A Pepsi-Induced Hiatus Exodus

Important Update: The time has come to close things up here. I will no longer be blogging for ScienceBlogs.com. I am not sure where Laelaps will end up – perhaps back on WordPress, perhaps elsewhere – but you can be sure that I will keep on writing about saber-toothed cats, whales that walked, early humans, and other cool bits of paleontology. With any luck, I will be able to confirm my plans in a few days. Keep your eyes on my author website or follow me on Twitter to find out where I’ll be headed next. This is not farewell – just a brief break in transmission.

By now you have probably heard about my new neighbor here on ScienceBlogs, a nutrition blog called Food Frontiers. It is a corporate blog run by PepsiCo. I wish I were kidding.

The offending blog, which has already been operating for some time on the PepsiCo website, greatly diminishes the credibility of ScienceBlogs by providing a corporation with a platform to advertise to readers without actually calling it advertising. A newspaper or magazine would not allow PepsiCo to write articles about global health or nutrition – there is a very clear conflict of interest there – so I am absolutely dumbfounded as to why the SEED management team thought it acceptable to give the corporation space here. If PepsiCo wants to have their R&D scientists blog on their own site, that’s fine, but in moving Food Frontiers to ScienceBlogs, the company is trying to trade in on the reputation I and other Sb bloggers have built while simultaneously tarnishing that reputation.

The launch of the PepsiCo blog sharply underscores my mounting frustration with SEED. The SEED management team has repeatedly failed to treat me and my fellow bloggers with courtesy and respect, and this latest event goes beyond disrespect into actively undermining our credibility. Hence I am putting Laelaps on hiatus until I determine what is best for my writing. This is not the end of Laelaps – I will keep writing somewhere, and you can always check out my blog Dinosaur Tracking on the Smithsonian website – but if SEED insists on valuing corporate money over creativity, honesty, and integrity, then I will have no choice but to move elsewhere.

For more on this controversy, see these posts from PalMD, Abel, Isis, Janet, Zuska, Blake, Christie, Sharon, Jason, Greg, Orac, PZ, Mark, and GrrlScientist, as well as the notes from James H., Alex Wild, Scicurious. I am also sad to say that Blake and David Dobbs have left Sb, but I am glad that they will both continue to write at their respective blogs.