The BA Blog is going offline for a few hours

By Phil Plait | June 30, 2008 8:04 am


I have to take the blog offline for a few hours today. Sorry about this, but it’s all part of My Very Big News. So until about 17:00 tonight Eastern time (21:00 UT), I will have to turn off comments, and I won’t be posting. Sometimes WordPress hiccups and allows commenting even after I turn it off, but be warned that I’m making a database upgrade, and any comments left on this blog after 10:00 Eastern time (14:00 UT) will be deleted.

However, once things are back up and running I’m hoping everything will be fine.

Until then, feel free to read my last post about Tunguska and let it sink in for a while.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: About this blog

Comments (111)

Links to this Post

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  1. jfatz

    Oooh, exciting! Science articles in PRINT form…? I’d never heard of such a thing! 😉

  2. Phil I hope this doesn’t mean that you’ll be abandoning your “Doomed” posts and those of the same ilk?

  3. Also, is there a Feed for just this blog?

  4. Braxton Thomason

    Yeah, I can’t seem to find an RSS feed except for Discover’s general blog.

  5. Hyuga

    Cue railing against Phil Plait for “selling out” or something.

    This is a lot nicer than the old site though, which, no offense, was kinda fugly 😛

  6. allkom

    That’s great!
    Hope you’ll get all success you deserve at this location. But then again, it’s kind of easy… just continue with your great job.

  7. firemancarl

    Awesome Phil. I hope this new megablog thingamajig will bring more science to the masses!

  8. Not sure what to make of it yet. Is it possible to use a bigger font for the main text? (And a smaller one for “DISCOVER”?)

  9. Cheyenne

    BA – I really hope you can still write exactly what you want to here. Like Rev. BigDumbChimp says – I hope you won’t be abandoning posts like your “Doomed” ones. This would suck if you have to be all corporate PC from now on.

    And can you still do political posts? Or will Discover make you only do science stuff? Just hope they don’t bias your writing. Well, guess us BA fans will just have to wait and see.

    Bet you’ll get a lot more readers with this new move though. Good on ya!

  10. gia

    Rock on, Phil!! Well done on the move! W00t! (er, does this mean we have to be all grown-up and serious here?)

  11. gia

    Oh MOST IMPORTANTLY: will you be able to still write about Doctor Who? 😉

  12. w00t!

    So happy to see you here! Welcome home!!

    (and Gia- how could it possibly be BadAstronomy without The Doctor?)

  13. Congratulations, Phil! I’ve bookmark-bar’ed (?) the new address. Good to go!
    Rich in Charlottesville

  14. Always good when quality writing gets a higher profile. But yeah, don’t go all corporate on us! Updated Google Reader accordingly.

  15. Andy Beaton

    Man, those squid-lovers can’t keep a secret.
    You want us all to rough ’em up a bit, Phil?

  16. Yay, Dr. BA!

    I hope you love the new digs.


  17. Hey, I’m out of comment filter Purgatory!!!!!


  18. tim

    congrats on the new digs!

  19. Lawrence

    Still tastes like Chicken….

    Congratulations – love the new look (yeah, I think the Discover logo is too small – any chance it could be larger?)

  20. Bunk

    Comment filter purgatory? I wonder if I’ve escaped too? Please, please, please!

  21. Bryan

    It’s Discover… I kind of like the old site though. More homey. Oh well. And WTF happened to the link to David Tennant?! I need to send that picture to everyone I know!!


  22. Bunk

    He shoots, he scores! Another Woot!!!!111

  23. Chris

    So does this mean that now when your blog gets slammed, it won’t drag down BAUT too?

  24. 01101001

    Right on schedule. Almost. Well, it was worth the wait. Congratulations. Big time.

    (So, after Carl Zimmer’s The Loom did about the same in parallel, with a slipped late-Monday announce and a move to Discover Tuesday morning, I figured Discover might be the BA Blog’s new home, too.)

  25. Nicole

    *Pats on the sofa* Yeah, I could get comfy here. *flops down* Who brought the beer?

  26. Thomas Siefert

    Is that “New Car Smell” spray you used in here?

  27. Mena

    Alas folks, still no preview button!
    (Otherwise, lookin’ good and congrats Phil!)

  28. P2WIGuy

    I did a refresh from the old site and when I was transplanted here, I thought if I had clicked on some link. It’s going to take a while to get used to it, and just like several others have noted I hope this doesn’t change what Phil can write about. I enjoy his side trips into other topics. I can’t wait to read his next post with the full info on the change.

  29. Laguna

    Now, the only thing I could get of this, follow the other ants move, would be if I could actually get a comment through the filter…

  30. João

    Congratulations on your new home. Does this one come with preview?

  31. Bryan

    thank you Nicole! Best shot of Tennant ever!


  32. Dave Hall

    Great! One more tool of the corporate media!

  33. Dave Hall

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Now we’re being censored by your corporate overloards. Are you sure you didn’t sell out to FOX?

  34. Jose

    It’s just like Bad Astronomy…. but with a style sheet!!!

  35. Quiet Desperation

    Phil I hope this doesn’t mean that you’ll be abandoning your “Doomed” posts and those of the same ilk?

    I always wanted to start a blog. I could be talked into it, maybe. You *know* I won’t pull any punches. :-) “Doomed” would become “MindRaped”.


    This is the 21st century on a commercial science site! I mean, GEEZ!

    Phil, you might want to have autoforward. I just get a weird “Internal Server Error” at the moment.

  36. Quiet Desperation

    Best shot of Tennant ever!

    I prefer a nice shot of whiskey myself. :-)

    Quote test

    Blockquote test

  37. allkom

    Make it a single malt and I’m in . The occasion obliges .

  38. Kevin

    Wow, what a change. I hope when Phil gets back home he gives us the lowdown on the big move.

  39. Tim G

    Housewarming party!

  40. Celtic_Evolution

    *looks around… blinks eyes… scratches head*

    Where the heck am I?

    *sees big sign that reads “DISCOVER” where “Bad Astronomy used to be…*


    *follows the instruction on the sign, turns Disc Over. Nothing happens.*

    This is very peculiar.

    *looks around some more… shrugs and smiles*

    ‘Yes… this is a fertile land. And we will thrive!’

  41. William
  42. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    It’s a great move, but it’s a minor grievance you didn’t take it to a science blog aggregate like ScienceBlogs. There we can read what interests scientists from the horse’s proverbial mouth by the community linking.

    I browsed some Discover articles, and they are the stereotypical dumbed down “cherry-picking without providing references” stuff that the media has bored us with for decades. (Hence blogs, of course!)

    Hmpf! Okay, the interviews with scientists is one reason to visit Discover. (And BA and CZ, yay!)

  43. Mena

    Torbjörn, did you read the article about Mercury? I got a bit concerned due to the ad at the top of that one. I’m guessing (hoping?) that the people who hired Phil have looked at his blog and won’t censor stuff due to having stuff like that on here.

  44. Electro

    I think most of us would have had this site bookmarked already.

    Now we have the BA and Anne( Inky )Casselman in the same place, hey maybe this leads to Phil being a regular contributor to Discover.

    Onward and Upward, Good for you Phil.

  45. Electro

    I just saw an ad on CBC for Expelled, it ends with with a voice deep in gravitas saying “Expelled, no intelligence allowed”.

    I mean I get their feeble attempt at a pun but…HAHAHAAHAHA!!!

  46. Brian

    Congratulations, Phil. Onward and upward and all that, what what?

  47. Congrats, Phil! Here’s hoping the new digs are as roomy and comfortable as can be, with no more crashes (yeah right) or migration errors.

    On that note… could you please redirect the address to here as soon as possible, please? Early this afternoon I was able to get here by typing in the above address; now, at 2:30 p.m. EDT, it still goes to the old site.

  48. allkom

    From my experience those ads are triggered by keywords, in this case “mercury” must have brought astrology (argh) ads in, so be prepared. The same thing used to happen at the old BA site . Granted, a “science” magazine should be more careful but then again Discover is not exactly “hard science” territory. Nevertheless the addition of BA and CZ to Discover blogs may be a sign of change. I hope.

  49. allkom

    Thanks a lot! As if this piece of “information” wasn’t enough, it must be sided by such a nice picture. Now I need two shots of single malt!

  50. Tim G

    Mena, I got an ad for a fake IQ test. Is that what you saw?

  51. Law Mom

    I’m more of a reader than a writer here, and to that end I have one small quibble. The text of the post and comments abuts the left side of the screen with no margin at all. I keep wanting to scroll left.

  52. Tim G

    Law Mom, can you adjust your screen resolution?

    I am at 1152 by 864 and the blog looks fine.

  53. Reader

    Is it just me, or is the text size, a bit too small? I liked it larger, like on the original site.

  54. Phil’s RASC meeting in Toronto ended at 12:15PM, so he’s prolly in an airplane now heading home.
    He should be back in Boulder tonight and blogging up a storm after supper!

    Any of your BA-Blogees headed to Green Bank for the Green Bank Star Gaze? I’ll be there on Thursday shooting hi-def video for NRAO.

  55. hambr

    Ok, so this is the new place huh. The fonts a little smaller but I guess I could get used to squinting my eyes.

  56. quasartimes

    It’s a brave new world. Congrats!! I’m sure we’ll get used to our new home away from home.

  57. Mrs. BA

    Richard – you’re correct, Phil is in an airplane headed home right now. He’s had a rough weekend trying to make this move go smoothly while he was out of town at a meeting. He video Skyped me and the Little Astronomer last night at 11:00 pm ET and said he literally didn’t know what to do with himself because he didn’t have access to his blog (it was in the hands of Discover at that point).

    I’m sure Phil will be blogging up a storm tonight (after he’s scooped the cat litter, of course – for some reason it really piles up when he’s out of town ;)). I’ve been following these comments today because I have been a bit anxious over this move myself and on behalf of Phil I want to thank everyone for their overwhelmingly positive and kind comments. Phil will be home in about 3 hours. Stay tuned…

  58. Mena

    Tim G , it was an ad for an astrologer. Well, an Astrologer, with a capital “A”, perhaps because she gives 100% accurate horoscopes. It changed for me right after I put that message up, I thought that it had something to do with my cookies and browsing history, but I guess that I just had good timing. I didn’t get a chance to click on her link to see what sets her apart from other astrologers though. Dems da breaks I guess. :)

  59. Chip

    Hello testing 1,2,3,4…seems to be working. La la la la! Hmmmm, good sound (at least I can hear it.) Oh wait, I’m making that sound…never mind. Congrats Phil.

  60. Jebus Chrizzle

    Likin’ the new dig, Phil.

  61. Buzz Parsec

    The font’s too small, and the contrast is too low: light gray text on a white background. Some bits, like the “leave a reply” header are apparently bolded and are fine, but that’s only a tiny percentage of the page. It’s painful to read.

  62. Wow, look at this. New digs!

  63. Mark T.

    Great! My wife gets Discover so that we can have conversations about science. I’ve always thought that was very nice of her. (I’m a physics and math major and intend to go into astronomy)

    Will you be in the regular magazine now? Maybe with a monthly commentary or occasional article?

  64. sandswipe

    I hope this turns out well for BA, but I’ve got to say that at first glance I don’t like the site layout here. Smaller text and bigger ads are not a pleasant combination, and the colors look. . . less clean. It’s hard to describe.

    Oh well, I’ll probably like it better in a few days. Congratulations!

  65. sandswipe, you should get Firefox with the adblock plugin. I never see any ads on any website.

  66. I think it looks great, personally. I like the layout and everything. The font is an ok size to me, but I agree the font color is a little too light. Not difficult for me to read or anything, but the contrast could be better.

  67. Reader

    this new site is nice, but I’ve tried looking at older posts with youtube videos embedded in the post, but they don’t appear. Is this just me?

  68. anonymous

    The sidebar says: “Phil Plait, the author of Bad Astronomy, is an astronomer, lecturer, and author.”

    That’s two “authors” in the same sentence.

    BTW: PLEASE add a preview button.

  69. Celtic_Evolution

    I’ll second the contrast suggestion… and I also like the alternating back-colors on every other post… makes it easier to scroll through and navigate threads.

    And can somebody do something about the fresh paint smell??

  70. I really liked my theory that you and Carl were trying to spread the truth about e.coli found on Mars, and running from NASA the Discover thing is a bit of a let down comparatively, you know?

  71. Dixon

    New place eh? Cool.

    For Firefox users who find the text a bit small (like me. 1680×1050 screen res kills small fonts) I can highly recommend the MouseZoom addon. It lets you zoom the whole page to your liking and remembers the zoom level when you go back to that page.

  72. Hey, does my prediction of being sponsored count as psychic? Congratulations! I too hope that there are no restrictions placed on what you can post.

  73. APP

    Will you have less control over ads? I just saw this one in the sidebar here (on the “blogs” listing that has BA at the top):

    How to Run Car on Water ?
    I Converted my Car to Run on Water. This DIY Kit Works on 99.9% of cars

    Amusing site. Contains stuff like this:

    The big secret is that water (H2O) can be turned into a POWERFUL fuel (with a very similar formula, HHO) through an easy yet little known process…

    Almost worthy of a skeptical blog post…

  74. Kevin

    I guess when Phil shows up we’ll find out what is going to happen to his own site.


  75. PG

    Looks great! I’m sure BA will do whatever tweaking is allowed when he is done with all that kitty litter.

    I also use FireFox with the Adblock Plus and Flashblock add-ons. I see no ads, nor any flash that I don’t want to see. I highly recommend them to those annoyed by weird ads.

  76. Rachael

    *looks at address from RSS feed*


  77. hale_bopp

    Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

    Sorry, someone had to say it!

  78. Viewer 3

    …That’s the big surprise? A move to another site?

    That’s the first thing that crossed my mind when you mentioned it, but I thought “Nah, it couldn’t possibly be something that insignificant”.

    You’re becoming increasingly predictable Phil; I hope you have more in store from the way you hyped it all up.

  79. lizzyshoe

    Discover? Wohoo! Congrats.

  80. Mark

    Congratulations Phil! I have a lot of fond memories of Discover Magazine, I think I subscribed when I was 12 years old. I hope this gets your message out to a lot more readers.

  81. Wow, Phil! Congrats on the new place. It looks great. 😀 One of the good magazines out there, and our own BA is a part of it now. I’m so proud. *tears up* Got something in my eye. *sniff*

  82. Kyle

    Congrats BA, this will hopefully open a window for those who are “soft science” to the wonderful world which is Bad Astronomy.

    And Phil you might want to invest in an automatic cat poop scooper, saves more time for your blogging goodness.

  83. This looks great! Congratulations!

  84. 01101001

    Just to figure out the timestamps, what zone they are (my guess, Eastern Time) I submit this to cyberspace at the sound of the tone, 1435 Pacific Daylight Time.

  85. DadaGuru

    Phil, best wishes on the new site/location/sponsor. I’ll just echo the others with my hope that this new set up won’t inhibit your outspoken style.
    Blog on my good man!

  86. Yoeman

    Wow, cool! Good job Dr Plait!

  87. BigBob

    Now I see. I bet this will increase your hits big time. Certainly increase the hits on Discover that’s for sure. I don’t know what Discover magazine is, so about to find out. Scuse me while I browse.
    Congrats BA BTW.

  88. Firefox sees the feed for this blog as

    Hope this helps the others looking for the feed.

  89. Congratulations on the new digs, BA – here’s hoping it’s a huge success!

    But how could it not be?

  90. BigBob

    Ok, had a browse, looks cool. Just one thing BA, you need to make a new post ASAP because as I write, your top entry still says you’re going offline for a few hours. Plus, I think Discover aught to give you some front page launch publicity, e.g. welcome BA, our new blogger (at the moment you aren’t listed on the front page). Maybe they’d be good enough to do a launch when you are settled in. Cool.

  91. 01101001

    (Result of last experiment: timestamps are Eastern Time.)

    People who are suggesting format improvements: you may wish to carry your concerns to the powers that be at Discover Blogs (or higher up the food chain).

    Probably one reason Phil has gone to a sponsored site like this is so he can focus on the writing and let other professional infrastructure support people deal with the reader preferences for formatting, style, access and such.

    While I’m sure he’ll do his best to transmit your requests to the decision-makers, you might have more success, and cause less effort to Phil, makinge your own case with the folks at Discover Magazine.

  92. davidlpf

    looks good so far.

  93. Pierre


    I liek the new site. Except for the “Stumble it!” images. They’re annoying, distracting,
    ugly, and pretentious. Do you really need them? Have they done anything really
    good and necessary for you?

    I miss your “Bad Astronomy” logo too. Is there anyway to include it at the
    top of the Discover Magazine blog?

    Hope you like Canada. :-)

  94. hambr

    Hey Guys,

    Couple questions. Is the Flat Earth Society real or is just some elaborate joke? Would it be wrong to buy a shirt from them if they were available? I really wouldn’t want to help fund such lunacy but the shirt would be really cool.

  95. Just popping my head round the door to say hi. Nice place. Hope I’m out of filter purgatory too!

    … any tea on this spaceship?

  96. davidlpf

    Looks like a mistyped my email now the comment is awaiting moderation.

  97. davidlpf

    Well loks like my old message was deleted so I will repeat looks good so far.

  98. Blu-Ray-Ven

    wow ive been waiting all day for this “BIG NEWS”, and here it is, tada. not what i expected but cool. and now i know why phil siad not to leave comments on his last 2 posts. there were over 200 and now there allllll gone. oh well

    i anticipate reading what made phil switch to discover. i would have perfered Scientific American, but its phils blog. and i will continue to read it

  99. BigBadSis
  100. Oh, congratulations, BA. I hope pay you a decent amount.

    This loads a lot quicker – the old site was always slow.

  101. dkary

    I noticed one other change: where are the links to other Blogs?

  102. Electro

    Thank you Mrs BA,

    never realized that you were looking out for us as well.

  103. There once was a Doctor named Plait,
    Who’s astronomy blog was quite great.
    Then he took it offline
    For reasons sublime
    But for what, well we all had to wait.

    Now he’s back and he has a new home;
    Good luck in the universes you roam.
    Now as we’ve come to Discover
    This comment did not recover,
    And that is the point of this tome.

  104. Quiet Desperation

    Is the Flat Earth Society real or is just some elaborate joke?

    The last I checked it was mostly a goof, but I’m sure there’s a handful of believers.

  105. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Mena, I run Firefox (with NoScript), most ads are by default absent. Sounds bad though.


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