Science Blogging Anthology - The Council Has Spoken!

I know you've all been waiting for this. Well, after two all-nighters, the deed is done. Under the fold is the final list of 50 posts that will be included in the anthology. There may be some small changes if some of the authors refuse (or never get back to me in the first place), but I have a couple of posts in reserve for such eventualities.

This was a heck of a job (and I hope I did better than Brownie...) to do. All science bloggers are my friends, and all the submitted posts were excellent. Cutting down from 218 down to 50 was a heart-wrenching, blood-sweat-and-tears kind of a job (like hosting a Tangled Bank of all Tangled Banks!). Fortunately, I got by with a little help from my friends. It felt like watching your best buddies being voted off the island, but the Council has spoken! Janet, Karmen, Jennifer, Jenna, John, Bill, MC, Carl, Leo, Heinrich, John and one anonymous reviewer sent in their evaluations of all the entries and that was hugely helpful. So, thank you, guys, very much!!!!!

All 50 authors have been notified and I got nine formatted articles back to me already (guess whose came in first?) and several others promised to do so by the end of the day today. I am still waiting for some others.

Three people (me included), completely independently from each other, had the idea to place a big chunk from my "Blogging and the Future of Science" post into the Preface which then left my other entries for consideration (and so many people liked the "Everything you wanted to know about sleep..." - I promise I did not ram it in myself under my editorial powers - as one reviewer put it: "OK: I'm going to leave this up to you. If you want to include a *different* post, be my guest. But this is the post that was BoingBoinged, the one that made a big splash, the one that probably motivated a bunch of people to start science-blogging. Just sayin'."). Also, no poem made it into the Top 50 so I may include one in the Preface as well (that is sneaking two additional posts in - what a trick!).

I also recevied some fantastic cover art from a couple of people. It will be tough to decide which one to use. I wish I had time to make that choice democratically by asking you to choose - but the time is too short - I'll have to decide, like, today, so the blook will be ready to go by the end of this week and up for sale by the end of the next week, just in time for the Conference.

Once all the editing, formatting and Preface-writing is done and takes over the job, I'll sit down and make the book webpage. From one of the pages there I will link to all 218 submitted posts - they are good! I will let you know here as soon as the book is available for sale (I dont think I'll be getting ANY money from this project - we'll mark it "at cost" and use the proceeds towards the next year's edition) - perhaps place it on the side-bar for everyone to see. And if you feel strongly that I should see some financial gain from this project, do it the bloggy way - hit my PayPal or Amazon buttons or the wish list (and a link is worth its weight in gold).

Also, start thinking about the next year. Check out all the science-related carnivals regularly, bookmark the best posts and keep them until next December until the nomination process starts again for the 2007 edition. I am not sure if there will be a new editor (volunteers?) or if I'll be doing this again next year (hey, nobody complains that Gardner Dozois has been compiling SF anthologies for decades), but keep that in mind.

Now, to the finalists, in no particular order (and certainly not in order in which they will appear in the book itself):

Science Fare (Bad Astronomer)

Eyes, Part One: Opening Up the Russian Doll and Eyes, Part Two: Fleas, Fish, and the Careful Art of Deconstruction (The Loom)

A Year in Texas: Monarch Migrations (Sarkar Lab)

Cicatrix (The Examining Room of Dr. Charles)

Answering Dean Esmay on ID in Science Classrooms (Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

It's not just the genes, it's the links between them (Pharyngula)

Campeador Diem (DarkSyde - DailyKos)

False confessions: Not as rare as you might think (Cognitive Daily)

Humility among scientists (Terra Sigillata)

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask) (A Blog Around The Clock)

An object lesson in Wiki research (Archy)

Lessons From Kennewick: Fitting it all Together (Afarensis)

Micro Black Holes (Backreaction)

Who's duping whom? (Adventures in Ethics and Science)

The global cooling myth (Real Climate)

Hummingbirds and Torpor (Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted))

What the (Bleep) Were They Thinking? (Skeptico)

Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt, part I and Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt, part II (Respectful Insolence)

Quantum interrogation (Cosmic Variance)

Public health, defense, what will *really* make us safer (Aetiology)

I'm A Professional, Don't try this at Home (Olduvai George)

BREAKING NEWS: George Deutsch Did Not Graduate From Texas A & M University and NASA Science Censor Resigns (The Scientific Activist)

Physics Funding Fundamentalism (Uncertain Principles)

Blind Watchmaker or Swiss Designer? (Part I) and Blind Watchmaker or Swiss Designer? (Part II) (Newton's Binomium)

Isn't Anaximander Wonderful? (Archaeoastronomy)

'Big Bang' is a terrible name for a great theory (Galactic Interactions)

The scientist as mad artist - an example using DNA for musical composition (The World's Fair)

All Together Now: 'Penis' (Intueri)

The little farter (Bootstrap Analysis)

The Worst Parts of Scientific Life and The Best Parts of the Scientific Life (The Daily Transcript)

Why You Weigh So Much: Dynamical Breaking of Chiral Symmetry (Scientia et Potentia)

Hurray for being eaten by a bear! (Thoughts from Kansas)

The discovery of the neuron (The Neurophilosopher's weblog)

Zero (Good Math, Bad Math)

Whitebark pine/corvid coevolution and paleoecology (Creek Running North)

The Write Stuff (Cocktail Party Physics)

Floyd Landis and Testosterone Testing: All the Background You Want and Need (updated X 7) (Pure Pedantry)

Opening up the scientific process (Public Rambling)

Snail shells are made of this (Snail's Tales)

Why do Elephants have Big Ear Flaps? (Nonoscience)

Darwin, Marx and Bad Scholarship (Stranger Fruit)

The Field-Archaeological Paradox (Salto sobrius)

Sexual Rhythms (Physics of Sex)

Training the Expert Mind and Training the Expert Mind, Part II: Medical Diagnosis (Corpus Callosum)

Ticks and Time (Science Made Cool (Zygote Games))

The Demarcation Problem... again (Evolving Thoughts)

When it comes to brains, does size really matter? (Neurontic)

Selection, nuclear genetic variation, and mtDNA (John Hawks' Anthropology Blog)

Denton vs Squid; the eye as suboptimal design (Panda's Thumb)

Bipolar Disorder: A View From the Inside (Chaotic Utopia)

Update: As predicted, the list was not 100% final and already one of the 'reservists' got a spot iin the blook!


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Great Job!

I think you are the perfect person to do this, and if you want to keep doing it every year, you definitely should be the one.

Ditto, Dave...there's no one better that I can think of to help put something like this together. I realized from how difficult it was for me to read through all those posts how much work this must have been for you...[granted I had an accident that shortened the time that I was able to devote to this]

It was fun to be a part of it!

Ditto Dave and Sir Oolius! Thanks Bora. I for one will proudly display the book cover in my sidebar.

WhooHoo! Nearly every one of the ones I picked is there!

At least it shows I have taste since I agreed with the others. And I'm with these guys. Bora, you've done an amazing job putting this together and I was happy to contribute in any small way I could.

There was so much good writing represented among the two hundred nominated posts, that it was difficult to narrow the group down to just fifty. I happy to see that most of the ones I preferred have been included. Great work putting this together, Bora!

Awesome job Bora! I'm with everyone else... You were the only person for this job and I was glad I could help out with the judging process. It really was difficult to narrow it down and the breadth and quality of science blogging really shown through in the 218 nominations.

I'm amazed with the attention span of the people that read all the entries!! This is a great selection too! (Although I didn't make it in myself *sniff* my Someone Else's Blog suggestion did make it, so apparently I still have some good taste...)

I'm curious to hear about any general experiences - I might want to use it myself one day, when I have enough coherent babbling to fill something book-sized. (Note "coherent", that's the limiting factor!)

Hmmm...this seems to not only have yourself selected...but also predominantly your colleagues from "".

Bit suss.

Is "blook" an intentional coinage, or a fortuitous typo? Either way, works for me!

By Squiddhartha (not verified) on 08 Jan 2007 #permalink

Blook is word used to denote a book that was formed out of blog posts. A number of bloggers
have collected their 'best posts' into blooks over the past couple of years. Lulu is the most popular (and people say the best, and easiest to work with) of several companies that do this kind of thing.

Last year, awarded the first Blooker Prize and is already taking submissions for the 2007 Prize. You can see some examples on the side-bar of the Lulu blog. I wonder if this Anthology would be eligible and, should it win, where the money would go?

DrJ --

I may be a bit biased, as one of the Sbers myself, but remember that ScienceBloggers have been recruited as the top bloggers on science from the web. We also dominated Nature's top 50 science blogs.

Bora opened up the process and received hundreds of nominations, then asked non ScienceBloggers to help narrow the selections down. Any selection process is going to be arbitrary, but to me, this was an excellent way of going about it.

I was worried about bias from the outset, if nothing else because the call for nominations was posted on a SB blog, thus likely to be seen by people who frequent SB and will think of "local" posts more readily than from the other places.

That is why I predominantly asked outside bloggers to judge. Apart from self-nominations, the couple of posts that I initially nominated myself were all from outside the SB Universe (and no, they did not all fare very well with the judges!) - and you have to admit that SB is a Universe - bloggers carefully picked for writing styles, popularity (hopefullly quality), etc., so the bias was inevitable.

There are 23 SB and 27 non-Sb finalists here. Is that an OK ratio?

Great job Coturnix! I, too, will proudly display the book cover on my sidebar.

By afarensis, FCD (not verified) on 08 Jan 2007 #permalink

I don't think that scienceblogs contains nearly 50% of quality blogging in this area. Definitely not.

It contains about 10% of all science blogs, if one defines 'science blogs' quite losely (but not inclusing every single medical, environmentalist, birding blogs, etc). I do not see why it is not about 40% of the quality in the blogging area.

In fact, I might add that I have no idea how my post was nominated (for the record, I didn't self-nominate anything) and suspect that it was from an enthusiastic commenter outside of the SB cadre.

Regardless, thank you for nominating and selecting my post. I am honored to be in such esteemed company. And many thanks to Bora and the entire selection committee for taking on such an onerous task on such a short timeline.

DrJ, only two of the judges were SB bloggers, so there was not a lot of internal bias once we were choosing among the nominations. Perhaps SB is a bit overrepresented, but most of the bloggers here are good writers and difficult to leave out when it comes time to pick between nominated entries.

If an anthology is done again next year and there is a desire to increase participation by non-SB bloggers, maybe an announcement inviting entries should run in a few Tangled Bank editions before the deadline. (And the same could be done in some of the other science, medicine, or nature themed carnivals.)

Regarding the perceived over-representation by SB bloggers by DrJ, SB is a relatively recent creation and, as far as I know, all of the nominated entries came from blogs that existed before SB existed. In the case of Respectful Insolence, the included posts are actually from Orac's archive on his old blogspot site. And frankly I don't see how you could have a Science Blogging Anthology without many of the SB bloggers.

I'd love to see this become an annual thing and undoubtedly procedures and diversity can be improved upon in the future, but for a new idea that was put forward in such a short timeframe, Lulu's and Bora's handling of this has been nothing short of extraordinary. Also, I would suggest that, for anyone who thinks they can do better, that this is the internet. You have the power to put together your own anthology.