Fourth of July Open Delurking Thread

It's Independence Day here in the US, where we spend the day playing with fire (grilling during the day, fireworks at night) to express our gratitude for not needing to give a damn about the British royal family. Or something like that.

Since I'm going to do my patriotic playing-with-fire duty (augmented by a possible trip to the zoo with SteelyKid), there won't be any deep thoughts forthcoming today, but to give those of you in need of web-based entertainment something to do, here's a question for all my readers:

Who are you, and how did you get here?

It's been a while since I did one of these, and I keep getting asked "What sort of people read your blog, anyway?" in interviews and the like. I've got some sense of the people who regularly comment here, but if you read the blog and don't usuaully comment, please leave a comment here saying something about yourself (are you a scientist? a student? just a fan of talking dogs and cute toddler pictures?) and how you found this site (crossover from another ScienceBlogs blog? link from another blog or aggregator? Google search for "cutest baby in the universe"?)

Thanks in advance for commenting, and happy Fourth of July.

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I'm a business analyst/software developer and a mom of a high schooler interested in physics. I found your blog via a link to one of your conversations with Emmy about physics.

By Jo in OKC (not verified) on 04 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm Anna, I'm from the country that's going to win the world cup ;), about to graduate (through some weird cosmic interference that I swear I had nothing to do with, because if it was just me I'd never, ever, graduate) in physics with a minor in history and philosophy of science. And in September I'll start grad school in philosophy of science and will never be heard from again, I'm sure.

I got here through browsing the Scienceblogs blogs, because I've been following Dr. Isis. One of those XX-chromosomes-stick-together things. I stuck around because I'm very interested in science communication and scientific literacy. And I really like the links :)

Apart from that... I'm afraid I'm not really a dog person. And I'm taller than you. That's about it.

I'm retired. I immigrated in 1970, trained as a mathematician at Columbia, but went to work for DoD instead of academia. I'm going to spend the day listening to Lorin Maazel conduct Il Trittico in a tent on his farm in the Virginia countryside. Immigrants have to stick together.

Well I am a 51yo male of Polish (father) & German (mother) extraction. My father's parents came from Poland in the early 1900s. His mother was sent by the family to make her fortune and then send for the rest of the family. She settled with her husband in northeast PA. Don't know much about my grandfather as he was killed in the coalmines when my father was three. Grandma never made that fortune, but she was able to stop working as a servant in NY when she moved to PA. She died the year before I was born, most likely from her 4 pack a day Camel habit. I still have relatives in Poland in the southwest corner - I found them when I was researching the family tree for my first security clearance. My father was the youngest (male) of mumble-de-mumble (family myth here, he says 27) kids. He just missed WWII. His bros served in both Europe (two) and the Pacific (one).

On my mother's side, her maternal grandparents came from Germany (Bavaria), while her father was PA Dutch which we have not been able to trace back. My grandfather here also worked the mines and then got lucky with a job in a local steel mill. He died of black lung and some other fun mill stuff. My grandmother was a cleaning woman up until almost the day she died.

Both my parents were also blue collar. I was the first in my family to go to college. BS in physics and EE, MBA in tech management. I work for the US Army and have for the past 26 years. I came to this blog probably from PZ, but maybe from Ed Brayton. Or surfing SciBlogs. I live in the NJ Pine Barrens now, hence the moniker. I will be spending the fourth cooking bacon cheeseburgers on the grill for my kids (son, 10 & daughter, 11), playing with our two German Shepherds and generally relaxing.

I enjoy this blog moreso than some other physics ones because of the style - easy to read & relate, plus the added fun of the remembrances of my kids not so long ago as I read of Steelykid, plus the book reviews.

My family's biggest claim to fame is my maternal grandmother being the cousin of silent movie star Harry Carey. Not like of them would nowadays know who we even are....

I'm a lecturer in chemistry at a mid-sized state university. My degree is in physical chemistry, but I feel like I ignore the physics side too much, so I'm always looking for more things to read on the subject. Plus I like the cute kid pictures.

I can't remember what brought me here, but it was probably a link followed from somewhere else.

By The Disgruntle… (not verified) on 04 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm a graphic designer living in the mid-west. Came across you and your blog one day via John Scalzi's big idea feature on his blog promoting "How to Teach Physics to Your Dog". Bought the book the next day and have been here ever since.

Banking exec (yes, some of us still have jobs!) from Malaysia. Had to think about "how I got here...."

Simple flow would be rasfwrj->Library of Babel->here.

By snowcrash (not verified) on 04 Jul 2010 #permalink

I am, by education, a software engineer who has drifted a bit towards the hardware side and have been building instruments for large telescopes for the better part of the last decade. I just finished up a contract in South Africa and am moving back to the US and some yet-to-be-determined job in some yet-to-be-determined location.

If I remember right, I followed a link from the "In the Pipeline" blog by Derek Lowe. It's fun to get a taste of various scientific fields from people working in them. My favorite new blog, from one of your link dumps I think, is Myrmecos, by Alex Wilde.


I'm a former English teacher, a former xerographic engineer, full time mom, and zoo docent. I'm waiting to find out how to teach physics to my CAT.

I don't recall how I got here, some link or another from another science blog, but liked what you had to say so much, and found so many posts that were interesting to me, that I subscribed.

I'm a former civil engineer, now middle school math teacher (mainly Algebra I). I don't quite remember how I got here -- either through roaming through the Scienceblogs site or from hopping on someone's link to your blog.

I'm a 2,02 m (bit under 6'8" for you Americans), basketball playing physics student from Finland.

I believe I got here after stumbling upon Pharyngula and then checking out what this Scienceblogs thing is about. A blog written by a tall, basketball playing physicist somehow just seemed right for me.

Neuroscience grad student in Seattle. I came here from Seed ScienceBlogs, but yours is my favorite and I added it to my reader separately because I like it so much. I don't understand the physics but I like the links (esp. the higher education ones) and the baby photos. Also, I grew up in Clifton Park and I like the hometown connection.

I'm a programmer in Waterloo, Canada; I got here originally from a link to an Emmy Story (likely, Bunnies Made Of Cheese)

I think I came here via Kate's book reviews. I stayed for the science blogging, and the cute baby pictures don't hurt either. I liked the book, and my nine year old skipped through and read all the doggie conversations. Maybe I'll get the eleven year old to read it, although I think he'll find the paperback cover more appealing.

I'm a physics teacher, and a search for something to use as a illustration in class (whether it was a picture, video, or alternate explanation) first led me to your blog over a year ago. I was intrigued by the sample chapters you had linked, and I've been lurking ever since. I'm also so pleased with your book that next year's AP Physics class has been assigned it, along with Isaac Asimov's "Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos" for summer reading.

I'm an ex-military engineer, who currently works with ex-military getting them jobs. I wandered over from another science blog on psychology (I believe it was Cognitive Daily when it was operational) looked around, liked what I saw and stayed. My being an ex-New Yorker, you being close to my hometown was an added dimension. Not to mention the cute baby pics and Emmy. Long time fascination with science, little background in physics outside of the Army, but always interested in learning more.

High school physics teacher, found you back in the non-Scienceblogs days via a link of forgotten provenance.

Stay for the physics beyond classical (most of what I get to do) and the baby blogging, of course.

I'm the chair of the math/cs department at a liberal arts college in the Midwest, who also spent some time as the physics program at a different Midwestern LA school. I don't really recall how I found this site, but I've been coming back almost daily ever since.

By Mark--> (not verified) on 04 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm a math professor in Europe. I found Scienceblogs some years ago, maybe two. I'm much shorter and older, but my tastes mostly agree with Anna @#2, except for who will win the World Cup.

I'm an Applied Physics grad student in sunny California doing acoustics research (IE training myself to be a mechanical engineer). I think I arrived here via Good Math Bad Math, and stayed because it was nice to read a science blog that wasn't all biology.

I wandered in a while ago from the scienceblogs main site; I don't remember the post that caught my attention. I am a physician in the NW US with an interest in molecular biology, cosmology, philosophy, skepticism, and etc.

I'm one of your classmates from college, though we don't know each other particularly well. Your journal is aggregated with others via a mutual friend of ours, and I piggyback on that collection to see what's going on in the wider community. I was a scientist, though not of the physics variety, and now am an IP attorney. And yes, I know I owe you class notes. Maybe one of these days when something interesting happens...

By lockoutlass (not verified) on 04 Jul 2010 #permalink

2nd Clifton Parker posting a comment...only reason I'm posting. There is a zoo near Union?

By Clifton Park (not verified) on 04 Jul 2010 #permalink

I am a musician and technical professional....ok well not so professional but i do work for some very rich movie dude's

I found this place because i searched for 4h of july BS
And started to read you rants..
I find them entertaining and funny..of course i am home board out of my skull at the moment so dont get all hopeful you are that entertaining...Of course it did prompt me to hear myself post and get all typy on ya...

I searched BS 4th of july because the state of the world and the massive stupidity of it these days leaves me unenthusiastic to celebrate some hollow day (with fire) that has no more meaning except to get a barbecue going wile the rest of the worlds people get bombed and trashed in the name of democracy or maybe spreading this barbecue culture around.
Of course we just barbecue the citizenship of these countries directly! The grill being their whole country.


Semi-retired engineer and software quality consultant, here via one of the countless sources of science and geek blogs I read...

Got your book as a Christmas present but it is still mostly unread, unfortunately. My goldens will not sit still long enough to listen to me read it!

Homeschooling mom on the Canadian border, I found you browsing through scienceblogs, although I'm sure cutest baby in the universe would also have brought me here.

Despite having a physicist brother and astrophysicist FIL physics intimidates me. So I do what I can to make sure my kids don't end up shortchanged in their knowledge of the ways the world work. You and DotPhysics help a lot.

I like the range of things you talk about. One of these days we'll send you a picture of chickens reading "How to Teach.." which I have to admit my 11yo has read but I haven't yet.

I'm a 58 year old business analyst with a "subscribe to Scientific American" level of interest in scientific issues. I got here originally via the blogroll at Crooked Timber. I'm also British and manage not to give a damn about the royal family 365 days in the year.

I remember you from rasfwrj, back in the days when people weren't ashamed to write legible English.

Your old BBS nickname was "Oilcan" if I recall.

I linked to PZ Myers from somewhere - then checked out some of the other Science blogs.

(Whatever happened to Loy? I remember nearly falling out of my chair laughing at some of the stuff he wrote)

By The Visitor (not verified) on 05 Jul 2010 #permalink

Statistician in the DC area.

I don't recall exactly how I found this blog, but I also remember you from rasfwrj.

By Michael I (not verified) on 05 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm a postdoc working on photoelectrochemical cells, but really I just like physics so I'd probably stop by regardless. I found this blog recently, and I don't remember quite how â it was one of those days when you're just surfing from blog to blog in a way that gives meaning to that whole surfing metaphor. (Or maybe I'm revealing my ignorance of surfing here. Pace, surfers.)

By Andrew Perrin (not verified) on 05 Jul 2010 #permalink

Well, I'm a German Biology student (my favorite blog is Pharyngula of course^^) and I found a few years ago when I realized that the German-speaking Scienceblogs is just an offshoot of the American one. In the first place I heard of Scienceblogs by being mentioned in some scientific news podcast.

Link from Dirac seashore. Just a nut who spent too much time in the NY Science Library and McGraw Hill bookstore chasing references in MTW Gravitation, and trying to make sense of spinors and twistors and clifford algebras and octonions, and what it all has to do with the physical world. Ah - back in the days when you could pick up Weyl's greatest for three bucks from Dover - and Kramers QM

By joel rice (not verified) on 05 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm a graduate student in Organic Chemistry. I found your blog a few years back because of your 'guide to synthetic chemistry presentations,' which made me laugh mountain dew through my nose.

I'm here because you guys rock, on Physics, Science Fiction, Pop Music, Parenthood, and so much more!

A heartless AI, solely from bibliographic databases, would conclude that I am primarily a Mathematician (over 3,000 publications there) and secondarily a poet (over 220 of those in print). But that would miss so many careers in my portfolio. The past 4 days at Westercon 63 (2011 in San Jose, 2012 in Seattle) I kept having people quote to me in languages in which my parents and/or grandparents were fluent, but I had to ask for English translation (French, German, Hungarian, Hebrew, Yiddish, Latin, Greek).

I am a Physics graduate student in Edmonton Canada who appreciates the variety in the posts, as I am also an avid sports fan. Disappointed that you had nothing to say about the NHL playoffs though.

I found this blog through science blogs as well, and have been following it for about a year and a half.

I am a middle school teacher of physical science for 8th graders (13-14 year olds). I bought your book based on a recommendation on a science website; I'm always looking for good clear explanations and examples to use in class. There was a link to your blog in some information about you.

I'm a physicist (at the moment in a limbo after the first postdoc and the second child, no job). Don't remember how I first came to your blog but I probably subscribed partly because I found a physicist who is also sf fan. I always check your feed among the first ones and never unsubscribe, because I find the mix of lighter and more substantial posts very easy to read somehow. I also like your link dumps, where I often find interesting things. Sorry to say that my comments have been few and not very thought out :-)

Computer programmer doing educational math vis software. Did my undergraduate in physics in the 80s before getting distracted by Silicon Valley. Been reading here since SteelyPips days, but no recollection of how I got there.

Scientist & Union Alumn.

A followup to my post at #29.

I still don't remember how I found your blog, but I'm reasonably sure it was before you moved to scienceblogs.

By Michael I (not verified) on 05 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm a science fan, though physics admittedly isn't my favorite, or the one I understand the best. I'm sure that I first came here via a link from some other scienceblog. I think it may have been to do with the then-upcoming publication of your book; a killer idea, interspersing a dog's POV, and very enjoyable reading.

I'm a Librarian/web developer in Scotland. I was a lurker on rasfwrj and found your book reviews on the web. Ended up staying with the blog.

By Greig Christie (not verified) on 05 Jul 2010 #permalink

I am an Engineer / Programmer / Technical Instructor. I have been reading Emmy's servant's blog for about a year now.

I came via Kate, who is an online friend, and my sister was one of your betas for How To Talk Physics. I'm an academic librarian, with a background in archaeology and classics, a husband who is an environmental engineer, and small children who are lobbying for two kittens to be named Momo and Appa.

I'm a physics grad student in New York(nowhere near the city). I remember stumbling(either from blogs or actually from stumbleupon) on the SEED blog list and picked up three or four and yours is the only one that I still read...

I'm a graduate student in physical chemistry doing molecular spectroscopy. I don't remember how I came across your blog.

Unix Administrator/software developer

Found you a couple of years ago during the DonorsChoose fundraiser when Scalzi posted about your "Dance Like a Monkey" incentive. Found you (who I now read daily), DonorsChoose (who gets my cash several times a year), and ScienceBlogs (where I've discovered a number of other occasional read blogs.)

By Richard N (not verified) on 06 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'm an options trader in New York City, but with a degree in neuroscience. Found the blog as an alumnus of rasfwr-j.

By David W-H (not verified) on 06 Jul 2010 #permalink

physicist/engineer working on my phd while trying to hold down a full time job as an engineer. stumbled onto this blog through science blogs, but enjoyed the science commentary enough to subscribed to it directly.

I'm a soon to be PhD student in the UK working on theory of many-body condensed matter systems. I came to this blog via some other academic blog and stick around because I like the blend of science, personal and academic posts, as well as the humour and the interesting links dump.