Gas station without pumps

2013 March 23

Post 1024

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:58
Tags: , ,

I’ve finally gotten to more posts than I can count on my fingers (10000000000 in binary, 2000 in octal, 400 in hexadecimal, or 1024 in decimal).

Since this is a milestone on my blog, I should probably report a few statistics:

1,023 Posts, 20 Categories, 1,305 Tags

211,322 Views, 2,878 Comments, but about 40% of those comments are from me (either adding notes to a post or responding to another commenter, so I’m really getting only about 8 comments for every 1000 views.

The big categories are

Circuits course 164
 home school 127
 Robotics  46
 data acquisition 36
 printed circuit boards 34
 science fair 27

Because still does not support displaying posts in chronological order (only reverse chronological), and the theme I use does not include next/previous links (the one major complaint I have with the theme), I’ve had to create and manually maintain a couple of table of contents pages:

Circuits course

Homeschool Physics

The major tags are

education 297
circuits 158
teaching 127
high school 109
physics 105
home school 96
course design 95
bioengineering 86
Arduino 75
higher education 67
computer science 56
bioinformatics 49
science education 44
math 41
programming 40
Matter and Interactions 37
AP physics 37
engineering 36
science fair 35

There are probably a number of posts that should have the “home school” tag but don’t.

The major referrers are

Search Engines  (almost all Google) 84,867
Various Yahoo mail servers 1,879
Google Reader 1,468 1,401
Facebook 915 762 486 470 443
Twitter 432 359 283 283 208

Since I have neither Facebook nor Twitter accounts, the number of referrals from those social media sites are surprisingly large, but searches and e-mail referrals are clearly a far more common way to get to my blog. The coming loss of Google Reader may end up hurting my readership numbers, though I suppose that most Google Reader users will switch over to a different RSS reader. I’ll have to choose one soon myself (I’m thinking of The Old Reader, NewsBlur, or NetVibes, though I understand that NewsBlur has stopped giving out free accounts for now, because they got too many new users with the demise of Google Reader).

Here are some of my all-time most popular posts (some of them are definitely not among my favorite posts):

Title Views Comment
Home page / Archives 57,462 I show a few recent posts on the home page for the blog, so many of my readers just view posts there.
2011 AP Exam Score Distribution 13,937 Just a pointer to data on someone else’s web page, with minimal commentary
West Point Bridge Designer 2011 5,189 middle-school students trying to cheat on their homework
Installing gnuplot—a nightmare 4,233 The comments on this post have proven to be useful—the instructions for installing gnuplot in the comments are better than the post or the official gnuplot installation instructions.
Why no digital oscilloscope for Macbooks and iPads? 3,244 Obsolete now, as the BitScope USB oscilloscope does work with a MacBook.
Bring back the mammoth! 2,734 A throw-away comment that got a lot of views from Russia, for reasons I still don’t understand.
How many AP courses are too many? 2,526 thoughts on the tradeoffs between challenge and overwork
Computer languages for kids 1,922 The post I point people to when they ask about how to teach kids to program. Because my son has been an excellent programmer for a while, I get asked this a lot. I don’t recommend teaching (most) kids the way my son learned, but I have given some thought to how I think programming should be taught to youngsters.
West Point Bridge Design Contest 2012 1,847 Middle-schoolers cheating on their homework, but using a more recent version of bridge designer. Interestingly, this year’s post for the 2013 contest has not had many hits—probably because it is not part of the positive feedback loop that causes posts on the first page of Google hits to become more commonly reported by Google.
2012 AP Exam Score Distribution 1,697 Yet another pointer to someone else’s web page with minimal commentary
County Fair with Pictures 1,513 I’ve never understood why this post gets so many hits. There must be 1000s of better collections of County Fair pictures.
Why Discrete Math Is Important and The Calculus Trap 1,468 A pointer to some good articles on the Art of Problem Solving web site, along with some commentary.
Instrumentation amp lab 1,297 Another post in the Google positive feedback cycle. I have better posts than this one about instrumentation amps and labs using them, but this one is the one that gets clicked on.
Resources for bioinformatics in AP Bio 1,225 This post has a number of pointers that I collected that are useful for AP bio teachers and students. The teachers now have a resource repository on the College Board website that is probably more useful to them. I’ve not checked whether everything I’ve listed here has been put into the College Board repository, and probably never will have the time or energy to do that.
Adding bioinformatics to AP Bio 1,194 I think that this post was about the need for adding bioinformatics to high school biology, rather than resources for doing so. Some grad students and I have done some volunteer teaching and lesson development since then (see bioinformatics in AP Bio lessons)
Google Scholar vs. Scopus and SciFinder 1,190 A somewhat dated look at different scholarly indexing services, using searches for my work as one measure of coverage and false positives.
Waterproofing cameras for underwater ROVs 1,187 A record (with pictures) of the workshop taught to high school students for the MATE Rover underwater vehicle contest. It is a surprisingly cheap and simple way to create waterproof video cameras.
A use for an Ion Torrent 1,088 A throwaway idea for a market niche for a fairly low-cost sequencing platform. From what I’ve heard, Ion Torrent is still trying to get their error rates down to reasonable numbers, and they were badly hurt by sleazy moves by their marketing people (suppressing papers from early adopters, for example).
Soda-bottle rockets 1,066 Soda-bottle rockets are a great topic, and I have some other posts under the rocket tag, but I probably get more hits on a much older pair of PDF files for one-page handouts on how to make a simple soda-bottle launcher (English and Spanish).
Should high schools and colleges teach sentence diagramming? 1,042 Sentence diagramming seems to have gone through a nostalgia phase about a year ago. I’m not convinced that it helps students much, but it is probably better than ignoring grammar entirely or just teaching parts of speech.
What is giftedness? 1,035 I nearly always get a wave of views when I e-mail a link to post to one of the larger parent-of-gifted-kid email lists, but I try to minimize how often I do that, and only point to posts that are highly relevant to the conversation in progress on the list, so as not to be viewed as one of those obnoxious people who are just on the mailing list to shill for their books, courses, or blogs. I try to limit my mentions of my blogs to about one out of ten of my comments on the e-mail list or less.

I seem to have 20 posts with over 1000 views. I wonder what the blogging equivalent of the h-index is. Probably something like the largest h such that there are h posts with ≥50h views.


  1. Don’t forget, you can simply turn the msb of your fingers into a tri-state digit and keep going for another 512 posts on your fingers!

    Comment by Ron G. — 2013 March 24 @ 09:59 | Reply

    • No, Ron, I don’t have enough control of the pinky finger on my non-dominant hand to hold it in one of three different positions for the time it takes to count to 512. It is hard enough to keep 2 positions separate when the ring finger next to it changes value.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2013 March 24 @ 10:19 | Reply

  2. very nice blog, I just stumbled upon it and am still going through the posts. I’m an old dog and have learned much of what you teach through self study. I have tutored programming before and commiserate with the difficulties of teaching unmotivated students how to break down problems and troubleshooting.

    Keep up the excellent work!

    Comment by Richard Hardenstein — 2014 March 29 @ 17:29 | Reply

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