Fun with Highways: Saint Catharines

Facebook provides a number of interesting statistics about fans, one of which is the cities (or metropolitan areas) in which they reside. The top cities for CatSynth are not surprising: New York City is #1, with San Francisco and other Bay Area communities high on the list. But one has consistently stuck out among the top cities: Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Today we pay tribute to this rather surprising enclave of CatSynth Facebook fans in our own unique way: a “Fun with Highways” article.

Saint Catharines is located in the Niagara region of Ontario, on the southwest edge of Lake Ontario, not far from Niagara Falls. It’s official nickname is the “Garden City” and is unofficially nicknamed “St Kitts” by people in the area (thanks to regular reader Sue St. Clair for providing this insight).

The city is served by two major highways (known as 400-series highways in Ontario): highway 406 and the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), which connects Buffalo, NY and Niagara Falls to Toronto. The QEW has an interesting history, not only for its name but also its distinction as one of the oldest divided highways in Canada. Below one can see the Garden City Skyway portion of the QEW spanning the city’s other historic transportation feature, the Welland Canal.

[Public domain image via Wikipedia]

One of the first long road trips with my family growing up went through Niagara Falls and Toronto, and I’m sure I passed through Saint Catharines on the QEW with little notice, despite my penchant for staring out the window and observing road signs. One tragic story of the QEW in Saint Catharines involves the death of hockey star Tim Horton in an automobile accident – I mostly know about him not from hockey but as the eponymous late owner of the chain where my friends in Canada go to get their daily coffee.

Interestingly for a highway article, Saint Catharines is also home to the headquarters of the provincial Ministry of Transportation – or rather a headquarters of the Ministry of Transportation, as there seem to be several. Of course, the city is also home to many parks and gardens as the name would imply. One more iconic is Montebello Park.

[Public domain image via Wikipedia.]

The pavilion in the photo above overall has a very classic appearance that one would see in many town parks from this era. But that one structure on the left also evokes a more modernist aesthetic with its unadorned smooth curves. There is something very 1960s about it. Additionally, Montebello Park has a significant connection to Central Park in New York City which I leave as an exercise to the reader.

Fun with Stats: Nobel Peace Prizes by Country

In light of today’s Nobel Prize award in peace, a little number-crunching of peace prizes by country (using this Wikipedia page as a data source).  I actually did not guess this distribution in advance.

United States 22
France 10
United Kingdom 10
Germany 6
Ireland 5
Sweden 5
Belgium 4
South Africa 4
Switzerland 4
Austria 3
Israel 3
Argentina 2
Bangladesh 2
Canada 2
China 2
Egypt 2
Norway 2
Poland 2
Portugal 2
Russia / USSR 2
Costa Rica 1
Czech Republic / Austria-Hungary 1
Denmark 1
East Timor 1
Finland 1
Ghana 1
Guatemala 1
India 1
Iran 1
Italy 1
Japan 1
Kenya 1
South Korea 1
Macedonia 1
Burma (Myanmar) 1
Mexico 1
Netherlands 1
Palestine 1
Romania 1
Vietnam 1

You can read a speech by the most recent winner Liu Xiaobo here.

CatSynth 4th Anniversary

Another year has past since we started this site four years ago.  Thanks to everyone who already wished us a happy anniversary, and to the folks at the Cat Blogosphere for their shout-out today.

And just as we have with previous anniversaries, we are celebrating with statistics of questionable import.

Over the past four years, we have written 1220 posts, and readers have contributed 6699 comments.  We have received 293,916 visits.  This comes out to about 5.5 comments per post, and about 43 visits for every one comment left.  We also have about 270 “catsynth pic” or “catsynth video” posts.  Make of these numbers what you will.

In terms of tags and categories, there are not really any surprises.  These top terms do reflect what the site continues to be about:

Cats (cat) 704
Synthesizers 449
Luna 277
Music 246
Art 190
weekend cat blogging 183
WCB 181
San Francisco 160
Personal 153
News 151
Wordless Wednesday 147
Reviews 134
Photography 132
Modernism 91
Highways 82
Art 74
analog 74
video 74
cats on tuesday 70
electronic music 62
synth 62
performance 55
carnival of the cats 45
Travel 45
black cat 44

We now turn to stats specific to the past year.  The top five days for visits since July 19, 2009 are:

November 6, 2009 1036
April 18, 2010 859
May 11, 2010 808
October 15, 2009 787
March 22, 2010 780

Hmm, November 6, 2009.  Who knew our post on Reconnaissance Fly and Noertker’s Moxie at the SIMM Series would get so much attention 🙂

The posts that received the most comments over the past year:

Wordless Wednesday: Morning Sunshine 36
Wordless Wednesday: Cooper River Bridge, South Carolina 32
Wordless Wednesday:  High Line 32
Dona Nobis Pacem: Blogblast for Peace! 31
Wordless Wednesday: 28
Wordless Wednesday:  Bay Bridge from Pier 14 25
Wordless Wednesday: Yan’an Elevated Road, Shanghai 25
Wordless Wednesday:  Before Winter 24
Wordless Wednesday: 5946 (Vacant Lot, California) 24
Wordless Wednesday:  Three Circles 23
Wordless Wednesday: Coffee Cup on the Patio 23

And the top commenters over the past year:

kitty 203
Mickey 143
CatSynth 96
Gattina 75
SandyCarlson 51
Sukhmandir Kaur 50
Robin from Israel 38
Beth @ 990 Square 37
Katz (And Other) Tales 32
cindy 31
AVCr8teur 30
jams o donnell 47
Carver 26
Sniffie and the Florida Furkids 23
Beth F 23
Cats of Wildcat Woods 22
Ms. Latina 20
Snowcatcher 19
Digital Flower 18
Susan Adcox 18
Cafe Au Lait 17
The Chair Speaks 16
Harry Spotter 16
Jewelgirls Katz 15
Judi 15
Nikita Cat 15
jason 12

These are the stats that change the most from year to year, as we welcome new readers and others fade away for any number of reasons.  One interesting thing to note is our two top commenters (who have retained those spots for the last two years running) are both from Canada.

Our Facebook page gives us a new source of questionable stats to reflect upon.  We have received  about 30 contributions (pictures or videos).  The city with the most declared CatSynth fans is New York.  The countries with the most fans (after the United States) are Canada, the United Kingdom, and Finland.  These are all plausible, but I am a bit skeptical of Facebook’s data gathering and presentation tools.

Thanks to everyone who has read and supported us, wherever you happen to be, and we’ll look forward to more over the next year…

Fun with stats: The Year in Hate and Extremism

I heard this report last night on Fresh Air, and then went to read the original article at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Here are some not-so-fun statistics:

  • The number of hate groups in the U.S. has been going up for years, rising 54% between 2000 and 2008. The number of groups rose again slightly in 2009 — from 926 in 2008 to 932 last year — despite the demise of a key neo-Nazi group.
  • Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009.
  • An astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) — a 244% jump. (If you’re not familiar with what a “Patriot group” is, you can read more here.)
  • A new poll from Harris interactive finds that 40 percent of American adults think that Obama is a socialist; 25 percent believe that Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore not eligible to be president; 20 percent say Obama is doing many of the things that Hitler did; 14 percent say Obama “may be the Antichrist.”
  • According the SLPC’s map of extremist and hate groups, the state with the second largest number of groups, after Texas, is California.

It’s easy to forget sometimes, but your friends here at CatSynth could be targets for such groups. Far less of a danger than an auto accident, statistically speaking, but still…

1000th Post

Today we at CatSynth publish our  1000th Post!

To mark this milestone, I created this mosaic featuring a few of Luna’s appearances:

Mosiac of Luna's appearances on CatSynth

[click to enlarge]

A few fun statistical facts about our first 1000 posts:

  • Luna has appeared in 238 posts almost 25%.
  • To date, there 270 cat-and-synthesizer posts.
  • As of this writing there are 5439 comments, or an average of 5 comments per post.
  • Over 150 Weekend  Cat Blogging posts.
  • 115 Wordless Wednesday posts.
  • Approximately 10% of posts feature our current hometown of San Francisco.

Here are the top 25 terms:

Cats 582
cat 414
Synthesizers 348
Luna 238
Music 200
weekend cat blogging 153
WCB 152
News 149
Art 145
Personal 133
Wordless Wednesday 115
San Francisco 97
Modernism 88
Photography 86
Reviews 77
Highways 70
synth 62
electronic music 59
cats on tuesday 56
analog 45
carnival of the cats 43
video 43
Music 40
Travel 38
midnight monday 36

CatSynth 3rd Anniversary

Well, this site has now been running for three years. And we’re marking the anniversary the best way we can think of: with stats of questionable significance.

886 posts.
195,501 visitors.
Over 15,000 spam comments squashed.
Over 400 cat-and-synth pics and videos

The top 20 terms (a term is either a tag or a category or both):

Cats   516
cat   356
Synthesizers   297
Luna   215
synthesizer   185
Music   171
News   146
weekend cat blogging   136
WCB   134
Personal   120
Art   115
Wordless Wednesday   96
Modernism   72
San Francisco   68
synth   61
Photography   61
Highways   60
electronic music   52
Reviews   40
cats on tuesday   48

The 11 most commented posts:

Dona Nobis Pacem   48
Wordless Wednesday: La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona   43
"Wayback" Wordless Wednesday: Green Kitties   42
Wordless Wednesday: A Great Moment   41
Wordless Wednesday: Luna Sun Triangle   41
Dona Nobis Pacem: BlogBlast for Peace!   40
Wordless Wednesday: 43   39
Wordless Wednesday: Cat and Geometry   38
Wordless Wednesday: Centered Cat   37
Wordless Wednesday: Alley behind 49 Geary   37
Wordless Wednesday: Maneki Neko   37

And the top comment contributors:

Kitty   451
Mickey   179
CatSynth   138
Gattina   136
whaleshaman   81
Andrée   73
Daisy   71
Dragonheart & Merlin   71
sher   65
SandyCarlson   60
jams o donnell   44
The Right Blue   44
kitikata-san   42
Hendrix   41
parker   40
Matthew James Didier   40
Katie   32
Randall   31
HotMBC   30
Gandalf & Grayson   30
Dennis the Vizsla   30

This list includes sites that are no longer active, and at least one person who has passed away.

I did also go back and look at those early posts from July and August of 2006, expecting to reflect on how much things have changed over three years. But instead I found myself noticing how much things on the site have stayed the same…

Pi Day 3.14159…

[For Weekend Cat Blogging, please scroll down or click here.]

We at CatSynth once again, celebrate Pi Day on its three-digit approximation, March 14 (3-14).

We start with some interesting facts about the digits of pi. We presented statistics about the distribution in our 2007 Pi Day post. From, we present some interesting patterns:

01234567890 first occurs at the 53,217,681,704-th digit of pi.
09876543210 first occurs at the 42,321,758,803-th digit of pi.
777777777777 first occurs at the 368,299,898,266-th digit of pi.
666666666666 first occurs at the 1,221,587,715,177-th digit of pi.
271828182845 first occurs at the 1,016,065,419,627-th of digit pi. (that’s e for those who haven’t memorized it)
314159265358 first occurs at the 1,142,905,318,634-th digit of pi.

Last year, we showed the relationship to the Gamma function, and of course to Euler’s identity, which links pi surprisingly closely to the imaginary constant i and the number e. But it is also surprisingly easy to generate pi from simple sequences of integers. Consider the Madhava-Leibniz formula for pi:

Thus one can generate pi from odd integers and simple arithmetic. Another formula only involving perfect squares of integers comes from the Basel problem (named for the town of Basel in Switzerland):

In recognition of Pi Day, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution this week:

And thus the sad history of pi in politics as exemplified by the Indiana Pi Bill of 1897 is put to rest. Now onto erasing the sad history of science and politics in general of the past eight years…

Fun with Stats: Wordle vs. Technorati Tags

I was reading this article on DailyKos in which the author plugged the transcripts of the vice presidential candidates in tonight’s debate into Wordle. I think it’s quite telling that Sarah Palin’s top word was “also.” Actually it makes sense in light of her recent interviews.

Anyhow, we at CatSynth tried plugging our own RSS feed into Wordle and produced the following results:

[click to enlarge]

I did appreciate the results on an aesthetic level, being interested in text art and conceptual art. But I was also surprised by which words were the most prominent. Certainly, we at CatSynth are quite proud to represent “music” and “performance”, but a similar analysis of our Technorati Tags suggests a different focus:

analog art black cat california cats cotc experimental music friday ark mathematics moog photography rip san francisco soma synthesizer video weekend cat blogging bad kitty cats festival of chaos bkcfoc carnival of the cats cat cats on tuesday electronic music highways keyboard luna midnight monday performance wcb wordless wednesday

Of course, Wordle is counting words while Technorati is counting editorially specified tags. Nonetheless, the contrast is interesting. The word count is likely to change more dramatically over a shorter period of time, especially with music and art reviews in the mix, while the tags are likely to feature cats and synths. It would be interesting to try this periodically.