Blogs That Should Exist

By Sean Carroll | January 4, 2009 12:48 pm

I’m hoping that, for many of our readers, New Year’s Resolutions include getting off their duffs and starting a blog of their own. It’s certainly not hard; at the minimal level of effort, hop over to Blogger and set up your own free blog in a couple of easy steps. Only after you’ve established yourself can you hope to sell out to the Man and thereby cause the Death of the Blogosphere, like us.

But there are obstacles, for example: what to call the blog? We’re here to help. I was leafing through some old emails, and stumbled across the conversations we were having in the days before Cosmic Variance even existed. The heady days of youth, when we were trying to come up with good names for our new venture. Of course there are many types of blogs, from individual rants about the state of one’s personal life and recent dining experiences to focused discussions of the prospects for health care reform at the national level. We (including Clifford) wanted something that reflected our identity as scientists, but would attract and intrigue non-scientists as well, as we have always hoped to cast our discoursive net more widely than our particular disciplines. So we were looking for titles that played off scientific concepts, but didn’t come off as complete gobbeldy-gook to non-experts. Shores of the Dirac Sea is an excellent recent example of the genre — very much a physics in-joke, but one that isn’t completely off-putting to outsiders. If you call your blog “Laplace-Beltrami Operator” or “Gravitino Propagator,” you might amuse yourself, but your audience will be limited. (Apologies if there are any blogs out there with those names.)

Of course we came up with more than one, before settling on our perfect choice. But what was imperfect for us might fit you just fine. So, offered up free of charge, here are some of the names we were bandying around, plus some extras I came up with since.

  • Tycho’s Nose
  • Higher Dimensional Operators
  • Extremize The Action
  • Critical Phenomena
  • The Residue Theorem
  • But No Simpler
  • De Revolutionibus
  • Smooth Tension
  • Ultra Deep Field
  • Outside the Light Cone
  • Primeval Atom
  • Left As An Exercise
  • The Error Bar

Personally I’m partial to Tycho’s Nose, but The Error Bar is an awesome name. That blog practically writes itself. So what are you waiting for?

Those who are too lazy and/or timid to start their own blogs are encouraged to suggest additional names in comments.

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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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