Sunday, October 02, 2005

Happy Blogiversary To Me

Yes, that's right! It was one year ago today that a blog named afarensis first blazed across the intellectual firmament, astounding all with it's brilliance! So I thought in this post I would look back at the past year.

Originally, I was going to name the blog "Insomnia" because I do suffer quite frequently with insomnia. The idea was to blog when I couldn't sleep. Didn't quite work out though because I tend to read when I can't sleep (for example I'm on page 526 of Gould's monumental "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory"). Here's my first post:

Up late

Well technically I woke up early and can't get back to sleep. This blog will be about science, politics and whatever else I can think of to say.

See what I mean about brilliant!

I posted six more times in October and seven times in November. In December I did not post at all. Mainly, because I was having a running battle with a creationist who claimed to be from Missouri over at Chris Mooney'sblog (whoooops! Just gave up my anonymity didn't I?).
In January I only put up three posts. I decided at that point that I needed to get more serious about blogging, so in February I vowed that I would try to post everyday and although I didn't quite reach that goal I did start posting a lot more frequently. This effort brought me my first commenter:

I was looking at various blogs and came across one that had the Book Meme. It looked like a lot of fun so while I was posting it on my own blog, I tracked it back several blogs. Anyway, I found this in one of the comment sections Good grief, there are 987 different posts referencing "page 123" in Technorati...
PSoTD | Email | Homepage | 02.17.05 - 9:28 pm | #
I clicked on that comment and one of the links was yours.

This commenter still shows up on a regular basis. Can anybody guess who it was?

Sometime during March some of the other blogs in the blogosphere started occasionally linking to my posts and several - such as Red State Rabble, Thoughts From Kansas, Dharma Bums, Pharyngula, It's Morning Somewhere and last, but not least Snail's Tails. Others started linking later, and you can find links to them in my blogroll, but these are the people primarily responsible for my sitmeter climbing.

So let's talk about that for a few. My most popular post was Wells, Centrioles and Cancer: Bad things Happen when you Believe your own Metaphor. Pharyngula linked to it and I received over 2,500 hits - as a matter of fact I still get hits on it from that link!
Ian Musgrave even showed up and made a few snarky comments about Wells! I have been averaging around 280 hits a day for the last couple of months (although lately it has dropped below 200) and at last count I have had 44,393 hits. Which surprises the hell out of me. I never thought I would have that many hits after just a year. So, to those 44,393 people I say:


Since my site is devoted to anthropology, evolution and science you would think that I get my fair share of creationist and Intelligent Design trolls, but you would be dead wrong! Pharyngula and The Panda's Thumb are hogging them all! Not that I object, you understand, because I would rather blog about science than argue with the brain dead. It's been my experience that people like that know little about evolution and are instead arguing against some weird mishmash they have created in their own imagination. On the other hand, I have had several wingnuts show up. The first showed up when I announced I had joined the Big Brass Alliance. Another wingnut showed up when I did my Cindy Sheehan. This is also the longest thread to date.

In June I started a new blog dedicated to Middle School (or Junior High) and High School students, as well as those who know little about evolution but wish to learn more. The blog is called Transistions: The Evolution of Life. Anyone can contibute posts to it by getting in touch with me. I have had a wide variety of people contribute to it, in addition to the posts I have written. I am always seeking good posts that fit in with the basic mission of the blog. I am also seeking links to websites, etc, you can go here for more info on what I'm looking for.

Since this blog is about anthropology, evolution and science I have always been a littled worried. I do have a Bachelor's degree in anthropology and did two years of grad school before a car accident (I was hit by a drunk driver) and a year long concussion (I really feel sorry for those professional athletes that get concussions, they are brutal and agonizing and really affect your life) knocked me out of school (I do plan on going back - maybe soon). So I do know something about the subjects I blog about. More importantly, I know how to research a subject befor I post on it. Which is not to say I haven't goofed a time or two. I have found, however, that if you do your research your posts will be well received by the scientific community at large - even if you are not a working scientist. For exammple, Per Ahlberg sent me a copy of his Nature article on Ichthyostega after reading my first post on the subject. So let me talk a little about my blogging philosophy. I consider one of my missions, as a science blogger, to be education. I try, whenever possible, to post items that demostrate not just what science is about, but how scientists learn about the world around them. For example, my recent post on the expansion of the universe. A second example, on how scientists can study the interactions of insects and plants in the past can be found here. To me, this is a really important issue. All to often I have encountered a basic misunderstanding about how science works - and here I'm not just talking about the scientific method (such as the difference between a fact and a theory or about what the word hypothesis means). Here I am referring to the "we can learn about it because we wern't there" criticism embraced by creationists.
Having said that, like other bloggers, I tend to blog about whatever interests me. So I treated you all to, for example, a long series on Kennewick and what can be learned from one skeleton.
Finally, I am not afraid to get a little silly or goofy:

Some have claimed this is a picture of Badtux at a recent party! It's really Opus - a picture I post whenever I feel silly - although the resemblance to Badtux is striking!