The Daily Stumble #2: Mint Graffiti

Today’s 5th stumble is Mint Graffiti from the site MintLife.

This page many humorous examples drawings on dollar bills. The best one is Bender’s applause sign above, seen briefly above, and shown more clearly here:

But a close second is:

This was just hilarious. It isn’t the first time I’ve stumbled upon so-called “mint graffiti.” In fact, there are many pages of people doing creative things with money, drawing silly stuff or even folding bills origami-style into bizarre shapes.

The previous Daily Stumble was “Slow Time.”

The Daily Stumble #1: Slow Time

I’m starting a series where I take the 5th Stumble of the day and write a blog post about it. Why the 5th one? I don’t know, why not?

Today’s 5th stumble is: 20 Things that Are Way Better in Slow Motion – [link], from the site BuzzFeed.

Note: I’m going to take a screenshot of every page I stumble for this series, just in case the link breaks in the future. This way, someone reading my blog can still see what I am referring to.

This random stumble is very coincidental, considering my last blog post was about Light in Slow Motion. What are the chances?

Anyways, the site itself has a variety of interesting events happening in slow motion: the popping of popcorn, the impact of a bullet, the lighting of a match, and the hitting of a drum. But the most epic one on this site is definitely the lightning strike:

That just looks insane. When we look at things in slow motion, we see shapes and patterns that are otherwise never observe. We discover physical phenomena that seem impossible to our natural human-time intuition.

At this scale, things happen at time scales so short that that particles zap in and out of existence in billionths of a second. In just a blink of an eye, entire universes of particles have appeared and disappeared, entire realities created and destroyed.

Of course, even one billionth of a second is an eternity compared to events that are predicted to have occurred at the onset of the Big Bang. Such events occurred at 10^-34 of a second, or 0.0000000000000000000000000000000001 second.

It is indeed interesting to watch man-made objects such as bullets and golf balls in slow motion. But it is far more fascinating to watch nature, whether it is lightning, atomic collisions, and even light itself, move in slow time.

The list for The Daily Stumble series is found here.

1.8 Million?!

I have not checked in a while, but apparently that “Planning vs. the Internet” diagram now has 1.8 million views. That’s more five times the total number of views this blog has. Damn. Way to go, StumbleUpon community!

Of course, with the Chrome stumble bar, the diagram is obsolete. But the point still stands. 😀

Also, Edward Munch’s The Scream, which is featured in the diagram, set a record just two weeks ago for the highest auction price paid for a painting, at $120 million. Nice!

Spikes from StumbleUpon and Digg Fall by 50% on Second Day

As mentioned before, I received two spikes in page views for my blog (credits to the US Census image). For this post, we take note of a striking similarity between the two spikes.

Blog Stats Two Spikes
The first spike (3/21/10) is caused by StumbleUpon, the second by Digg (3/26/10).

First, each spike lasts for roughly two days. But the more interesting fact is that, even though Digg brought in 3.5 times as many viewers than StumbleUpon on the first day, both had a near 50% drop on the second day. The percentage of views on second day to views on first day was precisely 50% on StumbleUpon and 48% on Digg.

This seems to imply one thing: StumbleUpon and Digg are fundamentally the same. They would seem to be different, for they have different modes of operation, i.e. random, recommended pages from a button versus lists sorted by time or popularity, and they have different user bases. The stats, however, show a disturbing similarity.

I wonder whether other sites that get hit by StumbleUpon or Digg experience this phenomenon too.

The Impact of Digg, and Digg vs. StumbleUpon

Ever since posting US Census 2010 Win, I began to receive a large number of hits on this site. I was first hit by a giant wave (see my previous post The True Impact of StumbleUpon) from StumbleUpon, a site which I use very often. But today, another wave hit, and this time, it was Digg.

Digg
First spike is from StumbleUpon, second from Digg.

I did notice quite a few interesting trends and correlations. And also, I know that, in dealing with real-time stats, the facts might change the next minute. I don’t use Digg (I registered an account but haven’t touched it recently), so you may expect me to be biased toward StumbleUpon. But it turns out that the facts show Digg users to interact with the site more.

StumbleUpon

Time Interval: 3/20/10 to 3/24/10 (full days)

Total Hits on “Census” image: 41,125

Max Hits on “Census” in One Day: 24,317 (3/21/10)

Total Hits on Homepage: 819

Total (Average) Homepage Hits Divided by Hits on “Census”: 1.99%

Explanation: A hit is a visit. “Hits on Homepage” refers to the number of times the homepage of my blog was accessed. It may include readers who did not arrive on it from StumbleUpon; however, that number should be fairly low, considering that the TOTAL visits per day prior to this was about 20-30. Also, if a user goes through more than one page (i.e. to access older posts), each page of posts will count as a hit to the homepage.

Digg

Time Interval: 3/26/10, 12:00 am to 5:22 pm, Central Time (UTC -6)

Hits on “Census” image: 33,922

Hits on “Census” image, minus StumbleUpon Hits: 33,335

Hits on Homepage: 959

Hits on Homepage Divided by Hits on “Census”: 2.88% 2.83%*

*Edit: The previous number used the wrong methodology: I was comparing total hits on homepage, including StumbleUpon users, to just Digg hits on “Census.” The new number, 2.83%, is the total, or weighted average for Digg and StumbleUpon that day.

Alright, I apologize for not having done extremely sophisticated statistics here, but I do notice that even on this part of one day, the chance that a Digg user clicks my homepage (2.88%) is significantly higher than that for a StumbleUpon user (1.99%). Thus Digg has a lower bounce rate than that of StumbleUpon, at least for this image.

This was surprising because I thought StumbleUpon had a significantly lower bounce rate and a significantly higher average time on website and number of pages accessed, from my earlier reading. Sure enough, I found several articles (such as this, this, and this), all pointing to the same understanding that StumbleUpon is better in these aspects for a website.

So why did the census post develop a different result? A few possibilities:

  • Samples not comparable—for StumbleUpon I measured over a period of five days, whereas for Digg, I measured over a period of less than 18 hours. I’m not exactly sure what difference this makes; maybe because Digg stats have not continued into the evening/night yet, the Digg users are spending more time. Perhaps looking at a site at night makes one more likely to go to the next website. I don’t know.
  • Assumptions outdated—I would normally not use this as an excuse, but it happens that the three articles I mentioned before were all written in 2007 or 2008; maybe by 2010 StumbleUpon’s user base has changed to be more like that of Digg’s.
  • Nature of content not predicted—It’s an image. Perhaps StumbleUpon users spend more time reading articles and less on images. Who knows? Plus, it is in the “Humor” category in StumbleUpon, so perhaps it was not as entertaining as other pages in StumbleUpon’s hilarious “Humor” section. I noticed specifically in my blog stats that the most accessed category tags were “Lol,” which is the section under which the picture was posted. Also, I notice that for Digg, I have approximately the bounce rate that is given by the articles, but I have a significantly higher bounce rate than expected for StumbleUpon. This also points evidence to a likely reason being the nature of content.

Whatever the case, go StumbleUpon and Digg!

Edit: An update at 10:12 pm

Update (3/27/10): For 3/26/10, complete day.

The stats for Digg as shown above went up to 5:22 pm on 3/26/10. This time, it’s the full day.

Time Interval: 3/26/10 (full day)

Hits on “Census” image: 81,474

Hits on Homepage: 1,906

Hits on Homepage Divided by Hits on “Census”: 2.33%

Interestingly, the interaction rate decreased over time. At 5:22 pm, as seen above, it was at 2.83%. From 5:22 pm to 12:00 am, the number of hits was the day total minus the number up to 5:22, or 81,474 − 33,922 = 47522. Likewise, the number of homepage hits in this time interval was 1906 − 959 = 947. This gives a division ratio of 1.99%, which is coincidentally the exact same as for StumbleUpon the past few days. When this 2.83% and 1.99% are weighted, the total ratio is 2.33%. This seems to imply that at night, viewers are less likely to interact with the site than they are during the daytime.

The True Impact of StumbleUpon

Yesterday in The Impact of StumbleUpon I posted a graph showing the daily view count of this blog jump from about 20 a day to 1700 in one day. Here is the graph, reproduced below:

But today, this is what happened:

11,000 hits in a day! And again, the hits are coming from StumbleUpon. Before these two days, the blog had about 6000 total hits; now it’s at 20,000. Thanks again for stumbling!

Edit (on the same day): Apparently, I spoke too soon! Less than two hours after the last image, I saw this:

Edit (again):