Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Aaron Sterling starts his own blog!

Aaron Sterling recently had an AWESOME guest post about Cheminformatics. That got such a great response that he has started his own blog Nanoexplanations. It shot to the TOP of our blogroll because we list thing alphabetically by first name. Kudos to Aaron's parents for seeing this day and naming him appropriately.

What will it be about? His guest post was on chemo-computing. More generally Aaron has been looking at nonstandard applications of theoretical computer science. That will be his topic.

A good blog should fill a need that is not being filled. His seems to be in that category--- I do not know of any blog covering non-standard applications. Not surprising- they are nonstandard! Is his goal to make these topics standard? At that point will he cease blogging? Only time will tell.

In the 2009 Year in Review post we noted that in 2009 we had annouced and added to our blogroll FIVE new blogs. In the 2010 Year in Review post we noted that in 2010 we had annouced and added to our blogroll NO new blogs. So blogging seemed to be in decline (granted this is a very small sample in a very small corner of the blogsphere). What is the trend? It is trendy to say that blogging is just so 2009 and that tweeting is the future, at least for the next 10 minutes. But to make predictions based on such little evidence is just so redonk.


  1. All the best, Aaron! Will you focus on nanotech topics specifically?

  2. @ gasarch

    yo, u meant
    "list thing!!! alphablahblah" OR

    "list things!!!! alphablahblahblah" ???

  3. Thanks for the good wishes, Ken. :-) I'll try to post twice a week and focus on whatever I'm working on or interested in, which will mostly be topics that are bio/chem or bio-inspired. Please stop by when you can.

  4. Some of these issues are playing-out on Gödel's Lost Letter and P=NP, where comments that once would have been posted to blogs, now are migrating to sites like TCS StackExchange and MathOverflow.

    So ... what's left for weblogs, especially comments on weblogs? If the answer is "mainly cynicism, pessimism, and snark" ... then it is likely that the perceived decline of STEM weblogging will continue in 2011, or even accelerate.

  5. Well, given the absence of any other comments, there is one *striking* difference between StackExchanges and WebLogs ... an example of which follows.

    MathOverflow topic: "Books you would like to read (if somebody would just write them…)"

    "I think that the title is self-explanatory but I'm thinking about mathematical subjects that have not received a full treatment in book form or if they have, they could benefit from a different approach. (I do hope this is not inappropriate for MO)."

    FUNNY WOMEN #45: "One-Handed Reading"

    "Loads of people have slept with authors or well-read individuals, but what would it be like to sleep with a book?"

    There is much merit in both approaches ... but when we compare MathOverflow's imagined description of Category theory for the working algebraist with FunnyWomen #45's witty description of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead ... well ... there's little doubt whose imagination is livelier ... and so "long live both venues." :)

    Here the point is, that questions that can be answered by facts or theorems are best discussed on StackExchange. Whereas questions that are best answered in the larger context that narratives provide, are best discussed on weblogs.

    As Semën Kutateladze asserted in his eulogy of Vladimir Arnold: "It is not shameful to be a mathematician, but it is shameful to be only a mathematician." Weblogs and StackExchanges both are vital to this aspiration.