March 10, 2007

During the last few months...

(Este post en español.)

After returning from a long trip and a couple of months mostly offline, I had (of course) to go through the 11000+ posts accumulated in bloglines; I still haven't finished the 10% I marked as "worth reading". So much stuff, so much. And the tables of contents of journals are lagging even behind that, a monstrous lump growing in my inbox. I just want to highlight some of the things I found when I reconnected to the blogosphere, and after that I hope to keep posting.

* Two new carnavals worth paying attention: Oekologie, "the blogosphere’s first ecology and environmental science carnival", and one that was long due: a carnival of mathematics, creatively called the Carnival of Mathematics. Three editions are already up, chez Alon, MarkCC, and the third since yesterday at Michi's. Editions will appear every other Friday, and the next one will be hosted by Jason Rosenhouse at EvolutionBlog. Lots of good stuff in each one.

* Anatol Rapaport passed away in January. He made great contributions to mathematical biology and mathematical social science, both through specific works and by organizing research areas and programmes.

* In February there was a Week of Science, where a number of science bloggers refrained from fighting crackpots, discussing politics and posting quizz results, and just wrote about science, one post per day. All entries (a looot of them) where crossposted at a Just Science blog, which will now be in stand-by until next year's edition.

* Some science bloggers have been writing posts on basic concepts in science; a list is being compiled and maintained by John Wilkins here. Extraordinary work.

* Also in the field of "blog aggregation", Bora of A Blog around the clock compiled and published a science blogging anthology, The Open Laboratory. The list of posts included is here, the book can be bought here, and John Dupuis has reviewed it (along with two other books). The idea grew out of a Science Blogging conference, and the next conference and anthology are already in the works.

* People, but specially the press, love to do reviews when a year ends and another begins, and 2006 didn't escape from that. If you still want to remember what happened last year besides Pluto's demotion (now reverted in New Mexico, by the way), Charles Daney at Science and Reason had links and comments to Nature's and Science's reviews, as well as a list of physics stories of the year. Nobel Intent, Ars Technica's science blog, reviewed the year in four posts, too. On the other hand, if you want to know what awaits us in 2007, see what some people told Seed magazine about it.

* Another New Year tradition: published the answers of many clever people to a certain question. This time: What are you optimistic about?. They made me feel like Schopenhauer in a bad day.

* Two important memorial days. One was for Charles Darwin, and Clock's Bora compiled links to the many posts. The other was for Carl Sagan, and Joel Schlosberg has the list of the even more numerous blog tributes. I can only add links to this remembrance of Sagan as a skeptic, at the Skeptical Inquirer, and two reviews of his recent posthumous book, The Varieties of Scientific Experience. I'm sorry not to have blogged on those days; Darwin and Sagan were both important in my early interest in science. I remember how I bothered the librarian of my school until she managed to buy The Origin of Species, and how after that I never borrowed it (since I had also bothered my parents, and had received my own copy by then :-) ). And since I couldn't watch Sagan's Cosmos on TV (it was on a channel that didn't reach my city at the time), I bought and enjoyed the book as soon as my monthly allowances became worth saving.

* Bill Hooker completed a trilogy of guest posts at 3 Quarks Daily on Open Access, Open Science, and An Open Science World. Excelent.

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