What do you guys look like?

How many of you are there?

According to a mixture of WordPress and Google Analytics statistics reports, I receive roughly twelve to fifteen hundred hits per day. That’s excluding bots and other riffraff. And that’s not unique visitors, either: it’s page views.

Order of magnitude, it’s about 1000 different people a day. That translates into about 30,000 unique visitors a month (an overestimate, since some people come here using more than one computer, and each is counted as a separate person; plus, lots of you are regulars).

Traffic has been trending up steadily, too. Divide everything by two, and you have a reasonable estimate of last year at this time.

I owe much of this increase to you, my readers. And that’s not my attempt at flattery, either. (If it was flattery, I would have said, “my abnormally intelligent, surely good-looking readers”.)

I know this is true from examining the incoming traffic stats. A chunk of search-engine directed or linked traffic comes from keywords or material from this site’s comments. This means that people are coming here to read what you said.

I am grateful for this, especially as traffic to the site positively correlates with my wallet size. Perhaps hat size, too.

But there are more than a few of you that come regularly and do not comment. To you, I say: speak up! You are surely thick-skinned enough to handle the inevitable ridicule, opprobrium, and excoriation the other readers will heap upon you for your, what they will tell you are your, undoubtedly mistaken views.

Kidding! I’m just kidding. Most of us haven’t killed and eaten anybody in years, so you have nothing to fear. We are nice people.

Where are you from?

Most gratifying is the proportion of non-USA traffic. It is nearly 50% and growing. For example, the majority of people who downloaded my Quirk’s article from this past week were not in the States.

And it’s not just the English-speaking countries, like you’d expect. Visitors are from all over. There is a solid base of folk from Finland (maybe the Northern Michigan connection?), even more from Germany, and a steady supply from Japan. We even had somebody—perhaps lost—from Mongolia.

Remember, if you need a statistician, I’ll go anywhere: I can gesture in several languages.

What’s interesting is where people are not from. Over the past year, I had no visits from the following countries: North Korean, Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, French Guiana, Suriname, Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Montenegro, Somalia, and most of Central-West Africa from Mauritania to D.R. Congo.

I don’t know about Antarctica, since Google doesn’t track it (other than, perhaps, the “not set” continent distinction; of which there were 320 visits) . Everywhere else was represented. This story is surely the same for other web sites.

Who are you?

Our regular contributers are largely professional, but that’s the same all over the web. We don’t, for example, attract a computer-illiterate crowd.

What’s not the same, is that most of us are familiar with the right-hand-rule, understand jokes about rogue 540nm photons, like to be left alone, and know how to pronounce “corpsman“.

We are also, surely, abnormally intelligent and good-looking.

I’m thinking about setting up—strictly for fun—a survey of readers, just so everybody can see who we all are.

Anyway, thanks to everybody for making the site work. Keep sending those links and ideas. And feel free to send the site to your rich relatives who are authorized to sign large-dollar contracts and who might need a statistician.


  1. John M

    We are also, surely, abnormally intelligent and good-looking.

    Aww. It was a wonderful piece, and then you went and ruint it.

    You had me going “Yeah, that’s me! Yeah, that’s me!”, and then…..

    But just to help again with your web traffic coming from those search engines:

    Blond bimbos and gigolos meet in Las Vegas, Carrie Underwood calls Brad Pitt to discuss, but he and Angelina are with President Obama and Michelle.

  2. Chuckles

    “Modest”. You forgot modest.

  3. machiavellian

    Maybe you should push the estimate higher than 1000 uniques/day reading because there are probably some people like me who read the full feed through Google Reader or other programs. (These readers don’t count as hits or pageviews.)

  4. Ape Man

    Your forgot to mention the insane and the charlatans who like to pretend that they know more then they do.

    Intelligence does not seem so different than insanity to the stupid. So insane often feel they have the right to pitch their babbling at the intelligent. And the charlatans like the internet because then they can hang out with the cool kids. Or at least pertend that they are hanging out with the cool kids.

    But perhaps I am speaking only for myself. Certainly a good argument can be made that I belong to both groups. People have used this essay that I wrote to prove the first point and this essay to prove the latter.

    In any case, I think I would be well positioned to win the prize for the least educated of all of your readers. I did not get my GED until I was in my twenties (a figure I have not exceeded by much) and I make my living as a laborer. And I often think that it is one of the best things about this age that a guy like me can read the writings of a guy like you. It allows me to have the best of all worlds.

  5. Speed

    “We are also, surely, abnormally intelligent and good-looking.”

    Abnormal goes both ways.

    A survey would be fun.

  6. As Chuckles points out, this is another reader who modestly rues the lack of various descriptive keywords here that might more accurately define the humility, perspicacity and wisdom possessed by Matt’s regular readers. But maybe among statisticificiandos that’s assumed, anyway.

    I am “from” the Golden state, as my handle might indicate. “Who” I am is a crotchety old guy. “What” I am is obsessed with secret decoder rings and Ovaltine, but that’s already TMI. If I’m unique to this site it’s because I’m one of the few non-statisticians, just a retired mid-level bureaucrat. “Hey, over there. Stay in line!” However, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express one night.

  7. Briggs


    Modest? We are the humblest, most self-abnegatory, most becoming crew. Nobody has ever equaled—nobody could equal—our unostentatious nature. Even if time became continuous, and we lived on that continuum, never could any other website approach our humbleness, or match our self-effacing, unboastful sense of limitedness.

    John M,

    That’s a good idea. How about that American Idol show?


    Right. I forgot about that.

    Ape Man,

    GED? Don’t even consider it. A mistake most people make is to confuse education with intelligence and knowledge.


    Ok, we’ll see it someday.


    It the crotchety-ness that keeps people on their toes.

  8. Peter

    Here’s a contribution from Papua New Guinea via Australia!

    My first time here, so maybe I’m taking a risk 🙂

    I am an Australian, but lived in Papua New Guinea for five years and am married to a lady from the PNG Highlands. Just from my own experience in this part of he world I can offer some examples of climate change.. (By the way I posted this information on The Guardian blog but was attacked as ignorant by the ‘deniers’ which I found sad and offensive).

    1. The Mortlock and Carteret islanders have had to be relocated to the mainland because rising sea levels have inundated their homes. I worked at the University of PNG and we had a fundraising drive to help provide support for the families of some University staff and students who were suffering great hardship because of this.

    2. The incidence of malaria in the PNG highlands has increased many hundred-fold over the last decade. My wife comes from Simbu province (over 5,000 feet in altitude) and when she was a girl malaria was unknown in her district. Now it is a major problem. The medical staff at Kundiawa and Goroka hospitals say they now have many 100’s of cases of malaria to deal with each week, which was virtually unknown a decade ago. Their conclusion (supported by UN WHO studies) is that rising temperatures mean that malaria-carrying mosquitoes are able to move to higher altitudes.

    3. There used to be extensive ice fields and glaciers on the highest mountain in New Guinea – Puncak Jaya in West Papua – which have all but disappeared in a generation. Wikipedia has photos of the ice fields taken in 1936 and 2005 –


    The geological evidence is that these rare tropical glaciers have been there for many thousands of years, but will disappear completely in our lifetime.

    4. Many of my PNG friends remember seeing snow on the top of Mt Victoria (14,000 ft) visible from Port Moresby and also on Mt Wilhelm (15,000 ft) visible from Madang. Snow has not been visible on these mountains for more than 20 years.

    I know that these are anecdotes rather than scientific evidence, but they are telling and directly affect the lives of local people. And I believe that there is ample scientific data to back up the claims that these events are due to global warming.

    So please keep an honest debate going. I am shocked by the ignorant knee-jerk reactions of many ostensibly intelligent people to evidence such as this and am deeply saddened that this has become an exercise in political point-scoring rather than informed scientific debate.

    As an old bloke, I am going to bury a time capsule with instructions that it not be opened until 2099. Inside will be one piece of paper with the words I TOLD YOU SO!

    All the best,

    Peter K.
    Darwin, Australia

    PS. We have just had the hottest decade in Australia since records began. That is a climate fact, not just a weather oddity.

  9. Peter

    By the way – if you want to see some great pictures of Papua New Guinea (including some by me) check out this site…


    I’m sure you will agree that it is a most beautiful and fascinating place.

  10. Peter

    Correction – Mt Victoria is 13,359.580 feet in altitude. It is a most beautiful sight from the west of Moresby on a clear dry-season day. I have flown over it many times, but have not see snow.

  11. Bill S

    I was as innocent as a lamb at a Super Bowl game.
    (don’t know how to show as link).
    I was surfing around the Internet looking for any hint as to how to teach a computer to detect outliers or corrupted numbers in data. That somehow lead me to The Surface Project which I think maybe morphed into WUWT. After exhausting everything on Climate Audit (this was possible a few years ago) I started hitting the links. One of them was this site. Keep coming back hoping to pick up some free learning in statistics.

  12. Bob Koss

    That unique figure would also have to be adjusted to compensate for people like me. Whenever my browser closes, I have it set to delete all cookies. I assume cookie information is used to determine unique visitors.

    By the way. I’m from Connecticut and have been a climate change heretic about both warming and cooling for more than 60 years. It has always been about scare-mongering and extracting OPM for doing so.

  13. Peter

    Bob – maybe you are the original Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court?

    By the way, Mark Twain wrote a great short story when he was in Australia about a local bloke who made millions by catching a shark. The shark had swum from Europe with news about an impending war – much faster than the packet boats of the day. When he cut open the shark’s stomach he found a copy of The Times which warned about an impending war. The local man invested all he had in beef which he knew would increase in value due to a war and made millions! Talk about insider trading!

    Great stuff! All hail Samuel Langhorne Clemens!

  14. Earle Williams


    I’m an infrequent commenter but avid reader. Employed as a mid-level bureaucrat trained in applied mathematics, geology, and geophysics. Unfortunately the day job is mostly government regs; your forays into diverse topics are welcome brain food. I keep telling myself I’m going to pick up R “Real Soon Now”.

  15. Earle Williams

    Oh yeah – born in the golden state, but now the last frontier is my home.

  16. Chris

    59, Brit expat living in Manila, currently in treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in a cancer clinic in Hong Kong and with lots of time on my hands.

    @Peter: no one doubts the planet is warming. The question is how much is caused by our activities. I am a skeptic. I see the climate scientists lying, massaging data, trying to stop alternative views being published. I see any debate on the subject is usually a skeptic being rational and explaining the problems with the “consensus” view but the “warmists” replying with ad hominem attacks. I see very serious flaws in the IPCC report, which is supposed to be a review of peer-reviewed science but is full of distortions and relies on “grey” documents for key points. I have an engineering background and I can’t see how a small increase in a trace gas can have such an effect. There are lots that the models can’t get right because climate is a complex chaotic system. The models say that there is a direct correlation between CO2 and temperature, but the past 10 years have shown that this is false.

    I am also sick of the warmist propaganda where any extreme weather like floods or heat waves is “proof” of warming, but the current cold weather is not. Don’t the warmists see the disconnect here?

  17. Hal


    “I am also sick of the warmist propaganda where any extreme weather like floods or heat waves is “proof” of warming, but the current cold weather is not.”

    They claim the current cold weather is ALSO “proof” of warming.

    William, I check your blog often, wherever I am. If you got hits from Chile in Dec/Jan, that was I, enjoying a summer vacation.

  18. Bill S

    oops. To finish my resume by noting in response.
    >> Chris. All I’ve determined in the last few weeks is that we don’t know squawt.
    >> Earle Williams. Forget Briggs and this “R” stuff. Matlab rules!

  19. Chris

    @Hal: I know, it is truly bizarre. The blind faith makes it a religion, not a quest for scientific truth. It appeared to me that there was an air of desperation before Copenhagen with a flurry of scare stories about the need to act now. Luckily the infighting got the better of them, and the greed of the African countries – some of whom admitted afterwards they only went for the money they thought they would get – was transparent. When China and India refused to sign up it must have been a huge blow to the bank balances of several dictators.

    When institutions like NASA publish alarmist stories about sea level rises of 60m but fail to mention that it will take 300,000 years, you know that they know they have lost. As a Brit I now wait for Gordon Brown, Ed Milliband and Prince Charles to apologise for their insults to rational, questioning, skeptics. I think I’ll have to wait a long time.

    In the UK and Australia the skeptics are winning over the general public to the view that the science is not settled, that this is a huge con, that to do what Gordon Brown wants will bankrupt the country. The general election this year will be very interesting! In the UK at least, the MSM has joined in in publicising the corruption of science. I just wish the American MSM would show the same interest in the events that are unfolding.

  20. Beth

    I’m not saying nothin

  21. Peter @ PNG /down under. Welcome from this reader. Your adverse warming observations, etc., are obviously important to your neck of the woods. How they relate to Peking, London, Cairo or DC is another question – currently unanswered. No one I read at this site wants to obfuscate or misinterpret climatic data. What I do see here are expectations of honest and responsible data collection methods and development of provable modeling processes, instead of what we’re seeing in the “approved” climate world – a closed society fudging information and massaging files for the “right” data that proves pre-conceived ideas. Along with the ostracism of those expressing a contra-view. Absolutely antithetical to the scientific process, old man.

    By my personal observations in the Monterey Bay in the last decade or so, the mean water level of the Pacific Ocean has remained fairly constant. How this relates to your observations at Mortlock and Carterlet islands is perplexing. Is it possible the lands are experiencing subsidence? Or any other thoughts?


  22. Chris

    @Bill: Agreed! And why would we do anything when we a) don’t know if there is a real problem and b) probably can’t fix it without destroying Western economies? Lunacy. One of my favourite books is “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” If Mackay were alive today he would be updating it right now with a chapter on the AGW delusion.

  23. Beth


    A fellow Australian, Erl Happ – a wine maker, has spent many years studying the data related to AGW. Possibly you would be interested in his perspective.


  24. bill r

    Another biostatistician, here for the applied and bayesian stuff. More predictive distribution discussions, please…

  25. Andy

    I come here pretty much every day. Especially appreciated are your posts on learning R. Haven’t gone through the videos on youtube yet but I subscribed for when I do have time. Keep those coming please. Oh, your other stuff is good too.

  26. Ray

    I’m an electrical engineer that likes statistics and took 5 courses in the subject as an undergrad and grad student. Alas, it was all the old fashioned kind, not Bayesian.

  27. Peter

    Good old Thomas Bayes – a Presbyterian preacher with a penchant for the cards! Publications (NOT peer reviewed at the time mind you) –

    “Divine Benevolence, or an Attempt to Prove That the Principal End of the Divine Providence and Government is the Happiness of His Creatures (1731), and An Introduction to the Doctrine of Fluxions, and a Defence of the Mathematicians Against the Objections of the Author of the Analyst (published anonymously in 1736), in which he defended the logical foundation of Isaac Newton’s calculus against the criticism of George Berkeley, author of The Analyst.”

    Personally I prefer Bishop Berkeley.

    Berkeley theorized that individuals cannot know if an object is; they can only know if an object is perceived by a mind. He stated that individuals cannot think or talk about an object’s being, but rather think or talk about an object’s being perceived by someone. That is, individuals cannot know any “real” object or matter “behind” the object as they perceive it, which “causes” their perceptions. He thus concluded that all that individuals know about an object is their perception of it. So real tings don’t exist, only our perceptions!

    Johnson famously refuted him by kicking a stone and saying “I refute him THUS” (and hurt his toe in the process). And Ronald Knox surmised –

    “There was a young man who said “God
    Must find it exceedingly odd

    To think that the tree
    Should continue to be

    When there’s no one about in the quad.”

    “Dear Sir: Your astonishment’s odd;
    I am always about in the quad.

    And that’s why the tree
    Will continue to be

    Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God.”

    They don’t make ’em like that anymore!

  28. Peter

    No one has contradicted my claim that in Australia we have just had the hottest decade on record.

    However as good old George G. says –

    “It ain’t necessarily so
    the things that you’re liable to read in the Bible,
    it ain’t necessarily so.”

    BTW Paul Robeson’s version is the best! And he was investigated by the FBI – Now there’s a REAL conspiracy!

  29. Peter

    The reason I know something about Robeson and Gershwin is that in 1959 the understudy for Robeson’s London performance (a talented man named Uriel Porter) rented a room in our house when I was a kid! He used to sit me on his lap and sing to me. There’s coincidence for you!

  30. Chris, thanks for that great link. Very interesting theories. Wonder if that information would have rung any bells with the inhabitants of Mortlock and Carterlet? Could they offer proof, for instance?
    Peter, the extremely talented Mr. Robeson made the same mistake as the likes of Brad Pitt and Ed Asner. That performance talent and “celebrity” status provides one with a higher level of insight into political truths. They don’t, and Mr. Robeson eventually paid a high price for his naivety. To enjoy his talent is bliss. To decry the results of his folly is to excuse the “beautiful people” from responsiblity for their actions, imo, and would be “bad show”.

  31. Peter

    Yes – this may be true, but I was only a small boy at the time and remember the fantastic voices of Robeson and his understudy Porter. We had an old wind-up gramophone so Uriel could listen to Paul when he was practicing! Please don’t that away from me? Gee baby ain’t I good to you?

  32. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Most of them are probably robots, anyway. Besides, I think we all know that people prevaricate in surveys. Rest happy in the knowledge that you are reaching somebody, somewhere, and the world is better for that. Trust me, it is.

  33. Peter

    Hell – I’m only talking about childhood memories. Maybe they are important? I also met the Queen once and got a letter from her. Anyone interested?

  34. DAV

    There’s little point in showing you what I look like — you would turn a 540 nm shade of jealousy. It is indeed strange that I’m not from any of the countries you mentioned but my mother is Croatian. Does that count?

    I could use a couple of days of Australian hot weather just now as I prepare to dig out from under the 2.5 ft of snow Al and The One got for me in this balmy 14F weather (wind chill 7F). Maybe we could convince them to move to Oz.

  35. Briggs


    Thanks for all the responses, everybody!

    We’ll certainly be hitting more predictive stats, Bill. Stick around.

  36. Hilfy

    Florida and soon to be jobless if Congress ratifies the President’s budget for the Space Program.

  37. A software engineer by title, abusing neural-net statistical classifiers in machine vision applications. Amazing how these nets can be tamed if you apply a little statistical intelligence. Undergrad studies in Physics and Numerical Analysis and worked as computer whiz for Oregon’s largest physics research group when in school a long time ago.

    Came here possibly from climateaudit.com looking for statistical advice and stimulation. While I admit that AGW may be possible, I don’t feel it has been proven or will be soon. Climate models, global temperature calculations and tree ring studies are just so much fuzzy logic. Science was somewhat political when I was a research assistant and from what I see it has only gotten worse. The researchers I worked with were the greatest people you could associate with but the Climategate emails indicate a whole different social network than I’ve known.

    Looking forward to learning more about statistics. Keep up the good work Briggs.

  38. Rich

    61 and English (no, not British). Famously grumpy according to my children. Always been interested in statistics (without apology). Loved Darrell Huff. Convinced of AGW because I can cause it. I go down the garden and light a bonfire. For a few moments the Global Average Temperature goes up. Infinitesimally. Then goes down again as the beer warms up.

    Keep it up, young Matt.

  39. TomVonk

    You have humour William .
    Like a brilliant physicist of my acquintance would say , a sigma 10 event in the population of statisticians .
    This is not the least of the reasons I come here to read and sometimes comment .
    I don’t remember why I came here first time but I have always been very critical about “smoothing” and I think that I came here through a link or a search concerning “Smoothing ? Don’t !”
    As for the climate .
    Despite UHI and everything I am looking right now at a grey , sub zero , snow covered Paris .
    The fountains are frozen and bassins covered with ice .
    15th coldest winter on record and the record is damn long here . If it continues as it is announced by the weather report , I don’t know where we shall finish .
    In Poland they had below – 30°C what is exceptional for long periods .
    Looks like we’re heading straight in the next ice age 😉
    Re high altitude tropical glaciers
    Despite several papers there are still misguided people who think that the high altitude tropical glaciers’ dynamics is only guided by temperatures .
    No complicated physics necessary , only a bit common sense allows to see qualitatively what happens .
    To make ice , 2 things are necessary – water and a temperature below 0 °C .
    Above 3 000 m , the supply of the latter is insured because of the lapse rate and the temperatures are below 0 on most nights .
    But if it rains/snows less than what melts , glaciers will shrink even if the temperatures are mostly below 0 .
    This is exactly what’s happening with the Kilimandjaro glacier .
    Whether there is any global warming or not is irrelevant . But the glacier is shrinking because the source of humidity that provided the ice supply , the tropical forest on and around the mountain has significantly decreased .
    Less water means less potential ice . Always . It’s as simple as that .
    To be complete , there might be an extremely specific case – a place where the temperatures are almost exactly at the critical point of 0°C .
    In this case even a very slight variation of temperatures will change the sign of the variation of the ice mass and the glacier would react more on temperatures than on precipitation .
    And yes if one wants to cut the hairs in 4 , then vulcanism and a change in the glacier’s slope also plays a role over longer time scales .

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