Grey Matters' 500th Post!

Published on Thursday, August 27, 2009 in ,

US$500 bill4 years and 499 posts ago, on Pi Day 2005, Grey Matters began! Perhaps it's time for a look back.

Some of you may not realize that parts of Grey Matters date back all the way to 1996. The first site I ever set up was called The Astonishment Site, and was hosted on AOL. This site eventually morphed into the Presentation section of Grey Matters. Note that, in tribute to the original site, the main directory is still astonishment.

By May of 2001, I had learned Javascript, and wanted to create an interactive site. On May 18, 2001, the original Be A Genius site was born. You can see that, even at launch, I already had many of the “Feat”-ures that remain on this site. Yes, the original Be A Genius site is now the Mental Gym.

Even before I started the blog, I had plenty of ideas for posts, so there was plenty of material. At the start, I hadn't yet settled into my current Sunday and Thursday blog post schedule.

From that first month, my favorite posts include my original approaches to phone-book memorizing and Bob Farmer's Deja Voodoo and Andrew Brocklehurst's review of The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks.

Later, that same year, routines like Outsmarter, DVD+M (which can now be carried in your pocket!), Remembering The Election, and the rather unusual 40 30s 4 15 were posted.

This blog was only a month old when I first posted the Memory Effects pdf. Back then, it was only 21 pages long, and has now grown to 68 pages! The look with which you associate it now, however, didn't show up until 5 months later.

Probably the biggest single event in 2006 for this blog was the release of my memory training CD-ROM, Train Your Brain and Entertain, which is available via download or as a CD-ROM.

That wasn't the only bright spot, though. Doug Canning graciously allowed me to add his Mental Shopper routine to the Mental Gym. 2006 was also the year that the video blog and the Presentation section were first added.

My favorite routines I posted that year include the “6 Degrees” Memory Feat and the Clue Memory Feat.

In 2007, Grey Matters started to really get noticed. Most of my first really popular posts happened in 2007. My posts on visualization, including Visualizing Pi, Visualizing Math, Visualizing Scale and the semi-related Charlievision all attracted plenty of visitors.

My Memorable Magic series, inspired by the book Made To Stick was posted that year, too. The posts included thoughts on improving magic by adding the familiar “sticky” concepts of Simplicity, The Unexpected, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, and Stories. Naturally, there was a wrap-up to the series, as well.

Among the other popular posts from that year were the ones about the Prisoner's Dilemma and Learning a New Language.

This was also the year I discovered Werner Miller's work via his ingenious Age Cube routine.

Being an election year, I couldn't resist having a little fun with that. I mentioned some election-related feats and magic, discussed how NOT to memorize the states, and even a math challenge with the two major party candidates' names. I even revisited the visualization concept, with the then-proposed $700 billion bailout (see Part II here) as the focus.

Out of posts with the more usual theme of mathematics, the popular posts that year included Computing . . . Without Computers! and David Suzuki's documentary on Martin Gardner.

Let us not forget that this blog's single most popular post, How Many Xs Can You Name In Y Minutes?, first appeared in March of this year. This is the only Grey Matters blog post that is constantly updated and includes its own RSS feed.

All of which brings us to the current year, 2009. The biggest change this year, was the complete redesign of the site. For those of you who don't remember, there was the gold, red and black look, the first of the grey looks, and the second of the grey looks, which stayed largely the same up until this year's change.

With the year still in progress, it seems a little early to look back. However, if you want to go back over the 2009 Grey Matters posts, it's just a click away!

I'd like to thank all the readers who've helped build this site with their comments, ideas, e-mails and visits over the years, including you! Which reminds me, if I forgot to mention a favorite Grey Matters post of yours, please let me hear about it in the comments.

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2 Response to Grey Matters' 500th Post!

12:22 AM


12:16 PM

Awesome! Congratulations! Keep up the good work! This is one of my favorite sites on the web!