Posts on Peer-Reviewed Research

Tired of slogging through troll-infested comment threads? Want to reinvigorate your sense of hope for the Internet? Then try blog posts on peer-reviewed research! A week ago, the “Research Blogging Icons” were unveiled, and now, dozens of posts have been marked with these identifiers, indicating that they discuss serious science which has appeared in professional venues. Dave Munger has picked out a sample of ten, and they all look worth reading.

For a wonder, one of my ICCS posts is on the list. Also, I quite enjoyed Kevin Z’s take on the evolution of fireflies. Did you know that the firefly family of beetles, the Lampyridae, contains about 2000 species worldwide, with around 120 represented in North America? And that the species which more closely reflect the ancestral form use pheromone signals, instead of light?

Kevin Z also describes research which has recently been done to understand the costs of flashing lights, both in terms of energy and with regard to attracting predators. And here’s where I kick myself: back in 2005, I wrote a scene for a science-fiction novel which used almost exactly the experimental setup of that predation study, although the goal in the novel was to understand why their flashes had started to synchronize.

4 thoughts on “Posts on Peer-Reviewed Research”

  1. Thanks for interest! I wrote a song about fireflies that should be posted this week sometime when I get around to recording it. Tried tonight, but got rained out So keep posted.

    You have my interest though in the firefly novel! Now I want to know why they flashing in unison. Is this published?

  2. I’ve been giving that serious thought, actually. After all, what could publishing with ConBookCorp International actually give me, other than delays?

    Visibility? Feh: I was just in the MIT co-op bookstore today, and in their science-fiction section, I saw exactly one book by David Brin (Foundation’s Triumph) and none by Greg Egan. Anybody who pokes around my blag could guess that a novel of mine would be too weird to risk advertising — and I doubt first novels by SF authors are “visible,” anyway.

    Fame? Fortune? Like I said, I write science fiction. Anybody who could possibly become a fan of mine already geeks out over stuff they get online, so I wouldn’t exactly be taking a credibility hit.

    And if the royalties from an SF novel could even keep me in ramen, I’d be impressed.

    The real money these days is in “New Atheist” books. I figure I could crank out one of those in a few months, and I actually have outlines for two (one intended to be mass-market, and the other for intellectual types looking to go beyond the first level).

    I need to do at least one more round of revision, cutting out the pretentious crap and the was-I-stoned-when-I-wrote-this? parts, replacing them with better pseudo-intellect and wow-this-guy-was-totally-hammered material. If that goes well, and if I can’t think of a compelling argument to do otherwise, I might just dive into the narcissistic glamor of self-publishing.

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