Laelaps

Pleased to meet you



“Worker Bee” by Motion City Soundtrack

I have been writing here at ScienceBlogs.com for about two years and nine months now. Some of you have been reading my posts since I started here (thank you for sticking with me!), but readers come and go over time, and so I am jumping on board with the “Who are you?” meme recently restarted by DrugMonkey, Pal, Janet, Bora, and Jason.

Everyone is asking different questions of their readers – some more detailed ones than others – but I think I’ll keep it relatively simple: who are you (feel free to comment anonymously or under a pseud, and be as specific [or not] as you prefer), what do you like about this blog, and is there anything you would like to see here in the future? I admit, straight-up asking for positive feedback might seem a little self-serving, but I am hoping that by doing so I can foster the community of regular readers here and further improve my writing. (Even if you don’t want to comment here, please send me an e-mail.) As Pal noted in his own post on this, “As bloggers we can get an idea of how many people are reading us, but not that much else”, so getting some good feedback from readers can be both helpful and encouraging.

Comments

  1. #1 Ian
    July 4, 2010

    Hi there. My name is Ian and I am a paleontology fanatic. My ultimate dream is to become a vertebrate paleontologist. I know the journey will be difficult, but I’m willing to give it my best shot. In addition to paleontology and its related sciences, I am also interested in ancient and medieval history, mythology, fantasy literature, Star Wars, heavy metal music, and B-movies.

    What I like about your blog is the fact that it is truly worthy of being called a SCIENCE blog. It annoys me when many “science” blogs spend so much time talking about politics and religion. However, you, for the most part, stick to talking about science. I also like the variety of scientific topics covered here, which often includes stuff I otherwise would be oblivious to. There isn’t much to say regarding the future of this blog because I think you are on the right track. Keep up the good work.

  2. #2 CS Shelton
    July 4, 2010

    Fine Arts major so take with a heap of salt, but I feel like the blogs where I’m most compelled to post alternate ideas (like here) are ones where not much consideration is shown for views contrary to the central thrust of a given post. You want to convey a theory someone just published but don’t provide much show of what could disagree with, alter, or replace it.

    Darren at TetZoo is less accessible for the non-experts like myself, but I still prefer his blog. One, I think he gives a more full account of the alternatives to the ideas he agrees with (often to more fully shoot them down, but still…). Two, he is a titillating fact machine. He’ll pick an animal I’ve never given a thought to and come up with a dozen mysterious or surprising things about them. A lot to chew on in even a short post, usually. It gives me more positive to focus on and I’m less likely to think of a criticism of anything said.

    But I still come around here. You’ve got the goods. I’m just letting you know what works for me the best. Take it or leave it.

  3. #3 Brian Switek
    July 4, 2010

    Ian: Thanks! I post frivolous stuff from time to time, but over the past year I have attempted to use this blog as a way to seriously grow my writing. I am glad that readers – like yourself – have picked up on that.

    CS: First, this thread is about this particular blog. Darren is awesome, no doubt about that, but saying how fantastic his blog is compared to mine does not do me much good. (Indeed, Darren has his own niche, and it would be misguided of me to try to copy what he does.) Second, I don’t think you have been reading closely enough. I do try to consider when there might be an alternate explanation for an observation or behavior – I have done so in my recent post on topi antelope, the “Big Man” A. afarensis skeleton, last year’s Darwinius kerfuffle, etc. – so I can’t say that your comment is going to make me do things differently. I don’t always seek out fringe ideas and systematically break them down like Darren does, but neither do I simply regurgitate what others have written. If there is a case when I do not consider alternate hypotheses, it is when I think the study is solid and trying to dig out an alternate explanation would only be an attempt to add a veneer of objectivity to something I think is clear cut. I appreciate your criticisms as I have been concerned with those issues myself, but I don’t think it is fair to criticize this blog for being different from Tetrapod Zoology.

  4. #4 Kirsty
    July 4, 2010

    I’m Kirsty, I’ve only commented once before regarding female paleontologists. I was a paleo grad student long ago (2002-2003), but I didn’t complete and since then have been working as an engineering geologist, in 3 countries now so-far.

    I enjoy your basic run-downs of recent papers, that I don’t have access too easily, being outside of academia. It helps me feel like I’m keeping a hand in, I also enjoy the photos.

  5. #5 nick gardner
    July 5, 2010

    I’m a pre-graduate student working to finish my bachelor’s. I work on reptiles (1 first author paper in press, 1 coauthored paper in press, and more to come). I don’t really know why I read this blog or any other. I just do.

    Cheers,

    nick

  6. #6 Lyn C
    July 5, 2010

    Thanks for writing this blog. I appreciate the way you write thorough posts about accurate science, accessible to non-scientists. Like Ian, I like the focus and that you post about topics I would otherwise miss. Like Kirsty, I’m glad for the reporting on scientific papers that aren’t published in open source journals. Your photos are neat, too.

    I like to keep up with evolution and paleontology blogs (as well as dinosaur pop culture) as a hobby. I work in an environment where science and scientists are respected, but I don’t get to do much science myself.

  7. #7 Kyle
    July 5, 2010

    I’ve a bachelor’s in geology, and I’ve been reading more or less since your SB debut. I ended up not wanting to work in the geological field or go on to graduate school in it (sometimes even strong, true interests end up not being what you wanted; I didn’t love the science less, it’s that I found out there were things I loved even more).

    Like Kristy above, I like the synopses of new research and so-forth; but I really love are the posts that interact with the history and practice of paleontology. I have to say that I’ve been looking forward to your book since you first mentioned you were going to work on it, and I’ll be ordering it as soon as I can, though I will probably have to wait until I get the inevitable Amazon.com and B&N gift certificates around Christmas.

    I know many bloggers like to know why people do or do not interact with their material. I’ve never been one to comment here because I don’t see you as a controversialist, but rather as a science journalist, and sometimes, personal blogger. I find that I learn a lot here, but have nothing to add, little to argue with, and few questions that I could not better research myself after reading your posts. I know that blogging without comments can feel lonely at times, but there are certainly many like me out there. I speak for us all: We exist!

    I mentioned that I do not see you as a controversialist, and Ian, I appreciate that. I like to see blogs that are focused (as a rule) unless the writer is so compelling or enough of a polymath that they can write about many topics and still be interesting. I think it is, also, important for the science, and science journalism, that it be accessible as fact and not couched in the terms of a totalizing view.

  8. #8 Grace
    July 5, 2010

    Hi, Brian!

    My name is Grace. I’m a graduate student studying geoarchaeology, but fell in love with fossils when I was a kid. I’ve been following your blog off and on for a few years. I actually found it before you even got to SB!

    I’ve commented only rarely. The reason for this is usually lack of time. The articles are good, but I don’t have time to think them through, analyse, and discuss. On the rare occasion that I have had questions and posted them, I don’t think I ever found the time to go back and check the answers.

    One thing I’ve always been amazed with are your pictures. They are very good. I know they are not fossils, but I often admire them and steal them for my desktop.

    Above that, I, like everyone else that has commented so far, really like the straight-forward, honest, and accurate way you present information. It saves me from getting distracted in the library catching up on missed research. I also don’t have to worry about it being overly biased in one direction or another. To me, this is important; I don’t want to dig through the sensationalism for facts.

  9. #9 Brian Switek
    July 5, 2010

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! I am glad that many of you have been reading for so long.

    Lately, due to time constraints, I have been writing more about individual studies than larger concepts (as I used to do), but I am hoping to work in a few more “big picture” posts in the near future, such as one on “killer sperm whales” this week. I usually don’t plan what I am going to write about on any given day – I just look through journals to see what catches my interest – and I have to admit that I am still trying to figure out where I fit in among life sciences bloggers. Ed Yong and Carl Zimmer are fantastic at covering exciting new studies over a wide array of topics, and Darren has the in-depth specialized knowledge to make just about anything interesting, so it takes a lot of work to contribute something original in a blogging ecosystem dominated by so many great, “apex” writers. I may never be ably to create a comfortable little niche of my own, but that’s ok – overall, Laelaps is more of a public writing lab than a blog dedicated to a particular topic.

  10. #10 Walter S. Andriuzzi
    July 5, 2010

    I was born at the shadow of Vesuvius, and survived Naples’s craziness long enough to graduate in Natural Sciences. In September I will begin a MRes in Scotland, hoping that my addiction to blogs like yours does not hamper my research ambitions. I like this blog because it covers some of my interests, such as ecology, zoology, paleontology etc., and reading it is a good training for my English. I appreciate your stile, clear yet rigorous, and some of the pictures you post are very very good to look at. As for the feedback, right now I cannot think of any suggestion I could give. Together with “not exactly rocket science” this is by far the science blog I like the most. Also, I look forward to read your book

  11. #11 jck
    July 5, 2010

    I was obsessed with paleontology as a kid, drifted away from it in my teen years, then circled back in college, when I majored in Geology. Unfortunately, OPEC collapsed shortly before I graduated, and I sent out 500 resumes, got one interview and no job.

    In the intervening years, I would read paleo articles in National Geographic and Discover when I found them, more as a general interest. Then I discovered the blogosphere and found all this great, current knowledge at my fingertips.

    What I like about your blog, Brian, is the detail you go into in your posts and the fact it’s not limited to vertebrates or the Mesozoic. Invertebrate evolution, along with with palaeobiology is every bit as fascinating as large, toothy dinosaurs.

    I also like the personal stories of your academic struggles. They remind me of my own college days in that it wasn’t all parties.

  12. #12 cicely
    July 5, 2010

    Hi, I’m cicely; one-time biology major (though that “one-time” was about 30 years ago), general science groupie, bored receptionist with too much at-work time on her hands, and a computer. I like the variety of posts, and the pictures are awesome. You’re doing great, from my viewpoint, and don’t need to change a thing.

  13. #13 Jorge Velez-Juarbe
    July 6, 2010

    What I like about this blog is that your writing is very good and you keep us informed of neat new discoveries. I’m not sure I remember how I ended up here, but I’m glad I did and I’m looking forward to reading your book.
    As for me, I decided that I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was about 8 years old and now I can say I am one. With a bachelors degree in geology and finishing a PhD in anatomy, I currently work on fossil seacows, but have also done work on Jurassic paleoecology and fossil crocs, crabs and echinoids from the Caribbean region.

  14. #14 Jen
    July 6, 2010

    I’m Jen. I have masters degrees in physics and in soil, water, and environmental science. As you can see I’m a generalist who has taken a rather scattershot approach to learning science. I started following your blog because I don’t know very much about paleontology, but I feel like I should.

    Also. I work at a small church camp. And whenever I might get an opportunity to talk about why evolution is true, I don’t want it wasted.

    I’m not sure what I would suggest you could improve. I do sometimes scan or skip over some of your more academic postings, but I think this says more about my limited ability for sustained concentration while I’m simultaneously caring for a six-month-old than it says about your writing. :)

  15. #15 Scicurious
    July 6, 2010

    oh hai. Sci likes fossils. :)

  16. #16 CS Shelton
    July 6, 2010

    Apologies, sir.

  17. #17 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
    July 6, 2010

    I’m Tom Holtz, dinosaur paleontologist at the University of Maryland, with research specialty in the evolution, adaptation, functional morphology, and paleoecology of theropods, especially Tyrannosauroidea (such as Laela…, er, Dryptosaurus.)

    I like the diversity of topics in the Earth and Life sciences here, and the fact that things remain rather calm here (for the blogosphere), as opposed to Pharyngula (or even TetZoo, occasionally).

  18. #18 Gaythia
    July 6, 2010

    Hi Brian! I have a MS in Analytical Chemistry, and a second undergraduate degree in Geology. I’ve worked in Government and industrial labs in positions ranging from groundwater geochemistry to electron microscopy.

    I enjoy this blog because it gives me a chance to dip into material I find fascinating but would otherwise miss, the photos are frequently stunning and because your posts are extremely well written.

    I’m eagerly waiting for your book.

    Keep up the good work.

  19. #19 David Tana
    July 7, 2010

    Hey Brian,

    I’m David, and I’m a post-bac (physical anthropology and minor in earth history), pre-grad student. I work for the University of Maryland, but not in my field, and I like stopping by here (among other sites that have already been mentioned) on the regular to keep up with science news. Like Dr. Holtz, I like the diversity of topics AND the fact that things never get too heated. You generally aren’t super heavy on the technical side of things, so I like seeing what you have to say here before perusing the literature. I wouldn’t necessarily worry about developing your own niche – what you do is just fine, and seems to be working rather well.

    Hopefully the hiatus won’t last too long!

  20. #20 Ann Littlewood
    July 25, 2010

    I’m a natural science junkie. I like your pictures, I like your writing. I try to work a little science into the mysteries I write so I chalk reading your blog up to research time. But really, I just enjoy it.

  21. #21 gökhan german
    February 4, 2011

    Ukash ; İngiltere merkezli, internet üzerinden alışveriş yapmanıza olanak sağlayan ön ödemeli sistemdir. Smart Voucher Ltd tarafından piyasaya sürülen Ukash Kartları, dünya üzerindeki 12.000 den fazla alışveriş sitesinde ve ödeme noktasında, para yerine geçmektedir. Kişisel bilgilerinizi saklı tutarak ödeme yapmanın en kolay yöntemi olan UKASH kartları, Dünya’nın en büyük online alışveriş sitelerinden kolayca ürünleri temin etmenize imkan vermektedir. Tek kulanımlık Ukash kartları sayesinde kimlik bilgilerinizi vermeden içindeki bakiye kadar güvenle ödeme yapabileceksiniz.

  22. #22 trt 1 izle
    February 4, 2011

    Kredi kartınızla Betsson!a kısa sürede ve güvenli para yatırabilirsiniz. Para yatırmak için kredi kartınızla ilgili bilgileri giriyorsunuz. Yatırmak istediğiniz miktarı onayladıktan sonra Kredi kartıyla para yatırma işlemlerinde en güvenillir sistem olan 3D Security Devreye Giriyor. 3D security kapsamında bankanızdan cep telefonunuza Onay kodu geliyor 5 dak. geçerliliği olan kodu doğru girdiğinizde para hesabınıza yatıyor.

  23. #23 PJ Bishop
    February 11, 2011

    I’m PJ, a recovering historian. Of course your field of paleontology is history with a vengeance. I’m enamored of lemurs, the little devils, and by that way found your blog. I’m grateful for the effort you make in writing interestingly, and well, about science. Of course, writing to express one’s thoughts is a compulsion too – You gotta blog like Fred Astaire gotta dance! At least for now.

    I appreciate well-written and well-founded books that treat science for the layman, like ‘Justinian’s Flea’, by William Rosen. This is history about the Byzantine Empire and the survival strategies of the plague bacterium. It has a nice account of the evolution of the eye as the byproduct of physical chemistry sponsored by bacteria. (It turns out that God is bacteria.)

  24. #24 epilasyon
    April 7, 2011

    oh hai. Sci likes fossils. :)

  25. #25 orjinkrem
    April 7, 2011

    Orjin Krem Bitki özlerinin mikro ölçülerde birleştirilmesi ile elde edilmiş naturel bir üründür.
    Orjin Krem Emilimi çok güçlü olduğundan etkisini dakikalar içerisinde gösterir.
    Orjin Krem Bitki özleri sayesinde kasların rahatlamasına ve gerilimin giderilmesine yardımcı olur.
    Orjin Krem 100 ML ve 25 ML set olarak satılmaktadır.
    Orjin Krem iki kutu bir arada bir kutu içerisindedir holagram bulunmaktadır.
    Orjin Krem alındıktan sonra bandrollü sayesinde sahte olup olmadığını kontrol edebilirsiniz.

  26. #26 güvenlik
    April 7, 2011

    iggered the succession of different forms (he did not advocate evolution nor did he support multiple creations, and he generally kept his religious beliefs out of his efforts to create a hard-nosed, syste

  27. #27 duvar kağıdı
    April 20, 2011

    Thanks for the great interview.
    I enjoy this blog because it gives me a chance to dip into material I find fascinating but would otherwise miss, the photos are frequently stunning and because your posts are extremely well written.

  28. #28 izmir
    April 23, 2011

    Dün Akşam Ölemedim Yine Kör Kütük Sarhoş Oldum Rezalet Çıkarmadım Bi Sana Birde Kendime Sövdüm Ne içsem Olmadı Kafada Başka Dert Tasa Kalmadı Bir Seni Atamadım Sek içtim Acıları Su Katmadım Yalanlar Yalanlar Söyledim Beni Hiç Hak Etmedin Sensizlik Beni Böy.

  29. #29 kiralik jenerator
    July 21, 2011

    iggered the succession of different forms (he did not advocate evolution nor did he support multiple creations, and he generally kept his religious beliefs out of his

  30. #30 cam balkon
    July 25, 2011

    I’m David, and I’m a post-bac (physical anthropology and minor in earth history), pre-grad student. I work for the University of Maryland, but not in my field, and I like stopping by here (among other sites that have already been mentioned) on the regular to keep up with science news. Like Dr. Holtz, I like the diversity of topics AND the fact that things ne

  31. #31 ondn
    August 20, 2011

    I’m David, and I’m a post-bac (physical anthropology and minor in earth history), pre-grad student. I work for the University of Maryland, but not in my field, and I like stopping by here (among other sites that have already been mentioned) on the regular to keep up with science news. Like Dr. Holtz, I like the diversity of topics AND the fact that things never get too heated. You generally aren’t super heavy on the technical side of things, so I like seeing what you have to say here before perusing the literature. I wouldn’t necessarily worry about developing your own niche – what you do is just fine, and seems to be working rather well.

    Hopefully the hiatus won’t last too long!