16 December 2008

Dave's landslide blog – one year on

Posted by Dave Petley

Yesterday we threw a small party to celebrate the first birthday of this Blog, which is today. As you can imagine, it was well-attended by A-list celebrities, some of whom have a surprising interest in landslides. Did you know for example that Britney Spears has a deep fascination with flow dynamics (although rumours that the lyrics of her song were originally “my debris flow is killing me” may well be exaggerated). Robbie Williams has gone one step further, having completed a PhD in low cost landslide mitigation in mountainous environments. News that his song “Angel” was actually written in appreciation of gabian wall design (“…and through it all, it offers me protection“) should be treated with a pinch of salt. Reports that he is considering a reunion with Take That in order to record a cover version of Transmission Vamp’s “Landslide of Love” are something that we can all get excited about.

On a more serious note, I started the blog as an experiment to see what would happen, primarily with the aim of trying to break the barriers between academics and the wider community. I think it has worked – certainly I have had a lot of fun doing it and I have learnt a surprising amount – although it has not all gone to plan. Unfortunately I didn’t put a web counter on the page until April, so my data for views of the blog only runs from there. I guess it is probably true to say that the site didn’t get a huge amount of traffic before that though. So here are the stats:

Number of posts since 16th December 2008: 173
Number of views since 18th April 2008: 63,228
Number of visitors since 18th April 2008: 32,980.

The graph of page downloads since 18th April is shown below (click on the graph for a better view). You will see that the number of visitors varies hugely according to whether there is a large, high profile landslide in the news.

The highlight remains the post of 12th May 2008, which I put up at 07:27 UT, 29 minutes after the Wenchuan Earthquake occurred. This post said “it is reasonable to assume that this earthquake will have triggered large numbers of landslides as this is a very landslide-prone area…if the initial reports on this earthquake are correct then its impact could be fearsome.”

Sadly all too true, although I guess I hadn’t really envisaged just how bad it would actually be.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has tipped me off about videos, images, news stories, etc. I couldn’t do this without you.

Best wishes,