About this blog

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This is the newest version of my "Numbers and Shapes" blog, containing material on elementary mathematics, mathematics education, software, and anything else that takes my fancy.

It is created in Hugo, a static blog engine which is blindingly fast, and works by simply serving up static html files (along with any necessary javascript). There is no database, and far less to fiddle with than with wordpress. Because it is static there is less opportunity for user input (such as comments) but that's not an issue for me, as about 99.99% of comments to my previous blog were spam. User comments can be configured, using for example Disqus, but I won't bother. If people want to contact me, they can email.

And this is me, on the observation deck of the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai, a few years ago:

All files relating to this blog are available on my github repo whats_this1. You can check the configuration, the emacs org-file which contains what I actually write, and files generated by ox-hugo and by Hugo itself. The combinations of emacs, emacs org-mode, and ox-hugo, make creating content for this blog a great pleasure, and far far easier than working with wordpress. The only issue I've found so far is that Mathjax is not quite as powerful as the wordpress QuickLaTeX plugin. But that's currently a price I'm very happy to pay.

Note on December 29, 2020: I've switched themes from Blackburn to Clarity as Blackburn has not been updated in about three years. Clarity provides mathematics support with KaTeX, which is faster than MathJax, but slightly less powerful. However, my blog does not require anything, as far as I can tell, for which KaTeX would not be adequate.

Further note on January 21, 2021: I've found that although KaTeX itself works fine, there's something - I know not what - which seems to compromise its usability with Hugo. For example, equations aligned with align do not align, but are returned as raw LaTeX code, not typeset. I've tested the equations on the KaTeX site and they compile perfectly there, so the problem is not KaTeX, but my use of it. So I've gone back to MathJax, of which version 3 is nearly as fast as KaTeX. I have thus replaced the math.html file in the /layouts/partial/ theme directory, with:

MathJax = {
  chtml: {
    displayAlign: 'left',        // default for indentalign when set to 'auto'
    displayIndent: '2em',        // default for indentshift when set to 'auto'

<script src="https://polyfill.io/v3/polyfill.min.js?features=es6"></script>

<script id="MathJax-script" async src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/mathjax@3/es5/tex-mml-chtml.js"></script>

The configuration settings at the beginning ensure that displayed equations are typeset on the left, with a small indent, emulating the fleqn option of the LaTeX article style.


  1. I have had problems with github, caused my my never having learned it quite well enough; in consequence I've caused more damage to my repository and blog than otherwise. For the moment, the repo is not being updated. One day perhaps... ↩︎