Category Archives: Housekeeping

Best of June 2011 at A Blog Around The Clock

I posted 35 times in June.

There were some announcements last month.

Early in the month, I went to World Science Festival in New York and did a panel. There was coverage of it.

I teamed up with Perrin Ireland and reported from The Bezos Scholars Program at the World Science Festival.

I keep interviewing attendees of ScienceOnline2011 – see the latest Q&As with Bonnie Swoger and John Hawks.

I made sure that the Scientific American Guest Blog was busy all month as well, full of great posts on a diversity of topics – check them all out:

Living Interplanetary Spaceflight Experiment–or Why Were All the Strange Creatures on the Shuttle Endeavour? By David Warmflash

Cell Phones, Cancer and the Dangers of Risk Perception By David Ropeik

Does Quantum Mechanics Flout the Laws of Thermodynamics? By Vlatko Vedral

Thorium, Polonium, Radium, Oh My! Marie Curie and Maggie Gyllenhaal Kick Off the 2011 World Science Festival By Neda Afsarmanesh

Too Hard for Science? Joan Slonczewski–Reshaping Ourselves for Our Changing World By Charles Q. Choi

All about Stories: How to Tell Them, How They’re Changing, and What They Have to Do with Science By Lena Groeger and Perrin Ireland

Too Hard for Science? Seeing If 10,000 Hours Make You an Expert By Charles Q. Choi

Simply Brilliant Science: Creating Healthier Eggs for a Healthier You By Kiyomi Deards

What Does the New Double-Slit Experiment Actually Show? By Matthew Francis

The Renaissance Man: How to Become a Scientist Over and Over Again By Ed Yong

A World Ocean By Kevin Zelnio

To Turn Up the Music, Cochlear Implants Need a Software Update By Allison Bland

It’s Your Virtual Assistant, Doc. Who Is Watson? By Karthika Muthukumaraswamy

Lindau Nobel meeting – courting Minerva with Ragnar Granit By Lucas Brouwers

Too Hard for Science? Regaining the Element of Surprise By Charles Q. Choi

Ant Thrills: Seeing Leaf-Cutter Ants through an Artist’s Eyes By Jessica Wapner

Weinergate: Private Records in a Public Age By Krystal D’Costa

When Cells Discovered Architecture By Jennifer Frazer

What Bats, Bombs and Sharks Taught Us about Hearing [Video] By Bradley Voytek

Stranded Whales on the Key Largo Shore By Michelle Bialeck

Linking Erosional and Depositional Landscapes By Brian Romans

The Power of Theory in Science By Ethan Siegel

From the Shadows to the Spotlight to the Dustbin–the Rise and Fall of GFAJ-1 By Rosie Redfield

Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Have Changed Science Education By Marie-Claire Shanahan

Too Hard for Science? Neutrinos from the Big Bang By Charles Q. Choi

Good Dads and Not-So-Good Dads in the Animal Kingdom By David Manly and Lauren Reid

Stem Rust Ug99–the Agricultural Bully By Tiffany Stecker

Book Review: The Future of Water By Matthew Garcia

The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Natural Selection and Evolution, with a Key to Many Complicating Factors By Jeremy Yoder

#WSF11: The Invisible Language of Smell By Bora Zivkovic and Perrin Ireland

Close Encounters of Science and Medicine By Iwona Fijalkowska

Too Hard for Science? Experimenting on Children Like Lab Rats By Charles Q. Choi

Lindau Nobel Meeting–The Cross-Pollination of Ideas By Christine Ottery

Stick to the Science By Michael E. Mann

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Bearing the fruits of global health research By Christine Ottery

Education Reform in the Wrong Direction: High-Stake Consequences for New York State Teachers and Their Students By Jeanne Garbarino

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Monday’s Researcher: Madhurima Benekareddy by Christine Ottery

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Stressed Mind, Stressed DNA by Christine Ottery

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Beef Bug to Blame for Bowel Cancer? by Christine Ottery

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Ada Yonath: Climbing the Everest with polar bears By Lucas Brouwers

Lindau Nobel Meeting–If HIV Is Attacked, It Adapts By Lucas Brouwers

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Sentences That Win Nobel Prizes By Lucas Brouwers

A Journey in Sharing Science: From the Lab to Social Media and Beyond By Jason A. Tetro

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Joke van Bemmel, Chromatin and Epigenetics By Christine Ottery

Beauty Pageants and the Misunderstanding of Evolution Meet….Again By Susanna Speier

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Evolutionary Chemistry with Jean-Marie Lehn By Lucas Brouwers

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Peter Agre and Torsten Wiesel: Nobel laureate scientific diplomacy builds bridges By Christine Ottery

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Buckminsterfullerene and the Third Man By Lucas Brouwers

Overprescribing the Healthy Elderly: Why Funding Research and Drug Safety is Paramount By Laura Newman

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Cowboy hats and countesses By Lucas Brouwers

Lindau Nobel Meeting–The future of biomedicine By Christine Ottery

Lindau Nobel Meeting–Glowing brainbows By Lucas Brouwers

This month we said good-bye to the USC scientific diving class – Problems Without Passports: Scientific Research Diving at USC Dornsife – written by a whole collection of instructors and students:

Reflections at the Edge of the Pacific Ocean By David Ginsburg

Making a Difference: Environmental Students in Palau By Patrick Talbott and Gabrielle Roffe

Preserving Biodiversity By Wendy Whitcombe

Palau Protects and Conserves By Kirstie Jones

Peleliu: 67 Years after the Battle–a New and Different Conflict By Jim Haw

Last Child in the Reef By Emilie Moore

Just When You Think It Can’t Get Any Better By Genivieve McCormick

Looking Ahead By David Ginsburg

Experiential Learning and Communicating By Jim Haw

Thank You, Scientific Research Diving at USC Dornsife by me.

The South Pacific Islands Survey continues with new posts, written by Lindsey Hoshaw:

One Illness Threatens a Cook Islander’s Way of Life

And we started two new expeditions on the Expeditions blog – first one is from Montana – New Expedition–MSU Student Research with Dinosaur Eggs in China, posted by me.

New season starts with division of egg duties, petrified trees, soybean Popsicles by Betsy Kruk

Beautiful window serves as escape hatch for baby dinosaur by Betsy Kruk

Fossil hunting in China very different than in Montana by Ashley Poust

Incredible Find in Temple Museum, Harrowing Rescue on Crumbly Mudstone By Betsy Kruk

Rock Mapping a Challenge for Biology Student By Amanda Wregglesworth

Go to Landfill, Find a Dinosaur Footprint! By Christi Lorang

We Visit Fishy Relatives, Geology Wonderland By Ashley Poust and Hannah Susorney

The other new Expeditions trip is all about squid, all posts written by William Gilly:

Squid Studies: Back to the Sea of Cortez

Squid Studies: Scientists Seeking and Savoring Squid

Squid Studies: Changing Seas and Shrinking Squid

Squid Studies: Correction, Connections and Calamar

Squid Studies: “It Is Not Down in Any Map; True Places Never Are”–Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Previously in the “Best of…” series:

2011

May
April
March
February
January

2010

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2009

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

Best of May at A Blog Around The Clock

I posted only 35 times in May.

In May I committed scienceblogging: Cicadas, or how I Am Such A Scientist, or a demonstration of good editing.

I also could not resist blogging something about the journalistic mindset – Is education what journalists do?

I went to Wake Forest University to give a workshop on science communication and compiled resources shown there: Scientific Communication all-you-can-eat Linkfest.

It was my birthday.

I keep interviewing attendees of ScienceOnline2011 – there are five new ones this month: Robin Lloyd, Thomas Peterson, Pascale Lane, Holly Bik and Seth Mnookin.

I made sure that the Scientific American Guest Blog was busy all month as well, full of great posts on a diversity of topics – check them all out:

Too Hard For Science? Recreating What Killed Pompeii By Charles Q. Choi

Kids Learn Better When You Bring Science Home By Peggy Ashbrook

Slabs, Sneakers, Gyres and the Grotesque By Matthew Garcia

Overboard: 28,800 toys and one man lost at sea By Lindsey Hoshaw

A True Duck Hunt: interview with Donovan Hohn By David Manly

How does a floating plastic duckie end up where it does? By Eric Heupel

How do you ID a dead Osama? By Christie Wilcox

Threat of Future Cyber Attacks by Al Qaeda Remains Low By Scott Borg

Did Rapid DNA Analysis Verify Osama Bin Laden’s Death? By Susanna Speier

Too Hard for Science? Dean Kamen–Defying Gravity By Charles Q. Choi

Too Hard for Science? Simulating the Human Brain By Charles Q. Choi

When, and Why, Did Everyone Stop Eating Gluten? By Diana Gitig

Bedbug Revival 2011: What You Need to Know By Amy Maxmen

Flying in the Coffin Corner–Air France Flight 447 By Keith Eric Grant

Too Hard for Science? Freeman Dyson–ESP By Charles Q. Choi

Too Hard for Science? Bora Zivkovic–Centuries to Solve the Secrets of Cicadas By Charles Q. Choi

So You Think You Know Why Animals Play… By Lynda Sharpe

Looking for Empathy in a Conflict-Ridden World By Kristina Bjoran

Too Hard for Science? An Early Warning System for Killer Asteroids By Charles Q. Choi

Levees and the illusion of Flood Control [Explainer] By Anne Jefferson

Curing Paralysis–Again By R. Douglas Fields

Too Hard for Science?–Journey to the Core of the Earth By Charles Q. Choi

The Data Are In Regarding Satoshi Kanazawa By Khadijah Britton

Physics and the Immortality of the Soul By Sean M. Carroll

The Evolution of Common Sense by John Wilkins.

The Politics of the Null Hypothesis By Stephanie Zvan.

Too Hard for Science? E. O. Wilson–A Vertical Map of Life on Earth By Charles Q. Choi.

Helium Hokum: Why Airships Will Never Be Part of Our Transportation Infrastructure By Joseph A. Dick.

Too Hard For Science? The Genetic Foundations of Intelligence By Charles Q. Choi.

Health Reporting and Its Sources By Hadas Shema.

We finished the Arctic series on the Expeditions blog: The Catlin Arctic Survey: Going home

And we started two new expeditions on the Expeditions blog – first one is from The South Pacific Islands Survey, with all posts written by Lindsey Hoshaw:

Destination: The Cook Islands!
Forecast: Stomach Turbulence
South Pacific Flotsam
We discover what’s floating in the Pacific Ocean!
Pop Quiz
5 Things You Didn’t Know about Life on a Boat
Our First Student Questions!
We’re in the Cook Islands!

The second one is a USC scientific diving class – Problems Without Passports: Scientific Research Diving at USC Dornsife – also in the Pacific, written by a whole collection of instructors and students:

Getting Ready for Guam and Palau By Jim Haw
Why Guam? By Jim Haw
Why Palau? By David Ginsburg
Catalina Island, by Caitlin Contag
The Endangered Endemics and the Aggressive Invader By Jim Haw
Some History Should Not Repeat Itself By Wendy Whitcombe
Contrasting Reef Ecosystems in Guam By Mareika Vandeveer and Justin Bogda
The News from Guam By Caitlin Contag

Previously in the “Best of…” series:

2011

April
March
February
January

2010

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2009

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

Best of April 2011

I posted only 25 times in April.

The big news of the month is that The Open Laboratory project has a new publisher and a new guest editor.

April was not as busy month travel-wise as March (or upcoming May), but I did go to NYC once, and packed the two days with lots of work and fun which, among else, resulted in a new blog post at SciAm: Giant Dino exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, or, why I should not be a photojournalist.

I keep interviewing attendees of ScienceOnline – there are two new ones this month: Dave Mosher and Alice Bell. More to come tomorrow…

I made sure that the Scientific American Guest Blog was busy all month as well, full of great posts on a diversity of topics – check them all out:

Under-represented and underserved: Why minority role models matter in STEM By Danielle N. Lee

Too Hard for Science?: Making astronauts with printers By Charles Q. Choi

What’s the deal with male circumcision and female cervical cancer? By Michelle Clement

Short Story Science: Lenina versus the Pneumococcus By Cindy Doran

World Health Day: Combat Drug Resistance By Gozde Zorlu

Radiation levels explained: An exposure infographic By Lena Groeger

Dear chemists By David Ropeik

Too Hard for Science?: The sense of meaning in dreams By Charles Q. Choi

Bambi or Bessie: Are wild animals happier? By Christie Wilcox

Regeneration: The axolotl story By David Manly

Too Hard for Science? The adventures of a biomolecule in a cell By Charles Q. Choi

Blaming parents: What I’ve learned and unlearned as a child psychiatrist By Justine Larson

Too Hard for Science? Creating naked singularities By Charles Q. Choi

Seafood At Risk: Dispersed Oil Poses a Long-Term Threat By Allie Wilkinson

Should everyone have access to life saving medicines? By David Ng

Trains, nukes, marriage, and vaccines (and anything else): Why the facts don’t matter By David Ropeik.

Too Hard for Science? Philip Zimbardo–creating millions of heroes By Charles Q. Choi.

Too Hard for Science? A digital panopticon By Charles Q. Choi.

Man discovers a new life-form at a South African truck stop By Rob Dunn.

Superfetation: Pregnant while already pregnant By Khalil A. Cassimally.

Animal Emotion: When Objectivity Fails By Kristina Bjoran.

Too Hard For Science? David Brin – Raising Animals to Human Levels of Intelligence By Charles Q. Choi.

And we continued the Arctic series on the Expeditions blog: The Catlin Arctic Survey: The science, The Catlin Arctic Survey: Thermohaline circulation, The Catlin Arctic Survey: A melting ocean by Victoria Hill.

Previously in the “Best of…” series:

2011

March
February
January

2010

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

2009

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

Tentative calendar

I am really bad with using my various Google and other calendars, so this is mostly a Note To Self, so have it handy if/when I get invitations etc. to know when I am actually free….

April 12-13 – NYC monthly trip

April 16 – NCWC (BIO101 lab)

April 18-19 – Passover

April 23rd – Washington DC – D.C. Science Writers Association

May 3rd – Boston – annual meeting of the advisory group for PRI/BBC/NOVA/SigmaXi Science.

May 7th – an important wedding

May 12-13th – Wake Forest University workshop on science writing in the Biology department

June 2nd – World Science Festival, New York City

June 25-28th – Doha, Qatar – World Conference of Science Journalists

September 2-3rd – London, UK – Science Online London

October 14-18th – Flagstaff AZ – CASW/NASW Science Writers 2011

November 5 – an important wedding

Best of March at A Blog Around The Clock

I posted 35 times in March.

The most important event in March – The Open Laboratory 2010 is now up for sale!

I posted again on the SA Observations blog, twice: Book review: Pink Boots and the Machete by Mireya Mayor and A “sixth sense” for earthquake prediction? Give me a break!

I was interviewed for Peer Review Radio and a blog Jekyll in Italian (but you can listen in English).

I have re-started the annual tradition of interviewing attendees of ScienceOnline – so this month I posted the first few of those – with Taylor Dobbs, Holly Tucker, Jason Priem, David Wescott, Jennifer Rohn and Jessica McCann.

Our franchise is spreading – Announcing Science Online NYC!

Also, ScienceOnline2011 videos are now all available online

I made sure that the Scientific American Guest Blog was busy all month as well, full of great posts on a diversity of topics – check them all out:

Cheerleader for science: A chat with Mireya Mayor, author of Pink Boots and the Machete By Darlene Cavalier

A pill to remember By R. Douglas Fields

You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential By Andrea Kuszewski

Science in the neighborhood: How to make really good coffee By Summer Ash

From fuel to film: The story of energy and movies By David Wogan

Nature: Earthquake dispatches from the correspondent in Japan [Updated] By Bora Zivkovic

The essential lesson from the Japan earthquake for the U.S. By Richard Allen

Beware the fear of nuclear….FEAR! By David Ropeik

Failure of imagination can be deadly: Fukushima is a warning By Rita J. King

Japan earthquake: The explainer By Chris Rowan

The worst nuclear plant accident in history: Live from Chernobyl By Charles Choi

Deja vu: What does the Gulf oil spill tell us about the Japanese nuclear crisis? By David Wogan

Mirror images: Twins and identity By David Manly

Smaller, cheaper, faster: Does Moore’s law apply to solar cells? By Ramez Naam

Art in the service of science: You get what you pay for By Kalliopi Monoyios

Social media for science: The geologic perspective By Kea Giles

The Asian long-horned beetle: Hopefully not coming to a neighborhood near you By Beth Jones

Learning from Tinka: Able-bodied chimps cop a back-scratching technique from a handicapped friend By Matt Soniak

Poor risk communication in Japan is making the risk much worse By David Ropeik

Impact of the Japan earthquake and tsunami on animals and environment By Jason G. Goldman

Stealth percussionists of the animal world By Nadia Drake

Dressing the meat of tomorrow By James King

Serotonin and sexual preference: Is it really that simple? By SciCurious

Digitizing Jane Goodall’s legacy at Duke By Jason G. Goldman

Why we live in dangerous places By Tim De Chant

Amber Waves of…ah…ah…achoo! What you need to know about allergies by Kiyomi Deards

Can we declare victory in the participation of women in science? Not yet. by Marie-Claire Shanahan.

Barberry, Bambi and bugs: The link between Japanese barberry and Lyme disease By Beth Jones

Earthquake triggering, and why we don’t know where the next big one will strike By Christie Rowe

Museum brings citizens and scientists together through a blogging project: Experimonth By Beck Tench

Too Hard for Science?: Asking scientists about questions they would love the answers to that might be impossible to investigate By Charles Q. Choi

Can we capture all of the world’s carbon emissions? By Ramez Naam

Walking the Line Between Good and Evil: The Common Thread of Heroes and Villains By Andrea Kuszewski

And we started a new series on the Expeditions blog: Destination: Arctic!, The Catlin Arctic Survey: Arrival at ice camp, and The Catlin Arctic Survey: Challenges by Victoria Hill.

The Best of February

I posted 29 times in February (hmmm, only about one per day in this shortest of all months).

My most important post of February was Circadian clock without DNA–History and the power of metaphor, an attempt at producing an “Explainer” that provides historical, philosophical, sociological, theoretical, methodological, and even linguistic context for a couple of recent papers. You judge if I was successful.

The second most important post of the month was Web breaks echo-chambers, or, ‘Echo-chamber’ is just a derogatory term for ‘community’ – my remarks at #AAASmtg – lots of stuff packed in there, but do you agree or disagree with some or all of it?

I made sure that the Scientific American Guest Blog was busy all month as well, full of great posts on a diversity of topics – check them all out:

The perception gap: An explanation for why people maintain irrational fears By David Ropeik

The Sundance Diaries: The Interrupters and Project Nim By Tamara Krinsky

Personalizing cancer medicine By Karen Ventii

Paradoxical Polyuria–when it comes to kidneys, sometimes more is less By Pascale Lane

A plea for basic biology By Holly Bik

The Huffington Post and the ongoing fear that vaccines might cause autism By Seth Mnookin

Evolution isn’t easy, even in Galapagos By Karen James

“Doctor, what’s wrong with my child?” What Guido Fanconi taught us about chemotherapy By Genomic Repairman

Of lice and men: An itchy history By Emily Willingham

You are what you bleed: In Japan and other east Asian countries some believe blood type dictates personality By Rachel Nuwer

The Sundance Diaries: Focus on the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation By Tamara Krinsky

New wave of MRI-safe pacemakers set to ship to hospitals By Mary Knudson

Pleasure, reward…and rabbits! Why do animals behave as they do? By Michael Lisieski

Climate research in the geologic past By David Bressan

Ugly animals need love, too By David Manly

Life 2.0? First let’s figure out Life 1.0 By Alaina G. Levine

Ecological opportunity: The seed of evolutionary change in your backyard–and in your veins By Jeremy Yoder

Heart interrupted By Jeanne Garbarino

Review: How the Internet is being used to hijack medical science for fear and profit By Dr. Valerie Jones

The impossibility of responsible nuance in the vaccine discussion By Seth Mnookin

Winter stoneflies sure are supercool By Holly Menninger

Reflections on biology and motherhood: Where does Homo sapiens fit in? By Carin Bondar

You’ll believe anything you read online, won’t you? By Colin Schultz

How conducting trauma therapy changes the therapist By May Benatar

Best of January

I posted 57 times in January.

January was dominated by ScienceOnline2011, of course, and I let others do all of the in-depth blogging (so far), But before it started I got one last ScienceOnline2010 interview in – with Steve Koch.

Open Laboratory 2010 is almost ready. But while you wait – we announced the new cover art: And now…. the brand new Open Lab cover!. And we have opened up for submissions for the next year: Open Laboratory 2011 – open for submissions.

I also asked Can WordPress do this?

I made sure that the Scientific American Guest Blog was busy all month as well – check them all out:

The discovery of the ruins of ice: The birth of glacier research By David Bressan
The Ferret Hunters By David Manly
In the wake of Wakefield: Risk-perception and vaccines By David Ropeik
Can sitting too much kill you? By Travis Saunders
The Emperor’s New Missile Defense By Lawrence M. Krauss
Anecdotes from the Archive: From the basement to the blog By Mary Karmelek
Could chess-boxing defuse aggression in Arizona and beyond? By Andrea Kuszewski
Anecdotes from the Archive: Bed bugs are vintage, and vintage is in By Mary Karmelek
Invisibility: After several years of research, it’s just gotten weirder By Greg Gbur
Words, pictures, and the visual display of scientific information: Getting back to the basics of information design By Lena Groeger
An arsenic-laced bad-news letter: Who is the audience for online post-publication peer review? By Marie-Claire Shanahan
The Lady and the Trump–without hungry puppies: The science of stray dog sterilization By Cynthia Mills
Anecdotes from the Archive: Taking On the Monocle Problem By Mary Karmelek
The mores of makeup By Christine Ottery
Anecdotes from the Archive: Diesel milk By Mary Karmelek
Can you be both obese and healthy? By Peter Janiszewski
Psychotherapy and the healing power of narrating a life By May Benatar
The low-carbon diet: One family’s effort to shrink carbon consumption By Robynne Boyd
Anecdotes from the Archive: Bad news for sneak thieves, porch climbers and window workers By Mary Karmelek
Can you hear me now? Animals all over the world are finding interesting ways to get around the human din By Rose Eveleth
Anecdotes from the Archive: When zookeepers looked like doormen By Mary Karmelek
When animals attack: Death databases indicate that our fondest phobias may be misdirected By Rachel Nuwer
Biting the hand that feeds: The evolution of snake venom By David Manly
The Higgs boson particle meets Shakespeare By Laura Neuhaus
Me and the copperheads–or why we still don’t know if snakes secrete melatonin at night By Bora Zivkovic (yes, that’s me – I wrote a science post!)
How to humanize technology: from the scatological to the sublime By Laura Neuhaus
Anecdotes from the Archive: Relief for Writers By Mary Karmelek
In search of the origins of warfare in the American Southwest By Dan Bailey.

Tentative 2011 calendar

I am really bad with using my various Google and other calendars, so this is mostly a Note To Self, so have it handy if/when I get invitations etc. to know when I am actually free….

January 24th – final move to a new house.

January 25th – Sigma Xi pizza lunch about bed bugs with Coby Schal

January 31st – Guest-lecture at Nicholas School for Environment at Duke.

February 5th – a very special dinner

February 7-8 – monthly trip to NYC

February 17-21 – AAAS – my panel on 21st at 9:45am: Social Networks and Sustainability

March 5-8 – monthly trip to NYC plus TEDxNYED

March 14th 3-6pm, Skype into science education class

March 20-25 – NYC

March 26 – NCWC (BIO101 lab)

April 2 – NCWC (BIO101 lab)

April 9 – NCWC (BIO101 lab), also adv.board meeting for the UNC j-school medical program

April 11-12 – NYC monthly trip, #NYCscitweetup

April 16 – NCWC (BIO101 lab)

April 18-19 – Passover

April 23rd – Washington DC – D.C. Science Writers Association

May 3rd – Boston – annual meeting of the advisory group for PRI/BBC/NOVA/SigmaXi Science.

May 7th – an important wedding

May 12-13th – Wake Forest University workshop on science writing in the Biology department

June 25-28th – Cairo, Egypt new location is Doha, Qatar – World Conference of Science Journalists

September 2-3rd – London, UK – Science Online London

October 14-18th – Flagstaff AZ – CASW/NASW Science Writers 2011

November 5 – an important wedding

Best of December

I posted 67 times in December. I reviewed the entire year yesterday, but here is just the last month.

This is usually a busy time for me. There is ScienceOnline2011 to organize, Open Laboratory to edit, Scienceblogging.org to upgrade, and SciAm blogging network to build. Oh, and holidays and family!

That does not leave too much time for writing original pieces. But I did write one in December – and it’s a big one: The line between science and journalism is getting blurry….again, my first article at Scientific American, also cross-posted at Science Progress.

I was interviewed by a Staten Island Academy student for their Extreme Biology blog – read the interview here.

The latest two in the series of interviews with the participants of ScienceOnline2010 came in December – with Kelly Rae Chi and Princess Ojiaku.

The big event of the month in science was the brouhaha over arsenic in bacteria – so I collected a linkfest of the key articles and blog posts on the topic.

We closed submissions for Open Laboratory 2010 on December 1st, you can see all the entries here.

I went to NYC again and lived to tell about it.

While I may not have written much myself, I certainly made sure that the SciAm Guest Blog kept busy all month. Here are the December posts there – check them all out:

Excuse me, Sir. There’s a moss-animal in my Lake By Jennifer Frazer
Texas “Tea” becomes the Texas “E”? By Melissa C. Lott
Breaking our link to the “March of Progress” By Brian Switek
How to stop a hurricane (good luck, by the way) By Casey Rentz
Carnivore crossing: How predator species dominated mammal diversity on the Kuril Islands By Anne-Marie Hodge
Waste to Energy: A mountain of trash, or a pile of energy? By Melissa C. Lott and David M. Wogan
The worms within By Robin Ann Smith
5 things you never knew about penguins! By Daniel Ksepka
Scientific accuracy in art By Glendon Mellow
Pimp My Virus: Ocean Edition By Jennifer Frazer
I don’t have a 28-day menstrual cycle, and neither should you By Kathryn Clancy
How to name a dinosaur By David Orr
Mixed cultures: art, science, and cheese By Christina Agapakis
Habitable and not-so-habitable exoplanets: How the latter can tell us more about our origins than the former By Kelly Oakes.

2010 in review

Probably the best way to review one’s year is to dig through one’s blog’s archives and see what is written there. Our Blogs, Our Memories.

So, how was 2010 for me? Let’s dig through the archives together and see…. Of course, there are many posts there – I hit the 10,000th post about halfway through the year – and many of those are cool videos, quotes, announcements, linkfests, and a number of interviews with cool people. But this retrospective is more personal – what I did, what happened to me, what I thought (and how that changed over time).

January was, of course, all about ScienceOnline2010, the preparations, last-minute announcements, and then coverage afterwards. At the end, I wrote my own summary of the meeting, pretty long, and I think still pretty relevant for ScienceOnline2011.

February was really busy on the blog. The biggest event, of course, was the publication of the fourth annual anthology of the best writing on science blogs – Open Laboratory 2009.

I published a scientific paper and blogged about it.

I went to the AAAS meeting and made them uncomfortable with a post about lack of online access and other backward ways of defining who is media.

I saw Megalodon teeth,

There were three posts in a row about young science bloggers:
Very young people blogging about science and Very young people blogging about science – let’s welcome them and Explaining Science to the Public.

Finally, two more provocative posts – Why is ‘scientists are bad communicators’ trope wrong and Using Twitter to learn economy of words – try to summarize your research paper in 140 characters or less!

In March I was really on a roll with posts about old and new media. See Why it is important for media articles to link to scientific papers and New science journalism ecosystem: new inter-species interactions, new niches and What is journalism and do PIOs do it? And what’s with advertising? and What is Journalism? and Push vs. Pull strategies in science communication and the critique of a journal article about science blogging – Science blogs and public engagement with science.

I reviewed ‘Spring Awakening‘ at DPAC.

I was also thinking about conferences – see On organizing and/or participating in a Conference in the age of Twitter – and I did a radio show about organizing an interactive conference. Of course, as that month I just attended Raleigh Ignite and co-organized TEDxRTP.

In April I attended the WWW2010 conference which I subsequently blogged about. I also went to the NYC edition of The 140conf.

I reviewed a student rendition of ‘Rent’ at Duke.

Other notable posts from April include For the millionth time: bloggers vs. journalists is over! and Twittering is a difficult art form – if you are doing it right and More on mindcasting vs. lifecasting.

Probably most notable for April was that I actually did real science blogging again: Evolutionary Medicine: Does reindeer have a circadian stop-watch instead of a clock?

In May I was busy going to local book events and talks – Scott Huler – ‘On The Grid’ at Quail Ridge Books and Serious Gaming at Sigma Xi and Cory Doctorow in Chapel Hill.

In June I went to a vaccination meeting in Philadeliphia and blogged about it.

I reviewed ‘Bonobo Handshake’ by Vanessa Woods, ‘On The Grid’ by Scott Huler and ‘The Poisoner’s Handbook’ by Deborah Blum.

I got interviewed on topics I usually do not get asked so it is an interesting one…

And then, of course, a bunch of posts about the media, blogging and related stuff, e.g., The continuum of expertise and No, blogs are not dead, they are on summer vacation and Why is some coverage of scientific news in the media very poor? and Am I A Science Journalist? and ‘Going Direct’ – the Netizens in former Yugoslavia, altogether some interesting stuff.

And I tried to collect as many books published by science bloggers as possible.

That was the placid first half of the year. And then….then all hell broke lose! July was the time of #Pepsigate, #Pepsimageddon! The seismic event that moved around all the tectonic plates of the science blogging world.

I collected the PepsiGate linkfest.

Then I wrote my own post – A Farewell to Scienceblogs: the Changing Science Blogging Ecosystem – that really got stuff moving around. I heard it in good confidence that the post was read (as required reading) by students in at least two science journalism programs in j-schools in the USA this Fall.

That post had a few follow-ups that added more links, more information about the events, and more thoughts about the future: Thank You and Science Blogging Networks: What, Why and How (essentially a How-To-Build-A-Science-Blogging-Network manual).

A certain Virginia Heffernan wrote a bad piece on science blogging in NYT, so I collected the reactions.

And I did write some science as well – Are Zombies nocturnal?

And had a great guest post by Dr.Marie-Claire Shanahan: UC Berkeley Genetic Testing Affair: Science vs Science Education.

In August I continued the post-Pepsi series of long posts, with Links ‘n’ Thoughts on emerging science blogging networks and Branding Science Blogging: Cooperatives + Corporate Networks.

Two new networks launched – so I introduced Scientopia and Guardian blogs. This proliferation of new networks prompted us to build a new aggregator site – Drumroll, please! Introducing: Scienceblogging.org.

I wrote a science post – Food goes through a rabbit twice. Think what that means!

And wrote two ruminations: Why republish an old blog post? and Origins of Science Writers…but am I one?

In September I announced Some Big And Important And Exciting News! – my new job! And new blog. And new blogging network-to-be.

Speaking of new networks, two more appeared – PLoS Blogs and Wired Science Blogs.

I went to The Most Awesome Wedding and to the Block By Block conference and to see the Mythbusters – yes, I got to meet Jamie and Adam.

I guess I had enough excitement for the year, so October was pretty calm.

I did two interviews – radio: Skeptically Speaking show about Science Journalism and video: Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour 68: Taking Science Online.

I reviewed ‘Social Network’.

And we announced ScienceOnline2011.

In November I gave a talk at Sigma Xi, which inspired a blog post – Blogging. What’s new? which in turn was the seed for one of my epically long posts – and my first Scientific American article – The line between science and journalism is getting blurry….again – that was already in December.

I was on a panel at the NASW meeting (you can scroll down this page to watch the video).

We opened ScienceOnline2011 for registration and had to close in 45 minutes as the conference was full! A little later on we posted some updates and a Thanksgiving message.

The big event in science in December was the brouhaha over arsenic in bacteria – so I collected a linkfest of the key articles and blog posts on the topic.

I went to NYC again and lived to tell about it.

I was interviewed by a Staten Island Academy student for their Extreme Biology blog – read the interview here.

And throughout November and December, I made sure that the Scientific American Guest Blog had good, fresh posts almost every day.

What does the next year bring? Who knows, but I am optimistic in many ways – personal, professional, global. Happy New Year everyone!

Best of November

I posted 58 times in November – the record low for me in years!

Blogging. What’s new? was the only original, creative, thoughtful post all month!

I went to the NASW meeting (you can watch my panel if you go here and scroll down to “Rebooting science journalism: Adapting to the new media landscape”).

I gave a talk – Sigma Xi pizza lunch lecture – Science in the current media environment.

His book just came out, so it was a good time for a little bloggy Q&A: Written In Stone: interview with Brian Switek.

And another science blogger published books – ZooBorns!

Another interview in the series: ScienceOnline2010 – interview with Marla Broadfoot

We opened ScienceOnline2011 for registration and had to close in 45 minutes as the confernce was full! A little later on we posted some updates and a Thanksgiving message. Then I started introducing this year’s participants.

The end of the month saw a frenzy as people used the very last moment to submmit their submissions for Open Laboratory 2010.

There is a cool new blog in town – Introducing: Science of Blogging.

Finally, I hosted Encephalon #82, the neuroscience blog carnival.

And over on the Scientific American Guest Blog, I summonned a bunch of great writers for an exciting month of blogging – check them all out:
Apple, meet Orange By Carin Bondar
We all need (a little bit of) sex By Lucas Brouwers
Bacteria, the anti-cancer soldier By James Byrne
Hold that door, please! Observations on elevator etiquette By Krystal D’Costa
Glia: The new frontier in brain science By R. Douglas Fields
To catch a fallen sea angel: A mighty mollusk detects ocean acidification By Kevin Zelnio
Ecologists: Wading from nature to networks By Jennifer Jacquet
Synthetic biology: Building machines from DNA By S.E.Gould
Now in 3-D: The shape of krill and fish schools By Hannah Waters
Food for thought: Musings on sustenance and what makes us human By Diana Gitig
I’m not a real scientist, and that’s okay By Steven Wartik
Science Cafe spreads understanding of bacteria over beers By Tyler Dukes
The Iguanodon explosion: How scientists are rescuing the name of a “classic” ornithopod dinosaur, part 1 By Darren Naish
The explosion of Iguanodon, part 2: Iguanodontians of the Hastings Group By Darren Naish
The explosion of Iguanodon, part 3: Hypselospinus, Wadhurstia, Dakotadon, Proplanicoxa…. When will it all end? By Darren Naish
Don’t leave it to the experts: Why scientists have a few people to thank! By Hannah King
Forgotten dreams? A call to investigate the mysteries of humanity By Lawrence M. Krauss
Divine intervention via a microbe By James Byrne
A primatologist discovers the social factors responsible for maternal infanticide By Eric Michael Johnson
Mauritius kestrel: A conservation success story By Khalil A. Cassimally
Felt up or blown up? The psychology of the TSA, body scans and risk perception By David Ropeik
Power from pondscum: Algal biofuels By David Wogan
Turkey talk: The social cognition of your Thanksgiving dinner By Jason G. Goldman
Epiphany from up high: Can a suburban family live sustainably? By Robynne Boyd
The decade the clones came: Beware the mighty Marmokrebs! By Zen Faulkes
The antidepressant reboxetine: A headdesk moment in science By SciCurious

Best of October

I posted 75 times in October.

We have made the first announcement – What will ScienceOnline2011 be? and you can try to get a travel grant: Blog about evolution, come to ScienceOnline2011!. Also see ScienceOnline2010 – interview with Anne Jefferson.

Two interviews in October – The recording of the Skeptically Speaking show about Science Journalism is now available online and Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour 68: Taking Science Online (video).

Science? I edited and republished an old post: Why are dinosaur fossils’ heads turned up and back? (repost)

The series of interviews with people who are leaders in the science blogging community continues: Scienceblogging: science3.0.com – a Q&A with Mark Hahnel, Scienceblogging: SciBlogs NZ – a Q&A with Peter Griffin, Scienceblogging: LabSpaces – a Q&A with Brian Krueger, Scienceblogging: The Lay Scientist (and The Guardian) – a Q&A with Martin Robbins, Scienceblogging: Field of Science – a Q&A with Edward Michaud and Scienceblogging: Scientopia – a Q&A with SciCurious and Mark Chu-Carroll.

My brother will have his book published soon – you can pre-order Serbian Dreambook: National Imaginary in the Time of Milošević

I saw ‘Social Network’, the movie and wrote a brief review.

The BlogTogether Birthday Bash was awesome.

Best of September

I can’t believe I forgot to do this on the 1st of the month! But better late than never….

I posted 75 times in September 2010. I bet half of those were ‘Quick Links’ and videos…but there was other stuff as well:

Of course, I had to share with you Some Big And Important And Exciting News!

Ecosystem is rapidly changing: PLoS Blogs – the science blogging network! and Introducing Wired Science Blog network!

And in order to see just how the ecosystem is changing, I started a series of Q&As with people who are most actively involved. I started with a Q&A with Andrew Thaler of The Gam.

I went to The Most Awesome Wedding and to the Block By Block conference and to see the Mythbusters – yes, I got to meet Jamie and Adam.

On my very last day working at PLoS, I made my last Blog Pick of the Month.

I got a couple of more of the ScienceOnline2010 interviews – and hoping to get a few more still. Read the Q&As with Jennifer Williams and Morgan Giddings

If you are local, I hope you come to The BlogTogether Birthday Bash

And I hosted Berry Go Round #31.

Calendar

This is, tentatively, where I plan to be over the new few months. If you are in the same town on the same date, let me know and we can perhaps meet:

October 6th, 2010, Raleigh, NC. Maryn McKenna reading/signing ‘Superbug’ at Quail Ridge Books (I may also go on the 7th for the second reading at Regulator shop in Durham).

October 12th (most likely), 2010, NYC. #NYCscitweetup – if you are there, join us.

October 19th 2010, Durham NC. The BlogTogether Birthday Bash, I would not miss it for anything!

October 21st 2010, 9-11am at Duke Perkins Library, Room 217, Durham NC. Open Access Publishing. I’ll be on a panel with several other people and we will talk about our experiences with open access publishing and its impact on scholarly communications.

November 3-4, 2010, Greenville SC. 2010 Conference on Communicating Science. I will do the session “New Tools for Communication (Use of “New” Media)” on the 4th in the morning.

November 5-9th, 2010, New Haven CT. ScienceWriters2010 co-organized by National Association of Science Writers and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing’s New Horizons in Science Briefings®. I will be a part of a panel on November 6th, Rebooting science journalism: Adapting to the new media landscape, together with Emily Bell and Betsy Mason, organized and moderated by David Dobbs.

November 23rd, 2010, Morrisville, NC. Pizza Lunch at Sigma Xi. I’ll be the speaker, about the ways WWW is changing the nature of science communication.

December 2-4th, 2010, Raleigh NC. W.M.Keck Center for Behavioral Biology Alumni meeting. As I am an alumnus, I will definitely attend to see all my old friends from grad school.

January 13-15th, 2010, Durham, NC. ScienceOnline2011. Of course.

March 19-20th 2011, Deidesheim, Germany. 4th SciLogs conference. I’ll go to meet with European science bloggers.

June 27-29th, 2011, Cairo, Egypt. World Conference of Science Journalists 2011. I’ll be on one panel and moderate another panel (see preliminary program). This will be fun.

Best of August 2010

I posted 82 times in August.

The two most important posts are about the changes in the science blogging ecosystem, its rapid diversification, and how new networks are (and should be) built: Links ‘n’ Thoughts on emerging science blogging networks and Branding Science Blogging: Cooperatives + Corporate Networks.

The science blogging ecosystem is rapidly reorganizing, with bloggers moving from one URL to another at a breath-taking pace, e.g., Terra Sigillata has moved!.

There were two new networks announced in August: Welcome Scientopia, a new science blogging network and Introducing The Guardian Science Blogging Network.

And all of that needs to be organized in some way – thus we put together a website that can help you get your daily snapshots of the science blogosphere: Drumroll, please! Introducing: Scienceblogging.org.

I hosted two blog carnivals last month: Grand Rounds Vol. 6 No. 49 – a conference in a tropical island resort and Carnal Carnival #1 – Essentials of Elimination (Carnal Carnival is a new thing, which I explained here).

I did some actual science blogging as well – Food goes through a rabbit twice. Think what that means! and a do-over of an ancient post: Postscript to Pittendrigh’s Pet Project – Phototaxis, Photoperiodism and Precise Projectile Parabolas of Pilobolus on Pasture Poop.

A brief musing: Why republish an old blog post?

A very personal post: Origins of Science Writers…but am I one?

Continuing with the series of interviews (all collected here, and there are more to come), here is the ScienceOnline2010 interview with Helene Andrews-Polymenis.

I did a podcast: Rebooting The News, on science blogging and media.

It was my sixth blogiversary in August.

After a summer break, the Fall looks like it is full of travel again. To keep up, check out my Tentative conference schedule for Fall 2010

Work-wise, I announced the July 2010 PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month.

Finally, I reposted my BIO101 lecture series, asking the readers to fact-check the material and make it better:
BIO101 – Biology and the Scientific Method
BIO101 – Cell Structure
BIO101 – Protein Synthesis: Transcription and Translation
BIO101 – Cell-Cell Interactions
BIO101 – Cell Division and DNA Replication
BIO101 – From Two Cells To Many: Cell Differentiation and Embryonic Development
BIO101 – From Genes To Traits: How Genotype Affects Phenotype
BIO101 – From Genes To Species: A Primer on Evolution
BIO101 – What Creatures Do: Animal Behavior
BIO101 – Organisms In Time and Space: Ecology
BIO101 – Origin of Biological Diversity
BIO101 – Evolution of Biological Diversity
BIO101 – Current Biological Diversity
BIO101 – Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
BIO101 – Physiology: Regulation and Control
BIO101 – Physiology: Coordinated Response

Ooops, forgot my blogiversary!

I posted my first post on my first blog on August 14th, 2004. In a previous life….

Tentative conference schedule for Fall 2010

For various reasons, mostly financial, I had to say No to a number of invitations to meetings throughout the summer (including, unfortunately, the Lindau Nobel conference and Science Online London). But in Fall I will be busy again. This is the tentative schedule. Let me know if you will be at any of these meetings so we can meet up there.

August 21st, 2010, Raleigh NC. Science Communication Conference at the Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh. See the organizing wiki (Note: I was somewhat involved in advising during the early stages of organization, will attend but will not be on the podium – as it is an Unconference, I am likely to speak up from my comfy chair in the audience). Edit: I will give the Concluding Note at the end….

September 14th, 2010, Boston MA. 140 Characters Conference. I am currently on the “reserve” list in case one of the targeted bigwigs declines the invitation. If given a chance, I will talk about real-time science communication online.

September 16th, 2010, Raleigh NC. PechaKucha Raleigh #4. I will not speak, but intend to attend. The #3 was excellent.

September 23-24th, 2010, Chicago IL. Block by Block: Community News Summit 2010 organized by Michelle McLellan and Jay Rosen, about community news online. I accepted the invitation but am not sure yet about the format and if I am expected to say something from the front or the back of the room. I am assuming that I was invited at least in part due to the local science coverage efforts here in NC, especially Science In The Triangle.

October 1st-2nd, 2010, Greensboro NC. ConvergeSouth. Very tech and business oriented this year, under a new management. But still an occasion to meet my Triad friends.

November 3-4, 2010, Greenville SC. 2010 Conference on Communicating Science. I will do the session “New Tools for Communication (Use of “New” Media)” on the 4th in the morning.

November 5-9th, 2010, New Haven CT. ScienceWriters2010 co-organized by National Association of Science Writers and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing’s New Horizons in Science Briefings®. I will be a part of a panel on November 6th, Rebooting science journalism: Adapting to the new media landscape, together with Emily Bell and Betsy Mason, organized and moderated by David Dobbs.

December 2-4th, 2010, Raleigh NC. W.M.Keck Center for Behavioral Biology Alumni meeting. As I am an alumnus, I will definitely attend to see all my old friends from grad school and am also likely to give a talk about Open Access.

And then, it’s ScienceOnline2011 crunchtime….

dit

Best of July

I posted only 71 times in July – the all-time low. But there is a reason for that – first there was a great reduction in posting between the moment the Pepsi blog was announced on Scienceblogs.com and the moment I left Scienceblogs about ten days later. Then, since the move, my blog changed – all sorts of daily or near-daily features are now gone. No more pressure to post frequently. My blog is again my own, and I post when I want to and not when I feel like I should.

But I would like to think that reduction in quantity will not mean a reduction in quality. I passed the 10,000 post mark in July but expect it would take much more than four years to double that number again. And I think I did post some interesting stuff last month despite all the crises.

The Big Event of the month was the so-called PepsiGate and the subsequent rearrangement of the science blogging (and scienceblogging) community. I collected the initial reactions in the PepsiGate linkfest. Then wrote a thorough history and analysis of the current moment in my goodbye post at Scienceblogs.com – A Farewell to Scienceblogs: the Changing Science Blogging Ecosystem. This was followed by a ruminating Thank You post which inluded many more links to the subsequent reactions. And then I turned my sights to the future and wrote a Free Guide to Building a Successful Science Blogging Network in Science Blogging Networks: What, Why and How. A particularly bad article on the event in NYTimes Magazine provoked a lot of responses, which I collected all in one place. Oh yes, we also got cartooned (again) about all of this.

These rapid changes motivated many science bloggers and writers to do some reminiscing – you can see some of those in Bloggers, Evolving.

Since I could not do all the blogging myself, I asked for some help and got this wonderful contribution: UC Berkeley Genetic Testing Affair: Science vs Science Education – guest post by Dr.Marie-Claire Shanahan

I got interviewed, and re-posted the interview on my blog – about science, animal research, ethics creep, and more – Seven Questions….with Yours Truly.

I had more time to read books, so I reviewed ‘On The Grid’ by Scott Huler and ‘The Poisoner’s Handbook’ by Deborah Blum.

We self-organized the Zombie Day on Scienceblogs.com, for which I re-posted my old Revenge of the Zombifying Wasp and wrote a new one – Are Zombies nocturnal? (so yes, there was some actual science on the blog in July).

The series of Q&As with the participants of ScienceOnline2010 continues, with contributions from Anne Frances Johnson, William Saleu and Stephanie Willen Brown.

Open Laboratory got a new Editor.

I answered the Blogging with substance meme and tried to collect the links to all the surviving Sciencey Blog carnivals.

Work-wise, I announced the PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for June 2010.

Housekeeping, Banner, and stuff…

As you may see if you look around, I got to play with the blog a little bit. With help from Arikia I moved it from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Thus the new URL is http://blog.coturnix.org and the new feed is http://blog.coturnix.org/feed/. But don’t worry – the previous wordpress URL and feed automatically redirect to the new URL. You can also always access the blog from my homepage if you click on the recognizable blog banner there.

Speaking of the banner, the beautiful piece of art that Carel Pieter Brest Van Kempen (you may also know his blog) made for my blog is now up on top. And this reminds me that nobody has yet seen it full-size. So if you click on this thumbnail, you can see it BIG:

In other news, there is a good article about Scienceblogs, Pepsi, etc, in Newsweek that goes into details about the other institutional blogs on the network and poses some good questions.

Thank you!

Wow! The last couple of days were quite an emotional roller-coaster. The comments on the old blog our now closed, but the farewell post on the old blog accumulated 89 comments and its copy here already has 40. And they have been so supportive. I am so humbled.

The outpouring of love and support on Twitter (and also some on FriendFeed and Facebook) was overwhelming. The link to my post was tweeted by hundreds of my friends, and also by such luminaries as Dan Gillmor, Dave Winer and Jay Rosen (twice). Unfortunately, Twitter Search works only for the tweets made over the past two weeks so all the replies, retweets and mentions (here or here) will disappear soon. But hashtags are easier to save – just check this out!!!. Wow! Just wow! I don’t know how to respond. #I Owe You All!

A number of people have left Scienceblogs recently, just before or just after me, but there is a common Sb Diaspora RSS feed so you can follow all of us. And a @SBExpats Twitter account.

I really need to thank all of the bloggers who wrote nice things about me or my post, and those who used it as a starting point to an important discussion about the future of the changing ecosystem of science blogging.

Please see the post by Abel Pharmboy, also his farewell post, his first post at the new blog and this amazingly generous post. Thank you so much, bro!

I am not sure if I managed to catch all the links to all the posts, but here is a good sampling. Check them all out: Danielle Lee, Henry Gee, SciCurious, Stephanie Zvan, DrugMonkey, Delene Beeland, Greg Laden, Pal MD, Allie Wilkinson, Grrrlscientist (also here and also her farewell post), Dr.Isis, Jason Thibeault, Ed Brayton, Orac, Carl Zimmer (who has more on the topic), Zuska (see her new digs), Mike Dunford, PZ Myers (who is mightily battling to keep the Sb ship afloat), Dave Dobbs (also in The Guardian), Dave Munger, Dave Bacon, Dave Wescott, Maryn McKenna (check her new blog), Deborah Blum (you can now find her here), EcoPhysioMichelle, John Hawks, mrswhatsit, Dana Hunter, John Dupuis, Sheril, Josh Rosenau, Sharon Astyk (and more), Misha Angrist, Pamela Ronald, Ian Brooks, Jason Goldman, John McKay, Ed Cone, Kristjan Wager, Greg Laden, Naon Tiotami, John Wilkins, John Lynch (more), Prof-like Substance, Grant Jacobs, Kent, Brian Krueger, gfish, Cameron Neylon, Richard Gayle (and two more intriguing posts on the aftermath here and here), Chad Orzel, Anna Tambour, Southern Fried Scientist, Mathew Lowry, Daniel Cressey at Nature News and Michael Whitney at Firedoglake. Edit: And now also Newsweek!

And Thank you to the Sb Overlord Evan Lerner for keeping this Buzz topic on the scienceblogs homepage for the third day in a row:

These are interesting times. For four years there was one huge volcanic island. Now it is erupting, lava is still hot, but it appears that once the lava stops and cools, there will be an entire archipelago of science blogging networks. It will be interesting to see if the original volcanic island sinks into the sea or remains and in what shape. It will be interesting to see how many new islands spring up, their shapes and sizes.

But what will be the most interesting to see is if the new island nations will war or trade with each other, or even join a loose confederation. What kinds of boats will be used to paddle between the islands? What kind of goods will be traded between them?

As for my own blog? No rush. I need to think. First, it will take me a few days (or weeks) to get this place in shape. I need to move from wordpress.com to wordpress.org (I own coturnix.org so I should make something like coturnix.org/blog and have it there). And make the place pretty.

The traffic at the old site went through the roof earlier this week, and the new site did fine during its first couple of days. I expect it to go lower, but that is OK:

As you may have already noticed, Clock Quotes are gone. “New and Exciting in PLoS” posts are now tweets (though I may figure out a way to do something similar on the everyONE blog, something like “Bora’s Bloggables”, making sure it is obviously my own choice, not that of the PLoS marketing department). Carnival announcements are also gone to Twitter. Announcements for events (e.g., local science cafes, Sigma Xi pizza lunches, World Science forums, etc,) I can bundle 2-3 in a single post instead of each separately. No pressure to have something always on the Last24H page as there is no such page for me now. I will continue doing updates on ScienceOnline2011 and Open Laboratory, posting Q&As with the past participants of ScienceOnline2010, and an occasional monstrously long post on one topic or another, perhaps even science! Whatever rocks my boat.

As for the future? I don’t know. We’ll see. I may stay solo for a while, perhaps end up on another network (or two, or three) further down the line. There is blogging to be done on ScienceInTheTriangle and everyONE blog, so who knows.  If I ever got the opportunity to try Scripting2, that seems to be a blogging platform one could love, not just be satisfied with. That can boost one’s blogging energies in itself.  But for now, blogging itself is not a priority for me right now.

The first priority is to find a way to support my family. If you want to help, check out this store – that is stuff we already have, boxed up and ready to go. If nothing there is interesting, there is always the Zazzle store but hold off on the CafePress as the items there need to have the URL changed first (I should get to it over the next few days). Or click here:

Then, also, Anton and I are now in fifth gear organizing ScienceOnline2011. In order to make the conference a little bit bigger (something like 130 people were left on the waitlist last year!) we need more new sponsors. If you know a potential sponsor, let us know, make contact.

Open Laboratory is also going to be a big project, as it is every year, so December and January will be busy around that as well.

You are all going to see my posts if you grab my feed (or the combined diaspora feed) or if you follow me on Twitter, FriendFeed or Facebook, so I’m fine.

Thank you all so much!

Update: I added more thoughts to the events and the future at Science Blogging Networks: What, Why and How

A Farewell to Scienceblogs: the Changing Science Blogging Ecosystem

It is with great regret that I am writing this. Scienceblogs.com has been a big part of my life for four years now and it is hard to say good bye.

Everything that follows is my own personal thinking and may not apply to other people, including other bloggers on this platform. The new contact information is at the end of the post, but please come back up here and read the whole thing – why I feel like I must leave now.

Sb beginnings

Scienceblogs.com started back in January 2006. On that day, several of my favourite science bloggers moved to this new site, posting the URL on their farewell posts on their old blogs. I took one look at the homepage – which at the time was a simple, black-on-white version of the current Last 24 Hours page – and said to myself: this is where I want to be. My instant feeling was that whoever does not get on this site will bite the dust – become invisible in the shadow of the network. I e-mailed several of the original 14 bloggers with a simple question: “How do I get on?” They all assured me that the site will add more bloggers and that my name is already ‘in the hat’. In June of that year, I was one of the 20+ bloggers in the “second wave” of migrants to Scienceblogs.com.

How the move to Sb changed my blogging

You can hide on your own little Blogspot blog. You cannot hide on a network. My first instinctive and unconscious change, something I only became of aware later, was that I changed the way I made factual statements in my posts. What does that mean?

I started thoroughly fact-checking the statements before posting instead of learning the hard way that readers will do it for you.

Of course, I started (in 2003/4) in political blogging where much is a matter of opinion, stakes are high, tempers are short, speed of blogging is important, and stating things confidently and even ferociously is important as a persuasion method. If I have heard some useful factoid somewhere, I would often boldly claim it as true without checking first.

But then I gradually switched to blogging about science. This is the domain of verifiable facts. The goal is education, not so much political action. I wrote about my area of expertise, and I wrote in a way that built on that expertise and made it accessible to the lay public. I wrote about things I knew a lot about and was very familiar with the literature. So I referenced, cited and linked to a lot of supporting documents – peer-reviewed scientific papers.

When I moved to Scienceblogs, I doubled up on that effort, even when writing on other topics. Sometimes I wrote purposefully provocative posts, stating extreme positions and playing Devil’s advocate. Such posts were written as mind experiments, or as “let’s see how far the blind following of the logic can take us, even if it sounds crazy” and I hoped that nobody would mistake them for my real positions. But I tried not to make statements of fact if I was not sure they were actually facts. I became a better blogger. My place here requires I be trusted. For that, I needed to trust myself first.

Getting invited to blog here is an honor, and the only correct response is to blog with maximal integrity, even during online fights and kerfuffles that alight in every corner of the blogosphere, including the science blogosphere, with predictable regularity. Every single blogger on scienceblogs.com, even those who I may disagree with 99% of the time, blogs here with strong personal integrity (yes, human beings sometimes make mistakes, but they correct them once the onslaught dies down and it is possible to do it without losing face). And that is one of the greatest strengths of this network – just wander around the Web randomly for a while and you’ll see some interesting contrasts to this.

How getting hired by PLoS changed my blogging

Most of you probably know that I got the job with PLoS in the comments section of my blog. It is the support for my application for the role at PLoS voiced by my commenters that sealed the deal in the eyes of PLoS. Would I have that kind of support if I was not on Scienceblogs.com?

As an Online Community Manager at PLoS, I try to model myself and learn from the experiences of people like Robert Scoble, one of the first “corporate bloggers” (and everyone who thinks there is anything new or wrong with being paid to blog, should read Say Everything by Scott Rosenberg, a definitive history of blogging which will open your eyes). I have been a supporter (and promoter) of Open Access model of scientific publishing well before I got this job and I often blogged about PLoS papers because I – and everyone esle – have access to them. PLoS is a fabulous organization to work for. Its goals match my own. And I love all the individual people working there. Working with them is a blast, and I am proud of it. It is unfortunate that, in this economic situation (and my own personal economic situation), I can only work there part-time.

I assume that many of my readers are also interested in Open Access and may also be interested in what PLoS does. So, I blog (and tweet, etc,) about news from PLoS. As I see which new papers are coming out in PLoS ONE (and other PLoS journals) a couple of days in advance, I pick those that catch my attention, that I personally find interesting, and post links to them here once they are published. Nobody at PLoS has ever asked me to blog (or not blog) anything work-related on my own individual blog (that is what everyONE blog is for). I do it because I am genuinely excited about some of the papers, or am proud of what the PLoS team at the HQ has accomplished – new functionalities or benchmarks, etc. Like everyone else, I am promoting a cause I believe in, and I am blogging what I want and like.

One of the things that changed in my blogging comes from self-awareness that I am an online public face of PLoS. I need to behave in ways that are appropriate for this role. Thus I try to avoid (as much as that is possible) getting into big online fights and I am more careful about my use of language, especially profanity. The fact that I am much less likely today to blog on very controversial topics reflects much more my own tiredness of such topics and the endless flame-wars and troll-hunting that always follow such posts. It gets really boring after a while. I just don’t have much appetite and energy for that any more (if you think battling Creationists is nasty, try debating nationalists of various stripes from the Balkans on Usenet during the wars there – those people WOULD really kill you if they could physically get at you). I want my blog to be a positive force (while fully understanding that would be impossible if others were not doing the dirty trench warfare at the same time, providing the environment in which a positive blog can exist) and I want it to be a creative place, an informative place, and a peaceful and welcoming place for everyone interested in science and in science communication. And for my Mom. Hi, Mom!

So, while this is supposed to be my individual blog, I think of it as such, and it is seen by others as such, it is impossible to completely separate the personal from the professional. I am one of the lucky few for whom life and work are perfectly integrated – I do what I love, with great support (emotional and financial) from my wife. One of the things I am is a promoter of Open Access and PLoS, so this part of my persona is bound to find its way onto my personal blog – it would be self-censorship NOT to allow that stuff onto my blog.

Metcalf’s Law, or why are we here at scienceblogs.com

It appears that many commenters during the recent l’affair Pepsi did not understand the difference between blogging on Scienceblogs.com and blogging independently on Blogspot or WordPress. It is not so much about the direct traffic. It is not so much about payment (I earned through Blogads, back on my old blog in 2006, the same amount as I am getting here today). It is the ‘network effect’.

Let’s say I keep blogging my usual stuff day after day. I get some regular readers, some people coming from searches, some people coming from external links, etc. I also get a lot of traffic from other blogs here, from the homepage, Last24H page, from the various widgets (e.g., Reader’s Choice, Editor’s Choice, top page banner), multiple kinds of RSS feeds (e.g., Select Feed), etc. But if I have to say something really important, something that may require action, or something that many people need to know, or an important question that I may ask, there is a group of people that I can rely on much more than just my usual daily readership – the SciBlings (the name given to my fellow bloggers on Scienceblogs.com). I know they will pick up an item, link to it on their own blogs, and dramatically increase my reach for that one particular item. I don’t need to beg, or e-mail anyone, this happens spontaneously by the virtue of me being piece. Remember that still very few people read blogs through RSS feeds – they come via searches and links. These days, some of those links are posted by my SciBlings also in other places like Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook. Then others, outside the network, start linking to it and blogging/tweeting about it, spreading my message far and wide. This is something that would be much more difficult on an independent blog. This is what I call “indirect traffic” – a potential instant reach that I get just by virtue of being on this network.

This kind of network effect resulted in an explosive rise in the online reputation and ranking of Scienceblogs.com. Technorati does not count Sb as a single entity (it used to), but ranks each blog independently. The most high-trafficked blog here, Pharyngula, is ranked at number 68 today. The 68th most influential blog in the world right now. Even if Pharyngula accounts for as much as half of the traffic here (I think it is at around 40%…OK, just checked, it is 42.15%) and half of the number of incoming links to the site, the site as a whole is probably up around top 30th of all the blogs in the world. That is serious visibility and influence for all of us.

All that interlinking between us, as well as links from outside, result in all of us having Google Ranks of about 6 or 7. That is huge. Much of my traffic comes from searches (of course – I have more than 10,000 posts on many topics, some very long, using many different words and phrases). If I click to see a particularly interesting set of search keywords that brought someone to my blog, I discover that my blog is one of the top ten hits for that search string. And studies have shown that most people only check the top ten results when they do a search.

Furthermore, such a significant rise in traffic and rank of scienceblogs.com resulted in all sorts of other deals. Choice posts of ours are linked from the New York Times science page. Likewise with the National Geographic site. Our blogs are sold on Amazon.com for Kindle. And the site is indexed not just in Google but also on Google News.

This means not only that each one of us gets more direct traffic, and more potential indirect traffic from our SciBlings due to being on the network, but also an even larger and more powerful indirect traffic and visibility outside of the network. We are being closely watched, both by thousands of other bloggers and by the mainstream media. Whenever Scienceblogs.com explodes with a story, MSM takes note. It is not by chance that some of the first reactions to the Pepsi scandal, even faster than on individual’s blogs, appeared in places like The Guardian and the Columbia Journalism Review. As Jay Rosen and Dave Winer noted in their weekly podcast, the distance between us at Sb and the global media is very small. We are not just a loose collection of individuals blogging just for fun any more.

That is huge power. I keep mentioning this power every now and then (see this, this, this and this for good examples) because it is real. Sustained and relentless blogging by many SciBlings (and then many other bloggers who followed our lead) played a large role in the eventual release of ‘Tripoli Six’, the Bulgarian medical team imprisoned in Libya. Sustained blogging by SciBlings (and others who first saw it here) played a large part in educating the U.S.Senate about the importance of passing the NIH open access bill with its language intact. Blogging by SciBlings uncovered a number of different wrongdoings in ways that forced the powers-that-be to rectify them. Blogging by SciBlings brings in a lot of money every October to the DonorsChoose action. Sustained blogging by SciBlings forced SEED to remove the offending Pepsi blog within 36 hours. And if a bunch of SciBlings attack a person who did something very wrong, that person will have to spend years trying to get Google to show something a little bit more positive in top 100 hits when one googles their name (which is why I try to bite my tongue and sleep over it when I feel the temptation to go after a person). The power of the networks of individuals affects many aspects of the society, including the media.

With great power comes great responsibility, and I am not sure that all of my SciBlings are aware of the extent of this power. A Scienceblog is not a personal diary or a hobby any more.

Scienceblogs.com is Media

Scienceblogs.com has always been the project of the Seed Media Group, thus at least a self-designated media organization. But since the moment our blogs got indexed in Google News we de facto became writers for a media organization. I am not sure some of my SciBlings really understood the importance of that day and how that changed who we are and what we do.

Most of us here do not consider ourselves to be journalists or even have goals of wanting to become journalists. A few of us are. And a few of us are not sure what we are any more. But by virtue of being searchable on Google News we are journalists, whether we want it or not.

Do we write news? Some of us sometimes do. But videos, cartoons, quotes, linkfests, etc. are considered not not to be News only if one adopts a very narrow and traditional sense of the term – reporting on an event that just happened. If you open a newspaper, you will see much more than News in that sense – there are obituaries, comic strips, classifieds, horoscopes, quotes, photos, poems, crossword puzzles….all of that is News in a sense that most consumers of news think: News is what comes in the Media.

I think it is much more productive to think of media in a different way. Media is a means to disseminate and exchange information. Some of that information is important, some is informative, some is entertaining, some is educational, some is aesthetic, some is comic, some is analytic, some is opinionated, some is relevant to many people, some is relevant to just a handful, and yes, some of it may actually report on “what event just happened”. Some of it is distributed by legacy media companies, some is distributed by individuals to each other.

We here at Scienceblogs, by virtue of moving from our individual blogs to the network, have largely left the realm of “distributed by individuals to each other”. We are the Media. Which means we need to be aware of it, and behave accordingly. This does not mean we have to change anything about our blogging. After all, we were picked and hired in the hope we would continue to do exactly what we were doing with our blogs before the move to Sb. But the same picture of a cat posted on WordPress just for fun, as a hobby, becomes News once posted on Scienceblogs.com. Gotta keep that in mind at all times.

We have built an enormous reputation, and we need to keep guarding it every single day. Which is why the blurring of lines between us who are hired and paid to write (due to our own qualities and expertise which we earned), and those who are paying to have their material published here is deeply unethical. Scientists and journalists share some common ethical principles: transparency, authenticity and truth-telling. These ethical principles were breached. This ruins our reputation, undermines our work, and makes it more unpalatable for good blogger to consider joining Sb in the future. See also Jennifer’s post on this issue for a clear-headed take.

Seed is not in magazine business any more

Seed Media Group was founded in order to publish Seed Magazine. And it was a very nice magazine, glossy, lush, filled with awesome visualizations. Some articles were awesome, others a little flakier, but nothing nearly as bad as some other (don’t make me name it again) popular science magazines managed to publish under their own banners. I liked Seed Magazine. My kids liked it. It was a cool, modern and novel way to design a pop-sci publication.

In a happier time, before the meltdown of the media industry and then a general meltdown of the economy, Seed Magazine would have survived. But it was not meant to be. About a year ago, the last issue of Seed Magazine appeared on the newsstands. Its brand was not big enough, with enough longevity and reader loyalty, for any other corporation to step in and buy it out. It’s gone.

But if you think you are in the magazine business, if you think that your main product is a magazine, and if you have an office full of writers, editors and graphic designers, what do you do? You retain the mindset of a magazine publisher. Instead of rethinking the mission of the organization as a whole, Seed was only rethinking how to repackage Seed Magazine. They did not let the magazine die. They moved it online instead, retaining most or all of the editorial and writing staff. As Jay Rosen likes to quip about Washington Post, “the print guys won”. The print mindset won.

Yet, at the same time, Seed had a bunch of “side-projects”, including some cool visualization stuff and yes, Scienceblogs.com. Some of those projects, including the magazine itself, fell by the wayside. But Scienceblogs.com was going from strength to strength:

Looking at the graph (I know, PageRank measures one thing, other services measure it differently, but the take-home message is the same), it is obvious that the main product of the Seed Media Group is Scienceblogs.com.

One could argue that traffic is not the proper measure, but I cannot think of a better one. If it was a scientific journal, having a middling traffic would not be so bad if other metrics, e.g., citations, media coverage, incoming links, proportion of visits that result in a PDF download, etc., are high. But there is no such thing to measure for a magazine. Impact of an article in a magazine is measured only by traffic, and traffic is also an important metric for advertisers.

What used to be a fun side-project, Scienceblogs, became the centerpiece. Or so you’d think. But remember that the print guys won. Seed never realized that they were not in the magazine business any more. It is telling that some commenters during last week’s fiasco said they never heard of Seed Magazine until now (I had not heard of it before I moved to Scienceblogs either). It is squirreled away on its obscure website, with miniature traffic, no brand recognition, not even much linking from Scienceblogs.com to it to drive at least some traffic there. We do not hear about new articles there to help promote them (except when Dave Munger writes one and tweets the link). If we are not aware that there are new articles in the magazine, how are others going to be?

Several months ago (in the wake of a loss of a couple of our top bloggers) I suggested they move the magazine onto Scienceblogs as an “editor’s blog” and let us pitch stories for it and use the existence of in-house editors to make our stories more polished than a usual blog post. It did not happen.

What Seed Media Group is doing right now is trying to run a magazine, while treating Scienceblogs.com as a source of revenue. What Seed Media Group should be doing, what every media group should be doing, is become a tech-oriented company (one of the reasons PLoS is successful is that it is essentially a technology-rich publishing company, with an incredible and visionary IT/Web team working with the editorial team in driving innovation). Instead of trying to produce content in-house, which is expensive (all those salaries!), Seed should realize that they already have 80 (now more like 60 and getting smaller every day) producers of content. Barely paid producers of content. I know, it is really hard to fire all those wonderful people – but keeping them can just speed up the end-point so everyone ends up jobless in the end. If Seed Media Group (SMG) has money for employing twenty people, fifteen of those should be tech folks, driving innovation, serving Scienceblogs.com, making it bigger, better, more powerful.

Everything at Seed should be set up to be in service of Scienceblogs: administrators, legal staff, editors, and most importantly a large, powerful, innovative technical staff. The experiment was run, the results are in, scienceblogs.com was shown to be a successful endeavor, and the rest of the experiments, magazine included, were failures and need to be thrown out and forgotten. I guess that many people in the office are emotionally invested in the magazine, but tough luck – the thing is a corpse. Mourn for a while, and move on.

Who gets to be on Scienceblogs.com?

A couple of years ago I heard the statistic that Seed got an average of seven applications per day to blog here. That is thousands of bloggers over the years to date!

The network had a succession of several excellent Community Managers who made decisions on who to invite next. As the site grew and changed, their visions also changed, which determined what kinds of blogs they were looking for. Sometimes, they would accept a new blog, and let us know about it only about a day in advance. But in most cases they consulted with us. They would ask us to recommend who we thought were the best bloggers in a particular area, e.g., technology, infoscience, art, food, chemistry, etc., whatever they thought we lacked and needed more of at any particular time. And they would usually consider our recommendations and invite bloggers we respected. There were even times when we ganged up on them and relentlessly lobbied for a particular blogger to get invited and they would have to agree eventually.

Not everybody who was invited said yes, either, but most did. And over the years there was a natural cycle – as new blogs got added, some of the older ones shut down or left. Often life and work interfered and people decided they could not continue blogging any more. Or just got tired of blogging. Some felt too much pressure to blog more frequently than they were comfortable with. Some bloggers fused their blogs into a single multi-author blog. Some invited co-bloggers to help. Some got better-paying gigs elsewhere. Some left due to personal conflicts with other bloggers. And now several have left due to the damaged reputation of the network that started with a sale of a blogging spot to a corporate entity.

And more are leaving, and will be leaving, due to “Bion’s effect“:

“You are at a party, and you get bored. You say “This isn’t doing it for me anymore. I’d rather be someplace else. I’d rather be home asleep. The people I wanted to talk to aren’t here.” Whatever. The party fails to meet some threshold of interest. And then a really remarkable thing happens: You don’t leave. You make a decision “I don’t like this.” If you were in a bookstore and you said “I’m done,” you’d walk out. If you were in a coffee shop and said “This is boring,” you’d walk out.

You’re sitting at a party, you decide “I don’t like this; I don’t want to be here.” And then you don’t leave. That kind of social stickiness is what Bion is talking about.

And then, another really remarkable thing happens. Twenty minutes later, one person stands up and gets their coat, and what happens? Suddenly everyone is getting their coats on, all at the same time. Which means that everyone had decided that the party was not for them, and no one had done anything about it, until finally this triggering event let the air out of the group, and everyone kind of felt okay about leaving.

This effect is so steady it’s sometimes called the paradox of groups. It’s obvious that there are no groups without members. But what’s less obvious is that there are no members without a group. Because what would you be a member of?”

Yes, suddenly everyone is getting their coats on, all at the same time. This party is not as fun as it once was. Time to go.

Scienceblogs.com – The Good

Four years is eternity on the Web. But try to think back to early 2006 and understand how revolutionary that concept was at the time: grabbing a bunch of already popular bloggers, putting them all on the same site, paying them a little bit, and giving them complete editorial freedom. Anything goes! The editorial hand is in the initial choice of bloggers. Once you choose the people whose work you like, just let them loose.

The existence of Scienceblogs.com as a one-stop shopping place for all things science resulted in the high visibility of science and of science blogging and spurred the explosive growth of the science blogosphere. In 2006, I could read every post by every science blogger in the world. Today, there are thousands out there that I don’t even know about. And there are many other media companies who tried to emulate Seed and build their own networks, with, to be generous, mixed success so far.

The Seed motto, “Science Is Culture”, also contributed to opening science for the lay audience. Many of our readers are not scientists. The stereotypical image of scientists as socially inept recluses who speak in incomprehensible lingo was dispelled.

In many ways my feeling that “who is not here will bite the dust” was not realized. Instead of building an isolated elitist community, we felt the responsibility to be generous, to constantly look for, seek out, link to and promote bloggers who are not on the network. Instead of acting as “we are elite bloggers producing elite content”, we acted as “we are elite filters, finding and choosing the best content on the Web and showcasing it to everybody”.

Thus, much of what we did as SciBlings had, as a goal, the building of the science blogging community that is much broader than just our own internal network community. Nobody got rich from, and many put a lot of work into, the Open Laboratory anthologies which not only showcase the best of science blogging to the audience outside of the Web, but also promote new and upcoming bloggers outside the network. The ScienceOnline conferences (now a full-time job to organize, but still done for free on our own time) also contribute to a similar effort to get people on and off networks together. The DonorsChoose action every year brings us all together, as well as many other such actions. Scienceblogs.com was definitely a key player in the emergence and building of the science blogging community.

Scienceblogs.com – The Bad

The network has evolved over time. The initial offering was composed of bloggers who were already popular – they brought their readership with them. They just happened to be mostly bloggers – and this is probably why they were popular in the first place – whose blogging covered those aspects of “science is culture” that are quite controversial, from beating up on pseudoscience and medical quackery, to the relationship between science and religion, to the politics and politicization of science. This made for quite a lively discourse on the network, bringing up discussion topics that were important to have yet were considered taboo before. This did not sit well with all of the audience, many still squeamish about breaking of such cultural taboos (especially bold defenses of atheism), and the network got somewhat of a bad reputation in some circles, as a hotbed of godless, pinko-commie, liberal whateverwhatever people. That reputation, even during the most recent period when only about five out of 80 bloggers focused much on politics and/or religion, seems to persist.

Since the continuous additions of popular bloggers did not add many new readers and traffic (they were all already reading here anyway), and as the erroneous perception which Sb-haters promulgated that “there is no science on scienceblogs.com” needed to be countered, Seed invited many bloggers who never touch controversial topics and only blog about science. They also invited a couple of bloggers who are openly religious and a couple of conservatives. More recently, several bloggers who joined were reputable science writers and journalists. A new idea was to try and pick up some very new and not-yet-established bloggers, especially very young ones with talent, and bring them here and help them grow.

But none of this helped dispel the nefarious myths about Sb being an atheism network. In this effort to dilute politico-religious content with science content, Sb grew, in my opinion, too big. I think 80-something blogs with 90+ bloggers is too big. Internal rifts and formation of cliques was inevitable in such a large group, which led to some hidden and some very public fights, and resulted in some of our prominent bloggers leaving in a huff. This did not look good from the outside, I’m sure. And it did not work well for the bloggers’ morale either.

The chronic inability of the Seed management to communicate to and with bloggers did not help either (I feel the Overlords who tried to represent our interests were sidelined in the Seed newsroom). As a result, there is not much loyalty to the Seed brand. We are here for the network effect and traffic (and even the little money we get is important grocery money for some of us, including me), not because we are in love with Seed.

This is not about Pepsi

Two weeks ago, as most of you probably know, Seed started a new blog on Scienceblogs.com. It was to be not just sponsored, but authored by people from PepsiCo, a continuation of their Food Frontiers blog (go take a look). It was to be hosted, I believe, for three months, for a fee that PepsiCo would pay Seed (out of which, I guess, we bloggers would also get paid, perhaps even get up to date on payments – I just got my April check).

We have hosted a few corporate-sponsored blogs before, but the main bloggers on them were either independent journalists or some of our own bloggers. Those blogs were introduced to us in the backchannels in advance, we were consulted, changes were made as needed, and some of us still protested on our blogs or wrote posts that are quite damning to those corporations, their shady corporate behavior, and their products.

It is not well known – at least I did not see anyone mention it – that Seed tried to hire an outside freelance science journalist to host the Pepsi blog. Apparently, they could not find anyone. So, when the date came when they promised Pepsi they would start, they launched the blog without an independent host, with just Pepsi employees blogging. Huge mistake! They should have quickly asked some of us to pitch in that role, but instead they did not even tell us about it – the appearance of the blog was a total surprise to us all. Orac was the first one to spot it on the Last24Hour page and alerted the rest of us. Understandably, we all went berserk (and if you think our anger was strongly worded on our blogs, can you imagine what it looked like in the backchannels!?). This is a flagrant breach of the wall between content and advertising. A huge no-no in any kind of media. We are Media and this was the (un)ethical straw that broke the camel’s back.

Greg Laden was not the first one to think of it, but explained it the best the other day how the blog could have been made much more palatable to us and readers, if Seed just thought to ask us (even if that meant a delay of a couple of days before launching) to blog there. We have many bloggers here who could have contributed their expertise on various aspects of food. We have bloggers who could write with authority on obesity from physiological, medical, public health and sociological perspectives, on the chemistry of food, on poisons, on neuroscience of appetite, on nutrition, on raising one’s own food, on evolution of food plants and domesticated animals, on endangered seafood, on the economics and politics of the food industry, on useless dietary supplements, on the reason why a piece of bread always falls on the buttered side, how to desecrate crackers, and even how to roast a zebra and share it with locals in Africa. Not to mention pie recipes! That could have been fun and informative. And if Pepsi scientists contributed as themselves, not as frontmen for the company, their perspective would have been interesting as well.

Instead, we got an infomercial posing as one of us.

It is completely irrelevant that it was Pepsi.

It is completely irrelevant that it was about food.

It is completely irrelevant that they never got to post anything on the blog before it was removed under the storm of criticism by us, readers and the media.

It is completely irrelevant if their content was going to be good or bad.

What is relevant is that a corporation paid to have a seat at the table with us. And that Seed made that happen.

What is relevant is that this event severely undermined the reputation of all of us. Who can trust anything we say in the future?

Even if you already know me and trust me, can people arriving here by random searches trust me? Once they look around the site and see that Pepsi has a blog here, why would they believe I am not exactly the same, some kind of shill for some kind of industry?

Even if you know me and trust me, would you be able to trust any new addition to the network? All those thousands of bloggers who applied to Sb and did not get invited to join? What are they all thinking now about someone paying to blog here? Do you think anyone will ever apply again?

Is Scienceblogs reputation permanently damaged?

In the wake of the Pepsi scandal, other things started coming to light. Things like this and this and this and this, all adding up to the realization that Seed is not what it makes out itself to be. So yes, I think the reputation of Seed is permanently damaged. The quick reversal, under pressure, and removal of the Pepsi blog is not enough.

Will it survive? I don’t know. Probably it will, but smaller (this also depends on the biggest-traffic bloggers remaining). But the scienceblogs.com stable is shrinking rapidly, and I do not see it growing in size or reputation again any time soon. Without it – the only profitable enterprise in the SMG – I am not sure the company can survive. We won many big races, but our racing career is now over, and we should retire to some pleasure riding in the meadows now (not ready for the slaughterhouse yet, not me).

Where will bloggers go?

Some of the most prominent bloggers who have left – or will leave – can quite easily go solo. Since 2006, the Web ecosystem has evolved and now has mechanisms, including social networking sites, that can keep an already popular site from fading into oblivion by going solo. One’s blog is now only one part of one’s online presence.

Others have been approached or will be approached (as soon as they make their leaving Sb official) by many other existing or incipient newtorks out there. Field Of Science is a new network. There is also Lab Spaces. GenomesUnzipped is a new group-blog for people interested in genomics, All Geo may try to collect geobloggers, and Southern Fried Science new network may accumulate more ocean bloggers. Panda’s Thumb offered evolution bloggers defecting from Scienceblogs.com to post there (I am not sure how to think about the division by topic – does it mean that general science networks can never attract a geoblogger and an ocean blogger any more?).

SciBlogs NZ is a wonderful network, but limited by geography to New Zealand bloggers only. There are German Scienceblogs and Scienceblogs Brazil (in Portuguese). There is a growing North Carolina group science blog.

Ira Flatow offered to host bloggers on Science Friday. And so did Wired UK (and US?) and apparently The Guardian as well. Scientific American is bound to jump into the fray, picking up defecting SciBlings. National Geographic has a blog network – I guess they are watching these developments as well. These media-run blogs/networks may well be changing their technological architecture as we speak in order to absorb multiple new bloggers they are trying to attract.

Blogging on Huffington Post is an instant loss of credibility – a day of a Pepsi blog is nothing compared to years of pseudoscience, medical quackery, Creationism and Deepak Chopra’s posts there. Nobody in their right mind would want to be associated with such a cesspit of anti-science.

There are awesome blog/news networks for students of science journalism at NYU (Scienceline) and their counterparts in the UK, mainly at City University (Elements).

Nature Network whose target audience are primarily scientists rather than lay public, and Science 2.0 (formerly Scientificblogging.org, not to be confused with the similarly named but very new and interesting Science 2.0 network that does more than just blogging) seem to be pretty open and approachable and have nice internal communities, but are essentially invisible from the outside. Likewise for Discovery Networks Blogs. The Psychology Today blogs is a very big network, but they do not seem to have anything like a community, and seem to be pretty non-selective as to who they accept. I have heard of at least three new networks still in the making.

But going to any of these is potentially a step down and a big loss of visibility and traffic. The only network that has recently started to come close to the clout of Scienceblogs.com is Discover blogs, but they have a specific type of blogger in mind and do not appear to have an appetite at this point to suddenly invite dozens of new bloggers – they seem to be building the network as a small, but highly elite place for people with some existing journalistic and professional writer cred. Definitely ones to watch!

New scienceblogging ecosystem

The potential step down and loss of visibility by leaving Sb may be an illusion. It makes sense in the existing ecosystem in which Scienceblogs.com is The Borg and everyone else is biting the dust. But the ecosystem is changing. Scienceblogs.com is rapidly losing reputation and bleeding bloggers. A number of other networks are absorbing these bloggers and adding more, growing in size and visibility very rapidly. Very soon – and I mean SOON as in weeks – instead of one big place to watch, there will be two dozen medium-sized places to watch. Instead of one site that everyone reads, there will be a number of sites that will have to read each other instead. Networks that get too large will be viewed, perhaps, with suspicion they are not selective enough. Networks that are too small will get lost and invisible in such a crowded ecosystem. The trick is to find the Goldilocks solution – just the right size.

Many science bloggers are personal friends, and many are also heavy users of social networks like Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook, so the ties will remain. The popularity of blog carnivals may come back up, at least temporarily, due to their well-established effect of building and maintaining the community. ResearchBlogging.org, apart from building respect for science bloggers in the outside world, is also beginning to serve as a center of the blogging community (and I hope it survives, funded by Seed or, if that becomes impossible at some point in the future, by whoever else can be lured to do so).

Instead of one big network, there will be a network of networks. Nobody can afford now to ignore or be ignored by others. I bet we will see aggregators springing up that link to all the networks, perhaps networks will carry each other’s RSS Feed widgets on sidebars to facilitate cross-linking and traffic between networks, and thus raise visibility of all. And the legacy media will have to adjust to the new ecosystem as well, and instead of just watching Scienceblogs.com, find a way to monitor all of the networks at the same time.

When science blogosphere was young, existence of Scienceblogs.com was a boon – it lifted all the boats with it, made both the science and the science blogging visible and prominent. Today, having only one overgrown site so visible is toxic – it takes the oxygen out of the system, and makes the other networks and independent bloggers invisible. With the current process of Sb being cut to size, and concomitant process of other networks growing in size, visibility and relevance (as well as brand new networks springing up), we are reaching a point where being on Sb is not the pinnacle of one’s potential science blogging career – it is one of many places where it is good to be.

Many who are, for now, deciding to stay on Sb, are doing so because they are terrified of becoming invisible by going solo. But in the new emerging ecosystem, going solo is not necessarily going to mean invisibility. People who go solo will still be a part of the community – yes, the same science blogging community that Scienceblogs.com was a key to building in the first place.

Going solo also makes one “fair game”. Other networks will not approach Sciblings who are not officially leaving as they do not want to tread on Adam Bly’s territory or be seen as poaching. But they will approach people who go solo. And they will also approach independent bloggers who were never on a network before – because those bloggers are really good and have been left out so far, because there are not enough Sb defectors to build sufficiently large networks just out of them, and because they do not want the perception that they are growing and building networks entirely on the ashes of Seed.

A growing number of networks and growing visibility of all the networks, also means that bloggers will have many choices. Seed is not the only game in town any more. Some networks pay bloggers, others don’t. Some have advertising, some don’t. Some have posting frequency requirements, others don’t. Some are run by for-profit organizations, others by non-profits, and others are bloggers’ cooperatives. Some have complete editorial freedom, some have limited restrictions. Some have excellent tech support, some lousy or none at all. Some are smaller and highly selective as to who they invite, others are big and also accept bloggers who are not really up to par. Thus, each blogger has a range of choices and the ability to choose according to what each individual finds important for their own goals. And those bloggers who think of this as a hobby and do not want to be seen as Media, can easily go solo and remain connected to the ecosystem in a variety of ways.

What will I do?

My first impulse when Pepsi blog suddenly and surprisingly showed up on the homepage was to bail out immediately.

But I decided instead to take some time to think and decide. My wife also told me to wait and watch the events unfold instead of saying anything myself. Wise.

Not saying anything publicly also made me open to others – I was approached by many with questions, fears, confusions, and their own plans. I have heard a whole lot from various people – who is courting them, where they are going to go, what new networks are being secretly built, etc. which gives me a pretty good lay of the land. I have a pretty good grasp of what is going on out there, I think (though I can be surprised, I’m sure). Most people are quite secretive about their plans, and I will NOT reveal anything that anybody told me until they themselves go public, but I am also not ready to completely reveal my own plans just yet.

After agonizing for almost two weeks, I finally made a decision. I will leave Scienceblogs.com, effective today.

I am not making this decision lightly. A number of factors played a part in this. On one hand there are negative factors – the loss of reputation by Sb, the complete lack of technical support here, the deflated morale of bloggers here, and the indications that all the recent changes at Seed are not a sign of losing the print mindset, which makes it unlikely that meaningful changes will happen. There is also a feeling that SMG is financially a sinking ship. On the other hand are positive factors – I am excited by the swift evolution of the new science blogging ecosystem and want to position myself well within it. I feel that this is also an opportunity to make something better once the dust settles. But the main reason I am leaving is the ethical breach that has seriously placed our reputation in jeopardy.

Unlike some others, I have nothing personal against Adam Bly. We have met once and he seems to be a really nice guy. We loved going to the New York City meetups in the early years and meeting with him there and being hosted at his house. He has interesting ideas and I think his goals are quite in sync with my own – increasing the prominence and relevance of science in our society. I just think that he is consulting with (and sometimes hiring) people with the old legacy media mindset, getting outdated ideas from them, and not being aware how the world has changed even in the past four years and how those changes require a much more dramatic change in direction.

I also want to acknowledge how much being on Scienceblogs.com has meant to me both personally and professionally. This is where I got my job, many other gigs, invitations to give talks, preview copies of books, and a general prominence and reputation in the worlds of science, publishing and the Web. Without Scienceblogs.com, there probably would never be Open Laboratory and ScienceOnline. I have made many fast friends here, both SciBlings and readers, and I am optimistic that these friendships will continue, wherever any one of us end up blogging.

Though many other solutions are possible for me, I have decided that I want to be solo for a little while – I want to see who approaches me and with what kinds of offers. Perhaps something great comes out of it. With my wife on disability leave our finances are shot, and I need to find a way to get paid for all the things I do so I can support my family. And even if no good offers come about, at least when I make up (and announce) my final decision, I will be sure I had all the necessary information I need to make the best decision for myself.

So, farewell, Scienceblogs, it was honor to be a part of this community for so long.

You can find me, in the meantime, at http://coturnix.wordpress.com/. I will continue blogging at everyONE blog and Science in the Triangle blog as well. And you can follow me on Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook, so you will know when I make other moves in the future.

Who are you, again?

I see – DrugMonkey, Janet, Pal and Jason are reviving the annual tradition of asking readers to say in the comments who they are. I did this in 2008 bit can’t find if I did it in 2009. The original questions and instructions are:

1) Tell me about you. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? If so, what draws you here as opposed to meatier, more academic fare? And if not, what brought you here and why have you stayed? Let loose with those comments.
2) Tell someone else about this blog and in particular, try and choose someone who’s not a scientist but who you think might be interested in the type of stuff found in this blog. Ever had family members or groups of friends who’ve been giving you strange, pitying looks when you try to wax scientific on them? Send ‘em here and let’s see what they say.

But my blog is different – many different topics and only a handful of posts per year really dissecting a scientific study. There is much more about media, science journalism, blogging, social networking, communications, science publishing, Open Access and that kind of stuff. And videos. And I am always surprised how many people (including veteran serious bloggers) really like Clock Quotes! They get comments here and on FriendFeed and Facebook.
So, tell me also what kinds of posts you like here? What makes you keep coming back for more? What would you like me to do more? And also, what do you skip and ignore?

Seven Questions….with Yours Truly

Last week, my SciBling Jason Goldman interviewed me for his blog. The questions were not so much about blogging, journalism, Open Access and PLoS (except a little bit at the end) but more about science – how I got into it, what are my grad school experiences, what I think about doing research on animals, and such stuff. Jason posted the interview here, on his blog, on Friday, and he also let me repost it here on my blog as well, under the fold:

Continue reading

The Best of June

I posted only 105 times in June. It is summer, and in summer traffic falls, weather is too nice to stay inside, and blogs tend to go on vacation or at least slow down. And I wrote about it in No, blogs are not dead, they are on summer vacation.
But this does not mean that this blog was on vacation. Along with a bunch of cool videos and announcements, I wrote several other posts, some garnering quite a lot of commentary, most in some way touching on media, blogging and science journalism.
See, for example, Why is some coverage of scientific news in the media very poor?
Or Am I A Science Journalist?.
Or ‘Going Direct’ – the Netizens in former Yugoslavia.
Or The continuum of expertise.
Or the brief links+notes posts If scientists want to educate the public…but is that the right question to begin with? and On media articles linking to scientific papers (and other sources).
I got interviewed for a newspaper and – in a much longer form and on a completely different topic – for a blog.
I wrote a book review of ‘Bonobo Handshake’ by Vanessa Woods and then collected links to all the recent and upcoming books written by science bloggers.
I went to Philadelphia and then wrote a post about the meeting about vaccinations, social media and how to counteract anti-vaccionationist movement.
The series of Q&As with participants of ScienceOnline2010 continued with looks into the lives and careers of Cassie Rodenberg, Travis Saunders, Julie Kelsey, Beatrice Lugger and Eric Roston.
Workwise, I announced PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for May 2010. I also blogged about a PLoS ONE paper about bluefin tuna trying to spawn in the midst of the Guulf oil spill and again about a paper that explains how exactly Vesuvius killed the people of Pompeii, and then again about a paper that explores the way bacteria get transmitted from the mouth of one Komodo dragon to another.

This is 10,000th post at A Blog Around The Clock

Just saying. I like big round numbers…

Best of May

I posted only 127 times in May. Apart from many cool videos and various updates, I did blog about other things as well.
I went to the WWW2010 conference and wrote my thoughts about it.
Open Laboratory submissions are in full swing so I decided to post the old Prefaces and Introductions I wrote for the first three books.
Dennis Meredith came to town to talk about Explaining Research so I reported from the event. I also reported on the presentation about Serious Gaming at Sigma Xi.
Two of my friends and neighbors published books in May so I announced the sites and times for local readings – ‘On The Grid’ by Scott Huler and ‘Bonobo Handshake’ by Vanessa Woods. I reported from the ‘On The Grid’ reading here. Both book reviews are coming soon.
Cory Doctorow did a book reading/signing in Chapel Hill – I went and wrote about the event.
More interviews with participants of ScienceOnline2010 have come in – check out Jelka Crnobrnja, Alex, Staten Island Academy student of Stacy Baker, Scott Huler, Tyler Dukes, Tom Linden, Jason Hoyt, Amy Freitag, Emily Fisher, Antony Williams, Sonia Stephens, Karyn Hede, Jack, Staten Island Academy student of Stacy Baker, Jeremy Yoder and Fenella Saunders.
Announcing events – Triangle PechaKucha and Science Online London 2010.
Work-wise, I announced the April 2010 PLoS ONE BLog Pick Of The Month and Lots of news around PLoS these days.

Best of April

I posted 153 times in April.
First, importantly, I again committed scienceblogging in April, with the post Evolutionary Medicine: Does reindeer have a circadian stop-watch instead of a clock?.
April focus appears to be Twitter – hence two posts specifically about it: Twittering is a difficult art form – if you are doing it right and More on mindcasting vs. lifecasting.
Early in April, I introduced the Open Laboratory 2010 editor and made available the ‘submit to Open Laboratory 2010′ buttons.
A science journalist curmudgeoned herself, so I felt compelled to collect all the responses, in For the millionth time: bloggers vs. journalists is over!
I went to Duke to see the student rendition of RENT and wrote a long review of it afterwards.
We went to New York City, mainly to attend the #140conference, which I subequently blogged about, and also posted a lot of videos from the talks and sessions I liked the best.
Then, in the last week of the month, the biggie of all the Web conferences happened – the WWW2010 conference, right here in Raleigh NC. More about it shortly.
The more-and-more amazing interviews with ScienceOnline2010 participants are coming in – check out Christie Wilcox, Maria-Jose Vinas, Sabine Vollmer, Beth Beck, Ernie Hood, Carmen Drahl, Joanne Manaster, Elia Ben-Ari, Leah D. Gordon, Kerstin Hoppenhaus and Hilary Maybaum.
This is worth highlighting again: Scientists, engineers, experts – your Government needs you!
Work-related, I announced the PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for March 2010, announced two new PLoS Collections and some more various PLoS news.
This blog got reviewed and so did the Open Laboratory 2009.
I collected in one place all of the Best posts on Media, (Science) Journalism and Blogging at ‘A Blog Around The Clock‘. I also collected a bunch of interesting links, mostly about journalism, and then posted some more a couple of weeks later. And another linkfest – Stuff I showed on my panel at AAAS.
I did some PR for Aidel’s Vice store – Never go anywhere unprepared and Environmentally friendly chico bags – the proud sponsor of The 2010 Post with the Most blogging contest.

Best posts on Media, (Science) Journalism and Blogging at A Blog Around The Clock

As this blog is getting close to having 10,000 posts, and my Archives/Categories are getting unweildy (and pretty useless), I need to get some of the collections of useful posts together, mainly to make it easier for myself to find them. I did that by collecting my best Biology posts a couple of weeks ago. Today, I am collecting my best posts from the categories of Media, Science Reporting, Framing Science and Blogging. There are thousands of posts in these categories combined, most with excellent links or videos, but here are some of the posts that have substantial proportion of my own thinking in them.
It is also interesting to note – if you pay attention to the dates when the posts were published, going back to 2004 – how my thinking and attitude changed over the years, as well as how the world of media, blogs and science communication changed at the same time, forcing me to evolve with it:
Defining the Journalism vs. Blogging Debate, with a Science Reporting angle
What is Journalism?
What does it mean that a nation is ‘Unscientific’?
What is ‘Investigative Science Journalism’?
New science journalism ecosystem: new inter-species interactions, new niches
The Ethics of The Quote
‘Journalists vs. Blogs’ is bad framing
New Journalistic Workflow
Why good science journalists are rare?
Why is ‘scientists are bad communicators’ trope wrong
Push vs. Pull strategies in science communication
What is journalism and do PIOs do it? And what’s with advertising?
Why it is important for media articles to link to scientific papers
Using Twitter to learn economy of words – try to summarize your research paper in 140 characters or less!
North Carolina science journalism/blogging projects getting noticed
AAAS 2010 meeting – the Press Room….why?
Twittering is a difficult art form – if you are doing it right
Hints on how (science) journalism may be working these days….
Journalism wrap-up from ScienceOnline2010
Making it real: People and Books and Web and Science at ScienceOnline2010
Talkin’ Trash
Scientists are Excellent Communicators (‘Sizzle’ follow-up)
ScienceOnline’09 – Saturday 4:30pm and beyond: the Question of Power
The Shock Value of Science Blogs
Caryn Shechtman: A Blogger Success Story (an interview with Yours Truly)
Behold the Birth of the Giga-Borg
‘Bloggers’ vs ‘Audience’ is over? or, Will the word ‘blogger’ disappear?
I don’t care about business models of journalism/publishing.
The Perils of Predictions: Future of Physical Media
Graham Lawton Was Wrong
Science by press release – you are doing it wrong
Incendiary weekend post on bloggers vs. journalists
Who has power?
D.C. press corps dissed again – but this time for good reasons
Bloggers vs. Journalists Redux, part N
‘Newsworthy-ness’
Are we Press? Part Deux
Science vs. Britney Spears
Sizzle
Bloggers vs. Journalists morphs into Twitterers vs. Journalists
Elites? That’s somehow bad?
Will there be new communication channels in the Obama administration?
Smoke Signals, Blogs, and the Future of Politics
I inform people against their will!
To Educate vs. To Inform
Fair Use and Open Science
Talking To The Public
More than just Resistance to Science
One-Stop Shopping for the Framing Science Debate
Framing Science – the Dialogue of the Deaf
Framing ‘framing’
Did I frame that wrong?
Framing and Truth
Just a quick update on ‘framing science’
Joshua Bell and Framing Science
Framers are NOT appeasers!
Framing Politics (based on science, of course)
Everybody Must Get Framed
How to read a scientific paper
Blog Carnivals – what is in it for you?
Science Blogging – what it can be
Michael Skube: just another guy with a blog and an Exhibit A for why bloggers are mad at Corporate Media
Blog is software
What is a Science Blog?
False Journalistic Balance
The Inter-Ghost Connection
ConvergeSouth: creepies, domestic tranquility and amplification of serendipity
Proper Procedure For Shutting Down A Blog

Blog. Reviewed.

This blog was reviewed by Dr Justin Marley at The Amazing World of Psychiatry: A Psychiatry Blog. Check it out.

The Best of March

I posted 133 times in March.
I was quite focused on science communication and journalism this month and blogged quite a lot about these topics. See, for example, Why it is important for media articles to link to scientific papers, or New science journalism ecosystem: new inter-species interactions, new niches or What is journalism and do PIOs do it? And what’s with advertising? or What is Journalism? or Push vs. Pull strategies in science communication.
And I was keeping tab on what others are saying: Science Journalism/Communication week in review, Science Journalism must-reads of the day, New blog on science journalism and communication, Today’s must-reads on science communication/journalism and Crowdsourcing Honesty and Trust.
I did a post-publication peer-review of a paper about science blogging – Science blogs and public engagement with science and collected some responses to that in More on ‘Science blogs and public engagement with science’. That issue of Journal of Science Communication (Open Access) is now online so you can check out other papers there as well.
And this post, I think, is quite interesting: On organizing and/or participating in a Conference in the age of Twitter.
This was also a month of numerous local events. Of those, I went to and blogged about Ignite Raleigh, TEDxRTP and the DPAC production of Spring Awakening. And it was generally a busy time for me.
I was on radio again, discussing How to organize an Interactive Conference. I also asked you to do something for me: The Online News Association meeting – vote for my panel. And then I appeared, for the first time in my life, in a cartoon!
ResearchBlogging.org Awards were announced and I was among the winners – check them all out. And since one of the categories I won in was ‘Biology’ and my biology posts are scattered all over the archives, I put them all together in one easy-to-find place.
Open Laboratory 2009 was reviewed at BoingBoing. And we have started collecting submissions for the 2010 edition.
Work-wise, I announced the PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month and also announced the new user functionality at PLoS – referenced PDFs via Pubget.
Following ScienceOnline2010, I started interviewing some of the participants. In March, I posted Q&As with Andrea Novicki, Andrew Thaler, Mark MacAllister, Andrew Farke, Robin Ann Smith, Christine Ottery, DeLene Beeland, Russ Williams, Patty Gainer, John McKay, Mary Jane Gore, Ivan Oransky, Diana Gitig, Dennis Meredith, Ed Yong, Misha Angrist and Jonathan Eisen.

Best Biology posts on A Blog Around The Clock

Now that this blog has won the ResearchBlogging.org Award in the Biology category, people are coming here and looking for biology posts. And on a blog with almost 10,000 posts, they may not be easy to find. So, I put together a collection of posts that I think are decent under the fold. Different lengths, styles, topics, reading-levels – hopefully something for everyone:

Continue reading

Update, and question about computer problems

You may have noticed very sparse blogging last couple of days – just the pre-scheduled Clock Quotes…
Well, I have some laptop problems (Dell PC with WinXP, only FF as browser).
The first inklings of problems showed up right after the AAAS meeting last month. I have been dutifully cleaning with Symantec, Spyware Doctor, SUPERantispyware and Spybot Search&Destroy almost daily since then. My Malwarebytes does not work – after uninstalling it, I get an error when trying to reinstall. Ad-Aware does not let me start (says I am a wrong user for it). WTF?
The problem is this – Google sites give me 404, etc.:

Not Found
The requested URL /accounts/ServiceLogin was not found on this server.
Apache/2.2.3 (Red Hat) Server at http://www.google.com Port 443

I cannot get into Gmail, Google docs, do Google searches, etc. It started a few days ago by letting me access these (and other sites) by first asking me to View Certificate (I click No and it proceeds to the site). That happened on and off – the same website would sometimes ask sometimes not for this. On Monday/Tuesday in Boston, this did not happen at all on the hotel wifi. It did again in a cafe on their wifi, and then again when I got home. Now, if I have a saved search (e.g., Google Blogsearch for my blog URL) I can get there and see it and change search terms, etc., but if I try to click on any of the search items it forwards to a commercial/spam site instead. I also get 404 if I try to Log In my Google profile at any site.
All other sites on the WWW I can access just fine right now (and no call to view certificate either). I can check Gmail on iPhone but cannot download files, copy+paste, etc. from there. So, unless I can reply in two words, my response to your mail may be delayed until I get this fixed. Or re-send, if urgent, your message to my other e-mail: Bora@plos.org.
I have spent the whole day and night yesterday cleaning up the laptop with four different spy/mal/ad-ware/virus cleaners- they did not find much of concern.
The problem is not with the router – other family members using the same connection have no problems with their laptops.
Since my Internet Explorer does not work, I cannot afford to remove Firefox (if it is Firefox that is borked) as I cannot get back online afterwards to re-download it again. I cannot first download Chrome, because it is a Google product, so I get 404. Any other browsers I should try?
Any other ideas?

The Best of February

I posted 126 times in February.
The Biggest Event of the month, of course, was the release of The Open Laboratory 2009, the fourth annual anthology of best writing on science blogs. And the first book review came out shortly after.
The Second Biggest Event of the month? It involves Science! I published a paper and blogged all about it – My latest scientific paper: Extended Laying Interval of Ultimate Eggs of the Eastern Bluebird.
Third Best Post of the month? I can’t have a month pass by without writing something provocative – Why is ‘scientists are bad communicators’ trope wrong.
There was an interesting excercise going on Twitter recently, and I donned my rhetoricians’s hat for Using Twitter to learn economy of words – try to summarize your research paper in 140 characters or less!
Early in February, there were several interesting Science Blogging News including the ResearchBlogging.org Awards. Later, the finalists were announced. Winners? Next month.
I went to the AAAS meeting in San Diego, but did not blog much from there, because there was no wifi and I was not regarded as press. My co-panelist Dennis Meredith did a fun presentation, which is available online. Our session had a lot of coverage, which I collected here. A few other Sciblings went to AAAS and I compiled their blog posts (with some commentary) here.
Following ScienceOnline2010, I started interviewing some of the participants. In February, I posted Q&As with Ken Liu, Maria Droujkova, Hope Leman, Tara Richerson, Carl Zimmer, Marie-Claire Shanahan, John Timmer, Dorothea Salo, Jeff Ives and Fabiana Kubke. Since there was so much conference blogging about the state of science journalism, I collected all the links about the topic in one place. And almost every day I posted one of the videos from the sessions and events at ScienceOnline2010 as well.
Some North Carolina science journalism/blogging projects I am involved with are getting noticed by the outside world, so I had to blog about it.
I wrote two posts highlighting some of the youngest science bloggers out there and asked readers to post comments on their blogs. Then I had to add a similar third post as more such student bloggers surfaced and needed ecnouragement in their blogs’ comment sections.
I went to see the new shark exhibit and a shark talk at the NC Museum of Natural Science and wrote about them: Megalodon and other sharks at Darwin Day.
Cool site of the week? I introduced Aves 3D.
Work-related, PLoS Store unveiled its Spring Collection: T.rex, Space, lively colors, mugs, and future scientists – the PLoS Store Spring Collection. As always on the 1st of the month, I announced January 2010 PLoS ONE Blog Pick Of The Month

Best of January

I wrote 134 posts in January. Unsurprisingly, a lot of that had to do with ScienceOnline (but there was other fun stuff as well, including some cool videos, images, etc.).
I went to see a talk about Ecology, conservation, and restoration of oyster reefs in North Carolina and wrote a post about it.
At the beginning of the month I announced the PLoS ONE Blog Pick Of The Month and later introduced the 3-D articles in PLoS ONE.
We also announced the posts that will be published in The Open Laboratory 2009!
In preperation for ScienceOnline2010, I wrote several posts breaking down the Program by themes and topics, e.g., Journalism at ScienceOnline2010, Civility and/or Politeness at ScienceOnline2010, Workshops at ScienceOnline2010, ScienceOnline2010 – evening events (and wild nights afterward), ScienceOnline2010 – Friday Tours, Art and Visual Representation at ScienceOnline2010, When Online and Offline collide (or collude) – at ScienceOnline2010, ScienceOnline2010 – what to do while there, what to do if you are not there but are interested?, Education and Outreach at ScienceOnline2010, Doing Science at ScienceOnline2010 – data, search, publishing and putting it all together, The Weather at ScienceOnline2010, ScienceOnline2010 iPhone app and Medicine at ScienceOnline2010.
After the conference was over, apart from posting a lot of videos made by participants with Flip cameras, I also asked you to give us feedback about your experience, wrote my own summary of the event – Making it real: People and Books and Web and Science at ScienceOnline2010, showed you how it all officially ends, thanked everyone who helped this event be biggest and best yet and kept updating the Blog/Media Coverage of ScienceOnline2010.
In the aftermath, I checked out the loot I got – Eureka, American Scientist and Phlogiston.
I did a Math 2.0 Webinar and an event on Twitter prompted me to post Hints on how (science) journalism may be working these days….

The Best of December

In December I posted only 118 times, which is a historical low for this blog. Ah, well. At least you got to see a lot of cool videos!
The best (and certainly the longest and most provocative) post of the month was What does it mean that a nation is ‘Unscientific’?
Web – how it will change the Book: process, format, sales was a shorter and thought-provoking post. And so was Trust and Language. And for something longer, and even more provocative, see All Science vs. Religion Conflicts are Essentially and Primarily Political Conflicts.
I wrote a long analysis of what exactly the partnership between Seed and National Geographic means, in Behold the Birth of the Giga-Borg. And posted a Year In Review
I announced the PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for November 2009 (the December one coming up in an hour or so). And then I made the happy announcement that ResearchBlogging.org posts are now a part of Article-Level-Metrics at PLoS.
I posted the The Final and Complete List of All Entries Submitted for The Open Laboratory 2009 – Sci and I, aided by numerous friends who volunteered to judge the entries, are furiously working towards having the book out in two to three weeks from now.
I went to see Craig McClain talk at Sigma Xi. A really long and nice interview with me was published, in Serbian language. Then I interviewed Cameron Neylon.
Most of the other posts had something to do with raising the temperature for the upcoming ScienceOnline2010 conference – introducing the participants, parts of the program, the keynote speaker, etc.
Happy New Year, everyone. More blogging next year!

Year In Review

It is always interesting to dig through one’s blog archives and see what happened when, or get reminded of a post one forgot was ever written ;-)
So, here are some of the key posts on A Blog Around The Clock from 2009, chosen from almost 2000 posts that appeared here this year (which is MUCH less than the number of posts in 2008 – I’ve been slacking off!):
Science
Circadian Rhythm of Aggression in Crayfish
An Awesome Whale Tale
Do you love or hate Cilantro?
Why social insects do not suffer from ill effects of rotating and night shift work?
Yes, Archaea also have circadian clocks!
Introducing Ida – the great-great-great-great-grandmother (or aunt)
Linnaeus’ floral clock on the island of Mainau
Behold the Mammoth
No more ‘alpha male’!
Recent Science-Related Events in the Triangle
Academia, Science Publishing, Open Access and PLoS
Fossils! Fossils! Fossils!
Open Science: Good For Research, Good For Researchers?
Are solo authors less cited?
Eliminate peer-review of baseline grants entirely? and Why eliminate the peer-review of baseline grants?
PLoS ONE Collections
Creative reuse of OA materials
Why or why not cite blog posts in scientific papers?
This is an experiment…
Lindau Nobel conference – Tuesday afternoon and dinner and Lindau Nobel conference – Wednesday morning and Lindau Nobel conference – Thursday
Open Access in Belgrade
Measuring scientific impact where it matters
Waltzing Matilda – why were the three Australian dinosaurs published in PLoS ONE?
Not-so-self-correcting science: the hard way, the easy way, and the easiest way
Article-Level Metrics at PLoS – Download Data (updated with links)
Open Access Week in Serbia
ResearchBlogging.org posts now a part of Article-Level-Metrics at PLoS
Technology, Blogging and Web 2.0
Do you comment on your own blog?
The Evolution of Facebook
Hey, You Can’t Say That! Or can you?
Triangle Tweetup Tonight and Triangle Tweetup
A quick introduction to Twitter
How Facebook got us together
The Perils of Predictions: Future of Physical Media
Behold the Birth of the Giga-Borg
Web – how it will change the Book: process, format, sales
Science Communication, Science Education, Science Journalism and Science 2.0
ScienceOnline’09 – Saturday 10:15am
ScienceOnline’09 – Saturday 2pm, and on the organization of an Unconference
ScienceOnline’09 – Saturday 3:15pm – Blog carnivals
Graham Lawton Was Wrong
Why good science journalists are rare?
The Open Laboratory 2008 is here!
ScienceOnline’09 – Saturday 4:30pm and beyond: the Question of Power
Undergraduate science summer camp at Petnica Science Center
Science & Technology Parks – what next?
SO’09 Interviews and ScienceOnline2010 series….
Books: ‘Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex’ by Mary Roach
Talkin’ Trash
The Final and Complete List of All Entries Submitted for The Open Laboratory 2009
Media Revolution (including in science) and Politics
What is science’s rightful place?
D.C. press corps dissed again – but this time for good reasons
Who has power?
Defining the Journalism vs. Blogging Debate, with a Science Reporting angle
The Falsest Balance in journalism
Memo to self-described sane, rational, science-loving Republicans
‘Journalists vs. Blogs’ is bad framing
New Journalistic Workflow
How Obama uses Behavioral Economics to change our habits
The Ethics of The Quote
‘Bloggers’ vs ‘Audience’ is over? or, Will the word ‘blogger’ disappear?
I don’t care about business models of journalism/publishing
What is ‘Investigative Science Journalism’?
Trust and Language
What does it mean that a nation is ‘Unscientific’?
Other
Fiddler On The Roof
In today’s papers….
Caryn Shechtman: A Blogger Success Story (an interview with Yours Truly)
On Being a Nurse – a guest post
Cohen
See more, in the monthly ‘Best Of’ posts:
Best Of January
Best Of February
Best Of March
Best Of April
Best Of May
Best Of June
Best Of July
Best Of August
Best Of September
Best Of October
Best Of November

Best of November

I posted 143 times in November.
This was a busy month, getting to the end of the submission period for Open Lab 2009 and getting ready for ScienceOnline2010, so most of the posts had something to do with one of those two topics.
And I posted quite a few good videos and a couple of cool photographs. I decided that I did Tweetlinks long enough for everyone to get it that I post a lot of cool links there, so if interested, you know where to find me on Twitter.
But I did blog about science as well – in this long post I covered several science-related events I attended and discussed the science I heard there.
Work-wise, we announced the PLoS Store and the October blog pick of the month.
I also posted the interview with Christian Casper and a brief review of the Leonard Cohen concert.

Cool new Scienceblogs.com widgets

Having difficulties following the flood of blogging here on scienceblogs.com? Well, it just became much easier. Go to this page and find the widgets with all sorts of feeds: the Select feed, the Channels feeds and all the individual blog feeds. So, if you want my feed, you click on the Blogs (A-C) tab, find my blog, click on ‘Share’, click on the ‘Install outside Netvibes’ tab, then choose where you want to download it. Then pick the way you want it to look (there is a pull-down menu with several choices, as well as several colors to choose from), copy the widget code and paste it into your site (or iGoogle etc.) and you’ll get something like this:

var BW = new UWA.BlogWidget({moduleUrl:’http://cdn.netvibes.com/modules/feedReader/feedReader.php?feedUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fscienceblogs.com%2Fclock%2Findex.xml&feedTitle=A%20Blog%20Around%20The%20Clock’});
BW.setPreferencesValues({‘view':’Gallery’});
BW.setConfiguration({‘title':”, ‘height':175, ‘color':’red’});

or something like this:

var BW = new UWA.BlogWidget({moduleUrl:’http://cdn.netvibes.com/modules/feedReader/feedReader.php?feedUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fscienceblogs.com%2Fclock%2Findex.xml&feedTitle=A%20Blog%20Around%20The%20Clock’});
BW.setPreferencesValues({‘view':’Magazine’, ‘nbTitles':’10’, ‘details':true});
BW.setConfiguration({‘title':”, ‘height':814, ‘color':’blue’});

Then just click through if you want to read any individual post.

The Best of October

October was a very busy month and the blog must have felt a little neglected. Still, I managed to post 142 times last month…and not just Clock Quotes.
Open Access Week was in October, and I particularly paid attention to Open Access Week in Serbia.
I announced the PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for September 2009 , the new Genomics of Emerging Infectious Disease PLoS Collection and the New and Exciting in PLoS ONE – articles with embedded interactive 3D structures.
I got off the computer, out of the house and in the car and went to some science/technology local sites and events, which I blogged about in Field Trip! Water, sewage and flowers and New jobs in North Carolina at CREE, producing LED lights.
The big job last month for us was managing the registration for ScienceOnline2010. Within three days of opening for registration we had to close as we were full. Then I had to put together the final program Schedule.
You can hear more about ScienceOnline2010 On Duke Radio. And I started introducing the participants here, here, here, here and here.
Nothing raises the excitement about ScienceOnline2010 as much as reading the interviews with participants of ScienceOnline09. In October, I added four more interviews – with Arikia Millikan, Tatjana Jovanovic-Grove, Blake Stacey and Daniel Brown.
Being busy, instead of writing I posted a bunch of really cool videos – see The Piano Stairway, Plastic in the Pacific Gyre can be microscopic and never biodegrade, Why does plastic accumulate in the North Pacific Gyre?, It’s so easy to re-use Open Access stuff, Open Access 101 (video), Teslapunk Antique Toilet of the Future, 500,000 Brazilian free-tailed bats fly out of a cave and Video of Anne Frank Surfaces on YouTube.
And I collected good links on Twitter and posted the best of them here in daily Tweetlinks.

The Best of September

I have posted 131 times in September (exact same number as August), including many cool videos as well as a few pictures from a recent trip to the zoo. This month I also started importing the best links I posted on Twitter over the day, in Tweetlinks.
In September I interviewed Victor Henning, John Wilbanks and Kevin Emamy.
At work, the most exciting news was the release of Article-Level Metrics at PLoS – Download Data. I announced the Blog Pick Of The Month and that PLoS ONE won the ’09 ALPSP Award for Publishing Innovation!. Then I did an Interview with Dr.Derya Unutmaz, Section Editor for Immunology at PLoS ONE and told you about our cool new dinosaur paper.
Speaking of dinosarus, it was also the time to announce the Open Dinosaur Project.
I got a brand new Homepage and did some fiddling around with my About Me page here.
I got on the editorial board of the Journal of Science Communication.
I made the first big ScienceOnline2010 update, went on the radio to talk about it and announced a new sponsor and travel grants.
The best post of the month was Talkin’ Trash about the reporting from the Northern Pacific Gyre.
Futurity.org, a new science news service was anounced, with mixed reactions from the twitterverse, which prompted me to ask what investigative science reporting is.
This month was also an important date in my life.
I went to Techie Tuesday and The Long Table and next is a concert by Leonard Cohen.

Housekeeping news

A) If you click on any individual post on any Scienceblogs.com blog, you will see new sharing buttons on the bottom which make it very easy for you to, with a single click, send the link to that post to Twitter, Facebook and other social networking services (or e-mail to friends).
B) There is a new page on Scienceblogs.com – this one – where you can see all the comments made recently on all of our blogs. And, lo and behold, they are not all on Pharyngula posts! Once you scroll down and read them all, just refresh the page to see the new ones. Click and add your own comments. Get to know the bloggers (and their regular commenters) you are not familiar with yet. You can get to that page from any blog by looking at the right-hand margin and clicking on the “More Scienceblogs” menu, then choose “The Latest Comments”.

Housekeeping time

I am superhappy with my brand new Homepage. So now I want to do all sorts of fixin’ around here.
The About page was horrendously out-dated so I did some quick fixes and edits to make it a little less embarrassing, though it probably needs a complete rethinking and rewriting from scratch one of these days.
But what should I do with the Blogroll?!?!
It is huge. And it is so out-of-date. And unmanageable. So many broken and dead links. Blogs that have quit months or years ago. And lacking so many blogs that I read now.
Option 1) delete the whole thing (nobody uses blogrolls any more)
Option 2) delete the whole thing and rebuild it, smaller, from scratch (people left out will be mad!)
Option 3) spend a few weeks fixing it: removing bad links, adding new blogs (will I ever find time and energy?)
Option 4) fix the existing or make a new blogroll and then make a widget on the sidebar that links to five random blogs from the blogroll (too scared to mess with templates on the new MT4 scienceblogs.com platform – likely to mess up the blog majorly).
Which option should I choose?

Homepage, yeah!

Drumroll, please*….
Check out my brand new and unique HOMEPAGE!!!!
I never had a homepage before. I never made a static web-page in my life. I made blogs. I made many, many blogs. And I always used my main blog (this one since summer of 2006) as my homepage. But now that I am all over the place, on various social networks, while reserving the blog for Most Important Stuff only, it makes sense to have a homepage that links to everywhere I am on the Web. It makes it easy to tell people in person how to find me. It makes it easy to make Moo.com business cards. It removes the need for a dozen links in the signature of my e-mail messages. Everything is at a single one-stop-shop page.
The page was designed and built by Arikia Millikan of The Millikan Daily, the former Overlord here at Scienceblogs.com. I love the clean look of the page – not easy to make it uncluttered for someone like me who is everywhere online. The header font is Caveman. The blog banner was painted by Carel Pieter Brest Van Kempen.
I may add a picture of myself to it soon (once I shave and get a haircut and get a nice picture taken), as well as a link to the Zazzle store. And that will, probably, be it. Keep it nice and clean and simple.
* thanks to Graham Steel for the link to the sound.

The Best of August

I have posted 131 times last month (definitely a decrease in numbers as most of the one-off quick-links are now going straight to Twitter/FriendFeed/Facebook instead of cluttering the blog). Interestingly, many of last month’s posts were some amazing videos – check them out. Here are some of the highlights:
Not-so-self-correcting science: the hard way, the easy way, and the easiest way was, in my opinion, the best post of the month, with The Perils of Predictions: Future of Physical Media coming in second place.
ScienceOnline2010 is off to a good start. But unfortunately, I had to miss its offspring, the Science Online London.
Several more interviews with the participants of ScienceOnline09 came in, including with Danielle Lee, Carlos Hotta, Erin Cline Davis, Bjoern Brembs, John Hogenesch and Danica Radovanovic.
The number of submissions for OpenLab 09 is growing, including for art and cartoons and poetry.
I won a wonderful piece of art. And also bought a cool sciency t-shirt.
I could not resist having a month pass without making a jab at journalists – twice: ‘Bloggers’ vs ‘Audience’ is over? or, Will the word ‘blogger’ disappear? and I don’t care about business models of journalism/publishing. The former is better, the latter got more comments. And I heaped praise on journalists who deserve it as well: Student journalists are doing it right – The new The Daily Tar Heel rocks!
I participated in a meeting about the future direction of RTP. And was visited by a friendly deer.
Hey, there was even science on this scienceblog last month – No more ‘alpha male’! And perhaps related – Weight Loss – what works, really? and Who are you calling fat, eh?
Job-related, I announced the PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month and we introduced PLoS Currents: Influenza.
I could not resist writing a plug for Archy in The exciting history of history of science. And mammoths! and a plug for The World Science podcast/forum: May Berenbaum – DDT vs. Malaria: The Lesser of Two Evils?.
I collected some good links about academia, science and publishing in yet another edition of Praxis. And then I discovered a good new local science/nature blog.

Scienceblogs.com Reader Community

From the Overlords comes this message that you, the readers, should take a look at and provide us, in the comments, with feedback:

In the next three to four weeks, we’ll be creating and unveiling a user registration program … This will allow users to sign in, create a profile, track discussions they’re interested in, customize their content, and interact with one another directly. We will also be introducing other benefits for registered users such as entry into prize drawings and possible rewards for commenting. … registration will be optional at least to start, so no need to worry about readers who don’t want to register being unable to comment.
… Some of the features we’re looking into include:
* Registration Profiles
* User Pics
* Comment tracking
* Voting/Starring system
* Recommendation widgets
* User to user connections
* Following – users can follow actions of other users
* User-created Groups
* Sharing content
* “Talk” blogs or forums
* Newsletter management
* Photo galleries
* Polls & Quizzes

The Best of July

I posted 173 (this is 174th) posts in July.
As I was traveling the first half of the month, I scheduled a bunch of quotes and also a bunch of re-posts of the most basic and informative posts about chronobiology for your summer education ;-)
The first week of July, I was in Lindau, Germany, at the Nobel conference. I blogged about some talks and some more talks and about the blogger meetup, I took some pictures of the Lindau island, and did a series of 1-minute video interviews with the participants, including Matthew Siebert, Anna-Maria Huber, Fenja Schoepke, Jan Wedekind, Ghada Al-Kadamany and Jennifer Murphy.
On the last day, we went on a boat trip to the island of Mainau (and back), where animals are so tame. After the panel on Climate Change we wandered around the island and visited the butterfly house and the Linnaeus’ floral clock.
Then I went to Belgrade, Serbia, where I gave TV and radio interviews, took some pictures, gave two lectures about Open Access, PLoS, Science 2.0 and science blogging at the University Library and at the Medical School, and attended not one, not two, but three school reunions! But perhaps the most exciting thing is that I got to see and photograph the recently discovered mammoth fossil.
As a result of the Lindau conference, I got a guest post by Lars Fischer – Nobel laureates on being young and the future of science – and, in turn, he got to interview me for an article. I was also interviewed by Next Generation Science and again for an article about Twitter in science.
The Who are you, dear readers? post brought in more than 50 comments! I also fixed my first ClockCast so it is in MP3 format – more podcats will be coming soon. Then I went to see Sheril reading at Quail Ridge Books and wrote a review of ‘Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex’ by Mary Roach.
PLoS-related, I announced the June Blog Pick of the Month (I will announce the July winner tomorrow), commented on the new focus on article-level metrics, and did an interview with Peter Sommer, PLoS ONE Section Editor for Virology. We published an exciting dinosaur paper which has its own special reason to be Open Access.
The series of interviews with the participants of ScienceOnline’09 continued, with interviews with Betul Kacar Arslan, Eva Amsen, GrrrlScientist, Miriam Goldstein, Katherine Haxton, Stephanie Zvan, Stacy Baker, Bob O’Hara, Djordje Jeremic, Erica Tsai, Elissa Hoffman, Henry Gee, Sam Dupuis and Russ Campbell.

A Programming Note

The backside of Scienceblogs.com is gettin’ some tunin’ tonight, starting in about 30 minutes or so. That’s what she said. So, we cannot post anything and you cannot post comments (though it may seem like you can) until, hopefully, tomorrow morning.
Afterwards, we all hope, posting (by us) and commenting (by you) is not going to be as frustrating as it has been for a while. No more “submission error” messages, no more multiple copies of a comment, or so they promised….fingers crossed.
This is a great opportunity for all of you to catch up on our rich bloggy archives. Or, better still, to go out and commune with nature or RL people.

The Best of June

Ah, with all the traveling I forgot to post the ‘Best of” post on the 1st of the month. But what the heck – I got new readers over the past couple of weeks, so better late than never. So here it goes – I posted 150 times in June. Here are some of the highlights.
I announced my plans for the trip to Germany and Serbia and later added some more details.
I was interviewed by Caryn Shechtman at Nature Network and later reposted the interview here.
I went to the XXVI International Association of Science Parks World Conference on Science & Technology Parks in Raleigh and wrote a longish post with my thoughts about the future of such physical sci-tech spaces.
In science news, a beautiful Mammoth fossil was discovered in Serbia. And Victor Bruce, a pioneer of my field, died in June.
I saw a big turtle in front of my house and a huge bug on my porch. I think this was the funniest video of the month.
First serious, thought-provoking, science-related post of the month was: Why or why not cite blog posts in scientific papers?. Then I dissected the Bentham Hoax by using a FriendFeed widget.
I posted the video about the Ethic of the Link as an intro to a very provocative post – The Ethics of The Quote – which made several journalists’ heads explode. I still stand by every word I wrote there!
As much as I enjoyed writing the ‘ethics of the quote’ post and the ensuing discussion in the comments, the best post in June was actually not written by me, but by the Bride Of Coturnix – On Being a Nurse.
The 140 Characters conference in NYC, all about Twitter, had a science session of which I posted a clip. Later, I used Twitter to explain Twitter to some business-folks at MIT. When the election in Iran resulted in government shenanigans and the people’s protests, I followed it on Twitter for the first two days or so (while it was still reliable) and reposted my tweets here.
In late June I started the series of interviews with the participants of ScienceOnline’09 – the first interviews were with Sol Lederman, Greg Laden, SciCurious, Peter Lipson, Glendon Mellow and Dr.SkySkull.
We set the date for ScienceOnline’10 so mark your calendars.
I started experimenting with audio (needs more work, now that I am back in the USA) and posted my first ClockCast. More will be coming soon.
Starting with the trip, I decided to do my annual Summer Chronobiology Course by reposting Clock Tutorials and associated good basic posts about biological clocks.
I participated in the Silence Is The Enemy blogospheric action – part 1 and part 2.
Work-related, I announced the May Blog Pick Of The Month at PLoS ONE, reminded you of Journal Clubs, pointed to the must-read article PLoS ONE: Background, Future Development, and Article-Level Metrics, and introduced the new PLoS Medicine community blog – Speaking of Medicine.
I arrived in Lindau on the 29th, still exhausted and jet-lagged I went to Mario Molina’s talk about Climate Change, posted brief video interviews with Wojciech Supronowicz and Corinna Reisinger and then posted about the Tuesday events including my Open Access panel.

I am back

Back home after two weeks. Jet-lag will probably hit me tomorrow. Lots of catch-up with PLoS work awaits me tomorrow as well, but blogging should continue afterwards – several more posts about the Belgrade part of the trip are yet to come.

Programing note: next two weeks will be exciting!

As you may already be aware I am about to embark on a trip to Europe again. I will be traveling on Sunday and arriving at Lindau, Germany on Monday for the 59th Meeting of Nobel Laureates. The list of Nobel Laureates (23 of them) and the list of about 600 young researchers from 66 countries are very impressive. Of course, not being a chemist, I’ll have to do some homework before I go (I printed out the complete list of descriptions of all of them to read on the airplane), learning what these people did to get their prizes and what the younger ones are doing hoping to get a Nobel in the future.
My SciBling PZ Myers will also be there, so we will both blog about the sessions and panels and people and, well, beer. Of course, beer, it is Bavaria! Apart from the two of us, there will be a lot of blogging about the meeting on the Scienceblogs Germany site, as well as some on Page 3.14.
But I will also do some work – I will be on an Open Access panel on Tuesday.
What I hope to do is conduct brief (1-2 minutes) interviews with people using a Flash camera, and later upload the files on YouTube and embed them here on the blog. Then I would follow up with a little longer (5-10 minutes) interviews with the same people using a digital audio recorder, upload the files somewhere (probably Odeo.com but I’ll test a few sites to see which one works the best) and embed the podcasts here on the blog. I will also be taking pictures and posting some on Flickr and Facebook and others via Twittpic to Twitter (which then goes to FriendFeed and Facebook as well). So you will be able to see them wherever you follow me online. Note the FriendFeed widget on the bottom of the left side-bar on this blog.
The Lindau meeting is from June 28th to July 3rd, after which I’ll fly to Belgrade for a few days, to visit my Mom and meet some friends (especially those I missed last year). Ana, Vedran and some others are already trying to organize the bust program for me.
I will give a talk at the University Library on Tuesday, July 7th at noon, and then at the Oncology Center at the Medical School at the University of Belgrade at noon on Wednesday, July 8th. I’ll be meeting my high-school friends on the 5th, and two different sets of elementary/middle school friends on the 9th and 11th of July (a bunch of expats are coming from abroad to the July 11th reunion as well). The horse-y friends will be at the Mediterranean games, so I will miss them this time around.
I am in contact with some people there who may be able to tell me more about the newly discovered mammoth fossil (I am not sure I will be able to actually go and see it, but I’ll try) as well as the people who put together the new exhibit of Argentinian dinosaurs (a traveling exhibit that just moved from Germany to Belgrade last week). I am also hoping to give some interviews at local radio and/or TV. More information about the Belgrade leg of the trip will be available on Facebook.
I am likely to be online a lot nonetheless. Apart from blogging the trip and uploading interviews, I will probably also schedule (for automatic posting) ClockQuotes and some reposts of old stuff from the Archives. And I will be in touch with the PLoS HQ and will convey all the exciting news coming from there. And on the 1st of July I will announce the Blog Pick of the Month.