Observations of a Nerd


It’s official! The results are in, and thanks to all of you, I came in first place in the $10,000 Blogging Scholarship!

I know I owe a lot of people thanks (all 135,000 some odd of you!), but first and foremost I’d like to thank PZ Myers. Without his support, the outcome would have been very different. So thank you, PZ! Expect some nice things from Hawaii in the mail soon.

As for the rest of you – PZ’s hordes, my tweeps, facebook friends, blog followers, and reddit users – I don’t know how to thank you. The outpouring of support from the science community has been overwhelming, and I feel truly honored to have you all standing behind me. Be rest assured that this money will not go to waste. It will be used to continue to support my livelihood (Hawaii’s expensive!), scientific research and, of course, science communication efforts like this blog. And of course, thank you to CollegeScholarships for providing me this opportunity!

So thank you again to everyone who voted for me, and I wish the best of luck to my competitors. You guys are great bloggers, too!


  1. #1 Zushiba
    November 5, 2010

    Congratulations! I voted for you though I really had no idea who you were or what you wrote about or whatever. You were up against some steep competition however, that guy Samuel Jackson almost got my vote because Snakes on a Plane was a funny (albeit terrible) movie.

    But the post on Reddit won me over, I don’t know if it was you or someone else that posted it. Either way grats, and go on to do something most excellent.

  2. #2 Jason G. Goldman
    November 5, 2010

    w00t! beers on you at #scio11 !!!!!

  3. #3 Brett McCoy
    November 5, 2010

    Yay! I am drinking some very good scotch for you!

  4. #4 Michael D. Barton, FCD
    November 5, 2010

    Congrats, Christie! I would have puked if a makeup blog had won…

  5. #5 Zen Faulkes
    November 5, 2010

    You’re welcome. 😉

  6. #6 Sanktron
    November 5, 2010


  7. #7 Sarah
    November 5, 2010

    FOR SCIENCE *raises glass*

  8. #8 Joseph Hewitt
    November 5, 2010


  9. #9 Cuttlefish, OM
    November 5, 2010

    Congrats, and well earned!!

  10. #10 Deprogrammed
    November 5, 2010

    Without his support, the outcome would have been very different. So thank you, PZ!

    Yeah, too bad 8 out of the 10 contestants couldn’t have some high-profile internet personalities game the poll for them!

    You didn’t win, the poll was gamed. The other contestants deserve to feel cheated. Because they were. Congratulations, you won because of an ill-advised contest that was easily manipulated. You should be so proud!

  11. #11 Kevin Z
    November 5, 2010

    Not really worth responding to Deprogrammed, but my two cents anyways as someone who has been “pharyngulated” on more than one occassion. Deep Sea News received 36K hits in one day, another 25K the next day just from his link alone. We also received 110,000 hits in one day for posting a deep sea shark video from Reddit. Another 30K hits the following day. I sent a thank you note to the biologist who sent us the shark video. Hitting refresh every minute I can watch the page views and unique visitors sky rocket. Its pretty fun to see. Given the contest was over 10 days, I am surprised that she did not get more! Its 13K a day, scienceblogs was promoting this on their front page. They get over 2.4 million unique viewers each month… (http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2010/04/scienceblogscom_press_release.php)

    The bot idea was immediately debunked by the person who suggested it once they said the rate was variable. Other contrarians reported different rates over different time intervals, making it even more variable. You probably can’t have different rates for each time interval you are looking at. Maybe one could program a bot to do something random, or vary its rate, but I doubt a bot works that way. I concede that I wouldn’t know with 100% certainty.

    What concerns me is that by being overly and unreasonably critical, will turn off College Scholarships.org from making similar contests in the future. It is trying to do something amazing for really poor students (we all are!), but why should it if people are telling it is wrong. With that much at stake don’t you think they are monitoring the votes? It is one thing to be constructively critical, another to insult. Whether you believe it or not, science bloggers are tight knit community and we stick to each like glue. And we have huge numbers, the math is not at all that difficult.

  12. #12 ERV
    November 5, 2010

    The Simpsons, Ep 239: ‘Saddlesore Galactica’–

    Lisa: I hope you enjoy your plaque, cheater!

    Contest Coordinator: Well. I was going to give you the Good Sportsmanship Award… but now Im just going to be sick.

    Later in the episode–

    Bill Clinton: Thank you, Lisa, for teaching kids everywhere a valuable lesson. If things dont go your way, just keep complaining until your dreams come true.

  13. #13 Mike Lisieski
    November 5, 2010

    This center-aligned stuff is hard to read. My preference is good old right-aligned, if it’s worth anything.

    Also, congrats.

  14. #14 Kengi
    November 5, 2010

    Congrats! You (and science) deserve the win! We look forward to continued fascinating posts. Sorry, but winning means that now you have to keep up the great work you have been doing. No pressure. 😉

    All you have to do is Google for references to this contest and the contestants to find that many blogs and other sources were mobilized to help the two main candidates garner (legitimate) votes. The numbers seem quite reasonable (or even low) given the social networks supporting them.

    Due to source address checking, only those with access to large IP blocks (such as botnets) could have manipulated this to any reasonable extent, and there is no mention in the usual places about such manipulation for this contest. Besides, if someone like 4chan were to get involved, they would have probably supported the bathroom blog, not the science or cosmetics blog.

  15. #15 The Pick Man
    November 5, 2010

    Congrats! PZ drew my attention to your blog and I’ve subscribed to it on Google Reader.

  16. #16 Don
    November 6, 2010


    Did you ever stop to consider that 8 of the 10 blogs simply did’t have enough interest from other bloggers and readers? Way to go blaming Christie for the design of this competition. She played by the same rules as the rest.

    Stop being a sore loser.

  17. #17 Lilian Nattel
    November 6, 2010

    Way to go! And well deserved. I’m so happy for you.

  18. #18 AR
    November 6, 2010

    Congratulations! This is well-deserved.

  19. #19 AR
    November 6, 2010


    Did you ever stop to think that a good portion of the folks who were directed to the contest from Pharyngula actually took the time to look at all the other blogs and evaluate them on their merits? We’re not all such mindless drones as that! Observations of a Nerd is well-written, well-researched, interesting, and insightful — as well as having a design that’s pleasing to the eye — and deserves the win.

    Pecker off and let Christie enjoy the win without your sour grapes.

  20. #20 Southern Fried Scientist
    November 6, 2010

    Congratulations! Don’t listen to the whiners, you earned it.

  21. #21 Omar
    November 6, 2010

    Great news 🙂

    @Deprogrammed … don’t be a sore loser 🙂

  22. #22 Chuck
    November 6, 2010

    Congrats on the win! Haters are gonna hate, but you earned it by putting out a consistently great blog that a lot of people want to support. Plain and simple.

  23. #23 ThirtyFiveUp
    November 6, 2010

    PZ made me vote for you and I am happy you are the winner. How about a gift of a pareo for the “Trophy Wife”.

  24. #24 PO
    November 7, 2010

    Ok, I realize that it’s hard to distinguish between a comment from a concern-troll hater and a comment (now deleted) from a supporter with detailed inside knowledge, but I felt that the winner should know how these things go.

  25. #25 Nils
    November 7, 2010


    I was one of those reddit users exposed to the poll. Took the time to check all of them out before voting for you. In a way, all blogs chosen for the last poll were winners and hopefully gained some new readers along the way.

    The small gesture I would suggest to you would to maybe give the others a small nod on your blog. You already wrote your article about makeup, rising to the challenge and facing your competition.

    But some of those other blogs are not as popular – whatever the reason. So if you believe any of the other blogs would deserve some traffic (given that it could interest your own audience), I think this would be a great way to pay respect.

    Either way, all the best with your scholarship, you deserved to win!

  26. #26 Jeanette Garcia
    November 7, 2010

    Congratulations! I read every single blog in the competition before giving you my vote. You are duly bookmarked, and I plan to visit often.

  27. #27 rewarp
    November 8, 2010

    I am glad you won. And I am gladder that my hypothesis about bots was disproved.

    This was a straight-up popularity match between fans of science versus fans of beauty. I am glad science (and your writing) prevailed.

  28. #28 outeast
    November 9, 2010

    I’m pleased that the nomination drew my attention to your great blog (over time I’ve become less familiar with the full ScienceBlogs stable).

  29. #29 outeast
    November 9, 2010

    Actually I want to expand on my last comment, even at the risk of sounding hopelessly sycophantic. ‘Observations of a Nerd’ has very, very rapidly become one of my highest-rated blogs. In my opinion your writing puts you up there with the recognized heavy-hitters of the sciblogging world – not at the political end of the spectrum (PZ, Mooney, etc) but up there with people like Carl Zimmer, Ed Yong, and Brian Switek.

    Of course the endorsements of other science bloggers had a lot to do with your win, but that is not the same at all as saying the vote was Pharyngulated (in my case actually it was Razib Khan’s endorsement from outside the Scibling community that got my attention). It’s abundantly clear that the endorsements you got were well-earned. I’m really happy that you won this award, not just because you deserved it but because it brings you attention and hopefully will provide you with greater recognition.

    (As a side note, I’m always delighted to find really good new female science bloggers specifically; and it’s so important that such bloggers find a wider audience. An extra reason to be happy about this award.)

  30. #30 PO
    November 10, 2010

    my hypothesis about bots was disproved

    [citation needed]

  31. #31 Guy
    November 11, 2010

    As a fellow Eckerd grad (’78) who went on the study at UH-Manoa and the East-West Center I am very happy for you. So are a lot of other Eckerd alums who voted for you. We’re a tight-knit community as well.

  32. #32 Jester700
    November 17, 2010

    Another YAY! from a new fan. I’m another sciblog fan who checked out the poll on PZ’s recommendation. But I did read the blogs that had any appeal to me whatsoever (I think it was 4 or 5 of them), and of those yours was simply the best. Congrats from one who would go into science if he could do it all over again.

  33. #33 Paulo
    November 17, 2010

    Unlike most people here, and, I suspect, a great portion of the votes, I was actually following your blog already.
    Yet, I still took the time to check out all the other blogs in the competition and decide for myself their worth, quality and relevance. I thought a couple of them were pretty good but still no match.
    Christie your blog was the best hands down, well done and I’m sure the money will come in handy for someone so clearly passionate about science and with a very good talent for writing about it.
    Congratulations and keep it up!

  34. #34 Epinephrine
    November 23, 2010

    I know it’s pedantic, but I’m part of a horde, not a hoard. At least, I don’t think I am a valuable that is collected and hidden away.

    Congrats, and good luck with your research.

  35. #35 KyBoiler
    November 23, 2010

    Congrats Christie,
    As others have said, you should feel good about not only winning, but just doing what you do. The competition was theology, bathrooms, makeup, local issues, etc. Thanks for contributing rationality and the beauty of nature to the intarwebs… and enjoy your cash 🙂

  36. #36 Rick Miller
    November 23, 2010


  37. #37 Jinx McHue
    November 23, 2010

    Yup. Never underestimate the power of the vote bots of PZombies. Congrats on the underhanded win.

  38. #38 Kristjan Wager
    November 23, 2010

    Yup. Never underestimate the power of the vote bots of PZombies. Congrats on the underhanded win.

    So, how exactly is it underhanded? It was a popularity contents where the one who got most votes won. Christie got the most votes, she won. Nothing spectacular about that.

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