Tag Archives: Meta

Give Scienceblogs a Hand with Languages

ScienceBlogs recently branched out and opened up a German-language edition of ScienceBlogs in cooperation with a German media firm. Over at the in-house
blog Page 3.14, our blogging goddess, Ginny, is asking for help with what languages readers think SB should assimilate next. Do us a favor, and drop over to Page 3.14, and fill out the poll. Thanks!

Good Math/Bad Math goes quiet for a week

Bright and early tomorrow morning, I’m leaving on vacation. I’ll be spending the week in
Yellowstone National Park. I’m not sure what the network situation is there, but I’m not expecting much. Unfortunately, this year I didn’t have time to prepare some reruns of old posts before I left.
If I manage to find a data connection, I’ll try to schedule some interesting reruns. But don’t hold your breath. See you in september!

Meeting My Sciblings

This weekend, Seed Media, our benevolent and beloved corporate overlords, sponsored a Scibling gathering: ScienceBloggers from all over the country (and outside) all gathered in New York, ate, drank, and partied.

It made for quite an interesting weekend. I didn’t end up being able to hang around nearly as much
as I would have liked (I missed the drunken Karaoke! As someone who never gets drunk, watching
my drunken sciblings singing badly would have been a kick!) Alas, as the father of two small kids,
I’m subject to the schedule of family/babysitters, so I couldn’t hang aronud. (Plus, to make matters worse, my wife became sick friday night, and I started feeling sick saturday afternoon. I’m writing this from bed.)

But I did manage to meet quite a lot of folks, even in my limited time there. It’s quite an odd experience in its way; between our blogs, and our back-channel forums, we’ve become a tight-knit community, and the people there were my friends, even though I’d never seen them before. It
was a whole lot of fun. My impressions are below the fold. They’re just off the top of my head; I’ll probably edit this
later as I remember more.

By the way, that ScienceBlogs mug that Seed is offering to give away in the subscription ads? They gave us each one as a gift, and theyre great. It’s a very nice, heavy glass mug that looks like a cross between a mug and a beaker.

Continue reading


We’ve been having some problem with popups showing up on scienceblogs. It’s not deliberate: Seed does not accept popup ads. But it appears that one snuck in somehow, but no one is sure where it’s coming from.

If you see a popup on GM/BM, please do me a favor, and post a comment here telling me:

  1. Who the popup was for,
  2. What ads appeared on the page when the popup popped up.

The sooner we figure out where the popup is coming from, the sooner we can get rid of it.

A Great New SciBling!

Our corporate masters at Seed have added a new blog to ScienceBlogs, and it looks like a real winner. It’s called the Denialism Blog, and it’s off to a roaring great start with “The Unified Theory of the Crank. Go check it out!

Legal Threats (Updated)

(This issue came to a happy conclusion. After the uproar generated by this being publicized by so many blogs and websites, the publisher got in touch with Shelley, gave her permission to use the figures, apologized, and promised to do some internal legal education so that this won’t happen again.)

This doesn’t affect me personally, but my friend and fellow ScienceBlogger Shelly Batts of
Retrospectacle has been threatened by
lawyers from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, one of the Wiley group’s journals, for reproducing a part of one figure from an article that she was writing about.

In a sane world, this would be a clear case of “fair use”: Shelley was not stealing or taking credit for anyone’s work. She did not reprint the article. She did not write about the work without giving credit to the original authors: she provided a full and appropriate citation of the article. All she was doing is what many bloggers do regularly: she was writing about an interesting piece of research that had been published in her area. But her article doesn’t fit the spin that the authors/publishers wanted to put on it. So they resorted to legal threats to try to shut her down.

There’s really nothing bloggers like us can do to stop publishers from pulling obnoxious stunts like this, except to publicize it, so that they realize there is some cost to them associated with this kind of behavior. That’s why I’m writing this. Wiley needs to recognize that as a publisher of scientific journals, it’s absolutely unreasonable and unacceptable to threaten lawsuits against other scientists who reference their work.

Update on Moderation and Banning

This post is a quick moderation update, caused by recent crap going on in the comment threads involving George “First Scientific Proof of God” Shollenberger, combined with my recent change of employment.

Before changing jobs, my old employer was kind enough to allow me to write this blog, but they did not want me to ever do anything on the blog that allowed them to be identified as my employer. The idea was that since the blog was something I did on my own time, without any oversight from them, they wanted it to be clear that the blog had no connection with them. My new employer, Google, has a different attitude towards blogs. They still want me to be explicit that what I do and say here does not represent them in any way; but they don’t make me play the silly game of trying to obscure who I work for. I’m allowed to say that I work for Google – so long as I’m perfectly clear that I’m an employee, but that GM/BM has absolutely nothing to do with them. I don’t speak for them; I don’t represent them; I don’t write for the blog on company time; this blog is entirely my space, and has nothing to do with them.

Why bring all this up? Because I’ve banned George. I hate to ban people, even when they’re complete assholes. Up to now, the only person I’ve ever banned was John Davison, and he practically begged me to ban him. But George has started using our “debate” here in the comments of GM/BM to attack Google. And I’m not going to tolerate that.

Attacking me personally is entirely acceptable; it may make me angry, or frustrated, but given the kinds of things I write on this blog, I think it would be completely inappropriate, even hypocritical, for me to say that any kind of criticism or attack aimed at me personally was out of bounds.

But this blog is something I do in my free time – my own time. It has nothing to do with my employer; what I say here is said solely by me representing myself and my personal thoughts and opinions. Taking what I say here and using it to attack my employer is completely beyond the bounds of what I consider reasonable, or what I’m willing to tolerate.

George crossed that line. So he’s gone.

Good Math/Bad Math is One Year Old!

I just realized that I’ve been writing this blog for a whole year! I managed to miss the actual
anniversary, which was on thursday. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing it for a full year.
When I started Good Math/Bad Math on Blogger, I honestly believed that I’d probably last a couple
of weeks; maybe a month at best. And I didn’t expect to find a lot of readers – my best guess was
that I’d be lucky if I got a couple of dozen readers a day. After all – what I write about is math – in particular, mostly extremely abstract math. Not exactly something that I expected a lot of people to be interested in.

And now, a year later, I’m part of the ScienceBlogs community. I’ve posted close to 500 articles since the blog started, and I’m averaging 3,000 pageviews per day. Absolutely unbelievable!

So I’d like to say thank you to all of you who’ve been reading and commenting. Writing GM/BM has been more fun and more rewarding than I could have imagined, and that’s mainly due to all of you who read, comment, and send links. Thanks for reading, and thanks for letting my share my love and enthusiasm for math with all of you.

I’d also like to say a particular thank you to my friend Orac. It was Respectful Insolence that inspired me to start my own blog, and Orac was the first blog to link to GM/BM, providing me with that first burst of readers that really got things rolling. So many, many thanks to you, Orac.

Here’s hoping that I can keep this going for many more years!