That Science Blog Meme Thing Going Around

Something broke out of the picket-fence surrounding Nature Networks Blogs. I’ve never participated in a blog meme … but this one appealed to me simply because I liked the questions. I haven’t read anyone else’s answers yet, to avoid biasing my own.

1. What is your blog about?

I often ask myself this question. Being a scientist, I always feel like it should be about science, and the various biological systems I work with. I reality, it is about programming, bioinformatics, the web with the tiniest bit of structural biology thrown in. I used to blog about Linux related things occasionally, but I split that off into another blog (which gets 10 times more traffic :)).

2. What will you never write about?

I’d rather not rule anything out. I’ve avoided politics, largely because all my “blogging peers” also largely avoid it. Sometime I wonder why, but I think I’m beginning to understand; blogging about political issues may seem important, but eventually it just becomes a constant ‘rah rah rah‘. That would get boring. So I’m saving it for when it really matters (the proposed ‘filtering’ of internet connections at the ISP level by the Australian government is coming close. There, I did it :) ).

3. Have you ever considered leaving science?

Yes. But I did cheat and read Bora’s answer to this one (by accident).
I think it would be impossible to leave ‘science’ unless I became permanently brain damaged or something. Leave research … sure, it crosses my mind from time to time.

4. What would you do instead?

I’d try my best to get a job in video game development, or web application development (or both … developing a web-based game !). I’d try to work my experience as a scientist into this endeavour. Not sure how successful I would be, but I’m trying to slowly build up a portfolio, just in case :)

5. What do you think will science blogging be like in 5 years?

I think research groups will be tied together more and more by their blogs. A bit like the way RRRosie Redfield runs things. Not necessarily blanket Open Notebook Science (give it 10 years), but certainly a greater level of open, public communication of ideas.

6. What is the most extraordinary thing that happened to you because of blogging?

It’s not that exciting, but it’s the best I’ve got; I was contacted by an real journalist with some questions about the role of cloud computing for academic research. I didn’t really feel qualified to comment a length, since it largely stemmed from a ‘what if’ type idea I blogged about. But I gave my perspective anyhow.

7. Did you write a blog post or comment you later regretted?

Yes, quite often. I have a tendancy to always be in a hurry when commenting, coupled with a desire to not be overly self-censoring. I’m never trying to sound like a kook, troll or A-hole … it just turns out that way sometimes. Personally I find it takes a long time to write a concise, clear comment, beyond “LOL”. The FriendFeed comment box is always too small for me, but that’s a good thing, since it forces me to summarise.

8. When did you first learn about science blogging?

Not exactly sure, but I think it was via nodalpoint.org the bioinformatics weblog. I wrote one or two posts for nodalpoint. Around the time I was writing my PhD thesis, a few netziens of nodalpoint started blogs (or I discovered that they had blogs outside of nodalpoint). The most influential for me were Neil Saunders’ “What You’re Doing is Rather Desparate”, and well as Pedro Beltrao’s “Public Rambling” and Duncan Hull’s “O’Really ?”. I thought, “I can do that”, so I started a Blogger blog. One year later I moved to a self-hosted WordPress blog. But lets not get side tracked with a boring meta-discussion about blogging software.

9. What do your colleagues at work say about your blogging?

Mostly, they are unaware. Occasionally I have dropped a comment about “my blog”, but no one has really jumped on it. Which is fine, since I don’t really blog about anything that most of them have any interest in.

Well, that’s it. Now to read everyone else’s responses ……

(Originally via Blog Around the Clock [Bora Zivkovic], via FriendFeed)