It is funny, when you interact with people on the internet, you develop a mental image of them – or at least I do. And sometimes people look pretty much like you expect, but sometimes not. I’ve found this situation to be particularly acute at science blogs, where I rapidly developed strong mental images of my colleagues, only to find that most of them are totally different in real life (thanks Google for clueing me in) than the sense you get from their blogs (even their photos can be misleading). I’m not sure what the correct word for someone whose internet presence creates a mistaken impression is – that seems like a word waiting to happen, but I thought I’d share some of my revelations.
First of all, the blogger I had read most often before was Dr. Isis, and other than a pair of very attractive shoes on a desk, I had no idea what she looked like, but was dying to see someone who can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, do hot hot science and do it all in high heels. I admit, I had a mental image involving slightly less pit hair in mind, but hey, she’s all that!
I admit I get very excited when I earn a comment from Comrade PhysioProf, and I’ve noticed that he’s particularly likely to comment when cats are mentioned – and no wonder, apparently – this is official artist’s rendering of the real Comrade PhysioProf:
Sometimes you really should have guessed. I mean Zuska is just too perfect – she couldn’t really be all the feminist she appears to be. I was a little worried that she was actually the cover name for this guy:
But fortunately that’s not true. Zuska is all woman, and deeply concerned with women’s issues. And remarkably she has time for a whole ‘nother career. Who knew she was so famous?
As for PZ Myers, I can understand why he’d feel more comfortable representing himself as a fairly typical New Atheist – white, upper middle class, highly educated, widely travelled and Minnesotan who gets his diversity creds for not believing in God, but honestly, I think his movement is more open than that and he could come forward. And boy is Isis going to feel guilty about giving him a hard time on that border crossing issue when she sees the real PZ Myers:
As for Greg Laden, well, he’s the only one that was pretty much what I expected. I knew he didn’t really break his leg ice skating. It turns out that his hiatus was much more natural than that – and it is all the more astonishing that he went to Harvard:
Sometimes there’s an important reason why the images don’t match up. Martin Rundkvist recently observed that “every girl crazy for a sharp dressed man” and seemed to be obliquely concerned that an image of him in a tux would send all the women viewing it into throes of madness. This is probably why he left out the real image – one that could throw most us into a serious frenzy of lust: Wow, that is something every girl can appreciate!
On other occasions, the deep intellectual seriousness of the project they undertake requires that the blogger’s image be somewhat cleaned up before they post – afterall, who would take Dr. Janet Stemweddle seriously if they knew that the sprogs were all a myth and the philosophy of science was being dispensed by someone so wise beyond her years – and who offers such an awesome Twilight Fanfiction blog on the side.
I would, however, call for the stunning number of minority scientists and science writers to stand up and show how diverse science blogs is. I think it would be easy to come to the false impression that science blogs isn’t really as diverse as it is – and our writers need to stand up and be counted, showing how diverse we are in a number of spheres – our stunning number of minority writers like Pal MD:
and the gentlemen at Obesity Panacea:
Science blogs is also famous for its class diversity, as in the case of Ed Brayton:
And of course is a hotbed of religious diversity, where the only common ground is the love of a good beard, as in the case of Orac:
And, of course Boris Zivkovic:
How did we get to be such a diverse and fascinating community that projects such profound wisdom while maitaining the private integrity of each individual? This I must credit to Erin Johnson, who manages the community gracefully and smoothly. I want to give her all the credit that is due as well:
And what about me? Well, you all know that I’m just a simple country girl, trying to reduce her impact by living as ecologically as possible. Here’s me in front of my eco-home – you should see the R-value on this 28,000 square foot baby, and all the appliances are energy star. Plus, my servants run on treadmills to power my hair dryer.
And look this is my newest farming project – we’ll be raising them for the local harp seal meat market – coming soon, green baby harp seal steaks to your local farmer’s market.
All of which just goes to show, you can’t judge a book by its cover!