Pick 'em

March 17, 2011

When people opine:

“You have to pick your battles”

it isn’t that I disagree. Really.

I just always want to know,

“So which battle *did* you pick?”

For some reason this is not well received.

I’m thinking I should start a Feel Good Friday series.
Isn’t this great? The cable guy? Freaky movie dude. Annoying because the 8-12 window means he shows up at 2pm?

A pit bull belonging to the babysitter’s son attacked the babysitter as she held the infant just as [Cableguy] Dargan arrived for a routine call. Dargan jumped on the dog and held it down while Skyler called 911.
Police soon arrived and fatally shot the dog.
Jordan was hospitalized for serious bite wounds, but his mother told the Daily Freeman of Kingston that her son is expected to make a full recovery.

Isn’t that great? I mean, that kid coulda been killed. Bravo, Cableguy, bravo.


March 4, 2011

What animals could you take in hand to hand* combat?

*damn pedantic scientists

I previously mentioned a new website, The Third Reviewer, dedicated to online discussion of the neuroscience literature.

This brings me to a new internet creation: The Third Reviewer


The first thing you will notice is the list of journals which publish scientific articles in the neurosciences in the tabs at the top. The site grabs a Table of Contents feed and lists each article as a commentable link/entry. The comprehensive coverage problem is solved.

The site allows anonymous commenting. This is huge.

The site has now expanded from neuroscience to cover microbiology topics.

Poor Matt Nisbet takes his lumps around these parts because his academic field is spin, sorry framing. This is the process within professional communication whereby the strictest and most precise depiction of the current state of knowledge about objective reality is…undervalued. Undervalued relative to driving home whatever broader themes and ideas the communicator happens to favor. Undervalued relative to rounding up votes on “your side”, regardless of why such voters may favor your position.
This annoys some scientists. The process of doing this in the news media or political setting annoys scientists to no end. Telling them that they need to start doing it themselves absolutely infuriates them.
Well, Nisbet has another version of his communication expert doucherocketry up today and it made me realize something. In this post, Nisbet declares war on that online discussion standby, the pseudonymous/anonymous commenter.

Over the next year, I have plans to invest in various content features at Framing Science, and one of the improvements I am looking forward to is an end to anonymous commenting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Longtime blogfriend bill is laughing right about now. Or he will be soon.
I’ve been a considerable skeptic that Web2.0 has anything serious to offer the pursuit of science itself. Not a theological skeptic who can’t see the potential, just one who doesn’t think we’re there yet and can’t necessarily see the path to full Web2.0 / Science integration.
Nevertheless I see potential for the public outreach mission of Web2.0 adoption by scientists. Obviously- since I haven’t stopped blogging yet.
Getting my feet wet allows me a little greater latitude and perspective in trying to think about what needs to be done to realize broader Web2.0 adoption in the daily conduct of science. And I have some ideas.
When you have an idea, the best thing to do is to figure out how to test it, right? To figure out what preliminary data you need, what literature is most relevant and what experts you need to consult. In the design stage, you can use all of these factors to check your assumptions. See where your gut might be leading you astray.
As you proceed along, you can try to see what parts of your protocol are working, what needs to be tweaked and what needs to be junked.
Like I said, I have some ideas. I share the broadest goals of what NPG is trying to accomplish in terms of using the more interactive internet technologies to enhance the conduct of science. I’m working on a couple of projects.
This is by way of lengthy preamble to why I would be gazing upon the cockup that is the Nature Network introspection exercise with some dismay.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m elevating a comment I made in a prior thread. We’re chatting about the Nature Network exercise in self-reflection about the insularity of their blog community. I made two points.
True that there is a population for any blog that should theoretically be in the audience but that departs because of the “tone”. Allegedly I, for example, lost some readers because I extend latitude to certain antediluvian commenters. It should be a consideration.
What should also be a consideration is who is being excluded because they simply do not know you exist- individual blog, blog consortium or even the whole science blogosphere.

It was a good critique, but there are always going to be tradeoffs.I happen to think that one of the good features here at Sb is that we start with a very open approach from which individuals bloggers can tighten up if desired. This can be incredibly fine grained. I’ve had a commenter or three that others of my readers object to and want to know why I don’t ban them. Other Sb blogs that I share readership with may have done so. To the extent that we overlap in blog-interest, readers can find the content without being exposed to the ‘clownery of some of my commenters. Perhaps I lose a few voices, and I regret that, but I have to draw my own lines in making what I think of as my blog’s tone what it is.
There are other types of commenters who pervade other Sb blogs that simply don’t come around here and if they did express that type of behavior here would be moderated or banned. Yet I don’t think Sb is the weaker for the Pharyngaloids, ERV’s selfconsciously outre fanbois, Laden’s “the real” neandertals or even Ed Brayton’s libertardian halfthinkers. I think we are the stronger for it- as a collective blog enterprise.
There was a comment at that NN thread (see problem? I have no idea which blog it is on, see Munger’s comment about individualizing the blogs) about writing for her own peeps and not giving a hang about traffic. Why have a public blog? There are more private social media and fora. More generally, why have the NN blogs visible to anyone other than those who register and login?
The very fact one engages in *public* blogging says that one is interested in reaching new people. Period. After that we are merely discussing whether you are doing a good job meeting performance goals…

Right? Why are you putting stuff out there for the entire Internet to see if you don’t mean to reach people who might be interested in what you have to say, but you have no other way to reach them. In a word, perfect strangers. There are a plethora of controlled-access technologies that would serve the same purpose if all you were after was a private circle of friends.