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The son of the bride of the “Who are you?” thread

Three 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. These threads have become a bit of a yearly tradition and I find myself increasingly looking 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.

Tell me who you are, what your background is 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.


(Photo by Marco Bellucci)

159 thoughts on “The son of the bride of the “Who are you?” thread

  1. I started reading about two years ago, with the rebellion of the ant slaves post. It totally hooked me. I’m still a semi-frequent reader, mostly relying on your twitter feed to catch my eye.

    I was an English major in college, but I write fantasy and science fiction now, and stay home (and for now, homeschool) my two kids. We love our science time. I like your blog because it points out the “interesting stuff” that inspires me to learn more.

  2. Hello Ed! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I got here by way of Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog, after following links to some other Discovery science blogs.

    I’m a computer geek by trade. I got my start in the USAF as a programmer, worked in several technology companies in various support and engineering positions, and now work among “real” scientists at NOAA.

    I’ve always been very interested in science, particularly earth sciences, astronomy and space exploration.

    I love reading your blog, because you make the science understandable without watering it down excessively.


  3. Hello Ed, I’m Tom Crick and I’m a Lecturer in Computer Science at UWIC in Cardiff. Apart from my research (next-generation microprocessors, optimal code generation, high performance computing) I have a deep interest in science and education policy (hence why I read your blog and follow you on Twitter), especially w.r.t. Computing education in the UK.

    I lead in Wales an organisation called Computing at School (CAS) which supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and related disciplines in UK schools. We work on a number of levels, from supporting Computing/ICT teachers in schools, working at an institutional level to drive curriculum change, as well as advocacy at a national policy level (for example, we have submitted responses to the recent Royal Society Call for Evidence on Computing in Schools, as well as the the National Curriculum Review in England).

    One of the main issues is with terminology and the perception of the discipline, especially ICT v Computing. ICT as currently taught at schools is producing a generation of technology consumers (the so-called “PowerPoint Generation”) who only have a superficial understanding of applications rather than any deeper comprehension of the technologies or underpinning knowledge. While “digital literacy” is important for all, a clear distinction needs to be made between that and the rigorous subject discipline of Computing, analogous with confusing numeracy and Mathematics. Its position within the STEM subject area is also contentious: Computing should be regarded as the quintessential STEM subject (the silent “C” in STEM), involving scientific enquiry, engineering design and mathematical foundations, as well as embodying deeper computational thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills.

    Computing is relevant to all of us, especially underpinning modern science and research, but also with the push towards a digital society and economy (I have spoken about this frequently!). But remember that Computing is not just about computers:

    Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.” Edsger W. Dijkstra

    Please keep up the good work!

  4. I love everything about this blog! It’s like a montage of the best science stories from the net and provides the best primer if you want to pursue the story further. And even if you are not willing to to the hard work, what’s better than reading wonderfully written science stories. Thank you Ed for the awesomeness that is NERS!

    (Med student from India. Interested in everything scientific!)

  5. I love your blog. I started reading it ~ 2 years ago. I’m molecular biologist (PhD) working in genomics. I love many other branches of science, I love animals, and I think your posts are not only interesting, but they are also NEVER sensationalistic, your reporting is very true to the science. Keep up the great work! I wish I could write about science they way you do, not just do science 🙂

  6. Hi Ed–
    I follow you on twitter as well. I am a neuropsychologist who publishes on subcortical contributions to function, and I specialize in neurodevelopmental disorders. I am interested in better ways to integrate procedural/nonconscious cognition and emotional regulation into discussions of function. Oh, and gaming. I like to talk about ways that gaming can help development. ……www.deborahbudding.com

  7. Hi Ed! I’m a musician and a writer. I had little interest in science when I was growing up, but I love learning about it now, thanks in large part to people like you. I found your blog a few months ago, probably though the “Recommended” items on my Google Reader. I’m always gobsmacked by your weekly link roundup.

  8. Hi Ed
    I’ve been following your blog for ~2 years now, starting before it was eaten by Discover. You wrote a story covering one of my papers and I got hooked (the lesson: to get more scientists reading your blog, all you need to do is write stories about their research. heh.) I keep your site up in my browser’s quicklinks and check it once daily because it gives me a daily dose of interesting science. I like that your stories cover interesting yet relevant topics and don’t extrapolate/interpret beyond what the science actually says. Also, you tend towards a focus on organismal biology, which I like (keep rolling with the spiders!)
    Keep up the good work!
    -Andrew Forbes, Evolutionary Biologist, U of Iowa.

  9. Hi Ed, I commented last year when you asked about who your readers are but since you asked for us to comment again, here goes… I’m a 58 year old who grew up in NYC and then New England for college where I got a a degree in Art History. I moved to Tucson AZ 35 years ago and became fascinated with the desert flora and fauna. Have been a small business entrepreneur so that I can work as little as possible, leaving time to pursue my passions which are a cappella singing and hummingbirds. I’m a hummingbird bander and manage 3 sites in southern AZ – never tire of holding one of these gems in my hand and adding to the small amount of collected data about them. I came to your blog early on when you posted about the mating display flight of the Anna’s hummingbird and have been hooked ever since. I recommend your blog to just about everyone I talk to and most folks thank me for getting them hooked as well. Really appreciate your ability to convey complex science information in a way that untrained people can understand and enjoy.

  10. Sooooo… I’m a psychology student (second year) from Slovenia. I’m basically interested in everything that helps explain this crazy complicated world a little more. However, my main interest is neuroscience which is sadly almost nonexistent in my country. To summarize it I could say I’m only just learning the ropes. 🙂 About NERS; I can’t remember exactly how I found it, but I think it was through BPS Research Digest. I’ve been reading it since last November. What I like about your blog is especially your style of storytelling and the way you convey the arguments (pro and contra). It’s logical, it’s fun to read and very educational. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  11. When I tell people about this blog, I say “Ed Yong reads the whole science literature so I don’t have to.” OK, that’s not entirely true – I do sometimes follow the links to the sources. But I wouldn’t know about most of them without you.

    I am a freelance writer, former academic, former zookeeper. I can’t call myself a science writer, but among other things, I’ve got a humor book about animals coming out in the fall that has 28 pages of references – there’s definitely science in it, although I spin it for my own purposes. So I count reading this blog as work as well as pleasure. And mostly it helps my work, although following your Twitter feed in the middle of a work day is often a big mistake as far as my own personal productivity goes.

    Oh, and I don’t know when I started reading this blog or how I came to it. Apparently I can’t recall or imagine life without it.

  12. Hi Ed,

    My name is Josephine and I just finished my second year of a 4-year undergraduate degree in genetics at University College London. Starting next week I will take up a 10-week studentship at one of the labs at the university, and try to uncover some of the fission yeast’s best-kept secrets. ;D I usually linger in the shadows of the university; being one of few undergrads with no hobbies aside from science! I fear I also was the student who freaked you out half a year ago as we queued to get entry to the Darwin Lecture Theatre to listen to a lunch-hour lecture on breast cancer by recognising you ;D

    I started to read your blog about a year ago, having found it through Bad Astronomy. I find your posts to be of high quality, and able to spark interest in areas and papers I otherwise would not have updated myself with otherwise, and I am most appreciative of the effort that you put into it!


  13. Hi Ed. My name is Liath and I’ve been reading your blog for a year±. Fascinating stuff you come up with. I especially enjoy following your Friday links. They’ve taken me on some marvellous journeys. I live in the coastal mountain range of Oregon and I freelance edit science papers for fun and profit. When I am not editing or following links I write incredibly silly fantasy stories. Alas, not all the science papers I edit are the stuff of sexy blogs, but they are usually pretty interesting anyway.
    I hope you continue blogging for a long time.


  14. Hello Ed.
    I am an associate professor of mathematics at univ. of Aalborg, Denmark. I have been following your blog for about a year and a half. I enjoy good science communication, which makes following you such a joy. I often follow your Missing Links to other great blogs, and I post some of those links on my FB-profile or on my Numb3rs blog numb3rs. math.aau.dk
    (in Danish).
    I am a Bill Bryson fan, I enjoy Simon Singhs books, Bad Science, Spiegelhalters understanding uncertainty, Timothy Gowers, Terence Tao, etc. and could be reading science and maths blogs all day, if my university would agree to call that a job…
    As a university mathematician, I teach maths and do research, and moreover, I am involved in dissemination. Your blog and others like it are a great resource for ideas and also for learning state of the art communication.
    Of course I think you should have more maths here, but i guess that is not really the scope of NERS.
    I chose to study maths and a minor in physics because I loved maths in high school and I had to choose either some physics or computer science. And computer science, I thought, was for the geeks 🙂 Imagine that, coming from a mathematician… So physics was the “not computer science” choice. And now I am a happy geek – have been interviewed to a Danish book: Living hapily in Geek-land (women in science, another interest of mine).
    I am really happy to have studied quantum physics, a subject which never ceases to amaze me. So it was a good choice. And later I have learnt quite a lot of computer science too.
    I am fascinated with biology and chemistry too by the way.

    I think someone should set up an EU project for translating all the great stuff from English to Danish and the other small languages. Our high school kids do read English, but reading science or maths in English may be bit to much to ask.

  15. Greetings Ed!

    I am Aaron Eiben, currently a physics graduate student at the University of Cincinnati, and a general science/critical thinking enthusiast. I found my way to the Discover blogs via Phil Plait and Sean Carroll, and now fill what little down time I have by compulsively clicking the link in my bookmarks bar, despite knowing that the chance of anything having been updated within the previous five minutes is quite slim.

    That being said, I must now get back to work . . .

  16. 37, female, always had an interest in science though I’m an administrator by training and inclination. Been reading a few months, found it through a #ff from other science /skeptic types. I love the eclectic mix of stuff here.

  17. I am just anonther geek (AG) who found your blog through gene expression. As a geek, I enjoy any science based and truth revealing post. Data based research findings are always more convincing than verbal reasoning. Any new knowlage makes me a new person and give me more intellectual curiosity about new potential. Science is like solving puzzle, or math challenge, which is just so fun.

    I have PhD and MD degrees. But I only use my MD to make a living now. PhD is really fun but hard to make a living out of it.

    One question I ask myself every day is,

    what did you learn today?

  18. Well, my life involves handcrafting toothpicks from Vermont hardwoods and microscopically inscribing them with inspiring words from the world of science journalism.

    Okay, not really. I like to make up a stories about what I do…it always seems more interesting than the truth.

    I wish I could remember how I found my way to your blog back when it was at ScienceBlogs. I know I ended up there to read one of your articles on genetics. For a handful of years during my late-20s to early-30s I was trying to figure out what meaning there is to life, what it is that keeps us all going forward even through absurdity. What are emotions all about? What is reality? What is right and wrong, etc…all that existential stuff, I guess. Finally, after pouring over philosophy and spiritual mumbo-jumbo for a long time, I realized that what actually keeps many of us going is constant discovery, experiencing beauty and a sense of wonder. I stopped reading so much philosophy, put down the woo-woo mumbo-jumbo and started focusing on the world of science. It’s unmatched for beauty and wonder plus it has endless potential for life-long learning.

    To that end, your blog is one of my key sources for scientific awesomeness! I love to share articles with a few friends and then discuss them over beers when we get together.

    Genetics, neurobiology, entomology, zoology, botany – those are my favorite topics. Studies dealing with discoveries/advances in pharmacological treatments for various diseases would be interesting to read about. But I bet those pharma companies are pretty “tight-lipped” with cutting edge stuff.

    Thanks for your great work!

    I work at an organic farm, selling annuals, perennials, veggies, fruits, trees, shrubs and produce. I have a Master’s degree in audiology. I also test hearing part time at an ENT doctor’s office.

  19. Hi! I’m a recent graduate (B.S. Microbiology) working as a Lab Tech in the central coast of California. Been reading NERS for ~2 years, and I am constantly amazed at your ability to rigorously put out post after post of well-researched and poignant writing. The only reason why I read other science blogs is to keep up with astronomy and maybe a touch more neuroscience news. You cover so many fields, this is easily my one-stop science store 🙂 Love your ability to write clear descriptions while describing experimental procedures in a pallateable format. Favorite blog to reccomend to friends new to bloggers! (Random: I’m also a gamer and a foodie and very interested in new technologies in water quality)

  20. Hello Ed!
    Well, I started reading your blog maybe a year ago. I don’t remember how I found it, but once I read two or three posts, I ended up reading all of them. It was insane. I follow all sorts of science blogs. Honestly, you are still my favorite science blogger. I like most subjects you choose to talk about. They are usually quite original. And I think your writing is funny, without losing any of the necessary facts and rigorous explanations, which are essential when speaking about science. Most of your posts are really … entertaining (couldn’t find a better word, hope you understand what I mean). Oh, almost forgot: I’m a biologist, currently enrolled on a PhD in primatology and animal behavior; and I’ve also recently finished my studies on science journalism. I’m currently working more on journalism than primatology. Although I usually write in Spanish (I live in Madrid), or Portuguese (my mother tongue), your writing is always a source of inspiration (must improve my English skills to compete with you though)

  21. Hi Ed,

    I’ve been interested in science for as long as I can remember, and discovered your blog in my first year of grad school in physics. At the time, I had just begun flirting with biology, by reading your blog posts, along with Richard Dawkins’ books, and watching Attenborough documentaries. It didn’t take long for you guys to win my heart, and flirtation gave way to love. 🙂 I now happily study evolutionary biology (somehow my physics department is open minded enough to be OK with funding a defector). Lately the relationship has taken somewhat of an unexpected twist.

    After reading you and Carl Zimmer write online for these past four years, and after listening to a few of Robert Krulwich’s excellent speeches, I think I finally got the push I need to take a shot at science writing. I’ve always been interested in teaching, and so I think this is a natural extension to connect with an interested (and interesting) audience.

    Anyhow, long story short, I owe a lot to you in particular (and your online kin, more generally). Every single week I read something on NERS that leaves me delighted, excited, and a little bit more in awe of the universe.

  22. Hi,
    I am a senior in high school, graduating really soon (yay!). I was born in England but my family moved to America when I was 3. I’m hoping to go to the University of Sheffield next year, if I get the right grades! 🙂 I love science, biology especially. I was co-president of the Science Club at my school, a bunch of extremely nerdy people who are my best friends. My twin sister introduced me to the discover magazine website, and from there I found your blog and got hooked immediately. That was about a year ago I think. I love the missing links on Saturday!! 😀

  23. Hi Ed. I’ve been reading for a year or so now and cant remember how I found NERS. I’m from the Central Coast of California and I especially enjoyed the pics you posted of your visit having lived in or been to many of those places. I have been many places in this world but California is one of the most beautiful, especially the Central Coast.
    I’ve been ‘into’ science since high school and have a BS in Animal Science, a MS in Environmental Science and am soon to begin a PhD in Quaternary Geomorphology. The MS and PhD from a university in Australia. I’ve taken time off between all my degrees and have worked in the equine industry (training assistant and pheresing technician) and currently the wine industry.
    Love the variety of your posts and great writing. Not sure yet where these studies will take me but I hope to still be reading your blog.

  24. I believe I originally found your blog thanks to a link from Myrmecos, Beetles in the Bush, Pharyngula or Why Evolution is True. Just a note, yours is the only blog in my Reader that I have to click through to read the whole article, I really hate that. The content here is too fantastic to pass up so I endure it anyway.

    By profession I’m a lab analyst. I have a bachelor’s in biotechnology but I make a living as an infrared spectroscopist in an analytical laboratory. Science is something I connect with on a daily basis. My true passion is natural history and I really enjoy your posts on animals, the slew of spider stories, the intelligence of Keas and New Caledonian Crows (one of my favorites!) and elephants. Your blog has plenty of the natural history I crave, but your other offerings are always read as they are quite interesting.

    I spend a lot of time learning everything I can about animals; Hymenopterans, Coleopterans, birds, especially Corvids and the Psittacidae and amphibians, especially the Caudata. I identify animals for friends, I take (very amateur) photographs and I generally expose myself to the outside world. For example, I enjoy fishing, not because I enjoy fish all that much but mostly to expose myself to aquatic habitats (one of my favorite places) and see interesting animal behavior. I often see garter snakes hunting in the water, turtles laying eggs or basking and various water birds.

  25. I’m a US-based technical writer specializing in high-end, commercial CAE/FEA applications. I develop both technical documentation and instructional materials. This means I can rationalize reading NERS at work as “independent research in technical communications.”

    As a kid in the 70s, I devoured NatGeo, Smithsonian, Natural History — I even had my own subscription to OMNI. Kinda-sorta kept up in the 80s and 90s reading mostly trade pop-science books. Started reading blogs in the late 90s/early 00s, mostly for politics. That lead to scientist/bloggers who wrote about US politics (PZ, Mike the Mad Biologist, etc.) Followed them to ScienceBlogs, started reading more Research Blogging posts, which led me to you, Brian Switek, et al, and rekindled my passion for good science journalism. Followed you to Discover, and I think that brings me up-to-date.

  26. Hi Ed (and everyone else!)

    I started reading your blog a while back (2-3 + years?), possibly via the Bad Science webpages. I spend too long browsing the literature in my little (scientific) field, so use your blog to find out the cool stuff happening elsewhere. Usually involving some excellent and weird animals. I’ve kept reading mostly because the articles are enthusiastic and fun, but also because I’ve never found them to be wrong, simplistic or misleading. Which is quite an acheivement!
    I’m a post doc from the UK recently moved to Sweden, suckered into working on genetics having made a move from ecology. Who’d have thought there would be so much computing and programming involved 🙁 . One day I’ll be back in the field!
    Reading the posts here generally gives me a bit of a lift when I come to write scientific articles, encouraging me to try and aim for readability and at least some style.


    PS I hope you keep up the weekly round up, I’ve discovered some excellent writers that way. It does tend to destroy my monday morning productivity though.

  27. I’ve spent much of my career as an information specialist in science fields, first in oceanography, then in public health, with stints in a zoo and in offices which my associates referred to as a zoo. In public health, I’ve worked in a major university, in a federal agency, in an international consulting firm, and since retirement as a part-time scribe in a town health department. I’m also an artist (organic abstraction) and still hope to write the great American novel which at the moment is looking like a short story. I love to read about current science as well as the history of science, and mystery novels.

  28. Hi Ed 🙂 I’m a college age nerd from Arkansas. Looking back, I keep on adding to my list of favorite things in a way that seems almost like an inevitable progression. Starting with Saturday morning cartoons when I was 6, fantasy, NOVA, reading textbooks just for fun all through middle school and high school, video games, SciFi, wikipedia, youtube debates and discussions, Pharyngula, scienceblogs, and discovermagazine for the past year or so.

  29. I’m a writer, incorporating science and philosophy into everything. I can’t seems to stop doing that, even when I try. Women’s Fiction with fMRIs and moral relativism. Oh dear.
    I look forward to your Missing Links; I’ve found lots of great articles I’d missed in my own researching. Your style is informative, friendly, and always accessible.
    I’m an English Lit maj0r who took science for fun, and never stopped seeing it that way. The amazing things humans can do – in my light science fiction novel I’m always struggling to stay just a long step ahead of the cutting edge. Thought-reading prostheses, retinal implants: are organic, implanted computers next?

  30. I am a 30 year old forester from Ukraine. I work in highly corrupted country in highly corrupted field, and sometimes it makes me unhappy. I am also was 3-rd year student of biology but I drop out couple year ago. Now I am trying to go back to studying. I have pretty horrible English, my sentences that I writing right now, makes me mad, I just feel that something wrong with my grammar, and I can’t do nothing about it. I hope my comment is ok enough to understand (and thank god for firefox english dictionary, that corrects my major mistakes). I can’t writу, but I can read much better, and it’s fun to read some of your posts. I like biology, and your posts about biology are nice to read.

    Science… I like science, I feel myself like a scientist, but formally (and really) I am not one of those. I think science is just something that is very natural for human nature, that our brain has a need to explore, to eat information, to rearrange it, to recreate, to change the world to the core.

    I would like more your own thoughts in your blog, more personality, – not only explaining some scientific news and findings. What you think about it, what you don’t like about it and so on.

    I would like to write more, but you are a lucky one:) – my bad English shutting me up.

  31. Hi Ed
    I discovered your blog via a friend who published one of your articles on her Facebook wall. I love reading what you write – you make me feel as if I might even be able to understand science! Thank you, because seriously, I am sooooo interested but so short of time and also short on scientific brain power (I’m a linguist) – but you manage to hit the button and I keep on learning (just wish I could retain half of it!).

  32. Hi Ed, I started following your blog about six months ago as a result of following Phil Plait’s. As much as I enjoy Plait’s primarily astronomy focused blog, biology has long been my favorite discipline and I tend to find your posts much more interesting. I don’t have any scientific degree or work in a science related field, it’s just something I’m passionate about as an amateur. I come from a devoutly Christian family and even studied for two years to be a missionary before realizing that I just couldn’t jibe my beliefs with what the church was telling me and basically went atheist. I realize of course that there are plenty of Christians who are able to balance their faith and science, that’s just the path my life took me and I’m happy being atheist. I look forward to many more fascinating posts from you!

  33. Hey! I’m an American college student studying biology and neuroscience. I’ve been reading your blog for a little over a year now. I’m not sure when I first started following you, but I think it was after I found one of your articles via StumbleUpon. I’ve kept up with your blog reading almost all your posts because your blog is one of the best places I’ve found to get a taste of what’s going on in different areas of biology. Your “Missing Links” posts have saved me from many a potentially boring afternoon.

  34. I’m professionally a software engineer in your typical soul-crushing-but-well-paying corporate job. However, I spend my free time reading about evolution and complexity theory, wishing I could get a job related to my hobbies. My life’s dream is to create the evolving robots that will take over the world from humans, so it’s probably good that I waste all my time playing video games instead…

    Your blog stuck out to me when I kept seeing excellent posts linked off IO9 over the past year, and it’s now in my RSS grouping of “must-read” news. Thank you for your great work on your blog!

  35. #30 Sergy

    Don’t let your English shut you up. I edit for a lot of scientists with English as a second language and I can tell you from personal experience your English is not bad at all. Keep working on it and you’ll get a lot better. Your English is much better than my Russian which is pretty much non existent at this point.

  36. Hello Ed,

    I am a high school teacher at a rural school in Ontario, Canada. I have a Bachelor of Science in Natural Science, and mostly studied ecology. I teach grades 9-12, and not always science. I’ve read posts from your blog with both my science and my English classes :). I don’t know exactly how or why I ended up here, but I’ve probably been reading for about a year and a half or two years? I have shared many of your posts with my colleagues. The visual arts teacher shared the bower bird perspective article I showed her with her class.

    I love your style, the span of topics covered, and the weekly ‘missing links’. I’ve ‘liked’ it on Facebook, so sometimes I check it from there when it comes up in my feed, but I also have it on my bookmarks toolbar.

  37. Hi!
    I’m a 31 year-old female IT geek from Portland, OR. I’ve been reading this and a number of other Discover blogs for about a year. I just started going to college (dropped out the first time), and hope to go on to get a dual-degree in physics and computer engineering. I love science and reading about what other scientists are working on. I’d really love to actually consider myself a scientist one day… perhaps I can at least count the fact that I’ll be doing chemistry labs from home this summer towards some kind of cred.
    Otherwise, I enjoy learning, reading, science fiction, science fact, and the fine line between the two. I’m getting married this summer to someone who will hopefully be able to deal with my deconstructive geekiness (he brews beer on the side, and approves of my scratch-made food, so that helps! 🙂 ). Oh, and I hope to always be smarter than our kids, in order to provide them with a foundation of healthy rivalry and challenge. Nice to meet you. ^_^

  38. Hi Ed! I’m a clinical psychologist working in public mental health in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, and particularly enjoy your “Missing Links” which are always waiting for me in my feed-reader when I get to work on Monday morning!

  39. I’m a structural engineer in my early fourties working for a small consulting company in a small town in a small country. I’ve always been an avid reader with a wide range of interests, though often bored with designated textbooks, and I chose my education with the idea that I wouldn’t want to ruin any one of my interests by turning it into a job. I haven’t regretted that, but I’ve increasingly been using the ‘Net to find back to those things I’ve come to realize I’ve given up on through the years, as my education, work and family life narrowed my scope.

    I’ve read your blog for some three years, first at irregular intervals, now daily — every post and most of your Saturday links.

  40. Hi there, I’m an artist who works with science and technology and am currently the artist-in-residence at Harvard Medical School. I’ve been working with X. tropicalis and C. elegans lately (my website, http://www.blep.com, is out of date, so ask if you’d like to see pictures). Started reading your blog a few months ago and love being introduced to all these amazing creatures and stories. Thanks for putting it together!

  41. Hey, Ed, I’ve been a casual reader of yours for many years (at least three or four now) and continue to be fascinated by the eclectic mix of topics you choose. I even bought your book as Xmas gifts for the family one year! Can’t say I have any specific criticism for ya, in fact, I’ve got to give you props for the recent efforts to get interesting writers *paid* for their efforts!

    Liberal arts background, completing an MBA in texas, doing fundraising for canine-related prison reform. Absolutely no science background, but love reading about the sociological experiments – in both human and animal societies – and especially the brain-related posts.

    That new yorker article about doctors and dilemmas with end-of-life care has stayed with me, and I really appreciate your inclusion of – and impeccable eye for – subjects like that, which are more on the edges of science. You seem to have fun with this and it shows. And three cheers for your grammar and editing prowess!

    Cheers and keep up the phenomenal work!

  42. Ed, I got hooked a long time ago when Washington Post mentioned you. Love your writing style and that you show respect for almost every commenter, even if you don’t agree with their point.

    That said, I’m a lawyer and a fiction writer and a mom of teens. I love cycling, geocaching, and reading about stuff I don’t understand, but that I get a glimpse of through your blog.

    I read/write so much fiction that it’s a breath of fresh air to come here and read about something concrete…well as much as even science is ever concrete.

    Now because of Rachel’s comment (41), I have Christmas presents for this year. w00t!

  43. Hi 🙂 I started reading your blog 2 or 3 years ago (I guess) when I was in high school. No idea how I found this blog, I just don’t remember. You inspired me, I mean really inspired 🙂 I decided to study biotechnology and I was preety lucky, because there’s the best (in Poland) biotech department on the university in my city. Unfortunately, I had some health problems and my doctors told me I can’t work in the lab. It was like the end of my world, I had to give up studying after the first year. Finally, I decided that I’ll try to become a translator, I’d like to translate medical documentation and some articles, like yours 🙂 During the studies, we were reading “Nature”, “Science” and that kind of stuff all the time, I enjoyed it. And, of course, I read your blog whenever I can 🙂
    Thank you for your awesome articles and for the inspiration 🙂 Good luck in your career and private life!

  44. I’m a computer analyst working in healthcare. Used to work in government many years ago.

    I grew up as a reader with a science bias. This blog helps feed my curiosity about the world.

    “All success is temporary.”

  45. PMR (Pretty much retired) computer geek. I don’t remember how I found you, but enjoy reading these pages very much. As to why, I can’t understand why anyone would NOT want to read about science.

  46. I am a geology student with an emphasis in karst Hydrogeology. I read this blog and a dozen others for my daily brain snacks.

  47. I am a high school student (soon to be college student) with a longtime interest in science. I’ve been reading since the ScienceBlogs days, and I love how effective you are at translating primary research of so many fields into entertaining, informative articles.

  48. Hola Ed,
    I am a 45 y.o. managing director of one important public centre of performing arts in Spain.
    I have a ph in geography and have always been interested in science, but I found your blog just by chance and mainly due to my sleeping problems! I read a lot, mainly literature, but I found necessary to give up reading novels at night because they kept me awake until the early hours of the following day, and decided that I should read instead something more relaxing. So I began browsing on the internet and reading about virtually everything, and one day, about a year ago, I found myself reading a really fascinating post about something I have already forgot. It was one of your posts. And from then on I am one of your usual readers. The quality of my sleep hasn’t improved thought!

  49. My father was very interested in science and got me hooked as a child by way of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series when I was about 13. I originally started studying medicine in school but switched to accounting after about 1.5 years but always kept my interest in science. I found your blog shortly before you moved from Scienceblogs and followed when you moved to Discover. I always enjoy reading your articles and I also enjoy following you on twitter for all your great recommendations. The only criticism I would have is that I wish you would sleep more… I’m having trouble keeping up with all the great writing you do and recommend!

  50. I first came here just a few days ago, someone had linked to the Parrots vs. Corvids article, I wish I could remember who.. ah the Rabbit Hole of chain surfing!

    I went to University when I was 18, planning to fill my heads with Zoology courses and wind up doing biodiversity studies in the Amazon Rainforest. After taking my first Entomology course (it’s good to know something about insects going into the jungle, after all), I decided to change my path and study bugs instead -mostly thanks to the very passionate, eccentric, humourous instructor who made bugs so freakishly interesting I wanted more. I wound up taking every single entomology course offered, whether it counted towards a degree or not -and met a lot of passionate, eccentric, humourous entomologists. I serendipitously wandered into a field assistant job for the federal government collecting caterpillars (at one point with a 12-gauge shotgun (not even kidding)) and met some more passionate, eccentric, humourous entomologists. I worked there until I finished my degree in 1999.

    I met my husband while struggling through old-growth spruce forests searching for forest insects, reeking of deet, sweat, blood and beer (after sundown, promise). If you can feel romantic about someone when you shower once a week and trudge through swampy black spruce and climb over clear-cut slash for a living, you know they’re a keeper.

    Realizing that I’d need a Masters degree to get a REAL (reliable) entomology job and realizing that I’m really just not that great a student, I settled for other work, married my forest guy, had 2 kids. I’m 36 now am trying to start a career as an artist -primarily of insects. It seems like a good way to re-awaken my insect background and employ a life-long love of drawing and painting. One of these days, I’ll do a series of rainforest bugs and donate the proceeds to conservation efforts. Not what I’d planned when I started University, but it makes me happy.

    I love your blog, it reminds me of the quirky, awesome things that exist in the world around us and are so often under appreciated -either deliberately or by accident.

  51. I’m a 41-year-old woman in the U.S., married, with two teenage sons. I have degrees in Linguistics and an in Paralegal Technology, earned 16 years apart, though I’m not currently working in either field. Interested in science? I’m interested in a bit of everything and consider myself a life-long learner. I’m involved with science as much as I’m involved with any other subject that engages me.

    I came here through the blogroll at Jen McCreight’s Blag Hag, and continue to pop through when I have the time. I fear your link editions, because I could literally sit here for hours following them all. I have been reading you sporadically for about a month or two.

    I like how you take bite-sized pieces of science and make them interesting and accessible, and give links to explore more deeply. Things seem to work just the way they are here – I have no improvements to suggest. Keep on keepin’ on, I guess, and thanks for doing what you do.

  52. I’ve been reading for a year or two, this is one of my favorite blogs! I learn a lot from your pieces – if it’s a subject I don’t know much about they are clear enough for me to understand and if I am familiar with the topic they are still informative and don’t feel watered down. I also love the Saturday links! I have a background in human biology and anatomy. I just graduated college a few weeks ago and now work as a medical illustrator.

  53. I am a puppeteer. I sometimes create workshops for kids that involve puppets and the curriculum, including the science curriculum. I enjoy keeping up with what’s new in science.

  54. Well, I’m a high school biology teacher in Thailand. I have a BS in Marine Biology and General Ecology. Just before graduating from university, I discovered I enjoyed teaching more than I enjoyed research (I had the opportunity to teach two lectures on hydrodynamics and energetics of marine mammals to my peers and it was an eye-opening experience). I haven’t been a biology teacher the entire time since graduating university, however, as I had been bouncing around the world a bit doing ESL teaching before finding a job teaching biology in Bangkok.

    Biology is my bread and butter. I’ve been fascinated with it for as long as I can remember. My mother is a Ph.D of Endocrinology doing research, so that is probably a source of my science background. A Nat.Geo. special on sharks when I was around ten got me interested in marine biology. Years of reading various things got me interested in marine mammals. And then, over the last decade, with all of the amazing genetics and genomics research going on, I’ve got a lot into such topics, and overall biology and biological evolution in general (you can see on my Mendeley the types of papers I enjoy reading).

    I’m pretty much a nerd about it. I read scientific papers for fun in my spare time.

    I’ve been reading this blog for around a year, I guess, and it is one of my favorites. I found it by browsing through Discovery blogs after being an avid follower of Bad Astronomy. This blog does a great job at taking some rather complex topics and breaking them down into pretty easy terms, and while I don’t know if they read it when I recommend it, it is just about perfect for my students. It’s a great resource to show them some of the things that are going on in current biology research while they are learning the basics of what biology is all about. I can’t think of any particular improvements off the top of my head, so I’ll just say keep on being excellent, and I’ll keep on visiting and sharing links to this place whenever I can. 🙂

    I just want to add that I also really enjoy following your Twitter (you may have seen me retweet and occasionally reply to you as @BioAlex), because you share a lot of really awesome links there as well.

    Cheers. 🙂

  55. I’ve been reading your blog for almost two years. I am a biology teaching major in Iowa and I believe I first discovered you through Myrmecos. I got hooked on your blog because your posts cover a broad selection of science-y topics and because I can utilize it with my future high school students. I’m always looking for good resources to keep me updated on current science when I am a teacher and know I will not have an abundance of time to look through primary research articles. Your ability to convey what is in these articles in a way anyone can understand is what keeps me coming back!

  56. I’m a student finishing up her undergraduate degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, heading onto an internship/masters program where I will do Stem Cell Research at UCLA. I started out as an English major, was converted by an incredible teacher who is now my incredible mentor and PI for my research. In my tumultuous quest to find a way to reconcile my English past and Biology future, I e-mailed you about your tips for getting into science writing, but have since found a passion for research, and found that my writing talents have been a great boon to my path.

  57. Hi Ed,

    I’m a Uni student from Newcastle (Australia) and I started reading your blog almost a year ago now. I finished my BA last year (French and Linguistics) and I’m part way through a Linguistics Honours Year. I’m thinking of dropping out though, at least for a little while. I’ve also got part of a law degree and I turn 21 next week, and I just don’t feel like I’m mature enough to get as much out of Honours as I could. So I think I’m going to go back to law for a couple of years and finish my LLB then see what I can do with linguistics.

    I’ve always loved the sciences, I suspect that may be why I gravitated towards linguistics, and your blog has been absolutely fantastic as a way to feel like I’m learning new science and keeping up with the world while I study.

    Thanks Ed!

  58. I’m a biology instructor at the local junior college in Northern California, teaching mostly intro bio. Most of my students have little to no science background so I’m always looking for good stories to hook their interest, and this is one of my go-to sources. Love your links round up, and the diversity of topics you cover. I may have found you through Carl Zimmer’s blog, but to be honest, I don’t remember. Keep up the fine work!

  59. Oooh, we like to talk about ourselves! I am a recently minted phd in communication & rhetoric, with a particular interest in how what we say about science helps us learn about science. In other words, I am more interested in what a learner says to help him- or herself learn, than I am in what a teacher says. (I suspect most of you excellent science bloggers do it, at least in part, because by writing about it, you come to understand it better yourselves, no?) I have also been a physics teacher, and am currently a science museum educator, where I get to play with a live animal collection as well as the gadgets. I don’t remember how I found your blog (maybe 4 months ago), but, as someone else noted, I love that you read the literature for me. I have a hard enough time keeping up with publications in my own field.

    You ask for comments – I admit to sometimes glossing over the longer pieces, but I love the slideshows, the link blitzes, and pithy “oh neat!” bits. The longer pieces are valuable when I have a moment to relax and absorb, so I guess what I’m saying is that I really appreciate the variety and accessibility.

    Oh, and dear fellow commenters: you are the best I’ve seen just about anywhere. Thank you all!

  60. I seem to be one of the few non-sciency people who have commented so far. I have a Bachelor’s in Classical Civilization, with a minor in Linguistics, from a Big 10 University (that means Midwest U.S.A. to those non-Americans out there).

    I’ve studied in Wales, worked in London after uni (college for you Americans), spent two years on working holiday visas (WHV) in New Zealand, and am now 8 months into a year-long WHV in Australia. As you can see, I am a bit confused about which kind of English to speak, although it sometimes comes in handy — I was able to comment on the Maori word ‘kea’ in your “Crows and Parrots” article.

    What I love about everyone introducing themselves is that it feels a bit more like a community. Now I know that Trond, who responded to my comment, “work[s] for a small consulting company in a small town in a small country.” It brings the world closer when we realise the diversity of the readership, yet how we have common interests in learning more about this beautiful world we’re in.

    Since discovering your blog a few months ago, I have been continuously emailing articles to my parents on the family farm. My one suggestion would be to make entire articles viewable in RSS.

    Keep it up!

  61. Hi Ed,

    I’m a 27 year old student from New Zealand. I’ve been dealing with a psychological condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder which has kept me almost housebound for several years. I’ve been getting help for it since January(the hardest 6 months of my life) and finally feel like I’m getting on top of it. I can barely believe I’m able to even write this and don’t even feel any anxiety!(that’s a big deal for me).

    I was trying to study Computer Science but have recently decided to switch to Psychology to become a Clinical Psychologist so I can help people like myself become able to create lives for themselves.

    I’ve always had a very analytic mind and have always loved all aspects of science. If I see or hear about something, I simply have to find out how it works. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months I guess, although I’m unsure how I actually got here. I save the posts from Discover blogs until last each day because they are easily my favorites.

    I live for your “missing links” and love the breadth of topics you cover. Along with some other blogs you introduce me to more things that make me glad to be alive in this amazing universe.

    With regards to improvement, find a way to beam your articles directly into my brain please.

    Keep up the good work, it is much appreciated.

    Edit: Also, this is a great idea. It is really interesting to see the diversity showed by the readers, although now when I read your blog I’ll be wondering if anyone is reading the exact same part I am! Hi everybody!

  62. Hi Ed! I’m a doctoral student in Australia studying clinical neuropsychology (hello fellow psychologists / psychology students!) – currently writing up my thesis and doing some clinical work. I stumbled on your blog maybe a year ago during a particularly bad bout of procrastination when I subscribed to a whole bunch of science blogs. Yours is one of the few I remain subscribed to and read when I can. Three main things I get from it:
    – help with writing – I think you may have posted some links and info on science writing, or otherwise I stumbled upon Carl Zimmer through you who might have put them up… anyway they were extremely helpful for my own writing. A really good tip for thesis-writing that I picked up a while back was to keep reading examples of good non-fiction writing (i.e. your blog!)
    – distraction and entertainment
    – thoughtful and understandable commentary on topical science news e.g. ‘alien’ arsenic life

    Realistically I don’t have time to read every entry you post, though I would love to and am amazed by the volume of writing you produce. Maybe one handy thing for time-poor people might be some sort of digest, or ‘post of the week’, or weekly summary of the highlights, or something… Thanks and keep it up!

    PS a puppeteer?!! Awesome!

  63. Hi Ed,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now, I don’t quite remember how I fell here (well on the scienceblogs.com page anyway), but it was (and always is) a refreshing view on science and technology.
    You’re not afraid to write lenghty posts to discuss a subject, which I particularly like in our time of microblogging.
    I’m French, 26, and an intern (journalist) at http://www.slate.fr, the french equivalent of US’ Slate.com. I’m a student in digital creation and edition, a geek cursus that tries to give us competences in programming, design, and communication theory (applied to the Internet). I studied sciences before, so I’m able to understand the most part of what you write.
    Keep up the good work!

  64. Hey!

    I’ve been reading for 18 months – 2 years, and check in pretty much every day. No idea how I found the blog; probably surfing at ScienceBlogs. I’m an English graduate and lawyer. The last of which, I guess, gives me an interest in the evidential basis for conclusions, which links in with the science part (although I don’t tend the read the *really* sciencey things; sorry!

    I particularly like the Saturday links. They’re awesome.

    And now I wish I was a puppeteer!

  65. Another Australian here, Ed…I have little or no connection with science other than a dilettantish interest. I am a former public servant and an Asianist, specialising in Indonesia and now teaching part-time in Canberra. I got interested in reading about science, especially biology, after stumbling on a book by Dawkins in Cornell, of all places, while on a fieldwork visit for my PhD research. I soon realised that science was advancing so fast that the only way to keep up was to follow blogs on the internet. What I found utterly amazing was the nature and extent of the discoveries made in the last 50 years, eg the genetic code, hox genes and so on. I started reading Scienceblogs, especially Carl Zimmer, and then (I’ve said this before) discovered NERS when you wrote that brilliant witty piece about the Ida hype. I’ve been a regular reader ever since.

  66. Howdy.
    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, I found it by surfing through “Bad Astronomy” I currently work in a local jail (on the graveyard shift, perfect time for reading) and am in the early stages of my academic career as a physicist, I particularly enjoy the anthropology related posts you put up.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  67. Hello
    I work as a librarian (or as an information specialist as we’re called now) in a company that prepares systematic reviews generally in the field of health care. We’re based in the North (of England).
    I’ve been reading you’re blog for ages it seems …so three years perhaps.
    I don’t tend to comment normally, more of a lurker! Not sure where my interest in science came from. There’s definitely some link between my enjoyment of science and being atheist. Rational thought and all that. There also is a thought that the amazing stuff in nature often trumps amazing stuff in art (for me) because it seems more ‘real’. That’s a bit of a generalization though as there’s some really cool art around …but then I don’t read any art blogs. 🙂

  68. Hi,
    I’m a postdoctoral fellow in Switzerland, working on the evolution of sociality in animals. I first heard about your blog 1-2 years ago and since then, check in on a daily basis. I particularly appreciate your way of summarising complex scientific results, and the fact that you present results from a broad range of topic. Congrats and thank you for your great job !

  69. Hi Ed,

    I finished a masters in Physics, and unsure of what to do with myself decided to take a pgce (post-grad teaching qualification) go into secondary (high school) teaching. Although I put a lot of effort into it I’m not naturally a great disciplinarian, but tried to make up for it with enthusiasm for my subject. Unfortunately it wasn’t terribly successful and after a couple of years I realised that I was losing both that enthusiasm and my overall grip on reality, so decided to quit and try something else.

    I’m now studying and working in the special effects industry, which is a whole bunch more fun! I miss the science, though, and so try to keep up with what’s going on via your and other blogs, discovered by general internet-bimbling. You manage to achieve something I was never able to consistently do – make science absolutely fascinating and a joy to find out about. Thank you.

  70. Aloha! I work as a software researcher for a consumer electronics company, and generally just think science is cool. Been reading your stuff for a few months now. Got to you via a Twitter referral (Ben Goldacre maybe?), and tend to read your articles when they’re linked there.

    Your writing is excellent and never boring. Every trip here is enjoyable and I get to read about things I’d never hear of otherwise. Keep up the good work!

  71. I’m just a nature blogger, retired after a lifetime in a variety of mostly non-science jobs, but also a lifetime of reading science for pleasure. I read this blog everyday, and follow you on Twitter.

  72. Hi Ed,

    I am an American expat living in Germany. I don’t remember how I came about your blog but I think I have followed you through at least 3 URL changes. 🙂

    I am a high school biology/chemistry teacher and use many of your stories as examples in my classroom. My kids love them.

    One intriguing story I have regarding your website was a particularly difficult autistic student. One day, as I used yet another interesting story from your blog, the aide from the autistic student told me that as a method to calm (I will call him Kevin) Kevin down when he was overstimulated, he would pull up this blog and let Kevin read it . Evidently, Kevin wanted to read more about what I was explaining and would read your blog and quote facts from it all day.

    Thank you for making my job easier. 🙂

  73. Hi Ed! How nice of you to show interest in your readers. My name is Mirjam and I have a bachelor degree in dietetics/nutrition. I have been working as a community dietician but I had to stop now as a result of my illness. To keep tickling my brain I try to read as much science related stuff. Also to keep being interesting to my friends. I tend to start a discussion with the words ‘did you know that…’ followed by an entertaining conversation about something geeky. They like it, well, I hope they do. I find your weblog a source of inspiration for things geeky to talk about. I’ve been visiting your blog, on and off, for about 3 years. More recently I started following you on twitter. I love what you’re doing. Thanks.

  74. Hi Ed,

    I’m a PhD student at UCL, studying epidemiology/medical statistics. I moved to London from the Netherlands about a year and a half ago and started reading your blog around the same time. I’m not sure exactly how I ran into it, but I’ve been reading it on an almost daily basis ever since (mostly through your twitter feed).

    I love the diversity of subjects that make an appearance on your blog and your way of explaining things that allow me to understand virtually everything that I lay my eyes on. It’s even inspired me to start some science writing of my own – I’ve been blogging for Significance Magazine for a couple of months now.

    Thank you for a great job!

  75. I keep thinking of semi-snarky things to say, like, “I read your blog whenever I’m out of ideas for mine” or “I read your blog so I have an excuse to look at a picture of your wife,” but all of them are just shallow and stupid next to the truth. I read your blog because it’s fun to read and I nearly always learn something new, which is fun, too. The best kind of fun.

    (Oh, the CV! I have a BA in Maths and a PhD in Comparative Literature and Media Studies, and I’m a technology and media writer around the Internet: Wired, The Atlantic, Nieman Journalism Lab, Technology Review Fast Company, etc.)

  76. Hi!

    I’m finishing Secondary School (I’m from Portugal and I don’t know if the educational system you know is similar to that of my country, but secondary school is immediately before going to University) and I want to study Biochemistry. And, of course, I love science.

    I think I started reading your blog last year and the reason is simple: I like it, it’s interesting and we can always learn something.

    I don’t have many suggestions. Perhaps the extension of some of your posts, but it’s necessary, so I really haven’t much to tell.

    And that’s it. Keep writing 😉

  77. Hi Ed!

    I’m Melanie, an almost-third-year social psychology graduate student at the University of Illinois with a BA in Psych from Duke. I’m a fairly new psych blogger; my blog is called PsySociety and is linked above (I don’t want to presume you’ve already seen it, because then I’d feel a little starstruck, for lack of a better word). I started blogging last semester (on the group-authored blog IonPsych) as part of a graduate seminar called “Writing/Speaking for a General Audience” with Dan Simons.

    I follow you on Twitter (my handle is @melanietbaum); I mostly access your posts through tweets (or my subscription on Google Reader). I heard about you both through Dan (in our class last semester) and also through my chats with Jason Goldman; both obviously recommended you as one of the top names to read and know about when entering the science blogosphere. I’ve been a regular reader since around March, which is when I really decided that I loved science blogging and wanted to continue; part of that decision was picking several blogs to focus on and read regularly, and of course yours was one of the first that I picked.

    I can’t think of anything to improve/change – so I will just say that I love your blog!

    Thank you for writing, and for being an inspiration to new bloggers like myself!
    – Mel

  78. i’m a lawyer, and spend most of my time writing about environmental/land use/wildlife law issues. i have a deep love for science and appreciate your excellent writing. i’ve probably been reading the blog for about a year, and constantly check it through my rss feed.

  79. Hello! I’m an editor at BMJ Group, working on the Best Health patient information website besthealth.bmj.com, where we try to bring a little sanity to the week’s medical news! I also blog about science/medicine (big fan of the Wellcome Collection round the corner from the BMA) and art/history/anything else at my own blog annasayburn.com. I enjoy your writing, the diversity of the posts and enjoy the banter on Twitter, too.

  80. Hi Ed,
    I answered last year too, but I’ll do it again, since you asked.

    I’m a fourth-year student of ecology and evolutionary biology from Finland. Currently I’m working with my master’s thesis (it’s about biogeography and phylogenies) and might graduate next year. When I was younger, I always wanted to be a scientist, but now that I’ve actually tried it… well, my true passion seems to be science writing. I started with a science blog a year and a half ago (link above, but it’s in Finnish) and now I keep two blogs and work part time as a freelance science writer, illustrator and photographer. And I love my job!

    Not Exactly Rocket Science, among others (Tetrapod Zoology, Laelaps, Thoughtomics…), has been my idol: this is the kind of quality science journalism I want to write for the Finnish audience. I’m not sure how long I’ve been a reader, maybe around two years, but I visit almost daily. The Missing links always spark dozens of new ideas.

    Oh. Someone earlier said that he/she doesn’t like that you have to click through to see the whole article. I disagree: it makes leafing through to find older articles a million times easier. Keep it this way. 🙂

    And keep up the awesome work!

  81. I’m an acarologist with a broad interest in the things that mites inhabit – which is pretty much everything living outside of marine systems (and some in the oceans). I’ve been reading your blog for about a year for the interesting write-ups, mostly about arthropods. You do a good job with the science and mostly refrain from the political chunder that makes so many biologically oriented blogs unreadable.

  82. I’m a 2nd year molecular biology grad student, and I’ve probably been reading your blog since I got to grad school. I follow you on my Google Reader so I see all your posts eventually. I found your blog really useful this year when I was looking for accessible information to give to students in the Evo Devo class I TAed, and we even used a paper I found through this blog on the final exam (the one on chickens with bare necks). Thanks!

  83. Hey Ed.
    CV: Chemistry Prof at American U., postdoc Caltech, PhD Northwestern.
    Real answer: I wish I could write about science. That is, I do write about science. But I write about my niche in my sub-discipline within chemistry to other chemists who fill that niche. I am a creature of jargon. In fact, I could probably write a pretty decent paper (perhaps I already have) using all of the words on Carl Zimmer’s banned list. So, I’m trying to work myself into writing better to non-scientists as well. I have found this helps in my clarity when describing my work to other scientists as well as being able to talk with my parents about what I do. I have been spending more time in the past year reading loads of “non-sciency” (my definition) science writing. You were one of my first stops when I started searching for good science writing and I’ve been coming back ever since. Hopefully my science-writing-consumerism (and practicing) will pay off some day. If not, I’m always up for a good read!

  84. I’m 26 years old, I’m Italian but currently studying in Scotland (Mres Ecology) and in September starting my PhD in Ireland and the Netherlands on soil ecology (mainly earthworms). I found your blog a couple of years ago and I’ve been reading it regularly ever since. My favourite science blog without doubt. To be honest I don’t find all the stories you cover of my interest (you may be more holistic than me, which is not easy) but those I do (the majority) I always find very very well written. I see that from time to time you bring some innovation (e.g. the recent spider gallery) to the normal structure of the blog, so I guess you can think for yourself on how to improve things. Keep rolling

  85. hi ed,
    i read your blog since beginning of this year, when my brother send me the link via facebook, knowing i’d appreciate it due to my insatiable thirst for interesting news about nature, humans and the world in general…

    unfortunately, i work in advertising. i have a master’s degree in german literature, film theory and english literature and am horribly out of place there. i read your blog because the world is fascinating, and i like how things i read here connect with things i read elsewhere, things i know from experience, things i believe to be true, so everything turns into a carpet of knowledge. i wish i had a job that would make it possible for me to write interesting things on the internet.

    oh, i’m german, 34 years old and hope to raise my daughter with the love and curiousity for the wonders of creation that you give us the opportunity to see.

    i especially liked the article on the knit scarf with the hidden dna helix, because knitting is my meditation and little life saver. i always get dizzy when i think that someone in history had to find out that wrapping a yarn around two needles in a certain way will give you warm clothing.
    so, stay curious and keep us posted on what you find.

  86. Hi Ed!

    This is my first time comenting, despite being a reader for quite a while (1-2 years probably). I’m a Biology-Geology student from Portugal, who has just graduated (actually, I got the diploma today!) from the University of Porto. I’m interested in many fields in the natural sciences, but mainly when it concerns the discovery of our long lost past – evolution, paleontology, plate tectonics… I’m also receiving training in ornithology, and I’m interested in public science education.

    I must have found your blog through ScienceBlogs, at the begginning only when I came upon it by chance, later more frequently, this still before the move to Discoverblogs. As a biology student I’m obviously interested in most of your posts, and as a geology student I only wish you could start blogging about geology as well! I especially like the way you integrate the research methodology into the posts. Recently I started my own natural science blog (in Portuguese), and I can say this blog was one of the inspirations. Many thanks and congratulations for the time you spend blogging!

  87. Honorary scientist (the sort that feels like a scientist and thinks like a scientist, but has no papers to prove it or education to back it) from the Netherlands. Follow the twitter feed and been reading some articles for few months, enjoy it.

    As for job, do writing on videogames, but real interests are science (evangelizing it, reading, thinking and discussing about it), the philosophy of it, animals, ethics/morality, nature/environment, psychology world politics, atheism/religion and comedy (closely related all). Anything that can have/needs a rational and progressive slant via the medium of the general scientific world view (scientism). Do enjoy romanticism and sentimentality, before people think I’m some emotionless robot. Think it has a lot of value in science writing/expression to sing to the human brain in a way that it is pleased at reading and learning and in general well being as humans. Perfectly rational addition to life and to be treasured in moderation.

    Not at all upset about prospect that science can become our leading spiritual world view in the future. Worship of nature, knowledge and the ethics of conscious well being can’t possibly be bad.

    Enjoyed the recent articles about spiders! Amazing creatures. Peacock spider is too funny. MOAR on amazing animals!

  88. Love the blog – I’m more of an occasional reader over the last year or so, who tends to pick up on stories that particularly interest me when I see them posted on twitter (where I’m @ChanceFurlong) or in previous years, when linked to by other bloggers I follow such as Ben Goldacre, Vaughan Bell etc.

    I started out academic life graduating as a historian from Cardiff, before deciding to completely change direction. I did a conversion MSc into psychology, and have since worked in NHS Research & Development, and as an advisor for the National Institute of Health Research on research methodology, psychology and statistics.

    I’ve just recently left that post and started my PhD in psychology, working with patients with end stage kidney disease.

  89. Hi Ed

    I’m currently taking the scenic route (5 years) towards a Bachelors of Engineering in Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

    My interests are mainly in AI, Software Engineering, Embedded Systems and Network security. I some how need to choose just two by the end of next year for my Honors and If all goes well one for my masters.

    I started reading this blog after following @NerdyChristie on twitter and reading her blog, Observations of a Nerd.

    I find the blog is brilliant at explaining complex concepts while at the same time not dumbing down the science. You sir, are truly gifted. When I try to explain computers to my father and grandfathers (my mother worked at IBM so its quite easy to get her to understand the concepts) I am never able to get them to understand what to me is such a simple and elegant concept (the von Neumann architecture that underpins most modern computers) that has remained for the most part (conceptually at least) unchanged for nigh on sixty years.

  90. Well, I am the wrong side of 50 living in the UK. I studied Geology at Uni because it allowed me to take other subjects (particularly Physics and Chemistry) further then worked in IT. Have got part way through another degree in Maths. I have always had wide ranging interests – some people say I am lacking in focus. So much to discover so little time to do it. That’s why I like your blog – never sure what’s going to turn up on it, but most likely it will be interesting.

  91. I really like your blog – it has a good tone and is not dry or preachy or “science-writery”. The science is good and I always come away having learned something. I’m a science writer-turned blogger living in Lausanne, Switzerland. Had a BA in philosophy, then I got my MS in atmospheric science and then abandoned the PhD mid-stride when I moved with my husband and 2 kids to Baltimore. I like writing better. I still like algebra though and miss the thrill of tweaking code and then having it run error-free. Sometimes I play with html just for that.

    I worked in the press office at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) for 5 years, writing press releases and news articles about all aspects of science, and translating stuff from French into English. I quit a couple of years ago and work freelance now, doing scientific translating and writing a blog. I found you when I was writing about bacteria (here – http://maryparlange.blogspot.com/2011/05/crowdsourcing-part-iii.html)
    — I refer people to your blog for a good background on the bacteria that colonize humans. You said it way better than I could have. It’s a fascinating topic. I posit that bacteria are using us, not the other way around…

    I’m working on a creative writing project that involves science, universities, geeks, and adventure.

    I grew up in Los Alamos NM so I glow in the dark, along with my two brothers and sister. I’m the only one in the family that didn’t get a PhD. Black sheep! I’m quasi-normal. But perhaps that’s a stretch. Keep up the good work!

  92. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now. I’m 26 years old and I live in Canada. I did a Masters degree in Physics but balked at doing a PhD because I didn’t want to stay in academia.

    I work as the manager of a Data Analysis department for a technology company in Alberta, Canada. Basically I wanted to try something new and learn some new things.

    I became interested in your blog because even though I did my degree in physics, I am interested in many different scientific fields. Your blog is perfect for me because it touches on a lot of subject, but not in an overly technical way. Everything is written and explained for people who may not have a background in the subject material, making it very readable.

    Keep up the great work!

  93. A born biologist. I had to prove it with an academic degree but I don’t fit with the scientific wor(l)d outside.
    NERS makes me feel like going home.

  94. Hi Ed,
    I’m a 30-something nursing student from Indonesia living in the US. I have an on/off affairs with science since I was about 5, but this time it’s for real. I have a wide range of interests, but my scientific interest are focused around health (humans, animals, plants), medicine, neuroscience, microbiology, chemistry, and astronomy.
    I’ve been your follower on twitter (i think, in fact, that’s how i found out about NERS) since I opened my twitter account (around Jan or so). I love your blog; you have a way with words that make confusing scientific concepts sound fascinating and interesting. Thank you for blogging!

  95. I am a 42 year old MSc Physiotherapy student in the UK. Initially graduating in Psychology with a 15 year diversion via the retail industry utilising my bar counter as my therapy couch; I’m now lucky enough to have the resources to really immerse myself in biological sciences and I thoroughly love it. With an interest in neuroscience and human anatomy (my favourite holiday being human dissection workshops [with http://www.gilhedley.com] as a somanaut…exploring inner space), I came to this blog 6-8 months ago while researching & exploring the human microbiome. I look forward to my missing links…….my sunday indulgence being ‘not exactly rocket science’ and researchblogging.org.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you

  96. Hi Ed

    I’m an undergrad student at a little college in Oregon that no one’s ever heard of. I’m majoring in creative writing and computer programming, but I’ve always been interested in science.

    I came here a few months ago when Robert Krulwich linked to your article on the Stanley Miller experiments and have been hooked ever since. I love your articles on human psychology and animal intelligence (especially bird intelligence as I wanted to be an ornithologist as a kid). I also love the “missing links” posts — they keep me occupied for hours upon hours.

    Anyways, thanks for writing this blog and keep up the fabulous work 🙂

  97. Hey there – I work in health research advocacy at a non-profit in the DC-area. I first started reading NERS about 4 years ago after seeing links to your pieces on a variety of other blogs in the science blogosphere. Since then, I’ve repeatedly used your work as a model for a blog I now manage, New Voices for Research. Your posts are fantastic examples of how a complicated research topic can be translated into language anyone can understand without “dumbing it down.”

    I got into the science communication field mostly by accident. I have training in a variety of fields – including science, and when I went to communications school, I was assigned to work with Matt Nisbet since I was one of the few (if only) students in the program with a science background. It was interesting work and I couldn’t resist the pull of such a burgeoning field. After school, I started reading more and more blogs in the science sphere to keep up with the research and see what else was out there.

    I love reading your posts as they pop up in my reader, and my only (wishful thinking) thought for improvement is to have you please post less large pictures of spiders. I know they illustrate the posts, but they really creep me out! Otherwise, all is wonderful. Thanks for all the good conversation threads and superior web writing.

  98. I’m a _citizen scientist_. Yay eBird! Day job: middle school Spanish teacher. [I also teach one class on the natural history of our corner of Southern California. Yes, they pay me to watch birds and catch lizards.]

    Have been reading your terrific blog for a year or so. Forget how I discovered you, except that it was before everyone else in my vast online circle did, and I Was Proud.

    I belong to your least important demographic [old women who spend a lot on binoculars and wild bird food], but for the record, your blog is excellent, and entertaining, and essential reading. Thanks for all your good work.

  99. I come here primarily for your writing: succinct, timely, cogent, varied; generally accurate and objective reporting or sometimes telling a good story…
    I’m an ex-lab tech (toxicology, neurobiology, & mostly clinical genetics), but my real interests run to math & physics, as I find the life sciences too-often filled with weak, overly-hyped science (but that doesn’t stop it from being interesting ;-))

  100. Hi Ed! I’m a PhD student in the USA. I study harmful algal blooms. I am interested in working with the public in the long term and read your blog to improve my skills in writing about science. I am also a member of NewVoices (via Heather above at #97). After I finish my PhD I hope to work full time as a scientist and help notify the public about harmful algae blooms, toxins, and impacts on the local waters (wherever I happen to live). Your blog has been a great way for me to see how to describe science to non-scientists, especially using a recent paper or advancement. I hope you continue your foray into good visuals as I could use more information in that area, too. Sometimes what I want to talk about isn’t very photogenic =]

    I have been reading this blog for over a year and don’t remember how I discovered it.

    Thank you for all your great posts, and inadvertent teaching for those of us hoping to learn your craft!

  101. Hey, Ed — I am a freelance editor/writer in Vermont with a longtime interest in science (if it’s dumbed down enough for me to understand). I started reading your blog a couple of years ago when I joined Twitter and found you. I mostly come here from your Twitter links. I think I can safely say you have not tweeted a link I didn’t find fascinating.

    I think what I like best is the breadth of your interests and the fascinating, but dependable sources you cite. I also appreciate your humor. Aside from my family’s tweets, I always seek out yours first.

  102. I’m a post-doc in biomedical engineering and I study motor control, brain stimulation and motor learning. I read your blog to learn about other topics, to learn how to write properly and because it is one of the thing I would love to do if I never get a permanent position.

    I’ve been interested in science blogging for 2-3 years. I got really into it and even started my own blog. I started with Neurophylosophy and naturally ended up here


  103. Hello Ed,
    I am a very inquisitive person who is always looking to improve his understanding of science and the scientific method. Though an Engineer by profession, interest in and understanding other vast areas of the sciences is something that was part not part of me or my education. I was raised in a rigorously religious and brain washed environment. Introspection, critical thinking, analyzing data to formulate theories and challenging deeply held beliefs are traits I acquired much later in life. Your blog is a constant reminder to me of the wonderful and also scary discoveries we can make if we choose to open our minds.

    I came to this blog when i followed a link from the Bad Astronomy blog by Phil Platt. I have an active interest in reading as much as I can about science and involve myself by informing my friends about the extremely well put and thoroughly well researched articles you post. I have been reading your blog for well over a year now and here is what I like about it:
    1) You always break it down to the level where amateurs like myself can grasp the material
    2) You cite links where we can get more information for ourselves
    3) You present the materials without forcing the reader to always understand your conclusions
    4) As is the problem with some science blogs, you do not post non-science related personal opinions. I think blogs related to science should not be a battle ground for discussing/promoting personal agendas.
    5) I think you kick ass!

    Improvements? Kick more ass! publish more often!
    and oh…Thank you!

  104. Hi Ed, I’ve been following the blog for a few months, via RSS feed into Google Reader. I can’t remember how I found your blog, but I think it might have been when you had that spat with the public relations flack from Liverpool (?) Uni. Maybe Ben Goldacre blogged about it? I write specialist software for a pharmaceutical company in the UK, aimed at designing new and better medicines. I really enjoy the breadth of coverage of subject matter. The bias towards biology is really interesting for me as my science background is the more theoretical end of chemistry and I regret that I have never formally learned the wetter bits of science.
    Great blog, many thanks for keeping it up so regularly, frequently and to such a high quality.

  105. Hi, I’m an early 40’s builder in NZ who’s been following your blog for about 6months – original link from NZ SciBlog site I think.
    I’m generally interested in science and specifically keen on the technical inventions and surprise social findings so the “wow,huh?” type articles.
    If you were to put in more green housing oriented articles my interest would be piqued, if you put in ads I would leave.
    I like the way that you reference your points rather than vaguely asserting them.
    Good work Ed

  106. Hey!

    I see I’m not the only one to find your blog through the Bad Astronomer’s. I’m a geographer (cartographer actually) who dearly wishes he’d gone on to complete his Ph.D instead of stopping at an M.Sc. I love science! Love the rising tide of skeptics out there, despise shabby reasoning and the drivel that the reasoning-refused-right subjects the rest of the world to. I like everything about your blog, my second fav! I really like the fact you reference your wife as being so important to your work. It’s a great perspective and us guys need to think about that more often.

  107. Hi Ed, I am a twenty one year old community college slacker from the top half of California. I came across your blog about six months ago while looking for something worth while to read online. I always feel like I am wasting my time if what’s entertaining me isn’t also teaching me something, so your blog is a perfect fit. 
    I work in the production phase of a well known microchip company making parts for external hard drives and the like. I read everything you post and day dream about having a job as cool as yours and being able to communicate complex subjects to dummies such as myself the way you do. 
    Science never interested me in school despite the many “experiments” I would perform on household items and family members growing up. 
    I just want to say thanks and keep up the great work.     

  108. Hi all,

    I answered last year, but here I go again.
    Sincerely, I can’t remember when I started to read your blog, but you moved like twice since then, so it was not yesterday. Anyway, I got here by the blog Neurophilosophy.
    I wish I would read NERS on daily basis, but sometimes I have to skip. The “missing links” was a great idea, it takes me to other equally intersting sites and stuff.
    About me: at root I am mathematician (towards education), very interested in teaching children what really mathematics is about: creativity, questioning, exploration…I also wondered through computer science, for MSc, then got back to mathematics for PhD. I did the same with countries, so I would say I am still “not settled”. Lately, I am trying to play self-employed (not really working), making up origami activities to teach geometry and problem solving through exploration.
    Science…I guess I was always interested in it and your blog is really a gem.

    Getting back to a proposition made by someone at the beginning: it would be great to make available the entries in other languages, too. And, maybe it would be great to connect those with common interests – after all, it is good not to feel alone.
    And, probably, that should be the real purpose of these “confessions”.

    Keep up the good work!

  109. Hey Ed and all,

    I started reading last week! (By way of the Renaissance man article.) I’m curious to see if the spiders are a recurring theme, or just an unfortunate coincidence… Sure, I could explore the archives and/or tags to figure that out for myself, but I’m all right with the gradual reveal. (It allows more time to cover my eyes and peek out from between my fingers.)

    A BA in English and an MA in something even more liberal artsier than that kept my head pretty firmly turned away from most anything venturing toward science. It’s taken some time, but I’ve begun to remove the blinders and try to get a better grip on other areas of knowledge. It’s proven to be an enjoyable challenge.

    I’m a bit of a failed teacher, but I’m a heckuva secretary–so skilled and efficient that there are gaping blocks of time in a workday for me to explore and expand to my mind’s content. Glad to have another blog to add to the rotation.

  110. I’m a postdoc in Genetics – specifically plants. I work in PlasticCity, USA at a largish university. I came to the blog during the arsenic debacle. I think you do a pretty good job highlighting sexy research from sexy journals. And it is clear that you are writing for the lay person. But I think there are plenty of specialty journals that have really cool research stories and I’d like to see you dig a little deeper and explore the content of those journals – though I understand that they aren’t always written in an accessible language. I really enjoy it when you highlight other blogs, especially other female scientists. Good job overall!

  111. Hey Ed!

    You will probably hear from me again (is the suspense killing you?), but for now I just want to leave a quick comment. Since you asked so nicely.

    I just completed a graduate diploma here in Ontario, Canada in Science Communication (Laurentian University). I’m not sure how, but it was through someone (classmate? prof? it’s all a blur) that your name was mentioned. That means it’s been about 8 months that I’ve been reading your blog. It is an example exactly what I want to do – tell non-sciency people about all of the wonders of science! In a fun and engaging way, of course. You do a most excellent job; I find myself laughing out loud sometimes, and usually just not being able to stop reading – even when I have many other things to do.

    Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed, but science/conservation/wildlife is my passion. So I’m doing my darnedest to combine them. I have pitched my first story to Reader’s Digest this week (the suspense there is killing ME). I’m currently interning at World Wildlife Fund Canada, where a few of my blog posts have been published (since you’re clearly not an overly busy person, feel free to check them out and comment if you think they’re worthy!)

    But in all seriousness I respect you greatly as a writer and scientist. I would be honored if you took a minute out of your busy day to check out what I’ve written. Your posts with suggestions and tips for science writers are always inspiring and helpful. I started reading your blog because I was told to read as much as I possibly can in order to improve my own writing. So thank you for being a teacher. And thank you for helping to get science out there! In my opinion there is nothing more beneficial to our planet than showing people its wonders.

    The reason you’ll be hearing from me again is because I was planning on asking you a few questions about your career, etc. etc. upon completion of my internship (which is soon), when I can focus more on writing. 🙂



    there are others and more to come (one tomorrow, even!)


  112. Hi Ed
    I just started reading your blog TODAY after seeing a link to it posted by Drug Monkey. I am a pediatric medical researcher (epidemiologist) who studies early life influences on child development. As I get more specialized in my field I am sad to see that I dont have time to just peruse the scientific literature anymore, so I hope perhaps your blog will help.

  113. Hi Ed!

    I’m an undergrad at Johns Hopkins University studying neuroscience, and working towards medical school. I think I first came across your blog through a link in mentalfloss.com, but it has been so long that I can’t remember!

    The article that stands out most in my mind from your blog was the one about the chickens that were half male and half female. I’ve had a few pet chickens in my life, and never knew about that little fact! Also, I loved the pictures that came with that piece- they really helped to drive the idea home.

    I get your RSS feed on my iphone, so I like to browse the articles while I’m standing at the bus stop. I love all the unexpected little facts that I have picked up while reading your blog!

    avagadro’s number of thanks, and keep up the good work!

    PS: regarding the title of this post, Sevenless!

  114. Hi Ed!

    I’m an astronomer (postdoc) from Australia whose interest in science is both professional and personal. I’ve always enjoyed learning about the biological sciences, but my interest in astro/maths/physics just trumped it is all.

    I’ve been reading for about 1.5 years, since you won one of your awards and it was subsequently mentioned over on CV. I decided to give some new blogs a trial run: read a few for 2 weeks then pick one to stick with. I stuck with yours. I like your writing style, and appreciate your aim to present the facts fairly and accurately given the medium of the science-blog. It’s my first non-astro blog but not my last; in the last year, I’ve picked up others blogs that you’ve mentioned, so you’ve paid it forward.

    I personally don’t need any changes to your blog – but something someone else mentioned struck me. Perhaps picking the occasional blog to be translated – could be nice for your readers that aren’t native English-speakers, or those that teach students or have friends that prefer another language. I may not need this from you, but I’m currently living in a country where there aren’t any public talks (science or otherwise) given in English, so I feel their pain! Not sure which languages would have the most impact, but that might be worth asking your readers about too!

    Thanks for providing me science-fodder outside my profession, with words I enjoy reading 🙂

  115. I have a BSc in chemical engineering, though it’s been a while since I’ve had a job in that field. I’d like to get back into a science job and possibly even do some science-related volunteering. I’ve always been interested in science and it was tough to pick just one field in college.

    I recall I followed a link to the blog from somewhere, but that was a year or two ago and I really can’t remember which blog lead me here or just how long ago it was. I can’t think of any changes to implement, the writing is outstanding and I enjoy the breadth of subject matter (although I have to admit to skipping or skimming the writing about writing posts). I always have to be careful about the missing links posts as I typically lose several hours on those.

  116. I’m George. My background is in miscellaneous geekery, primarily of the ‘computer’ sub-stratum. I’m a software engineer as a career; however, teaching meditation is what I ‘do’ by preference.

    Ergo, I’m intensely interested in consciousness, and perspectives. I try to read some of everything from religious (even creationist’s) blogs to those representing the various facets of science and arts. For me, there aren’t very many issues that I really need to hold an opinion or belief about. However, in order to connect with the people that I meet, I do need to understand so many perspectives as I am able.

    I’ve been reading a couple to few years, it seems. Love the blog! Thanks for all that you do.

  117. I got to your blog repeatedly through other blogs I was reading, including Bad Astronomy. Eventually I became a regular reader. I enjoy the good writing, both for its own sake and as an example of how I wish I were writing and maybe some day will write.

    Your weekly “missing links” post is great! The links take me to fascinating and informative articles on subjects far from biology, things I’d never find on my own. Sometimes I send the links to interested friends.

    When I was in second grade I learned the word “biologist” and decided that that’s what I would become. And so I have. My route has been serpentine — high school teaching, living on a farm, a Master’s in bird behavior, volunteer and paid work in conservation biology and at universities. In my forties, I got a doctorate in botany. Sometimes I teach part time in universities.

    Now I’m a professional botanist in a tiny firm that does some standard commercial botany (rare plant surveys, wetland delineations) but also research plant taxonomy. Our favorite jobs lately have come from land management agencies saying essentially “we have a problem with this listed rare plant; make the problem go away.” This lets us do basic taxonomic research to decide if the plant is properly classified and if so how to distinguish it reliably from its relatives. We also teach workshops for professional botanists and serious amateurs on identifying difficult plant groups. We’ve written a field guide to sedges and hope to write more guides to difficult plant groups.

    Your comments on writing and some of the links you post on writing reflect the same concern we have about communicating with the non-specialist. Your postings will help improve our work.

  118. I have a Mechanical Engineering degree, which is a science degree – BSME. While i’ve done some engineering, most of what i’ve done is software. Computer programming is something like engineering, but a good deal harder. About a decade ago, i got deeper into astronomy, which is the study of everything in the Universe, except perhaps dental hygiene. I help put together a free half hour monthly astronomy program which goes out on local cable TV – each town’s public access channels here in south east Michigan. We use a local town’s studios, which they let us use for nothing. We assume the audience doesn’t know anything, but try not to dumb things down. You know, cut out jargon, and explain the ideas.

    At ast night’s meeting, Dave presented his ideas on how Venus and Mercury formed. The proto-Mercury – a bit bigger (he has numbers in his 20+ page handout) than the current Mercury, had a glancing strike on Venus. This put proto-Mercury into a highly eliptical Venus orbit, with peri-Venus inside the Roche limit. This allowed much of the proto-Mercury mantal to be stripped off, leaving the big iron core. Meanwhile, tidal interactions left the peri-Venus of the orbit alone, but increased the apo-Venus until Mercury got to the Sun-Venus L1 point, for escape to solar orbit. Venus fails to recapture Mercury. Mercury’s 70-ish day rotation slows to match at 2:3 with it’s evolving solar orbit. I’m leaving lots of details out. I liked it because 1) it’s a great story, 2) there’s hardly any real evidence for it, though it explains a huge number of odd things, and 3) he did much of the math while in the shower, or whatever.

    I’m always looking for a good story.

  119. I’m a journalist finishing a book about the vast (and vastly underappreciated) overlaps between animal and human medicine. My co-author is a human cardiologist who consults on animal cases. It’s called Zoobiquity and is being published by Knopf.

    I love your blog, which I’ve been reading for more than two years. I also once rigged a place for my computer above my kitchen counter so I could cook dinner while watching a live-stream of you speaking about science writing from MIT.

  120. Hey Ed! Sorry I’m late to the party.

    I started reading NERS, you perhaps will be chagrined to hear, after I came across your post on duck sex. It remains one of my favorites. I come by several times a week and love to see when you’ve picked up one of “my” stories. The analysis is always easy to read, informative, and interesting. Usually, it’s higher quality than the majority of stories from major media outlets. Unlike most sites, I usually enjoy your commenters too!

    As you know, I currently work for PNAS in a kind of quasi-PIO media writer position. But soon I’ll be leaving this fine institution and starting to work for myself. WOOT! AHH!

    My father is a chemical engineering professor. I credit him for an early exposure to science. I remember attending medical school presentations when I was 10 along with the students and professors. For my 7th birthday I got a circuit set. Every year I attended the graduation party with the seniors and grad students. Though I swore I’d never be a Chem E, I ended up with a BS and PhD in Materials Science – just about the closest thing one can do to Chem E. For my graduate research I made magnetic nano-widgets that I hoped could one day improve localized cancer treatment. I’m happy to see that others are moving my research forward.

    On writing: The language arts program at my high school was incredible, and I loved it and did well, but I got the message loud and clear that arts and writing were a sure way to live forever poor. Plus my Dad seemed to really enjoy his professorship.

    I figured out in graduate school that academia didn’t seem like much fun. I hated working in the lab. And professors NEVER went home. My husband noted that I only looked happy when talking about what I did to other people. So after a brief stint as a research consultant, I bucked my childhood training and began as a science writer a year and a half ago. I still can’t believe that I’m allowed to do this.

    All good meet-n-greets should include a weird fact. Here’s mine: I was once part of a youth panel to help Pizza Hut better market their products to the younger generation. Result: I helped invent cheesy-crust pizza. I think. I hope that cheesy crust pizza is not an entirely US phenomenon.

    Love the site and your tweets. It’s great to see your byline creeping around other places as well. Cheers from DC!

  121. Greetings from across the pond!

    I am a middle-aged IT professional in the U.S. I have a degree in computer science from Northern Michigan University in the beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan, and have worked in software development for nearly 25 years, currently at a public research university.

    I have always been interested in science, and have an affinity for science articles. So when I stumbled across your blog a few years ago (c. 2008), probably through a link from one of the other blogs, I loved it immediately. Your writing is tight well-structured and never condescending. I also read Pharyngula, Richard Dawkins, 80 Beats, Mike the Mad Biologist as well as actual written, paper material in the form of books (remember them?) and magazines. My favorite means of consuming science news and information is via podcast these days, and if there is ever a NERS podcast I will subscribe immediately.

    I have 3 kids, two of whom are in college studying the sciences as well (TGAP Daughter is a senior astrophysics major, and TGAP Son a psychology major).

    FWIW I’m a bit of an anglophile and the whole family is totally hooked on Doctor Who, Coupling, Love Actually, Gavin & Stacey, Sherlock (2010) and a bunch of others.

    I have only one suggestion for NERS: More posts! You can’t get too much of a good thing.

    Regards from the great state of Michigan!

  122. Hi, I am a grad student in electrical engineering at Penn State. Apart from my research interests in electrical engineering and applied math, I have a general interest in all things science. Among other things, I recommend Ed Yong to every one I meet as one of the greatest science journalists (or ^bloggers^, depending on your perspective). Ever. I do blog/answer questions on Quora- on science related stuff now and then, and am deeply interested in promoting scientific thinking among the general public. Being in academia, I am also interested in things related to academic ethics and policy matters. I feel that one of the primary duties of those who understand science (and technology) is to make sure that others do too.

    How did I start reading your blog? A few years back, I got myself a copy of Carl Zimmer’s Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. I was deeply impressed by his writing. So when Web 2.0 came along, I googled around to find that he blogs, added him to my RSS feed, then I got frisky with ScienceBlogs and found your most awesome blog. I really enjoyed your long-form article on Erez Lieberman-Aiden, and as an aspiring academic, I found the story to be very inspiring. It made me aspire to run a research program like Aiden’s in my future scientific career. I am really looking forward to more long-form articles from you.

  123. Hi, I’m a long time lurker, and I think I followed from ScienceBlogs. I’m a PhD student in biology in the U.S., studying snake evolution. I read science blogs in general because grad school leads me to be very narrow in my mindset, and reading about different topics helps to combat that. your blog in particular is perfect for that because of the diversity of topics (and species! Yay for biodiversity!). Every once in awhile I run into a story about a paper I’m familiar with and it’s so clear to read about it in blog form. This year I was even tracking old posts to find good papers for my Evolution lab to discuss. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  124. I have been perusing this blog occasionally since this March, when, at a conference for college and university magazine editors, Deborah Blum mentioned it as a source of good science writing. Thanks, Deborah!

    I edit a university magazine and am always trying to learn more about science and science writing.

  125. Hey Ed. My name is Jordan and I am first year MD/PhD student. As you can probably guess, I am very interested in science. My undergraduate education was focused on biology and biochemistry and I spent a great deal of time in research labs. I came across your blog as a longtime reader of Jonah Lehrer. I cannot remember exactly how it happened, but I believed he tweeted about a blog post of yours. After reading that particular post I began following you on Twitter and reading your blog. Your Twitter feed is an excellent resource. Besides alerting me about your writings, it also exposes me to a plethora of quality science stories I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Thank you for that.

    I also really enjoy your week in review post. Since I was introduced to your blog (3 0r 4 weeks ago) I make sure to set aside some time on Sunday to check out your blog and catch up on the interesting science stories I missed throughout the week.

    I think your blog is excellent. You have a wonderful ability that I am trying very hard to acquire: explaining science topics in a language that can be understood by all. Even in this early stage of my education I have found myself losing touch with the non-science oriented individual. My undergraduate thesis pertained to the immune response to herpes simplex virus 1, and I quickly discovered I had difficulty explaining my work to people who didn’t already know what a CD8 T cell was. Considering my career goals, this is skill I want to not only acquire, but master. I am confident that reading the work of great science writers like yourself will help. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  126. Hi! It’s Sci. I’m a postdoc scientist. I’ve been reading you since I found blogs in 2008, and will continue to do so, cause you’re the blogger I want to be when I grow up. 🙂

  127. Hi, Ed! Emmy’s a take on my middle name, Emma, which was my Grandma’s name. I am a former vet tech and after I earned my Master’s in Environmental Studies (with a specialty in Conservation Biology) and I’m now an interpretive ranger; we lead field hikes and teach folks about the incredibly cool parks of Western Massachusetts. Independently though, I am interested in Feliformes, especially small cats and asian palm civets, other tropical animals, their phylogeny, anatomy and physiology; the black market for the various species, and how using land for crops (banana, coffee, cocoa, tea, etc) and also people’s interior design choices, affects those animals.

    I just stumbled upon your blog this year – I appreciate your attentiveness, the detail and your obvious effort to avoid bias in the posts. I do get a tad frustrated (with all science blogs, and BBC, and NY Times, etc) when I feel as though a short post may not properly represent all sides of a conservation issue; scientists may understand there is much more to it, but the general public may not, and that can affect votes, laws and outcomes of conservation decisions in a big way.

    However, you kindly welcome varying points of view, so you can count on me being a wiseguy and speaking my mind about such things. 😉

  128. I’m a Federal employee who drafts administrative policy and I have not yet had a single reader die of boredom, so that counts as success. I have a Master’s in Political Science and an extensive background (though no degree) in Economics.

    I started reading Not Exactly Rocket Science about a year ago at the recommendation of my brother. It was much more in depth than the science blog I had been reading, and seems to have a genuine curiosity about the world.

    I know this is just throwing fresh meat to the trolls, but I am a creationist. This may seem ironic, but I think that reading science writing from a creationist perspective requires more critical thinking–rather than simply absorbing what I read, I read to understand what was actually discovered (as opposed to the historical interpretation of the evidence).

  129. I like science in general whether it be biology or astronomy! I started reading your blog a few months back, I love how diverse the topics are and how you convey the ‘Holy crap check this out!’ attitude because that is what got me into science in the first place! I also like how your personality is reflected in your writing style.
    I have a blog I do for my family of my own adventures in the field but it is not as exciting as yours! I love constantly learning new things and am curious about basically everything. I was reading up on nuclear powered icebreakers this afternoon, but biology is my bread and butter!
    I’ll also be starting grad school this fall in zoology on the west coast, yay 🙂

  130. I’m a 68 year old ecologist with a 4 year old daughter — my first spawn. Hey! I used to be very active in Zero Population Growth for many years so took me a long time to get around to it! Did my Ph.D. work in southern Mexico on the community structure of small mammals and followed that with a 15 year career as head of a university environmental program. Got tired of teaching students to go out and actually do what I was teaching so left academia and ran a tropical ecology program in Queensland, Australia for 4 years with shorter stints in Kenya, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. In most ways, the best years of my life. Returned to the USA and ran a state biodiversity program for 5 years – an interesting gig. Now I live in south-central Colorado where I work for The Nature Conservancy putting conservation easements on ranches along the Rio Grande and oversee the operations on a 100,000 acre conservation ranch next to the country’s newest national park, the Great Sand Dunes NP. I don’t get my fill of basic science anymore, so nice to use you to find some of the more interesting and sometimes eccentric stuff. I’ve been a Discover subscriber for years and stumbled on your blog that way. I read your stuff for pleasure and enjoy your style and selection of topics, well usually anyway– the more animal and ecology stuff the better. cheers, Paul

  131. Sheesh. My read-for-fun-try-to-edu-macate-myself blogger now wants an essay. And here I thought this was a no-spot-test zone! 😉

    Guess you can tell how well I did in school, I’m probably the least-formally educated person on here. Middle-aged, high school degree, year of college in secretarial studies. (At least the high school studies included biology and physics.) Never stopped me from chasing around trying to find and learn about all the critters in my woodlands backyard in rural Ontario. National Geographic and PBS shows like Nova took preference over soap operas, I’ll watch just about anything with science in it. Photography has become an obsession, I’ll snap anything that will sit still long enough. Then I discovered long exposures and astro-photography, which has led me on a path to astronomy. Someone gave me 2 cartons of books a couple years ago, filled with neat stuff like Phil Plaitt’s Bad Astronomy, which led me to the blog, and sidebar bringing me to you.

    To earn my food and pay my bills I manage the family campground. I manage to clean toilets, empty trashcans, shuffle office paperwork, and do a never-ending stream of routine blue-collar type chores. From early spring til late fall it doesn’t leave me much time for the more intellectual pursuits, but I do get a bit of time now and then to indulge in a bit of internet mind-candy that’s a bit more entertaining and mentally fulfilling than anything involving a toilet brush or broom.

  132. I have a brother who is a neurobiologist and another who is an electrophysicist, so the interest in science runs in the family, but social expectations and medical issues conspired against me. I worked making jewelry for large manufacturers for many years. Then I had the opportunity to become a zoo animal keeper, fulfilling a childhood dream. I am interested in almost everything, most especially plants and animals. I live in Hawaii and have two amazing daughters who live in New York. Raising them was the most interesting and enjoyable thing I have ever done, and now that they are grown, they are my favorite people in the world. I have been reading your work since before you moved to Discover, and it never gets old.

  133. I replied on last year’s thread, possibly the year before as well but actually can’t remember at the moment. I’ve been reading this for a couple years now, back when you were still at Scienceblogs. I clicked through a link on the sidebar of the New York Times science section. I don’t remember what that first post was about but I remember being hooked from the start.
    I am a grad student in Molecular Bio in California. I’ve been an avid fan of science my whole life, with my interest peaking in high school. My family is mostly non-scientists but I’ve gotten them interested in your blog as well. What I like most about it is the variety of topics that you cover, and how you manage to break down the stories into layman’s terms without it feeling like you’re “talking down” to everyone, while still keeping it interesting for those of use who do have a deeper understanding of the topics.
    I think it is super important to make science accessible to everyone, because having even a basic understanding of science affects all aspects of your life and how you view the world. I volunteer with a program to talk to high school students about science and research and have referred a few students to this blog because I think it is a great resource to try and get them engaged in scientific topics that are accessible to non-scientists. I also taught an upper division undergraduate microbiology course last year and had my sections read a few of your posts to help them understand the broader implications of the things that they were learning about in class. Based on their feedback, they really like your posts too.
    You have a real talent for scientific writing and I hope it inspires and encourages more people to become better at communicating science.

  134. I love your blogs, they are on such a wide variety of subjects and accurately reported. Well done!

    I also use them to filter out unwanted friends. I can show them one of your blogs, for example the one about how underwater spiders and their diving bells, and if their eyes glaze over (strange to think such exist in the world, but there you are!) I know we are just not going to sing from the same song-sheet.( I was relieved the current boyfriend likes your stuff, I didn’t feel like dropping this one and starting again…)


  135. Hi Ed!
    I’m a 26-year-old fine art student from the Netherlands. I’ve been reading your blog for about two years now I’d say, and I love everything about it – good, solid science, interesting angles, easy to read, and funny as well!
    While I never wanted to become a scientist myself, I’ve always been interested in science and I love reading about all the crazy stuff they keep discovering. Plus, as an art student relying mostly on my gut and emotions in my day-to-day life, I need some rational, intellectual input to feed my braincells and balance it all out a bit. The best part tho is that I keep discovering things on your blog and elsewhere that inspire me on a deeply emotional level…
    Keep up the good work!

  136. I’m a lawyer and mother of three children with a liberal arts history/science/business background living in the land of William Faulkner. Science is my avocation since I ought to have studied medicine instead of law. One of your articles about neurobiology attracted a lawyer-blogger friend of mine several years ago, sometime before you moved to Discover, and I have been devotee since that time. Your neuroscience articles sometime inform my law work. Love your work, don’t change a thing.

  137. I’m a painter and dairy farmer……………………..a fellow artist pointed out your fascinating blog. My particular interest in science is in learning as much as possible about as much as possible……same as my interest in painting, drawing, photographing – the harder you try to describe, the harder you look. The harder you look, the more connections present themselves. The immensity of what mere humans can only attempt to understand is boggling………………………really should keep us humbled enough to prevent destroying so much. Should…..dosen’t.

  138. I stumbled across your blog this year as I was looking for smart people to follow. I immediately subscribed to your RSS feed and have been enjoying your articles!

    I’d love for your whole article to show in the RSS reader so I don’t have to leave my application.

  139. Heya! Your blog has been a mainstay in my Google reader for 2-3 years now. My background is in physiology and linguistics, and I’m currently considering a career in science writing; your thread On the Origin of Science Writers has been invaluable! I love your pieces and the “aha!” moments they inspire, and I especially love the meta-journalism you do, like the arsenic debacle round-up. You write on a very diverse bunch of topics- how do you choose which papers to write about?

  140. Hi Ed! I’m 24 years old, and live in Perth, Western Australia. I’ve just started my PhD in Biochemistry. I also have a B.A. (with majors in Philosophy and English/Cultural Studies) as well as my B.Sc. I came across your blog as a result of being a reader of Alice Bell’s knitting blog, which is kind of amusing!

    I really enjoy reading your blog, as it’s scientific, but not related to my research. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone else doing all the fleshing out of a topic required so that you can understand just the one article! It’s also good to keep other sciences on the radar, to keep the awe of the universe in balance with the cynicism of researching.

  141. Hi Ed. I am Chris Farnsworth, and I teach Science to 7th graders in Winthrop,MA. You have flown right over us if you have landed at Logan. My student’s and I love your page. I use it all the time. I use you and Carl as extra credit questions on tests all year long, although my students keep referring to you as Carl Young!!! Your post on the sushi eater microbiome came in very handy when I was teaching genetics, since I had previously taught Human Body Systems, so there was a nice tie-in there. I love your” picks of the week”, and “writing I’d pay to read”. I used to complain that it took FOREVER to find good popular science that I could use in the 7th grade classroom, and I would usually pirate a chapter or 2 from a science book like Genome by Matt Ridley, but now with science blogs taking off it couldn’t possibly be any easier. There are even blogs about the writing of science writing!!! (Open Notebook) Now THAT’S sweet. (though I’m not sure all 100 of my 12 year olds feel the same way, but then again it isn’t cool to gush to the teacher about how much you love science writing). An idea you might like is a school based day, maybe once a month, where you (or your readers) list articles that explain basic concepts in a scientific discipline (I love Carl Zimmers “And Now:The Rest of the Genome”). Articles that explain the foundational concepts of a brach of science, and then we can get fancy looking for different examples to reinforce those ideas. Anyway, today is my last full day of the school year. Then 2 weeks off ’til I start teaching a summer class through MIT that teaches kids to program a robotic sphere that gets tested on the ISS (floating astronaut saying “okay, now we are running Winthrop’s program versus Malden’s program”!!! The kids loved it!). Hope to catch you speak next time you are in Boston. Thanks for what you do. Chris.

  142. I dithered about whether I should respond to this thread or not, because I ran across your blog (via a guest blog at Scientific American) literally the day before you posted it. Yes, I have apparently been hiding under a rock. I ultimately decided that it must be a good thing for bloggers to know that there are new readers following their posts in addition to the veterans, so here’s a wave from a brand new reader.

    I should say that your feed is already loaded into Google reader and the host of other widgets with which I follow these sorts of things, because I like what I’ve seen so far.

    To answer the rest of your questions, I am a synthetic organic chemist by training (M.S.) currently working in the E-Paper industry as a particle scientist. I’m out of school, but I’ll be a student forever. I’m a lifelong science geek and Renaissance woman, and the sheer variety of subjects that you cover will suit me down to the ground, I’m sure.

  143. I have absolutely no idea what to say about myself these days, except that I still love biology but I still do things with computers. And I guess I’ve been reading you for (eek!) about 5 years now?

  144. I’ve been reading your blog for years, but this is my first reply to your “who are you” queries. I got my PhD in genetics a couple of years ago, and I’m onto my second postdoc position. I’ve studied fly evolutionary genetics and human disease genetics over the past several years.

    I tend to gravitate toward biology-related science stories, but I enjoy reading about a variety of topics. I browse a lot of science posts, but your blog is one of the only ones that I read religiously. I appreciate both your range of subjects and your treatment of each story. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  145. Oh boy, do I feel out of place here. I almost feel like I’m intruding.

    I’m a lurker, started reading about a year ago. I subscribed to Bad Astronomy, and just hooked up with all the Discovery blogs while I was at it. Turns out it was a great choice!

    I’m 41, I don’t have a PhD, Master’s, Bachelor’s, or even a high school diploma, and I flunked out of Community College (I took Electronics.) I like science (except squishy science 😉 ) and tech, and I can say that your writing is at least partially responsible for my recent decision to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering, with a dream of designing components to serve on space exploration missions.

    Thanks, Ed.

    Anthony Allen
    Yarmouth, NS

  146. Name’s Matt Davies. I’m a postdoctoral research associate at UCL.

    I’m involved with research into making microbioreactors to test bacteria that have been modified to produce novel antibiotics.

    Started reading your blog when I first started reading blogs, back when you were on the original site. What a way to go.

    I love the posts you have. My only gripe is that they’re purely focussed on biology and biology related topics. I know its not your area of interest, but there is a lot of research from other fields that is just as fascinating that needs someone with your ability to explain it for the uninitiated. There may be other bloggers covering those subjects, but the reason you keep winning awards is because your writing is so clear. Would be great if you could expand….


  147. Hi there! I’ve been following your blog for less than a year now; I think I came across a link from Bad Astronomy, and have been reading it irregularly since.

    I’ve been interested in science ever since I was a kid, and I’ve kept that interest throughout my life. Originally, my plan was to get a degree in physics and work at CERN, but that didn’t work out; failed out of university after two years and bummed around for a while.

    Now I’m a sysadmin at a small biology research centre at a university. One of the reasons I like my job is I find the university atmosphere exciting: copies of “Nature” everywhere (I don’t understand everything, but I love the serendipity of finding out neat things), people talking about their research, and a large number of “Huh!” moments. I’ve taken up amateur astronomy as a hobby (again; I did it a bit as a kid), and have started to read up on things like the Kepler data set. (Exoplanets. We know about tons of them. OMFG we’re living in the future!)

    I notice the comment above me mentioning the focus on biology in your blog; I hadn’t thought about it before, but now that I do I agree with the poster. Biology is very interesting, but so is physics, astronomy, and (I suspect) geology. I’d love to see some coverage of those areas, as well as other bits of science I’m probably missing. Perhaps you could recommend some other blogs…of course, you do with “Got your missing links” and “Science writing I’d pay for.”

    (“Here, go digging up stuff I don’t know I’m interested in yet.” Good thing I’m not asking too much. :-))

    However, that’s a very small gripe. Overall I think the blog is fascinating. I’d read it every day, except that I just don’t get that much time (family + commute leaves me maybe 15 minutes for in-depth Internet enjoyment). (“Missing links” often go by the wayside because HOLY COW I’ll just dive in and there goes the day. And I don’t have a day.) I love your writing, and I especially appreciate that you link (when possible) to the papers themselves; I don’t always read the original, but I sometimes do.

    Anyhow — thanks for your work. I love reading it. Please keep going.

  148. Hi! I started reading your blog about 5 years ago (I think) when it was on Scienceblogs, stopped reading most blogs due to time constraints, then recently picked it up again. I’m a molecular genetic pathologist currently undergoing (more) training in biomedical informatics at Stanford (can’t get enough punishment). I really love your writing (and the other Discover blogs as well) and find it a good way to keep up on interesting scientific articles. Thanks!

  149. Hi. I’m a high school Computing Teacher in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year and a half. Found it via Science Blogs. Love the engaging and informative way you keep us informed of what is happening in the science world and make it accessible without patronising for us non-specialists! Keep it up.

  150. Hi!
    I’m a Masters student in Environmental Management, but I did my undergrad in Plant Biology and Ecology. I don’t have a burning passion for Science (or anything else really), but I do love it. I love reading about the amazing new things we find out about, and I find your blog is a great place to find out about recent developments. I think I first was introduced to this site by my friend who found a bizarre article about masturbating squirrels! At any rate I got distracted by the other articles I saw on here and have since continued to read anything that piqued my interest. Course it does help that you always have interesting titles which grab my interest 🙂

  151. I’m an archaeologist in regional Australia. Someone put me onto your blog when I was looking for info on what DNA can tell us about human evolution and movement across the globe. I have found so much of interest here, from psychology to biology. This is the only blog I read on the net, unless I follow the links from your website to other science writing.
    Thanks Ed!

  152. Hey! I ended up reading your blog because you have a strange amount of articles about animal reproductive habits and translational opportunities scientists have discovered–if I’m googling something out of idle interest, I often get redirected here. Which isn’t bad, since it’s fun reading :] I studied Environmental Science and English in college, so I love reading about science, and lately I’ve been trying to get into science writing professionally, to combine my two loves. Your blog is an inspiration, especially since now I truly appreciate how much effort goes into blogging about science. Rock on, dude!

  153. I recently got my Ph.D. in ecology and evolution, and am now working as a postdoc. I primarily focus on bird behavioral ecology, with a strong interest in linking cognitive psychology with evolutionary processes. Before I finally landed a postdoc, I pondered the possibility of writing a blog that explains evolution and behavior by connecting them to how human society works. But I soon discovered how long it takes to write a good blog piece. I am constantly amazed by how you write so clearly about such a diverse array of topics, while pumping them out at an incredible rate. I abandoned my blog project before I even got started, but then I found your blog and felt better about it, knowing that at least there is a good blog out there that accomplishes much of what I wanted to do. You are at once inspiring and intimidating.
    I am a frequent reader, and I often post your pieces on facebook, or circulate links among my colleagues. Everyone I send it to comment on how much they like it, and I believe some of them have also become regular readers.

  154. I found NERS 3-4 years ago while it was still hosted by Science Blogs. I had subscribed to Respectful Insolence (which I haven’t read in years) and was browsing through the other blogs. My reasons for reading remain the same as they were during the last comment thread: interest in learning, fascination with the natural world, and desire for a guilt-free procrastination outlet. I just graduated from a large public US university–my handle should be a giveaway–and start work in the financial services industry in a week. While I will have little time for pleasure reading once training begins, I hope to check the ol’ Google Reader feed occasionally. Thank you very much for writing.

  155. wow…

    Looking at all of the people have have commented and their education level, I don’t think I’m qualified to read this blog, much less comment.

  156. I’m a 49 year old life long science loving tradesman. When I was 19 I hitchhiked to California to watch the first shuttle land. Recently, inspired by a Niel Stephenson novel, several friends and I corralled a math teaching friend and have begun a twice monthly pub based math club. I’ve become increasingly frustrated by having to skip the math in articles and books I otherwise have no problem understanding. I definitely wish I had chosen a different career.

  157. Hi, Ed. I’m an writer and scientist (among other things) turned editor and language blogger (ditto) based on the west coast of Ireland. I studied life sciences in uni but left the field to focus on other interests. I still like to stay in touch by reading science books and websites and blogs and so on.

    Not Exactly Rocket Science is among my favourites because of your breadth of coverage, formidable workrate, lively writing style, and admirable attitude (generosity, enthusiasm, wit…). You strike me as a skilled populariser, capable of presenting an idea or a piece of research in a way that will appeal to just about any curious reader, regardless of the extent of their expertise or prior knowledge.

    I’ve been reading NERS for a few years since first encountering it on ScienceBlogs. Admittedly, I don’t always keep up, but that owes solely to time constraints. Seeing Sentence first appear on the blogroll here gave me great pleasure. I think that came about soon after Orientategate. Heh. Peevers gonna peeve.

  158. Ed,

    I’m a humorist and writer. I have a memoir called “Triggered,” about my obsessive-compulsive disorder, due out next spring, and in the meantime I’m writing for Cracked.com. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the site, but the format involves lists of weird and surprising science facts – so Discover, and your blog in particular, are like a goldmine for me. (If you’re interested, you can find one of the articles I researched using your site here: http://www.cracked.com/article_19041_7-useful-genetic-experiments-that-are-creepy-as-hell.html)

    But yeah, I love this blog, particularly because it’s much friendlier and more accessible than the sometimes-daunting amount of content on Discover. Keep up the good work!

  159. Hi! I’m 25 and I’m from Bulgaria. I don’t have a scientific background, apart from graduating from a high school for electronics. Then I went on to get a bachelor’s degree in English Philology and started working as a translator (English Bulgarian). About two years ago I rediscovered my desire to learn new stuff, which laid dormant for over a decade, thanks to the “just memorize your lessons/lectures and get an A” school system. I grew quite fond of physics and just about fell in love with astronomy. Now every day I try to bring to the public eye the wonders of the stars and the amazing achievements of scientists. These are virtually inaccessible in Bulgarian, unless you are an actual scientist, given how 95% of the news in the country are dedicated to politics and other crimes, with the remaining 5 being totally distorted by shoddy journalism. So whether in conversation or by uploading beautiful photos on Facebook, with brief, but concise commentary, (those are quite well received, by the way), I like to tell people about interesting stuff. One day, after reading some new posts on the Bad Astronomy blog, I decided to check the others listed on the side and I ended up here. Reading some of the posts, their matter and the way in which you presented it, that was part of what inspired me to also start talking about biological discoveries and the splendor of nature. Especially in the “you did NOT know this creature existed” category. And again people like hearing and learning these things.
    So that’s about it. I really like reading your blog. And I thank you for all the information and the way you present it.

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