Monthly Archives: December 2010

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:

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!

ScienceOnline2010 – interview with Princess Ojiaku

Continuing with the tradition from last two years, I will occasionally post interviews with some of the participants of the ScienceOnline2010 conference that was held in the Research Triangle Park, NC back in January. See all the interviews in this series here. You can check out previous years’ interviews as well: 2008 and 2009.

Today, I asked Princess Ojiaku to answer a few questions.

Welcome to A Blog Around The Clock. Would you, please, tell my readers a little bit more about yourself? Where are you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)? What is your (scientific) background?

I guess you could say that I was born into a scientific family. My mom is a professor of biology, and my dad was a engineer for some time. My sister and a significant portion of my cousins are all in science-related fields, so it’s almost like science is in my genes. All that home-grown science knowledge helped to push me along the career trajectory I’m on now, and instilled in me a love of science that I want to spread to everyone else!

Tell us a little more about your career trajectory so far: interesting projects past and present?

I got my B.S. in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University and was fortunate enough to do two years of undergraduate research in a lab that really cemented my love for research. Even though I loved science and research, I wanted to take a few years off before committing to the long and hard road to the Ph.D. So I moved to Chapel Hill and took a technician position at the University of North Carolina. While there, I started reading lots of science blogs and getting more into the idea of being a science communicator, as I felt that the public needed more people to make science less scary and more accessible. Working as a tech also afforded me more time to get into projects like starting a local girl band called Pink Flag and playing shows for the first time ever. In Fall 2009, I started a Master’s program at North Carolina Central University, and started up my blog, Science with Moxie where I blog about the intersection of my two loves, neuroscience and music.

What is taking up the most of your time and passion these days? What are your goals?

Most of my time is spent between my research and classwork, my band, and keeping up regular posting on my blog. I also work occasionally on weekends as a museum educator doing science-themed birthday parties for kids. Some goals I have (since 2011 is literally right around the corner) are posting more often on my blog and doing some reconnaissance missions as to what sort of jobs are available for someone with a Biology M.S in science communication/policy/writing/education/advocacy in August when I graduate. (hire me!). I’m heavily considering going back to school too for a Ph.D., but I guess I just need to figure out what my upcoming Master’s degree can do for me first. Other goals are getting out my band ‘s first full-length record and writing lots of new songs. As for longterm goals, I want to stay involved in both science communication and music, so I’m looking forward to discovering all the different opportunities available to combine my love for both.

What aspect of science communication and/or particular use of the Web in science interests you the most?

I love the complete democratic nature of the internet and the fact that anyone can sign up for their own personal electronic pulpit to reach out to interested minds about anything and everything, and do it as anonymously or as publicly as they like. Another thing I love about the Web and the blogosphere is just the fact that people step up to debunk incorrect information or things that need further study in order to be respectably claimed. The most recent and awesome example of this in the science blogosphere was the whole arsenic bacteria thing in which many independent science bloggers managed to critique and electronically peer-review a hot-off-the-presses scientific paper. That whole incident just amazed me because in this age of open and accessible information things like this can be quickly called out by a network of awesome professionals. I think it’s an exciting time to live in when information is disseminated and then processed so quickly, independently, and simultaneously. In my little nerd girl future fantasy, it’s bringing us just a little closer to the ideal of something resembling “absolute truth,” or at least what we can collectively understand of it.

How does (if it does) blogging figure in your work? How about social networks, e.g., Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook? Do you find all this online activity to be a net positive (or even a necessity) in what you do?

Blogging keeps me on my toes in the latest of what’s going on in the science world. Researching and writing on topics that are just slightly out of my field helps me become more knowledgeable about my field in particular and better at analyzing thing in general. I feel that Twitter is kind of invaluable for discovering what’s hot in current science and for finding things to blog about. I follow a lot of science-related people on twitter who constantly tweet links that jog the mind and inspire my writing (including this guy named @BoraZ!). So I feel that social networking and reading links that other people post are essential to keeping my blog going with cool and exciting topics.

When and how did you first discover science blogs? What are some of your favorites? Have you discovered any cool science blogs by the participants at the Conference?

I first discovered science blogs via subscribing and reading Seed Magazine as an undergraduate. When the ScienceBlogs network started, I would read the blogs on and off. I got more into reading science blogs right before I started my own blog. SciCurious’ blog posts were always the ones that I looked forward to reading the most, and she is definitely a huge inspiration for my own neuroscience blog. I hope my posts are at least half as fun as all of hers are! Someone else cool I got to meet at the conference last year was Joanne Manaster who makes really fun science videos. There are so many creative people doing so many awesome things for science and meeting her (and so many others too!) reminded me of that.

What was the best aspect of ScienceOnline2010 for you? Any suggestions for next year? Is there anything that happened at this Conference – a session, something someone said or did or wrote – that will change the way you think about science communication, or something that you will take with you to your job, blog-reading and blog-writing?

The best part of ScienceOnline2010 was just getting to mingle and meet so many people in the science blogosphere whose blogs I had been reading for literally years. It was a bit surreal having so many people I admired in one location, all interacting with each other. The whole conference felt so innovative and futuristic from the stream of #scio10-tagged tweets on the screen in the lobby to just the topics being discussed. I think I just took all the enthusiasm and energy of all the people there back to my blog, so I could start carving out my own little contribution to this web of science communication online.

Thank you so much for the interview. And I’ll see you again in two weeks at ScienceOnline2011!

ScienceOnline2011 – introducing the participants

Continuing with the introductions to the attendees/participants of ScienceOnline2011. You can find them all on the list, but it may help if you get them in smaller chunks, focusing on a few at a time.

Seth Mnookin is a journalist and author, among other books, the upcoming excellent The Panic Virus. He blogs at The Panic Virus blog and tweets as @sethmnookin.

Melody Dye is a Researcher at Stanford University. She blogs at Child’s Play and tweets as @moximer.

Russ Williams is the Executive Director of the NC Zoo Society. He blogs at Russlings and tweets as @russwilliamsiii. I interviewed Russ back in March.

Kathryn Clancy is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She blogs at Context and variation as well as on her lab blog Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology. She tweets as @KateClancy.

Paul Raeburn is a journalist and author. He blogs most often at Knight Science Journalism Tracker, and sometimes at About Fathers and Fathers and Families. His next book, Why Fathers Matter, will be published in 2012. He tweets as @praeburn.

Leslie Taylor is project manager at the Science Friday Initiative and Web Editor of TalkingScience. She tweets as @talkingscience.

Nicole Garbarini is a Science Policy Fellow at NSF and AAAS. She tweets as @nikkigee.

Kristy Meyer is the Social Media Manager at Sigma Life Science. She tweets as @kristy3m.

John Ohab is the New Technology Strategist at OMNITEC Solutions Inc at the Department of Defense Public Web Program. He tweets as @ArmedwScience.

Chris Mooney is a writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘Republican War on Science’, ‘The Storm World” and “Unscientific America”. He blogs at The Intersection, hosts Point of Inquiry Podcasts and tweets as @ChrisMooney_.

ScienceOnline2011 – introducing the participants

Continuing with the introductions to the attendees/participants of ScienceOnline2011. You can find them all on the list, but it may help if you get them in smaller chunks, focusing on a few at a time.

Mary Knudson is a health and medical journalist. She is a Co-author of Living Well with Heart Failure and co-editor of A Field Guide for Science Writers. She blogs at HeartSense blog and tweets as @maryknudson.

Mark Hahnel is the Founder of and he tweets as @science3point0. I interviewed Mark in October.

Jan Reichelt is the President and Co-Founder of Mendeley. He tweets as @janerixo.

Jason Hoyt is the Chief Scientist at Mendeley. He tweets as @jasonHoyt. I interviewed Jason back in May.

Lucas Brouwers is a postgraduate student following the MSc programme Molecular Mechanisms of Disease in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He blogs at Thoughtomics and tweets as @lucasbrouwers.

Danielle Lee is Biologist, and an Outreach Scientist in St. Louis, Missouri. She blogs at Urban Science Adventures! and SouthernPlayalisticEvolutionMusic and tweets as @DNLee5. I interviewed Danielle last year.

John Rennie is a Freelance science writer & editor. He blogs at Retort and tweets as @tvjrennie.

Helene Andrews-Polymenis is Associate Professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center in the College of Medicine. She blogs and tweets and is one of the founders/developers of The Third Reviewer. I interviewed Helene back in August.

Amos Zeeberg is the Managing Editor at Discover Magazine Online and Discover Blogs. He tweets as @settostun.

Clifton Wiens is the Head of Research and Editorial Story Development for National Geographic Television. He tweets as @cliftonwiens.

Quick Links

Why am I suddenly so busy?
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ScienceOnline2011 – introducing the participants

Continuing with the introductions to the attendees/participants of ScienceOnline2011. You can find them all on the list, but it may help if you get them in smaller chunks, focusing on a few at a time.

Jean-Claude Bradley is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Drexel University. He blogs at Useful Chemistry and tweets as @jcbradley. I interviewed Jean-Claude two years ago – he is one of the handful people to attend all five conferences and one of only two people who moderated a session every single year.

Karen James is the Director of Science for the HMS Beagle Project. She also blogs at Data Not Shown and tweets as @kejames and @beagleproject. I interviewed Karen two years ago.

Olivia Koski is a Freelance Writer and a recent graduate of NYU’s program for Science, Health and Environmental Reporting where she blogged at Scienceline. She tweets as @oliviakoski.

Katie Peek is an astrophysicist turned science journalist and another recent recent graduate of NYU’s program for Science, Health and Environmental Reporting where she blogged at Scienceline. She tweets as @kathrynpeek.

Steve Koch is an Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico. He blogs at Steve Koch Science and tweets as @skoch3.

Amy Freitag is a PhD student at Duke University. She blogs at Southern Fried Science and tweets as @bgrassbluecrab. I interviewed Amy in May.

Vicky Somma is the Director of Software Development at Management Solutions of Virginia. She blogs at TGAW and tweets as @TGAW.

Robert Mitchum is a Senior Science and Research Reporter at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where is the editor of the Science Life blog. He tweets as @sciencelife.

Romeo Vitelli is a Psychologist in Toronto. He blogs at Providentia and tweets as @rvitelli.

David Whitlock is a chief scientist at Nitroceutic LLC and he blogs at Stranger than you can imagine .

New post on the SciAm Guest Blog

Today saw another great post on the Scientific American Guest Blog. Today’s post by Kelly Oakes is Habitable and not-so-habitable exoplanets: how the latter can tell us more about our origins than the former. Enjoy, comment, share.