True Brain year-end stats and top posts

Another year!

Year-end stats

This year I saw 16,508 unique visitors to the site. This is up from 10,129 from last year (my first full year, I saw 7,107 visitors). My percentage of new vs returning was relatively similar (16% returning, 86% new this year; 18% new, 82% returning last year), but the amount of returning readers has increased (3,054 this year, 2,246 last year). I'm so happy that over 750 people have found my site and has returned! How neat. Of course, all readers are awesome -- hopefully some new folks will continue to keep coming.

Almost every week from this year saw more visitors than last year. Some things that helped this year:

  • Data visualizations within posts
  • Features/series of posts
  • Less about summarizing previous knowledge, more about how I have applied that knowledge
  • More personal posts

Top ten articles of my year

Data Visualization of Fantasy Football Points per Position. This one was a nice post using a lot of cool things: gramm through MATLAB for data visualization, some light clustering via standard deviation bins, a breakdown of stats into layperson terms, and some overall advice in terms of data interpretation.

Interview Weekend for Prospective Grad Students. This is much different from the data viz fantasy football post; this is completely driven by Twitter commentary from many folks (grad students, post-docs, professors, faculty) on what to expect during graduate school interview weekend.

Phelps vs The World in Medals? This was one of my first dives into using plot.ly for interactive data visualizations. I thought interactive data would be particularly useful when a lot of data clutter existed (the 2nd and 4th figures in particular). There's a little LaTeX formatting in this too, along with a single figure and mention of predictive modeling.

Math led me to sports and almost ruined my life. A very long post on how I found stats and sports. This was actually months before I had applied for any baseball jobs, so in hindsight this is a pretty interesting read -- assuming you are interested in how I found my way into data analytics. The TLDR version of the post is simply that I tried to run my life once via statistics and it didn't work out. Reading back on this, I wish I had written more about that process. It's only one or two paragraphs in this post. Maybe I will one day. It's pretty mind-bending that I have any social skills at all when you hear about how I used to statistically annihilate social interactions and meeting people.

Dissertation Year: Day 1. The first post in a series documenting my dissertation process, blow-by-blow. Currently 6 posts in, covering 136 days of my process thus far. I'm actually quite pleased that this is one of my top posts this year -- I hope to enjoy reading it back when it's all said and done.

I'm Using MyCircadianClock. A self-help app backed up by some pretty cool science from The Salk Institute, I followed the app instructions as closely as possible. The research is based around the idea of grazing, which is the time between major meals when you are snacking on food. Turns out, there's a correlation of high grazing and poor sleeping habits. As a person with poor sleep habits, I wanted to see how this may influence my own sleep (and dieting) behaviors. This series was fun to document, but the results are mixed in the end for me.

Trying out a different conference -- from neuroscience to #SSAC16. In retrospect, this was a big acknowledgement of me taking the idea of sports industry as a career seriously. At the time, I wanted to go to a conference that was really out of my comfort zone. This post was just a setup to my ultimate live-blog recap, so if you're more interested in what I learned about then jump over to that post instead of this apparently popular one.

How demoralizing is a blowout loss in the playoffs? A failed article pitch turned to a fun blog post with much more data viz. TLDR demoralizing losses don't seem very demoralizing.

I went on a Soylent diet and took psychological and physical measurements of myself. Perhaps the most open and sensitive data I've ever released about myself, I tracked my psych and physical stats weekly as I did a calorie-limiting diet based around the somewhat-controversial meal-replacement drink, Soylent. This was also a post series, but ended with this particular summary post with data visualizations and how different my psychological and physical stats were from start to finish of the diet. Although no one has touched the data yet, all the data I measured is available for anyone to analyze (psych and physical measures!)

I tried live coding in the middle of the night and people liked it (whoa!). Live coding is something me and Chris Madan tried out and it turned out to be relatively successful. I think my favorite part about live coding was how quickly people joined in (either as viewers or as chatters or even as people who wanted to live code with me). I blogged about live coding a few more times: on why I liked it, random things I didn't expect to happen, and my future in live coding streams.

True Brain's future

This site had its greatest year this year, but much of my content is now going to be changing from neuroscience and sports analytics towards social media and science outreach. I'm unsure what this blog will look like this coming year (other than my dissertation series), but I'm so happy for the new readers who are finding my site and very much humbled by the returning readers. Hope to bring more engaging and useful content in the coming year.

But first, I think a site facelift is in order...

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