By Ed Yong | March 26, 2010 10:18 am


And so commences the third phase of the Not Exactly Rocket Science life cycle, where I say goodbye to my ScienceBlogs body and jump into a new host. I’m honoured to be joining Carl, Sheril, Phil, Sean, Razib, Chris and co, and I’m pretty sure that sharing a community with Carl psychologically primed me into writing the parasite metaphor in the previous sentence.

For all my existing readers, come in, come in, make yourselves comfortable and get ready for the usual influx of cool stories. You’ll notice that all the old posts and comments have travelled with me and the blog’s content will be virtually indistinguishable, except that there’s more orange, the font has serifs (boo) and I’m now over there on the right. The new feed URL is

For any newcomers, here’s an introduction. Formally, Not Exactly Rocket Science is a science news site; informally, it’s a bit like an excitable child jumping up and down and pointing to things, but with more syntax. This is my attempt to portray science as the awe-inspiring, beautiful and quirky field that it is, to as many people as possible. You shouldn’t need a science degree to be able to dive into the stream of new discoveries, and on this blog, you won’t need one.

Every week, I will be serving 4-5 meaty portions of newsworthy stories, sourced from the entire breadth of biological sciences, supplemented with spoonfuls of opinion pieces on science journalism and drizzles of satire. Feel free to browse through the archives and at the end of this post, there’s a selection of some of my favourites to whet your appetite. You can also follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, or check out a recent interview I did about how and why I blog.

I join Discover from ScienceBlogs, fresh from a cool trio of wins at the Research Blogging Awards. I’m looking forward to my tenure here and I hope that you’ll stick around for more. I would also be incredibly grateful if anyone could help to give the blog a bit of extra publicity during the first weeks of its new life. Having done a move like this before, traffic always dips as people update their feeds, Google catches up and so on. Any extra nudge, whether it’s a tweet, a blog post, a Stumble, or even a good old-fashioned email to a friend, would go a long way.

As a final piece of geekery, I was trying to find the most appropriate metaphor is for this move. Evolution applies to populations rather than individuals, so that’s out. The old ScienceBlogs version still exists, so migration’s not quite right. Two grimmer but better candidates include metastasis, where cancer cells break off from a primary tumour to set up new ones elsewhere in the body, and retrotransposition, where small, parasitic chunks of DNA duplicate themselves and insert the replicas into other parts of the genome. But in both cases, the old versions are still living and changing, whereas the ScienceBlogs incarnation of NERS is henceforth frozen in time. All this being said, I think the best analogy is probably insect metamorphosis – a new form emerges from a larval one, leaving a shell behind and flying off to pastures new. That sounds about right.


A Not Exactly Rocket Science tasting platter:

Twitter.jpg Facebook.jpg Feed.jpg Book.jpg

tweetmeme_style = ‘compact’;


Comments (35)

  1. Great News for NERS and great news for Disco Mag blogs! w00t!

    [Heh – DrugMonkey was the first person to welcome me to ScienceBlogs too. He totally loves me. He wants to have my babies 😉 – Ed]

  2. Ohhhh, will there be any drizzles or soupcons (I know there should be a cedilla under that cee but who has the time to research how to get one?) to go along with those spoonfuls?

    This is great news, Ed, and a nice introductory blog post. You’re a great writer, and that’s precisely what science journalism needs.

  3. Congratulations, Ed! This is great news.

  4. Awesome fit for you Ed! Congratulations on the move, I hope this opens up much more possibilities your way.

  5. Cool! New feed already updated.

  6. Congratulations–I will be changing the link on my blog forthwith.

  7. Wifey

    The metamorphosis analogy was mine! I demand a citation!
    (Oh, and I’m the “wife who makes it all possible” on the right :) )

  8. Wonderful news Ed!

    Mmm, tasty platter.

  9. Slick move there, Ed. Congratulations!

  10. becca

    But but but but… now I haveta come here? But it’s so… not scienceblogs here. And now is there ANYONE respectable on sb???
    I hope they pay better 😉

  11. Wim

    Well, wherever this blog goes, I”ll keep following it!

  12. Congratulations on your new digs!

  13. DB

    I have updated my bookmarks and will keep checking in every day for my science fix. I am glad most of the comments have been positive thus far, I half expected a lot of faux outrage and “I WILL NEVER BE BACK!1!!!1” style comments which inexplicably seem to follow when anything changes on the net.

    I will continue to be a fan of this blog no matter where it goes, but I am curios as to the purpose of the move which you have not really elaborated on. Does discover offer better exposure or something? Is it because of some behind the scenes differences with sciblogs? I really am curios as to why you would choose to change locations when as you have said it really doesn’t change the blog at all.

    Anyway this is my new favorite blog replacing Not Exactly Rocket Science which was my old favorite blog and I continue to look forward to all your articles.

  14. dearieme

    Did you consider “Elephants’ Graveyard”?

  15. Mer

    Congrats, although I must say that your recently discarded ScienceBlogs host/body/etc. was much more visually appealing than the Discover layout. The font here is definitely worse, but it may also have to do with the two column, left-justified arrangement. The three-column layout with your text in the center was nice at ScienceBlogs.

  16. @Wifey (who is *actually* my wife) – But you already legally own half of everything that’s mine 😉

    @DB – Good and fair question. I like the fact that the Discover community is tighter, so one feels like a bigger fish in a smaller pond. It seems harmonious, I like the quality of the writers they’ve accumulated, the people I knew who had moved from ScienceBlogs spoke well of it, it just seemed like a good natural fit for the blog. My goal with this was always to improve my writing (which I can do anywhere) and to reach as many people as possible (and I think this will give me good opportunities for doing that). And yes, it pays better, but I think my decision was already made by the point when we discussed money. Also, I canvassed opinions from a few people I respect and the vote was unanimous.

    @Mer – Yeah, but what can you do? I begged, begged I tell you, for a sans serif font, but alas no. I quite like the two-column layout though. I’m sure everyone’s retinas will adjust accordingly.

  17. Daniel J. Andrews

    And now you’re part of the Hive Overmind. Resistance is futile. :) Congrats, Ed. Bookmarks are updated.

  18. Jim

    Non-replicative transposition is another analogy – I could spend time describing the details, but I think you nailed it with insect metamorphosis, and I guess if @wifey makes it all possible, she is the ecdysone of your analogy 😉

    Nice to see you over on Discover, a good motley crew of writers.

  19. Briana

    wowow. totally worth the misery of teasers! seems the email updates still work the same…

  20. Dave, London

    Many of the “tasting platter” links don’t seem to work.

    [Thanks Dave – I think I’ve fixed them all now. Let me know if you spot any more issues. I suspect there’ll be lots of teething problems like this for a while – Ed]

  21. I’ve added your new blog to my Recovering Sciencebloggers blogroll…

  22. Ed,

    Your topics sound very cool.

  23. WCG

    Congratulations – and for the Research Blogging Awards, too! Very well deserved!

    The only (minor) problem I have with it is that I couldn’t get the new link to work on my blog. Instead of just your blog, I apparently linked to every blog on Discover. Oh, well, no big deal. You won’t miss the very rare person who might find you that way, I’m sure. :)

  24. CW

    Congrats on coming over to Discover. Even though it throws my bookmarks and RSS feed all out of whack! Heh. I’m a big fan of your blog. Keep up the good work!

  25. zackoz

    You move, we follow.

    I’m sure the quality won’t change.

  26. Good times. Nice layout. Orange sucks. But NERS continues to rock.
    That’s my analysis.

  27. dikken

    While I’m glad that you are getting the kudos that you deserve, I find that the Discovery site has too many things that make the site slow, at least when I read 80 Beats and Bad Astronomy. I can only get so many cups of coffee while I am waiting for the site to reload to the blog’s home page.

    That said, keep up the good work. I really enjoy your synopses.

  28. I am new in scientific blogging, and attached above is my blog.
    I’m really glad to stumble upon your blog and gosh, you are good!
    Looking forward to more interesting stories from you! :-)

  29. Congrats on the move, Ed. Thanks for all the engaging stories. For those of you lamenting the serif font situation, you can use the following code in a user agent stylesheet to change the body copy back to sans-serif and alternate light gray background color on the comments:

    div.entry p span {
    font-family: ‘Trebuchet MS’, Arial, Verdana, Geneva, Helvetica, sans-serif;
    font-size: 10pt;
    ol.commentlist li {
    background-color: rgb(242, 242, 242);
    ol.commentlist li.alt {
    background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);

    I’ve also uploaded it to this pastie in case the formatting gets mangled in this entry:

  30. Sven DiMilo

    This is great news.

    Why? Why is it ‘great news’? Why is it a matter of ‘congratulations’?

    Does the hosting platform matter to anybody other than (perhaps) the blogger?

    I don’t get it.

  31. J.J.E.

    Well, how about gene duplication through RETROPOSITION. You get a new copy that is free to change and explore and that old copy may just stay constrained for the long haul… And there is no “parasitic” reference.

  32. But… but I LIKE serifs!


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Not Exactly Rocket Science

Dive into the awe-inspiring, beautiful and quirky world of science news with award-winning writer Ed Yong. No previous experience required.

See More

Collapse bottom bar