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It occurs to me that I need a book I don’t have at hand right now in order to finish the post I had hoped to complete today, so in lieu of something which requires actual work on my part, I’ll pose a question to my Gentle Readers. By reading this now, you’re kind of by definition a “person who reads science blogs,” and most likely you read others besides mine; many of you might have homes of your own on the Interblag. I figure, then, that the people passing through here have perspectives from both sides, producer and consumer (a division we often try our darndest to narrow). So, then:

If you could fix one thing about the science-blogging experience, what would it be?


  1. I think it would be great if there was a common, agreed-upon set of general-reference papers on a host of topics that could be easily linked to to provide more details on specific points, a sort of on-line encyclopedia to important papers in the primary literature, all in one location, easily searchable as PDF files, but only editable by the science bloggers themselves. Outstanding bloggers make it their business to provide sources, but it would be great if more casual bloggers like myself could have more access to the literature. I envision something like the PNAS archives, only more user-friendly and addressing a wider number of papers, many of historical significance. Of course, this is not so much a fix as it would be an enhancement.

  2. Something like ProQuest, EBSCOhost, jStor, etc, but public? Like a public journal catalogue? I like it. I’d be behind that.

  3. While it’s not a compendium of papers from/for the professional literature, John Wilkins maintains a list of Basic Concepts posts in biology and related subdisciplines. Is that in the general area?

  4. Hm. I notice now that Wilkins’ listing goes beyond biology and is considerably broader than I remembered.

  5. The thing I can come closest to fixing: some folks could use a way to have LaTeX in your blog‘s comments rendered! ;)

  6. Second link (“your blog”) didn’t show but it’s this.

  7. LaTeXRender already does that: just enclose the formula in [ tex ] and [ /tex ] tags (remove the spaces to see it work).

    For example,

    [tex]\partial_x x^2 = 2x.[/tex]

    Still, alternative approaches are always appreciated! :-)

  8. Oh. w00t! Now to drink coffee until
    [tex]\frac{d\textrm{productivity}}{d\textrm{coffee}} = 0[/tex]

  9. I think I would like to echo the desire for latex or mathml or something in blog comments. Most blogs don’t have this (including some where heavy math discussion occurs). And I think a big part of the problem there is it’s just so nontrivial to set it up– personally I’ve not been able to get it working on my own site. (There are wordpress packages like the one you link, but they all require Latex to be separately installed; this can be problematic for people who don’t personally control their hosting. If LatexReader can run off a /home – based installation of Latex though maybe I should give it a second look.)

  10. I haven’t tried it myself, but I expect that LaTeXRender would work if you installed LaTeX under your /home directory, as long as you modified the appropriate pathnames within the code.

    Randall’s solution may be easier for you.

  11. Nisbet.

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