Year in Review 2011

I began writing this site in early September, and have since completed 82 posts (including this one). I’ve also started a few series of articles:

  • History of solar system exploration (Astronomy). Intended to cover the successful missions to the various “worlds” of the solar system. Presently I’ve only done Mercury and Venus (since the next two, Luna (the Moon) and Mars, have had many exploratory missions so I’ve been putting off the research work).
  • Introductory Electronics (Electronics). Two posts so far, and the sky’s the limit going forward. Next up will be combining the basic passive elements and then on to diodes.
  • Fun with dimensional analysis (Physics). 5 posts so far, intended to be short and sweet. If nothing else they’re to give me practice.
  • Logical Fallacies (Skepticism). I’ve been writing entries on individual logical fallacies, attempting to show their form, why they’re fallacious, and provide examples. It’s definitely improved my ability to notice them in everyday conversations. I’ve done about 11 so far, but they are legion.
  • Book Reviews (Reviews). I think I’m in a bind in that any number of books I read I’d consider not enough. I’ve read and reviewed 4 books in the last 4 months that are relevant to STEM, and have two more on the go. I’ve also, of course, read a few non-STEM books in that time and did not count or include my school textbooks. I’ll give myself an average literacy rating over the past four months then.

I thought of tracking some other values of interest at year’s end (which is an exercise in hubris in that it assumes I’ll be doing this for years). If in the future I think of some other interesting metrics (or somebody suggests something good) maybe I’ll retroactively look them up and add them.

    • Perfomance of fastest supercomputer: 10.51 PFLOPS
    • Number of known exoplanets: 716
    • Number of active interplanetary probes: 21
    • Largest telescope effective aperture: 11.9 m
    • Highest particle collider beam energy: 3.5 TeV
    • Number of base pairs in GenBank135,117,731,375
    • Number of digits in largest known prime number12,978,189
    • Human population (est.) at year’s end: 7.0 billion

Exoplanet discovery, current through July 2011 (Source: Wikipedia)

EDIT: Added entries on GenBank and prime numbers to show biology and math some love.

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