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It’s been a good and somewhat momentous year. In July, I left my job of seven years to become a fulltime freelancer. Before, the blogging and feature-writing were all leisure-time activities, and they’re now my bread and butter. With just five months in, it’s working out nicely so far and I get to spend a bit more time on the stories I write for this blog. I hope that the quality of the content here is, if anything, improving as a result. Some events of note:

  • I wrote 272 posts for Not Exactly Rocket Science, excluding the weekly “missing links” collections, and including my 1000th post milestone.
  • I started a new blog called Nature Wants to Eat You, celebrating nature’s terrifying mouths, jaws, tongues and teeth.
  • I started a new tip-jar initiative, where I pay the ten writers whose work I most enjoyed in each month. It’s worth noting that reader contributions increase the amount I actually end up donating by around 5 times.
  • Not Exactly Rocket Science became one of the first blogs to feature in the Best American Science Writing 2011.
  • I got to host this incredible commencement speech from Robert Krulwich about the people who don’t wait, and the future of journalism.
  • I learned that I really do have all I need for a blog.
  • I turned 30.

I did other stuff too! Some long-form features…

These are some of my proudest work. They’re where I really get to flex my writing muscles. There are six here, but I’ve actually written ten this year. Four of them will be out in early 2012.

…and lots of news stories and columns

And even a spot of radio…

In which I tell the collected listeners of BBC Radio 4 that they’re sacks of bacteria

Gratitude

As always, I owe a huge amount to the editors who have kicked my pieces into shape, the friends and colleagues who have supported me, and the readers who have deigned to read the messy piles of words that I bash out at my desk. Writing is a lonely and sometimes dispiriting business, and every kind word helps. I’m grateful to all the people I connect with, from all over the world, who make it worthwhile.

And, as has become obligatory but never any less important, my utmost thanks to my wife, Alice, who continues to make it all possible