Say hello, Gracie


So I see from other blog siblings that it’s National Delurking Week. Aetiology has been around now for a year and a half (and just over a year here at Scienceblogs), and I’m thrilled to have a good group of regular commenters, but I never know quite how to answer when people ask who reads my blog. I know a bit just from my sitemeter stats, and a bit more from what commenters occasionally reveal, but that’s only a small subset of regular readers. So for the rest of you who just pop in and read but rarely, if ever, comment, I’d love to hear a bit about you–where/how you found the site, how long you’ve been stopping by, what you hate, what you like, where you are, what you do, favorite color, what kind of af tree you’d be, whatever you feel like mentioning. So, have at it, and thanks for stopping by!

(Image from


  1. #1 blipey, FCD
    January 11, 2007

    I’ve been reading Aetiology for about 8 months, now. I first heard about it from reading one of your contributions to Panda’s Thumb and clicking your link.

    Many of the science blogs I read now are a direct result of the Kansas Board of Education–I took an active interest in the idiocy of a Kangaroo Court and found some new places.

    I’m just a clown/actor with an interest in most things sciency. I find Aetiology extremely informative since my science background (from engineering school days) was in physics and a little chem. So, I truly do learn something new every time I click over here. Thank-you very much.

  2. #2 Raymond
    January 11, 2007

    Hi Doc!

    Started reading when PZ moved to scienceblogs, and I started browsing the other blogs here. Thanks for all of your good work!

  3. #3 DouglasG
    January 11, 2007

    Just a misplaced Iowan trying to get glimpses of home. Plus all that science stuff too!

  4. #4 Christian
    January 11, 2007

    I have been checking in on your blog for a while now. I can’t remember if it was a link from one of your Sciblings, or from the Panda’s thumb. But, PT started my reading of PZ, and then when PZ moved over here, I found plenty of new intelligent posters, like yourself, Orac, Ed, Carl, and Mark CC. I started reading PT after ID became such a storm, a storm which for the moment seems to have calmed.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. #5 anonimouse
    January 11, 2007

    Can I call myself a delurker even though I’ve posted here before? 😉

  6. #6 Tara C. Smith
    January 11, 2007

    Sure, even regular commenters are welcome to drop in and spill a little more about themselves, if they like.

  7. #7 KevinC
    January 11, 2007

    Hello Tara,

    I mostly lurk but have commented a few times. I started reading your blog sometime last Spring after I found PZ’s blog and started checking out the other bloggers.

    I am starting my last semester of undergraduate classes this spring (a long trip that started in 1980) with a degree from Northern Arizona University in Yuma in Environmental Science (Biology). I work part time at Arizona Western College (NAU Yuma’s sponsor CC) as the microbiology lab tech and teaching assistant. Most of the students are trying to get into our nursing program so we stress the medical end. I have applied to NAU main campus and should start working on a masters of arts in science teaching, biology and CC emphasis in the Fall. I don’t know how I am going to deal with the cold and snow. In Yuma a cold day is in the 50’s.
    I love the desert and I have learned so much about it while getting a degree from a school in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Need to get moving, meet with my boss and get ready for class next week.

  8. #8 J-Dog
    January 11, 2007

    Not sure if I am an official lurker, as I post here fairly often, but I got here originally through Panda’s, and stayed for your other intersting posts. You also grew up in my neck of the woods in Ohio, and we had just visited Iowa, as my daughter was considering attending that “other” Iowa school. She decided to go to a different Big Ten school, but I still have the picture taken at Field Of Dreams on my desk.

  9. #9 Sydney Schochet
    January 11, 2007

    Retired neuropathologist wwith interest in infectious diseases. Thoroughly enjoy your blog that I read daily.

  10. #10 Saboma
    January 11, 2007

    I don’t know where I’m going but I know where I’ve been. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you enjoy the play?

    I’ve been particularly interested in reading about Rift Valley Fever. I personally have San Joaquin Valley Fever although currently it is in remission. I also have Hepatitis C that is in remission. We’re unsure which one came first but together, they’re real doozies.

    To be really frank about how I found about the science blogs is well beyond me although I enjoy reading everyone of them even though I don’t read them all at one time.

    Thanks for being here and for the many interesting posts.


  11. #11 Dale
    January 11, 2007

    I found this place via a comment at Dean’s World as best I recall. Don’t post much anymore but I still read pretty regularly.

  12. #12 Nick
    January 11, 2007

    Hey Tara,
    I’m an undergrad at Carnegie Mellon University (Biomedical Eng.) and have been reading for about a year and a half now. I have no idea how I found out about you and the rest of the SciBlogs team, but I’m glad I did.

  13. #13 wright
    January 11, 2007

    Hi, Tara. I came to your blog via the Panda’s Thumb, I think.

    44 year old uncle (2 year-old nephew via my beloved sister), aspiring poet, roleplaying/science/sci-fi geek, former Christian (currently Deist, leaning towards atheism), amateur tree trimmer, corporate board member (Rancho La Vina Corp., incorporated 1959), currently unemployed.

    Reading this blog is an education in many senses. I must tell you, my heart just about STOPPED when I read the posts of folks who deny the germ theory of disease… my brain is still reverberating slightly with the memory.

  14. #14 Mike
    January 11, 2007

    Hi Tara,

    I’m a 45-year old father of 3 living in Nebraska. I am a lawyer who has had an interest in science ever since I was a kid catching bugs. I sometimes wonder if I made the right career choice. I like to cruise the internet over my lunch and read about things not law-related. About a year ago your site was listed as one of the 50 most popular science blogs by I read you a couple of times a week. I’m getting a good education from you, though a lot of your material is way over my head. I enjoy the humor.

  15. #15 chezjake
    January 11, 2007

    Hi Tara,

    It’s been a while since I commented, but I still read the vast majority of your posts.

    I first found you in the early Science Blogs days, after following PZ here. I’m a retired medical librarian in upstate NY. I’ve had a big interest in epidemiology ever since reading Paul de Kruif’s Microbe Hunters, Berton Roueche’s Eleven Blue Men, and Hans Zinsser’s Rats, Lice and History back in my high school and early college years.

  16. #16 Ron
    January 11, 2007

    Hi Tara,
    I am an anthropologist, I live in Chiapas Mexico and work on agronutrition, ecology and health in Maya Indian communities. I am especially interested in emerging diseases which is why I began reading Aetiology and I have been following it regularly for about a year, I think. I think I may have commented a time or two, but am a faithful reader (and voter!)

  17. #17 Guru
    January 11, 2007


    I have been reading your blog for more than an year or so; I think I ended up on your blog via Pharyngula. I enjoyed your posts on Semmelweis, Esther Lederberg, wasps, dengue and chikungunya (since I come from India), and the historical analysis of diseases! I would love to see more along similar lines!

  18. #18 LHD Epi
    January 11, 2007

    Hi Tara,
    I’m an epidemiologist at a local health dept in California. I found you through Effect Measure and started coming here for the infectious disease epidemiology but also enjoy the rest. Plus my sister’s name is Tara…

  19. #19 dukkillr
    January 11, 2007

    I’ve been reading for a couple of weeks. I’m an attorney in Kansas City who was a chemist before going to law school. I found your blog from some other science blog.

    I would be a live oak.

  20. #20 Rich
    January 11, 2007

    Hi Tara,

    I’m a software developer who was formerly the world’s least successful mathematical physics research student. I’m interested in all kinds of things from esoteric questions in physics to evolutionary biology to ancient (and more modern) history. I’ve found that I like the wide-ranging and engaging subject matter here at ScienceBlogs, and the atmosphere too. I got to ScienceBlogs by way of a link to something on Pharyngula, and I’m pretty sure that I then found Aetiology by browsing around the other SB contributors. I’d guess that I’ve been reading you intermittently for around six months, but I’m starting to lose track of time…

  21. #21 Patti
    January 11, 2007

    I found you via Pharyngula about a year ago. I’m a geek but with an amateur interest in ethnobotany and evo devo. I’m an atheist, who needs fairy tales when the real world is out there waiting to amaze us?

  22. #22 Dave
    January 11, 2007

    I’m an occasional commenter on Orac’s blog, but I’m really more of the Usenet type. I think I found this blog via google when I was trying to find material to explode some particularly heinous alt-health idiocy about AIDS. (I found some of what I wanted here, as I recall.)

    In real life, I’m a computer science PhD who does software development.

  23. #23 IAMB
    January 11, 2007

    Ah, you finally put up a delurker post. It would be rude of me not to oblige…

  24. #24 Dior
    January 11, 2007

    Ive been reading you for about a year. I got hooked on it from links from PZ. I am ex-military, on his third carreer. Researcher turned High school science teacher. Oh and the ex-mil comment is to side track the fundies I’m about as liberal as one can be and I teach in a small town in Utah. May be on a fourth carrer soon…..
    I love the research you blog on. Keeps me in some loop. Don’t like? When there is no new post, but I guess you need a life. btw could you blog sometime on women science orgs and minority scienc groups and ops?
    thanks and keep up the great work on and off the ‘puter.

  25. #25 victoria
    January 11, 2007

    Enjoy the blog!

    I came here via Orac — I’ve been lurking there for a while and that’s how I found SciBlogs. I’m in the process of applying for an epidemiology degree myself; I find the field fascinating. Thanks for the blog. It’s always a good read!

  26. #26 LM Wanderer
    January 11, 2007

    I came for bird flu information about a year ago and stayed for everything else. Thanks.

    LM Wanderer

  27. #27 jason
    January 11, 2007

    I’ve been reading your blog from way-too-hot Dallas, TX, since you arrived here at Sb. I’m just a regular ol’ science nut who enjoys good writing, so I lurk around these parts quite often (read as ‘daily’).

  28. #28 Hairy Doctor Professor
    January 11, 2007

    Hi, Tara — I’ve been reading you, PZ, PT, Janet, etc., pretty regularly for about a year or so, and MarkCC, Orac, and others sporadically. I’m a computer science prof in New England with ties to the Pacific Northwest. I stayed in your area on a cross-country drive a couple of years ago, and was compelled to go the half-hour south to Riverside to see the “future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk”; may have to take my family there on this summer’s drive out. Have enjoyed your posts, and feel you are in excellent company at SciBlogs. Keep fighting the good fight — I don’t know if I can contribute much to this particular discussion area, but now that I’ve officially “delurked” I may pop up from time to time.

  29. #29 KiwiInOz
    January 11, 2007

    Hi Tara,

    Long time lurker, occasional commentor. 40 year old, male, research ecologist from New Zealand, but living and working in Australia. I work in between obsessivly reading blogs of yours, PZs, and other worthies, as well as Pandas Thumb and Talk Origins (blast that hacker, I’m hanging out for my dose of Feedback!!).

    I enjoy your writing, and learn something new most days.

  30. #30 Dave Carlson
    January 11, 2007

    Hi Tara!

  31. #31 Raguel
    January 12, 2007

    But lurking is the only thing I’m good at :(.

    I started reading your site via Panda’s awhile back (right around the time you switched sites). My science background (such as it is; it feels like a life time ago, and I’ve forgotten most of what I’ve learned heh) is in chemistry, but I really didn’t care for biology until the whole Dover thing came up.

  32. #32 mary
    January 12, 2007

    Found your site about a year ago, and really enjoy it. I’m a retired lab tech with an interest in prion disease, leishmaniasis, and whatever else may pop into mind. Loved the white rat entry…how many other people got the image of screaming people playing ‘whack-a-mole’ with the toilet plunger?

  33. #33 chesapeake
    January 12, 2007

    A Baltimore nonscientist reader here, loving your readable explanations of why certain things are important. I like lemon pie and lemurs. I don’t like loud noises.

  34. #34 Eric
    January 12, 2007

    While I’ve posted a few times, I’m pretty sure I qualify as a lurker. I found your site via Effect Measure, and read it frequently. Started actually paying attention to blogs last year or so, and I just graduated from undergrad with a Bio major. Liked the mix of microbio and public health oriented posts, and the lack of shrill, self-inflated posturing that comes with alot of blogs.

    Favorite color is blue, and were I a tree, I’d be an Aspen (do they count, being weeds and all?). But not one planted at low altitude, they just die.

  35. #35 Algerine
    January 12, 2007


    I must be about a 95% lurker who’s been around before you joined up with scienceblogs, if I remember right. I found your site because I was looking specifically for blogs written by epis. I think you’re the only one, or at least the only one who kept going after the novelty wore off.

    I’m a simple country epidemiologist from Arizona myself. It’s fun being a generalist, dabbling in all sorts of things.

    What’s next? Oh yeah, what I like/hate. I assume you mean about your site. I hate it when I swing by and you haven’t posted anything new. I know I know, the University doesn’t pay you to blog. And you should spend at least a little time with your kids. And I guess you probably should get some sleep sometime. But what about me? What about my needs?

    I like all your different posts. It’s fun reading about epi and micro in something other than the journals.

    Where you are, what you do. Check check. Favorite color. Ummm, green I guess. And kind of tree. Hmmmmm . . . do triffids count?

    Anyways, keep up the great work.

  36. #36 Osky
    January 12, 2007

    I teach biology at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, IA. PhD in plant pathology. I’ve been reading your blog for about year now (found it via Pharyngula). Posted once before. Appreciated your info about Darwin Day at the U. of I. We’ll be bringing some of our science club students to the lecture.

  37. #37 Tara C. Smith
    January 13, 2007

    So cool to hear from all of you! (And hi, Dave!) I love the mix of backgrounds, and constructive criticism is always helpful. As far as the gaps in posting, I know it’s a bummer–writing posts is my way of letting off steam, so it bugs me too to let the blog go dark for a few days at a time. Alas, other responsibilities have to come first.

    Osky, so glad to hear you and your students are coming! I’m one of the organizers, so I’ll be floating around…stop by and say hello if you have a minute. Hope you’ll stay for the reception after the public lecture…

  38. #38 Arun Chandrashekar
    January 13, 2007

    I am a scientist working at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India. My work ranges from plants to microbes. The mix of social concerns and science that I see in your blog if of great interest to all those who are interested in the nteractions between science and society. I do think that your efforts are a link between professional journals and popular science journals. It would be wonderful if efforts such are yours results on greater communication between practioners of science and those affected by it on a global unprecedented level.

  39. #39 Soren
    January 13, 2007

    Hi Tara

    I think I came here via a mention from PZ.

    I am a 33 year old computer scientist from Copenhagen Denmark, working as a consultant, doing BI work for the public sector, especially hospitals.

    I have been married for little over 3 years, we’ve been together for almost 10, and our first child is due in the middle of April.

    I especially like your debunking of crackpot science and claims.

    I’ll go back to lurking now 😉

  40. #40 Janet A. Ginsburg
    January 14, 2007

    I am a journalist with a particular interest in disease issues, microbiology, the environment and energy issues.

    Almost a year ago, at the urging of a good friend/editor, I began thinking about doing a blog. I didn’t know much about them and in my web-surfing research came across Aetiology. Hands down, I think it’s one of the best science blogs out there. Tara is so good and so prolific I wasn’t sure there was any need for me. Indeed, I wrote her a little fan letter and she replied with encouraging words about multiple voices. began as a blog on blogger and has morphed in little larval website. I tend to be better at essay/articles than discussions, so Tara was right: We each find our place.

    I’ve enjoyed this blog immensely. Great sense of what’s important, smart comments and a whole lot more patience than I’ll ever have for taking on the (not so) intelligent design crowd.


  41. #41 Derek Chong
    January 14, 2007

    Hi Tara
    I’m an Indigenous Australian Medical student who is keenly interested in Infectious diseases. I love your blog and your style of writing I find it very informative and entertaining. I stubbled across your blog from “notmysecondopinion”. Keep up the good work.

    Sincerely Derek

  42. #42 murison
    January 16, 2007

    46 year old astronomer living under the murky skies of Washington DC and doing mostly celestial mechanics and a bit of analysis of optical systems. I’ve been reading your posts since sometime last fall. I think I came via Effect Measure, or perhaps via perusing the many delectable choices at ScienceBlogs. I finally fulfilled a childhood dream and bought myself a decent microscope last summer, and since then I’ve been having a blast learning (and seeing) Things Microbiological. One thing lead to another, and I eventually ran across Aetiology, among others. I’ve been a bug (as in viruses & bacteria) nut for many years, ever since reading Laurie Garrett’s _The Coming Plague_, so Aetiology is naturally fascinating to me as well.

    What kind of tree? Hmm, you don’t explicitly restrict it to the biological, so I’d have to say the characteristic curves of periodic orbits in the restricted three-body problem of celestial mechanics. Years ago I found that these tree-like structures are fractals, which is a delightful notion.

    Keep on bloggin’!

  43. #43 mycotropic
    January 16, 2007

    I linked in here from a year or so ago. I’m a 40 year old epi PhD student in Colorado who spends too much time online doing things non work related. Like reading about things outside of my dissertation topic here. I have to stop doing that at some point. No really; I actually have to stop this.

  44. #44 dissertation write up 
    February 11, 2009

    Blogs are good for every one where we get lots of information for any topics nice job keep it up !!!