I wish everyone a happy, healthy, successful and prosperous New Year!
Many bloggers start each year with a “Year In Review” type of post, so I thought this would be a good way for me to get back to blogging after a brief hiatus.
My most popular post of the entire year, at least judging by traffic, was Commenting threads: good, bad, or not at all.
In January, The New York Times announced they were eliminating their environmental desk, so I wrote Why the NYTimes “Green Blog” Is Now Essential – unfortunately, this did not work, as the Green Blog was shut down later in the year.
I mildly edited and republished an older (but I believe still important) post: ‘Echo-chamber’ is just a derogatory term for ‘community’.
And I was Tom Levenson’s guest on the Virtually Speaking Science online radio show.
Ahead of ScienceOnline2013, I interviewed a few of the past participants, including Cathy Clabby, Allie Wilkinson, Chris Gunter, Sean Ekins, Anthony Salvagno, Sarah Webb and Simon Frantz. This was a part of an ongoing, multi-year series of Q&As with #ScioX participants, giving them the opportunity to tell the world who they are and what they do, while at the same time showcasing the diversity of people who attend the annual event.
But the most important pair or posts of January are two interviews in which Anton Zuiker and I interviewed each other. They are both long, and each contains both some elements of unusual frankness and openness and some elements of enigmatic riddles that can be solved only by close reading of both pieces, perhaps more than once. Here they are: ScienceOnline – crossing a river with Anton Zuiker and An interview with Bora Zivkovic. Quite eye-opening to read them both a whole year later….
ScienceOnline2013 took all of my time and energy in February, but I still managed to interview the new ScioX Executive Director Karyn Traphagen and help Rose Eveleth and Ben Lillie kick-start yet another new project – Science Studio.
A very, very important person in my life died. I wrote about her here – Morning at Triton.
In preparation for WCSJ2013 in Helsinki in June, I wrote a summary post What makes one a “killer” (science) journalist of the future?
I also finally found some time to write about science again – Good Night, Moon! Now go away so I can sleep.
Science writing streak continued in August, with Sharks have rhythm, too, specifically timed for the Shark Week.
I was also preparing some SciWri panels that were subsequently very successful although I was not there in person and only watched on Twitter from afar.
I finished and reviewed a book – Brian Switek’s ‘My Beloved Brontosaurus’.
Finally, I veered off into anthropology with a longish and pretty serious post They eat horses, don’t they? for the Food Week at SciAmBlogs.
I went to Belgrade in October, but did not yet have time to write much about it.
Also in October I moved my blog from its spot at Scientific American back to its home here. For the three years that I was there – the best job with the best colleagues in the best magazine ever – I (as an author on several blogs there) accumulated 1,803,619 visits and 2,214,082 pageviews, which placed me at the all-time #2 spot right behind Katie Harmon (this probably still holds and will take a while for someone else to displace the two of us from the top two spots). If one looks at just my own, somewhat neglected A Blog Around The Clock, it collected 534,460 visits and 640,916 pageviews while it was on their site, if you want to do some mental calculation and add that to the Sitemeter numbers visible here on the sidebar.
After two and a half months of hiatus, I will continue blogging here. What about? I don’t know, I’ll have to play by ear and see how it develops and where it goes. I expect to write about science, about media, and more. Personal stories? Perhaps. We’ll see. I recently had plenty of time to be offline and read actual, physical books, so I may write some book reviews. Hang in there, and let’s see in which new direction this blog goes over the next year. And thank you all for reading my stuff over the years – I promise, there will be more, and I hope it will get better.
Until then, though, make sure to read this beautiful post by Anton Zuiker, a perfect start for the new year – Roots and bitters: What to do when a friend hands you gentian.
I can see now that my first blog post was too tentative and not satisfactory. All I hoped to do is get back online today and delve into the issues slowly over time. I did not expect anyone would want to prolong a discussion that has been painful for all of us. But I certainly did not think it was resolved or would be resolved quickly.
Let me be clear: In no way did I mean to deny or downplay or pretend the events didn’t happen. Absolutely not. I accept full responsibility. I was wrong. I am sorry. My public apologies of October 15th and October 15th again and October 16th still stand. My new tweets and posts do not erase or diminish or retract those in any way. Likewise for the apologies issued much more appropriately – privately to the harmed parties.
I didn’t think I needed to offer a new public apology in my first post – I was wrong about that. So, I apologize, this time to the community at large.
More importantly, Anton’s post in no way asks for forgetting or forgiving – neither is up to him or myself to ask, and he is very clear about it in his closing paragraphs. Only the women affected by my actions can decide what they want to do, and what, where, when and how they want to ask me to do.
I had plenty of time to think and I am still learning. I am in therapy and am dealing with all these issues – I was hoping to write about all of this later, slowly, in more detail, not yet today.
I am more than willing and happy to do whatever the women I harmed ask me to do. I don’t know whether it is appropriate for me to do this all in public, though. I have to pay attention to the actual needs and wants of people I harmed, rather than the popular public opinion. I have been shy and embarrassed and tentative and scared about it, but I hope to be able to, via mediators, get in touch with them in a manner safe for them if they want to ask me for additional explanations, apologies or actions.
Because of my actions, I lost my job but I hope to resume and rebuild my career. I am not seeking sympathy. I accept the price I paid and, as you all probably know, I resigned voluntarily from Scientific American (in the morning of October 14th, although it was publicly announced in the afternoon of October 18th), as well as from all the other advisory and editorial boards and such. I will try to now restart my career from scratch.
I am very grateful to my wife for supporting me through these difficult times. After all, I harmed her as much as anyone.
I am also thankful to Anton Zuiker for being a rare kind of true friend, someone who could tell me how I screwed up, and then tell me how to pick myself up and move on.
I hope to repair some of the friendships I damaged, however long it takes. I am angry only at myself and will gladly accept the hand of any friend who may wish to extend it, whenever that may be.
I know that not all questions have been resolved to the satisfaction of the community. Thus, I will explore the events – and the lessons I learned from them – in future posts.
I understand I harmed not just individuals, but also the community. I want your feedback as well – what kinds of changes do you expect to see from me, how can I make amends, what kind of actions will persuade you I’ve changed for real, what kind of changes you’d require to let me back into your circle of people you trust? You can contact me publicly or privately. I am listening.