A science-y tweet makes my heart skip a beat

When I first heard about Twitter (several years before I actually understood what it was) – I remember thinking it sounded silly. Who cares what celebrities are thinking (Figure 1)? I dismissed everything Twitter-related as irrelevant and continued on my merry way. I think it was during Evolution 2011 that Jeremy (from this blog) suggested I join Twitter because you can follow interesting talks and remain engaged throughout conferences. It took a little while for me to work up a real affection for Twitter but the longer I’ve been a member (and perhaps the longer Science and scientists have had to assimilate it into our work world), the more useful I find it (Figure 2).

Figure 1: An example of the "Why bother?" side of Twitter. Why 103,000 people thought this was worth repeating via "retweeting" is beyond me because it gets dumber each time I read it...

Figure 1: An example of the “Why bother?” side of Twitter. And why 103,000 people bothered repeating this via “retweeting” is beyond me. It gets dumber each time I read it.

Figure 2: Why you actually should bother. Devin's posts include (top to bottom) - passing along a job opportunity, interesting publication, a professional interaction about science spam, a second paper and link to our blog!

Figure 2: Why you actually should bother. Devin’s posts include (top to bottom) – passing along a job opportunity, interesting publication, a professional interaction about science spam, a second paper and link to our blog!

Regarding social media and scientists in general, Bik & Goldstein have written a great introduction. They discuss the pros and cons of several platforms (i.e., blogs, Facebook, Twitter) and how to choose amongst these depending on your interests. For example – are you most interested in communicating science to the “general public”? TO THE FLOW CHART! Perhaps creating your own content in the form of a blog is for you. Alternatively, are you more interested in compiling cool stuff you’ve found from across the world wide web? Consider Facebook.

Despite the ubiquity of social media in our world, many scientists are reluctant to embrace it. That’s somewhat understandable – “Why bother?” is an easy question to ask and get no answer to if you’re “unplugged”. Bik & Goldstein outline four major “research benefits from an online presence”.

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Two years!

Two years ago today, Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! launched with a welcome from me and a post about coevolutionary medicine from CJ. Since then, we’ve written about everything from mammoth extinction events to diet fads, from the rationality of science denialism to the selective effects of agriculture—and we’ve had a lot of fun doing it.

So what’s ahead for this fine blog? Well, the National Network for Child Care “Ages and Stages” resource has this to say about two-year-old science blogs children:

Two-year-olds like to be independent! Favorite words are “Mine” and “No” and “I do it!” Emotions take on a roller coaster-like quality as 2-year-olds can go from excitement to anger to laughter within a few moments. A great deal of time is spent exploring, pushing, pulling, filling, dumping, and touching.

Here’s hoping our “terrible twos” are full of lots more exploring, and possibly also dumping. Also, we would like to apologize in advance if the Twitter feed gets a bit cranky when we run out of juice.

Carnival of Evolution, February 2012

Cross-posted from Denim and Tweed.

A new edition of the Carnival of Evolution is online over at The Atavism. Highlights of the monthly roundup of online writing on all things relating to descent with modification include John Wilkins on evolutionary novelty, Anne Buchanan on disgusting evolutionary storytelling, and Bjørn Østman on Michael Behe. Also represented: recent work from this very blog, by Noah Reid and Sarah Hird. Go check it out!

Eek! The notion of outgoing sex-a-thon specimens living blithely!

Biologist Jon Wilkins, author of Lost in Transcription and the webcomic Darwin Eats Cake, gives us a nice welcome to the blogosphere, and reminded me that the gang at Darwin Eats Cake took on the Dobzhansky quote behind our name …

Nothing in biology makes senseJon also addressed the origins of the epigram in some detail, which is an interesting read.

Welcome!

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense is an experiment in collaborative online science communication. Our contributors include working biologists at all career stages, studying organisms from viruses to birds, and in contexts from human medicine to tropical forests. Here, we’ll write about science that catches our interest, and try to explain why we think it’s cool, or why we think it’s crazy. With any luck, we’ll learn from each other in the process. Join us in the comments and on our Facebook page, as we make sense of the living world together.