Sunday, December 02, 2007

Trying some new things

As you may have noticed, new editions of Philosophia Naturalis have not been coming out on a very regular schedule of late.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, we are getting few volunteers to host this carnival. Hosting is not really that difficult or time-consuming to do, and I could do it myself once a month (say).

But secondly, we are getting too few submissions of suitable blog posts on topics in the physical sciences to include in the carnival. This is a much more serious problem, since without such submissions, there is nothing to include in the carnival (duh). Again, the editor could go out and round up material, but that puts all the burden on one person.

However, I'm not going to give up easily. I have a few ideas of how to encourage more participation. To begin with, you will see another post today entitled "Physical sciences news". This is a list I've put together of what I consider to be the most interesting news in the physical sciences that's come out in (roughly) the past week.

The first post of this kind is heavily weighted towards astronomy and astrophysics. In my experience, this is simply where most of the "action" in the physical sciences is these days, so I would expect this weighting to continue. However, if you happen to know of important news in other areas, such as physics, chemistry, geosciences, or mathematics, by all means feel free to let me know about it. (You'll find the email address here.)

I'll try to do this every weekend. I see two purposes of this. First, it should be a useful resource for anyone interested in the physical sciences who wants to easily keep aware of "significant" news that a non-specialist can appreciate. This in turn will increase traffic here, leading to more blog traffic for you, if you host an edition of the carnival or have an article of yours included in the carnival.

The second purpose is to suggest topics for you to write about on your blog, which articles you can in turn submit to the carnival. As you can see from the news post, there's more than enough happening in just a single week to make up an entire carnival edition. You need not confine yourself to this news, of course. Or if it suggests a topic, you need not write only about the specific news development. You could, for instance, write a review-type article that treats the topic more generally, placing the news in a broader context.

I have other ideas that may be tried, but this seems to me like a good place to start. If enough people are motivated to write and submit articles inspired by something mentioned in the news, perhaps we can evolve this carnival into something more like a useful news service for the community of people who have a serious interest in the physical sciences.


Blogger Blake Stacey said...

A weekly news roundup sounds like a really good idea!

Having fretted about the failures of the physics blogosphere (and offered one idea of my own), I hope your plans for revitalization work out well. I also hope to get a few of the Internet-related tasks out of my queue over the next month, so I can host a carnival myself.

Chris Rowan noted that the geologist bloggers, whose carnival is The Accretionary Wedge, are having good luck with announcing an overarching theme for each carnival beforehand. That might bear looking into.

12/06/2007 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Daney said...

Thanks, Blake.

Regarding your idea, it sounds good. There could be several threads going on at once even, if enough people want to do it.

Perhaps junior professionals in a field who have blogs could invite more senior people who don't usually blog, as "guest" bloggers, for a couple of days or a week, sort of a colloquium model.

I'd be happy to carry announcements of such activity here, or for that matter, announcements of anything important relevant to the physical sciences blog community. So anyone who has such news can send it to me. Might not help your traffic that much, but it couldn't hurt.

For that matter, anyone who wants to host such a thread but doesn't have some other place to go could do it here.

We could do single-theme carnivals, but in this context, entire disciplines would be shut out for the duration. First, we need more contributions on any relevant theme.

12/06/2007 08:39:00 PM  

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