Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mandatory self-congratulatory post: One month of blogging!

Today marks one full month of blogging for me. One month ago, on a dull and dreary Saturday afternoon, I finally decided to act upon an idea I had been toying with for a while and set up a free Blogger account. I was utterly amazed at how easy it was to set up. Within ten minutes I had a blog. Within the first hour or two, I had written and posted my introduction/manifesto and figured out how to post pictures to the blog. Within a day, I had figured out how to add a list of links to blogs and websites I like in the side bar and a site meter to the bottom. People who found my blog (I still have no idea how) made helpful comments about adding site feeds, and I followed their suggestions. Since then, I've been fiddling with the page over time, slowly teaching myself some basic HTML, adding and taking away links to websites and blogs, etc. What amazes me is how fast this little blog, started almost on a whim, has taken off. I've already surpassed 2,000 hits, thanks in no small part to early mentions by Ophelia Benson at Butterflies & Wheels and PZ Myers, to both of whom I am indebted.

So, what now? I've been reflecting back on what I've posted thus far. As I said in my first post, the overall theme is skepticism, and so far I think I've stayed fairly true, with the occasional diversion into fluff. In the future, I tend to march my way slowly through most of the topics mentioned earlier and have already added a few more. (This is likely to take months.)

One area I haven't covered as much as I had thought I would is Holocaust denial and how we know what we know about history. Given that 2005 represents the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, one feature I am adding will be important dates in World War II and Holocaust History from 60 years ago, along with discussions. I will sprinkle these among the usual daily commentary on alt-med, current medical issues and politics, evidence-based medicine, and science. Besides allowing me to discuss the liberation of the camps, the horror of the last days of the Third Reich, and various other issues, this device will also allow me to continue the discussion of to address issues such as the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals (particularly the doctors, who had such a large role in bringing the Holocaust into being and which can lead to a discussion of the present-day ethics of biomedical research, for example). This device will add a sort of "as it happened" feel to the whole topic and provide me with reminders on various dates to discuss issues I haven't yet addressed. (Don't worry, these topics won't dominate this blog, and a lot of it will be relevant to current events.)

Finally, I realize that I'm still exhibiting a bit of bloggorhea (although, to my credit, I rarely bore people with details of my personal life). Consequently, I plan on trying to limit my posts to one per day, with the exception of quickies, like plugs for Grand Rounds or Tangled Bank, or brief comments on websites or articles I happen to come across. (Unfortunately, my increasing workload post-holidays will likely take care of my excess verbosity in due course, particularly if I end up having to resubmit my NIH grant for the March 1 deadline.) And, of course, I still might make the occasional blatantly political post about current events, in order to make me eligible for the Weblog Awards at the end of the year (which, as I pointed out, did not have a category for best medical or science blog in 2004).

Anyway, to those of you who are regulars here, thank you for reading. Hopefully, I can keep things interesting through 2005 and beyond. (And no more patting myself on the back until at least December 11, 2005—OK, maybe June 11, 2005.)

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