It began back in November, when Christopher Mims of Seed Magazine asked me if I would be interested in joining a new project, a conglomeration of science bloggers (now known as ScienceBlogs). The idea intrigued me, but I was hesitant. No, I wasn't hesitant because I didn't think it was a good idea. I had been planning on moving to different host and using a different blogging platform sometime during the next few months, anyway. Heck, to be able to move to a better blogging platform for free, to be free of having to worry about the costs of hosting, and even to get paid a little bit to blog represented an opportunity that was very tempting right from the beginning, especially since his reassurances that he didn't want me to change a thing seemed sincere and I would not have to sign away all the rights to my work. I think the guys at Seed "get it," as evidenced by how well the first group of blogs have done after moving over.
Unfortunately, I was concerned about my university's reporting requirements for outside income. Given the modest amount of income offered from the advertising, at the time I wasn't sure it was even worth the effort to jump through the necessary hoops to get permission. (This was the reason I never tried signing up for Google Adsense--that and the fact that altie ads frequently pop up on other medical blogs that do use Google Adsense, and I didn't want them showing up on mine.) Then the holidays came, and other things intruded. ScienceBlogs.com launched a couple of weeks ago, and I realized that I had blown it. I had missed out on the opportunity to be in on the ground floor of something that could turn out to be great. Fortunately, Seed Magazine still wanted me; so I took advantage of the opportunity to correct my mistake and seize this opportunity to reach a wider audience. I jumped through the hoops my university set before me and finally got permission late last week.
I will likely be moving over to the new host sometime in the next two or three weeks, depending on when Seed is ready to help me get set up. (Hopefully it won't be much longer than that.) Another announcement will be made when the change is imminent, and the new link will be announced on the day of the transition. As I mentioned before, to ease the transition, I registered the domain respectfulinsolence.net and had it redirected to this blog. I will set it to redirect traffic to the new blog URL after I officially make the jump.
My plan for now will be to continue as I have done for the last 13 months. After the transition, I will leave the Blogspot blog up as an archive and a place to post occasional announcements (not to mention as a safety net in case I fail). It's not going anywhere, although I may rename it to "Archives of Insolence" or something like that. Also, I have no plans to give up organizing the Skeptics' Circle. It will continue more or less as it has for the last year, and the present Skeptics' Circle site will remain as it is now. Indeed, I'm hoping that the higher profile that I hope to attain by joining ScienceBlogs will improve traffic to each host and help me and future hosts push the Circle to even greater heights in its second year.
Finally, one thing that I cannot and do not promise is that there will be no changes resulting from my decision. Even if I didn't want to change, plopping Orac down in the midst of folks like PZ Myers, Chris Mooney, Tim Lambert, Ed Brayton, and the rest of the stable of top-rate bloggers that Seed Magazine has lined up thus far can't help but result in at least a subtle change--hopefully a change for the better. Surgeons are by nature a bit competitive, and being featured next to the high quality bloggers who are already ensconced within the ScienceBlogs servers will, consciously or unconsciously, almost certainly goad me to improve, if only for the reason that I don't want to look like a doofus next to my fellow ScienceBlogs compatriots.
I plan on explaining my vision of where I want to take this blog in a bit more detail as my very first post on ScienceBlogs. However, I will answer one question right now. While there will be a higher percentage of posts on science (particularly medical science), I have no intention of abandoning my other usual topics, namely skepticism, quackery, creationism and Holocaust denial (and, yes, a certain mascot). Indeed, in the case of Holocaust denial, perhaps I'll get into some discussions of the misuses of forensic science that deniers routinely use to justify their lies. They use pseudoscience every bit as ridiculous as creationism or the worst quackery, and they use it for a despicable purpose. (I may, however, wait a while before springing the Hitler zombie on readers again. I'm not sure that ScienceBlogs is quite ready for a brain-eating undead Führer to make an appearance on its servers yet.)
Stay tuned, and thanks to all my readers. Nothing will happen for several days at a minimum, and regular blogging will continue apace here until shortly before the transition, when I may take a couple of days off in order to set up the new blog. I hope you'll stay with me as I try to take this blogging thing to another level. I might fall flat on my face, but the opportunity is worth taking the chance.