Begin PHASE THREE!
And so commences the third phase of the Not Exactly Rocket Science life cycle, where I say goodbye to my ScienceBlogs body and jump into a new host. I’m honoured to be joining Carl, Sheril, Phil, Sean, Razib, Chris and co, and I’m pretty sure that sharing a community with Carl psychologically primed me into writing the parasite metaphor in the previous sentence.
For all my existing readers, come in, come in, make yourselves comfortable and get ready for the usual influx of cool stories. You’ll notice that all the old posts and comments have travelled with me and the blog’s content will be virtually indistinguishable, except that there’s more orange, the font has serifs (boo) and I’m now over there on the right. The new feed URL is http://feeds.feedburner.com/notrocketscience.
For any newcomers, here’s an introduction. Formally, Not Exactly Rocket Science is a science news site; informally, it’s a bit like an excitable child jumping up and down and pointing to things, but with more syntax. This is my attempt to portray science as the awe-inspiring, beautiful and quirky field that it is, to as many people as possible. You shouldn’t need a science degree to be able to dive into the stream of new discoveries, and on this blog, you won’t need one.
Every week, I will be serving 4-5 meaty portions of newsworthy stories, sourced from the entire breadth of biological sciences, supplemented with spoonfuls of opinion pieces on science journalism and drizzles of satire. Feel free to browse through the archives and at the end of this post, there’s a selection of some of my favourites to whet your appetite. You can also follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, or check out a recent interview I did about how and why I blog.
I join Discover from ScienceBlogs, fresh from a cool trio of wins at the Research Blogging Awards. I’m looking forward to my tenure here and I hope that you’ll stick around for more. I would also be incredibly grateful if anyone could help to give the blog a bit of extra publicity during the first weeks of its new life. Having done a move like this before, traffic always dips as people update their feeds, Google catches up and so on. Any extra nudge, whether it’s a tweet, a blog post, a Stumble, or even a good old-fashioned email to a friend, would go a long way.
As a final piece of geekery, I was trying to find the most appropriate metaphor is for this move. Evolution applies to populations rather than individuals, so that’s out. The old ScienceBlogs version still exists, so migration’s not quite right. Two grimmer but better candidates include metastasis, where cancer cells break off from a primary tumour to set up new ones elsewhere in the body, and retrotransposition, where small, parasitic chunks of DNA duplicate themselves and insert the replicas into other parts of the genome. But in both cases, the old versions are still living and changing, whereas the ScienceBlogs incarnation of NERS is henceforth frozen in time. All this being said, I think the best analogy is probably insect metamorphosis – a new form emerges from a larval one, leaving a shell behind and flying off to pastures new. That sounds about right.
A Not Exactly Rocket Science tasting platter:
- Ballistic penises and corkscrew vaginas – the sexual battles of ducks
- An ecosystem of one in the depths of a gold mine
- Carbon nanotechnology in an 17th century Damascus sword
- The virophage – a virus that infects their viruses
- The renaissance of technicolour dinosaurs continues (and the gloves come off…)
- Lacking control drives false conclusions, conspiracy theories and superstition
- Scientists tickle apes to reveal evolutionary origins of human laughter
- Rapamycin – the Easter Island drug that extends lifespan of old mice
- Mantis shrimp eyes outclass DVD players, inspire new technology
- Ballet postures have become more extreme over time
- Octopus carries around coconut shells as suits of armour
- Moray eels attack with second pair of ‘Alien-style’ jaws
- What is the difference between the human genome and a pair of headphones?
- The spread of disorder – can graffiti promote littering and theft?
- Did a gene enhancer humanise our thumbs?
- ‘Wolverine’ frogs pop retractable claws from their toes
- How inbreeding killed off a line of kings
- Electrical stimulation produces feelings of free will
- Wasps use genes stolen from ancient viruses to make biological weapons
- Creating God in one’s own image
- Darwinius changes everything
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