We’ve completed another Orbit!

In other words, Happy New Year!

Also, while I’m at it; Happy Chanukkah, A Very Merry Christmas or Season’s Greetings to you!

We’ve managed to survive yet another so-called apocalypse, London survived the Olympocalypse and our planet’s combined scientific exploits have done us proud once again, from the landing of Curiosity on the Martian surface to the statistically significant and probable discover of the Higgs Boson.

As for me, I’ve dug up Dinosaurs in Montana, Catalogued almost an entire museum collection, Monetised my Youtube channel… (so far making me a total of 44 cents US), Attempted to write a Novel, and totally and utterly failed to find a lasting, paying Job.

As for the next twelve months, I’m hoping to change that last thing, but I’m also hoping to do a lot of other interesting things. This month I plan to start working on digitising Lyme Regis Museum’s Geological collections, which means I’ll be learning how to use Modes 1.99…. oh dear…. but I’ll also be learning how to improve my specimen photography and digital image manipulation. In a similar vein I hope to take up arms against LYMPH 2006-72 again soon, hopefully with more success and less worrying about writing “the wrong thing”.

The Connecting Awesome ‘G.L.O.B.A.L’ blogging project is ramping up nicely; despite a little service interruption over the holiday period, if you haven’t done so already, go check out the other bloggers involved and give them all some hearty encouragement. This week the topic appears to be local events, so my post today will be about the Fossil Festival, and if I can think of something I’ll cover a more generalised British event – though currently I’m at a loss as to what that might be.

More new projects including a podcast are on the horizon, but I’ll not be sure what’s going on with those for a while as they do depend on other people.

Anywho, I just thought I’d drop in and wish everyone the best of the season, even if I’m a week or so behind the curve. Make 2013 a good one everybody!

Ben Brooks
09/01/2013

Some thoughts on ScienceBlogging.org

ScienceBlogging Logo
Gad Zooks, They’ve done it! shouted the mad scientist from his laboratory…

Last week I posted my call for a more meta-blogging approach to the whole science blogging malarky with my post; Can we have a “Meta-Blog-Network” please? and I was surprised by how well it was received (even garnering a link from Bora Zivkovic – an acheivement I am secretly kinda proud of), the article seemed to strike a chord with some although as usual with this blog there was little conversation to be had after the fact.

Today though an excellent reposte was given to the concerns I expressed in that post with the coming online of a new Science Blogging aggregator at ScienceBlogging.org which looks at first glance to be the answer to every science blog reader’s prayers. The site provides a central place from which you can get to all of the major networks (including many I didn’t even know existed!) and therefore to all of the most popular among the science blogging community.

Anton, Bora and Dave have also trumped any others considering doing this by including the Blog Carnivals (another new one on me) as a separate entity within the site, a definitely positive move as unless you are au-fait with the blog carnivals you may not think to look for them.

Yet another positive for the site and something I’m sure my friends over at Science3point0 will be very pleased with has been the very open request from the founders for the input of the rest of the science blogging community, something that everyone should welcome and get invloved in (for example @sandygautam has already posted a nice list of requests over at Free as in Science).

Now, having showered glory on this new and exciting venture I will bare the concerns that I do have with it:

  • I worry that this is going to fail because of “information overload”; by which I mean that having such a great clearing house as we now have for the science blogging community, it is quite a foreboding thing to look at on first turning up on the site. Without some kind of searchability or sub-categorisation of posts into (for example) sub disciplines I fear that people will just not know what to look at first.
  • Independent Bloggers are essentially excluded under the current set up of the site, and there are a lot of great independent bloggers out there who are excellent writers (I’m not one of them) and I don’t want to see them drowned out because in place of the one-big-all-consuming-network we now have lots of smaller-all-consuming-networks and a meta-infrastructure built between these and only between these, leaving the independents to join a network or stay out in the cold.
  • This site is a fantastic start, but you still have to go back to it to get different “appropriate links” to the blog post you may have initially started from – leaving the central idea of my initial post standing at the moment; though that may change with time.

These quibbles aside though, I wish to extend my congratulations to the three man team over at ScienceBlogging.org for getting this up and running, as this is an excellent place from which other projects can begin, and I look forward to seeing what they – and others – do next!

Ben Brooks

Short Link for this Post: http://wp.me/pFUij-6l

On Student Bloggery

Blogging for Cats
So easy a cat can do it! - Image by Vicki's Pics via Flickr

I’m a student blogger – that is to say an undergraduate student blogger – and undergraduates as we all know are lazy, underacheiving, skivers…. or at least that is the impression you would get if you talk to most adults in the UK, my dad included, and read too many newspapers (sadly about the only thing red-tops and the telegraph agree on).

Obviously I would beg to differ, given that I maintain this blog, a personal website, write for my secondary school alumni newspaper, work within my students union and on my degree. That said of course I would be willing to be proven wrong, and given some of the activities I have witnessed at university I can see that not being too difficult.

Anywho, as per usual I’m going completely tangentially to what I am intending to discuss; As we are approaching the beginning of a new academic year, with a new cohort of freshers approaching the ominous and exciting institutions of the nation’s universities, I’m going to make this call:

We (and by that I mean the web) need more of you students to come on into the blogosphere! It’s great fun, easy to get involved in, and provides you with one more way of improving your writing skills before those all important essays.

A level and GCSE 2008 results - photo 17
A-Level Results Day - Image by hammersmithandfulham via Flickr

I’m not going to tell you what to blog about, that’s your decision, and far be it from me to tell you how to do it, but there are a plethora of stories to be told, opinions to be heard and conversations to be had. These days everyone can have an online presence and whilst not every opinion is equally valid, the discussions brought up by those opinions can be enlightening, educating and fascinating!

Anywho, moving on somewhat; this blog is my personal online space where I get to vent my opinions on politics, science and all-sorts of other things, with the recent events in the science blogging community i’ve been considering moving all my future “more scientific” content to a dedicated science blog over at science3point0 which would not contain the somewhat more controversial topics that I have been known to cover here, what do you think? is it worth me separating the less personal content on this blog and relocating?

Ben Brooks

Short Link for this Post: http://wp.me/pFUij-6d

P.S.: I’ve used Zemanta for this post, I’m still a bit sceptical about whether is is an advantagous tool or just a tool for the lazy of blogging.