The Monetization of This Blog (Or, I’m Writing; Might as Well Get Paid)

For the longest time, this blog has been associated with a Google Adsense account. It displays advertisements quite innocuously in the upper right. Many of you don’t even notice because you have adblocker turned on. Many still don’t notice because they don’t visit this blog. Interestingly, the Adsense option may not be the best. I chose it back when I was earning a couple of dollars every month with my Youtube channel. Now, with Youtube expecting an individual to have 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time, this “bundled option” seems like it makes less sense. For perspective, if I took the time to make a ten minute video every week, each video would need about 4500 views and have to be watched from beginning to end in order to then qualify for the Youtube Partner program. Then I’d have to hope my content didn’t raise any red flags. It’s a lot of work for what would earn, roughly speaking, $4 to $6 a week (given the above assumption of 4500 views a video, and this blog entry by Bill Roberts. ) I’d argue Bill’s math checks out: my most popular video of all time, “Brave Frontier – Easter Event 2017 – Autonomous Cotton Fight has just over 3,600 views and according to Youtube’s metrics earned me about $2.53. Not bad for something I was doing because I enjoyed it, but not anything I could reliably do to make a living.

Thanks to the encouragement of Flav Medeiros (whose Facebook group you should already be a member of!) I have taken the steps to become an Amazon affiliate. This is an interesting turn, because I’ll need to make sure this blog is up to date on the proper disclaimers and such. In most nations, you can’t simply say “here is a link to buy a thing” without disclosing “I might get a kickback if you buy the thing” unless you want to break a few laws. I would rather not explain to my prison mate that I’m doing hard time because I upset the FTC, please and thank you.

This is ultimately a step in the direction of treating this blog more seriously, keeping myself in the routine of writing, and hopefully also bringing in residual income (who doesn’t like that?)

Winter Will End Soon. Only Historically, Not

America has this tradition where a groundhog pops out of his little hidey-hole, then writes a scroll to some guy in a top hat. This guy reads the scroll, which answers the question: did the furry abomination see its shadow? If so, everyone freezes to death for six more weeks. If not, we collectively get to start complaining about summer weather 6 weeks sooner. It seems silly to me that Mother Nature would bow to the power of this weather-beaten rodent and its shadow, but with thousands of people gathering to watch the event and millions more reading about it clearly there is something to the story, right?

I’m not a fan of the cold, so it’s easy for me to dream of knocking that darn thing hard behind the head so that it can’t wake up until the next day – as good a way as any to ensure it doesn’t see its shadow. But as a recent article on CNN suggests, Punxsutawney Phil is less accurate at predicting the weather than your average coin flip. He is, apparently, only right about 40% of the time. This can be attributed to factors such as the difficulty in predicting 42 whole days of weather in advance; as part of the legend this is also attributed to the presenter misreading or misinterpreting what the groundhog saw.

As such, it appears it doesn’t really matter what this creature does or doesn’t say – winter is going to be winter. This is a shame, because this year the groundhog did not see its shadow, which would mean this winter vortex will be over soon and I can start wearing shorts. Indeed, this weather is not my friend – with temperatures hitting the “feels like” range of 60 to 70 below Fahrenheit (comment below if you know what that is in Celsius), I am ready for weather where I start sweating again.

This isn’t the only bit of folklore that we as Americans use to predict the weather. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry, Will cause snow to gather in a hurry.” As well, tough appleskins and flowers blooming in late autumn are a sign that a grim winter is coming. Yet for some reason, it is only this one groundhog that gets its own holiday. Strange, that.