Working My Way Back

By Sean Carroll | September 21, 2010 11:12 am

Okay, I think it’s time to step down from hiatus and get back into this blogging thing. I missed you guys! And I notice that the science blogosphere has completely blown up and re-organized since I left. Which is a good thing.

I don’t like to navel-gaze too much about the act of blogging, but a gradual evolution in my own style was the primary motivation for my hiatus. In the good old days I stuck mostly to very short posts, pointing to this or that and making simple comments without feeling obligated to provide elaborate justifications for every little thing. But over time, I found myself increasingly seeing every post as a multi-layered 3,000 word essay. (Even if they didn’t end up that way in actuality, that’s how they often were in my head.) Not a sustainable model for someone for whom blogging is a hobby, not a vocation. I promised myself long ago that if blogging ever started to take up too much time (roughly, more than 3 hours/week), something would be broken and I’d have to fix it.

So here I am fixing it. I really do very much enjoy the idea of blogging, both exploring ideas for my own sake and the wider conversation with other bloggers and with commenters. But given unitarity constraints on my time and energy, I need to concentrate on punchier posts, and comments that are not fully supported against every possible counter-argument. If the experience of writing a book nudged me toward longer forms, the success of Twitter demonstrates the value of the quick hit & link. Of course I will mix things up, which is part of the fun — longer posts here and there, the occasional video. There may be LOLcats. But I’ll try to refrain from writing poetry.

And now for dessert: chocolate extravaganza from my favorite restaurant, Alinea in Chicago. Ordinarily there are no tablecloths at Alinea, but for this course they cover the table with a thin sheet of silicone and — well, you’ll see.

Some of you might find this presentation too precious and extravagant to be enjoyable. I understand, and I’m sure you’ll appreciate the Oreo Blender Blaster at Denny’s.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cosmic Variance, Internet, Personal
  • Razib Khan


  • steve

    What the heck?!? No, I will not be going to Denny’s any time soon, but a little explanation might be in order.

    That emperor wears no clothes.

  • Ahmet Cihat Toker

    and then…? are you supposed to lick the table to eat this “dessert”?

  • Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor)


  • CoffeeCupContrails

    Ok… what happens next? Wrap the whole thing up in Silicone?

    Denny’s has a Oreo Blender Blaster? That’s awesome.

  • “Shecky R.”

    what! no poetry!?…. I’m dumpin’ this joint in favor of ‘Cocktail Party Physics’

  • daniel


  • bittergradstudent

    I don’t get ornately arranging food that has to be completely smeared all over the place to be eaten.

    Though solidifying that chocolate like that is really interesting and fun.

  • Timon of Athens

    The fact that Sean *knows* that an “Oreo blender blaster” even exists is something that tells its own tale.

  • Mark

    I had this a couple of weeks ago and it was just plain awesome! Grant Achatz himself does the presentation/artwork.

  • Aaron

    I’m sure that the server at Denny’s will gladly place Oreo Cookies all over your table if you tip well enough!

  • Carl Brannen

    That was 4 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

  • Gavin Polhemus

    Sean, you might like moto as well ( Moto added a touch of humor, which we thought made the dinner more fun.

  • Sean

    Didn’t love Moto as much. We thought it veered too far toward spectacle, without the food to back it up, while Alinea was just about ideal in all respects. Matters of taste, of course.

  • Kuas

    I’ve enjoyed your hiatus quite a bit.

  • zf

    Why pay someone else to have the fun of playing with your food?

  • OXO

    Well I give up Sean. Sometimes your posts get right on my tits.

    But – I’d rather have them than this deafening silence. Dawkins knows what’s happened to your fellow bloggers..

  • spyder

    Oh goody, a virtual chocolate artistic feast without the calories. What’s next?

  • Timon of Athens

    “The dishwasher called in late with some´╗┐ excuse about missing his bus.”


  • shantanu

    Sean, what do you think of
    surprised no discussion of this controversy on blogosphere.
    Whom do you think is right?

  • Sean

    Really have no idea, so I’ll remain silent.

  • Mandeep

    Glad you’re back, in a more sustainable way for yourself, and i do like the chocolate presentation.. though i think like others, i was hoping for a little more of a finale at the end.. Guess it’s Denny’s for me, too!

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  • spyder

    I am sure this is a food science cook book(s) that we all need; all 2300 pages worth not including the 600 page recipe book.

  • JB

    Sean, It’s great to have you back. I’ve missed your posts.

  • Gary

    I miss Richard Feynman.

    This place’s O-rings need re-engineering.


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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] .


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