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The power of the blogs

Blogs provide an excellent opportunity to ruin your public image. A recent incident in Germany has it all: a famous PR-guru, a 30M EUR campaign that every one knows over here, witty bloggers, lots of visual material on flickr and even Hitler-references. The claim of the campaign ("Du bist Deutschland") rose to the top of the Technorati-Charts and staid there for several days. The Technorati-blog provides a comprehensive summary, Spreeblick has more elaborate explanation, both in English.

Comments in BMJ vs. Nature and PLoS

If you compare the reactions to publications in PLoS Biology (10 e-letters in the last 30days) or the Nature-blogs (3 comments on Free Associationin the same time frame) to the responses in theBritish Medical Journal, you start wondering why the clinical side of the life sciences finds so many more comments than the experimental end. Just the number of comments could be explained by the number of readers but the quality of the contributions is much higher in BMJ, too.

I am a little disappointed by the lack of participation but do not think that it is the fault of journals. The comment functions are as easily accessible in BMJ as in PLoS for instance. Many publications are discussed in journal clubs or on conferences in great length. Why not take the time to share your thoughts? And if you're one of the kind who doesn't like MDs - do you want *them* to be more internet-savvy and future-ready than you whose middle name is 'high-throughput'?

The repertoire of protein complexes in yeast

A very comprehensive survey of protein complexes in yeast, performed by Cellzome AG and the EMBL, can now be found on the advanced online publication pages of Nature. It is obviously an important paper to me - I am one of the many contributors to the study - but I am sure one can consider it as a milestone in the research on protein-protein interactions and complexes.

Tag cloud systems biology

So, according to the system biology et al. tag cloud that Kristofer posted, 'intelligent design' seems to be more important than 'genes' and 'computer' in what I try to avoid calling life science blogosphere. Can we have some other subject to bash please?

Fresh from Berlin

Yesterday night I strolled over to the newthinking store in Mitte to attended the Webmontag, a platform for networking and presentations of web applications. Three applications and a Web2.0 map that were presented might be of interest to the usual suspects here. Besides, I want to bookmark them anyway.

DeepaMeetha is a ... hmm ... tool for the creation of topic maps and ontologies, similar to mind maps. The interface is quite unusual though usable and integrates web sites (and a browsing element), email and other information sources. While I can't see an immediate application for me, the concepts and the design of the software is definitely worth checking out.

Tim Pritlove presented Pentabarf, an open source web application to organize conferences. It was used in the planning of the recent 22C3 with 3000 participants over four days with four parallel tracks and several other larger conferences. It worked smoothly and seems ideally suited for conferences, workshops or summer schools in academic environments.

If you want to play buzzword bingo2.0, this illustration of the Web2.0 mind cloud map, presented by kosmar, its creator is ideal. You could also make use of it to explain what Web2.0 is about. I admit that the explanations around the mind mind somewhat shifted my personal views of Web2.0 from overly hyped buzz to actual progress on concepts on how to use the web.

One example of how these technologies could be put in place was provided by, a fresh Berlin start up that provides an application for geo-localization by computer networks. The developers presented the site in a rather low tone, open to suggestions and rather critical, even though it smelt a little like the old New Economy. I've already signed up of course.

These three hours, two hours longer than planned, standing in a crowd of smoking people were three hours well spent. Some pictures can be found on

Abuse of tags

A nice essay about social bookmarking and spam - always felt uneasy about tagging to some extent.
[via Spreeblick ]

There goes the A-list

Half of my secondary blogroll, the rather mass compatible ones that I don't feel like emphasizing because everyone else does - Pharyngula, WorldMunger, Cognitive Daily and Uncertain Principles for instance - moved to, run by Seed magazine. Welcome to the sell out of the blogs.

I do understand why the individual bloggers went, given ease of hosting, professional help with web design and a broader platform of readers. On the other hand, the bloggers are now dragging Seed's shopping cart and there are not even statements about dependence on the farewell pages of the old blogs, e.g. Pharyngula or Uncertain Principles.
After all, Seed needs to make money and while they would not interfere with the content of the hosted blogs directly, let's wait until Seed publishes a somewhat fishy article that bloggers react to - And let's count how many links from scienceblogs go to the Seed news ticker in a few weeks. I found Seed rather shallow so far but I should give them some more time, they just started after all. Oddly enough, there are links from to but no links pointing back.

This is a concentration of opinion and certainly a clever move for the magazine but bad for the overall independence of blogs. I would have preferred if the blogs would have introduced Adsense or the like on their pages to stay independent and spend the revenues on wine, hosting and song. You too can submit an application to Seed to have your blog hosted there - but whack some advertising to your pages, write a witty post about and keep your independence if you ask me.

Content armageddon - when the commercial forces finally battle the defenders of intellectual independence and creativity - is not due before web4.0 later this year. Scienceblogs is not a bad case of it either, just one that shows that bloggers are as likely to go the path of least resistance as everyone else. How dependent bloggers make themselves when joining these networks?



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Last update: 2006-07-16 13:11

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