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by Stormy on May 11, 2008

Traffic on the internet is an interesting thing. Just how does it work?

I noticed that the story about my buddy Ben Franklin (,1) gets a lot of hits. Yeah, there's a page counter and you can see it at work when you go to the "Adventures" page (just click the button up top and look in the middle column). "Wow," I thought, "that's pretty cool that so many people like to read about Ben Franklin. He's certainly my hero." That's the naive marmot's thought, anyway. A good detective must always check his facts and that I did. To my disappointment the inbound links generally came from Google (good news!) and were 99% of the time searches were for "Benjamin Franklin nudist" (yip!). Okay, now that's a scary thought to consider. Ben Franklin was an overweight man most of his life. What are you people doing? You want to see a fat elderly man with a receding hairline in the nude? That really bothers me! And he's been dead for 200 years, too! There was no photography back then folks! Sigh... The next most popular search, is for the game "Catan" or at times "Catan House Rules" (,1). I'm a big Catan fan and a lot of my marmot and non-marmot friends like to play this game. We almost always use all the expansion sets and play to 15 or 20 points. The game lasts for hours! It's a lot of fun. We developed a lot of house rules over the years to help make sense of things that aren't always perfect. This is a great game for adults and I think it's very good for kids, too. It teaches management of resources, goal setting and diplomacy. Our schools certainly haven't done a good job of that. Another very popular search relates to caves in Indiana (,1). A lot of folks are looking up Hemlock Cliffs and Messamore Cliffs, where I had a big adventure in 2007. Some searches specify the state of Indiana and certain caves by name, which bring people to this particular page. Interestingly, another common search that tends to drift into and out of the top 10 articles on a regular basis is for the Vandiver murder or the Messamore Murder or the Kentucky bank robbery in 1948 (,2). This is a very interesting story and a big topic in southern Indiana to this very day. The Messamore Cliffs are intimately bound to the story. Next is a jumble of stories on various topics that often drift up and down in ratings, depending on which way the wind blows. Caving is popular. Fulford Cave (,1) is a very popular topic and it's no surprise. This is the most visited wild cave in all of Colorado. It's on most maps and it's a great cave to visit. I suspect that a lot of folks just want to get more information. Here's a very important hint if you're planning a trip to this cave: It's very, very cold! Even on the hottest days the temperature inside is a very steady 35 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're not prepared for a cold wet cave (yes, it's wet, too), this is not the place for you to be! Another popular cave that makes the top 10 is Fault Cave (,1). I wrote an article about cavers and cave clean-up on Earth Day 2007. It was a very fun trip to a somewhat small, twisty and crawly cave. But this may well be the second most popular cave in Colorado. The third big cave destination appears to be Cave of the Winds (,1). This is a very popular commercial cave and I had the opportunity to spend the night there with a survey crew mapping the cave. It was a very fun trip and quite obviously it's a fun read for a lot of people. Another popular search is a disaster exercise at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds (,1). A lot of different searches bring people here, including folks looking for information on the fairgrounds, information on CERT and, of all things, information on circus elephants. You need to read the article to understand! Disaster overall is a pretty popular topic. I guess in a way this is tabloid journalism. Two other disaster searches that bump up against the top 10 are the Operation Phoenix (,1) exercise and the Crawford County (Indiana) microburst (,4). They're fun reads, too, and come with some wonderful photographs from my support crew. A few of the items in the current top 10 line-up are very bizarre and probably "seasonal". One is about the Columbine Memorial (,1), which I got to visit in 2007. Columbine is still a big topic in Colorado, but the visits for this particular story come not from Colorado or even North America. They come from a Finnish website ( from a forum list that appears to be hung up on grizzly crimes. Another seasonal item in the top 10 is a story on the big blue bear outside of the Colorado Convention Center in Denver (,2). This page got hammered heavily in April 2008 when Fox News ran a contest with a picture of the bear, asking where the bear was and what it was all about. I know that when I wrote my article, I had to do a lot of research in a dozen or so sources to get the names and the numbers right. I am happy to say that this article appears to have helped a lot of folks trying to locate the big blue bear! If you won the contest and are reading this, I'm curious to find out about my cut. Please? Finally, the article on Star*Fest 2007 (,1) is another big draw. Star*Fest is the supper huge multi-media convention in Denver. It takes place in April and draws thousands of people from all over the country. It, too, shot up in rankings this spring. I assume that would be because people were trying to get some information on the show that just took place less than a month ago. So what are you reading? What exciting topic got you to I'm keeping an eye on those web statistics! I'm very curious about the current popular trends. I'm a little disturbed about one of them!

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