Sunday, January 13, 2013

State of the Blog

I promised myself that, should this blog ever reach 10,000 page views, I'd write a short post about how things were going [1].  That happened earlier this month, so here goes.

Almost no one leaves comments.  This could indicate any of several things.  I might not be controversial.  Most of the page views could be robots scanning and indexing the Web.  Probably it's just hard to build a community of people willing to make comments.  I wonder if blogger or any of the other blog-hosting sites publish information about how many blogs remain essentially comment-free?

By far the most viewed entry is this one about donor and recipient states of federal tax dollars.  If I type "donor and recipient states" into Google, that post comes up at the top of the list (hey, 15 minutes of Internet fame!).  There has been a surge of interest in it since the elections in November.  I expect that's a response to the large number of signatures showing up on secession petitions at; the conventional wisdom seems to be that the petitions come from "red" states; people in "blue" states like to point out in response that many of those red states are net recipients of federal dollars, so just let them go.  It seems odd to me that my post should be so popular, since the general theme of it isn't about red/blue comparisons, but about East/West.  I also did a follow-up piece about the difficulties of using simple totals to label western states as "recipients" in the derogatory tone that is often taken.

The second most popular entry is about The World's Most Sophisticated Whole-House Fan Controller™™.  Clearly, some people are not happy with the controllers they have for their whole-house fans and are looking for an alternative.  I suppose there might be a business opportunity in there somewhere.  Although a smart controller is going to be a bit pricey.  Getting-started costs are high, since the cost of having a unit listed by Underwriters' Laboratories runs to at least several thousand dollars [2], and the market over which that expense would be spread is probably too small.  Nevertheless, the controller is a good example of one of my recurring themes: the prevalence of large-scale integrated circuits at the heart of an enormous range of devices.

I haven't written as much about energy policy as I intended.  One of the things that I had hoped would happen is that the blog would motivate me to investigate (and possibly build) models that incorporated regional effects of localized energy resources.  It turns out that I believe in several things: (a) when historians look back at the first half of the 21st century, energy transition will be the important story; (b) electricity supplies will be the biggest part of that story; (c) the story will have turned out much better for some areas than for others; and (d) the areas where it will turn out better will almost certainly not be constrained by national borders.  Too many models that I've seen -- and that list is certainly not exhaustive -- deal with global or continental sorts of scales, which I think is too broad.

All things considered, I think I'll continue to muddle along.  If nothing else, writing is an excellent way to organize your thinking on a subject.

[1] Blogger's graphic shows page views per month.  It's kind of odd, since I didn't start this blog until the middle of 2010, and it shows page hits going back to 2008.

[2] Just the cost of getting a copy of the relevant UL documents describing the requirements to which such a device must conform runs to several hundred dollars.

1 comment:

  1. Michael:

    I recently "discovered" your blog and find much of it interesting. I've added it to the list of links in the sidebar of my own blog, Terra Central.

    Hope you continue to "muddle along" as you present some serious ideas.

    All the best,