Hello world. I am in fact still alive. So much so that I’m kinda, sorta planning on blogging more regularly again. Meaning I want to start blogging at my normal blistering rate of one post a week.
Here are some initial ideas to spark your thoughts (all of these would presumably be the URL with a ‘.com’ or ‘.org’ at the end):
- VersatileScientist: not quite what I’m going for…and it’s also totally plagiarzed from VersatilePhD.com (which already exists).
- ReflectiveScientist/ReflectivePhd: Conceptually, this is what I’m going for. But frankly, I think the name is a tad lame.
- SelfAwareScientist: Also what I’m going for conceptually, but (if this is even possible) it’s probably even more lame than number 2.
At any rate, I don’t like the second batch as much. But I’m willing to be swayed, and also to consider something out of left field that’s really creative and clever. You know, like a jump to conclusions mat:
Anyway…any thoughts/suggestions really appreciated.
While I slowed down a bit in December (cut me some slack, it’s the holidays!), I’m pretty proud of this year. As always, some changes in the works. Thanks to everyone who followed, and I look forward to 2012.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
It’s been just over a year since I started blogging, and as my readers know I traverse an eclectic mix of topics. I’ve blogged about climate change, religion, science and race, history and philosophy of science, regulatory science, basic research and science literacy. For the past few months I’ve been trying to determine whether I need a common theme. And if I do, I’ve been trying to determine what exactly this theme would be.
I think I have finally figured it out. If I may be somewhat immodest, I’ve read pretty extensively in science studies, which encompasses the above topics and then some. All of this personal research has me convinced that there is much about science that scientists should know. During school, I worked towards that goal by teaching this class. I guess I now view my blog as an extension of those efforts. I would eventually like to serve as a discussion ground for scientists (which especially includes grad students) and experts in science studies. Currently there are too few scientists here and it’s something I’d like to change.
The upshot of all this is that we can expect a bit more structure on this blog. Not too much, because science studies is of course a vast arena. It might just be that I categorize my posts a bit differently and add an “About This Blog” tab at the top. I’ve already modified my one line description to read “Connecting scientists with science studies.”
To start down this road, I’ll repeat what I asked a few months ago: What the most important lessons from science studies, history and philosophy of science, etc. that scientists should know? Or rather, what do the experts in those fields wish practicing scientists were aware of?
So apparently WordPress.com thinks I did okay in my first year of blogging. Frankly, I’m quite proud of what I accomplished and hope to do more this year. Among my new years resolutions are to double the page views and write at least 100 posts. And yes, this one counts towards the total!
Thanks to the support from all my readers this past year. It is much appreciated.
And now for the pretty pictures:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.
In 2010, there were 92 new posts, not bad for the first year! There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 11kb.
The busiest day of the year was June 20th with 110 views. The most popular post that day was With us or against us.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were galilean-library.org, Google Reader, my.yahoo.com, facebook.com, and google.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for “barbara herrnstein smith”, pielke, non scientific thinking, trans science, and trans-science.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
With us or against us February 2010
Is scientific thinking like reading comprehension? May 2010
About Praj January 2010
No evidence for scientific thinking June 2010
Sam Harris is unscientific May 2010
By now I have written a handful of posts, including a brilliant, intoxicating treatise on death by terrorism. (The fact that my argument contains not even the tiniest trace of originality does not, in my view, impugn its brilliance.) I figure it’s a good time to sketch out some vague goals I have. So here it goes.
I just started exploring the connection between science and team sports. I’m going to really expand on this idea in greater detail. In fits and starts, I will try to paint this picture:
- When scientists speak about science, we portray conflicting images. On one hand, science is part of a team, does not dictate decision-making, and cannot by itself improve the human condition. On the other, science is the foundation of any decision and is without a doubt the most important factor in any problem.
- Scientists really believe the latter image is correct, and most of our words reflect this belief.
- Scientists also want the public to agree with us. i.e., we want everyone to also think that science is the most important thing. So for the most part our public messaging paints this picture.
- Our belief in the primacy of science affects how we act in , e.g., political controversies and lobbying.
- When we act in political controversies, we face goals that conflict. Specifically, our goal of placing science on a pedestal conflicts with our goal of, e.g., effective climate change policy.
- We almost always choose to emphasize the former, thereby somewhat undermining any other goal we may have.
- To accomplish our secondary goals, scientists should truly internalize the idea that we’re part of a team. At times, this may entail demoting science. To run with the team sports analogy, everyone rides the bench at some point!
I should stress that excluding point 7, I am not necessarily advocating for a specific position. It may or may not be a good thing for science to be placed on a pedestal. But I believe that doing so inevitably and definitely conflicts with effective policy making. Of course this begs the question of what I mean by “effective.” I’ll have to define that at some point. In short, a big goal of this blog will be to explore the idea that how scientists think about science affects how we act. And that these actions have consequences for much more than science.
Finally, I’ll say that I suspect suspect many (most?) scientists disagree with me. They might say that we’re not really placing ourselves on a pedestal. Or that doing so is the best way to address climate policy. Or maybe that we really deserve to be on a pedestal! But complete agreement would be quite boring, no?
Even more finally, the overwhelming likelihood is that nothing I write is original. I have probably already plagiarized from 10 different scholars. I apologize for any existing and future transgressions.