— It's been seven years exactly since I first started chronicling the "follies and mysteries" of the universe in Cosmic Log, and boy, have times changed.
Here are some of the basic statistics for the birthday:
- Back in 2002, there were just 18 arcane entries for "Cosmic Log" as a search term - today it's an indeterminate number (Google guesses "about 185,000").
- I've been averaging 500 posts annually for the past three years. In fact, today's postings bring the official count to 1,500 since we moved to the current blogging tool in 2006. I've rummaged through almost 45,000 comments in that time.
- The past year saw the most widely read Cosmic Log posting ever ("Galaxies in gridlock"). And although we haven't yet beat the record for comments (1,086 comments for "Sympathy for the Kims"), we came relatively close with the past year's most-commented-upon posting (635 comments for "Bible gets a reality check").
Sadly, the past year saw the passing away of MSN Groups, which housed the archive for Cosmic Log's early years. Happily, I've migrated the archive over to Cosmiclog.Multiply.com, and I'm now in the process of changing permissions on hundreds of items so you don't have to be a Multiply member to see them all.
Another good thing that happened in the past year is that I've started trying my hand at Facebook and Twitter. In fact, you have two Twitter accounts to choose from:
- cosmiclog, for those who merely want an automated feed pointing to the daily postings.
- b0yle, for a slightly less automated mishmash of random comments, retweets and posting pointers.
Although I'll never come up to the high standard set by my colleague at msnbc.com, Technotica columnist (and "America's Internet Sweetheart ©") Helen A.S. Popkin, I resolve to give this social-media thing more of a chance over the next year. Who knows? This Internet thing just might catch on.
Here's another thing that I hope catches on: "The Case for Pluto," my first book to hit the big time. The dwarf planet has gotten a bad rap since its reclassification by the International Astronomical Union three years ago, and my goal in writing the book was to present a sensible argument for planethood - not just for Pluto, but for all those other fascinating dwarfs out there. You'll be hearing a lot more about "The Case for Pluto" as the November publication date draws closer (just in time for holiday giving!).
I've always said the greatest thing about Cosmic Log is the comments from readers who know much more than I do - and for that, I want to thank you all once again. There's much more to look forward to over the next 12 months, ranging from the restart of the Large Hadron Collider to the likely rollout of SpaceShipTwo. Just you wait: Year No. 8 is going to be great!
To celebrate today's occasion, click your way through the traditional Cosmic Log trivia quiz and see how much you remember.
Update for 4:40 p.m. ET May 14: I've slightly revised the publication date for my book, "The Case for Pluto," based on the official schedule for availability. I notice that a well-known bookselling Web site is already offering it at a discount. Is that a good sign, or a bad sign?