Archive for December 6th, 2010

Oh Tumblr, Where Art Thou?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | December 6, 2010 1:52 pm

I’m relatively new to Tumblr and though I was skeptical (as if I need another website to maintain), the format is easy, fast, and a great way to reach a vastly different audience. After urging from Jamie Vernon, Joe Hanson, and others, my new Science of Kissing site has been up two and a half months. With ~1,600 followers already, it seems very easy to build readership and I like the format – kind of traditional blog meets Twitter. Plus Tumblr promotes a friendly environment with lots of sharing and reblogging between users. I’m now fully converted–a born-again Tumblr you might say.

If you haven’t already heard, Tumblr tumbled last night. The site went down. At about 7pm, their twitter feed posted: “We’re working quickly to recover from a major issue in one of our database clusters. We’re incredibly sorry for the inconvenience.” Fourteen hours later: “This has been a slow and painful recovery, but we’re almost through. We’ll have more info to share as soon as we can post to our blog again.” Yet those who try to log on continue to see:

Picture 9

Theories abound as to what’s going on from simple routine maintenance gone awry to hackers from competitive sites intentionally overloading the server. Some say we’re minutes away from recovery while others claim Tumblr is over. The End.

Well, I certainly hope not. What do you think is really going on?


USA Today on "Citizen Googling" and NSF

By Chris Mooney | December 6, 2010 12:23 pm

Dan Vergano at USA Today has done a piece about congressman Adrian Smith’s attempt–which we’re now calling “citizen Googling” here at “The Intersection”–to involve members of the public in determining which peer-reviewed NSF grants are a “waste.” Vergano sets the endeavor in the context of misguided attacks on government research that go all the way back to Sen. William Proxmire’s infamous “Golden Fleece” awards.

As Vergano notes, it pretty much always seems that when some politician slams a government scientific grant, the research actually turns out to be quite important and the pol is simply misinterpreting its meaning. (Hmmm, I wonder why that is?) Sure enough, that already appears to be the case with the two grants picked out by Smith. As Vergano reports:

So, as you might expect, when we asked the National Science Foundation about the two grants that Smith mentioned, we learned a little more about them. Read More

For Those About to Rock…You'll Need These

By Chris Mooney | December 6, 2010 9:40 am

People have been been blogging up and down, left and right about the Rock Stars of Science campaign. Click on all of those links to begin to see the extent of it. They barely scratch the surface, but clearly, everybody has an opinion.

That’s a very good thing.

speakersSomehow, amid all this, I’ve forgotten to draw attention to the contest that goes along with the campaign.

Here’s the story: Go to the Rock Stars website and scroll down. You will see, on the right, a pair of speakers like these. They’re MUJI speakers–light weight, collapsible, portable. You can fold them up and place them in a pouch.

GQ is randomly selecting 1,000 people to receive free speakers–if they enter their names on the website by Dec 20. (Further details and official contest rules here).

So I suggest you click over and enter your name if you want these dudes. It is not like it takes a lot of effort. And while I don’t know how many people have entered their names yet, a giveaway of 1,000 suggests your odds may not be that bad.

At any rate…I did it. There are some neighbors who really deserve to be blasted in the wee hours…and I’m sure you have your reasons too. So again, go to the Rock Stars website and click the speakers.

P.S.: Sorry Martin Robbins…you’re not eligible. Gotta be in the 50 states! Too bad…that puppy of yours could have used a soundtrack.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: rock stars of science

High Quality Spam

By Chris Mooney | December 6, 2010 8:02 am

CreamOfSpamWe get spam comments on this blog. Lots of them.

Worse still, we have to wade through them all. For some reason, we’ve been totally stymied when it comes to finding a way to ensure that no real comments end up in our spam folder. As a result, I’m often in there, separating wheat from chaff.

(Wheat usually occurs about 1 out of 50 times, but we get so much spam–and so many comments–that that may be equivalent to 20 comments a day.)

So I’ve been neck deep in spam, and in the process, I’ve noticed something odd. Every once and a while, I come across spam comments that are funny, poetic…even kind of moving. I’m guessing they’re still robotically generated….but I almost kinda want to publish them.

And so, adopting a make-lemonade philosophy, I’m creating a kind of “greatest hits” list of spam lines. Here are some samples:

I don;t know how you find the time to write so well but here is a little something
100,000 sperm and you were the fastest?

Love is atemporary insanity curable by marriage. :)

I made my money by selling too soon.

You can make a saxophone into an electric organ; you can do everything with it.

I was only in one play at Steppenwolf, in the early days.

If god is watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining. :)

And finally, my all time fave:

I hear you. Everything sucks, and then you blog. The end.

What do you think? Is it possible that…not all spam is equal–nor completely evil?


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