Here’s the latest question from HQ:
How is it that all the PIs (Tara, PZ, Orac et al.), various grad students, post-docs, etc. find time to fulfill their primary objectives (day jobs) and blog so prolifically?
Good question. I often wonder about it myself.
In my case, a big part of the answer is that I don’t have a family. Another big part is that my day job, especially in the summer, doesn’t have fixed hours. One of the nice things about academic life is that outside of your courses, office hours, and various service requirements to the department, there aren’t many instances where you are expected to be in a specific place at a specific time. The catch, and it’s a big one, is that you are expected to produce a steady stream of publishable research papers. That takes an enormous amount of time and mental exertion. But research is not generally done to deadline, and does not have to be done in your office.
On the other hand, as an untenured faculty member in a part of the country where mine are frequently minority viewpoints, I do worry about offending the wrong person. I don’t worry enough to actually stop doing the blog, obviously. But it is a concern nonetheless. The only feedback I have ever received from my colleagues about it has been unambiguously positive. All the same, I don’t generally call attention to my cyber activities.
The amount of time actually spent on the blog varies considerably from day to day. Long posts in which I try to sustain an argument for many paragraphs often take several hours to write. On the other hand, many days I throw up a quick post that takes ten minutes.
So why do it? Well, the bottom line is that I enjoy it. I also feel like it’s one small thing that I can do to attempt to combat the rising tide of ignorance and irrationality in this country. Mathematics and science are things that are important to me. I want them to be important to other people as well. That is ample motivation for finding blog time!