Blog news

Three bulletins that concern this blog: on the continuing plague of spam comments; on the rhythm of blog views; and on the paucity of my postings.

Spam comments. Every so often, Mark Liberman posts on Language Log about the flood of spam comments and potential spam comments there — most recently here, where he noted that the flood was a bit abated, but added:

Whether the spam filter’s daily harvest is 500 or 10,000, it’s too many for me to check the whole list for false positives. So if your comment doesn’t appear, and it wasn’t offensive and/or devoid of relevant content, there’s a good chance that you somehow got caught in the spam filter.

The Akismet spam filter on this blog finds 700 10 1,000 pieces of potential spam a day. Many of these it silently deletes. Some it puts into a spam file I can look at if I want to. And a few it tags as borderline and sends me e-mail about them, for me to moderate. The middle category is too big for me to cope with, so I delete them all. As Mark says, if a comment of yours that you believe isn’t spam doesn’t appear, you probably got caught in the spam filter.

A few weeks ago, the total number of spam comments filtered out reached 200,000, and now it’s over 225,000. Overwhelming.

The rhythm of views. The rather chaotic pattern of readers’ views of this site has settled down to a more regular wave-like pattern, with a low point on Saturday, then a steady rise through Tuesday or Wednesday, followed by a steady fall. Since my postings don’t show this pattern, it seems to be a fact about the habits of the readers.

Postings down. You might have noticed that the number of my postings has been down recently. None at all yesterday. Well, my osteoarthritis has been wearing me down, wrecking my sleep, severely limiting what I can do, and obliging me to spend much of the day dealing with its effects.

The bright point in this is that sitting in chairs is just fine, virtually pain-free, so if I can be gotten to a restaurant, to a Stanford meeting room, whatever, I’m ok, and sitting and working at the computer is a pleasure (until I lapse into sleep at the switch). (I sleep sitting up in an easy chair.)

Standing and walking is difficult, even with my cane, and lying flat on my back is pure torture, even while I’m tossing down Vicodin (stronger drugs for better days!). Which brings me to the Lost Yesterday, Sunday, when I had an MRI scheduled for 11 a.m.

So here’s the problem: my worst symptom is the pain on lying flat on my back, but the MRI requires that I lie, motionless and flat on my back, for 30-45 minutes. Conflict. I stuck it out through the halfway point, but by then my legs were cramping wildly, I was moaning in pain, and I was getting close to throwing up. So I called a halt to things.

I failed my MRI! I’ll see the orthopedist tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a slew of blood tests say good things, meaning that I don’t have various other conditions that might be worse than just osteoarthritis.

And the usual crop of posting topics (20-40 a day) continues to cry out for harvesting.

5 Responses to “Blog news”

  1. Gregory Stump Says:

    What a miserable MRI experience! Are they having you back for a do-over?

    Even in the best circumstances, a half-hour in an MRI machine is about the least natural situation in which a body will ever find itself. I had an MRI a couple a months ago and found the boredom even harder to tolerate than the immobility and the noise. (The noise, of course, excludes the body’s most natural reaction to forced inactivity, namely falling asleep). I distracted myself first by mentally reciting “Le tombeau d’Edgar Poe”, a sonnet by the symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé that I had memorized for an undergraduate French course and which, for better or for worse, has by now become part of my DNA; then I mentally analyzed the poem’s rhyme scheme; then I pictured the rhyme scheme in phonetic transcription. None of these mental activities was particularly challenging, but they required just enough focus to draw my attention away from thinking how bored I was.

    Best wishes for a speedy return to multiple daily postings!

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Do-over? Possibly a CT scan. Or, if the orthopedist insists on an MRI, I’ll try insisting on morphine, which really does work. (It erases a lot of the pain, and you cease to care about the rest.)

      I made a stab at meditating, but the global pain was too much. Then I tried working mentally through a blog posting on the Washington Redskins (now in progress on my computer), and then working out, from scratch, the details of the symmetry group of the square, but once I got to shaking and cramping and feeling nauseated I lost focus.

      Pascal is said to have gotten through a terrible toothache by focusing on, and describing (for the first time), the properties of the cycloid. Tougher thah me.

  2. Allison Wright Says:

    I am sorry that the pain is interfering with what you really want to do. I would not worry about your readers though – I am sure I am not alone in being unable to keep up with all your interesting contributions!

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    […] the last installment, describing Sunday’s events, I’d failed to make it through an MRI looking at my […]

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