Friday, January 12, 2007

In Search of "Gradatim Ferociter"

Exactly one week ago while browsing the net I came across news of the Goddard's first flight. I wrote about it here on my fledgling blog. I made a far too obvious link between Bezos and Richard Branson, linked to a star wars video on youtube and using long forgotten schoolboy latin tried to translate Blue Origin's motto.

News of the test flight spread, some newspapers picked up the story, the BBC ran it, and many more bloggers commented.

Just about everyone has had a stab at translating Gradatim Ferociter. I thought that step by step with ferocity came close, but a quick browse through Google produced the following :-

bit by bit ferociously,
step by step courageously,
step by step fiercely,
step by step boldly,
step by step arrogantly,
step by step with spirit,
by degrees fiercely,
step by step by degrees and fiercely,
step by step courageously,
to step fiercely,
slowly but fiercely,
patiently and step by step,
plod ferociously,
small measured steps taken boldly,
step by step bravely,
measured ferocity.

I wonder which of these was Blue Origin's intended motto?

Then to my astonishment (and pride), by Wednesday last the number of daily hits received by this little bit of cyberspace increased five fold. Exploring Google Analytics I discovered that my choice of post title had prompted this increase in visitors.

These visitors did not really penetrate the blog. A few went to read Lost in Space, a few read about the Panopticon and one enterprising cyberscholar read the chocolate posting, most came in on the Gradatim Ferociter page and bounced from it!

How disappointed you must all have been coming here to discover more about the Blue Origin project; only to find that I know very little. But because I used that motto as a title, searchers for information came looking and as Hassenpfeffer notes the more you came, the higher I rose in Google.
As I write my blog lies fifth on the Gradatim Ferociter page.

I find this highly motivating. Should I pay more attention to this blog, write more carefully, start to seek links, sign up for pay per click adverts etc. etc.
Perhaps I should have thought more carefully about my profile, filled up my sidebar with interesting links, posted more photos to Flickr.

Now I'm not stupid. I know that I've been lucky with the hits, already things are returning to normal, The story has moved out of the public eye, less searches are being undertaken. I've had my brief moment of fame. But there are observations to be made........

70% of referrals came from Google, 10% from blogger, the rest from newsgator, techorati and directly from earlier links I have made. Some bloggers obviously research who links to or lurks on their blog.

During the last week, 60% of visitors to this site came from the USA, 23% from the UK, the others were scattered around the globe mainly in Europe.
Are more Americans interested in space exploration than Brits, or are there just more of you?

The range of words searched for is also of interest; these are referred to in Google Analytics as Keywords (I think). My visitors arrived here by using the following (in order of use) :-

gradatim ferociter,
gradatim ferociter!,
"gradatim ferociter",
gradatim ferociter latin,
gradatim, latin gradatim ferociter.

As part of my studies of blogs, as well as running Google Analytics I'm running a free hit counter on my blog. This shows me in a little more detail who has been running their eyes over my blogging; the geeks among you it will know that it uses reverse DNS to give me the domain name of my visitors.
It tells me where they come from; and makes for interesting reading.

Here are some of the domains that I recognised:-

Someone at one of those domains knows what Gradatim Ferociter means.
The others must just be curious.

Update 25/01/07 Gradatim Ferociter, the Search Goes On
Update 23/02/07 Competition for 'The Goddard'


  1. Mike,

    My stats at Hassenpfeffer are still a bit higher than normal, and it's still entirely due to the "gradatim ferociter" effect.

    I'm thinking of titling all my posts that from now on. :)

  2. "Step by Step, We Boldly Go."

    that is the CORRECT post-latin to english translation of 'Gradatim Ferociter.'

    -Dr. W

  3. It sounds like a modification of Augustus Caesar's motto of "Festina Lente," Make Haste Slowly.

    But there seems to be two adverbs, rather than the more logical imperative verb and adverb of Festina Lente. So it would be more like Gradually, Aggressively [Do Some Unstated Action]

  4. It means Step by Step ferociously - according to J Bezos

  5. well written and analyzed. lb/bluesawtooth

  6. Sounds quite Roman..."step by step" but always forward.

    I think of Roman "Law" as more of a methodology than a way to organize a society and phrases such as these are indeed "legion" so to speak.

    The irony may be the connection of such ancient terms to our modernity but it's hard to imagine the Romans ever being fascinated by the Stars like the Greeks or Egyptians were before them or the Europeans of Galileo, Copernicus, or Newton far later.

  7. "small measured steps taken boldly" would be my estimation!