Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A meme strikes

Yesterday was clinic day. Clinic always wipes me out, and yesterday was no exception. Thankfully, via Pharyngula, I found this meme, the answers to which my readers might find informative and which didn't require much effort to answer, thus providing precious material on a day when I didn't much feel like blogging and didn't have anything in reserve. So, without further ado:

Academic Blog Survey


The following survey is for bloggers who are actual or aspiring academics (thus including students). It takes the form of a go-meme to provide bloggers a strong incentive to join in: the 'Link List' means that you will receive links from all those who pick up the survey 'downstream' from you. The aim is to create open-source data about academic blogs that is publicly available for further analysis. Analysts can find the data by searching for the tracking identifier-code: "acb109m3m3". Further details, and eventual updates with results, can be found on the original posting:



Simply copy and paste this post to your own blog, replacing my survey answers with your own, as appropriate, and adding your blog to the Link List.

Important (1) Your post must include the four sections: Overview, Instructions, Link List, and Survey. (2) Remember to link to every blog in the Link List. (3) For tracking purposes, your post must include the following code: acb109m3m3

Link List (or 'extended hat-tip'):
1. Philosophy, et cetera
2. Pharyngula
3. Respectful Insolence
4. Add a link to your blog here


Age - early 40's
Gender - Male
Location - Mid-Atlantic
Religion - Roman Catholic
Began blogging - December 2004
Academic field - Surgical Oncology
Academic position [tenured?] - Assistant Professor [not yet]

Approximate blog stats

Rate of posting - Daily, with occasional days off
Average no. hits - Excluding Instapundit-generated visits to my hosting of the History Carnival, just under 1,000/day (folks, let's get the average over 1,000!)
Average no. comments - 5-10/day
Blog content - 30% medicine, 25% science; 30% skepticism; 10% political, 5% personal.

Other Questions

1) Do you blog under your real name? Why / why not?
- No. I use a pseudonym. I've explained why here. Basically, I do not want my blog to be the first link that comes up when patients Google my name. However, as I've pointed out before, it's not particularly difficult to find out who I really am. Indeed, recently, I was "outed" on a mailing list. The woman who did it listed a bunch of links, and seemed to be implying that I was sympathetic to or somehow connected to Jeff Rense, who, in case you haven't heard of him, is a conspiracy-mongering racist who routinely posts or links to tripe like this. She was clearly too blinded by her own dislike of my message for evidence-based medicine and against quackery to realize that the reason my name sometimes pops up alongside anti-Semitic twits like Rense is because I have spent a lot of time arguing against such hatemongering. Either that, or she didn't care.

2) Do colleagues or others in your department know that you blog? If so, has anyone reacted positively or negatively?
- Yes. My Department Chair and Division Chief know. Neither of them has given feedback negative or positive, and, as far as I can tell, neither of them read it regularly. I'm not sure if either of them read it at all. When informed of its existence, both have told me they don't care about it as long as it's done outside of work and doesn't interfere with my duties.

3) Are you on the job market?
- No, not now. I don't have any plans to go anywhere anytime soon. (Of course, if I actually were thinking of moving on, do you think I'd mention it here? Didn't I just tell you that my Division Chief and Department Chair know about my blog? That's one reason this question in the meme is a little bit silly for any but students and postdocs.)

4) Do you mention your blog on your CV or other job application material?
- Are you out of your mind? I doubt potential employers would understand or appreciate EneMan or the Hitler Zombie (although one who did would certainly go up several notches in my estimatinon.) I would never lie if asked about it by anyone, but I see no reason to be the first to bring it up. Certainly, I see no reason to put it on my CV, as it is irrelevant to my qualifications.

5) Has your blog been mentioned at all in interviews, tenure reviews, etc.? If so, provide details.
- I have no way of knowing right now. When I finally go up for promotion to Associate Professor, I may find out, but I highly doubt it will matter one way or the other.

6) Why do you blog?
- I've been active online on and off since the early 1990's and continuously since 1997. Mostly I was on Usenet and other forums combatting Holocaust denial. After starting to blog on a whim, I rapidly discovered is much more fun and satisfying than Usenet and online forums, because I can write about what I want to write about when I want to write about it and when I have time, rather than primarily reacting to what other people post, which is the usual case on Usenet. I also have managed to amass a much larger readership than I probably ever did on Usenet. Finally, scientific writing (which is what I have to do a lot of at work) is very formalized and staid. Blogging allows me to indulge my creative side. As a side benefit of blogging, I've even noticed that I encounter writer's block while working on grants and papers noticeably less frequently than I used to.

Any academics reading this, feel free to participate...

2 example(s) of insolence returned:

At 9/21/2005 3:46 AM, Blogger Radagast said...

All right, you convinced me ...



At 9/27/2005 10:40 AM, Blogger D.P. said...

I love your comment: "Are you out of your mind?" LOL, I can relate to that! btw, I like your blog.


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