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Most Popular #SciAmBlogs Posts of 2011

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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OK, this is totally unscientific. On July 5th we launched the new network. Blogs that launched on that day only had about six months to publish posts, get subscribers to the feed, get noticed, get traffic. On the other hand, the original eight blogs did not have those obstacles but, on the other hand, had all the URLs changed on that date, which makes it really tedious for me to work out the actual total traffic.

So I poked around our stats some, aware that the date of posting, pattern of traffic (one big surge vs. continuous accruing of traffic) and other factors will determine how high they show up when I look for our most popular pre-launch and post-launch posts and that it is possible I’d miss some. Being holiday and all, I gave up doing fine-tuned verification of all the numbers and went with what I easily found. It is a mix of old and new posts, and I am only sure about the exact position of the first three posts because they really hit the stratosphere. The rest of them, yes, I remember they had great traffic, but I apologize if I messed up and missed a post that should be included, or the exact order of those I did include. This is not supposed to really be a “Top 30″ list, but more of a smorgasbord of posts that, for one reason or another, did well in 2011. A showcase of the diversity of posts that can potentially be successful, if you will.

1. You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential – Andrea Kuszewski on the Guest Blog

2. A Higgs Setback: Did Stephen Hawking Just Win the Most Outrageous Bet in Physics History? – Amir Aczel on the Guest Blog.

3. Man discovers a new life-form at a South African truck stop – Rob Dunn on the Guest Blog.

4. How a Computer Game Is Reinventing the Science of Expertise [Video] – Sandra Upson at Observations.

5. France becomes first country to ban extraction of natural gas by fracking – Davide Castelvecchi at Observations.

6. Why Daylight Saving Time Should Be Abolished – David Biello at Observations.

7. Can sitting too much kill you? – Travis Saunders at the Guest Blog.

8. Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture – Christie Wilcox at Science Sushi.

9. About Pepper Spray – Deborah Blum on the Guest Blog.

10. How do you ID a dead Osama? – Christie Wilcox on the Guest Blog

11. Nuclear Fission Confirmed as Source of More than Half of Earth’s Heat – David Biello at Observations

12. Is It Cold in Here? – Jennifer Ouellette at Cocktail Party Physics.

13. A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain – Samuel McNerney on the Guest Blog.

14. What Kind of Fish are You? – Kalliopi Monoyios at Symbiartic.

15. Color-Changing Dots Earn Best Illusion of the Year Award – John Matson at Observations.

16. Scientists Discover That Antimicrobial Wipes and Soaps May Be Making You (and Society) Sick – Rob Dunn on the Guest Blog.

17. Japan earthquake: The explainer – Chris Rowan at the Guest Blog

18. Stop Mining for Oil (and Coal), Start Drilling for Heat – David Biello at Observations

19. Judgment Day Math: The Numbers behind Harold Camping’s May 21 Claim – John Matson at Observations.

20. Are you smarter than a middle schooler? New site tracks science misconceptions – Katherine Harmon at Observations.

21. The top 10 life-forms living on Lady Gaga (and you) – Rob Dunn on the Guest Blog.

22. Prescient but Not Perfect: A Look Back at a 1966 Scientific American Article on Systems Analysis – Peter Norvig at @ScientificAmerican.

23. Robots Evolve to Look Out for Their Own – Katherine Harmon at Observations

24. Time on the Brain: How You Are Always Living In the Past, and Other Quirks of Perception – George Musser at Observations

25. It’s Not That Easy Being Green, but Many Would Like to Be – Marcelo Vinces on the Guest Blog.

26. Can you hear me now? Animals all over the world are finding interesting ways to get around the human din – Rose Eveleth on the Guest Blog.

27. Faster-than-light neutrinos show science in action – Kelly Oakes at Basic Space.

28. Land-Walking Octopus Explained [Video] – Katherine Harmon at Octopus Chronicles.

29. Does the “Goddamn” Higgs Particle Portend the End of Physics? – John Horgan at Cross-Check

30.One reason why humans are special and unique: We masturbate. A lot – Jesse Bering at Bering in Mind.

Next year the network bloggers and staff bloggers will start off on an equal footing, so the mix is likely to be very different. Stay tune – there is some great blogging on the network every day. Happy New Year!





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  1. 1. BaldEgalitarian 12:17 pm 01/1/2012

    We must not forget about the untalented and those ashamed to pursue a louder voice than others, or we might inherit a blind and impolite republic. The untalented might give us simplification, the polite might give us civility.

    Do not get me wrong, I do not believe we should squelch the talented and all ambition, just do not forget to respect the untalented and the meek, even if talented and ambitious ‘perfect representation’ advocates must seek them out.

    Might I suggest random representation, even if only parallel branches.

    Link to this

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