Wednesday, December 22, 2021

2021 in review: Summary of the year in SearchResearch

 It's been a long and trying year... 

Dawn of 2022, or sunset of 2021, depending on your mood.

... so this week in SRS is a great time to reflect on what's passed during the year.  To summarize, here's a list of all 60 posts made this year (along with a short note detailed what we talked about in each of them).  

As you can see, we had 50 Challenge/Answer pairs (along with a few extra answers because one answer is sometimes not enough).  

The topics are, as you'd expect from SRS, broad and varied: megafloods, the history of epidemics, identifying strange objects in the world, finding connections between odd things, and even unraveling the early history of land-use patterns in California.  We are nothing if not broad.  

We also started up a series of posts on "How to Find," which covered a few topics in detail.  More will be coming in the first couple months of 2022.  

I also included a few posts that were just helpful tips along the way (e.g., using Google Lens).  I'll do another tip or two next week. 

In addition: We also celebrated crossing over the 4M reader mark!  Just for calibration, since I posted that celebration in early November, we've gone up to 4.2M readers--roughly 200K readers / month.  Now, if I could just convince them all to buy a copy of my book!  (Speaking of which, The Joy of Search has sold around 6,000 copies, which is pretty great.  It's also been translated into Korean, and a Chinese edition is supposed to come out any-day-now.)  

We've found a couple of pretty difficult Challenges.  Famously, the "figure out the date from the shadow of the Skytree tower in Japan" Challenge is still a little under-baked.  I still haven't posted the "closed form solution," which I hope to write up for you over the holiday.   (It's tricky. More on this to come.)  

My favorite Challenge of the year was the Challenge about "creatures in other creatures," led me on a reading spree about modern endosymbionts, which has been endlessly engaging.  I had absolutely no idea what a wonderful can of worms I'd opened up with that Challenge... which is why I enjoy writing SRS so much--it's not just the searches, it's the joy one finds in learning about the world.  

(For the record: If endosymbiosis also interests you, I highly recommend Ed Yong's book, I Contain Multitudes.  What an excellent holiday book gift idea for the terminally curious. It's one of the very few books I've read twice in one year.)  

Thanks to all of you, my regular SRS readers (and to anyone else who might have stopped by).  This has been a Challenging year, but fascinating in all that we've learned... and especially all that we've learned together.  

I'll post a little something next week, but otherwise, Happy Holidays and I'll see you again in a (hopefully better) New Year.  

Search on. 

o SearchResearch Challenge (1/6/2021): What falls fr...what falls from the sky
o Answer: What else falls from the sky?
o New Series: How to Find... anything. #1: How to ...DIY info
o SearchResearch Challenge (1/20/21): A war on pests?war on pests
o How to Find... anything. #2: How to find recipes
o Answer: A war on pests?
o SearchResearch Challenge (2/10/21): Two difficult...find short stories collection and lachet
o Answer: Two difficult to find objects?
o SearchResearch Challenge (2/24/21): When did whic...genders and colors pink/blue
o Answer: When did which colors signal gender?
o SearchResearch Challenge (3/10/21): Epidemic histo...history of epidemics
o Answer: Epidemic historical context?
o SearchResearch Challenge (3/24/21): What ARE those...object ID (insulators; phone line canisters)
o Four tricks you need to know to read on Google Bookstip
o Pro tip: How to Search your tabstip
o Answer: What ARE those things?
o SearchResearch Challenge (4/7/21): Can you find th...find an archival image (sword fighting)
o Answer: Can you find the original source of this p...
o SearchResearch Challenge (4/21/21): Internal incor...animals that incorporate other creatures within them
o Answer: Internal incorporation?
o SearchResearch Challenge (5/12/21): How to do slow...setting up a stream of information on a topic
o Answer: How to do slow research?
o SearchResearch Challenge (5/25/21): What's your st...your SRS stories
o Answer: What's your story of SearchResearch?
o SearchResearch Challenge (6/9/21): What's THAT?more object ID (found around the house; structures in Italy)
o Answer: What's THAT?
o SearchResearch Challenge (6/23/21): Finding your ...finding your way in remote locations
o Answer: Finding your way?
o SearchResearch Challenge (7/7/21): All about Bonaire?Challenges about the history of Bonaire
o Answer: All about Bonaire?
o SearchResearch Challenge (7/21/21): How are these ...How are these connected? (Islands, vertebrae, flowers)
o Answer: How are these connected? (Islands, vertebr...
o How to find anything #3 (part 1/3): News and Late...
o SearchResearch Challenge (8/4/21): What do you do do you find good news content online?
o Answer: What do you do to find high quality news c...
o Answer: What do you do to find high quality news c...
o SearchResearch Challenge (8/18/21): What are those...identifying things that fall from oak trees
o Answer: What are those things on the ground that h...
o SearchResearch Challenge (9/1/21): Floods, floods,...largest floods of all time
o Dan is away, but thinking of and sponge ID
o SearchResearch Challenge (9/1/21): Floods, floods,...
o Comment: Dan is away, but thinking of you...
o SearchResearch Challenge (9/22/21): Time and date ...time and date from Skytree shadow
o Comment: You've gotta love a tough Challenge!
o Answer (1): Time and date from a shadow?
o Answer (2): Time and date from a shadow?
o Answer (3): Can you get the time and date from a ...
o SearchResearch Challenge (10/22/21): Are these to find documentary films
o Answer: Are these documentaries difficult to find?
o Update: Are these documentaries difficult to find?
o Celebration! 4M+ reads!
o SearchResearch Challenge (11/3/21): Why is the Car...finding why a part of California is so undeveloped
o Answer: Why is the Carquinez Strait so undeveloped?
o Lessons: Why is the Carquinez Strait so undeveloped?
o SearchResearch Challenge (11/24/21): What's that did different groups of animals get those names?
o Answer: What's that group of animals called?
o Update: What's that group of animals called?
o Lens on Desktop
o SearchResearch Challenge (12/8/21): What's the dea...why do magazine renewals come from Boone or Harlan, Iowa?
o Answer: What's the deal with Iowa and magazine ren...