Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2010

Field of Science Now Taking Applications

Field of Science has come a good distance in its leisurely two years. In keeping with that pace, I thought I'd finally get around to opening up the floodgates to all the newly uninspired science bloggers out there who maybe thought once or twice about joining a network, but ultimately couldn't be bothered.

Field of Science lacks a grand manifesto/mind numbing contract/long winded code of conduct. We're also without a marketing department, a revenue stream, an editorial hierarchy, or corrupting force of any sort as far as I'm aware. In fact, if you look closely, you'll discover that the network itself is more or less just an allusion craftily assembled in order to give the appearance of some sort of official looking structure from which we propel our blog posts from the homely state of obscurity to the lofty realms of authoritative infallibility--which, as everyone knows, is the key to successful science blogging.

Anyway, Field of Science is the new-old science blog…

Census of the Science Blogosphere - Update

While the Census of the Science Blogosphere 2000 to 2010 has only been up for a week, the pace of new entries has slowed to zero, with a total of 112 participants to date. Not a great showing.

Nevertheless, it's not like there's a deadline or some other arbitrary finish date. Therefore, if you happen upon the Census and haven't participated, please do. I'll continue to collect data all the way up until this time next year (October 2011), when I'll post another survey for the year 2011 to combine with this one.

Links:

The Survey: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dEdFM1hxdzBfMERqNkE1clhZNEtCOUE6MQ

Early Results: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AkEYSGrudhmJdGt2cHVsdE9hbW9PTG1CbkFxeFNJMGc&hl=en&authkey=CMLNupMH

Oh, and pass it on.

Census of the Science Blogosphere 2000 to 2010

Looking at the recent network centric attempts at visualizing the science blogosphere, I've been inspired to create a bubble motion chart of science blogs for the last decade. The chart will analyze/visualize Location (i.e. blogger, wordpress, scienceblogs.com, etc.), Type (network, independent, etc.), Gender and Anonymity over the last decade.

To participate, complete the following survey. The survey is divided into years, so if you only started blogging this year, simply scroll down to 2010 and complete that year's information only. Alternatively, if you've been blogging the entire decade, complete each section for each year you've been blogging.

Confidentiality: At the end of the survey I ask for your current URL. I'll use this information to clean-up the data set and drill down in those cases where your blogging arrangement is a unique Type (i.e. Group Blogs, etc.), but I will not publish it. I will, however, make the raw data minus the URL submissions publicly a…

Help Wanted

With the recent growth of Field of Science, an ongoing redesign effort, life getting in the way and the sudden crowding of the science blog networks, I've run up against a couple of areas of need in the operations of FoS that warrant more attention than I have time to spare, and which would most benefit from a set of talents and skills that I simply don't possess. To that end, I'd like to offer up a few speculative job titles should an interested party decide they'd like to carve out a contributing role for themselves here at Field of Science.

Editor-at-Large (Publicist/Social Networker/Advocate) - Mention or inclusion of Field of Science has been noticeably lacking from a number of recent meta science blog network discussions. This pattern of omission--in light of the fact that Field of Science predates the vast majority of science blog networks that are the subjects of these discussions--is of concern. The remedy, aside from shaming the various authors into doing bett…

Build Your Own Science Blog Network

No, really, build your own science blog network.

The merits of being on a network are many (community, traffic, search ranking, etc.), but the one that matters the most is the prestige a blogger gains by association with the other bloggers in the network and through being part of a professional organization. The reason for this is straightforward--the first impressions a blogger makes are largely built on split-second judgments, and among the things that can be judged the quickest are appearances and the company you keep. If you're part of a professional looking network that includes another blogger who a reader already judges favorably, you're ahead of the game even before the reader reads word one. That doesn't mean you don't need to still be a good/great blogger to have an impact, you do, but being part of a network is a foot in the door every single day of the year. All you have left to do is raise your game to take advantage of the privileged position being part o…

Defining Science Blogging

The Virginia Heffernan piece in the NYT Magazine about science blogs (link not necessary for the few people reading this post) has gotten a lot of traction thanks to science bloggers. The reason for this is it represented the opinion of a popular writer printed in a mass media publication, and so responding to it holds the promise of traffic. It also helps that Ms. Heffernan's opinions were not above reproach, giving critics and targets of the piece something to sink their teeth into. However, take that same article and post it word-for-word anonymously on some unknown blog and the reaction it would garner from the science blogging community would be...crickets. Why? Because on its own, Heffernan's article about science blogs is neither insightful, compelling or correct. So not only would it not inspire a response (assuming anyone would bother to read it in its entirety), it would not warrant a correction--were it posted by a nobody on a nowhere site. For this reason I take a …

A Way Forward

For obvious reasons--I'm building a science blog network here--I've been paying close attention to the ScienceBlogs.com Diaspora. It is always fascinating to find out what a place looks like from the inside, and there's been a lot of that type of reflection going on. Then there's the teaching moment, the learning from SB's mistakes, but to be honest, the mistakes they've made (and are making) are pretty basic--so there's not a lot to take note of other than to marvel at how the thing managed to survive as long as it has. Finally, there's the prospect of picking up some of SB's talent. I admit, I've been circling the devastation not unlike a vulture, and I've even made a few inquiries and posted a few strategic comments around the fringes in an effort to at least get the word out to departing SBers that there is an alternative science blog network out there. One that doesn't suffer from a lack of vision or the corrupting influence of a fi…

Inured To Our Ignorance

inure: to harden somebody to something: to make somebody used to something unpleasant over a period of time, so that he or she no longer is bothered or upset by it

Here is a google trend for you. It shows the beginning of the decline in our interest in coverage of the ongoing gulf oil spill.

I don't bring it up to make you feel bad for going on with your life. I certainly have. I even went to the beach last weekend and sarcastically told my wife during the ride down that one day we'll reminisce about swimming in the ocean to our grandchildren who will react with a mix of disbelief and disgust (The ocean!? Gross!). My better half didn't find it amusing and used it as a case in point for why it's generally better if I don't talk. She's right.

Anyway, it's a familiar trend. We dispoil it, feel guilty for a bit then move on (read: forget about it). While we watch with increasing passivity as THE GULF OF MEXICO is turned into a toxic wasteland, I can't hel…

What Kind Of Scientist Do You Want To Be?

Over the course of assembling FoS and finding ways to contribute "content" that compliments that of FoS's science bloggers, I've stumbled onto the answer to a question that has befuddled me all my many years, What do you want to do when you grow up?

Of course it's a little late for me, but maybe the method by which I discovered my true calling could be of some use to someone not so...old.

1. Quite by accident, having decided on science as the general theme of my favorite website, I was halfway to my answer without even knowing it.

2. Fast forwarding to today and taking a critical look at my subsequent contributions to my favorite website over the past year--see the LPB and /r/FoS/(?)--and the mystery of what I wanted to do when I grow up is definitively solved.

So what's the answer to the question? Astrobiologist.

But back to the method.

Step One: Look at your list of favorite websites and glean from them a general field of interest. Examples might be entertain…

Alternative Research Blogging Widget(s)

Recently John sent me the code for a ResearchBlogging.org widget that he wanted added to his sidebar. While adding the widget I discovered that it was highly uncustomizable. That is to say, it is what it is, and if it doesn't fit the scheme of your blog (height, width, color, etc.), well, that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Needless to say, I like my cookies soft and chewy (read: malleable).

One solution I hit upon was to piggyback on Research Blogging's twitter account (ResearchBlogs) and Twitter's profile widget builder (which enables you to customize, among other things, the widgets colors and dimensions). What's more, Research Blogging's twitter feed includes posts from their News blog.

Another minimalist solution was to run a Research Blogging feed (pick one) through a pipe where you can then use the badge option to add a somewhat customizable widget to your web page.

To compare, here's a page with all 3 options side-by-side.

If you have another soluti…

Field of Reddit

If you build it...

I've been working on my science-blog-network, online-magazine (FoS) for a little over a year now. As part of its development, I've been experimenting with repurposing a subreddit as a FoS specific forum. After numerous iterations, I think I've hit on the right balance.

http://www.reddit.com/r/FoS/comments/aszmg/meta_field_of_reddit/

Over the years I've witnessed dozens upon dozens of great writers and contributors emerge from the ranks of the everyman only to be willfully ignored, and in some cases, openly resented by the "professional" journalists and editors who were too busy feeling threatened by the changes the internet was forcing on their profession to recognize all the untapped potential those same changes were putting within their reach.

It was this perpetual (I realized) state-of-missed-opportunity that finally caused me to abandon the established media a few years back, and started me down the road that has led me here. Today I'…

Spitzer

Artist's impression and animation of a celestial impact suggested by observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.



Astronomers say that two rocky bodies, one as least as big as our moon and the other at least as big as Mercury, slammed into each other within the last few thousand years or so — not long ago by cosmic standards. The impact destroyed the smaller body, vaporizing huge amounts of rock and flinging massive plumes of hot lava into space.

Spitzer's infrared detectors were able to pick up the signatures of the vaporized rock, along with pieces of refrozen lava, called tektites. -- August '09 Press Release

Image and Animation Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Launching in IMAX theaters in spring 2010.

Experience the gripping story-full of hope, crushing dissapointment, dazzling ingenuity, bravery, and triumph - in Hubble 3D, the seventh awe-inspiring film from the award winning IMAX Space Team.

Vividly captured in IMAX 3D, Hubble 3D recounts the amazing journey of the most important scientific instrument since Galileo's original telescope and the greatest sucess in space since the moon landing - the Hubble Space Telescope. Audiences will accompany the space walking astronauts as they attempt the most difficult task ever undertaken in NASA's history, and will experience up close the awesome power of the launches, the hearbreaking setbacks, and the dramatic rescues of this most powerful story.

Hubble 3D will also reveal the cosmos as never before - allowing viewers of all ages to explore the grandeur of the nebulae and the galaxies, the birth and death of stars, and some of the greatest mysteries of our celestial surroundings, all in amazing IMAX 3D.

Madagavatar

The list of people who have voiced their objections to Avatar for one reason or another . . . is long. Most, of course, are simply trying to hitch their particular agenda to Avatar's success--evenifthatmeanstheyhavetorubshoulderswiththeirideologicalfoes.



As for me, I only have praise for Avatar. It succeeded on every level. It was exactly what it needed to be.

Nevertheless, I've detected something in Avatar's wake that is somewhat bothersome to me. It strikes me that audiences and critics are dismissing out of hand the environmental rape depicted in Avatar as if it were just another stretch of James Cameron's sci-fi imagination. This group denial of Avatar's nod to realism has served to remind me that humans are really and truly willfully ignorant of the severity and extent of the environmental atrocities being committed by us in the name of progress, greed and humanity each and every day, right here on planet earth.

What's more, that there is such a thing as '…