Welcome to 2009, which is, among other things, the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, the International Year of Astronomy (Galileoscope!), and the year that George Bush goes home. I'll go out on a limb and predict that it will NOT be the year that CMB B-modes are convincingly detected, but that it will be the year that someone announces the discovery of an Earth-analogue planet orbiting another star. In July it may be worth your while to make that trip to Shanghai that you've been putting off, as you'll be able to see the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century from there. Russian academic Igor Panarin predicts that fall 2009 will bring the start of the second American Civil War (as a result of which, Russia will finally reclaim Alaska)! Fasten your seatbelts: the year's off to a rocky start, but there's hope n' change in the air.
In keeping with tradition, let's take a look at how EGAD fared in 2008. Last year, I published 58 posts, or a little more than half as many as in 2007 -- this is largely because I effectively took the summer off from blogging, and then again managed to blog very little this fall while doing instrument integration in New York. About two thirds of those were either Narrative or Politics postings, and almost a fifth dealt with the 2008 Scavenger Hunt. Remarkably, given the light posting schedule, EGAD's traffic almost doubled to 30,251 hits last year. A huge fraction of that traffic volume is directed via Google image search at my old (and rather abortive) Map of the Week project; overall I think my blog archives have become a not-insignificant internet resource on the geography of southern Israel and the Sinai. My traffic ticked up almost 50% in December, but the increase came almost entirely in the week following Christmas, peaking on the 29th at over four times the usual rate. More evidence for the above assertion, since this is obviously correlated to the latest convulsion in Gaza. However, this makes it a bit difficult to establish just how many regular readers I have these days. Probably about a dozen. Hi there.
Also, it should be noted that EGAD's author got married in 2008, which is pretty significant to him, and is even relevant to the blog insofar as it helps explain some of the lack of posts this year.
And following along with the usual meme, here we have the first and last sentence-or-so of each month of 2008:
JanuaryFirst: I suppose global warming can mostly be said to be rendering Minnesota more habitable.
Last:I probably looked like a steamship trundling down the street.
FebruaryFirst: Overhead from another lab in passing: "If I'm going to vote for a 70-year-old dude, it'd better be Dr. Love."
Last: I mean handy for perfectly selfish reasons: I probably won't have to miss the ScavHunt, and won't be flying in from the field for my sister's wedding.
MarchFirst: So it's been an entire month since I posted here. Huh.
Last: In particular, there's an obscure provision of the farm subsidy rules, jealously protected by the California growers in particular, that effectively bans planting fruits and vegetables on land that used to be used to grow staple crops like corn or cotton. Which is, basically, all farmland around here. Funny, that.
AprilFirst: Like Kate Sheppard, I've been pleased to notice that, on the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, there has been some attention given to his unfinished and deeply radical vision.
Last: Good accompanying reading: around the time I took this picture, I spent an entire evening engrossed by Wikipedia's List of Notable Trees.
MayFirst: Okay, every few years I try this, and it rarely works as well as I'd like, but let's give it another shot.
Last:: Heavens, I don't think we embalmed him at all!
JuneFirst and last: Oh right, I have a blog. I knew I was forgetting something.
July...EGAD mostly took the summer off, so there were no posts in July.
AugustFirst: It appears that my last content-ful post was back in May; it now being August, I'm retroactively declaring that EGAD observes summer vacation this year.
Last: Not sure yet what the extent of my involvement in that mess will be.
SeptemberFirst: If you've ever gotten into a discussion about nuclear weapons with a physicist, at some point it was probably remarked upon at some point that non-proliferation is hard, because at the end of the day, once a country has the requisite weapons-grade fuel, a few grad students could likely build one.
Last: I really hope the rest realized the vulnerability of that peninsula and are safely elsewhere, but I worry that we might never know how many were swept right out to sea.
OctoberFirst: It would seem that I am just bad at blogging this year.
Last: On the other hand, like a smoldering coalseam or root fire, bringing all this out in the open and exposing it to fresh air may be the only way it will ever burn itself out for good.
NovemberFirst: ...it's Dia de los Muertos?
Last: In addition to keeping me in a job -- yay for science funding -- it's that curiosity (about how nature works, sure, but also curiosity about ourselves, about our neighbors, about the future) and the harvest of creativity it inspires that will keep that bleak winter at bay.
DecemberFirst: So when I got to New York a couple of months ago, it mostly looked like this:
Last: Anyway, I'm here for about a week, then I traipse off to Texas with Elena for Christmas.