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.