Another year, another annual blog post review! (Two weeks late.) I still think these posts are probably the best introduction to Chromatic Conflux, since you can most directly access the content that sounds interesting to you — since there's a lot of variety here! For veterans of the blog, it can also be nice to reflect on the year, and maybe look back at something you've forgotten about. Honestly, I just like this flavor of article when other websites do it, and it's an excuse to have a tradition. Even though I only posted eight times in 2022.
With my top three posts of all-time by view count and my top three posts of all-time by length, 2022 felt like a banner year for Chromatic Conflux, and I'm incredibly grateful to you all for that. I've also decided to include little gold-silver-bronze banners on the blog posts! These stats don't actually mean very much, though.
I now present The Conflux 2022, complete with an extremely busy-looking logo:
Maybe being off a weekly schedule gave me the freedom to focus on and filter them a bit more. Maybe I've improved at writing. Or maybe it's just random chance.
As you'll expect, this post is much the same as the one you're reading now! I go in depth on my posts of 2021. You should maybe wait to read it after finishing this one, though, or you could end up in a recursion situation where you click on The Conflux 2020, and who's to say where it ends? (Well, it ends with you reading my bad old blog posts.)
This post states that "Since the 2020 election, I've stepped back a bit from consuming political news. At the time of this blog post, I thought it was a temporary thing, but I've been continuing on that trajectory." That was true! Then the 2022 midterm elections happened. Of course, I fell right back into old habits, and started following the minutiae of the races. This time, with fake-money betting! (I actually managed to win a $93.70 real-money prize for having the third-highest profits of anyone on midterm markets. My secrets: (1) correctly believing FiveThirtyEight would beat the markets, (2) having a lot of fake money to invest, especially from previous referral bonuses, and (3) basically getting lucky on all the races where I was betting big.)
Onto the next!
I Have So Many Wordle Thoughts (February 23) [#1 by views] [#3 by length]
This ends the portion of the post where I have unique contributions to make. Now, I'm just going to blitz through all the other Wordle variants I can think of, in no particular order, with my thoughts on them.
Me capitalizing on the Wordle trend! I discuss my Seven Wordles speedrunning, recommend Obscurdle hard, and go through lots of other variants. I think it was a well-timed post, and I encourage you to check out these variants if you haven't — though of course plenty of new ones have become popular since. For example, this post was written before my friends and I got obsessed with Semantle. Lately, I've been enjoying Notwordle, which requires you to aggregate many disparate statistics about your guess!
Also, with respect to being my third-longest post: technically it loses by word count, 3443-3248, to The Conflux 2020 (both of which Wix says are "12 minutes"), but the latter has a ton of quoting, so if you ignore some of those, it makes my cute little stat work. Let me have this.
Seven Wordles in TWENTY-FIVE SECONDS! (February 26) [#3 by views]
My last time felt beatable, but to be perfectly honest, this one feels like everything fell into place perfectly, so I would be highly impressed.
I got a good time on Seven Wordles, and I was very excited! This post has the video, some description of the improvements to my strategy, and how unlikely it was. Mainly, though, it's worth reading in the context of the following post.
The chance of getting this lucky on all of them was 1 in 5*4*2*5*2*6*1=2400, which is pretty ridiculous.
Friend of the blog Prismatic decided to challenge my crown (yes, the record where I felt like everything went perfectly). We went back and forth — I was winning when I published this blog post, but was defeated afterward — and decided that my free time should not continue to be consumed by the inexorable clacking of fingers upon keys. But it was quite enjoyable!
One-Sentence Book Reviews 2021-2022 (August 12) [#2 by length]
I'm reviewing all 39 books I read in the second half of 2021 or the first half of 2022, in one sentence each!
I had a lot of fun writing this blog post, and a lot of fun reading it back! Although maybe I'm more inclined to like it because I'm the one who read the books. I do think it feels very easy, and not like work, to discuss opinions on media.
Obviously the sentences are often bloated in order to be one sentence, but that's the whole point. Still, the one-sentence constraint makes it easy to read. I think there's a very high chance I do this again for 2022-23.
Also, there's a very fun existential crisis about consistency in the beginning of the blog post, if you like reading descents into madness.
Dakota is two because of politics.
This post discusses the story of how the Dakota Territory became two states instead of one, and how it's relevant to current disproportionality in the US Senate. Stylistically, I do get some CGP Grey vibes (the intentional use of "Dakota" instead of "the Dakotas" feels like something he would do). Content-wise, it is reminiscent of older posts on this blog, back when it was mainly a politics blog.
In fact, I actually wrote about half of this post over a year before its publication, in early 2021, but I abandoned it for no good reason and finished it before publishing! I was planning to write more posts that August: I had some hopes of a "blog blitz" with one post every day for a week, but alas. Still, in that month, in fact, I generated a few more "Dakota"-like abandoned fragments, so maybe y'all will see them someday.
What kept happening was that I'd listen to a song, think it was fine or okay or bad; and then it would get stuck in my head, and I'd listen to it more, and then I'd start liking it.
The story of my complicated relationship with Taylor Swift music, which a lot of people have been curious about because I don't quite fit the stereotype. Lots of references and personal statistics and analysis and music crises and deep thoughts about art. And oh so many words. In general, the more fun earlier parts of the post have been better-received than the subsequent descent into madness, but I think both parts are important to the post.
Update on hannah grae: turns out she removed most of her old videos in order to focus on her original songs, which, like, whatever. Anyway, other-POV "All Too Well" is back. Other-POV "champagne problems" isn't, but this other random channel reuploaded it with Turkish subtitles! I downloaded it, just in case it gets copyright-struck or something.
On me and Taylor: the story wasn't done. I thought the new album, Midnights, was meh on first listen, though I did like the two iconic lines ("It's me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me" and "I'm only cryptic and Machiavellian 'cause I care"). Then, shock surprise, its songs got stuck in my head (especially "Maroon"). I also got into reputation (especially "Delicate" and "King of My Heart"), which I think is stylistically the most similar album for Midnights. In any case, my Taylor Swift earworms percentage had another peak in October/November. I also got obsessed for a bit with John Mayer, possibly Taylor Swift's most hated ex, who simultaneously gives the wildest, most self-aware genius-sociopath interviews and makes chill normal pop songs. Flawed personalities do have a fascination to them. Separately: I was shocked by how much I like Pink Floyd's The Wall sonically (especially since I did not care for Dark Side of the Moon); and I feel that the Cabin Sessions version of "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men is especially magical.
At the end, the post contains this parenthetical describing its word count: "6042, according to wordcounter.net. When I originally wrote this parenthetical, the length was slightly below 6119, and I mentioned how I was resisting the temptation to push it over just because, but shock surprise, it got longer after more editing." It doesn't really make sense to me. I think I wrote 6119 instead of 6000, and perhaps also 6042 instead of 6119?
Anyway, the post was hard to write, but I did it, so now you get to read it. Or not. It's really long.
Is 69 Unique? The Search for Nice Numbers (December 17) [#2 by views]
The program turned up only one number whose square and cube, written in that base, contain all the digits in that base with no repeats. 69, in base 10.
This blog post started a lot of great math exploration! It all started with a very surprising fact: that 69 is the only known number, in any base, whose square and cube have every digit with no repeats — and yet there are probably an infinite number of examples. I'm actually planning to write an update post soon, so I'll keep it short for now. If you want to read up on it now, you should read the comments of the associated prediction market on whether another nice numbers would be found, and also the new version I made when I realized that I forgot to rule out negative numbers. (Speaking of prediction markets about this blog, you can now bet on whether I break my blog post length record and whether I write at least 10 blog posts in 2023.)
Anyway, I worked to make the blog post accessible, so even if you don't consider yourself a "math person", I hope you'll still give it a read!
That's A Wrap
So that was 2022 for Chromatic Conflux! Hopefully these blog posts brought you some amount of joy. If you have any feedback at all, I would love to hear it. And if you'd like to continue reading my archive, here's The Conflux 2021 again! Thank y'all so much.
PS: At some point this year, Wix decided to change something about how it displays dates when the blog post was published around midnight (as I like to schedule my posts for). Maybe I'll try to fix these sometime (I know you can retroactively change the dates of posts), but it's low-priority. Anyway, I've tried to give the correct dates for these posts. They might be off by one.