I am scientist by training, inclination and temperament. However, this is a blog, not a lab. The title reflects my passion for hyperbole, so don't take me too seriously. I don't. I was a technician in a physiology lab, got my PhD in molecular genetics and neuroscience, was a postdoctoral fellow in biophysics and now am a Project Manager in a Clinical Science/Biomedical Informatics institute. I am a scientific jack-of-all-trades, and very happy because of it. I write about science that catches my eye, making the transition away from the lab bench, and the slightly odd and moist boundary where science culture meets the public. I am an Englishman by birth, an American by temperament and if I were you I wouldn't lend me money.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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I've muttered and mentioned before that your belov'd Tideliar has a Pseudonym under which He lives a seemingly normal life. This 'meatpsace avatar' blogs for a different science network and I've debated about outing him and consolidating my/our blogging here. Well, it now looks like matters have been taken out of our hands.
The other Network have finally enraged my human alter-ego to such an extent he left certain messages on their administrative boards that it is likely he will be persona non grata for a while. This other Network belongs to a major publishing house and they started their online activities under the same Legacy system they'd been using in-house for years (as far as I can tell - information flow has been slow, sporadic and mixed at best). Now it's grown to encompass conversation forums and a blogging system as well as blogging aggregator it has become unwieldy and cumbersome. On top of that the selection process that made one feel like one was somehow "worthy" of blogging there is now gone and it seems every scientist and her dog is writing something for them under the liberal appellation of "blogging".
"Well, blogging ain't easy," as the song goes. I've been blogging for 6 years and writing non-technical outlets for 4 or 5 and had some great, and endlessly patient, tutors to help me. My resume is 5 pages long and only 2 pages of that is science/technical chops and my (meagre) scientific publication record. All of us blogging at LabSpaces have 'auditioned' for the chance and all of us have proven that we know how to write. Some of us are better at different styles, and this is as it should be - Overlord Brian wants a varied, mass appeal output. But the bare minimum is being able write engaging and thought-out blog posts (unless you're the Genomic Repairman of course, but he more than compensates by swearing a lot and running the Football Challenge). Another great thing about LabSpaces (and Science Blogs, and Scientopia etc.) is the aggregator on the front page. The other Network has, as far as I can tell, given up on it entirely. It's perennially out of date, you can't find the Network bloggers and even if you do track down one, it's probably not one of the better, high profile writers (of which my IRL is one - ranked in the top 5 consistently).
But most importantly, from a writer's perspective, is just being able to log into the fucking thing. Which I can't even do now.
Anyway, so much piss and wind. Looks like A Meandering Scholar is now dead, and it's time to go grab my posts. That's gonna suck because I can't log into to export them as an XML download, I have to visit and grab them one-by-one - and the blog has been running regularly since early 2008; that's a lot of posts. But I've also decided that I'm going to repost some of them here; the ones that fit the cross-over point between the blogs.
This is a nerve wracking moment because I remember a conversation I had a with one of the high profile anonymous bloggers of a rival network. When my identity was revealed the blogger veritably shrieked "YOU'RE TIDELIAR?!" which made me panic...that person thought I was separate people, as it were. Then I thought that even my IRL name and Tideliar aren't linked I've actually been outed before (most notably and hilariously here, because it wasn't till someone used my real name on the forums that I even knew we had a "People" page).
So go enjoy A Meandering Scholar too and let me know if there are any posts you want to see re-posted and expounded on. And while you at it go read my stories too. Maybe now I'm doing this I'll enjoy writing for LabLit again!
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Sorry your relationship with the other Network didn't work out - I think a lot of people felt/feel the same way (especially about everyone and their dog getting a blog there). Looking forward to keep reading here though!
We're definitely happy to have you here...who else would step up to the plate to duel GR in a cage fight???
Hey WTF is with the pot shots here man! Look I know I tried to stab you back in '79 over a Bee Gees album but I though it was water under the bridge. Seriously though, you have been nothing but an oasis of good advice and counsel for me so thanks man.
Don't worry Tideliar, you'll have my full support rallying against any of these 'Pom insults'!
Well this is an interesting turn of events!
@Becca: The stirring it up bit? >:) Moi?
@Alyssa: I missed you over there too. ASFAK there's only one of the orginal bloggers still working it out, and even she is losing steam with them. I'm surprised she didn't get pciked up[ by Scientopia or one of the other networks by now, actually.
DRO: I need to get back to planning the LS 'celebrity; cgae match!
GR: I forgive you man. It was a quadruple platinum album and Maurice signed for me bro. The falres, the hair, the rhythm...some times...
dyssey: Oh, joy! :p
Jane: Good show old girl! I expect nothing less eh? What! Us against Johnny Colonial, eh? eh? eh?!
Jason: In a good way man, I hope?
Nikkilina: TIme will tell LOL
I just got done web stalking Tiddles. It was fun ;)
You know Tiddles, if there are really good people also looking to leave NN, you can vet them in the blogger forum...
And to embed youtube videos, just paste in the embed code :P
haha, one thing I loved about NB are email alerts with commenter metadata
Commenter name: Brian K Commenter email address: EvilOverlord@Labspaces.netCommenter URL: Commenter IP address: XX.XXX.XXX.XX (redacted, natch)
you know, the same avatar in several places sort of sorted out things for me at least ;) (long time ago when the space was all black and a lot of f-words thrown around)
But I have to agree, it's been a lot of snafus with NN and the log in/loading/posting blog post (or so I hear since I've not done that there) and then there is that attention defecit, if it takes 5 mins to load a page to read and comment on a blog - I'm feeling a bit stressed and really not worth it. Maybe I'm showing some signs of ADHD but 5 mins to comment?
In any event, cross-posting some of your gems will be fun reading again. (not to mention that photo in November 2009 ;P) that said, where is my coffee....
Hahaha, I love my Macbook for those kind of silly toys!
As to NN, the log int ime lag, the random log outs and missing comments, the general feeling like no one upstairs gave a damn depsite promises to the contrary...etc. etc.
I do like how the NN "blogs" page is "featuring" their "We're going to update everything, it's going to be a UTOPIA" post that was made almost 3 months ago...
Although, the new text editor here has the same issue that many at NN were complaining about. "Enter" is a hard return, not a soft one (shft-Enter). For me, Word does the same thing, so I'm used to it now. But I've seen others inserting two returns on accident, so maybe I should figure out how to change it? :P
Brian> maybe... ;)
I think the only thing I've had a problem with here is that sometimes the page just stops loading thec comments. The blog post is fine to read but it ends before the comments.... I guess it could be a "page loading based on traffic" though?
Sicne spending so much time on the grant and fighting Word's autoformat bullshit I got used to hitting shift-return for a soft return too actually. But the reply at NN was bullshit and waay passive-aggressive: Stop rovking the boat Jenny...
And another one bites the dust!
I thought you'd cross-linked between your two blogs before, but maybe I'm mistaken. Interesting that the only NNers (that I know of) who were approached by any other networks were someone co-blogging with a SB expat, and you, who apparently a lot of people didn't know had a NN blog. On a related note, a large part of the reason why I left was that the benefits you're supposed to get from blogging on a network (i.e. wider readership) didn't seem to exist, and certainly didn't outweigh the hassles of using MT4.
Let me know if you figure out how to export your blog :)
You'll have to ask Ian about the network effect here. I don't really know if any of the bloggers see significantly more traffic, although Doc Becca did say that she gets 2-3 times as much traffic as she did back when she was exclusively on WordPress. I think the problem with NN is they don't feature the content well at all and their social media presence AND exposure of their content is very weak. They've taken the, "Build it and they will come" attitude. Even for a group as big as and as prestigious as NPG, I don't think they're running a very smart model to help bring in traffic.
@Cath: I cross pollinated a couple of times, and I've had a couple of emails from folks mentioning that they were surprised when they saw some dude on NN ripping off my blog posts LOL All in all it seems t have been a well kept secret.
And I agree with the lack of 'network effect'. I hated not knowing if a low comment post was due to lack of interest or advertising. It also seemed that unless you layed one of the in-memes no one bthered to comment very much. Some of the posts I was proudest ofr I got little to no comments on. And the damned log-in system for commenting mean that even casual commenters were locked out.
I see more hits here than I did on Blogger and a few more comments; I think it depends on the post and the time of posting...I love having the twitter-gang running pubicity though!
@Brian: Yeah, the naivety of the BTWC approach is astonishing. Rule number of blogging or any online activity, is that you are just a mote amongst the noise. You have to drive traffic to your site.
I'm not sure that the "best" blog posts get the most comments... sometimes it seems like redundant to say anything when things are spot on. (Or, this is something I tell myself in order not to feel to down on certain "0 comments" posts ^^ )
Then it might also be a frightning factor in the whole "lots of people read this blog and I don't want to comment and look like an idiot"??
As for the time of posting, could someone please let me know if there is a "study" on people/traffic vs time during the day correlation??
Brian, it was a lost opportunity for sure. Shame, it was fun for a while - but at least I get to keep all the friends I made over there!
@Chall: One thing I like about science blogging is the idea of the "worldwide" readership, so ToD I hope doesn't matter too much :)
@Cath: I've had a couple of people contact me about it avtually and express regret that I'm "leaving". I'm like, dude, come over here then!
So, whoring yourself out with that homeopathy
rant post was just you trying to be trendy? Who cares, it was a lot of fun! Oh, wait. No it wasn't. I'm glad you left.
I'm strongly considering jumping the listing NN ship as well. For many of the reasons detailed above and more. It's just not an enjoyable enough experience blogging there. Having said that, I don't think the new blood coming through was a problem. Otherwise it just runs the risk of becoming rather stale and fetid, and this is the internet/ADHD age. I need constant stimulation.
Hi FOunding Mothers. FWIW I wasn't whroing myself on the homepoathy post, didn't realise I'm a shill for the Big Pharma companies and Iwas actaully paid to writ ethat piece!
I don't agree with the idea of needing constant infusions of talent to maintain a site's readability or draw, otherwise there would be no popular independent blogs. Of course, there's nothing wrong with expanding your pool of free staff riters, I would just suggest it's done wisely. You want people who A) can write, B) can advertise, C) draw a crowd and D) you don't want to diilute your product so much that your top hits lose impact.
Meh - I guess I was just tired after a monster anti-vaxxers–spouting–utter–pish thread on the Grauniad around the same time. I foolishly tried to talk calmly and rationally with them. They did not reciprocate. That'll learn me.
Anyhoo, hope you're settling into your new online home as comfortably as a fat ass settles into a soft setee. Ahhhhh.
Drawing people in is more about content and doing a good job of marketing yourself and your site. If you have a solid core group of goofballs, I don't think it will ever get boring or stagnant. I'm sure GR and Tiddles will be great at sturring the pot before a thick film of sludge starts forming on our surface :P
I know exactly what you mean. I have a vaccine post half written for this place and I expect to draw some significant heat just because it's going to contain the words 'autism' and 'vaccine'. Some people cannot be reasoned with...
He isn't gonna jin the Bloggers (I don't think, anyway). It's just to see him cross-polinating now ScienceisVital has died down a bit
Well, RPG is a pretty well known dude, and a great blogger. Tell him to post in the forum if he's interested in blogging here and we can discuss it!
I think he has some pretty big plans of his own, but I'll pass the message along :)
I know this is off topic - but, since you are using a Mac you should switch to Mac "Pages" for writing grants. It doesn't pull off that autoformat lets-put-your-figure-over-here-instead-of-there crap.
Yeah, I tried using it but I'm indoctrinated into the MS keyboard short cuts :/ Also, we're document sharing through Dropbox so I had to ensure everything was in .doc/.docx format
Wow -- I see Mother Nature was very kind to you, even if Nature (Network) isn't. :) (Forgive propensity to stupid puns.)
I am glad you are consilidating at LabSpaces. Near as I can tell, you guys have a most benevolent and responsive Overlord, and the whole network does have a really nice energy to it. Best of luck!
Lab spaces fo' life! I definitely have to agree, as a frequently lurker and occasional commenter, this site has a real energy and fun atmosphere to it that other blog networks, while quite good, don't fully match. I love and frequently read scienceblogs and scientopia, but labspaces has a great up and coming feel to it. Of course, integral to all that is the fact that Brian actually listens to ideas and thoughts about the site.