Holiday Gifts: Blog Sites

As the winter holidays approach, I thought I’d offer some ephemeral gifts for our readers: links to other blogs that you might not know but may enjoy. Consider regifting those you find appealing to your friends and family. At a minimum, the price is right for this economic climate.

CHECK THESE OUT Sample these blogs — and let us know about some of your science-related favorites that might also be worth sharing.

THE LAZY ENVIRONMENTALIST. I encountered this blog’s founder, Josh Dorfman, at the World Science Festival in New York, earlier this year, when he was hosting a series of speakers describing clever, inexpensive, and good-for-the environment products. His blog site, which offers similar tips and links, bills itself as providing: “No guilt-trips. Never any sacrifice. Josh offers insights into cutting-edge products and services, emerging trends, and innovation underway to bring our lifestyles into balance with nature.” And yes, Josh says his approach to sustainability is truly “lazy” — that is, he goes for anything that doesn’t require too much thought or sacrifice.

ANIMAL SCIENCE BLOG. Full of great photos and news updates, this site covers issues that span the gamut — from insects to elephants, whales and similarly charismatic mega-fauna.

THE VOLCANISM BLOG. If you’re into extreme events, check out this site, which offers regular posts on volcano news, analysis and information — “not only about the science of volcanism but also its place in human culture, society and history.” The host, Ralph Harrington, describes himself as a historian by training who’s become a geosciences student (at the Open University, UK). Professing a long-standing fascination with volcanoes, he describes his site as “a labour of love as well as, I hope, of learning.” And yes, you’ll encounter plenty of mountains letting off steam.

SCIENCE PROGRESS. This blog’s founding proposition: “that scientific inquiry is among the finest expressions of human excellence, that it is a crucial source of human flourishing, a critical engine of economic growth, and must be dedicated to the common good. Scientific inquiry entails global responsibilities. It should lead to a more equitable, safer, and healthier future for all of humankind.” High aspirations, and a site with posts from some noted science journalists, including Rick Weiss (formerly of the Washington Post — and, before that, Science News). This site is hosted by Weiss’s new home: the Center for American Progress, a politically oriented think tank (that is left-leaning, if you care about such things).

KNIGHT SCIENCE JOURNALISM TRACKER is a production of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Veteran San Francisco Chronicle newsman Charles Petit is the head tracker. He and his crew scour news media of all stripes for good (and bad) journalism and offer links to pieces they deem notable. Which means you can now follow in their tracks to find those same pieces. Some may look familiar, though, since you’ll find that Science News is well represented on the trackers’ list of media that got to major stories promptly and covered them well.

NUTRITION-WISE. Jennifer and Katherine, registered dieticians at the Mayo Clinic, issue a weekly news posting. Their featured items are not as timely as Science News stories, but they do something that we don’t: focus on items that can yield practical advice. Recent posts tackled such topics as tools to lessen impulsive eating, getting a handle on meal portions, help for the couch potato, “fascinating connection” linking broccoli to a reversal of diabetes complications, and “does eating fish make children smarter?” (Their answer to the last one: Probably not.)

VISUAL ASTRONOMY. By an amateur astronomer and for amateur astronomers, this site started as “a mostly private log of my attempts to ‘bag’ all the Messier deep-sky objects. (Astronomy buffs will know what these are.) The site’s design is lovely and the posted images tend to be fairly interesting if not arresting. The blogger (Sean Welton) notes that he’s not only been sharing telescope tips and advice in the year that this site has been up, but also learning from its visitors along the way — and sharing their helpful observations.

Janet Raloff

Janet Raloff is the Editor, Digital of Science News Explores, a daily online magazine for middle school students. She started at Science News in 1977 as the environment and policy writer, specializing in toxicology. To her never-ending surprise, her daughter became a toxicologist.

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