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 +

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fourth anniversary of my blog: an assessment.

Yesterday, marked the fourth year of my blog, exactly. So, as is my custom, it is time to review how the year went.

Firstly, I was much busier, in my life, than in previous years, with less time to write. Thus, I posted less frequently than in any of the previous three years. Then again, only a few weeks ago, I almost gave up writing altogether because of "hate mail" I had been receiving for writing some things, which some people just didn't want to hear. However, after much deliberation I decided to write on: after all, when others urge us to silence, is that not precisely when we should speak out loudest? No man should be silenced for his views, for it is the unpopular view that is the most valuable, since it may show us, all, that the prevailing thinking is wrong - as it is, often, of course and has been throughout history. That is why "geniuses" are remembered - because they managed to show the world that, whatever at the time had been commonly thought, was, in fact, mistaken. A genius is one who can show us not so much how to think, but what we have been thinking wrongly.

Here is the good news: I still enjoy writing this blog. Indeed, it is my favourite personal hobby just to sit down and express my thoughts, freely and without needing to ask another human being whether I can publish them. That is the great pleasure of blogging: the freedom to publish whatever one pleases, whenever one pleases, without needing permission of anyone. Perhaps at no time in history, before, has this been the lot of all. Before now, only those with printing presses could publish what they pleased, when they pleased - and even then, their societies might have censured them, arrested them, or killed them, for it. Now, however, I, and all others with access to the Internet, can publish whatever we wish. It is a freedom that is too little appreciated and, perhaps, not used as wisely as it could be. There is a lot being published in this world, that adds no value to it - but, at least, there is the compensation that much of value is also being allowed to be expressed - so, on balance, the freedom to do so, is of benefit to the world and everyone in it.

Posting less frequently has led, it seems, to a small decline in annual readership figures. My total number of readers since the blog began on September 19, 2006 was 317,867 visits (as of midnight last night). To my mind, that is a good tally, since it is almost a third of a million people to whom I have communicated something that they thought worth reading. So, it is a special, very modern kind of achievement. However, of those readers, 95,153 visited in the fourth year. That is a decline of 21,845 readers year on year. In other words, a drop of 18.67% in readership from the previous year. Yet, it is not as bad as it seems, since over 10,000 of the readers in the third year visited in ONE DAY, when the German newspaper De Bild (the paper with the highest readership in Germany) linked to my blog, owing to a news article on Ainan. Thus the real decline, for any reasonable way of looking at it, is half the apparent decline. Another way of looking at it would be to relate it to the frequency of blog posting. Now, I haven't the time, at this moment to count the posts, but I estimate that the frequency in the fourth year probably went down by about 25%. Thus, the drop in readership is less than the drop in posting frequency. This actually indicates that readership per post in fact INCREASED.

The total number of page views since the blog started was, as of midnight last night, 656,607. This represents approximately seven times that, in blog posts, since a single page of the archives is one week of posts. (In some weeks however, there might be as many as 15 posts...and in others there might be fewer than seven.) This means that in the region of 4,596,249 posts have been read, on my blog, since I started it. Given that a typical post might be a thousand words long, with up to 13,000 words or more of comments, thereafter, it can be seen that readers have read BILLIONS of my words, since I began writing the blog.

The number of new page views for this year was 166,685. This is a decline year on year, but is very similar to the tally attained in the second year, which was 160,169. The decline from last year's total of 224,066 page views, was 57,381 page views. This is a decline of 25.6% in page views, from the baseline of last year. Oddly enough, that is in line with my own decline in output, which is, perhaps, indicative of what is happening: they have been reading less, because I have been writing less. The total number of posts read in the past year was about 7 times 166,685 or 1,166,795 posts. This suggests at least a billion posted words were consumed and several billion words of comments (over half of which will have been written by me, since I tend to reply to almost every post, at least once).

So, it has been another billion plus word, reading year, on my blog. I am pleased with that. As I have noted before, the level of communication achieved by this blog is on a par with the level of communication achieved from having a best seller. The 1.166 billion words of posts read by my readers equates to 15,556 copies of a 75,000 word novel. Should comments be included in that reading tally, then we can, perhaps, estimate another 30,000 to 45,000 copies of the "novel" in question. Thus, the scale of communication is significant, in terms of volume of information. Furthermore, the actual number of people reached is much more than a well selling novel typically reaches.

As always, I have had readers from all over the world - even from places where one doesn't really expect to find Internet connections - for instance, towns in Africa and small islands in the middle of vast oceans. I have had readers from many such places. Peculiarly, these people, from places rare and unknown, have sometimes searched for me, or my son, by name. Thus, one can only conclude that the reputation we have begun to acquire is spreading very far and wide, indeed (by word of mouth and word of Internet, I would say).

In the coming year, I hope to write more frequently than I have been doing so in the past year. I have put in place a more conducive environment for writing and should have time, now, to devote more energy to it. So, I expect to see a resurgence of my readership figures in the year ahead.

Another factor, though is coming into play. I am publishing my blog at the Kindle store on I cannot say, at this time, what effect this will have on my "readership figures" because those readers will not be counted by visits directly to my blog. Thus, though they won't appear in my readership tally, a new audience will be growing. I will have to provide estimates for them, too, in my fifth year assessment.

Thank you all for reading The Boy Who Knew Too Much: A Child Prodigy, over the years. It continues to be a pleasure to write and to read your comments. The only blemish has been a few hostile anonymous commenters - but now, that there are no anonymous comments, civility has returned to the blog and I am grateful for that.

Happy reading, all, in the year ahead. I shall, I hope, continue to be happy writing it. Best wishes, all, on the year to come.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to: also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to:

Please let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:

Ainan's IMDB listing is at's IMDB listing is at

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:34 PM 


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