Sorry, another “place-holder” post, end of teaching semester and pre-Xmas “Help I still haven’t done XYZ!” kind of thing, all a bit frantic, hopefully some new content coming….
I’ve just penned an official sign-off post at Nature Network to indicate to any remaining readers there (both of them?) that I have relocated. So I will leave this as mostly an Open Thread for anyone who wants to comment on the re-location (keep it clean).
It has been an interesting experience blogging at NN. When I set up there almost exactly a year ago I was already a fairly experienced online ranter, having been blogging for a couple of years (and commenting round the blogosphere for a couple more) as part of the UK “bad science” community. I started the NN blog as an outlet for my more respectable (non-ranting) material, though it probably didn’t actually work out that way.
In particular, when I started at NN I had thought to use the blog to re-publish the kind of respectable stuff I write as editorials and historical pieces for the Physiological Society’s magazine Physiology News – which does not, as yet, have online comments threads. However, those pieces took quite a lot of re-writing to “re-direct” them from a solely physiology audience to the general science / cell mol biol readership at NN. As a result I never did as many of them as I was hoping, and Not Ranting tended instead to switch back to my regular preoccupations of pseudoscience, science in the news for various reasons, and annoyances (though history still got a decent representation).
Now, I am one of those weird people who actually read comments threads. Indeed, I like comments threads, and lurking in them and discussing on them, much more than I actually like writing blogposts. So one definite reason for re-locating here was to have a less restrictive comments policy than at NN (specifically, not requiring registration), and thereby hopefully to generate a bit more discussion.
The other reason was to try and widen the readership a little beyond the very scientific-focussed one at NN. This was probably less of an issue for me than the comments, as my other blogging is already directed at a more general readership. Indeed, one of the reasons so many scientists blog about pseudoscience is that it connects with a lot of non-science people, simply by virtue of it being something they have often been exposed to in their daily life.
Anyway, I live in hope of new readers, and new commenters. And to close out with, in case there are any browsing and they would like to know a bit more about what to expect here, I thought I would post up a few links to my back-catalogue, highlighting the kind of areas likely to recur here.
As I already posted, the three main topics here seem likely to be science in the news/or science policy, scientific history, and pseudoscience. So I will indicate some favourites from last year under each.
First, some history pieces: the first and third one are derived from articles in Physiology News, while the middle one is a tribute to my father’s scientific mentor, Professor Jean Hanson.
On science policy, I would probably pick my piece on why concentrating funding on a few high-flying labs – the preferred solution of most agencies to the UK science funding squeeze – is not really a solution:
– and I was also pleased with:
– which dealt with the ever-vexed idea of whether you can predict which scientific discoveries are ultimately going to turn out to be important.
And finally, on my most regular theme of pseudoscience, there is my Summer adventure with the anti-vaccine gang, in which I was accused of being an “official front blogger”, or something, for “the magazine” Nature – which seems especially ironic about now!
Just when I thought I was out… (Part 1)