According to the WordPress software, this is either post 999 or 1000 on this blog, depending on whether you count one I haven’t gotten around to finishing. I’m not sure that number is reliable anyway, since there are various anomalies due to a long-ago transition from Movable Type to WordPress. Some other statistics: 27,089 approved comments since the beginning (March 2004), 84,259 spam comments since the latest spam filter was turned on a couple years ago, 510,530 page hits last month (mostly spam, robots), and 8,842 subscribers at Google Reader.
The blog has turned out to be far more of a success than I ever expected when it was first started. There were few similar blogs back then, with Jacques Distler’s Musings having been around for a while, and Sean Carroll’s Preposterous Universe just starting up. Lubos Motl’s Reference Frame quickly followed, I gather somewhat in response to mine. These days, Musings seems to have gone dormant, but Sean and Lubos are still at it. I haven’t kept track of physics blogs in general, but there are now quite a few that deal with particle physics in one way or another. For particle phenomenology, Resonaances is a great source of information, for experimental HEP Tommaso Dorigo has a wonderful blog, and Philip Gibbs at viXra log does a great job of keeping track of the state of the LHC (for the latest, see here).
There’s also now a huge variety of research-level math blogs, including a very active blog by Fields Medalist Terry Tao. The new site Mathblogging.org is an exhaustive source of information and links. The big recent change in the math blogging world is the amazing phenomenon of MathOverflow, which features many of the best young mathematicians around carrying on the sort of conversations about research-level mathematics that traditionally go on in math common rooms. In an odd way, mathematics has often been somewhat of an oral tradition, since the impenetrability of much of the literature often meant that the only way to learn about something was to find an expert and get them to explain it to you. Now you can do this on-line, and this may significantly change how mathematics is done. Just as listening in to common room conversations was a great way to learn things, poking around the links on MathOverflow can provide quite an education. The moderation system somehow maintains a high level of discussion, although sometimes it lets its hair down to allow discussions like the ongoing one about Mathematical “Urban Legends”. There one can learn that one’s suspicions about string theorists educated at Princeton are correct, with Jeff Harvey contributing the following:
Since the OP gave a physics example, here is another one, also at Princeton. Why are they always at Princeton? Student finishes his presentation on very mathematical aspects of string theory. An experimentalist on the committee asks him what he knows about the Higgs boson. He hems and haws and finally says “well, it was discovered a few years ago at Fermilab”, Experimentalist: “Can you tell me the mass?” Student: “I think around 40 GeV.”
This was more than 20 years ago and actually happened. I was there. The student passed, but the next year all Ph.D students working on string theory were required to take a course on the phenomenology of particle physics.
There’s now a physics version of mathoverflow starting up, but so far it seems to me much less successful, with far too much in the way of the high-school level topics and un-informed discussion that plagues most internet physics discussion forums. There are some examples of serious questions and well-informed people writing in, so maybe things will improve and it will turn into something very worthwhile, replacing much of what is now going on at blogs.
I’m surprised to still be doing this nearly seven years after starting, but now doesn’t seem to be the time to stop. Particle theory has long been a rather intellectually dead topic, but whatever the news is from the LHC, it promises to shake the field up in one way or another, a process that should be interesting to follow. In coming weeks I may try and find time to learn some more about the features of WordPress, adding some features to the blog, or at least refreshing its rather tired look. Don’t be surprised if its appearance starts to change, or at least become unstable…