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600th post anniversary open thread

I have now written 600 posts for this blog (give or take a few – I think the “hearing with skin” story was 601).
The next lot of 100 posts will start tomorrow but for the moment, a brief interlude and over to you. Say whatever you’d like – about this blog, about science, about journalism, about wildlife, whatever really.

35 thoughts on “600th post anniversary open thread

  1. We in dreary Scotland also salute you!
    …On a side note, I just last night found my copy of “A Separate Creation”, which you asked me for a synopsis of let’s see, um, way more than a year ago now. Are you still interested?

  2. I’ve only just started to follow you, but have really enjoyed what I’ve read so far.
    Adding to the worldwide reach, I’m from Western Australia!

  3. How wonderfully international you are.
    Luna – I most definitely am still interested.
    Stephen – those are some absolutely stunning wildlife photos on your Flickr page.

  4. Spanish follower here! I’ll keep on reading till post 600.000 (tho, it will all depend how fast you will write). Best wishes for the next lot!

  5. Heart this blog from California. I’ve shared it with a lot of friends, both science and non-science types, and everyone loves it. I’m currently studying molecular biology but this helps me stay caught up in other science fields. Excellent job, Ed!

  6. Ed, I wanted to say thanks for your articles which are intelligent, educational and well written. I consider your blog as one of the top ten sites that I visit. Congrats on 600 plus and continued success.

  7. Well. In THAT case ….
    Would you or any of your readers like to nominate your favourite events and developments in post-1950 science for a trivia quiz I’m working on? Events, that is, which happened in a particular year? It’s for the 60th birthday party of my father, a geologist. Details here.
    Meanwhile I’m doing plenty of research of my own, but for various reasons I like the idea of seeking nominations from people with an interest in science rather than relying only on published texts.

  8. A worthy question. Here are seven that come to mind:
    1950 – Richard Doll presents evidence from the British Doctors’ Study, kickstarting a massive flood of studies that revealed the link between smoking and cancer.
    1954 – Inspired by maize kernels, Barbara McClintock suggests that genes can sometimes jump around genomes. Peers get all apoplectic until it turns out that, inconveniently, she’s right.
    1953 – Crick and Watson solve the structure of DNA and end their paper with the best concluding sentence ever.
    1964 – John Ostrom discovers Deinonychus. It really doesn’t look very slow, does it?
    1976 – Dawkins publishes The Selfish Gene, a book which would later inspire me to find out more about this evolution malarkey
    1979 – David Attenborough talks to us about Life on Earth. Three decades of awesomeness follow and we hang onto every silken-tongued word.
    1988 – Richard Lenski sets up the long-term evolution experiment. Never have 12 gently rocking flasks rocked so hard.
    I’d heartily recommend this book too. I wrote about 2% of it 😉

  9. Another reader from Australia.
    Keep up the good (and fearsomely well-written and informative) work.
    On the quiz, what about a question about the discovery that mitochondria are errant bacteria (can’t recall who first suggested it – IANAS). And a question about W D Hamilton’s work. And if you have Attenborough (and you must), what about something relating to Carl Sagan. And HOX genes, and and and…… So much to choose from.

  10. 600. wow!
    Thanks for the hard work.
    Easily one of the most interesting science blogs on the net.
    Not only great journalism, but a great sense of humor as well.
    – A Fan.

  11. @Captain Skellett – There’s no big secret to this, but I think four major factors contribute:
    1) I grab lots of random chunks of time. Half an hour on the train in the morning, half an hour when I get home from work.
    2) I write late at night, especially on weekends. It’s a cruel irony that I need a lot of sleep but find it difficult to get. So rather than being frustrated with tossing and turning, I write.
    3) I don’t drink very much. It’s amazing how much extra time that provides.
    4) I love it. I really love it. There’s not a chance that I would write this much if I didn’t. I aim for around 5 posts a week and each one takes around 1.5-2 hours to write and upload. That’s more than an extra working day every week.

  12. I wasn’t born early enough nor in the convenient half of the world north hemisphere to ever experience Carl Sagan, but at least I know this blog. Keep up the good work! 🙂
    (…and I see I’m not the only reader from Bangkok :D)

  13. Rats, I was hoping for a big time-saving tip! On the bright side, I’m going to Canberra (yep, another Australian reader lol) for a scholarship next year and I’m sure the absolutely dead nightlife and the fact that the boyfriend is staying in Adelaide will help. There will literally be nothing to do but write, which is how I like it 🙂

  14. An update on the science history quiz I’m compiling: I’m aiming to create a list of one event per year (though how much of this information to actually use in the quiz is a decision for later). Relying mostly on the sorts of websites you can find by searching for “science timeline”, I now have something pencilled in for every year up until the early nineties, but after that things are patchy.
    So at this stage I would particularly appreciate nominations pertaining to the last two decades. Preferably things that can be explained in a sentence, so that people can learn something just from hearing the question.
    The structure of DNA and the publication of The Selfish Gene are on my current draft, as is Lynn Sagan’s 1967 microbiological evidence for the origin of mitochondria (there was speculation before that, but I understand that it was the microbiological evidence that really got things rolling).

  15. Alright, I’ll bite:
    1990 – Human Genome Project set up; Berners-Lee invents WWW
    1991 – Oetzi the iceman
    1992 – first xenotransplant
    1993 – ?
    1994 – Fermat’s Last Theorem solved
    1995 – ?
    1996 – Dolly the sheep (or for a more leftfield choice – Gavin Hunt tells us about tool-using New Caledonian crows)
    1997 – Quantum teleportation
    1998 – Construction begins on International Space Station and Large Hadron Collider, or RNA interference developed
    1999 – ?
    2000 – Full and Autumn discover how geckos climb
    2001 – Draft human genome published; as was mouse genome
    2002 – Water found on Mars
    2003 – ?
    2004 – Homo floriensis found
    2005 – Matt Nagle becomes first paralysed person to control artificial limb through thought
    2006 – Carbon nanotubes discovered in 17th century Damascus sword
    2007 – Skin cells reprogrammed into stem cells
    2008 – Scientists discover the virophage – a virus that infects other viruses

  16. Thanks – some good suggestions there, although I’m not sure I fancy the job of explaining to people what quantum teleportation is. I think Homo floriensis was found in 2003 and reported in 2004, so I could use it for either year.
    I would have thanked you before, but I feel like an intruder if I dominate a thread too much.
    Incidentally, a few days ago I ordered Darren Naish’s dinosaur discoveries book – and who knows: I may decide to make a birthday present out of it if I don’t decide to keep it for myself. My father is a fossil guy, but not dinosaurs so much as the pollen from the trees the dinosaurs ate and the algae from the waters they waded in.

  17. I’m a little late to the love-fest, but this blog is at the top of my reading list, and I’m glad I found it. Now where is the merchandise so I can help support you? Well, I guess I could buy the book, but you should see if you can hook up some mugs or t-shirts or something.

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