Who are you? The 2012 edition.

By Ed Yong | June 11, 2012 9:00 am

It’s the for that yearly Not Exactly Rocket Science tradition: the Who Are You thread.

Four years ago, I started a thread asking readers to identify themselves, say something about their background, and tell me a bit about why they were reading this blog. I’ve done one every year since and I always look forward to them. I spend the whole year telling stories so it’s great to hear everyone else’s for a change, especially given the diversity that typically crops up.

So without further ado, let’s go again.

What to do: Tell me who you are, your background, and what you do. What’s your interest in science and your involvement with it? How did you come to this blog, how long have you been reading, what do you think about it, and how could it be improved?

These questions are a rough guide. I’m working on the basis that what you have to say will be far more interesting than what I think you might say. Say as little or as much as you like, but do say something, even if you’ve never commented before and even if you commented on the previous ones.

If you’re a first-time commenter, there may be a small delay before your comment is approved. From that point, on, you can comment freely.

And one more really important thing: Every year at least one person says that they have no science background, and they feel intimidated by the folks on the thread who are researchers and professors and what not. Well, dear people, I want to remind you that I started writing because I wanted to be read by you. I still do. Come and have your say.

Photo by EvanForester

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Personal

Comments (153)

  1. Hi Ed!
    I’m Suzi Gage, and I’m a PhD Epidemiologist working at University of Bristol, and a blogger on Nature Network. I read your blog because it’s INTERESTING first and foremost, but also because I like to write too, it’s great to read other people who write well. In order to write well, you must read well too!

    My ‘day job’ is in Public health, trying to look at the relationship between cannabis and psychosis, trying to see what the association that is found there actually means, is it causation, or is it something else? Outside of that I write a blog about public health broadly, with a particular interest in recreational drugs both illicit and otherwise (which has led to some run ins with pro tobacco bloggers, fun times), and occasionally going back to my psychology roots.

    I came to your blog first by word of mouth, if you’re going to be a science blogger you need to read Ed, was the general consensus I heard :)

  2. Dennis

    I’m a father of 3 (4 if you count the dog..) prior Navy Nuke mechanic. Currently work civilian nuclear power maintenance outages. I started taking my toys apart when I was 5, putting them back together when I was 12. I’m more interested in Engineering, but I like to follow science for the implications it has ON engineering. I actually just found this block through a re-tweet from a friend, but like it already.

  3. kamen

    i’m a market researcher turned social scientist, and i take inspirations from biology, ecology, and other organic systems. been reading your blog, along with other discover’s blogs and articles since 2010. I think you need to crank up more on witty remarks, it will make the articles more fun to read.

  4. Let’s go all the way back to the beginning…

    I should have been a scientist studying animals. When I was a kid I played with a basket of plastic animals instead of dolls like other girls. And I was smart, but a little too smart for my own good. When I was in elementary school, they gave me a bunch of extra work and decided to skip me over the third grade. What they didn’t know was that I didn’t know how to multiply – when they asked what was four times eight, I added up eight four times.

    So from then on, I was behind in math and had to make my educational choices to avoid it. Eventually I got a PhD in theoretical linguistics, the only science I could do without any math at all. I taught at a university for ten years, got tenure. And then the animals called me back, and I quit to take a temporary job as a zookeeper.

    That led to writing about animals for newspapers and magazines, and eventually I wrote a book about animals that’s shelved under Humor but has a 25-page long bibliography, including a couple of references to this blog, and various papers this blog led me to.

    I often recommend this blog by saying that Ed Yong reads the science literature so I don’t have to – but really it’s also, so I’ll actually understand it. I don’t see how it could be improved except if you could somehow figure out how I could have more time to read it.

  5. I’m an MS in Entomology (soon to be PhD student). I work primarily on taxonomy and systematics of several groups of insects, including caddisflies (Trichoptera) and two winged flies (Diptera, e.g. fungus gnats, tachinid flies). I arrived here via Bug Girl, and I stayed for the best darn science journalism out there. I regularly share your posts as part of my Kai’s SCIENCE! Facebook weekday edition.

  6. Who am I:
    Norman Dunbar (Twitter @NormanDunbar)

    Background:
    Geek! Science, IT, Technology – you name it, I love it. I started life as a Honda motorcycle mechanic, passed through Yamaha outboard motors, Volvo Penta marine diesels and Shetland GRP boat building and repairs and eventually bought a ZX-81 and got hooked on computers.

    After that, I packed in the mechanicing stuff and went to Moray College of FE in Elgin to do an SHND in Computer Science. Turned out to Computer Data Processing though, unfortunately, but I stuck with it and passed with distinction! I eventually – after 15 years working in IT – started my own business with my wife – she does software testing and I do Oracle databases. (Shameless plug – Dunbar IT Consultants Ltd.)

    However, I’m still interested in science etc. Anything to do with how stuff works, including the Universe is fine by me. Religion and other forms of woo need not apply.

    My interest in science and your involvement with it:
    I have no involvement with science – unless you count being alive thanks to medicine etc. But I do have an interest in science that I’ve had since my primary school days when we used to get a science TV program once a week. (I’m talking about the 1960s by the way!)

    How did I come to this blog:
    I’m pretty sure it was via Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science blog. If not, sorry, I can’t remember!

    How long have I been reading:
    A good couple of years.

    What do I think about it:
    Well, if it wasn’t good, I doubt I’d still be here, so it must be pretty damned good if you ask me!

    How could it be improved:
    I always hate that question. I have no idea, sorry. Just keeping up the good work you already do will be fine with me.

    Cheers,
    Norm.

  7. Hello!
    My name is Piter Kehoma Boll, aka Piter Keo or simply Keo. I’m a graduate student of Biology at Unisinos, Southern Brazil. I also hold an undergraduate research about ecology, physiology and behaviour of land planarians and, besides biology, I also love astronomy and linguistics and currently I write for two blogs, Poisor Tristesi (http://poisortristesi.blogspot.com.br/), in Portuguese, and Earthling Nature (http://earthlingnature.wordpress.com/) in English (along with two friends).
    Unfortunately I have no much free time to read and comment on blogs as often as I would like to, but eventually I take a look, since I always subscribe to be informed about new stuff being posted.
    Well, I guess that’s it!

    Regards,
    Piter Keo

  8. w3c

    Hi Ed,
    I’m working at the Leden (http://leden.org), an information and communication sciences laboratory part of the University of Paris 8, after having finished a degree in digital creation and edition at the University of Paris 8.
    We are working on e-mediations, how to transmit knowledge and how the digital age can help.
    Currently I’m working on the Geochronic (http://geochronic.org) website, in collaboration with the Seine-Saint-Denis county council. I’m also doing some administration (both software and hardware) for various projects, and helping the students in their personal projects.
    I think I’ve been reading your blog for three years or so now, and you always amaze me! Thanks a lot for that, by the way. Countless hours browsing interesting topics! Thanks.

  9. patrick

    I’m a layman who studied math in school. I enjoy reading about science and understanding the world around us, always have. Never had the discipline to do science myself (interests in music led me down a different road) so blogs like this one fill that need to learn/understand etc. I’ve been reading NERS since the wordpress days and probably came to it from Orac or Pharyngula. Love the blog as it is. Only improvement I can think of is more spider stories! I keep a handful of tarantulas b/c they are so different than most other life we encounter in the course of a day and with the size, you can really see that. Book lungs? No mouth parts? Hydraulically powered limbs? So strange, awesome, and successful. So more spider stories.

  10. Hi Ed, I’m a biological anthropologist who’s worked on Amboseli baboon social learning, captive gorilla and bonobo gestural communication, and now, more broadly, the expression of animal emotion such as animal grief. A few years ago I began writing (books, articles, blog posts) in ways that, I hope, appeal to people outside (as well as inside) academia. It’s totally addictive- I can’t go back to writing in the old jargon-styled “in-group” way that I was originally taught to write.

    And, I avidly read your writing because it’s so fresh, and the science is presented so clearly, and also because, and this is a big deal to me, you have so much fun in the process of your writing. Of course, I have a small glimmer of grasping how hard you work, always pitching articles as well as blogging and so on, and thus juggling multiple deadlines. Yet at the same time, at least from your Twitter feed, I get a sense of how cool you think it all is– both the science itself and your interaction with the whole science/ science-reading community. I’m writing about science and culture now for NPR’s 13.7 blog and am learning how even 700 words a week takes commitment and skill- so more and more, I admire how you put it all together!

  11. Viktor

    I have an almost-finished PhD in computer science. I work in the telecom industry on WCDMA/LTE systems, mostly I deal with infrastructure issues in the base stations and the fixed communication links, I do not work with the actual radio-part.

    I have always had an interest in science, mostly physics – I started out as a physics student fifteen years ago and just sort of moved on from there. I don’t really have day-to-day involvement with science anymore, I have to settle for engineering – but I’d like to get back to more basic questions one day.

    I don’t remember when I first found your blog or how, it must be around a year ago now. I generally enjoy it a lot even if I don’t have time to read everything – I often find myself going back to find articles months later (just earlier today I was re-reading a post you made on rapamycin.)

  12. My name is Justine and I’m a science writer earning my master’s at NYU’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. I’m currently an intern at Audubon Magazine.

    My favorite areas of science include wildlife conservation, ecoimmunology, ecology, paleontology, and geology. Shorthand summary: “creatures long-dead and alive.”

    I’ve read the blog for a few years, well before I knew I wanted to be a science writer. Actually, I started reading before I knew science writing was a thing. Now, I continue reading as a constant reminder of how to do things right.

  13. Núria

    Hi Ed,

    I am Núria Gonzalez and I am a PhD in Biotechnology and Microbiology, although I’ve been working with prions for 3 years now, so no bacteria for me anymore. I love research and I love science, in actuality any kind of science (I am fairly scared of physics tho…), and that is one of the main reasons I read your blog: it is science all the way, from flies to virus to anthropology.

    I discovered “you” through Carl Zimmer’s blog: he posted my t4 virus tattoo and I saw almost by chance the name of your blog. I thought “it better be good because the name of the blog is awesome” LOL!! And yes, your blog is really interesting. I read your blog and Car’ls because I’ve always been really concerned about how elitist we scientists are and how far science is from normal people (and it is 100% our fault) . I’d like, in the future, put some distance between me and the bench research and focus on science writing for non scientists.

    Also, I have to admit I am a little bit obsessed with social networking and media stuff and I follow you on Twitter too (mine is @rednuria).

    To finish this long summary and as a non-related note, my husband is a gamer (he’s working right now on The Elder Scrolls Online, yes, I know, I am pretty lucky) and one of the happiest days of my life as a non-pro videogame-nerd was reading on your twitter you play Diablo3!!! (On nightmare now…)

  14. Catherine

    I teach 20thC literature at Clemson U, and lately I have also been studying (undergrad and grad courses) anthropology and evolutionary biology. I’ve been reading this blog for about a year, and I got started because I was interested in learning about new finds and thoughts in these fields in particular–but also more generally. I really enjoy it–keep up the good work!

  15. Hi Ed,

    I started reading your blog after hearing you speak about open science at last year’s British Ecological Society meeting in Sheffield. I regularly read and enjoy your writing, and I find your ‘Missing links’ invaluable.

    At the moment, I’m finishing a PhD on peatland carbon dynamics and greenhouse gas emissions. I wrote about it for the first Wellcome Trust / Guardian Science Writing Prize competition – you can read my shortlisted entry, entitled ‘Power to The Peat’, on the Wellcome Trust blog, or on my website.

    I’ve also just started a new job, investigating the role of plant diversity in controlling nutrient cycling in hay meadows, which are much more pleasant that peatlands! I hope that this will be the first step towards a life-long career in what I will broadly term ‘ecosystem science’, which I find endlessly fascinating. I am also keen to write about [my] science for other audiences, and hope to at least dip my toes into science journalism once I’ve finished my PhD.

    Looking forward to reading more of your work! @mgwhitfield

  16. I am a science writer with a focus on genomic research and medicine. I guess that’s where a failed microbiology Ph.D. followed by 13 years in book publishing and 10 years of science communications can get you.

    Your Twitter persona, @edyong209, and blog are guilty pleasures. Most of the time. When you write about genomics and medical topics you do so brilliantly. But more often you cite or write about different topics that may not pertain to my specialty but are always interesting. How can one resist clicking on a link to see fossils of an ancient fish locked in a mortal tangle with a flying dinosaur?

  17. Alexander

    Hello. I currently work in med comms. I trained as an organic chemist (I even have a PhD in it) and managed to work as one for a whole year, but then circumstances and a need to live and work in a particular area meant that I had to get a job outside the lab (which I miss). I really enjoy reading good science writing and found your blog through In The Pipeline, I think. I enjoy your blog because having left science research behind I find I miss the opportunity to hear about different aspects of science, and even though where I work it is mostly people who have trained in science, it seems that most people prefer to talk about non-sciencey stuff. So the internet fills the ‘science void’ in my life. I have a lot of respect for people who have the discipline to write interesting blogs and keep them up, as every attempt I have ever made has come to nothing, mostly due to my crazy desire to include words like wizard and ace into anything I write. I have no real explanation for this.

  18. Adriana

    Hi Ed: I’m a molecular biologist PhD working on cancer genomics. even though my research focus is at the molecular level, I love all of biology and your blog always manages to find the most interesting stories on the most interesting organisms. I’m very fond of your writing style, which I find refreshingly clear, never a hint of sensationalism, yet you manage to highlight the fascinating bits masterfully. I sometimes dream that when I retire from “wet science,” I can write my own blog, so I’m trying to learn from you. I have been reading you for several years now.

  19. Hey there! I’m Alex, and I teach high school biology in an English Program in a Thai Government School in Bangkok, Thailand. I have a degree in Marine Biology but discovered that I loved teaching more than I loved my realistic prospects about doing research in that field.

    My interest in biology is far more general, however. I love just about everything in biology (though I admit I find myself less interested in applied biology like medicine and pharmacology) and I love keeping up with the latest things happening, both for my own insatiable curiosity and to tell my students about.

    I don’t remember exactly how I found your blog. I’ve been reading it for a couple of years now. I think I discovered it at a time when I wanted to expand my science reading and exposure online. I wanted to spread more widely than the research papers I would manage get access to whenever I came across something interesting, and I wanted more depth and accurate reporting than what usually passes for science journalism in the regular news. So I started looking for good blogs, mainly focused on biology.

    I don’t know if I found NERS by general browsing of the Discovery Blogs if I found it through one of those “Other Blogs to Check Out” type posts on another blog I was reading or what, but from the moment I got here, I was hooked. Your write-ups are almost always outstanding, and not only have you managed to find really interesting stories that blow my mind and present them in an awesome way, but you’ve even managed to make me more interested in subjects I’m usually not so interested in.

    I can’t say I have any requests for changes, though I have noticed that the RSS feed to Google Reader only displays truncated blog posts, instead of the full blog post. However, I figure that is by design, in order to drive readers to discovermagazine.com rather than get the content through Google with Google serving up the ads. No problem, really, because the content is good enough to bring me here when the preview I see in Reader grabs me. :)

    Cheers. :D

  20. AG

    I am just another geek(AG). Had both MD and PhD degrees. But now just busy making money. To satisfy my geeky basic instinct, I read your blog.

  21. Hey Ed,
    I’m a children’s book writer. My projects are mostly humorous (but educational!) nonfiction, and I find your blog to be personally edifying and professionally catalyzing.
    That is, I get great ideas while I’m here. Thanks!
    Bart King
    @BartKing

  22. I’m a graduate student, currently finishing the fourth year of my Ph.D in chemistry. Outside of my research, I have a strong interest in science communication, both among scientists and between scientists and the public. I particularly enjoy leading hands-on science outreach activities, but have also gotten involved in science writing as a member of the science staff for my university newspaper and as a (novice!) science blogger, which is turning out to be a lot of fun & a great writing exercise.

    I first ran across Not Exactly Rocket Science in a science & environmental communication class I took last spring. We were asked to watch a panel discussion about online science writing before one of our seminar meetings, and one of the speakers (I think it was Bora Zivkovic) kept mentioning “Ed Yong” over and over and over again. I was very new to science writing & communication at the time and had no idea who he was talking about, but did a quick search, liked what I saw, and I’ve been reading ever since!

    I love Not Exactly Rocket Science just as it is – I particularly like the diverse mix of topics that you cover, and I think you do a very clear job of explaining complex topics (particularly those that have gotten a little muddled in the media – the H5N1 stuff comes to mind). I also love the “missing links” posts, because sometimes these things do get lost in the flood on Twitter, etc. (Have you abandoned the “tip jar”, though? I thought that was cool, but haven’t seen it in a while.) Anyway, no real suggestions for improvements – just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll keep reading!

  23. Physicalist

    I’m a philosopher of science who teaches at a university in the NorthEast of the U.S. I’ve studied a fair bit of science, especially physics. I think you’re a wonderful writer, and the topics you cover fascinate me.

    Many times I glance at your lead-ins and say, “No way! Really?!” You’ve taught me a lot about how the world is far stranger and cooler than I would have guessed.

  24. Hi!

    I’m a recent graduate of Duke University’s environmental masters program with a focus in coastal science and a new outreach specialist at NOAA’s Coastal Services Center. I do outreach mainly for online data tools that the Center produces.

    I found your blog a few years ago, through Twitter, most likely through BoraZ. I fell in love with it instantly; I was just getting into writing as a form of outreach (I never liked writing in middle or high schools) and I was mesmerized by the way you could take complex science, break it down to basics and build it back up into something scientifically poetic. And it satisfied the side of me deep down that wanted to know more about science outside of ocean science.

    I can’t say I have any complaints or suggestions for the blog. Other than to keep writing it!

    Thanks!

  25. I’m a writer and producer who deals with science and lots of other things. We’ve met at ScienceOnline more than once, and I like your blog because it almost perfectly represents the ideals of that meeting: straightforward communication about science, fun, good-spiritedness, an attempt to make the most people understand the most about the most other people and things. I agree with most others — just keep on doing what you’re doing. And thanks.

  26. I’m a young American woman living in Wisconsin and working on my master’s degree in environmental education. My undergraduate degree is in zoology and environmental studies, and before I decided to go into environmental ed I was thinking about a career in wildlife management – I spent some time as an assistant on field ornithology research in Canada and Australia. In addition to traditional environmental education, I’m interested in doing environmental outreach online, and I’m also starting to do a little freelance natural history writing.

    I discovered you and your blog through Twitter – people I follow kept tweeting links to your excellent posts!

    Twitter is @rdeatsman, natural history blog is http://rebeccainthewoods.wordpress.com.

  27. I’m a substitute teacher, substitute librarian, and temp office worker, currently entering year 5 after earning a BA in Creative Writing. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, though I was raised and educated in New York state. I ran a little science-y blog for a few months while unemployed in order to stay sane, and I adore all the little spineless creatures on earth, but mostly ants. This summer I’ll be moving with my wife to New York City so she can pursue a law degree, and I’ll be taking a few Biology 101/102 courses to be ready to apply for secondary school biology teaching programs in NYC. Very exciting stuff! Ed has been amazing in helping me pursue my passion, even if he didn’t realize it. Thanks, Ed!

  28. V

    Not a science person at all! The last time I took a science class was in high school. I work in consulting (business and health care), but I enjoy reading about new discoveries and whatnot. I’m a closet tech nerd, and I’ve taught myself coding over the last few years. I’m currently working on my own project using Arduino’s and RFID readers to look for behavior changes in older adults.

  29. Ann

    Hi! I may be your proverbial layman…

    My name is Ann McHenry, and I’m a Quality Assurance Engineer for an automotive manufacturer. The ‘Engineer’ in the title is purely honorary…but don’t worry, my job is in creating systems for the company to run smoothly, not to do any actual engineering or testing on the parts. I’ve always had a hard time with math, which steered me away from the STEM classes in school. (When your tutor for pre-calc says ‘sometimes you have to accept failure’ you know it’s bad)

    But I’ve always loved the ‘ooh wow’ of science. And I love reading up on what’s going on. I read a lot of Pop Science books, watching documentaries, and I especially love stuff on the history of science and how our understanding has evolved and how it all pins together. I may not have a STEM background, but I think thanks to blogs like this I’m probably as well informed about ‘what’s going on’ in the fields as my aunt and uncle who are college science professors, and able to hold my own in a conversation. And thanks to people like you, Phil Plait, and Ben Goldacre I’m a much better critical reader of science & health journalism.

    I love the ‘Missing Links’ posts and usually harvest those to create my own Link posts to my friends and family.

  30. Hi, I’m the (pseudonymous for now) writer behind Eight Crayon Science. I’m a physical science grad student, and while I love what I do, I am working on learning how to be a science communicator rather than an academic. Science doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and I realized a while ago that I got as excited about talking about science to people outside my department than I did about actually doing it.

    I haven’t the foggiest idea how I came across your blog, but I’m glad I did! It was at least a year and a half ago, and it, along with the proliferation of science blogs I found around the same time, has really opened my eyes to what good science communication looks like, and important it is.

    As for blog specific feedback, I too love the mix of topics covered and the missing links round-ups — it’s always good to have reading material for the train collated in one place.

  31. SherryH

    I’m SherryH. I earned a B.A. in Linguistics in the early 1990s. Oddly, I’ve never used it in and of itself, but the pattern analysis and meta perspective on language come in handy now and again. For about twenty years, I’ve alternated between stay-at-home parenting and an assortment of clerical jobs. About five years ago, I earned an AAS in Paralegal Technology – and then life got flaky and I’ve not had a chance to use it yet.

    Interest in science? Well, I’m interested in a bit of everything, really, and science has some fascinating stuff. I like knowing odd bits and pieces, and your blog seems to have a lovely assortment. Every now and again I run across something I just can’t get into, but that’s okay too.

    I’ve probably been coming here a bit over a year to a year and a half. You’re in the blogroll at Blag Hag, and I usually jump over from the links there. I *think* I have you bookmarked in your own right, but my bookmarks are a snarly, tangled mess, so I’m not sure that would help!

    I like that you cover so many different areas and aspects of science. Your explanations are clear and easy to follow. You give additional links for further information. Your weekend ‘missing links’ posts are dangerous, though – I could lose an entire weekend clicking away until my head was stuffed full and knowledge was leaking out of my ears. (Don’t stop doing them, though! I love it!)

    So, there you are – another reader weighing in. Hope it helps!

  32. Nancy Peck

    I follow because you are a journalistic role model, you educate me and do it all with a sense of humor—a unique combination I value and appreciate.

  33. Former wildlife and stray cat worker turned Biologist. I have a Master’s in Environmental Studies but after getting discouraged with the lack of money in research I’ve found a nice paid job working as a trial guide. My artsy dream is to make dark indie films with a sci fi / environmental twist. So I like that this blog gets my imagination going as well as informing me of discoveries.

    I appreciate the quality of this blog although like Wired, the topics are a tad limited. I say this while acknowledging I’m not a personal fan of insects and I’d love to see some divergence into the science of permaculture, botany and more cats, please. :)

  34. Anna

    Hi Ed,

    I am a geneticist, working with plants and studying how they can make the incredibly beautiful and variable patterns of their pollen walls. I absolutely love reading your blog. It gives me a nice opportunity to read about things that I would not have time reading about on my own and a very different perspective from my own molecular work. I love the variety of topics you cover and I appreciate your style. Thanks for “Missing Links” too. Keep up the great work, Ed!

  35. I’m a physicist and science writer (Galileo’s Pendulum, Double X Science, Ars Technica). I have a fairly extensive science background, though very little of it is in biology or the kinds of things you write about here – I’m an interested layman, though. My own writing covers a wide variety of physics- and astronomy-related content. Since I come from academia (6 years as a professor before my temporary teaching jobs ran out), I’m very interested in science outreach to the public, something you do very well here!

  36. Phytosleuth

    Konnichiwa! I was a geek and didn’t know it until maybe my 40s. Got a masters in Plant Sciences after being a truck driver (I’m a woman) a fire-fighter and a herbalist who is too scientific for herbal practitioners and not scientific enough for scientists. I love plant chemistry but hate chemistry (the former is a rainbow of fascination and the latter is boring rules). Blame my instructors.

    I currently research the academic literature (yeah Open Access!) for jewels to apply to biomimicry (mimicking great ideas that nature figured out).

    Love your blog. Keep going!

  37. I’m a 28 year old artist with a life long adoration for life in every conceivable form; the more alien to humanity, the better. I love hagfish, blood flukes and blowflies as much as anyone has ever loved a dolphin, timberwolf or giant panda. Parasite Rex was the closest thing to a bible in my life. I get defensive and snippy when people say they hate spiders. I breed slugs and cockroaches as pets.

    I never had the opportunity to start college until recently, and am still working towards an A.S. from a Florida community college. From there I hope to move on to biology and specialized in arthropods.

    Whether or not I ever make use of a scientific degree, I always have my other passions in art and writing; I make good use of my zoology knowledge in designing my own sci-fi horror creatures, which have gained a fan following over the years and are set to feature in an independent Dungeons & Dragons style role playing game, probably coming later this year. I also do a webcomic, have dabbled in flash animation and write articles about all manner of things, all of which can be seen on bogleech.com

    I’ve also written some biology-packed articles for Cracked, though their editorial tends to dumb some things down, if that wasn’t obvious to anyone who has ever read anything on Cracked. At least it’s some decent extra money.

  38. …In all that, I forgot to talk about why I come here! I suppose it should be obvious, really, there’s just no other blog that aggregates so much information so relevant to my interests. I learned long ago that you never miss a thing. If there’s a new discover or new journal on some sort of organism that I’d want to know about, it eventually turns up here, and your own writing is often much more enjoyable to read than the original paper.

  39. I’m a semi-retired professor of geophysics at Stanford University specializing in reflection seismology. My web site offers free the five textbooks (PDF) I have written in 45 years here.

    Besides your web site I frequent Naked Capitalism, Gene Expression (Razib Khan), Bad Astronomer, Steve Sailer, The Oil Drum, and some middle east sites.

  40. Sammybingo

    My name is Sam. I’m a UK mature student, who at the age of 27 (I’m now 30, eurgh) decided to start adulthood again by taking a degree in something I am really interested in – Animal Behaviour, although I am interested in all scientific disciplines. I just like finding stuff out – how everything works, how everything interacts.. but alas, there isn’t enough time in a life to ask all the questions. I got really interested in reading science blogs around the time I became a student and discovered I could no longer afford New Scientist, nor the time it took each week to read every sentence in it. This way, I can dip in and out of stories, and if one piques my interest, there are often links to more information. I also quite enjoy the way bloggers can be openly critical of papers, something which paper-media seems to struggle with. It’s helped me to become more critical myself. I think I found your blog through @BoraZ, who posts many interesting links. My obsession with the freaky stuff evolution has spat out is nicely fed by your blog.
    I’d love to write more about science myself, but I struggle with a lack of a ‘starting point’, something that makes me go ‘yes, this!’, as my interests are so diverse.
    I have been obsessed with primate behaviour for years, but am starting to focus more on domestic animals, probably due to an illness that makes it impossible for me to travel to do my research project. I hope one day soon to weevil my way into a PhD, although the discovery that someone else at another uni (post grad) seems to be doing exactly the same research (and well publicised too) as I started a few months ago for my undergrad has frightened me, what if people think I was just a lazy idea thief? What if it was my one good idea?
    I’m basically some sort of cringe-worthy early 30s, neurotic Woody Allen character, if he wrote one who is only content when nosing at some sort of animal. Blogs form a wonderful distraction from my uni work, without taking up too much time, and if anything, add to my understanding of ‘stuff’.

  41. Pam

    This is my third time on this thread so I guess I’ve been following you for at least three years. Doesn’t seem that long. I love it. I am an artist with a degree in philosophy and an insatiable curiosity which reading this blog helps sate. I look for interconnectedness in things for inspiration for my artwork so this blog again often provides insights. I recommend and repost some of my favorites of your posts hoping others will also find them fascinating. I love the variety – it’s a virtual beverage bar for a thirsty mind. Thank you Ed.

  42. Christine

    I’m a lawyer and mother of two teenage boys. I read your blog to have interesting things to talk to my sons about and share the world together. Also, not to make you self-conscious, I’ve been trying to parse what makes your writing so effective in order to improve my own writing, particularly blog articles on the law. Finally, it’s just interesting!

  43. Hi Ed! I’m that person who paints pictures of bacteria and viruses and stuff. (http://www.etsy.com/shop/artologica) I love your blog because I learn all kinds of crazy, interesting stuff and you have a great way with headlines.

    Needs more lolcats, though.

  44. Hi!

    My name’s Callum, I’m a 22-year-old undergraduate student in the UK, and I made the mistake a few years ago of opting to study English language and literature. At the time when I was making my decision, I had an uncommon dilemma between English and Physics; my love of literature got the better of me, and I made the wrong choice. I still adore literature, but I simply need to make science my career.

    In my time at university, I really fell in love with science more than I ever had before (hence the regret), and partly blame the nature of science education in high school. I think our greatest educational crime is giving young students the impression that science is about fact collection, and that scientists know everything; if you become a scientist, it is simply your job to read all the facts and hold them in your mind. Nobody ever tried to get across the fact that science IS discovery, curiosity, ignorance, and mystery! Had anyone had the foresight (or the national curriculum mandate) to do that sooner, I’d have fallen in love with it much younger.

    While at university, I became particularly fascinated with evolution – like many scientists, I think it is an indispensable theory that explains so much, and has the potential for so many applications that we’ve barely started utilising. Given my background, I’ve managed to do some study of evolutionary linguistics as an undergraduate, and I plan to propel myself into a career of science research by mastering in cognitive linguistics, and then moving onto a PhD in phonological neuroscience. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have found a way out of the barren land of self-aggrandising, pointless literary criticism!

  45. Lisa M

    Hi! I’m Lisa, a student in Clinical Psychology, one year away from getting my Ph.D. My main focus is pediatric neuropsychology. Most of my research has been in traumatic brain injury, some in biomarkers, some in social outcomes. I’ve got some interest in expanding into the development of interventions following TBI/concussion and utilizing technology to improve medical and social outcomes.

    I starting reading your blog back in October (can’t remember how I got to it, but I follow Jonah Lehrer’s Wired column you often link to). My younger sister (who is not such a fan of school) was starting her first year of undergrad. She’s got a pretty strong set of interests in bugs, animals, and photography. And nobody really tells you about all the cool science you can do with those interests (unless you ask about it). Since I didn’t want her getting depressed and settling on a career path of little interest to her, I found your blog and started sending her your posts. They’ve launched some great discussions about careers in ethology and other fields. So thank you!

  46. Old Geezer

    Ed, I’m a 71 year-old retiree who is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. Being very curious, logical and analytical, I enjoy exploring areas in which I have no or little expertise. Your writing helps me do that. I have been reading your stuff for several years, but at my age who keeps score? Please just keep doing what you are doing and I’ll strive to do the same.

    I especially enjoy your weekly “missing links” feature and could follow it daily if that were at all possible. I know that it is not, but even an old man can have dreams.

  47. Hope

    I’m an academic science librarian with an undergraduate degree in neuroscience. I used to have a job where I read science and health news all day and it made me go a little crazy. I think a lot of the bad science and health reporting makes non-scientists (or those not particularly interested in it) see it as something alarming or irrelevant. And that makes me sad. I recommend your blog to friends as a good place to go if they’re interested in reading something well thought out, interesting, accurate, and non-alarmist.

    I actually had a blog of my own for a short while, but really started to wonder why I bothered. There are a lot of great science blogs – which are maybe helping to improve traditional science journalism? Maybe?

  48. Kerry

    Hi Ed
    I’m a biochemist from Cape Town, South Africa. I mutate proteins to figure out how they work – at the moment I’m looking at the protein that envelops HIV. I am passionate about science – I love doing it, teaching it, talking about it and reading about it. Someday I hope to be brave enough to write about it. I found your blog whilst looking for inspiration on how to write about science well. You nail it. Every time. Thank you and keep up the excellent work.

  49. Tell me who you are, your background, and what you do.

    my name is matt and i have zero background in science. i do boring website work in austin, tx.

    What’s your interest in science and your involvement with it?

    i became interested in science after reading Freakonomics and realized that, as much as it wanted to, it didn’t explain people as well as it thought it did. i read a few more popular econ books and was left with the same taste in my mouth. i eventually moved on to read Robert Sapolsky and others like him, to get a better understanding of myself and others (as much as one can, anyway). it’s been a fascinating few years, discovering blogs like this one and reading authors who can convey their science in easy to understand form. so, my involvement is really recreational and decidedly educational by now, even if not formally so.

    How did you come to this blog, how long have you been reading, what do you think about it, and how could it be improved?

    i am pretty sure i found out about this blog after reading Carl Zimmer’s The Loom, and putting Discover Blogs in my Google Reader. i have been reading a little over a year at this point and i absolutely live for the missing science news links on the weekend. so much so, that it’s the first thing i do after getting my coffee ready for the day on saturday. i appreciate your efforts immensely.

  50. Mary

    Hi Ed,
    I’m Mary, a lawyer in Seattle. I have an undergraduate degree in Biology and my first career was in industrial toxicology, but through various twists and turns ended up going to law school. I practice in the area of credit union law (particularly compliance with banking regulations).

    I’ve always loved science, particularly biology, even more particularly mollusk biology. I’m loving the current trend in octopus science! As for what to change, I honestly can’t think of a thing. I don’t read everything you post, certainly, but what I do read, I adore.

    You do a great job of retelling the science in a way that someone who hasn’t done any actual science in nearly 20 years can still understand.

    As for what first drew me here and how long I’ve been here, I don’t know. I’m sure I saw a post of yours linked somewhere, and I’ve been around long enough to remember the old site, but how long before that, I have no clue. Sorry.

  51. Elissa

    Hi Ed, I’m an almost 60 year old woman who, just like Old Geezer, never got a good answer to the questions, “What should I be when I grow up?” I got my degree in Art History but just because I loved studying it – never worked in the field. I’ve been a professional theater box office manager, a restaurant manager, a tour guide, a park ranger, a cable TV parts builder, an entrepreneur – my husband and I invented a gift item and designed and marketed it to stores across the country. We try to work as little as possible so we can do things we both love which for me is a cappella singing and hummingbird research. I’m a hummingbird bander, managing 3 different banding sites so I get to be up close and personal with these amazing creatures. I think I found your site when you wrote about the Anna’s hummingbird research showing that the male mating display flight sounds come from the “tail pop” at the end of the flight rather than being a vocalization as was originally thought. Not sure when you wrote about that but that’s how long it’s been. I learn stuff from your blog all the time and especially appreciate the Missing Links. Thanks for all you do.

  52. TGAP Dad

    I am a 51-year-old IT professional residing in The state of Michigan, USA. I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, with a minor in math. I have three kids, two of whom are in universities (both majoring in different fields of science), and a wife of 24 years.

    I have been interested in science since I could crawl. I was the kid on the carnival ride looking underneath the kiddie rides to see how they worked. The World Book encyclopedia was recreational reading for me. I watched Nova back when nobody else had even heard of it. I’m still as much a science fan boy (read: geek) as I’ve always been.

    Your blog is bookmarked in my browsers, and is a must-read every day. I love your writing – both clear and concise. I also love the British (mis)spellings!

    Cheers

  53. Hi Ed, I’m a writer-editor from the west of Ireland, curious by nature, trained in biology but on a different path now. I write about language — grammar, usage, etymology, literature, poetry, editing, and so on — at Sentence first and Macmillan Dictionary Blog. I’ve been reading NERS for a few years, but I don’t remember how I first encountered it. I admire your writing style and the obvious care you have for the craft; I also love your generosity, sensibility and wit, and am consistently fascinated by the research you report on.

  54. Katla

    Hi! My name is Katla and I am an Icelandic PhD student in the US. My background is in biochemistry and my current work is in molecular biology, working on post-transcriptional gene regulation in mammals.

    A labmate of mine recommended your twitter to me when I first ventured into the twitterverse about a year ago and that led me to your blog. I particularly enjoy reading your blog posts about obscure animals I don’t get to read about in my studies. Even though I am not currently planning on going into science writing, I think it’s important for scientists to be able to communicate their work clearly and science blogs like yours help me learn to do that.

  55. Ellis

    Hi Ed,
    I’m a chemical engineer turned environmental scientist currently transitioning to science writing. My main interests are water quality, ecosystem functioning, food system reform, science literacy, and the intersection of social justice with sustainable socioeconomic models. I have multiple blogs spanning several years of writing wherein I had very few readers. I’m in the process of compiling and editing the better posts to form the basis for a “real” blog where I intend to build my reputation. I’ve read your blog on and off for years but I think this is the first time I’ve commented. Your style is direct and accessible and you’re one of several science bloggers whose style I study to improve my own. I’m originally from the Mid-Atlantic U.S., and I like hiking, canoeing, cooking, and craft beer.

  56. JJ

    Hey Ed, I’m a 26 year old guy with a degree in mathematics and a masters in accounting. I originally planned on teaching and later decided I preferred the research and scientific applications of math (calc and physics based stuff) more than the act of teaching it. I’ve always been a STEM guy, leaning towards math, physics, and engineering – but I’m interested in all the sciences. Upon graduation I needed to find a job ASAP (in this terrible economy) so I decided a business degree would be the way to go and now I’m a staff accountant – it’s really not all that interesting…which is why I read your blog, along with the others on Discover. It helps keep my interest in math and science alive by learning something new everyday from you and fellow readers.

  57. My career is as a business analyst in the US. My not-so-secret passion is science. I worked at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Sciences in my youth and have maintained a love of learning even though my career choices took me into software development. I found your blog by reading The Loom and seeing a link that I just followed one day. My current personal project is to learn as much as I can about the intersection of intellectual disability and dementia. I maintain a blog (http:\dementiabedamned.blogspot.com) about that intersection and how it plays out in my sister’s life. She’s 41, intellectually disabled and has young onset dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. I relish writers who can take complex topics and make them accessible to readers who are not in the subject’s field.

  58. Jen

    Hi Ed,
    I’m a young (under 30) public librarian working in the suburbs of Denver (originally from NYC).
    Definitely a layperson when it comes to science, but I enjoy reading about it for the same reason I enjoy my job: it gives me a chance, every day, to gain a bit more understanding of the world around me and learn something new.
    Keep up the good work!
    - J

  59. Ellis

    Ed! I just remembered that I have a suggestion. You should start updating Nature Wants To Eat You again!

  60. Brian

    I’m a sophomore Industrial Design student at Rochester Institute of Technology. Side hobbies include camping, climbing, and photography. I always had a background and strength throughout high school in math and science, then found Industrial Design as a major and shifted my focus into design. I guess I follow this blog to retain that love of science I have. I don’t remember exactly how I was linked to your blog, but I’ve loved it ever since. (It might have been through boingboing.net) Thanks for the lighthearted, daily dose of science that everyone should have!

  61. Hi Ed,
    My background: undergrad – political science and fine art. Then law school. Then stand-up comedy. Now I host a podcast called Myoclonic Jerk which is more philosophical and comedic but with an implicit respect for reason and science. I grew up with a father who read all the Isaac Asimov books and shared with me the coolest parts. I’ve never had a head for the nuts and bolts of science but I do believe in its methods and I do have a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world. Your blog certainly serves those impulses. I happened upon it only very recently when it was quoted in a mental floss mailer. If you have an email list, please add mine to it. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  62. Greetings, uber-blogger (I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do umlauts). I’m a 32 year old soon-to-be PhD student. I grew up wanting to be a palaeontologist or biologist but circumstances dictated otherwise. My path back to Scienceville was a little circuitous, taking in such scenic delights as Musiciantown, Artcollegeberg before a three-year stopover at ITvaria. But I was always talking about Scienceville so returned and got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

    I started reading your blog a couple of years ago though I can’t really remember how I came to find it. I continue to read your articles because they’re always interesting, accessible and consistently well written. It was the work of bloggers like you, Brian Switek and Darren Naish which convinced me to start my own blog (currently on hiatus).

  63. MNGirl

    I am a PhD scientist in conservation biology who now works at a U.S. Goverment agency on foreign policy and environmental issues. I got my PhD in 2010 and entered the science policy world immediately. I had no desire to do laboratory work or be in academia.

    I read your blog for new and quirky issues that my agency may be interested in or need to know about. I do not remember how I came upon the blog–it’s been about 2 years now.

    I like your witty headlines–they entice me into certain stories. I hate that once I click on a link that it doesn’t open in a new page. I then have to hit the “Back” button, and scroll all the way down to where I was before.

  64. I’m a PhD student, studying Analytical Chemisty, although previous to that I’d studied Environmental Science and then Toxicology. I’m desparately trying to improve my writing skills and expand my reading to beyond what’s absolutely necessary for my thesis (I’d like to keep my enthusiasm for science as broad as possible whilst still specialising professionally). To this end I’ve started a blog around postgraduate life as a chemist, although anything about science, writing or working in academia seems to creep in. I came across you and therefore your blog through Twitter and keep reading it, partly as inspiration for how my own writing might develop but mostly because it’s simply interesting…and isn’t that what it’s all about??

  65. Hello Ed and everyone,

    What interesting people and what an interesting thread! I am a soon-to-be MS student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at CSU Fresno, and I write a blog about the biological imagination (best way I can put it). I don’t like the term geek. But I like your site! How much you must read in order to find such great stories and publish at such a short interval! Please keep up the good work.

    -Kyle

  66. Ed! Ellis is right. You should start updating Nature Wants To Eat You again!

  67. Tamara

    I’m a science and engineering librarian in a large government research organization. My background is in anthropology, but, inspired by my job, I’m heading back to school in the fall to study biochemistry and microbiology. I think I found your blog via Ben Goldacre, and I’ve kept reading because your excitement for science is so genuine and infectious!

  68. Paul Winkler

    I’ve been reading the blog for only a few months, after a link from Twitter. I am a medically retired Canadian of 59 whose interest in science dates back to around 1960, when I lived near a forest and creek, and acquired a fascination with the wildlife there. Then I got hooked by the space race, and Astronomy, and I’ve loved all things scientific since then. I have no suggestions as to how to improve your blog, as I find it very readable and interesting as is. Keep up the good work!

  69. Lauren

    Hello again!

    What to do: Tell me who you are, your background, and what you do. What’s your interest in science and your involvement with it? How did you come to this blog, how long have you been reading, what do you think about it, and how could it be improved?

    I’m Lauren Blomberg, I got my B.S. in Microbiology from Cal Poly. I currently work as a Regulatory Compliance Specialist for city government. I was suggested this blog by a friend several years ago, and have read ever since. I love the in depth analysis of new tech, exciting research, in a wide range of fields. I love the readers comments and discussions, and I especially love that I enjoy reading articles in my field of interest, as well as those that I am wholy new to. I feel equally informed and like I have learned something new all the time!

  70. Daniel J. Andrews

    I’m a senior environmental scientist or a population monitoring or wildlife biologist or a professor of biology and chemistry depending upon which contract I’m doing at the moment. Initially I did contract work because with budget cut-backs it was very difficult to find full-time work in my field unless you want a desk job spending more time pushing paper around in a cubicle than actually doing hands-on work yourself.

    Now I do contract work and turn down full-time jobs because I like the variety and the freedom I have with my current arrangements (I get paid to travel to distant wild places to do research and then later get paid to talk about these distant wild places where we’re doing research and hopefully inspire young folks).

    I forget how I found this blog, but I’m certainly glad I did. Ed does a fantastic job of explaining various papers and research. Many times he’ll add information I didn’t know even in an area I’m supposed to know something about. I think that’s because he takes the time communicating with the authors/researchers, and it certainly is nice having someone who takes complex information and is able to make it friendly for both a general reader without boring someone who works in the field.

    That, I think, takes skill and a lot of hard-work and practice, and I am appreciative of the effort that goes into this site.

    Plus I like reading here because the “Wow!” factor is fairly high, as in “Wow! I didn’t know that and that is so totally weird/awesome/amazing/insert superlatives, that I have to tell someone else about this”.

  71. dave the bug guy

    am a 51 yr old average everyday ‘joe schmoe’ with no more than a ‘typical’ public high school education, tho’ have taken & passed several intricate correspondence courses from Purdue and Univ. of Fla. Am a professional pest control operator, specializing in tropical landscapes so thoroughly enjoy all of your reporting on insects & plants in particular. If your name is on it, I read it. Been here long enough to remember last yr’s ‘who are you’ but not the one before, so guess alittle over 2 yrs total. You & several of your cohorts (on Discover and elsewhere) have rekindled a love for all things science I had thought was lost long ago. Your ‘Missing Links’ is my Sunday Times so to speak, occupies a good part of my Sunday morning & then some. Unsure on how you could improve anything here, you’re a wonderful writer with an obvious passion for truth, justice and the just plain weird. Carry on!

  72. syl

    Hello!

    I go by Syl, and I am currently a medical student (future physician?) in the United States. My science background consists of 3 years as research go-fer in undergrad (neuro, behavioral, biochemistry) as well as a degree in Biological Sciences with a specialty in Genetics (a “BS in BS”). For the purposes of clarity in this post I should also note that I have a degree in East Asian Studies from the School of Humanities, which means I also have a “BA in EA.” I’ve been an avid reader of your blog since… around 2008? I suspect that I found you through a link from Bad Astronomy (Phil Plait).

    My last year as an undergraduate was an exercise in insanity as I was essentially working full time in lab while attending a bioethics class populated with humanities majors. The bioethics part was great fun. What was maddening was realizing that otherwise very intelligent people were basing decisions, with very real consequences, on fuzzy (or wrong) conceptions on how human development, embryology, antibiotics, drug development, organ transplants, stem cells, etc. Likewise, research itself was quite nice. Watching funding fall through because grant-writers refused to speak to (rather than over) grant-readers (many of whom were administrators with a non-science background) was disheartening at best.

    This came to a head in a very real and very personal way in 2008, when I graduated with my dual degrees and then the economic meltdown that came some 2 months after. Funding for the sciences was already stretched thin (especially in the UC system), and I watched in horror as politicians and the public were essentially calling for the sacrifice of world-renowned research at the altar of “fiscal responsibility.” This, of course, makes entry level lab tech jobs very hard to come by.

    Long story very short, I am not a science journalist. I am a very proud advocate for science. And while I realize why the stereotype (vampiric social outcast slaving away in a dark, windowless lab) exists, I think it does a disservice to science and research if we as scientists behave in this manner. Funding here is invariably tied to public opinion; the least we could do is attempt to make a good impression. Bonus points if we can get clear and accurate representations of what we know and don’t know into the minds of the public at large. I think blogs like yours that help “demystify” science are fun and, more importantly, necessarily for the survival of science and research in a world where priority and funding is based on public opinion.

    So I do read your blog for fun (strange how you miss basic research after memorizing a list of drug names), but, more importantly, I read your blog because it gives me an example of how to communicate with people. So when I get yet another patient that tells me that vaccines cause autism, I can find the words to at least set them on the right path.

    And with that, this massive post can finally come to an end. Thank you for writing. And reading, if you’ve made it this far. :D

  73. Anna Crowe

    I’m a former freshwater biologist, now stay-at-home mum in New Zealand. Your blog (and others!) give me something to think about while I’m immersed in the domesticity of my life! You write beautifully, thank you!

  74. B

    Ed,
    I’m an astrophysicist in North East US. I’ve loved science since I was a kid & as I’ve become older I’ve become more interested in the process of science. That’s one of the things that makes your blog interesting to me; you discuss the meta issues including the motivations & pressures, the blind alleys & the statistics. Many science journalists don’t get the meta picture & simply regurgitate press releases, but you clearly do get the meta stuff & it’s the backbone behind your writing. You make me feel guilty at times, reminding us to communicate well, effectively & often. Well, keep doing it- you’re right.
    I never miss your Missing Links.

  75. Miguel

    Hi, Ed!

    I “discovered” you through a retweet from Carl Zimmer just a few months ago. I feel you both as the perfect companions to get a constant feed of science-related news. Actually, I’m amazed on the amount of information you can output everyday. I have to force myself not to read everything you link in your tweets, lest I do nothing else during my day!

    About myself… I’m trying to finish a never-ending, always-being-delayed PhD on Computer Engineering. I’ve been a teaching assistant for five years in a big University in Madrid, and I’ve been part of the EU Marie Curie grants program in an important Belgian research center.

    I’m right now on the verge of finishing my PhD, and then deciding what to do next: start my own business, try to proceed in Academia, or go work for a company…

    Meanwhile, I really enjoy reading scientific literature, whether it’s Physics, Biology, Paleontology or anything else.

    Regards!

  76. Diveena

    Hi Ed!

    PhD student studying insect genetics. I am interested in application of RNA interference to kill insects (not all insects, just pest of crops). I have been regularly visiting your blog for about 3 years now.
    Your blog is what I read over lunch. It takes me out of my world for a little while and tells me something interesting in other areas of science. There have been many instances that I wish I could write science at least half as good as you do. You have taught me how to better communicate science with people who are not in the sciences and with those who are not in my field of research. Thank you very much for that. I shall read your blog for as long as you shall write them. Keep up the outstanding job!

  77. Pat MacEwen

    I read your stuff because it’s good! It’s clear, even when the topic is really complicated, and you often cover topics of particular interest to me. Likewise, your link salad on Saturdays provides rich pickings. I’m a physical anthropologist, with a background in forensics, and I write science fiction and fantasy on the side, often using material I first found in your column. For example, your piece on tiny snails who survive (in part) being eaten and digested by Japanese white-eyes, and how that increases their distribution across the landscape. That became the basis of a short story about star travel called “Taking the Low Road,” which appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in May. I also post links to your pieces on Facebook all the time, in my own little effort to spread interesting science far and wide. So please, don’t stop!

  78. junkie_jane

    Hi Ed,

    I am a graduate student in the field of neuroscience and have been reading your blog for about 2 yrs now. To someone who is frustrated by benchwork, scientific writing SEEMS like a tempting/easier alternative. But your blog is a constant reminder of the hard work that goes into being a successful science writer. Don’t get me wrong, you’re making it even more tempting, although for the right reasons. I can see how you don’t need to be doing science to be so involved and well informed (silly me!). In fact, the various topics you write about are a cure for the ‘tunnel vision’ that most grad students develop as they focus on the one molecule that their thesis revolves around.

    Now to find more time to read the blog on a regular basis. This is where the tweets have been helpful..distracting me from work and leading me to something that’s probably more worthwhile ;)

    Thanks and keep doing what you’re doing.

  79. Michael Cook

    Hi Ed

    Bachelor of Boitechnology with Honors in Food Microbiology from UTAS. Leaving university was the end of my scientific career because it was taking too long to find work with my degree so I switched to community services and now am happily working in mental health.

    I find you blog great because I still enjoy learning, its great to be directed to interesting studies and I like seeing the scientific process at work. I do miss some parts of university, definitely not the long hard slog of writing but the excitement of discovery and the joy of testing a theory and sifting through the data to see if its valid. In its own way your blog gives me that.

  80. Hi! I am a Bolivian writer who is interested in stories of any kind and shape. I decided to start reading a bit more about science following the recommendation of Alan Moore, the comic writer. He said that many things from swamp thing came from his knowledge of the behaviour of plants and insects, and that every writer should know a little bit of science to stay fresh in metaphor’s and new processes.

    I looked around in the web and found your blog, maybe four years ago, and I simply love your prose and stories
    thank you very much!
    Mar

  81. Frank

    Hello Ed,
    I write inspired science fiction stories. Oh wait, maybe that should be insipid.
    I have been reading your blog for around two years now. I don’t regret a single moment either.
    I was directed here by an obscure link in a back issue of the Zarathustrian FTL catalog.

    All seriousness aside, I enjoy reading what you write. I’m just a bottom feeder after all.

  82. Daniel J. Andrews

    Old Geezer Says:

    Ed, I’m a 71 year-old retiree who is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.

    Nicely put. I’d bet there are lots of people here, like Elissa, who are (will be) in your shoes. I once heard a prominent tv newscaster who had enjoyed a long distinguished career and was soon to retire say he still didn’t know what he wanted to do when he grew up.

    When people ask me if I’m a biologist or scientist, I steal that line of Jarod’s from the introduction to The Pretender, “I am today”. (couldn’t find the youtube clip but see here; tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThePretender

  83. Steve Carballeira

    Hi again, Ed!
    For the third time (I think!) – My name is Steve and I’m a hydrogeologist working from Denman Island off of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I am involved in groundwater studies and wastewater and so get lots of doses of science all the time – always different, always interesting. I almost went into Biology but rocks won out in grad school. Still have a huge interest in evolution, biology, anthropology and paleontology. Your blog is first up among 20 or so that change semi- regularly but yours is always on the list. I believe I got here originally about 5 (?) years ago from a link from PZ. Keep up the great work on the blog. I really appreciate the fact that you are out there trying to improve the quality of science reporting all over the world. Bravo!

  84. Hi Ed!

    I am currently working in molecular epidemiology research of Hepatitis C (HCV) and B virus (HBV) as a research assistant in cancer research institute in Indonesia. My educational background is BS in Biology. I am interested in virology, evolution, and marine biology which are topics that often covered in your blog.

    It was a year ago that my colleague told me to read your blog, and now I am a regular reader of your blog. Your blog is simply a must-have read blog for anyone who claims themselves a scientist. I have no other suggestion for your blog, however I wonder if you could make a regular thread that cover any papers suggested by your reader. Other than that, keep up the good work for us!

  85. Mo

    I’m a lab technician (2 years out of a Bachelor’s degree), and I’m going to be applying for PhD programs this fall. I’ve been reading your blog for somewhere around 1.5-2 years. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do when I grow up, but I know that the communication of science will play a large role in it. Thanks for being someone I can look to for inspiration/guidance!!

  86. I have a PhD in Zoology; recently mostly studied animal behavior, but am also interested in systematics, evolution, conservation and searching for rare species. I am also a travel writer (in Russian, but that is about to change). My bi-lingual blog is at vdinets.livejournal.com

    I don’t remember how I found your blog, by I enjoy it a lot. If there is a better online natural sciences review, I am not aware of it. Thank you for all the work!

  87. Matt Gruenr

    I am a graduate student trying to come up with plausible explanations for how a miniature brain (in the nematode C. elegans) can give it a fighting chance against the microbes. Good science writing was how I became passionate about good explanations. Thanks Ed for the next generation of scientists!

  88. CNZ

    I’m an audiologist from New Zealand with a long-held interest in all areas of science. I have a very odd mix of study, with a bachelors in theology, grad diploma in science, diploma in teaching, and a masters in audiology (hons).

    I spend most of my day in a clinic room with no windows, so your blog is a bit of escapism for me! When I read scientific lit it tends to be focussed on audiology, so I love keeping track of other research which has no apparent relevance to my day to day work.

  89. michael gleason

    I am a general contractor in the bay area. Studied science and philosophy at Berkeley in the late 60s. Dabbled in politics and was the mayor of two local communities. Love the intelligent selection of your posts. Best curated science blog by far. I check in every day.

  90. Hi Ed,

    Your blog is one of my favorite places on the internet, I’ve been following you from way back when you had just come out with a book of your collected blog posts. I’ve been a science junkie for as long as I can remember. Much of it was nurtured by my granddad (non-scientist but science obsessed) who reveled in showing me experiments at home or asking seemingly simple questions with difficult answers (I still remember when he split water into its constituent atoms with a battery. You could call it electrolysis and it’d be boring, but to picture what was really going on was a pleasure.) I was a nine year old who enjoyed sticking his tongue to 9 volt batteries, taking apart VCRs or watching iron filings make odd patterns near a magnet. Was generally obsessed with all things electronic. Spent much of high school devouring popular science books about science. Eventually that grew into a love for physics, nurtured by a good teacher and a lot of books by Feynman. That set me up for four years in a wonderful liberal arts college where I met some of the most passionate and gifted teachers I’ve ever come across. Started grad school eager to study particle physics. Your blog and Carl Zimmer’s, books like the Selfish Gene and Ancestor’s Tale, and a healthy supply of Attenborough documentaries made me realize that evolution is incredibly fascinating. I gradually drifted from physics to biology, and now study bioinformatics, where I often work on natural selection using computational tools. Around the same time, your blog inspired me to have a go at writing myself. One of the things I’ve learnt from you is to abhor jargon. I’ve been blogging about science when I can make time for it, and it’s been a very exciting and rewarding first year for me.

    So, in short, you’ve nudged me along quite a bit, and I look forward to maybe having a beer with you someday.

    Cheers,
    Aatish

  91. Baroque97

    Hi, Ed!

    I’m just a lowly lab analyst-type person who has worked in a bunch of labs since I graduated with a BS in biology and made two failed tries at MS degrees in science, so I know that a PhD is out of the question because I don’t have the drive or the patience. I still love to fantasize that I am the next David Attenborough, though. :D

    I’m currently taking classes part-time around my job as a water analyst at a drinking water treatment plant because I feel like the routine of my job is turning my brain into tapioca mush and I have often regretted not getting a double-major in chemistry and biology, so I am planning on a chemistry degree as well, just 25 years or so later than my biology major. I suppose there is no time limitation on nerdery.

    I’ve been reading your blog and following you on twitter for a few years now, because the cool animals are what first got me interested in biology and what I still enjoy more than anything else in science.

    Improvements? I can’t think of anything you could do better. I wish I was a “real” scientist sometimes, but with your stories I think I have a broader awareness than I would have otherwise. Thanks for all your time and efforts you put in to this.

    Best Regards, Cath :)

  92. Hi Ed,
    I’m a librarian with a lifelong interest in biology/zoology (it all started with our garden pond and my colony of woodlice) and I love learning something new every day. Your blog is where I go to do it, especially the Missing Links. I’m not sure how I found NERS, it may have been via Bad Astronomy, but I’ve been coming here for a few months and I’m working my way through the old posts (I’m back on page 120 by now). Your enthusiasm for your work shines through in each of your post and makes them immensely enjoyable to read.

  93. L

    I’m a very specialized type of accountant and occasional programmer. My degree is in music, with a minor in anthropology. I took equal numbers of science and music classes in high school, and attempted a chemistry minor in college before organic chemistry helped my advisor convince me that I didn’t have enough time to devote to both. As soon as my husband finishes his graduate degree, I’m starting an undergrad engineering degree. you might say I have trouble committing to one area.

    I’m fascinated by how things become other things; how yarn turns into lace, how cells turn into wool on a sheep, how dirt turns into grass, how clouds of dust turn into stars and planets. I love how no matter which branch of science you look at, everything can be traced back to the same essential principles, every why and how coming back eventually to the same rules governing the interactions of particles. Every answer to a why or how can be followed with another until you go down through chemical reactions in cells, the gravity of the earth, atomic fusion in distant stars, all the way to a point where the only answer left is we don’t know yet.

    That “yet” is why I read science blogs, including this one. Every day someone is looking at a new way to get from “why does this tree have leaves this shape?” back to the basic rules of the universe that govern everything we wonder about. And every new connection is exciting. Unless it’s about roaches, then it’s just gross.

  94. GoHoosiers

    Thank you for writing, Ed. Since I’ve last commented I’ve completed undergrad and started work at an investment bank. My reasons for reading remain mostly the same: interest in learning, fascination with the natural world, and desire for a guilt-free procrastination outlet. I will add one to the list. Examples of good writing are rare in business. I believe that as you read, so you write. Thus, I read Not Exactly Rocket Science to keep my writing style clear, direct, and free from abominations like “value-add”, “recreating the wheel”, and “baked-in”. While I no longer read every post, I still sneak in one or two each month and click through to far more of the missing links than I can ever finish. Thank you for explaining the world’s wonders.

  95. cfarns

    Hi Ed, Chris Farnsworth here…again….I teach 7th grade science in Massachusetts and I’ve been enjoying (and using in class) your blog for several years now. Linked from Zimmer if I remember correctly. The accuracy, scientific detail, readability and length all make your articles perfect for what I do in class. Lynn Margulis once said it doesn’t interest her unless it tells a story and I couldn’t agree more. The details and scientific method are easy to reinforce if there is something worth reading to tie them together. If it weren’t for science writers like you and Zimmer and McKenna and Quammen, not to mention the dozens of other talented writers in Wired, or Smithsonian or Discover or Nat Geo, it would be nearly impossible to get my students as interested as they seem to be. Three cheers to The Open Notebook and Nieman Storyboard for also exposing the talents of writers like yourself. My kids love your work. Take care.
    Chris.

  96. Hi Ed!

    I think it’s the third time I’m answering this.

    I’m soon finishing my master’s degree on ecology and evolutionary biology in the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. When I started my studies, I was determined to become a scientist, but over the years I have gradually shifted away from research, towards science communication.

    I’m currently working for a few magazines and newspapers, writing about biological things from plant evolution to keeping tropical fish, dinosaurs to leeches. I’m also an enthusiastic amateur science illustrator and paleoartist and an even more amateurish nature photographer. As a hobby, I write my own science blog (http://planeetanihmeet.wordpress.com/ sorry, in Finnish).

    The first motivation for reading this blog was simply that it offered interesting science news easily accessed. Later, it has been a great inspiration for my own writing and a source of journalism-related news as well. I frequent quite a number of blogs and science news sites, but Not Exactly Rocket Science has to me among my favourites.

    Also, the Missing Links is a wonderful source of, well, everything.

  97. I’m a 35-year-old admirer of all things science, living in Adelaide, South Australia. When I say 35-year-old, I mean precisely, today (12 June) being my birthday.

    I feel a little self-conscious any time I post in the comments to point out a missing link or something equally mundane, and prefer it when I can post comments that contribute to the flow of ideas. But that requires knowing stuff, which I don’t.

    I frequently link to your articles and to articles you have linked to, and I like to think that counts as a expression of appreciation. Because what you do is very much appreciated, and as for improvements, here is what I suggest: (1) Get someone to take a photograph of yourself sleeping. (2) Sell it on the Internet for lots of money. (3) Invest the money in cloning technology. (4) Clone yourself. (5) Enjoy the extra free time.

    For my birthday I would like a better Internet connection so that I can read / listen to / watch online content any time of day, even during peak traffic, without being bumped off the network. I would also like a fully-functional spaceship and time machine.

  98. Sue J

    Hi Ed.

    I’m Sue, I live in Melbourne, Australia, and half a lifetime ago I got my PhD in Pharmacology/Toxicology. Since then I’ve mostly worked from home evaluating new medicines while raising my kids, who are nearly adults now. I’ve always been interested in science, as well as education, writing, and pretty much anything interesting. I think I missed my calling as a science writer, so I read with some awe and jealousy science writing wherever I find it.
    I’ve only recently (last 6 months) discovered the joys of RSS and the fun of having interesting bits and pieces from the web pop into my inbox on a daily basis. I came across Discovery Magazine through links from other blogs, including Its Ok To Be Smart.
    I am constantly amazed how many people think science is something separate – a discipline beyond the understanding of many, when it is really just a way of thinking sensibly and looking at things with curiosity and wonder.
    Reading your blog and some of the other good science blogs gives me hope that there are still people in the world who think, and have an interest in what goes on in the universe.

  99. Sanjit

    Hi. My name is Sanjit. This is the first time I’m doing this. I live in Bandung, on the island of Java, Indonesia and I am a final-year dentistry undergrad. I’m definitely a geek and science is one the loves of my life.

    Had my first taste of scientific writing while putting together my minor thesis which I was lucky enough to present it at a international dental congress overseas in Japan. That event opened my eyes to the wider world of science writing/publishing/research and the community that exists. Definitely taking the path of a researcher if I can manage it.

    Actually I read this blog as a way to satisfy my geeky interests. I love reading bout new discoveries, research and this blog is one way I keep up. And also it helps me feel like being a a part of a community that actually understand what science is. Thanks Ed for writing this science blog.

  100. Peter Croft

    Hi from Perth, Western Australia. I studied Science at first year uni level at age 18 in 1965 but flunked badly. Physics 10, Chemistry 10, Maths 10, Applied Maths 10. Failed ‘em all. Quite depressing and embarrassing. Never failed an exam before or since, but that year it hit me like a hammer. I just couldn’t grasp enough to get through. It just moved too fast for me, took too much work, too much insight. I’ve never forgotten a tutor being a bit sarcastic at me because I couldn’t grasp his leaps of logic.

    Totally discouraged, I realised the following year that electronics was what I really wanted to do and got a Diploma in Electronic Engineering at technician level. Took me 8 years of night school, but I love electronic engineering. Fantastic vocation. Retired now at 65.

    In 1965, though, our physics texts were the three volumes of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, just published then. Ain’t that amazing? Quasars had just been discovered. The expansion of the universe was not yet known. The CMB was just being found. Quantum physics was just dimly in view for me. I learnt electronics before computing was even on the horizon and the 8008, 8080, Z80 and PC were still to come.

    I’m perpetually behind in my knowledge but I’ve never lost my interest, via electronics.

    I also clearly remember in the 1980s having to work out how to do measurements in electronics in my work by going right back to MKS units and analysing the subject as we were taught to do. I did it! (Magnetic flux: 10logB2/B1 or 20logB2/B1? Which is it? I dunno now, but it worked.) Wish I could do things like that now.

    Maths was always my stumbling block. I like trying to understand it, and look at Terrence Tao’s web site in amazement, but I can’t make those leaps of logic it requires. I’ve read just about all Richard Feynman’s books and love the way he made hard things clear. I wish I could get a degree, but it’s a bit late now.

    PS: a big part of the SKA will be built “just up the road” from me, but I fear I won’t live long enough to see it. My great regret about dying will be not finding out the answers to the great questions. Come on LGMs, show yourselves! Show us we’re not alone, please.

  101. Colleen

    Hi!

    First comment, though I’ve been reading (and loving!) your blog for a few years now (don’t remember how I found it; possibly through Jonah Lehrer?). Right now I’m a master’s student in neuroscience (with very mixed feelings about pursuing a career in the field) but I have my undergraduate degree in math. I especially love the weird nature blog posts, but I also love the link collections. To be honest, I don’t read every post but I do read the ones that catch my eye. Almost all the ones with ants, for example.

    What I found surprising about your blog this year was hearing your voice on a podcast and being SHOCKED that you had a British accent, even though I knew you were British (I guess because I’ve been reading all your posts with an American accent). That probably sounds stupid, but it was a (not unwelcome) revelation.

    Anyway – I appreciate your blog so much – thank you!

  102. I am an upper secondary teacher in biology and chemistry, with a research background in biology. I am passionate about science (a true geek in many ways), and this blog — as well as other sources — is one of the ways that I try to keep up with what happens in my subjects. Both for personal curiosity, but also since I want to give my students that little extra touch of up to date science in their classroom

    You tend to have a good mix of the strange, the novel, the startling and the important, all stuff that I want to learn more about and can use in my lessons.

  103. Hi Ed,
    I am a french research engineer, with a PhD in geophysics and a passion for Science.
    I have “met you” on Twitter, and really like your blog.
    See you,
    Simon.

  104. David Manly

    Hi Ed!

    My name is David Manly, (@davidmanly) and my story is a long and complicated one, filled with action, adventure, romance, robots and slow-motion explosions. You and I have chatted off and on for the past little while via Twitter and email (and also met at scio12).

    Who am I:
    I am a 27 year old Canadian male who is a science nerd and been obsessed with animals since I can remember. I went to university for zoology/biology and worked in a lab working with frogs (Xenopus and their protein expression regarding salt tolerance) before moving on to journalism and getting my Masters. Since then, I’ve been freelancing and have a full time job writing for a magazine publishing company.

    How I came to your blog:
    It was thanks to Twitter, actually, and all the fabulous science people out there. And the amount of people who kept referring me to your posts made it a must-read – and plus, dry British wit and humour is always appreciated.

    I’ve probably been reading your blog for at least 2 years or so, and constantly send links to friends, family and anyone else who would find a passing interest in it.

    How to improve:
    I have no idea … update it more often?
    Frankly, just keep up the great work in making science entertaining, interesting and fun for readers of all ages. The greatest thing I can say about your blog is that no matter your science education, whether it is grade 10 science or PhD cell biochemistry, everyone can pull interesting nuggets out and share it with other people.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you’re the kind of science writer I could only hope to be, and I am priviledged to know you.

    Cheers mate!

  105. Hi! Love your blog mate, have been reading it for at least a year. I think I found it via Bad Astronomer.

    I am a nomad photographer, writer, gypsy and jedi. Been living on the road for 3 years now. Traveling around the world in search of people, places, experiences, stories. I used to work full time in IT as head of an IT-department, until I changed my life, sold everything, took off, to live a life on the road, full of ups and downs and amazing people and stories.

    Science has always interested me deeply. I remember being glued to the telly watching David Attenborough as a young kid. I grew up on a farm, so I think my moments of science came before I even remember, simply by constantly exploring, building, being around nature and animals, watching the stars at night, discovering just how gravity works by climbing in and falling out of trees and reading every book in my father’s library – especially Jules Verne.

  106. Hello Ed,
    I am a forest ecologist and teach college-level biology and environmental science. I’ve been reading your blog for about two years and I get a lot of great ideas for connecting what I teach in my classes to the big, crazy, interesting world out there. In fact, you’ve inspired me to start my own blog (http://thischanginglife.wordpress.com/) and to continue to become a better communicator of science to everyone. This is my first time commenting … hope to do so more often.

  107. Minega Isibo

    First comment- I’m Minega Isibo from Rwanda and I’ve been reading your website for about two years. I don’t have any scientific background at all- infact I’m a lawyer-but science fascinates me and for that reason I visit your blog at least twice a week. I follow you on twitter too. Enjoy not only all the fascinating things you report on or link to, but also the fact that you do so with a lot of wit. Visiting your blog is always such an eye-opening experience.

  108. Rich

    I teach biology at a community college. I have a Ph.D. in biology, focused in evolutionary ecology. I love this blog and Carl Zimmer’s blog because you guys keep me posted on what’s new in research. Like some of the other readers who are educators, I use material I read on this blog all the time in the classroom. You do a great job of making science accessible and I sometimes pull your blog up in class to show the class something. I look forward to the weekly missing links. That is an awesome touch. Stop by if you are ever in Rochester, NY.

  109. I am a documentary filmmaker with a passion for science – especially anything neurology or oceans. I have little formal background in other than personal interest as a “citizen scientist” – but I’m curious about my world and what’s discovered. I’ve been reading the blog for about a year and recommend it to others. You have a great writing style and it’s an engaging read. I really don’t have a strong suggestion for improvement. Thank you for writing!

  110. I’m Regis Dudley, communications officer for the Faculty of Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I work to make sure Dal’s science stories make it to folks across Canada and the world.

    I found this blog through the Discovery Magazine Twitter account. I haven’t been reading long, I must admit; but I find your blog interesting, clear and well-written. Thanks for all you do to advance science and bring stories to different audiences! :D

  111. Gaythia Weis

    Hi Ed,
    I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for a number of years now. I’ve always enjoyed your posts, and find them to be a great way to keep current, especially with with biology related topics that I might not come across otherwise. Over the years, I’ve come to admire your high integrity factual approach, and your skill at writing topics up in a very public accessible way. This makes your blog one I frequently recommend to others.
    I’m still pretty much the same person I was last year, a chemist with a MS in Analytical Chemistry and undergrad degrees in both Chemistry and Geology. I have professional experience in groundwater geochemistry,(including radionuclides), hydrology, industrial quality assurance, waste stream analysis, and electron microscopy pertaining to the semiconductor industry. I am always interested , and looking for, ways to become more involved in science related education and policy issues. Currently I am a partner in a small scientific software company.

  112. Michael Phillips

    My name is Michael Phillips from Leeds. I am nearly 72, retired and a non-scientist. Although getting on in years, my brain is still as inquisitive as ever, particularly about science subjects. I am simply fascinated by everything which has happened from the Industrial Revolution onwards. I feel privileged to be living during this ‘Age of Digital Revolution’.

    I tend to watch anything concerned with [British] scientific history, mostly on BBC4 and [to a lesser extent] on BBC2. I also read Science Daily, but it is often TOO American for my liking. Yours is British – and proud of it!

    I read your blog because I can understand it! It is written is a language I can follow, and on topics which I still find riveting. I particularly love the way you start a topic, easing me in, drawing me deeper into the subject, with the result that, by the end of the opening paragraph, I am hooked!

    Ed, keep up your excellent work. I love it.

  113. Hi Ed! My name’s Jordan, and I’m a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at Penn State. About a year ago, when I decided to become a science writer, yours was one of the first blogs I found, showing me that science writing is actually a “thing.” I read your blog frequently; actually, sometimes I’ll “Google” certain scientific topics to see that you’ve already blogged about them! I began my own blog not long after being inspired by you and many others. (www.GainesOnBrains.com)

    I just completed my first year and, although I haven’t settled in a lab yet, I’ve become interested in sleep from my rotations with the sleep research group, and hope to pursue that path. I have my oral candidacy exam a week from today…eek! Wish me luck!

  114. devlyn

    Hi Ed,
    I’m pretty sure I remember doing this a year ago or so. I’m a student of mathematics and science at Portland Community College here in Portland, Oregon. I also work full-time in IT. I’m 32 years old, and I have always loved learning about science and mathematics. Just under 2 years ago, I realized that simply reading about science online wasn’t getting me the knowledge I wanted any more, so I started taking classes at PCC. I’ll be transferring to our local state Uni to complete my degree in Mathematics (minoring in physics, most likely), and who knows from there. I would love to be chosen to be a settler on Mars, and though that’s probably a long shot, I’m going to try my best to stuff as much knowledge in my head to prepare for that possibility. I’ve already had my husband agree that if the opportunity arises, there will be no second-guessing. I have all of the Discover blogs in my RSS reader and I tend to only read those articles that interest me — mostly yours and Phil Plait’s are those I read. I also get into some of the biology stuff, though it’s not as compelling to me. I do enjoy your writing and hope you continue to do so on this blog. ^_^
    Thanks,
    Devlyn

  115. Long-time reader, long-time commentor.

    My name is Zach Miller. I’m a contract administrator for a construction firm in Anchorage, Alaska. My interest in science (and paleontology in particular) has been life-long. When I can afford it, I try to travel to the annual Society of Vert Paleo meeting. It’s always easier when it’s on the west coast, of course. Recent complications with my CF have kept me leery of travel, though, so the future is hazy.

    I used to run a largely paleo-themed blog, When Pigs Fly Returns, and I used to keep up very closely with the paleo literature, but as life goes on, it gets busier, and I don’t have the time I used to. Increasingly, I look to blogs like this one (and Laelaps, and Smithsonian Dinoblog, and Archosaur Musings, etc.) for my paleo news. I still download new papers faster than I can read them–and in fact, I rarely get a chance to read them–but I still enjoy it when I can.

  116. Anne

    I’m a artist working as a graphic designer and I’m a layperson “fan of science”. I’m not a college graduate. I don’t have any professional involvement in the sciences. I appreciate science as a set of intellectual tools that allow me to better understand and navigate what otherwise would be a world full of ignorance and poorly formed beliefs. I enjoy reading about and studying science because, first, the subjects scientists are involved with are generally interesting to me, and second, it allows me to observe the mechanics of science – how questions are approached and tested, the lovely self-correcting nature of it’s practice. I love the process of science because it promotes genuine understanding. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, I find the application of science to be an art. It’s beautiful, elegant and enlightening – just as art should be.

    I’ve been reading the Discover blogs for several years now and the only suggestion I have for this one in particular is borne of my own appetite for reading. I want more! I’m happy with the quality of the writing. Though I have no complaints about the frequency of posts, more posts are always welcome.

  117. Hi Ed!

    I’m a molecular biologist by training, having graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine in 1994. Soon after graduating, I became a stay-at-home mom.

    A few years ago, I began casting around for something to do with my increasing amount of personal time. I decided to combine my love of science with my love of writing, and started a science blog of my own.

    I consider you to be role model, both as a science journalist and as a writer. You’ve given me some very helpful advice (though I’m sure you don’t remember). That almost makes up for the fact that quite often when I sit down to write about a topic, I find that you’ve covered it first and better.

  118. Derek Thomson

    Hi, my name is Derek, I firmly believe in the power of now, and try not to think of the past or the distant future, and I believe thinking like this keeps yu calm and stress, worry free.

  119. Toos

    I’m a female born in 1953 as a Dutch aboriginal. As my profession the past 20 years and still, I teach playing recorder to kids. No idea how you would call [the level of] my formal education, undergrad or something alike?
    As a kid, I was interested in scientific reading as long as I remember. With finally a public library in reach, every week I got the maximum number of books. And the scientific ones you was allowed to loan at double amounts :) . About one year later, I was through all of the youth-shelves. Just not the girly books, the only ones that couldn’t keep my attention for longer than 2 pages at maximum, really dull and blèh! in my experience. And so, though too young, I was allowed to read on from a – in size as well as in content – great walhalla: the department for adults! As a teenager, tv came in use. My favourits: such as documentary films, but especially TELEAC ["Television Academy"]. No idea how many courses I’ve looked by the time, just for fun, even on early saturdaymornings. From some courses I still have my notes and books. Of course such as the sciencepages in my fathers newspaper and alike, were not safe for consumption by me either.
    December 2002 I bought my first computer, learning myself by trial and error to understand how it worked and especially to get that damn thing doing what I expected it could do. By may 2005 I felt myself experienced enough to get connection to the internet. And found a wealth of blogs and such about my in the meantime more specific interests, like paleoanthropology. One of them linked to this one, about 3 years ago. And so, I got to be a regular visitor here. A really nice way to keep my broad interests feeded beside the special ones. Always a good read here! And surely giving me much deeper and better information as the sciencepages in Dutch newspapers I was used to, at least the ones freely accessible on the internet.
    Two years ago I responded to your yearly question too, but much shorter. This time your text was that much inviting, so here is my new reply. I hope this time, for a change, you will enjoy my writing?
    Thanks a lot for all your nice stuff over these years! With kind regards,
    Toos Spee

  120. Carla G

    I’m Carla in Bethesda, Maryland, near Washington, DC. I have degrees in mathematics and applied mathematics and I’ve built many simulations and analyses over the years, mainly for improving aviation safety. I had an oddball education and have never taken any courses in physics, chemistry, or biology. Despite that lack (or because of it?) I’ve always had an interest in learning more about science, which heated up a few years ago when I read Sean B. Carroll’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” and Carl Zimmer’s “At the Water’s Edge” within a few days of each other. I found this blog through Carl’s blog and now read both of them regularly. I am working towards becoming a volunteer assistant at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and am eagerly learning as much as I can about botany.

    This is my first time responding to “Who are you?”, so I guess I’ve been reading the blog for less than a year. I enjoy your careful writing, and your ability to combine very specific details with enthusiasm and a bit of levity. I’ve learned a lot through the “Missing Links”. I don’t have any suggestions for improvements – if you can maintain the very high standards you’ve set then you’re accomplishing a great deal.

  121. maria

    Thank you Ed, for sharing your knowledge!
    I am a 70 year old grandmother that is enjoying your posts for a few years.
    I think that I found your blog by link from http://www.boingboing.net
    Your blog is excelent!

  122. Roger

    I’m a geologist by education (B.S.) – and have worked in the environmental (hazardous materials) consulting industry for most of the years since my graduation in 1990. During a job dry spell I did a year of teaching 7th and 8th grade science. I have always had a strong interest in biology – particularly in evolution, genetics, and behavior. I’ve been frequenting your site for some time now and I don’t remember how I got here. Love it and have no suggested edits… Really… I’m not shy about such things, I’d tell you if I did. I love your site. Many instances of awe have been inspired by your site. Thank you – sincerely. Thank you for all the mind-expanding reading – and links. Actually discovered quite a number of other quality blogs through your links as well… yours remains my favorite and most linked to.

  123. David Hobby

    I’m a mathematician. PhD, tenured at a 4-year college in New York. I never took any biological science, just read all the articles in Scientific American for 20+ years. I’m constantly amazed at the clever solutions Nature has found to problems.

    I usually read about things first via your blog, only to see them again days later, when other sources pick them up. Keep up the good work!

  124. I have no science background unless you count the ‘physics for non-science majors’ I failed. Twice. But I like science fiction books/movies and like animals too, and that’s how I ended up reading your blog. Thanks for all the great posts! :)

  125. Fernandez

    Hi,

    Indian, PhD student dabbling in tissue engineering. Been a long time follower via google reader! Kudos for making science readable, accessible and for collating related info in a methodical manner!!

  126. Hello Ed,
    I came to your blog by chance, when I was surfing to gather information on slavemaking ants. I’m a science journalist myself, specialised in biological and medical topics. Your stories are clear, to the point, well-written and often witty, and for me that is what science journalism should be.
    So from that first time, I visit your site regularly and it became one of my favorites. When teaching popular science writing to students (ca 100, first year biology), I took two of your stories and let the students read them and comment on them to give them a feeling of what science journalism is.
    Your blog and others made me so enthousiast that last month I started a blog myself on evolutionary topics in Dutch.

  127. Hi, Ed,

    I have undergrad and master’s degrees in English Literature. I took the required science courses in high school (foolishly dropped AP Bio) and the minimum to fulfill the distribution requirements in college. But I grew up in an exurban place where we could always observe small animals, my mother brought snakes and bugs into the house to show us, and I even got to take a short series of taxidermy lessons. I married an engineer, who wooed me with Schlieren flow visualization images. I’ve read the NY Times Science section since it started. So I guess I was always interested in science.

    I’ve always worked as a writer. I used to write on all sorts of topics, but I usually had the most fun writing science pieces. For one thing, compared to writing business pieces, when I asked for evidence for claims, I was never told, “that’s proprietary information.”

    Since starting to write “Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating” with Catherine Craig, I’ve been working on the idea of how science can be communicated not just clearly, but also in a way that allows nonscientists to get and keep a gut feel for the deeper principles underlying science concepts. Your posts are always clear, but you’ve written a number of posts, for example the recent one on how cancer evolves and the one on population attributable fractions, that I think are models.

    There are a number of writers I look to as models (not just science writers; I am an English major still), but the regular stream from you, Carl Zimmer, and Jerry Coyne helps sharpen my reading and writing skills, so thank you.

    And, yes, #9 Patrick, I agree that more spider stories are always a good thing.

  128. Holly

    I’m a newly minted PhD in Biochemistry, working to cultivate the parts I love about science while forgetting the trauma (and drama) of grad school. I also have more than a passing interest in science education, both formal (school/student setting) and informal (the general public). I strongly believe that if people – anyone, really – are shown the art, the smarts, and the beauty of nature, they’ll forget that they’re “bad at science”, and start loving our world even more.

    In fact, the #1 reason that I read is because you do just this in fine fashion. I aspire to share the awesomeness of molecular/cell biology & biochemistry with people in the same well-written, accessible way that you share organismal biology/animal behavior. Kudos, and many thanks!

  129. Simon K

    Hi Ed,

    My third time around on one of these threads.

    No science background. I hated science, and especially biology, when I was at school – studied English and Theatre mostly. Then when I was 18 (over 20 years ago now) I worked on a kibbutz in Israel for a few months. There weren’t that many English-language books in the little library there, but among them was “Bully for Brontosaurus”, one of the glorious collections of essays by Stephen Jay Gould. It opened my eyes pretty much instantly, and I became (and have remained) a voracious reader of popular science.

    Not sure whether I came across your blog before or after discovering that we both worked for Cancer Research UK (have a look back to what I said on this thread two years ago if you really care!) One thing I do know is that I was either the second or third person to slightly freak you out by recognising you from your blog picture – I passed you in Richmond Park one day and gave you a bit of a shock when I tweeted about it.

    Only request for improvement is to go back to having full rather than truncated posts in the RSS feed, but I imagine that’s down to Discover rather than you.

    Keep doing what you do. All of your posts are worth reading, and some of them are extraordinary pieces of writing – my favourite from this year has definitely been the evolution of tumours.

  130. Hi Ed,

    I’m a third year PhD student (or Doctoral Researcher as they’ll have us say these days) at the University of Birmingham, studying nerve wiring and components behind it. Fruit flies are my friends. I previously copy edited for one of the Nature Reviews journals, and still like to edit when I can, though I much prefer to write. In amongst PhDland work I’m on student committees and run one of the Birmingham PhD Twitter feeds (@bioSimonUoB) from which I occassionally harass you! Very keen on writing more science pieces, working on a few features to publish somewhere hopefully soon.

    I’m really driven by the ongoing need to bridge the divide between scientists and the lay public in terms of communication and understanding. So many people have failed to understand why I do what I do, and I’ve enjoyed the possibility to teach a whole range of scientific topics in attempting an explanation. It still surprises me what people do and don’t know, fuelling my desire to keep telling the stories of science.

    I’ve been reading your blog for many years. I’ve been following your writings ever since your Telegraph/BASF science writing prize victory, and was inspired to write more when you went from that to publishing in New Scientist. (I remember thinking ‘Hey! That’s what happened to that guy! Good for him’). I like the easily approachable tone you take, your regular Missing Links feature, and I particularly liked the inclusion of grolar bears in your recent speech Am I A Science Writer?

    I would like to know how you cloned yourself in order to achieve the output rate that you do…

  131. I’m Chris, a 4th year PhD student in chemical engineering working on cancer nanoparticles and at one point, RNA structure prediction (working on the EteRNA game!). I think that I first found this blog from some stories about gut bacteria and I haven’t stopped reading since! There isn’t a better science blog.

  132. Just wondering

    I loved physics and maths and science in general when I was in secondary school, but that’s as far as my formal science education went. By an accident of fate I ended up studying drama, and now work in television post-production, which has a certain amont of a technical aspect to it.

    I found your blog through word-of-text from a friend, that was about 2 years ago, I think, and I subscribed to all the Discover blogs through a reader so I’ve read most of the posts in that time.

    I continue to read the blog because it provides me reading material that is completely unlike anything else I consume. Sometimes the science nitty-gritty goes a little over my head, but more often I can figure out what the specific terms mean, and I enjoy being pushed a little beyond my comfort level.

  133. I have a BS in Chemistry. Full-time scientist/part-time writer, mostly fiction. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, maybe a little longer. I heard about it from a friend, who recommended it very highly.

    I enjoy the range of subjects that you cover, and I like your writing style. The weekly “Missing Links” post overwhelms me sometimes because there are So. Many. Links. You could lose half a day. Maybe I would recommend shortening the list to the top 10, but I know that would probably be difficult to do.

    I follow your Twitter feed as well. I enjoy it because you let your snark flag fly, and I follow most all the links.

  134. Maire Smith

    I’m a woman in my late 30s, have a baby and a young child, and work as an instructional designer (writing vocational training materials for large organisations). I often get to do the more technical training that comes up (how to maintain voltage stability on a national grid, for example), because I become enthusiastic when told I’ll be being paid to learn more about electronics rather than finding it intimidating.

    I studied chemistry, physics, botany, and geology at university, but never finished my BSc, because health concerns and the need to earn money got in the way. Instead, I worked as an editor in the education sector for about 7 years, before finding my current role.

    I’ve read this blog for about a year. It’s great. No ideas for improvement here, because I just enjoy it a lot. I came here via someone’s link on a social-media feed (Twitter, possibly). I really appreciate the fantastic links and I enjoy the short articles on interesting topics.

    Reading about how our world works, and our changing understanding of how it works, feels as though it’s good for my critical thinking skills and I know it’s good for my enjoyment of life and appreciation of what’s around me.

  135. Michelle

    I’m Michelle. I’m a recently retired U.S. Army Bandsman. I have nearly no background in science, just basic high school and college requirements. I do find it interesting.

    This fall I begin my college life (at the ripe old age of 35!) studying business. I like this blog because it is interesting to read and still easily understandable.

  136. Dai Shizuka

    I’m a postdoc in Chicago working in behavioral ecology. This is the only blog I read regularly. I’ve been reading this for a little over two years. I think I really got hooked when the whole arsenic-based life form debacle happened a little while ago–your posts were the most level-headed analysis I found anywhere and I really appreciated it. I also like that this blog is written entirely by you (the volume of material you write is astounding)–it is really nice for us readers because we get to hear the stories in your familiar ‘voice’.
    I love it when you post about animal behavior, but I also read your posts as an exercise to get my mind out of my own little field.

  137. Matto

    Hi Ed, Matt here

    Business consultant, degrees in business, nothing past college level gut courses in science, reader for something like 2 years

    Interests in science: Probably started with science fiction, technology, how things work

    Why I read this blog:
    1) whimsy – how cool is the mantis shrimp beating hell out of what it eats?
    2) currency – trying to stay up broadly on what is happening, limited time to devote to just science topics
    3) skepticism – tend to figure that scientists are proportionately as full of crap as anyone else. So, not terribly surprised by revisions, corrections, new studies that challenge or
    overturn old results etc.

    I like the topical nature of the posts and the weekly roundup. In particular the posts that question the journalism or the science are interesting in highlighting the limitations of what is known or being reported.

  138. Hi Ed!

    I’m 33 years old Syrian male. Architect. I live and work in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. I read science purely for pleasure, and I did introduce myself here twice before but you may have forgotten.

    I’ve first known about this blog when I came across the blog post about conspiracy theories and superstitions back in 2008. Been wanting to translate it to Arabic since then. (of course, I’ll seek your permission before I do so *smiles*)

  139. Dear Ed, you found me before I found you! You wrote about my tool use paper in a mandrill about one year ago, and from then I started following your excellent blog.
    I am looking for a post-doc in evolutionary biology after a PhD partly carried out in a nature reserve in South Africa. Doing science and being a researcher is my job, then. A very fascinating one, also when I read about evolution researched on other model species in an interesting, precise, fun-reading, and concise manner as you do.
    Something to improve? I’d say basically nothing! Perhaps you could write a tiny more on other subjects than strict biology when it relates to evolution (e.g. economics, history, etc.)

  140. Hi Ed,

    I live in Brighton & Hove and work in London at your former parish, Cancer Research UK. I’ve always been something of a science geek – undergraduate biology degree and then PhD at Manchester (PhD watching Drosophila maggots run to and from smells!), before joining a scientific journal as an editor and ending up in the science funding department at the charity.

    I love the breadth of cool science that you can find online – blogs (yours, The Loom, Guardian Science, Mind Hacks, Evolution Is True, 21st Floor), podcasts (Pod Delusion, Little Atoms, Naked Scientists), and everything shared on Twitter. I’ve now got an 11-month old son and couldn’t help digging behind some of claims that are frequently chucked at you as a parent – I try and get some of these thoughts into something coherent on my own blog, but a child seriously eats up any free time!

    I came across your blog, along with Bora Z’s, when it featured prominently on a special blogging edition of Guardian Science Weekly podcast. That was 2-3 years ago, and I’ve read it ever since – I love the wide range of topics you cover and the engrossing stories you tell. Not sure I could tell you how to improve it though – just keep up the good work!

  141. Cthulhu

    Hey Ed,

    43 year old software developer for one of the big 3 telecoms in Canada.

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 3-4 years now. I believe there was an article linked by P.Z. Myers to your site when it was still on Seed. I stayed because your topics are usually interesting stuff I didn’t know about or even had a clue existed.

    I’ve always been fascinated with Biology and Physics since I discovered at the age of 5 that a drop of water from an eyedropper onto the skin would act as a magnifying glass and you could see your skin up close. Sadly at high school the teen stuff took over (girls, parties…etc) and the fascination waned for a while.

    Now I have the time and the internet provides just so much information at the tap of a few keys that the fascination has returned and I want to absorb as much as I can on a daily basis.

    I don’t know what I could tell you to do to make your blog better because I think you’re doing it right right now.

  142. Walkey

    2d year postdoc, behavioral neuroscience.

  143. Cara

    Hi Ed,
    My name is Cara and I work in a microbiology lab in Perth, Australia. I have an undergraduate degree majoring in genetics and neuroscience, and also recently completed a postgraduate diploma in public health.
    I have enjoyed all things science for as long as I can remember… any time I enter a bookshop I head straight for the popular science section to see what I can find. However I have only recently discovered that I can gain broad and up-to-date knowledge of science through the joys of blogging! Thank you for producing quality, informative articles that make for captivating reading!

  144. Mud

    Hi Ed,

    I’m an Australian astronomer currently living and working (postdoc) in Italy. I got to your blog from a link in Cosmic Variance when you won one of your awards (Best New Discover Blog or something) about 3 years ago now, when I was a PhD student needing something interesting to read while eating at the desk in between frantically finishing the thesis. I usually try a new science blog every now and then, and this one stuck. My go-to for all bio-science info needs.

    I’m sorry I can’t suggest improvements cos I like it just as it is. And I’ve discovered some new blogs/writers (e.g. Brian Switek, Jonah Lehrer) thanks to you, so you’ve paid your dues. Please keep on keeping on.

  145. lakesidey

    I’m lakesidey – also known, when not at a computer, as Jose A – from Bombay, India. I was pretty fond of science and technology as a kid, which led me to becoming (a) a massive science fiction/fantasy fanatic and (b) an aerospace engineer. The science fiction is still a big part of my life, the engineering, not so much – I went on to do an MBA and have been, for the past half-decade, a maths teacher who coaches MBA aspirants while dreaming of writing a book.

    Part of the joy (and frustration) of my job is trying to make maths easier and more accessible to youngsters who have been psychologically scarred by it through their schooldays – which makes me appreciate your talent for making frighteningly complex stuff clear and accessible.

    Though I left the field of science and tech professionally, I still have a deep interest in keeping up with what is happening in that world, while at the same time lacking the patience (and often the time) to do the technical self-study necessary to equip myself to keep up with current scientific literature. That’s how I came to your blog – the little driblets of science I remembered from school, combined with a minimal logical bent of mind, proved enough to make sense of your posts, in some cases even when you were describing stuff that I had no clue about whatsoever. And more than once, you reminded me that science fact is often stranger than science fiction. Over a year and a half, I have graduated from an occasional visitor to almost an “I need my daily fix” addict.

    I guess what I like best about your blog is that you don’t dumb it down. As in, you make it easy to understand, but not at the expense of skipping the science and going with glib metaphors. That’s a hard balancing act, and as someone whose daily job involves trying to explain stuff to people in a simple manner, I am impressed by how you make ‘making things look easy’ look easy. Thank you!

  146. Jim

    What an interesting group of responders. I came here by way of your EconTalk discussion with Russ Roberts where your blog was mentioned.

    I’m a retired nuclear power plant operator which was a second career after another as a CID agent in the Army. I collect information and have always wondered how things work.

    As a kid in the 50′s I discovered a paperback book about how to get 1001 things for free with just the use of a postcard. The cards, back then, were a penny and I sent hundreds to places like the state fish and game departments, General Electric and Disney resulting in large amounts of mail with many name misspellings. Much later as an investigator I began collecting information from publications and organizations about evidence, crime scenes, crime lab work and related technology. This led to a column in a few magazines for a few years, some technical articles and a book filled with magazine abstracts.

    At the nuclear power plant I started as a security officer and was allowed to listen to audio tapes while sitting in a guard tower. Back then you could buy a cassette recorder that played tapes up to twice normal speed, with pitch correction. The internet and podcasting allow for more speed and subject variety which led to a collection of interesting audio files and later a weekly blog called “Media Mining Digest,” now six months old.

    Information in the 50′s cost a penny postcard while podcasts and blogging is more complex and doesn’t cost anything. (Sure, I pay for the internet, etc., but it could be done at a library.)

    I’m a newcomer to your very interesting blog and hope to provide another followup next year. Thanks for the chance to chat.

  147. zackoz

    Hello again Ed

    Rather late to the party but what the hell.

    This is my second time joining the annual thread.

    I am a former Australian public servant, now at the Australian National University in Canberra. I am an Asianist and Indonesianist, largely interested in history in general and the history of Asia in particular.

    I wasn’t greatly interested in science until I started realising a few years ago just how many astonishing discoveries had been and were being made, especially in genetics. I discovered various science blogs, notably Carl Zimmer’s then discovered yours, and it’s become a regular addiction. I continue to greatly enjoy your lucid and witty writing; I’m constantly amazed how you can cover so many developments and explain complex subjects so clearly.

  148. Rhea

    Hey,

    Just checking in to see if I’m the only one of the Uni lot who still reads your blog regularly, and to let you know that you have some loyal support from way back when. I don’t see any comments from anyone else I know, but i bet there are more people still reading regularly.

    I’m an Engineer, not a scientist. I read at the beginning because that’s what friends do, and then later simply cos you’re good at what you do. Sometimes I learn something interesting or funny which makes me smile, and your blog diverts me from thinking about work.

    How long have I been reading? Since the beginning of the whole blogging adventure.

  149. Trang

    This is the second time I am answering this question! Glad to say I am now officially a PhD student at Oregon State studying disease ecology (focusing on amphibians and more specifically chytridiomycosis).
    I love to fill my brain with facts and stories and that is why I love this blog! If the internet were a state fair this would be the ride I’d find myself lining up for again and again!
    But seriously, I love this blog because it translates the beauty, complexity and interconnected-ness of all forms and levels of life so well!
    Keep up the good work Ed!

  150. Jen

    I’m an artist who sews and dyes and makes things with fire and metal. If I could change it all, I would to be an astronaut, or a dancer. It’s a toss up. I’m also mom to a fascinating 6yo and we discuss how everything can be science AND wonder. I majored in English Literature and Business Marketing, but never lost my love of science in fiction and non-fiction. But especially non-fiction. To explore? To dream? To create? The majesty of the mind is phenomenal.

    I’m not directly involved in anything science-field related, but the things I do on a daily basis – sewing, dyeing, soldering (work), and cooking, gaming, exercising, are full of things we can do, because of science. And it’s amazing to learn these things and see or discover how they apply to other aspects of life.

    I’ve been reading NERS for about 4 months, now. And I came to it from Wil Wheaton, to Felicia Day, to Bad Astronomer, to blogs.discovermagazine.com, to adding that url to my reader, to reading everything on a weekly, if not daily, basis. And I enjoy it immensely. How to make it better? I’ll let you know next year ;)

  151. Hi Ed. I’m a weekly newspaper editor and publisher. I read your blog through Google Reader when I have time, often 10-12 columns at a sitting. I like the way you write, clearly and concisely, and I like the way you cut through the spin I see in so much of the popular press science writing. I don’t have a science background, but I enjoy learning — especially about things I don’t have a background in! And I love your weekly roundup of science stories elsewhere; they’ve taken me to sources I never would have found, and exposed me to ideas I never would have considered on my own.

  152. Hello Lucas:

    I’m and octogenarian, trained as an industrial designer, engaged most of my professional life as a museum designer, now essentially retired but publish and edit an internet travel magazine (www.romartraveler.com ) and have always been interested in science at almost all (non-expert) levels.

    My special interest is in cosmology–but a secondary one is on the evolvement of life throughout the cosmos–but especially on this rare ittle Eden we live on–planet Earth, of course. I’ve learned that, if there is one constant throughout the cosmos, it is evolution toward entropy.

  153. Jane

    I’m a high school math teacher in the California Bay Area. I guess I’ve been reading your blog, off and on, for about a year. I don’t have any degrees in math or science fields, aside from the teaching credential in math, but I find your blog (and especially the missing links) fascinating.

    At university, I studied Greek and Latin literature (Classics), so I usually have considered myself “humanities girl.” As far as what I find interesting on your blog: I’m also interested in psychology, neurology, math and science education, botany, and linguistics. I find your blog well-written, entertaining, and refreshingly attentive to rigor and accuracy. Back when I was teaching science part-time, I even had my students read a couple of your blog posts as part of a biology unit.

    Thanks!
    Jane

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