*[Photo by krisdecurtis.]*

Being moderately tech-illiterate, I don’t pay much attention to SEO (Search Engine Optimization, the magic art of convincing Google to fetch me more readers). Even so, I enjoy browsing through the list of search terms that have brought visitors to my blog. Sometimes I find ideas to write about, or motivation to move an old draft off the back burner, or simply a chuckle at the funny things people look for on the Web.

This month, however, the most popular search term seems strangely out of season — more than 300 people have come to this site wanting “Christmas” or “Christmas tree.”

## Top 5 Searches

“Christmas” ranks near the top of my all-time search term list, too. If I combine the assorted variations and similar phrases, these are the topics that most often bring people here for a visit:

- Number bonds (3,347 searches)
- Christmas (2,666)
- How to solve math problems (1,431)
- Math games (1,302)
- Fractions (1,089)

## Strange Searches

Here are a few of the unusual phrases that people came here looking for:

**cute math expressions**

Aw, aren’t they all?**shape made from 14 triangles**

That sounds to me like a tangram puzzle from hell.**cut eight pieces with 3 slices**

Isn’t that impossible, at least with straight cuts in Euclidean geometry? [Update: Eric points out in the comments that I’m wrong. It is possible.]**crazy math functions**

“Crazy math” pops up fairly often, sometimes with alternate wordings like “maths crazy.” Is there a special branch of mathematics called*crazy math*?**math cliches**

Would those be the things-my-teacher-used-to-say, like “You can’t subtract 6 from 4”?**technique how to learn math easily**

Yeah, wouldn’t we all like to find that? Another search was, “let the internet do my math.”**equations pre algebra chocolate**

Someone used that search four times in one day. I’m not sure what they were looking for, but it sounds yummy!

## So, What’s the Punch Line?

These searches sound like the set-up to a joke, but I have no idea how to finish them. Any suggestions?

- what’s the top 20 prime numbers in maths
- math solve a problem and odd happening
- how is a family related to math
- why are ancient stories like feet fracti
- why Was Shakespeare so successful math w

## Say What?!

Every once in awhile, a search phrase stumps me. What were these people thinking?

- ye olde math quiz
- jokes to solve math
- unpopular quotes about math
- time wasting math games
- what big eyes you have. math problem of
- fido puzzle 7 up math read your mind

## Search Term Meme

I don’t often participate in blog memes, but this was fun to play with. Now I’m throwing it out to you, my fellow bloggers. If you enjoy this sort of thing, consider yourself tagged:

What are the most popular, or the weirdest, search terms that lead people to your blog?

And if you take up this topic, please send me an email or leave a link to your post in the Comments. I look forward to reading your answers.

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“cut eight pieces with 3 slices”

“Isn’t that impossible, at least with straight cuts in Euclidean geometry?”

Nope. Imagine a cake sitting on a table. Make the first two cuts intersect each other in the way you would normally cut a cake. This cuts the cake into four pieces. Now make the third cut parallel to the table, so that it will cut each of the four pieces in two. Result: eight pieces from three slices.

Of course! I got stuck thinking in two dimensions.

I have actually cut a lamington into 8 pieces with three cuts. But lamingtons are kind of suited to that.

Oh, dear, here I go exposing my ignorance again. I had to look up on Wikipedia what a lamington is, and I’m still not sure I understand. It sounds a bit like an American (not French) petit-four, only without the solid icing. Except at our house, we cheat and make the cake part out of brownies, rather than sponge cake.

Here is my submission: http://mathfest.blogspot.com/2008/07/strangest-search-used-to-find-this-blog.html

Thank goodness for Google Analytics!

I don’t get a whole lot in the way of strange things people are searching for, but I guess thats probably because my site is static instead of a blog. I did get a strange feeling from reading through my visitor logs just recently though. I was looking up the IP addresses of my most recent visitors to see what search engines were visiting and I found this.

63.105.37.203 IRS.GOV

Makes me wonder if I’m about to get audited…

Big brother is watching? Scary! Of course, it might just have been an IRS worker looking for cool, colorful graph paper…