Four years ago, I picked up a copy of the new SEED magazine (tagline: “Science is Culture”). I was unimpressed and convinced that it would speedily vanish. I was wrong. I still think it’s an odd mix of a magazine and rarely buy it, but beyond the magazine, the parent Seed Media Group has built an impressive stable of science blogs under the name, er, ScienceBlogs, or Sb for short. It’s sort of Nick Denton-esque cluster of blogs in which the scientists come across as unfiltered outspoken lively characters. I realized they must be onto something when I saw that science writer Carl Zimmer, whose blog I follow, pulled up his tent stakes at Corante and moved to Sb.
The kind of blogs hosted at Sb fill an important role that, for people like me at any rate, has long been vacant. They tell you what the real deal is with scientific papers that are in the news. I don’t have subscriptions to Science or Nature, so I never get farther than the abstracts, but now I have a way to find out what a geneticist thinks when someone publishes about the mingled heritage of humans and chimps. Fun. This motley collection of blogs authored by working scientists comes closer than the magazine to SEED’s stated goal of connecting science to society.