Blogs, Blogs, Blogs

All sorts of news very recently on the science blogging front:

Seed’s ScienceBlogs site has been revamped, with 25 new blogs for a total of 43 science bloggers. First it was Cosmic Variance with 5 bloggers, now it is ScienceBlogs with 43. How can a single artisanal blog maker like myself compete with these massive blogging conglomerates? Still not very many physicists over at Seed. Besides Chad Orzel, one of the new ones is astrophysicist Steinn Sigurosson who has been running a blog called The Dynamics of Cats.

One physics blog I ran across recently, one that isn’t moving to Seed, is Angry Physics.

Besides Seed, Nature magazine has started up a site called NatureBlogs. They are running blogs on chemistry, genetics, and neuroscience, as well as a more general one on web technology and science. There’s also a newsblog for comments on news stories appearing in Nature, as well as a discussion blog related to a radical new concept in peer review that they are trying out: a blog where certain papers submitted to Nature are posted, asking for commentary on the paper, to be considered as part of the peer review process.

Nature also just launched another new project which I’d been hearing about for a while from my brother, called Nature Network Boston. It’s intended as a networking site for scientists in the Boston area, and has news, event listings, groups, and, guess what, more blogs. Maybe Lubos can start a string theory fanatic’s group there…

Finally, Jacques Distler is helping to provide access to these proliferating blogs with a new aggregation site he calls Planet Musings. As usual, Jacques is careful to make sure that anything he has control over censors links to people who disagree with him…

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20 Responses to Blogs, Blogs, Blogs

  1. anon says:

    I think if we keep making so much progress in the blogging front, we will soon arrive at the idea of having separate groups for users with different, special interests. Perhaps we could call them newsgroups or usergroups or some such

  2. Yidun says:

    Prof. Woit,

    Couldn’t you just join them? 🙂

  3. Dan says:

    You are the right person to complain about censorship…

  4. knotted string says:

    The thing about group-blogs is that people can get censored by the group for being off-topic (even if no readers complain), so there is group-think coercion involved, moderating the posts:

  5. John Sidles says:

    The startling thing about the blog list is, no engineering blogs. To leading order they do not exist (in English). Why is this?

  6. Of the last parragraph, I’d prefer to underline helping instead censors. If we are near the bang point for physics blogs, all these catalogs and links will be useful while people builds their own menuses.

  7. woit says:


    Yes, on my blog I do delete stupid nasty personal attacks on other people by, especially those by cowardly anonymous string theorists who keep changing even their pseudonyms. You’re right, that’s exactly the same as having the arXiv censor links to my blog.

  8. island says:

    Hey!… you forgot mine… Science In Crisis

    The anthropic principle is continually thrust to the surface of the relevant fields of physics and evolutionary science, yet scientists dogmatically ignore the relevant implication for “biocentric preference”… in spite of the fact that it is highly probable that a true anthropic constraint on the forces of the universe will necessarily include the human evolutionary process, which indicates that there exists a mechanism that enables the universe to “leap”.

    Next time that someone makes fun of, or pretends like they have the first real clue as to what the anthropic prinicple is really about, send my way and I’ll deprogram the dogmatic dingbats for ya… 😉

  9. hack says:

    Peter Woit, Lubos Motl, Jacques Distler and Lee Smolin. That would be an amusing group blog.

  10. zoologist says:

    We have a saying that goes something like “great is the zoo of God” (perhaps there is something like that in English too), so I would seriously like to support the idea in the previous comment and also suggest further members from the “great zoo of God” to make up the Funniest Physics Group Blog Ever:

    Peter Woit, Lubos Motl, Jacques Distler, Lee Smolin, Bert Schroer, Carlo Rovelli

    and that would be the ultimate entertainment around 7-8 PM just before going home from work.

    Dear would-be members please take up contact with each other and consider the potential of this idea. Greater readership, more media-coverage, more fame, more jokes and last but not least: more fun (for us)!

  11. Dan says:


    it wasn’t a stupid nasty personal attack you deleted. I pointed out to Bert Schroer that he was apparently misunderstanding a physics argument I posted. He replied saying “OK, 1:0 for you”. Deleting such things is *very* different from what you claim to be doing.

  12. woit says:

    Dan/Michael/Whoever you are,

    The great majority of your comments here contain some sort of stupid insult about the intelligence or ignorance of anyone you disagree with, a tactic that string theorists like you, Lubos and Jacques seem fond of. At least Lubos puts his real name to them. No physics argument by you expressed in the language of reasonably civil conversation was ever deleted. If you have anything reasonably interesting to say, it won’t be censored here. If you insist on going on about how stupid and ignorant people are who disagree with you, I’ll continue to delete such things, whether or not you’re right on whatever substance may be at issue.

  13. Dan says:


    is it appropriate by your standards to point out the difference between Seiberg duality and Seiberg-Witten’s electric-magnetic duality? That’s what I did “in the language of reasonably civil conversation”, as evidenced by the fact that Bert Schroer admitted to his mistake without being offended.

    You see, I don’t care much about the deletion of some online conversation by itself. But given the number of complaints you have voiced about what you consider unfair censorship of your statements, it is a remarkable example of how careless and agenda driven your own censorship is.

  14. woit says:

    Dan/Michael/Whoever you are,

    From what I recall, you were unable to clarify the distinction between the two dualities without doing so in an insulting manner. I have no agenda whatsover about the distinction between Seiberg duality and Seiberg-Witten duality or whether anyone in particular is aware of it or understands it. The “censorship” in this case was not careless and the only agenda driving it was stopping uncivil behavior on my blog.

    Your claims that you were engaging in “reasonably civil conversation” are hard to believe given the one of your comments I left in edited form:

    “Sure, Peter Woit. [Attack on someone else deleted]. You are a pathetic loser. ”

    As people can guess, the deleted part was a personal attack on Bert Schroer, of the same kind as ones in your earlier comments that led me to delete them.

    Look, you have a long history here of anonymously posting extremely rude and insulting comments about me and about others. You’re well aware of this. It would be a good reason for me to just automatically delete anything that comes in from you. It seems to me that I’ve gone far out of my way to allow you to express yourself, given your behavior. End of story, I’m not going to waste more of my time dealing with someone who behaves the way you do.

  15. George says:

    Hang in there, you are the only one actually putting physics on your page on a consistent basis. Sean used to do so, but has really cut back – too bad – I enjoyed the two of you. But I would hate for all the help in understanding what’s happening to disappear completely…

  16. MathPhys says:

    Re George’s remark,

    This is the one blog with the highest concentration of mathematical physics that I know of.
    When I look at Distler’s blog, it seems to be devoted to elaborate discussions of how to type math on the web (What happened, Jacques? We are meant to do science, not to be web programmers).
    Motl’s blog has a lot of physics, but also its fair share of political rants.

  17. Anon says:

    The “blog with the highest concentration of mathematical physics” ?

    Urs Scheiber’s blog (the String Coffee Table).

    Hands down.

  18. Troublemaker says:

    Urs Scheiber’s blog (the String Coffee Table).

    Hands down.

    This categorization requires a leap of faith that string theory is relevant to physics.

    Snicker, snicker.

  19. Anon says:

    Well, since most of the posts on this blog are devoted to string theory (and how it’s not even science), the same criticism applies.

  20. Theo says:

    See, Troublemaker, some of us care only that physics might be relevant to string theory 🙂

    Then again, some of us live in math departments, and find it fascinating that folks would complain that something as beautiful as omega-categories might turn out useful for a physics, whether ours or not.

    I smiled most at your comment about String Coffee Table’s “categorization”.

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