Grey Matters' 10th Blogiversary!

Published on Saturday, March 14, 2015 in , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mehran Moghtadaei's Pi Digit GraphicEver since I started this blog, I've been waiting for this day. I started Grey Matters on 3/14/05, specifically with the goal of having its 10th blogiversary on the ultimate Pi Day: 3/14/15!

Yes, it's also Einstein's birthday, but since it's a special blogiversary for me, this post will be all about my favorite posts from over the past 10 years. Quick side note: This also happens to be my 1,000th published post on the Grey Matters blog!

Keep in mind that the web is always changing, so if you go back and find a link that no longer works, you might be able to find it by either searching for a new place, or at least copying the link and finding whether it's archived over at The Wayback Machine.


My most read posts in 2005 were 25 Years of Rubik's Cube (at #2), and Free Software for Memory Training (at #1). It was here I started to get an idea of what people would want from a blog about memory feats.


In the first full January to December year of Grey Matters, reviews seemed to be the big thing. My reviews of Mathematical Wizardry, Secrets of Mental Math, and Mind Performance Hacks all grabbed the top spots.


This year, I began connecting my posts with the interest of the reader, and it worked well. My series of “Visualizing” posts, Visualizing Pi, Visualizing Math, and Visualizing Scale were the biggest collectively-read posts of the year.

Fun and free mental improvement posts also proved popular in 2007. Unusual Lists to Memorize, my introduction to The Prisoner's Dilemma, and my look at Calculators: Past, Present, and Future (consider Wolfram|Alpha was still 2 years away) were well received! 10 Online Memory Tools...For Free! back-to-back with my Memorizing Poetry post also caught plenty of attention.


I gave an extra nod to Pi this year, on the day when Grey Matters turned Pi years old on May 5th. The most popular feature of the year was my regularly update list of How Many Xs Can You Name in Y Minutes? quizzes, which I had to stop updating.

Lists did seem to be the big thing that year, with free flashcard programs, memorizing the elements, and tools for memorizing playing card decks grabbed much of the attention in 2008.


Techniques took precedence over lists this year, although my series on memorizing the amendments of the US Constitution (Part I, Part II, Part III) was still popular. My web app for memorizing poetry, Verbatim, first appeared (it's since been updated). Among other techniques that caught many eyes were memorizing basic blackjack strategy, the Gilbreath Principle, and Mental Division with Decimal Precision.


This year opened with the sad news of the passing of Kim Peek, the original inspiration for the movie Rain Main. On a more positive note, my posts about the game Nim, which developed into a longer running series than even I expected, started its run.

As a matter of fact, magic tricks, such as Bob Hummer's 3-Object Divination, and puzzles, such as the 15 Puzzle and Instant Insanity, were the hot posts this year.

Besides Kim Peek, 2010 also saw the passing of Martin Gardner and Benoît Mandelbrot, both giants in mathematics.


The current design you see didn't make its first appearance until 2011. Not only was the blog itself redesigned, the current structure, with Mental Gym, the Presentation section, the Videos section, and the Grey Matters Store, was added. This seemed to be a smart move, as Grey Matters begin to attract more people than ever before.

The new additions to each section that year drew plenty of attention, but the blog has its own moments, as well. My list of 7 Online Puzzle Sites, my update to the Verbatim web app, and the Wolfram|Alpha Trick and Wolfram|Alpha Factorial Trick proved most popular in 2011.

My own personal favorite series of posts in 2011, however, was the Iteration, Feedback, and Change series of posts: Artificial Life, Real Life, Prisoner's Dilemma, Fractals, and Chaos Theory. These posts really gave me the chance to think about an analyze some of the disparate concepts I'd learned over the years when dealing with various math concepts.


In 2012, I developed somewhat of a fascination with Wolfram|Alpha, as its features and strength really began to develop. I kicked the year off with a devilish 15-style calendar puzzle, which requires knowing both how to solve the 15 puzzle and how to work out the day of the week for any date in your head! Yeah, I'm mean like that. I did, however, release Day One, my own original approach to simplifying the day of the week for any date feat.

Estimating Square Roots, along with the associated tips and tricks was the big feat that year. The bizarre combination of controversy over a claim in a Scam School episode about a 2-card bet and my approach to hiding short messages in an equation and Robert Neale's genius were also widely read.


After we lost Neil Armstrong in 2012, I was inspired to add the new Moon Phase For Any Date tutorial to the Mental Gym. A completely different type of nostalgia, though, drove me to post about how to program mazes. Admittedly, this was a weird way to kick off 2013.

Posts about the Last Digit Trick, John Conway's Rational Tangles, and Mel Stover were the first half of 2013's biggest hits on Grey Matters.

I also took the unusual approach of teaching Grey Matters readers certain math shortcuts without initially revealing WHY I was teaching these shortcuts. First, I taught a weird way of multiplying by 63, then a weird way of multiplying by 72, finally revealing the mystery skill in the 3rd part of the series.


Memory posts were still around, but mental math posts began taking over in 2014. A card trick classically known as Mutus Nomen Dedit Cocis proved to have several fans. The math posts on exponents, the nature of the Mandelbrot set, and the Soma cube were the stars of 2014. Together, the posts Calculate Powers of e In Your Head! and Calculate Powers of π In Your Head! also grabbed plenty of attention.


With 999 posts before this one, this barely even scratches the surface of what's available at this blog, so if you'd made it this far, I encourage you to explore on your own. If you find some of your own favorites, I'd love to hear what you enjoyed at this blog over the years in the comments below!

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3 Response to Grey Matters' 10th Blogiversary!

7:03 PM

Congrats on ten years!

8:29 AM

Congratulations! Still one of my favorite sites to visit. Here's to another 10 years!

11:25 AM

Congratulation for this impressive work! I'm following you for some years, and I hope you will go on. Thank you!