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Selected holiday links December 27, 2008

Posted by dorigo in astronomy, Blogroll, chess, cosmology, internet, italian blogs, news, physics, politics, science.
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Being too lazy to generate content while relaxing after a day on the ski slopes in Padola, I am offering you a few selected links that are worth a visit. Not all about physics, and not all recent -that’s what you get from a very erratic web surfer.

  • Tim Krabbé, the dutch novelist and chessplayer, has a very interesting piece on the very peculiar chess problem stipulation called the worst possible move. It now appears that, while the game of chess is virtually unexhaustible -at least for us humans-, we now have an answer to what is the worst possible move you can make in a chess game. Or, at least, we get very close to the best of the worst, with Sampsa Lahtonen’s 1.Qxc4+, a move by white that forces black to administer mate in one, when all the other 52 possible moves by white would have mated black.
  • David Orban, my futurologist friend, spoke at the italian parliament on December 12th on internet and new technologies and their use. He offers a report (which includes two video clips), but it is currently only in the italian version of his blog. You can easily translate the text using the web’s http://translate.google.com powerful tools, while for the video… hehm. Maybe in the web 3.0.
  • Michael Schmitt, a professor at Northwestern University and a colleague in CMS and CDF, is back in blogging mood, hopefully to stay. He has started back with momentum with a few very interesting posts, the last of which is about Dark Matter as a Quantum Liquid. Welcome back Michael!
  • The always excellent Resonaances has yet another post on the Pamela/Atic anomalies out, and this one can’t be missed any more than could the previous ones. Highly recommended.

Traffic summary for 2008 December 27, 2008

Posted by dorigo in Blogroll, internet.
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Despite the slow and steady decline in my posting rate -which you should read as a sign of my increased commitment in other activities more than anything else- I am happy with the overall results of this blog in 2008. Hit counts show a constant upward trend, which is probably more a global effect than anything else, but there are other indicators that show an increased attention of visitors to this site.

One is the number of people googling my name to come here -about 30 each day. It may look like a small number, but it signals the presence of a pool of visitors that do not usually read blogs, and do not even bother to bookmark sites, yet they come specifically to my site to read what I write.

Then, we should consider the incoming links. Technorati claims there are about 850 pointing at this site, and I wonder how meaningful that estimate is; the ranking of this blog for technorati.org is in the 40,000th-50,000th range, which is a satisfactory result for a blog discussing experimental high-energy physics, in my opinion.

Probably most meaningful to me are the signals of appreciation and consideration that come from outside. Despite my lowly status of unknown contract-researcher in HEP, through the blog I have become known to journalists, editors, conference organizers. I have been interviewed repeatedly by Nature, Physics World, Science, the NYT, the russian edition of Newsweek, New Scientist… -and we haven’t discovered the Higgs boson yet! I have been invited to radio programs, conferences, workshops. I have been offered membership of the editorial board of scientific publications. I have been asked to review grant proposals of foreign institutions. My picture has appeared in magazines. I am traveling to London fully paid next July, for a conference in Journalism!

All the above is surprising, but not overly so. It is just another facet of the power of the internet. Things start here now -this is the most concrete demonstration that the nature of the web is less and less virtual. Things start here nowadays.

Anyway, back to the subject of this post: Since January 2006, this blog has received a total of 818,000 hits, and more than half of those are from 2008 alone. Despite the launch of LHC in September, the busiest month here has been November, with over 60,000 hits.

The most-visited posts see my “Who am I” page leading with 10,436 views, followed by “CDF publishes multi-muons!” with 10,162. Good third place is the famous post “Lisa Randall: Black Holes Out of Reach of LHC” with 9554 views.

As for incoming traffic, I have to thank Peter Woit who is leading by far that ranking. In 2008 he sent here 18,714 viewers. After a few blog aggregators, the second site sending traffic here is the surprisingly good resonaances at 2111 hits, followed closely by the top cruiser cosmic variance at 2051.

Finally, to whom am I sending my readers ? I am not known for my generosity with links -I am much too lazy to link other sites, plus the shortage of time has caused a strong decrease in the time I spend reading other bloggers. In 2008 I have sent 1273 readers to Peter Woit, 1001 readers to Lubos Motl (who should thank me, since he only sent here 743 ;-), plus a few hundreds to other sites.

In summary, this blog is alive and kicking, and will stay so until we have understood everything that there is to know about elementary particles… Find a comfy seat, it’s going to take some time. What remains to be said is that I am grateful to all of you who come here to read what I write: without your interest I would have stopped doing this a long time ago. My best wishes for a scientifically profitful 2009!

What has been going on around December 14, 2008

Posted by dorigo in Blogroll, internet.
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I occasionally realize that this blog is a dead end of web surfers, not so much for its content -who cares about content these days- but for the lack of meaningful links. Apart from the blogroll column on the right, in fact, I am very, very lazy with html tags, and my posts have no “further reading” links at the bottom as those of some tidier bloggers.

So let me make an attempt at doing my share of sewing for the internet today. Here are a few blogs that have recently discussed things worth reading.