Friday, August 3, 2012

One year in The Trenches...

The five year extrapolation

Today is The Trenches of Discovery's first birthday. It's been a pretty cool year. It hasn't exceeded my wildest expectations, but it has exceeded my worst fears. We're chugging along nicely, with growth figures that, so far, match a pretty regular exponential growth. At the moment our viewing figures are still relatively humble, but if they keep following this exponential curve then, in about five years, the entire world will be checking out The Trenches of Discovery every day (I just made that up, I can't be bothered working it out in detail – but it's close enough). After that, I guess the governments of the world will have to organise successive baby-booms to keep our viewing stats rising.

Tell us about yourself

I thought, to mark the occasion, I would do two things. Firstly, I'll do something I've seen some other blogs do, which is to ask you, the reader, to tell us about yourself in the comments. What's your background? Where are you from? How did you find this place? What sort of posts of ours do you like? What is your favourite colour? What is your quest? What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? The usual. I'd love to know who the dudes out there are that are reading what we write. The comments are still completely unrestricted, so you can post as anonymously as you wish. Feel free to ask us questions in the comments too.

Trench Points

The second thing I want to do is have a small competition. I will give 20 Trench Points to the first commenter who correctly guesses what our most viewed post is. Everyone else who correctly guesses will get 5 Trench Points and as a consolation I'll give 1 Trench Point to anyone who's guess is one of our five most viewed posts. Then, for a super-bonus, if people want to guess how many views the most viewed post has I will give another 20 Trench Points to the closest guess. I'll announce the results this time next week.

What are Trench Points?

In case you're wondering I don't know what Trench Points are either. But, I'm sure that in five years time when we rule the world, they'll matter, so you better start collecting them now. More realistically, I guess, when we sell out and get merchandise they'll be able to be exchanged for free Trench Goodness. Clearly, this will only be true for people who don't post anonymously and use some sort of registered account. In the meantime, while we don't rule the internet, or have Goodness to give away, Trench Points will have to just be about inner feelings of awesomeness and achievement in life, as well as, of course, bragging rights with all your friends.

For anyone who does post with some sort of registered account (i.e. gmail address, Wordpress account, etc), I will keep a record of accumulated Trench Points over time and put them in a table somewhere.

Well, what are you waiting for, tell us about yourself...


  1. I haven't had much success provoking people to comment in the past. But, even if none of you write a comment this year, I still figured it was worth a shot. This way, next year, when three people reply I'll feel really good about things.

  2. African or European?

    Based on a current trend of page views = 25.721months^2 - 140.3months + 700.9 with an R squared value of 0.905, it will only take us a little over 17000 years to achieve global domination.

    1. The swallow was born in Africa, trained as a laden swallow for most of its life in Europe, but has recently been unladen and released three kilometres west of the the Pacific jet-stream.

      Also, your formula isn't exponential growth, it's quadratic (I'm not waiting more than a decade for world-domination). Try page views=A*(a^(months)-1).

  3. My guess would be `The War of the Immune Worlds' the first post as it was up for a prize and no one gets past reading part 1 :P

    I'm Gareth. I'm a recovering PhD student, I've been off the research for just over 7 months and I'm a fan blue colours. I met Shaun 7 years ago but these days mostly just stalk him silently on the internet. I'm enjoying the biology posts the most although don't let that make anyone else feel bad :)

    1. Thanks for the comment, Gareth. It must be hard coming to this den of inequity when you have been clean for 7 months.

      Do you mind if I ask what it is about the biology posts that you like? Feedback is always good. It would be useful to know what James is doing right so that he can keep it up and the rest of us can steal his glory.

      Also, everyone is silently stalking everyone nowadays. That's why God invented facebook.

  4. hmmm I thought I left a comment a few days ago but clearly I forgot press submit!

    I wondered about why I preferred the biology posts when I said it. I think its just because I have a latent interest in biology, particularly its inner workings on a cellular, or smaller, level. The articles are as well written as the others I've come across on the site.

  5. I would have commented on this post at the time except I was on holiday. I don't admit to stalking, but the airspeed velocity of an unladen (European) swallow is apparently about 11 m/s.

    1. I love that we live in at a time where the answer to this question is so easily obtained.

      Though I'm starting to feel a bit embarrassed about this Trench Point nonsense, like I'm a parody of Stephen Fry on QI - you definitely get a point for showing the answer.

  6. Well, Gareth gets one Trench Point (what a ridiculous idea - damn, the Olympics really affected me).

    War of the Immune Worlds is only our second most viewed post, surprisingly enough. It was definitely the most sensible guess though. The most viewed post, by quite a margin, is Immunology Under the Microscope. That post is like heroin to google image search for some reason. Although, James' most recent post is now by far the fastest riser... or was during the Olympics. Everyone on the internet, it seems, wants to know why Usain bolt runs so fast and google directs some of them to us.

    The rest of the top 5 are: Treason in the Immune Army, Leonardo: a Painter at the Court of Milan, and The Human Machine: biological batteries and motors.

    Apart from War of the Immune Worlds, most of the traffic to these top posts comes from google image search. Google loves James' choices of images and Leonardo's drawings of clothing.