07 September 2007

[Looks around] Wow. [Looks around some more] Wow.

If you are a professional scientist, then perhaps you felt like I did when you went to your first scientific meeting. My first meeting was a meeting of the Society of Toxicology, but the one I really remember was the 1988 Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. It was a watershed in my life; there in Toronto I was Seduced By The Dark Side and elected to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in academic science. The rest is history although, alas, my student loans are not.

What I can still clearly recall is that giddy rush that comes from seeing all those smart and talented people, all as geeked out as I am about the brain, and all as happy as I was to be in the presence of 12,000 other brain geeks. (Neuroscience, as the meeting is called, is far bigger nowadays; 25,000 or so.) The elation was always tempered by the aching sense of loss and regret that resulted from being physically unable to attend 98% of the talks and 99% of the posters. (Hundreds of posters, and dozens of platform talks and symposia, occur simultaneously. Even Hermione's Time-Turner would be no help.)

And that's what I'm feeling now, as I have been welcomed into the blogosphere. Omigosh, there are HUNDREDS of fantastic blogs out there, and mere finitude (not to mention my cool day job) makes it impossible to consume them all. But the rush...look at all these smart people, so geeked out by evolution, faith, Shakespeare...wow.

Well, if you're interested enough in such topics to be reading this, then you'll find some of the following blogs to be worth a visit (or a permanent feed). I'll start a new label, since I'm sure I'll want to add to this list regularly.

I can probably leave theology alone on my blog, because Steve Martin's An Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution is superb. Great links, excellent articles, and now...guest columnists. His first guest is Gordon Glover, the author of a recent and well-reviewed book on science and creation, which was recently recommended on the ASA listserv. Wisdom and dialogue, without the sickening bile of Uncommon Descent. Go.

Profs at Rutgers University don't assign nearly enough homework. How do I know this? I've been to Laelaps, a blog full of wit and paleontology, written by an undergrad (!) at Rutgers. Wow. (Secret note to author of Laelaps: I went to Rutgers a long long time ago, and yes, we had the RU Screw then. Ah, stasis.)

Mobile genetic elements are a favorite topic of mine. Retroviruses (and other retroelements) are fascinating examples (and useful to cell biologists like me). And of course some talented technician-turned-grad-student (who evidently doesn't need 8 hours of sleep) has a whole blog on the topic. Free education!

And now you've decided that there's no point in going to bed, since you feel crappier on 3 hours of sleep than on none. Okay, then get to Siris, described thus:

A Golden Chain from Tar-Water to the Trinity, With Thoughts Relating to Philosophy, Christian Theology, and the Universe Generally.
Sleep?! HA!

Good night.

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