By Grant Jacobs 11/01/2010 1

A blog communiqué.

Rummaging around for a handy term for a short news post about a blog itself, I’ve settled for blogimmuniqé, a blog communiqué.

Google yields not a single hit on this “word,” so perhaps I get to be the first to coin it? (And probably the only to use it!)


I’m just letting readers that there will be a slight shift for the next couple of weeks, not that my blog has been terribly consistent anyway. (Something that bothers me, as I’d prefer to have a consistent target really.)

I’d welcome and encourage comments on these ideas.

I’m getting a little bored with the rumination-type posts and feel I need a break from them. They feel too much like op-eds, y’know the sort of things that some twits who think they know better hand down on from high and no-one really takes much notice.

The main reason I feel that way–I think–is that I barely get any feedback, so they feel slightly pointless despite that the points I’m conveying matter to me. Being the in the throes of a grant application will be partly to blame: I love science, but grant and job applications stress me out (and in a way that my applications suffer IMHO).

On the science communication side I have an overly long article about framing lying in wait that I hope to push out twice: once in it’s original masterly prose long-winded nonsense and once in concise form with the few bits that might possibly be new-ish given how much has already been said on this topic. Even Bora or Orac would say the long version is getting on a bit…

Once that’s out I hope to move my science communication posts to following events at the ScienceOnline2010 conference. (For more links see my earlier post on this meeting.) Commentary and reporting, of sorts, in place of opinions for a little while. No doubt I won’t be able to resist adding a few remarks of my own, however… My time is a little limited, but I’ll manage to sneak something out.

On the science front, I have far too many pieces in waiting. They take considerably more time to write that the opinion pieces, mainly with all the fact-checking involved, and I have to admit I have quite a number of more-or-less abandoned efforts. (The other reason I have preferred opinion and “entertainment” articles to more “serious” articles, and articles away from my own specialist area of science, is simply that this blog partly serves as a break from my work; writing too close to my work would break the break.)

I hope to put out a series of sorts on epigenetics, a topic very close to my interests over the past 5-6 years. It’s a very large, increasingly complex, rapidly moving subject, so I’ve been trying to map out some sort of vague road map that I might approach it so that readers new to the topic can start from the beginning without too much confusion. (Given funding I’d write a textbook on the topic, but that’s another story.)

Another line I’d like to trial, but will probably have to wait until my grant application is in, is a weekly round-up of new results on genetic disorders. If readers have any particular interests in specific disorders or diseases, let me know. I’m fairly easily distracted to new ones that I find interesting, so don’t worry that I might not be interested.

Likewise, I’ve long had an interest in rare diseases, and may explore writing about a (random) selection of these. Part of my interest is probably an empathy of sorts one gets from being “disabled” yourself. (I dislike the term; I never think of myself that way, although my (lack of) hearing frustrates me at times.) I’d encourage readers if they have any disability-related issues that they’d like raised to let me know and I’ll do my best.

It’d be great to see readers delurk just a little… there is a distinct lack of conversation from people outside of the bloggers around these parts and it’s a little depressing to, for example, have a post with well over 1000 visits be discussed elsewhere on the ‘net yet not have a single comment against the original article. (I’m still considering setting up a “parallel” blog with open commenting if that would be helpful. This would be a fair bit of work on my part; I welcome thoughts on this.)

There are 25 (26?) bloggers here, as well as guest bloggers. Registration gets you access to comment on any of the blogs. Join in.

I’d love to hear who reads my posts. Speak up, let me know who you are! I’ll reply to everyone who says “hello”.

Random older posts on Code for life that might interest readers:

Science writing vs. science journalism (a newer post, but see the links at the end of the article)

Royal science

Computational biology: Natural history v. explanatory models

Observing neurons and 1960s sci-fi geeks

Book excerpt — Losing the faces of your wife and children

Autistic children and blood mercury levels

Doubt not certainty

Metagenomics-finding organisms from their genomes

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