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Thoughtomics


Exploring evolution through genes, computers and history
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The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Carving blog posts one by one. Photo theangryblender

Today, the Scientific American blogging network celebrates its very first birthday. It has been a tremendous ride so far, and I would really like to thank you for reading along so far, but there’s one little question I wanted to get out of the way first:

Who are you?

You see, writing this blog is fun. Loads of fun. I get to cover science I am interested in, and there are no editors hacking and slashing my writings to pieces. Here, there’s only one person with full editorial control, and I like his style.

That said, I have no idea whether you like this blog. I can see how many of you click, like, stumble and tweet, but I haven’t the faintest clue who you are or why you read this blog. So I want to follow Ed Yong’s excellent example, and ask you some questions to get a better idea of who you are and why you come here. Are you a scientist yourself, or ? How did you find this blog? Do you like what you read, or are there other topics I should cover more?

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never commented before or don’t want to say much, but please take the stage and leave a comment behind.

Thank you!

Lucas Brouwers About the Author: Lucas Brouwers is fascinated by evolution. He writes about science on his blog and for a Dutch daily newspaper. Follow on Twitter @lucasbrouwers.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. notscientific 3:23 pm 07/5/2012

    I am the Mauritian, hehe. Like the blog posts very much, especially the longer ones which really carry the reader (ie me) along. Would love more frequent updates but I know that’s easier said than done. All in all, keep doing the great job.

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  2. 2. sharayurkiewicz 5:27 pm 07/5/2012

    Heyo, my Dutch friend. We met on the last day of Scio12, though I wish we had crossed paths earlier, because I very much enjoyed our conversations about conveying passion in creative writing. I started following you on Twitter after that, and reading your blog. You have a lyrical way with words, which particularly shone through in your molybdenum post. I think what I like most about your writing (besides the ease with which you explain things) is that your excitement for the subject matter is palpable. More!

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  3. 3. S.E. Gould (labrat) 4:21 am 07/6/2012

    Hi Lucas, this is labrat :p I’m a former Biochemist undergrad who is now working as a company science writer. Since I started reading your blog I’ve graduated, married, started a PhD, run away from a PhD (very quickly!) and found a job. I’ve always loved reading your posts, and I’m impressed at the wide variety of topics and organisms that get covered.

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  4. 4. Lucas Brouwers in reply to Lucas Brouwers 6:07 am 07/6/2012

    @notscientific: Thanks for dropping by! I would love to write more, but I’m still struggling between the balance between work, blog and free time. Plus, I’m the slowest writer you’ll ever meet. Even this reply takes me half an hour to write.

    @Shara: Thanks for your very kind words, Shara. I don’t think I would have ever written about molybdenum the way I did, were it not for those conversations. So thanks, for making me think about myself and my writing, and for confronting me with words I never knew existed (like palpable). Ok. Time to write. Let’s blow this popstand!

    @labrat: Thanks for your comment, and for sticking around! This whole blogging business would’ve been a lonely affair without your comments, questions and thoughts.

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  5. 5. Taypicala 3:46 pm 07/6/2012

    Hoi fellow Dutchman,

    How did I find your blog?
    Hmm, when I started to follow scientific blogs a few years ago, I stumbled upon yours and I liked it, so I kept following it (and I also follow you on twitter). The part I like most is how you build a story around an interesting finding in evolutionary biology. The fact that you don’t focus on a specific organism, I find most entertaining.

    Am I a scientist as well?
    In training. Hope to be done in about a year or so.

    Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to your new entries.

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  6. 6. jimedyer 4:24 pm 07/6/2012

    Howdy,
    I was an amateur writer on evolution 10 and 20 years ago, and hoped to finish a book, but set it aside.

    One thing that got me going then. It felt like there was too little support for the idea that individual selection got more complex humans got smarter. That could mean that we recognize not only kin (kin selection) but those with similar genetic gifts (such as altruism, geekiness, or a certain physical pattern). And that would mean that reciprocal altruism was not the only reason to “be kind to strangers”.

    Is that still an issue? And thanks for your work.

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  7. 7. jimedyer 4:25 pm 07/6/2012

    Sorry, “more complex as humans got smarter”

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  8. 8. Jacqui p 10:51 pm 07/6/2012

    I have no background in science, but recently discovered SA daily emails and are really enjoying learning more about all these things I have not given much attention to in the past. the fact that the articles and blogs are so short, and written in terms a lay person can understand, has greatly enhanced my ability to get engaged. I really look forward to reading the articles each day. The time I used to give the newspaper at the end of the day is now spent on the SA website, and even though I am scientifically illiterate, I am considering signing up for the magazine. Maybe I would be able to understand the articles after all…..

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  9. 9. Lucas Brouwers in reply to Lucas Brouwers 7:28 am 07/7/2012

    @Taypicala: Thanks for your comment! Great to see some fellow countrymen stopping by. They’re far and few between, here on SA!
    Evolution really lends itself to engaging storytelling, I think. Stories of how particular organisms ‘came to be’ are intuitively appealing (at least to me). I wish you all the luck with your science career!

    @jimedyer: Hello fellow writer! While I’m not an expert on the issue of individual versus kin selection, I know the debate still flares up every now and then. I can see how humans would be attracted to certain personality traits as you suggest, but I think it’s hard to test whether and how these preferences would have shaped our evolution. I would be surprised if geekiness turns out to be a heritable trait, for example.

    @Jacqui p: Thank you for your comment! I’m really glad to hear the blogs reach people outside of science as well, and that we manage to translate the science into comprehensible and engaging stories. Maybe this sounds a bit naive and optimistic, but I really think science is for everyone.

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  10. 10. Cornelio at Zepponami 4:46 pm 07/11/2012

    I got here thanks to SA newsletters on which I spend rather more time than I should. I’m Dutch, retired and moved to Italy ten years ago. I like your enthusiasm and easy writing style (I mean easy to read, which doesn’t mean easy to write!). Beginning in 1965, I always worked in IT environments. I don’t have a science background, but I LOVE science: never a dull moment.

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