Terra Sigillata

Sb 2.0 pledgemaster Prof Janet Stemwedel (Dr Free-Ride) has set forth a meme for others to learn more about the new wave of ScienceBloggers. Quite interesting queries, and the last one makes me look forward to a SciBloggerCon (or YearlySB?) that is open to the general public.

I also appreciate that Janet asked about the nine non-SB blogs we read; the move to Sb has certainly been exciting but I hope all the e-hoopla isn’t perceived as too incestuous or exclusionary. There are some really terrific science blogs that aren’t here but should be…perhaps in version 3.0?

On to the meme, from plebe ‘Exit 153’:

3 reasons you blog about science:

1. To fulfill my personal need to bring scientific information to the general public thereby protecting them (hopefullly) or informing them (at least) about the subset of unscrupulous purveyors of dubious botanical medicines and dietary supplements.

2. To promote what is truly cool about chemistry, pharmacology, and the basic science side of translational medicine.

3. To use my academic background and grant review service to e-mentor junior scientists (grad students, postdocs, junior faculty) in their own career development.

Point at which you would stop blogging:

1. When my family complains that it interferes with being a good Dad and/or husband.

2. Catastrophic brain injury.

1 thing you frequently blog besides science:

Forgotten or under-recognized folk heroes and/or civil rights, labor, or social activists (e.g., Stetson Kennedy, Woody Guthrie, Mother Jones (the person, not the magazine), Edward Abbey)

4 words that describe your blogging style:

1. Authoritative

2. Sentimental

3. Long-winded

4. Educational (I hope)

1 aspect of blogging you find difficult:

Not having a laptop in the shower, where many of my ideas originate; but if it must be about blogging per se, my most difficult challenge is being concise.

5 ScienceBlogs blogs that are new to you:

1. Chaotic Utopia

2. Discovering Biology in a Digital World

3. Effect Measure

4. Pure Pedantry

5. Dynamics of Cats

9 blogs you read outside the ScienceBlogs universe:

1. In The Pipeline by Dr Derek Lowe

2. Pharmagossip by Insider

3. Complex Medium by Ewen Callaway

4. Clicked by MSNBC’s Will Femia

5. YoungFemaleScientist by Ms.PhD

6. Dr Hébert’s Medical Gumbo by Dr Michael Hébert

7. Open Reading Frame by Dr Bill Hooker

8. Unintelligent Design by Dr Clark Bartram

9. Life Science Blog by Honeybee

2 important features of your blogging environment:

1. Glass(es) of wine

2. The Wall Street Journal (one of the best international sources of science blogfodder)

6 items you would bring to a meet-up with the other ScienceBloggers:

1. One box of one-hundred Terra Sigillata T-shirts (“one box” is one item).

2. One case of Yalumba Galway Pipe Tawny Port (“one case” is one item).

3. One digital camera.

4. One Taylor acoustic guitar.

5. One pair of trail running shoes.

6. One roll of duct tape.

5 conversations you would have before the end of that meet-up:
(with the acknowledgment that I have already had the pleasure of conversing in person extensively with Coturnix and all-too-briefly with Orac but recognizing that I still have a ton of wisdom to glean from them both)

1. With Janet D. Stemwedel and Tara Smith: a conversation about how to document science blogging efforts as part of a successful academic promotion and tenure dossier.

2. With PZ Myers: a conversation about why he’s at UMM (one of the top liberal arts universities in the US) and not Director of the US National Science Foundation or some other high-ranking educational or policy-making organization.

3. With Shelley Batts: a conversation on her outstanding immunofluorescence technique, stealth photography at UMich, and how to get the best postdoc.

4. With Karmen Franklin, Kevin Vranes, and Jake Young: a conversation about our favorite secret places in Colorado.

5. With Doc Bushwell: a conversation on the pros and cons of being a biochemist in academia vs pharma.


  1. #1 Shelley
    June 12, 2006

    Stealth photography indeed! I am a ninja!

  2. #2 Abel Pharmboy
    June 13, 2006

    You are indeed a ninja – don’t worry, I’ll ultimately get to the story of the new and improved picture of my namesake.

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