The Wednesday Post (18/8/2010)

I had intended on writing this post in a few months time to coincide with our first birthday but as we were listed as one of Lab Rat’s bloggers with substance I thought it might be timely to write it now. Plus, I’ve always loved a good internet meme.

Before I address the questions of the meme I wanted to quickly recap why it is that I personally blog and what writing gives me that the lab science cant.

The first piece of encouragement to write ‘popular science’ pieces came from a newspaper editor that held a seminar at my university. Essentially he was just looking for free stories but I emailed him later with a bunch of half formed ideas and he guided me through the process of putting them together. Since then I have contributed a bunch of pieces to the daily newspaper and I’m starting to build a portfolio with them. But, sadly, newspapers are limited in what they can print. One of the basic rules of thumb that I was told was that whatever you write has to be worth more than an ad in its place. That means that, unless you given the opportunity to write a feature, you only get to skim through a topic without layering in any depth. Also, contrary to all my training as a scientist, references will not make the cut.

This led me to explore other options and blogging seemed to fit. After a few false starts I approached Thomas to help for two reasons; one, he was already using ‘Disease of the Week’ for a column he was writing for the university newspaper and I Knew that if we did it together online it would halve the stress involved. He agreed and we started posting. Since then we have had wonderful support from almost everyone who has read the blog.

That’s how I started blogging but why is another story. When I came to uni I started a science degree because I was interested in the full spectrum of science. What I didn’t realise, even as it was happening, was that as I progressed each year and narrowed my subjects based on what I had enjoyed the year. All of a sudden I was halfway through a PhD looking at half a dozen proteins and their functions and I wasn’t learning any new physics, geology, astronomy etc. It was no longer a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees because, as a wise post-doc once pointed out, we are far too busy analysing the capillary patterns on the underside of the leafs to even see the trees. The blog has become my way to expand my horizons and understanding again and Im beginning to think I’m a better scientist for it.

So, with all that said I’d like to carry on the meme by answering the 2 questions of this meme and hope that others continue to pass it around.

  1. Sum up your blogging motivation, philosophy and experience in exactly 10 words.

I write to amuse/distract myself from life and PhD

There’s much more to it, obviously, but with only 10 words what can you do?

  1. Pass it on to 10 other bloggers with substance

These are just 10 blogs I read that I draw something from. Some you will have heard off hopefully some you will not have J. They are not listed in any particular order either.

10 – A Schooner of Science – Um, it’s a pirate themed science blog, if that doesn’t at least intrigue you then you might be broken.

9 – Save your breath for running ponies – This is an awesome blog and winner of the Australian National Science Week ‘Big Blog Theory Award’ for 2010.

8 – Bad Science – Ben Goldacre is a genius. Add to your RSS feeds if he’s not in them already.

7 – Fake Science – Real science is sitting at a lab bench repeating the same mindless tasks repeatedly. Fake science is awesomesauce.

6 – Lab Rat – It would be remiss of me to not have the rat on this list. Thanks for the link love and thanks for your blog.

5 – PhD Comics – Jorge Cham comicalises how I feel. It’s like he knows PhD students better than they know themselves.

4 – Not Exactly Rocket Science – Of course this would end up on this list. If Ed Yong stops blogging then so will I, because there will be nothing left to say.

3 – Prone to Reverie – A lot of the blogs I follow are science based. This one by a medical student/intern/something often provides a different point of view. And sometimes just silliness.

2 – Until it kills me… – I only found out about this blog after it featured on national radio. A blogging mortician makes for interesting reading.

1 – Brave New Climate, Culturing Science, Conservation Bytes, The Naked Scientists, The Ranch Dressing

So I cheated, what are you going to do? Sue me?


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Filed under James' Corner

2 responses to “The Wednesday Post (18/8/2010)

  1. mabs

    I feel the same about not being an undergrad anymore.. I miss all the random things I used to learn from lectures.. now it’s just sitting in seminars, hoping it is interesting enough to last the hour

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