Monthly Archives: August 2008

People and other animals

In China, as seen though Kevin’s lens.



Wilt thou, then, my soul, never be good and simple and one and naked, more manifest than the body which surrounds thee? Wilt thou never enjoy an affectionate and contented disposition? Wilt thou never be full and without a want of any kind, longing for nothing more, nor desiring anything, either animate or inanimate, for the enjoyment of pleasures? Nor yet desiring time wherein thou shalt have longer enjoyment, or place, or pleasant climate, or society of men with whom thou mayest live in harmony? But wilt thou be satisfied with thy present condition, and pleased with all that is about thee, and wilt thou convince thyself that thou hast everything and that it comes from the gods, that everything is well for thee, and will be well whatever shall please them, and whatever they shall give for the conservation of the perfect living being, the good and just and beautiful, which generates and holds together all things, and contains and embraces all things which are dissolved for the production of other like things? Wilt thou never be such that thou shalt so dwell in community with gods and men as neither to find fault with them at all, nor to be condemned by them?
– Marcus Aurelius

Comments competition

Less than 100 comments to go. The lucky 10,000th commenter gets a prize – a choice from the Clock Store or perhaps one of the anthologies….

Atemporal and ahistorical Google Maps?

Online maps ‘wiping out history’:

Internet mapping is wiping the rich geography and history of Britain off the map, the president of the British Cartographic Society has said.
Mary Spence said internet maps such as Google and Multimap were good for driving but left out crucial data people need to understand a landscape.
Mrs Spence was speaking at the Institute of British Geographers conference in London.
Google said traditional landmarks were still mapped but must be searched for.
Ms Spence said landmarks such as churches, ancient woodlands and stately homes were in danger of being forgotten because many internet maps fail to include them….

Really? Is this true? Aren’t Google Maps including a LOT of information? What do you think?

On NPR’s Science Friday today

There was a fantastic example of an anti-vaccination caller on this show earlier today – Parents Protest Increase In Required Vaccinations. Please listen to the podcast, especially to the last caller. Prodded over and over again, she displayed more and more loony conspiracy theories and in the end flatly stated that no kind or amount of evidence would change her mind. Do you think she was handled well? What take-home message would an uninformed listener take from the exchange? Pro or con?, v.2.0

The cat is out of the bag! The version2.0 of is ready to go and you can test it out:

After a week of late nights and hard coding, our development team has released the beta version of the site to our entire userbase! You can visit the new site here:
We are planning on launching the site at the address over the weekend, but you can get a head start now setting up your account, customizing it the way you like, and trying out all our new features. (note: All passwords have been reset, so you’ll need to use the “forgot password?” link to set your password)
There will be much, much more on our official launch date of September 2, but here is a partial list of new features:
* Multiple language support (and 30 new German-language bloggers!)
* Topic-specific RSS feeds
* Post-by-post tagging with topics and subtopics
* “Recover password” feature
* Email alerts when there is a problem with posts
* Users can flag posts that don’t meet our guidelines
* Customized user home pages with bios and blog descriptions
* Blogger photos/other images displayed with each post
* Multiple bloggers per blog
* Multiple blogs per blogger
* Advanced troubleshooting features
We’re super excited that the system is ready to go, and we look forward to seeing you on the new site!

Well, we took a little look at the PLoS HQ and noticed that out of 87 pages of ‘all results’ there are 8 pages of ‘PLoS’ results – implying that about 10% of all the BPR3 posts are on PLoS papers from all seven journals – and of those, 4 pages are just on PLOS ONE papers – which is about 5%. All I can say is w00t! for Open Access – when bloggers can read, bloggers will write.

Science Blogging – London 2008

Finallogo.jpgThe London Science Blogging Conference is about to begin. Check out the Conference Programme the who’s who list of attendees and the discussion in the Science Blogging 2008: London NN forums, a FriendFeed room and a Facebook page.
We will be wathing closely, getting ideas, learning stuff, and making our own program for the ScienceOnline’09 – soon to be revealed to the world.