Friday 22 May 2015

It's two years if a day

When I started a new job in The Institute in January 2013, I thought it would be interesting to blog the process of transition from working one day a week the Ivory Tower of Trinity College Dublin to hewing at the coal-face in The Institute. Starting at the bottom of the scale as an Assistant Lecturer was a bit of an etymological tumble from Senior Scientist.   With the anomalies of Irish tax credits and allowances, the financial deal also seemed to be invidious - I was invited to work five times as many hours for twice as much money.  But twice as much money is still the difference between eating stir-about every day and having a cheese sandwich on Sundays.  But it's not about the money

I called the blog Science Matters because it does; but that title is a little fraudulent because the content, all too frequently, lurches off into left-field bucketting over tussocks of remote island groups, biographies of women, and castigation of iniquities - let's kick Fritz Haber again.  With all this off-topic material the banner title became The Blob, at least in my head.  When I started the new job, I had to prep a bunch of totally new classes with support from my colleagues that was 'patchy' (some mighty, some totally hands-off) and so I was busy every evening and every weekend clagging together enough material for next Monday.  All good fun and reading the early posts brings back some of the excitement and some of the panic.  After a frenetic Jan, Feb, Mar 2013 things started to settle down and I found more time for The Blob although I was still mad busy at work and several days might pass without anything posted.  For example, on 21st May 2013 I wrote a historical piece about Nirenberg and Matthaei and the birth of the genetic code which has garnered over 1000 page views and is the most popular post on The Blob.  On 23rd May 2013 I was on about fashions in European underwear which is more important [every knows about Nirenberg and Matty except how to spell Matt's name; but not many know what studs and hotties are should be wearing next to their skin] but has only clocked up 67 PVs. The problem with blogs is that they are ephemeral; blogspot puts up the most recent 7 posts but, to the nearest integer, 0 people go to the second page let alone browse through the archive.

There was a gap between 21st and 23rd May 2013 when I was mad busy marking exams but every day since then, I've posted something for posterity.  Well done me! When you do something regularly and often the material clocks up and I'm happy to report some statistics.
  • Content: 600,000+ words is 1.33 LOTRs and more than War & Peace, Moby Dick, or Ulysses.
  • Average post is about 600 words: in the Summer I'll put out a 1,000th post
  • In about a year's time, I'll tell you when I've passed out Potter (a million&something words)
But it's not about the word count.  Much of The Blob is about as interesting as a roomful of monkeys typing away until they've re-written Hamlet.  I must confess that sometimes I read a piece in the archive whose the logic I just cannot follow - brows furrowed but it might as well be written in Magyar. Another way of looking at it is
  • Impact/sales: a very humble 160μPotters 
    • J.K. Rowling has shifted 450,000,000 units
    • The Blob has about 77,000 pageviews
I like the units, it's like Francis Galton's unit of millihelen - the amount of beauty required to launch a single ship.  Actually I can't get nearer than 'anonymous'  for an attribution for this witticism.  But Galton was definitely interested in the matter and invented an event recorder to surreptitiously tally up the number of beautiful women he encountered [don't shed the o!] in British cities: London had the highest index of pulchritude, Aberdeen the lowest.

I don't undertake to post every day hereinafter but I don't intend to wrap The Blob any time soon either.

1 comment:

  1. thats a bit of a let down for a "Blob junkie", no daily fix...cold turkey beckons