The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The third anniversary of my prodigy blog.

Somehow, day by day, I have managed to write my way to the third anniversary of my blog. More precisely, Saturday, 19th September 2009 was the third anniversary exactly, from my very first post.

Last year, to this day, I set myself a target in terms of readership. That target was for me to secure as many readers in my third year, as in my first two years of blogging put together. Well, the total number of visitors to my blog, over the past three years, was, at the stroke of midnight at the end of September 19th 2009, exactly 222,714 visitors. The total at the end of the first two years had been 105,716, I succeeded! The total number of visitors to my blog in my third year was 116,998 readers!

Let us look more closely at what that means. I exceeded my target by 11,282 readers or, putting it another way, I surpassed the target by 10.67%. Another way of looking at it is year on year growth: last year I had 72,621 visitors in the year; this year I had 116,998 - this represents an increase of 61.1% over last year. This wasn't as great a percentage increase as the change from first to second year, which represented a 119.4% increase (from 33,095 readers to 72,621 readers), however, in absolute terms it is a much greater increase.

I am pleased with the readership my blog has garnered over the years even though, in absolute terms, that readership is not vast. There are blogs coming out of Singapore, for instance, that feature little other than skimpily clad girls talking about their shopping trips, boyfriends and plastic surgery. These blogs attract something like 50,000 readers a day, so my annual readership is but three days of visitors, for them. Yet, I hazard, the aggregate intelligence of my readers, on one day, probably exceeds that of all the readers, of their blogs, in an entire year. My blog is not aimed at the salivating masses - but at people who want to read something a little more thoughtful. I have found, in correspondence with readers through comment posts, that many of my readers are, themselves, thoughtful, provocative, experienced and intelligent. This has made blogging a great pleasure, in many ways, for it has given me the chance to correspond with a fair number of interesting people.

I would rather have the attention of one intelligent person, than a vast horde of the ignorant. Thus, it is, that I write in the way I do. My thoughts are unlikely ever to appeal to those vast crowds that flock to the type of mindless blog I have written of, above, but I am satisfied if they meet with the interest of those whose own interests lead them to want to read them. That is enough.

When I began writing three years ago, I did not know that I would be still "penning" my blog, on an almost daily basis. For those who read regularly, I apologize if I sometimes miss my daily posting - sometimes a busy life intervenes and precludes the time required to sit and post. My intention, however, is to post daily.

I am conscious that my preoccupations are niche interests and so it is gratifying that my readership continues to grow year on year. However, I am also aware that they ARE niche interests and so there is a limit to growth. Only a small proportion of people ever give a single thought to the gifted - which is why, in many countries, the gifted struggle to receive the resources they need to meet their potential. Yet, even so, that is no reason why I should not continue to write from the perspective of one interested in all matters, gifted. In fact, it is all the MORE reason to write about the gifted. Clearly, since so many gifted people are in the position of having to fight for resources, it is clear that not enough is being done for them, worldwide. Writing about the issues involved can only help therefore, even if only indirectly, through raising awareness of all the relevant issues.

My average daily readership per day, this year, was 320.5 readers per day. This is quite a lot for a blog these days, considering how many tens of millions of them, there are. However, this average is bulked up by one incredible day on which I had almost 10,000 visitors. This was because a major German newspaper (Bild, one of the biggest in world circulation) linked to my blog, from an article they had written. So, on that day, I received 10,000 German speaking visitors who, presumably, couldn't read my blog very well, because it was in English, looked around for a bit, in a rather puzzled fashion - and never returned to read it again. Nevertheless, they contributed to my annual readership total.

For comparison, you should note that the average blog on Livejournal (and there are 12.5 million such blogs) has only 7 readers per day. Should that be an average readership for all blogs worldwide - and there is no reason to think that it would not be typical - then my blog is 45.8 times more successful/more popular than an average blog. In comparative terms, therefore, my blog is a minor "best seller"...since anything which is 45.8 times more popular than average is doing pretty well. So, though my readership seems modest, it is not, really, in relative terms, because there are only so few readers and so much to read, so attracting over three hundred a day is a real victory.

Another metric which is quite surprising is the number of page views that my readers have clocked up. Since my blog began there has been 489,922 page views. Now, this is quite an impressive (to me) total when you consider that one page represents one week of posts (since I have allotted one week per page). This means the true number of posts read is potentially 3,429,454 posts. That is a lot of words...billions of them, when you consider the average length of a post. New page views for the past year totalled: 224,066 page views. That corresponds to 1,568,462 posts read in the past year. Last year's page views were 160,169, making this year's tally an increase of 40% over the previous year.

These figures make me realize just how effective a communication tool a blog is. I have transmitted billions of words worth of my thoughts, into well over a hundred thousand different heads, in the past year. Only the publishing of a successful book matches this delivery of thought. Yet, a blog is far easier to accomplish, since there are fewer barriers to entry.

My aim for the coming year is just to exceed what I achieved this year. It is not a spectacular aim - but it is a realistic one - because I know that what I write is not of universal interest. The number of people who visit my blog from the search engines is not likely to change much - because searches for giftedness, prodigy and the like always have much the same frequency. The only thing that can change over time, is repeat visitors - people who like what they read and decide to stop by, another time, to read some more. I am hoping, therefore, to attract more regulars over the coming year - for that is the only way my readership will ever grow. It will grow if people like what I write and recommend it to people they know, by word of mouth and by linking to my site from their own sites. That is all.

So, if you have enjoyed any of my articles, over the past three years, why not recommend my blog to others, link to it from your own sites...and stop by to read again.

I will continue to write about my gifted children. I will still discuss all topics related to giftedness, prodigiousness, talent, and human excellence in all its forms. I will also stray into general social and educational topics, as and I when I feel moved to do so. Over the course of a year, I shall write of many different keep an open mind when you read and you might be surprised at what you find.

I would like to thank those who have made my blog one of their regular reads. I would also like to thank anyone who has linked to my blog, or any posts - or recommended it to others. Your patronage is appreciated.

I don't know what posts the coming year will bring...but I will just try to keep on writing and see if this blog can make it to its fourth anniversary. (In a way it is a big achievement to get to my third anniversary, since most blogs fall silent pretty early on...there are a lot of dead blogs out there).

So, to my readers from all over the world: thanks for reading...and I will try to keep writing.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals.If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:08 AM 


Blogger Demel said...

It sounds like almost all of your extra 11282 readers were Germans.

Mayyyyyyyybe it's a biiit of coincidence there, hahaha.

Congrats on meeting your target, though!

1:34 AM  
Blogger Jordi Domingo i Roquer said...

Congratulations! I hope you keep on with this great blog more and more years!

5:41 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Demel, you are right. Without German Day as it were, I would only just have passed my target (which in itself is a pretty good target since it was equal to the first two years' traffic put together).

Thanks for your congratulations!

8:15 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Jordi, for your kind encouragement. I shall try to do so.


8:15 AM  
Anonymous Casandra Ramirez said...

Hello, Mr. Cawley. I would like to congratulate you for having such an amazing family. Your love and understanding for the gifted children should be an example for the rest of us. Thank you.

p.s: I apoligize for my english, spanish is my first language.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Casandra for your kind words.

I believe that if everyone understood gifted children, and supported them, we would live in a much better, much richer (in the sense of deeper and more complex and nuanced) world than we do. Yet, in many places, to be gifted, is to have to undergo a struggle to become...this should not be. The path should be open, so that the best in us all can develop.

Your English is just fine. You are doing well to be able to comment on a blog in a foreign language. So feel good about your proficiency instead!

I wish you well in Spain. Which part are you from? I know Barcelona.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

This is a message for someone who tried to leave a completely irrelevant comment here. (One which is unpostable anyway.)

Firstly, it is clear that you are unaware of the range of Ainan's achievements. Perhaps you should have read more before writing.

At seven Ainan was admitted into the GEP programme (Gifted Education Programme), two years younger than this is normally done, on the basis of a wide range of tests. So, your idea that he is not part of that is really a bit mad. It is well known that he went through that. Furthermore, we found the programme a waste of our time and gave up contact with them after a year or so...but he was in the programme and is the youngest to have been admitted to the programme.

At eight, he began TERTIARY studies...that is University level study, at a again, I don't know where you got your very outdated idea that he has just done O level. He has gone way beyond that. Most of his study time at the Polytechnic was third year courses. He is the youngest person ever to study at that level.

As for his many other achievements: we haven't announced them or discussed them yet, but he has done things that go way beyond mere academic exams. He has done things which very few adults ever do...never mind children.

You seem not to know the definition of child prodigy. Perhaps you should look it up, for it is certain that Ainan meets the definition.

At the age of 12 of which you spoke, Ainan's achievements will be a lot greater than the threshold of which you spoke. After all, in many ways, they already are.

I would advise that you understand a subject better, in future, before commenting on it.

9:00 AM  

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