, however it is you do it.

How October 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog



So, somebody linked to me from somewhere.

And it drew a lot of people who came over, read one or two essays, and then vanished again. Such is the fickleness of fame. But on the 16th of October something drew 4,089 visitors to this site. They looked at 5,003 pages. The next day it was badly faded, 720 views from 570 visitors. Then 228 views from 166 visitors. Two or three days after that I was back to something like the normal number of views per day, for a high-volume era like an A to Z sequence. Still, this is going to throw all my twelve-month running averages off for … a year … or possibly more. Here’s how things looked, though.

Bar chart of three and a half years of readership, ending in an enormous peak about four times any other month's readership and unique visitors.
So, two thoughts: first, I’m so glad that on the peak day of all this, I got just above five thousand views, since coming in at, say, 4,997 would drive me crazy. Second: boy, this really drives home how huge the Internet is, and how tiny a piece I have of it.

So, yeah, some 8,667 page views, from 6,362 unique visitors. This far blows away every readership statistic I’ve ever had. The twelve-month running average is a relatively feeble 1,442.2 page views from 888.7 unique visitors, for example. I’ll be plummeting back to that soon enough. There were 107 things liked in October, well above the average of 67.8. Still, there were only 17 comments, down from the average of 21.1. Clearly I got people reading without feeling like they were free to say something. For the record, though, I’m grateful to anyone who writes any comment on anything. I do read it promptly. I try to write a response, but will often end up in that sort of faintly anxious productivity death-spiral of figuring I need to make a better reply, which I’ll do better later in the day or maybe tomorrow. It’s not you; it’s me not living up to my resolution to answer things right after lunch each day.

Anyway there were 279.6 views per posting in October, way above the twelve-month average of 98.0. There were 205.2 unique visitors per posting, although really almost all of them went to a single posting. The average is 62.1. Those numbers are gibberish and are going to be gibberish for the next year or so now, unless somebody links to me from somewhere regularly. More meaningful: the number of likes per post, 3.5, comparable yet below the running average of 4.5. Or the comments per posting, 0.5, comparable yet below the running average of 1.3.

Counting my home page there were 311 essays that got any views in October, a bit more than September’s 296. There were 187 that got more than one page view, barely above September’s 172. 51 got at least ten page views, a good bit over September’s 37. And the most popular pieces? Well, there’s the one that got linked to. Besides my home page the top five were:

There were 5,317 views of the linear programming essay. So it won’t surprise you that I had a new most popular day ever: the 16th of October, which was actually the Wednesday after the linear programming essay published.

Mercator-style map of countries of the world, with the United States in darkest red, and great swaths of the rest of the world in pink. Not offering any readers are places like Saharan Africa, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. And, of course, Greenland.
So, like, I don’t want to obsess about even more petty things but could someone check whether, like, Greenland even has the Internet? Because if I’m not reading WordPress’s statistics wrong, I have not once ever gotten a page view from Greenland and that seems improbable. I know, there are like 26 people in Greenland, but still, it’s been nearly a decade. Somebody would have to hit something just by accident.

116 countries or the equivalent sent me readers in October, way above September’s 69 and August’s 65. 24 of them were single-view countries, above the 19 of September and 17 of August. The roster of countries:

Country Readers
United States 4,314
United Kingdom 488
Canada 396
India 396
Germany 356
France 218
Netherlands 155
Australia 143
Philippines 130
Italy 123
Sweden 116
Brazil 111
Finland 87
Switzerland 85
Poland 81
Spain 76
Japan 75
Singapore 73
South Africa 67
Russia 59
Norway 56
Belgium 54
Ireland 54
Portugal 47
Czech Republic 43
Mexico 38
Turkey 36
Austria 35
China 35
Hong Kong SAR China 34
New Zealand 33
Romania 33
Denmark 31
Slovenia 29
Argentina 28
Colombia 25
Israel 24
Taiwan 24
Greece 22
South Korea 21
Thailand 21
Slovakia 20
Ukraine 19
Hungary 18
Indonesia 18
Serbia 18
Vietnam 16
European Union 15
Croatia 14
Lithuania 14
Chile 11
Peru 11
United Arab Emirates 10
Sri Lanka 9
Bulgaria 8
Ecuador 8
Jordan 8
Kenya 8
Saudi Arabia 8
Uruguay 8
Iceland 7
Lebanon 7
Pakistan 7
Bangladesh 6
Latvia 6
Macedonia 6
Malaysia 6
Tunisia 6
Cape Verde 5
Egypt 5
Guatemala 5
Nigeria 5
Belarus 4
Costa Rica 4
Nepal 4
Puerto Rico 4
Uganda 4
Bahrain 3
Bosnia & Herzegovina 3
Cyprus 3
Georgia 3
Luxembourg 3
Morocco 3
Venezuela 3
Armenia 2
Bolivia 2
Dominican Republic 2
Estonia 2
Malta 2
Myanmar (Burma) 2
Namibia 2
Paraguay 2
Zimbabwe 2
Albania 1
Algeria 1
American Samoa 1
Angola 1
Azerbaijan 1
Cambodia 1
Cameroon 1
Congo – Kinshasa 1
Ghana 1
Guyana 1
Honduras 1
Iran 1
Kuwait 1
Martinique 1
Montenegro 1
Panama 1
Qatar 1
Réunion 1
Rwanda 1
Senegal 1
Sudan 1
Tanzania 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1
Uzbekistan 1 (*)

Uzbekistan was the only country to also get a single page view in September. The Philippines, after several months in a row being the country that sent me the second largest number of readers, fell to ninth. It didn’t have that many fewer readers in September; it’s just that countries like Canada and India leapt way ahead. Again, somebody linked to me.

From the dawn of time through the start of November 2019 I’d posted 1,355 things. These drew a total 93,862 views from 50,505 logged unique visitors. (The number of unique visitors from the earliest years of this blog were not kept in any way that I know how to access.)

In October, despite publishing 31 pieces, I had a relatively laconic month. I published 24,917 words, an average 803.8 words per posting in October. It’s reduced the average length of a post this year to 915, down from 944 for the year to the start of October. I don’t know.

November should see the conclusion of the Fall 2019 A-to-Z sequence, trusting that my Tuesday and Thursday schedule keps up. If you have thoughts for the last several letters, please add them to the roster here. I’ve been given several great ideas already, but am always happy to have … more … blog friends to disappoint by turning down their topics. Um. Well, I also plan to keep publishing at least one Reading the Comics post each week.

I’d lke to have you as a regular reader, too, even if you just came here to read the one thing. You can use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button on the upper right corner of this page. If you use an RSS reader, is the feed for all my posts. If you need an RSS reader, you can use a free Livejournal or Dreamwidth account and add it to your Friends page there. And while I have a Twitter account as @Nebusj, it’s gone fallow after a couple months where Safari would just freeze up rather than let me see anything. I keep thinking to go back and check if that nonsense is still going on. We’ll see if I do.

How September 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

I enjoyed a very busy September 2019 around here. This in several senses. For one, I had a posting every day through September. This is a state I sometimes achieve during A-to-Z months. This time around I’m helped by making two days of the week “Exploiting My Archives” posts. All they do is point to older posts. But that still counts as a new post. And I continue to believe without checking that the number of times I post is the one thing within my control that affects my readership. So let’s dig in to the details of that readership, mm? Thanks.

69 countries or country-like polities sent me readers in September. That’s up from the 65 of August and 64 of July. 19 of these were single-page-view countries. That’s up from the 17 of the past two months. Which countries were these all?

Mercator-style map of the world, with the United States in darkest red. India and the Philippines are nearly equally dark red also. Much of the rest of the Americas, Europe, Russia, and Oceana are about uniformly light pink. Few African countries have any non-grey color to them.
I’m putting the map of the countries first because that way it shows up in the Twitter announcement of this post, and I’d like to have more interesting pictures there when that’s possible.

Country Readers
United States 1,416
Philippines 164
India 162
United Kingdom 149
Canada 94
Australia 51
Singapore 46
Sweden 31
Germany 25
Ireland 21
Denmark 18
Russia 17
Belgium 16
Finland 16
France 16
Italy 9
Japan 9
Norway 9
Pakistan 9
South Africa 9
Jamaica 8
New Zealand 8
Poland 8
Spain 8
Switzerland 8
United Arab Emirates 7
Brazil 6
European Union 6
Hong Kong SAR China 6
Israel 6
Malaysia 6
Slovenia 6
Mexico 5
Taiwan 5
Thailand 5
Greece 4
Austria 3
China 3
Czech Republic 3
Netherlands 3
Serbia 3
South Korea 3
Trinidad & Tobago 3
Turkey 3
American Samoa 2
Belize 2
Ghana 2
Indonesia 2
Saudi Arabia 2
Zimbabwe 2
Argentina 1
Bolivia 1
Colombia 1
Costa Rica 1
Curaçao 1
Faroe Islands 1
Hungary 1 (*)
Iceland 1
Iraq 1
Jordan 1
Maldives 1
Nigeria 1
Portugal 1 (*)
Puerto Rico 1
Romania 1
Ukraine 1 (*)
Uzbekistan 1
Vietnam 1 (****)
Zambia 1

Hungary, Portugal, and Ukraine had a single page view in August too. Vietnam has settled for one page view a month for five months now. Yes, I’d love to know what the post is.

It’s another month in a row that the Philippines have sent me the second-greatest number of page views. I don’t know why. I’m curious if, like, some teacher found I had a good reference for something and a couple classes have gone looking that up reliably.

But if I were to guess what anyone was reading? Well, 296 pages besides my home page got at least one page view in September. 172 of them got more than one page view. 37 got at least ten views. The most popular pieces? That selection slightly defied my expectations.

It’s the first time a Reading the Comics post hasn’t made the top five since, well, August. The first Reading the Comics post to appear was in ninth place, though. At least record grooves and the real number system diagram are staying popular.

Bar chart showing about four years worth of readership, steadily growing but with a great peak in September 2019.
The heck of it is that I was home September 30 at 7 pm Eastern Time, which is when the month rolls over for WordPress and I could have gotten statistics for exactly September. But I forgot and didn’t think of it for a couple hours, so that’s why it has the update time of 8:58 pm.

So this was a popular month around here, as mentioned. I logged 2,444 page views from 1,387 unique visitors. This is well above the twelve-month running average of 1363.9 views from 845.9 unique visitors. Both figures are my new record highs. And the views-per-visitor average of 1.76 is the highest I’ve logged since November of 2018.

There were 110 things given likes in September, nearly double the twelve-month running average of 64.0. And there were 36 comments, again nearly double the twelve-month running average of 21.1. Which, combined with the fact there were 30 posts, more than double the twelve-month running average of 14.2 in the month, implies …

Well, if we look at things per post, the implication is clear: daily is too much me. There were 81.5 views per posting, compared to the running average of 99.6. There were 46.2 unique visitors per posting, compared to the running average of 63.1. 3.7 likes per posting, compared to the 4.6 running average. 1.2 comments per posting, below the average of 1.4. It does suggest that while posting a lot is good, posting every day is not. Or at least it’s not necessary, if I want to maximize views per posting.

As of the start of October I’d published 122 things this year, for a total of 115,143 words. This was 27,695 words published in September. That’s an average of 923.2 words per post in September, still somehow below the 944 average words per post all this year. I credit the “Exploiting my Archives” posts, which are a couple of sentences each.

From the start of the blog to the start of October 2019 I’d posted 1,324 things. This collected 85,194 page views in total, from 44,139 logged unique visitors.

And I had a new record busiest day. The 6th of September saw 249 page views from 162 unique visitors. I have to suspect that I got mentioned in some online forum.

I do expect to keep publishing at least one Reading the Comics post each week. I also should continue the Fall 2019 A-to-Z, which has settled into a Tuesday and Thursday posting.

If you’d like to be a regular reader, please do. You can use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button in the upper right corner of the page to add my essays to your WordPress reader. If you’d rather read without my ability to detect you, try using the RSS feed. If you need an RSS reader, you can still get a free Livejournal or Dreamwidth account and add any RSS feeds you like through that.

How August 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

And to interrupt all my other writing is the usual review of my readership the past month. I keep this up in confident hope that someday I will learn something that helps me write better. So far what I’ve learned is that posting stuff more often gets me read more often. But this requires me writing more, so plainly that’s out of the question.

Still. In August I posted 13 essays, most of them Reading the Comics and a few that were appeals for A to Z topics. That’s the greatest number of posts I’ve had since March. What did it do for my readership?

There were 1,523 page views recorded here in August. That’s comfortably above the twelve-month running average of 1,355.4. These views came from 993 logged unique visitors, which is also above the twelve-month running average, in this case of 839.3. Don’t think it doesn’t burn me up seven more visitors didn’t come around.

Box chart showing the generally increasing trend of readership over the last four and a half years.
I’m not positive but I think this bar chart has reproduced the skyline of Philadelphia.

There were 70 things liked over the course of August. This, too, was above the twelve-month running average, of 62.9 likes. The number of comments was down, though, with only ten received over the month. The twelve-month running average was 22.5. And it’s oddly low since the start of an A to Z sequence usually brings out comments from people who hope I can explain elliptic integrals or something like that.

There were 117.2 views recorded per posting in August. This is not only of things that got published in August. I can sort of see how to calculate that average but it seems like a great bother to do. My working hypothesis is that my publishing anything encourages my pages to be read. Or viewed, which is as much as anyone makes promises for anymore. 117.2 is above the twelve-month average of 98.3 views per post, anyway. There were 76.4 unique visitors per posting, which is also above the twelve-month average of 62.2. And this worked out to 5.4 likes per posting, above the average of 4.4. The year-to-date average has been 4.5 likes per posting. The comments were dire, with only 0.8 comments per posting on average, about half of the 1.5 comments per posting twelve-month average. The year-to-date average has been 1.7 comments per posting.

` So what was popular around here in August? … One essay that always is, and one that often is. And then some recent posts, to my gratification. … Incidentally there doesn’t seem to be a way to find which posts got the greatest number of likes, as opposed to page views. So I will decide not to worry about those for now. The most popular essays in August were:

Those bottom three were all August postings. There were 231 pages that got at least one view in August, counting the home page which draws the vast majority of views. There were 128 pages that got only a single view. One of them was a page linked to by that check-in on the roller coaster, so, hrm. All right. I won’t take that personally, I tell myself.

WordPress tells me 65 countries or things like countries sent me any readers in August. There’d been 64 in July and 54 in June. 19 of them were single-viewer countries. There were 17 single-view countries the previous two months. And what were they all?

Mercator-style map of the world with the United States in dark red, the Philippines and India in slightly less dark red, and then a wide swath of hte world, including much of the Americas, most of Europe and Pacific Asia, in light pink.
That’s me: as popular in Spain as I am in Malaysia.

Country Readers
United States 901
Philippines 176
India 61
Canada 48
United Kingdom 33
Brazil 27
Australia 24
Denmark 23
South Africa 19
Sweden 18
European Union 14
Singapore 13
Germany 12
France 10
United Arab Emirates 10
Norway 9
Thailand 8
Poland 7
Kenya 6
Indonesia 5
Malaysia 5
Pakistan 5
Russia 5
Spain 5
Greece 4
Hong Kong SAR China 4
Italy 4
Netherlands 4
New Zealand 4
Belgium 3
Colombia 3
Mexico 3
South Korea 3
Switzerland 3
Taiwan 3
Argentina 2
Armenia 2
Austria 2
Croatia 2
Finland 2
Japan 2
Lebanon 2
Morocco 2
Nigeria 2
Puerto Rico 2
Slovenia 2
Chile 1
China 1
Egypt 1 (**)
Estonia 1
Hungary 1
Ireland 1
Israel 1 (*)
Macedonia 1
Panama 1
Portugal 1
Saudi Arabia 1 (*)
Sint Maarten 1
Slovakia 1
Trinidad & Tobago 1
Turkey 1
Turks & Caicos Islands 1
Ukraine 1
Vietnam 1 (***)
Zimbabwe 1

Israel and Saudi Arabia were single-view countries last month too. Egypt’s been a single-view country three months running. Vietnam’s been a single-view country for four months. And once again somehow the Philippines is the country sending me the second greatest number of readers.

As of the start of September I’d published 92 things in the year. That had 87,448 words in total however WordPress calculates that. That’s 10,340 words published in August, or an average 795.4 words in each of the thirteen posts. I like this trend: my average post for the year, to date, has been 951 words per post.

From this blog’s start, sometime three weeks before the invention of dirt, through the start of September I’ve posted 1,294 things here. They attracted a total 82,747 page views from a recorded 42,752 unique visitors. But the first couple years WordPress was too primitive to record unique visitors.

I’d like to have you as a regular reader. You can read posts on any RSS reader through the feed If you haven’t got an RSS reader, it turns out that Livejournal still exists and will let you add RSS feeds as friends pages. Dreamwidth does that too. If you like reading through WordPress, and thus giving me statistics to read, you can use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button at the upper right corner of this page.

Historically, I’ve been on Twitter as @Nebusj and announce every post there. But a couple weeks ago Twitter decided it had better things to do than let me connect to it. And I’ve had better things to do than deal with this by, like, logging in using a different web browser or something. I’m still getting announcements posted, since I can see my recent Twitter feed as one of the columns on the right-hand-side of the page here. I don’t know when that will break. But this is your chance to watch and see when it happens! Please someone tell me when it does. Not on Twitter.

I hope tomorrow to be back to the A to Z posts, and to get back to the comics for Sunday.

The Fall 2019 Mathematics A To Z Is Looking Good

I’m happy to say the most important part of preparing an A To Z sequence has come in. I have my banner art. It’s by Thomas K Dye, creator of the Projection Edge and Newshounds web comics. He keeps up a Patreon at this account.

The A To Z is about my most successful tradition. In it I write essays that are never as short as I think they should be, one for a concept from each letter of the alphabet. And I take nominations from readers for these concepts. If there’s more than one nomination I’ll go for whatever I think I can write the most interesting piece about. But if several things seem interesting I might try rephrasing them, which is how I got into the whole continued fractions trouble.

Before I take nominations I’ll post indexes to the past A to Z’s. I’m willing to revisit a topic I’ve already written about, since I hope I’m getting better at both mathematics and writing. But I’m inclined more to try new stuff where I can. Also the end of the alphabet, the X’s and Y’s and such, tend to be pretty dire. It’s not too soon to start thinking up possibilities.

I Plan To Do A Fall 2019 Mathematics A To Z

Long-time readers may have felt like something’s missing from my 2019 writing around here. It is an A To Z. This is one of my traditions, to write essays explaining some mathematical concept or related term, one for each letter of the alphabet. I’ve traditionally taken nominations from readers for this, and I plan to do so again.

I’m not taking nominations just yet. I’d like people to have the chance to think about stuff they’d like to see explained. This is how we get things like people asking me what the Ricci tensor is and why we need it. I’m still not perfectly sure I know why we need it, but the essay is out there, so that’s something.

Anyway I have banner art commissioned, again from Thomas K Dye of the Projection Edge and Newshounds web comics, and whose Patreon is here. When I have that I’ll open up at least part of the alphabet to subject nominations.

Also I continue to have the problem where Twitter won’t load on my web browser, Safari. I’m getting close to desperate measures, such as restarting my computer or trying to load it on a different web browser. If you wonder why I am even more quiet on Twitter than usual, this is one reason why.

I Got Arithmetic Wrong, And Learned Something About Writing

I’ll get to the comics soon enough. Interesting me right now is that I made a mistake in my review of the July reading statistics around here. Naturally I want to fix my mistake. But I also thought some about why I thought this an interesting mistake to make. This got me to think a bit about story.

I had made a spreadsheet to work out twelve-month running averages. This for things like the number of page views, number of comments, and number of posts, and all that. Since it was easy to calculate, I also worked out the number of page views per posting. I’m convinced that the number of things I post is the factor I can most control in how well my stuff gets read. And then went on to the number of unique visitors per posting, comments per posting, and number of likes per posting. Fine enough, but I set up the spreadsheet wrong. Instead of dividing the number of unique visitors by the number-of-posts column, it divided by the views-per-post column. And the likes-per-post column divided the number of likes by the number of unique-visitors-per-post. And so on.

I’d like to say I noticed this failed a sanity check. 870 unique visitors for 11 posts, and I claim this to be 7.1 unique visitors per post? Not likely. And then left it in to see if anybody noticed, which of course they did not. No, I didn’t do that; I don’t do that sort of stunt except as a marked joke. Or after warning my class that the story problems might contain unreliable data and they’re expected to ask questions. I did notice the numbers made no sense while writing the statistics-review post for my humor blog, though.

So what do I find interesting about this? Not that I made the mistake. Everyone who works makes mistakes. That I did not notice the mistake is interesting. I can make excuses which of course I find reasonable and justifiable. They all amount to that I chose to do things besides think about what numbers I should expect, and that I did not edit my copy enough before publishing.

Why did nobody notice the mistake? One answer is that nobody read the post, which is plausible enough. WordPress claims the page has gotten 17 views (as of my writing this). My home page, which has the article at its top, has gotten 42 views as well. But a view and perusal are different things. Even if people read my outstanding prose for comprehension, were they reading the numbers? Close enough to notice the claimed numbers didn’t make sense?

My guess is they didn’t. I know when I read for pleasure I tend to accept numbers as things which are present but which don’t need my immediate attention. If the presented argument needs the numbers, I’ll go back and pay attention to whether they’re 7.1 or 79.1. I suspect many people are the same way.

Elmore Leonard famously offered the writing advice to leave out the parts people skip. But people seem to skip these numbers. One might say I skipped them too and I wrote them. This did not make the post unpopular, though. I don’t know why the WordPress readership blog is always a popular post, but it is.

It’s easy to suppose the post would be more popular if it had no numbers. But a readership statistics post without readership statistics? That’s obviously daft. Maybe the box charts and map of countries would be appreciated. Pictures are the other thing besides number of posts that’s within my control and that brings readers.

I think there’s something in the nature of stories going on here. A (nonfiction) narrative builds on facts. If you have none, you may have some fine writing, but you have no story. But a mere fact? We have a word for a bare fact isolated from any narrative, any story about its value: trivia. No one could ever care about the average number of unique viewers per posting around here over the past twelve months. Someone could care about whether this viewers-per-posting is rising or falling, or how fast. The exact numbers, the trivia, are nothing. And we notice this in reading, and accept that we will never care about them. It is the story which uses them that’s of interest, and that people are happy to see. It’s easy, even for a pop mathematics writer, to think that of course numbers are what matters. And they matter, but only a tiny bit. The numbers are there so that the words around them have something to be about. It’s a neat lesson to myself about what mathematics writing means to do.

The correct calculations by the way change the story a little. Not much. This seems weird at first. It supports my contention that the number of page views and unique visitors and comments and likes all scale with the number of posts made, though. A month with twice as many posts probably got about twice as many unique visitors.

I had thought the number of unique visitors per posting rose slightly. Not too much. This is right in kind, but wrong in scale. The twelve-month running average was 60.2 unique visitors per posting and in July there were 79.1. That’s above average enough to matter. I had thought the number of likes per posting went from a twelve-month average of 8.8 down to 6.4. In fact the average was 4.4 and it drifted down to 4.1, still a decline but less sharp of one. One that might not be significant at all. The number of comments per posting I thought had dropped from 3.6 on average to 3.3. In fact the average number of comments per posting had been 1.5, and in July it rose to 1.9. This is the only change in direction of any of these trends. But my suspicion is this is so slight a change that it’s indistinguishable from random fluctuations. Noise, as they say.

How July 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

If I had regular readers, one might notice it’s pretty late in the month without my having reviewed readership around here for the past month. This is so. There’s good reason: the first week of August was mostly wiped out by my attending Pinburgh, the world’s largest pinball tournament, and related activities. This included four(!) amusement park visits in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, for some reason, has many amusement parks and they’re all worth a visit.

That’s all time-consuming stuff, though. And it’s not stuff that I can write ahead of time. This offends me, since so much of the structure of these reviews is imposed by the list of what data I have available. I suppose I could do a fill-in-the-blanks template but … why?

Well, here’s the most basic stuff: how many things got views, and how many people came around, in July 2019?

Bar chart showing monthly readership for the last three and a half years. After several months of decline the views has leapt up again.
I know it’s dangerous for me to start making spreadsheets, but I’m confident it will be all right. There are times I’ve gotten over some statistic or other. For example, do you ever see me going on about views per visitor these days? I mean apart from this, right here. I’m sure I have better things to worry about, probably.

That’s … surprising. I had 11 posts in July, most of them Reading the Comics pieces. But this brought 1,356 page views, above a thousand for the first time since April, and the greatest number of page views since March. It’s even slightly above the twelve-month running average of 1330.6 views per month. There were 870 unique visitors in July, which is almost more than the total number of pages viewed in June. The 870 unique visitors are a fair bit above the twelve-month running average of 822.4 unique visitors per month. By the way, I put together a spreadsheet so I can more easily track twelve-month running averages, as well as averages-per-post.

This offers some information I find interesting. By this I mean it’s information I don’t know how to understand. In July there were 11 posts and, on average, 123.3 views per posting. This is not to say each July post got viewed, on average, 123.3 times. It’s that, roughly, every three days there were about 123 pages viewed from my whole catalogue. This average is in line with the twelve-month running average of 121.0 views per posting. It works out to an average 7.1 unique visitors per posting. That’s probably not significantly greater than the 6.7 unique visitors per posting over the previous twelve months.

There were 45 likes given to things in July. That’s down from the previous twelve-month average of 62.3 per month. There were 21 comments in July, basically the twelve-month average of 23.1 comments per month. This is 6.4 likes per posting, compared to the twelve-month average of 8.8. It’s also 3.3 comments per posting, which is basically the twelve-month average of 3.6. Incidentally, my twelve-month average had been 14.3 posts per month. This is helped by some A to Z sequences, which I haven’t yet done this year.

There may be something else helping my readership. Because of scheduling needs I’d put some of my big Reading the Comics posts to publish on Tuesday, rather than Sunday. I did read a site claiming that WordPress posts got the most readership when posted Tuesday through Thursday. I do not know the methodology of this research. Nor whether it’s still valid, since the post also talked about when Google+ posts were most effective. But this is the only thing I did all that different in July. Maybe I’ll keep that going another month or two and see if it makes a noticeable difference.

192 different posts got at least one page view in July. That’s up from the 158 in June and 163 in May. I don’t have twelve-month running averages for this. But here were the most popular posts:

I’d had 99 posts get a single view each, by the way.

Mercator-style map of the world with the United States in darkest red, and pink regions for most of North America, Europe, and South Asia, plus Australia and a about half of South America.
I admit I’m disappointed to not have any Iceland readers, but since my dad visited Iceland in June and not July I suppose that’s to be expected.

WordPress tells me that 64 countries or country-like entities sent me at least a single reader in July. 54 had in June and 61 in May. There were 17 single-reader countries for the second month in a row. There had been 16 in May. The roster of countries? It’s this:

Country Readers
United States 791
Philippines 103
United Kingdom 75
India 64
Canada 37
Australia 34
Italy 18
Brazil 16
Germany 16
Singapore 15
South Africa 15
France 10
Hong Kong SAR China 9
Malaysia 9
Denmark 8
Colombia 7
Ireland 7
Hungary 6
Mexico 6
Pakistan 6
Taiwan 6
Thailand 6
Argentina 5
Spain 5
Sweden 5
Puerto Rico 4
Switzerland 4
United Arab Emirates 4
Finland 3
Greece 3
Kenya 3
Netherlands 3
Nigeria 3
Poland 3
Russia 3
Slovenia 3
Tanzania 3
Ukraine 3
Bangladesh 2
Belgium 2
Ethiopia 2
Japan 2
Norway 2
Slovakia 2
South Korea 2
Sri Lanka 2
Turkey 2
Botswana 1
Burundi 1
China 1
Costa Rica 1
Czech Republic 1
Egypt 1 (*)
European Union 1
Fiji 1
Guam 1
Israel 1 (*)
Latvia 1
Macedonia 1
Nepal 1
New Zealand 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Serbia 1
Vietnam 1 (**)

Egypt and Israel were single-reader countries in June. Vietnam’s been a single-reader country two months running. I’m surprised to have so few New Zealand readers. And I continue to wonder if the Philippines aren’t reading me by some mistake. Again, I’m not one to turn away readers. It’s just that I write a blog here that’s very steeped in contemporary United States culture and I’m surprised anyone else would me relevant.

By the start of August I had published 79 posts on the year, with a total of 77,108 words. 9,656 of those words were published in July. That’s an average of 878 words per post in July. It’s an average 976 words per post for all of 2019 so far. At the start of July my average post for the year had been 992 words.

For 2019 through the start of August I’d recorded 348 likes, an average of 4.4 likes per posting. That’s slightly down from the start of July’s 4.5 likes per posting. There’d been 136 comments recorded, an average of 1.7 comments per posting. That’s an increase from the average 1.5 comments per posting logged at the start of July. But that count includes some pingbacks, the bits where one post refers to another.

As of the start of August I’ve posted 1,281 things to this blog. They had recorded 81,223 page views, from a logged 41,759 unique visitors.

If you’d like to be a regular reader I’d be glad to have you. There’s a “Follow Nebusresearch” button in the upper right corner of this page. Clicking it will add my posts to your WordPress Reader. If you don’t want to read through WordPress, you can use any RSS reader you like. The feed is and please use it.

I’m @nebusj on Twitter, and each post gets an announcement there. It also gets announcements of my humor blog’s posts. Those might not be to your taste, but, you don’t know for sure until you read some. And I do at least try to start the month with rabbit pictures.

How June 2019 Treated My Mathematics Blog

The amazing thing to consider is that anyone had anything to do with my mathematics blog in June. Apart from last month’s review-of-my-readership and a post pointing out some stuff I’d written about counting goldfish, all my posts were Reading the Comics. Those are fine, of course. They’re popular and they keep me writing even when I’m feeling burned out. But they’re also reactive pieces; I feel a certain passivity when I write them. What I’m saying is I’m gathering the energies to do a new A To Z sequence and so I’ll be bothering my art supplier soon for some fresh banners and the like.

So in June 2019 I posted nine things, my lowest in a long while. I’m of the unshakable belief that the number of things I post is the biggest factor I can control regarding how much anyone reads my writings. So how did that affect my readership?

Bar chart showing slightly over four years of monthly readership totals, which were generally growing above a thousand readers per month until the last three months when things started declining.
I’m glad I worked out how to look at several years’ worth of statistics at one time, rather than the maybe two years WordPress wants to show by default. It gives such a greater sense of the sweep of history of readership around here, which encourages me to panic that my most popular days are behind me and all I have to look forward to is burnout and the evaporation of my few remaining intersted readers.

911 page views for June, from a reported 595 unique visitors. This is down from May’s 981 page views and 721 visitors for ten posts. And April’s 1,020 views and 668 visitors for twelve posts. This actually implies a slightly improved view-per-post ratio as I publish less stuff. I think this is an artifact of my having a couple things in the back catalogue that always get read, though, regardless of any new material I have.

Still, this is appreciably below the twelve-month average of 1344.4 views. And way below the twelve-month average of 829.6 unique visitors. It’s a bit above the mean views-per-post, at least. Also the mean viewers-per-post. That’s, again, probably an artifact of older posts.

Because, after all, look at what the most popular posts were in June. This includes a three-way-tie for the fifth-most-popular post:

There were 40 ‘likes’ given in June, down from May’s 43 and back to April’s 40. It’s below the twelve-month average of 66.8, though. It’s even below the twelve-month average of likes-per-posting, too. There were eleven comments in June, under May’s twelve and April’s 14. The twelve-month average is 24.7, so, there we go. At least an A To Z offering typically gets people eager to suggest topics.

Incidentally there were 158 posts that got at least one view in June. This apart from the front page which is what the greatest number of people or people-like Internet objects look at. There were 163 posts that got at least one view in May.

54 countries or things like countries. 61 did in May. In June? 57. So that all seems to be holding steady. There were 17 single-reader countries in June, one more than in April and in May. Which all countries were they? These all:

Mercator-style map of the world with the United States in the darkest red, reflecting my readership being greatest in that country. Most of the Americas and Western Europe are in a lighter red, as are India, New Zealand, and Australia. Plus Russia and Japan, somehow, as well as a smattering of other nations.
Victoria II challenge: create this sphere of influence for the United States. Expert level: by 1870.

Country Readers
United States 551
India 50
Philippines 39
United Kingdom 38
Canada 30
Australia 16
Germany 14
Netherlands 14
Singapore 11
Hong Kong SAR China 10
Brazil 9
Malaysia 9
France 7
Italy 7
Finland 6
Spain 6
Sweden 6
Switzerland 6
Denmark 5
Norway 5
Pakistan 5
South Africa 5
Japan 4
Nepal 4
Estonia 3
Indonesia 3
New Zealand 3
Poland 3
Puerto Rico 3
Greece 2
Guam 2
Hungary 2
Ireland 2
Mexico 2
Peru 2
Portugal 2
Russia 2
Slovenia 2
Turkey 2
Ukraine 2
Argentina 1
Bangladesh 1 (*)
Belize 1
Bermuda 1
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1
Chile 1
Côte d’Ivoire 1
Czech Republic 1
Egypt 1
Iraq 1
Israel 1
Mongolia 1
Sri Lanka 1
Taiwan 1 (*)
United Arab Emirates 1
Venezuela 1
Vietnam 1 (*)

Bangladesh, Taiwan, and Venezuela were single-reader countries in May. No other place is on a single-reader streak like that. I seem to be back to being ignored by Scandinavian countries.

The start of July saw my having made 68 posts here this year, for a collective 67,452 words. This is an average of 992 words per post. This was 9,581 words in June. I’m averaging, so far this year, 992 words per post. At the start of June my average was 981 words per post. My average was 953 words per post at the start of May. I, too, would be interested when this implies my average post will exceed all finite numbers of words. I’m not figuring that mess out.

Through the start of July there’ve been a total of 304 likes, an average of 4.5 likes per posting this year. That’s the same number of average likes per posting as the last two months had seen. There were a total of 105 comments recorded, an average of 1.5 comments per posting, once again the same as at the start of June and of May. This means the Insight panel tells me there were 14 comments on the month, while the statistics panel claims there were 11. There was a similar discrepancy in May, when one panel claimed I had 17 comments and another claimed 12. I think this has to reflect pingbacks, one post referencing another.

As of the start of July I’ve posted 1,270 items to this blog. They’ve attracted a total 79,855 page views — I just passed 80,000 hours ago — from 40,879 acknowledged unique visitors. There are probably more unique visitors, but WordPress did not gather those statistics for us the first years of this blog.

If you’d like to be a regular reader of my writings, please add my blog to your RSS reader. Your reading won’t show up in any data I’m able to track. If you would like to follow my writing in a way that I know happens, use the “Follow Nebusresearch” button at the upper right corner of this page.

And on Twitter I’m @Nebusj, and there I post links to every new essay as it gets published. Also I try at the start of each month to post pairs of rabbit pictures. It’s not much of a thing, but it is a thing. I think that well explains what to expect from me as a writer.