Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

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Five Figures!

A milestone has been passed – this blog has now received over 10000 hits!

That may not be much for some of you with huge readerships, but I’m impressed. I’m even more impressed that this has happened while I’ve not been posting much. There are plenty of things I could posting about, including:

  • Thoughts on the responsibilities of scientists in ‘speaking truth to power’, inspired by discussions over on the e-Astronomer’s blog
  • My thoughts as I near completion of a major rewrite of the Novel In Progress
  • The welcome news that UKIRT operations are being extended by 3 months while negotiations to secure a new owner are completed
  • Further developments in the Royal Institution Trademark saga, including a new letter from the RI (which you can see here), and the results of some new legal sleuthing (which I need to get permission to pass on)
  • Some (well, quite a lot actually) photos from my recent trip to ESO’s Very Large Telescope

but I haven’t managed to get my finger out to do any of them. I blame a mixture of the heat (my brain seems to shut down at temperatures around 25C, which have dominated London since I got back from Chile) and the distraction from blogging of doing the novel rewrite. I could claim the Stross defence here, that I can either write fiction or blog entries, but Charlie is much more of a real writer than me so that would be presumptive.

I’ll just have to leave this post as a milestone and as a teaser for the things I have yet to blog, and leave a question for you, dear readers: of the things listed above, what would you like to see me write about next?


Memetic Epidemiology Explodes

Back in November I wrote a post about the spread of words, ideas or, in this case, a joke through multiply connected networks. I rather lightheartedly titled the post ‘Memetic Epidemiology’. It’s been a fairly active post on this blog, with a few readers a week since it was posted, and I was quite amused to find that the post was number four or five on the Google search results for the term ‘memetic epidemiology’.

Today there has been an explosion of activity on that post, with 24 hits and counting. All of these seem to come from the US, and a good few are arriving from a google search for the term.

I’m quite curious as to what has caused it. My hypothesis is that someone, somewhere has set memetic epidemiology as a homework task for some students, and they’ve all gone running to Google for help, and have arrived here. If that’s the case, and one of the students is reading this, do say hello in the comments!

If not, then I’m quite puzzled as to what’s going on. Any explanation in the comments would be much appreciated.


WordPress does quite well in recording blog stats. From this I have learnt:

(1) That none of you read this blog on Christmas Day. Good!

(2) People are already sniffing around the internet looking for rumours of Planck results (or should I say rumors, as the search used USian spelling). Bad – anything you hear will likely be nonsense since none of us are talking.