On this last day of 2014 I’ll interrupt our usual service to thank all you for your support — our readers and authors — those who comment — the authors and periodicals who generously allow their work to be re-published here — and those whose donations support this website.
A report card for the FM website
We ended the year on a strong note, with aprox 106 thousand page views in December. In 2014 the FM website has 311 new posts, bringing the total to 2,917 since opening in November 2007 — over 5 million words.
WordPress doesn’t give the number of comments per year; there have been a total of 35,275 comments posted. Readers vote their opinion of posts by their comments and page views. What’s the score for 2014?
In 2014 I wrote some of my favorite and most popular posts. Number one in 2014, and a record high, was Explaining the season 6 finale of “Castle”, and what’s coming next (May) with 85 thousand hits. It had 66 comments, not even in the top 50. I suspect Castle fans were outraged at my prediction that Richard Castle faked his own death. Since that proved correct, this was also the most successful prediction ever on the FM website, proudly added to the list of “wins”. We still don’t know why he did it, so that prediction remains open.
Second place with 35 thousand hits went to last week’s post of straight journalism: The FBI told their story about North Korea attacking Sony. Before we retaliate, read what they didn’t tell you. (as was #11, debunking alarmists hype about a super-monster El Nino in 2014).
My personal favorite was #3: The 1% won a counter-revolution while we played. We forgot that we are the crew of America, not passengers. (April), exploring the primary theme of the FM site.
Fourth and fifth places went to classics from the past: Update on Europe: Tinker Bell fails to deliver (2012) and Still good news: global temperatures remain stable, at least for now (2012, but frequently updated with new research). My thanks to Judith Curry (Prof Atmospheric Science, GA Inst Tech) for mentioning it at her website, Climate Etc.
This year we expanded coverage about geopolitics and the arts (music, film and books). Sixth and fourteenth places went to two of Locke Petersen’s movie reviews: Transformers 4: the Greatest Film Ever Made About 21st Century America (August) and Hollywood transforms “The Hobbit” into The Desolation of Tolkien (October). Ninth place went to a book review from 2010 made relevant by the movie: The little-known dark side of Ender’s Game.
Much of this website’s traffic comes from posts of previous years. Some have become classics, still getting hits as they’re as relevant today as when written.
- GI Wilson’s 2011 posts The Psychology of Killer Drones – action against our foes; reaction affecting us and Careerism and Psychopathy in the US Military leadership (see all his posts).
- Marcus Ranum’s series about cyberwarfare and cybercrime, especially About Attribution (identifying your attacker), — timely again after the Sony hack.
Successful Predictions and Smackdowns
It’s not a serious project unless we keep score. Under the masthead are buttons for two pages: Predictions revisited. How do they look now? and Smackdowns. I don’t update these as I should. Post in the comments what you believe should go on either page that’s not now there. The list of successful predictions looks good, largely because keeping track makes me careful about making them.
On the other hand, here are too many errors on the smackdowns page; some are embarrassing (hat tip for this idea to Brad DeLong).
What do you think about the posts this year, or the FM website?
What was your favorite post? The one you least liked or most strongly disagreed with? Post your thoughts and reviews in the comments. Much of the content here discusses things on the edge of the known, so nobody can say for certain what’s so.
Two last notes to you for the year
The FM website takes an tremendous amount of time to run. Your support is greatly appreciated, not only to defray the costs but also as tangible evidence that some people find it worthwhile.
Best wishes to all of your for a great New Year.
12 thoughts on “The 2014 report card for the FM website. What were the top hits?”
On this blog, I read every post (except movie reviews, if I have not seen the movie, I get lost in the interpretation). Keep up the good work.
My vote for a smackdown goes to OldSkeptic (now Lisa) for her response to your Castle Alpha-Male theory. It was particularly well-written and I knew it was the truth the moment I read it.
If memory serves, she’s earned the smackdown honor multiple times before. Frankly, I’d like to meet her someday, she seems like quite a person.
Here’s the thread: http://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/11/23/tv-castle-romance-sex-marriage-72993/
Oldskeptic made two sets of comments. First, about her views of life and gender relations. Perhaps she’s right, or wrong. Who can speak with authority on such matters. Hardly a “Smackdown” in my book.
Her second was more of her distain for science, so often displayed in her comments.
It’s a common belief that scientists are silly. It’s not one I have any interest in discussing. Not a Smackdown.
Even with the FM website’s often dour (and accurate) predictions, it’s interspersed with optimism for the future. As they say, hope springs eternal. The FM website is in so many ways a light in the dark. As the new year approaches it provides more opportunities for change. Maybe next year the American citizenry moves against agitprop after the MSM’s twin own goals of Ferguson and UVA. Maybe next year we gird ourselves for the long campaign against our Deep State. Maybe…
This year I can’t choose a favorite post but instead a favorite wellspring, my favorite material is when FM uses Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind” to examine and analyze our world. Ever since I finally took the plunge and read it about a year ago I’ve been proselytizing friends and family to read it to understand America. Can we even feel contempt anymore? Do we have the capacity anymore to be great-souled men? Do we have the ability to grapple with the semi-religious value positing latent in politics. Allan Bloom as channeled by FM engages both mind and soul.
Thank you for the feedback. I, of course, totally agree about Bloom.
My youngest son, age 20, recently started reading Closing. He found Bloom’s insights about college life and their gender relations — so cutting edge in 1989 (& shocking to me, as to other boomers back then) — to be quite obvious.
He is working through the second half, the philosophical roots of our problems. I look forward to hearing his conclusions.
Sorry, I hit the “Post Comment” button too soon and have contributed money to the tip jar as a mea culpa.
Overall, I find your site to be very worth my timel. As you can easily imagine, I find your economic articles to be the most interesting and the movie reviews are the least useful.
Your donation is greatly appreciated!
The movie reviews are an attempt to find the roots of America’s political dysfunctionality. It’s vital to discover, and a mystery. So I seek new perspectives.
Locke’s reviews are imo brilliant, although I have drawn no useful conclusions as yet.
So my search continues. Ideas are welcomed!
The biggest thing of the year was the US elites have decided to go for Russia (along the lines of my long held prediction).
Not just building up of AMD (etc) systems to try and achieve ‘nuclear supremacy”, a near full on war with Russia.
The logic goes: “we, just, barely drew in Korea, we got our heads kicked in in Vietnam, did ok in Iraq war 1, got lucky the Govt folded in Yugoslavia (otherwise we would have lost) , lost badly in Iraq, lost badly in Afghanistan..lets go for nuclear armed (and with a whopping conventional military) Russia….whoopie do”.
We are a small ‘tripwire’ away from a full on war with them.
Russia knows this and, the only reason NATO is not at war with them (for the 5 mins they survive ) is by their clever political/diplomatic manouvering.
Noting the full on naval showdown in the med last year between the USN and the Russian Navy over the (within 48 hours) US war on Syria (boy has that been airbrushed out of history).
Does anyone think the US backed down on it because ‘some truth came out’..when has that ever happened? The real story was this was a ‘red line’ for Russia and there was a showdown, which the USN blinked from. Russia then handed the US a face saving ‘excuse’ to back down (doing away the chemical weapons).
But the US then pressed the Ukraine ‘button’ in retaliation and game on.
Now, for anyone who knows how to tie their own shoelaces, if Syria was a ‘red line’ for the Russians, the Ukraine is a red line ‘to the power ten’.
Result…the worst case scenario for the US from a global strategic point of view. A united Russia/China axis. And Russian military, inc their nuclear forces, on full scale alert all the time. Great 1983 again. One person’s decision away from giga-death.
You have respect the Russian strategic forbearance, when the Ukrainians used some (3-4) of their (fortunately non nuclear armed) strategic missiles against the eastern ‘rebels’…the Russians shot them all down (S-400 obviously ) ….and are still offering them coal and electricity and gas and oil and trying for a peace settlement. Though, this is all just buying time for them. Russia has given up on the west and know Kiev is totally dominated by the US, on a (crumbling) military level at the strategic and tactical levels.
Give an example, a recent Obama speech where he put Russia above ISIS as a threat to the world and just below Ebola. Kerry told Lavrov ‘ignore’ it and Lavrov, rightly hit the roof with him…you can’t ignore statements like that, those are de-facto declarations of war.
Nixon, alcoholic brutal swine though he was wasn’t that stupid and is turning in his grave now. You can hear his cry: “You did what you morons, you have united Russia and China against us..are you mad”.
“the Ukrainians used some (3-4) of their (fortunately non nuclear armed) strategic missiles against the eastern ‘rebels’…the Russians shot them all down (S-400 obviously )”
I had already read about the Syria/Mediterranean incident, but this is one is new to me. Sources?
I respect you but, sitting inside the US, it sounds crazy. You give far too much credit for forward thinking to the US, European, and Russian leaders.
1. I would not describe the current situation as a “a near full on war with Russia.” The US and Europeans sought to bring a very corrupt and divided Ukraine into the NATO umbrella and failed. Everything else has been a natural consequence of that. Ukraine is marginally less corrupt because it now realizes that it is fighting for its life, the Crimean peninsula is currently a marginal liability to Russia, the civil war over eastern Ukraine goes in fits and starts but nothing resembling accurate reporting is occurring so it is hard to know what is happening with any degree of accuracy.
2. “The logic goes:…” This is sound reasoning, there has been a theory in the US needs an opponent to be its best. The Bush administration sought to make China the enemy before 9/11 and made Terrorism the enemy after 9/11 but it is hard to win a war on a technique, especially when you frequently use it yourself. Putin’s resurgent Russia, while a hollow shell of its former power, does make a satisfactory straw-man opponent.
3. “We are a small ‘tripwire’ away from a full on war with them.” Sorry, but this is nuts. The US military has been focusing on terrorism for so long that it is not really capable of fighting against an opponent like Russia and it would hate to do so. The war on terror has been very profitable and safe for the US military leaders. War against Russia would be over fairly quickly and decisively and it would be very hard to hide mistakes. And leadership in the US has reached the stage where the civilian leadership can no longer make the US military do anything it does not want to do.
4. “Noting the full on naval showdown in the med last year between the USN and the Russian Navy over the (within 48 hours) US war on Syria (boy has that been airbrushed out of history).”
As Guest said, “Sources?” The story here in the US is that there was a confrontation between the USN and the Russian Navy but it was not serious. It is impossible for me to imagine that the Russian Navy showed the USN anything that would shake them out of their overwhelming complacency. Putin has not given the Russian Navy sufficient money or training and the USN arrogance is well-entrenched and long-standing.
As for the US war in Syria; yes, Obama blinked on that one. It was very unpopular here in the US (for a change) and, after Libya, seemed like an obvious point of failure for virtually no gain. But I also note that US jets are currently hitting ISIS targets in Syria and occasionally Syrian government targets as well. Same War, Different Day?
5. “Result…the worst case scenario for the US from a global strategic point of view. A united Russia/China axis. And Russian military, inc their nuclear forces, on full scale alert all the time. Great 1983 again. One person’s decision away from giga-death.”
Um, a united Russia/China axis? Don’t see it from here. Yes, the Russians are trying to sell their oil and gas to the Chinese but there are not sufficient pipelines to deliver on their promises. Also, the Chinese are the real deal while the Russians are only a hollow shell of their former glory. I cannot imagine the Chinese NOT exploiting that advantage and I cannot imagine the Russians putting up with it.
Much as I would like to say that nuclear weapons have ever been obsolete, it simply is not true. The world has not been free of the giga-death scenario since the 1950’s. We just pretended we were in the 1990’s and the illusion wears thin at moments. That said, I do not think we are at all close to pulling the nuclear trigger because there is no advantage to either side.
Putin is an excellent political tactician but does not seem to have any vision for Russia beyond being more powerful and more under his direct control than is currently so. The Saudi cheap oil play, while not directly aimed at Russia, is having more devastating effects there than anywhere else and the Saudis seem to be enjoying the effects in Syria. Also Putin seems particularly weak on succession planning.
Ukraine is probably going to bubble for some time with the east eventually seceding and joining Russia. It is too easy for the Russians to send enough aid to the rebels, the Ukrainian government is too corrupt, and the US and Euro leaders are too disinterested to do anything other than make alarmed noises. Ukraine might even benefit from this because what I’ve read suggests that their worst economic and political problems were in that region before the war started. This would leave Putin with another economically crippled bit of land (in addition to the Crimea) to administer. This is not the stuff of successful master plans.
6. “Give an example, a recent Obama speech where he put Russia above ISIS as a threat to the world and just below Ebola. Kerry told Lavrov ‘ignore’ it and Lavrov, rightly hit the roof with him”
Yes, the US leadership is being stupidly provocative, mostly through massive disinterest, but it isn’t going to start a war. If Lavrov or Putin were to threaten to throw nukes around the US would back down in a heartbeat. Nuclear war is obviously not in the interests of the world’s only superpower.
I agree. Oldskeptic’s analysis is 3 steps beyond bizarre.
Yep Pluto “but, sitting inside the US, it sounds crazy. ” . sitting anywhere else it look increasingly probable. The US ‘thought bubble’ is nearly impervious to reality. “Empire creating its own reality” and all that.
The Russians and increasingly many more do not think so. when they are under attack, miltarily and economcally…well they look for who is doing it. The US.
Reality: endless Russian drills, convetional and nuclear. They are on the highest alerts. Irrational? Maybe, but Biden goes to Kiev and the Ukrainains attack, Brennan goes to Kiev and the Ukrainaians attack more. Coinsidence? Maybe. But you would have to be really niave to think so.
Sanctions, economic attack (Russia has been frozen out of the western capital markets).. Oh and that Biden Junior thing and now US (ex) citizens in the Kiev cabinet. There is no one in estern Europe that doesn’t know that the entire Kiev Govt is just a US puppet.
Maybe as the old saying goes, you are not paranoic if they really are out to get you…as Obama said the biggest threat to the world is, after Ebola, is Russia…what more proof do you want?
As for all the rest..like the USN/RN Syrian showdown, Ukrainian strategic missle attacks…do your own research. It took me no time at all to see it at the time, when it actually happened. Asleep at the wheel were you?
Or you can just stay in your US ‘thought bubble’…..and keep believing in the ‘reality; you are told to.
Ok to reiterate the US has 2 clear strategies:
(1) Separate the EU and Russia economically and because of that (duh) energy wise.
This means the end, even more so than now, of the EU econically.
The US thinks this is a good thing.
EU elites who are owned by the US also think this a good thing.
(2) Smash Russia into separate countries
FM, how long have I been saying that the US is rubbish miltarily, but world class at subverting economic/national secuity/militayr/media/etc elites in other countries?
At this they are the best.
They own the Geman (and UK, Austalian, and all the rest) national secirity forces. They own the militaries. They own the media.
There is not a one in any western country that wont sell out their own societies and people for the US.
Brilliant US ‘grand strategy stuff. But, in the truest sense the individuals involved are all traitors to their own countries.
Simple proof…the rendition ‘experiment’. Read what happened, every country was quite happy to hand over their citizens to US torture and/ or torture them for the US. UK, Australia, New Zealand. Germany, Netherlands, Sweden,, France, Poland (duh)….the list goes on and on and on and on..
Other simple proof the German NS groups bugging Merkal’s phone calls and then sending them to the NSA. Or GCHQ doing the same in the UK, or Australia’s DSD.This gives the US power over them, lots of power.
You shoud be proud FM crew, bemoaning the ‘non-existant’ US ‘grand strategy’ for years and years…but the US has one. True a neo-con and a neo-liberal economic one, But it has one and it had been winning all the time domestically and with a few exceptions.overseas. .
True you have just thrown away 90% of your own population to do it. But you have won, totally…for the moment. I mean you have won big time. The US elites are compelety dominant in just about everywhere…jump up and down FM crew, ‘high five’ each other you have won. Your real ‘grand strategy’ has been a stunning success.
After all,, who cares about a few ‘grunts’ getting killed in useless wars. The Wall St and military supplier guys get their bonuses, the generals get their pensions and well paying jobs….and that is what really matters..
Oh and FM…it is Lisa now.