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July 12, 2010

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Aye. The Pharyngula style format is not so much about communicating with or educating the "unconverted".

I'd have to think really hard for a long time to come up with any ideas on improving the geoblogosphere, because it quite suits me as it is. I'd have to get into an entirely different frame of mind, and I haven't been reading those blogs which discuss the more general web communications ideas for a while. (You know, the one's which discuss "web 2.0" and marketing.) Jennifer Leggio and some of Jay Garmon's posts discuss such things - just two people off the top of my head. There is a whole industry out there centered around these things, so geobloggers may just need a little reading outside their chosen disciplines (in a discipline which they may find less than exciting) to get some ideas which might translate well into the geoblogosphere.

On the other hand, the overall climate needs a change for a larger swath of people to become interested in the sciences. Particularly in the U.S., it seems to me, but then I'm a bit U.S.-centric, and don't have any feel for what the climate is like elsewhere.

This, for several reasons, is an exceedingly timely topic, Michael.

And don't get disheartened: I think we are making steady progress in pushing blogs as a medium for outreach and discussion. Many more geologists are reading blogs, and the AGU and GSA, at least, are making pushes into blogging and other social media. And I have some ideas for the next step, but I'm looking forward to hearing everyone else's.

As a layman with a fervent interest in the physical and biological sciences, I greatly appreciate the knowledge and time that professional scientists like Michael and others put into their blogs. Whether it is called journalism or not, the point is that these efforts are communicating diverse facts and insights usually from people with real expertise inside their respective scientific disciplines. This is part of the beauty of the internet which has provided the explosion of information at our fingertips. I often find additional information to explore from the commenters also who provide feedback and additional insight that the bloggers may have not considered or were aware of.

Many parts of the internet have become wastelands of mediocrity, cultural polarization,political disinformation and places to exploit and display the worst of human nature.

I admit that I like many others have my own political and ideological biases and am sometimes drawn to those blogs like Pharyngula etc., especially when there are topical essays about what I see as the continuing worldwide assualt on science and rationality by a insular and regressive sub-culture who is intent on keeping civilization held back in the darkness of fundamentalist nonsense and obstinate, willfull ignorance.

Though I also recoil from some of the discussion and comments that are in these more controversial, often overtly ideological science blogs, I support the efforts of scientists and educators to continue the defense of reason against the onslaught of those that are trying to take civilization backwards.

It is comforting to have other places like Through The Sandglass on the internet where the observations, opinions, discoveries and facts of rational knowledge and science can be presented and discussed in an non-political, objective and civil manner.

Thanks, as always, for your thoughts, Jules.

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