Discover Blogs, a voice for the Other 85%

By Razib Khan | September 16, 2010 12:04 pm

BoyBlogs1 (1)Today I was curious what people thought of Wired Science Blogs. More honestly, I was really trying to see if anyone else was a little put off by the forced registration to comment. But in the process I ran into this post, In which I notice a trend. The author did some counting before talking, which is always something I respect. Now, I suspect if you have read me closely over the years you can tell I’m not too worked up over lack of proportionality in the science blogosphere, whether it be of sex, race, ethnicity, religion (or irreligion) or politics. I say this as a Right-leaning brown-skinned male who was once termed “the black science blogger” at ScienceBlogs.

But can Discover Blogs get some props here? Once they swap out the DNA logo and put in my head shot it will be clear that we’re much more ethnically diverse here than at the other “celebrity” blog networks! N = 2 far beats out N = 0. And Wired Science Blogs even has a guy blogging for them who has the same surname as Lou Dobbs! How’s that for insensitive, I’m a naturalized American citizen (and look at this title, it makes me feel unsafe on the web! What’s he trying to say?).

Rest assured, Ed Yong and I are here to give voice to the 85% of humanity which is not of European descent, and, love to write about natural science. You can call us the Chindia of science blogging.*

(and Jeremy Jaquot of Science Not Fiction is half-Asian I believe)

* Indians will object because I was not born in India. Get over it, we all look to the same to everyone else.

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Comments (9)

  1. You subcontinentals are all the same. ;)

    More seriously, the chart is rather confusing because it’s lacking adequate descriptors. If I were to guess, this is simply an author count and the four selected networks. I wonder why your old employer, Seed Media, wasn’t included, though I suspect a similar pattern would emerge there…but unlike the author, I’m a bit too lazy to count.

    I also wonder what other metrics would look like from that lens if they were collectible. Metrics that come to mind are post count, comment count, page hits, specific story hits, etc. It’s a bit difficult to collect unless you actually have access to a blogging network’s site statistics.

    If conditions are as I expect, such metrics would show further exaggeration of the gender disparity. If you look at the group blog Cosmic Varience, you will find that 3 of the listed bloggers are female and 4 are male, but 9 of the front page posts have male authors (4 daniel, 4 Sean, 1 John) and 1 has a female author (Julianne). Now, the second page has more posts by Julianne, but until recently when he decided to take a “break” from blogging, Sean was responsible for the bulk of the posts at Cosmic Variance, with Daniel and Julianne filling in most of the rest (EDIT: Mark may have had a few in there if my memory serves me properly).

    Of course, you might want to take into account how much science is being blogged. For instance, Pharyngula, which seems like it’s still one of if not the most popular blog on Seed’s network has the following count for post categories on it’s front page: 3 Godlessness, 2 Religion, 1 Humor, 1 Open Thread, 1 Organisms, and 1 Personal. The most “sciency” is of course the organisms post, which is merely a picture of two pea pods.

    Ultimately, what does this say about science blogging? Meh, damned if I could think of a comprehensive positive and normative framework to summarize what the proportions of these indicators mean. I think I’ll let the commenters at Mind the Gap figure it out.

  2. dave chamberlin

    Celebrity Science Blog Networks

    What a concept. What if there is competitition for the top celebs? Can you quit in a huff and manipulate a fat payraise? Will there be ratings wars. Will #2 and #3 combine to overtake #1. Will the suits pull you and Cochran into an office and tell you no more calling the idiots idiots. Stay tuned.

  3. You subcontinentals are all the same.

    to be serious, the main problem is that indians, sri lankans, bangladeshis, pakistanis, etc., are often very serious abut their national identities. even people raised in the states often are. i wasn’t raised that way, and i don’t really care too much if ppl think i’m pakistani or indian or whatever. i’m obviously brown, and that’s all that really matters to ppl in the states. obviously if this was i wouldn’t present myself as indian at all!

  4. Will the suits pull you and Cochran into an office and tell you no more calling the idiots idiots.

    What? Since when did Razib develop an interest in Athenians’ civic participation?

  5. Katharine

    Honestly, I don’t get cultural and national attachment. I’m pretty much convinced that the world as a whole will add and lose another 30 countries within my lifetime (based on dubious extrapolation of history repeating itself, especially the dissolution of the USSR) and that the United States as we know it will probably not exist in a few hundred years.

    Does this concern me? No. The world marches on. Empires have risen and fallen, and the United States will eventually succumb, too.

  6. Sandgroper

    I don’t recognize the authority of you and Edmund Yong to speak on behalf of 85% of the world’s population, but I will probably go on reading you both anyway.

  7. omar

    LOL. That was good.
    Pakistanis who insist they are also Indian can have a lot of fun (I know, because I do that a lot); Some other Pakistanis tend to blow up (not literally, until now, thank Chtulhu), which can be fun, but some Indians get uncomfortable too…and then there are the really educated White people who know the difference and cannot get over your transgressive ontology…

  8. bioIgnoramus

    “Get over it, we all look to the same to everyone else.” No you don’t; you don’t all wear those cruel, cruel glasses.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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