Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Statistics (with a pitstop by the Oxford English Dictionary)

So there's this nifty spot where you can go look at the stats of your blog. And it's very interesting. One of the most interesting things about it is this: when I post something new, my readership skyrockets in South Africa (i.e. here). When I don't post anything new, most of my readers come from the US (though I had a brief spate of popularity in India after I posted a mini-series involving Indian mathematicians).

Is this just because more people use the internet on a regular basis in the US? 'Cos I have a nasty feeling it's mostly incidental/search-engine/accidental traffic.

What is driving this particular pattern??? Any suggestions?



What is the difference in meaning between incidental and accidental in this context?

The pocket OED that I have in my classroom (call me old fashioned but I still haven't gotten used to online dictionaries) says that incidental means "having a minor role in relation to more important thing or event".

Accidental (helpfully) means "happening or done by accident". Well thanks OED. Accident is defined as "event that is unexpected or without apparent cause".

My analysis - incidental relates to the importance while accidental relates to the intentionality of the event in question (i.e. visiting Daydreaming in Maths).

Do you agree??



  1. of course, on the other hand, while playing a complicated piece of Bach, an unintentional incidental would be both accidental and doubly incidental...

  2. Hold on, I think I got that all wrong. Accidentally and incidentally. When playing Bach an accidental accidental would definitely not be an incidental accidental, and probably not incidental

  3. No, I'm really struggling here. I think I SHOULD have said an incidental accidental is not an accidental accidental: it is an intentional,not accidental accidental....hey! I've got it! A gentle mental oriental's experimental rental of an incidentally fundamentally dental hospital was accidentally instrumental in elemental environmental (shoot me please somebody)

  4. Ok, I think I may have got lost somewhere? Or are you just showing off ;)