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Why isn’t AGU on’s radar?

December 13, 2007

Perusing the front page of this morning I notice that the call for a science debate in the U.S. presidential race is the top news. I can certainly understand why that would get the most attention. It is indeed an important initiative that I hope continues to get stronger.

But, even looking down at the list of some of the individual posts of the day, there are very few (if any) posts about the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco this week, which is the annual meeting for earth, planetary, and space science. This is a huge event.

Is it because the bloggers on don’t care about earth science? Of course they care. I think the problem is there is a serious lack of earth/planetary/space science bloggers over there. The geoblogosphere’s strongest link to that community is Chris over at Highly Allochthonous…and he’s doing a great job of blogging about geoscience-related topics. Additionally, there are other bloggers who discuss climate science as well.

I enjoy several of the bloggers over at scienceblogs, but, as time goes on, I find myself not going there as much. Firstly, I simply can’t keep up with fast blogging pace (those who do multiple posts a day). Additionally, while I understand blogging and discussing political/societal issues is extremely important, I sometimes don’t feel like sifting through it all when I’m in the mood for information about the latest science in other fields.

I’m not sure what the solution is … it’s not so much about adding more earth science bloggers to their roster. The number of blogs over there is getting so large that I find it hard to keep up with anything. Will scienceblogs be like a stock and have to split at some point? At what point does the sheer size of it start to hinder rather than help the goal of communicating science?

Anyway, back to my point … if you do want information about the AGU meeting, the folks over at RealClimate have some great real-time (or close to it) blogging of the big happenings with respect to climate science this week. Check out the latest here and here.

Andrew over at is also summarizing some of the news coming out of the meeting.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2007 1:16 pm

    And where’s the Science Network, for that matter. So much for being a “C-SPAN of Science”…

    Who needs these “science networks” if they won’t cover important earth science events? I’m getting better coverage from bloggers like yourself and Andrew Alden than I’ve ever had in years past. Better to have individual bloggers (small pieces, loosely joined) who are willing to share their experience. The more the merrier!

  2. December 13, 2007 1:56 pm

    Hi Brian,

    Part of the issue, like you said, is that Chris is the main geo-blogger over at Sb; I won’t even pretend that I’d fit into that category since I deal more with “squishy things” (as was determined in the recent AW carnival). If earth sciences bloggers are in the minority, there’s a lesser chance the event will be picked up (and even though the number of geo-science bloggers seems to be growing, it still seems a bit small).

    So what can we do to help fix this (other than promoting the AW and geo-bloggers?). If there’s a story like the one you mentioned here that you don’t think is getting coverage, mention it to some of your fellow bloggers and help get the word out about it, especially if there are bloggers that are going to be in attendance. Like anything else, I think it’s a two way system, and if something you think is important hasn’t been mentioned speak up (as you’ve done here).

  3. December 13, 2007 10:55 pm

    I don’t know what the answer is. Chris Rowan, of course, is in South Africa and explained why he isn’t at AGU. Craig at Deep-Sea News refers to hearing a talk which must have been at AGU, but he doesn’t say so. The climate people are dedicated–I don’t follow them closely, but surely some of them are posting from San Francisco.

    Blogging is a self-imposed, self-financed undertaking. No blogger is obliged to cover the news like a journalist, and journalists aren’t obliged to be bloggers (well, a few are). Most bloggers find it easier to feed on press releases and traditional news outlets, adding a gloss of attitude, than to do original writing.

    I attend AGU to feed my head, not be a blogger, even though I have a geo-blog. I wish I could do more, but imposed a new design on my site THIS WEEK. Any moment I have aside from science, I spend dealing with the new design backstage.

    Ron, that Science Network looks like some sort of front organization, doesn’t it? Not a word on it about who owns and runs it. I think it’s Ann Druyan’s latest vehicle; the Lexus vibe is unmistakable. Not a place to find common, ordinary news.

  4. December 13, 2007 11:43 pm

    Brian – part of the problem here is the mechanics of the ‘Buzz’ – the selected topic is generally something that a sizeable number of Sciblings are blogging about over the same day/two-day period. Given that, as you pointed out, you’re starting from a smallish subset of us anyway, even if people do mention goings on at the conference it’s likely to be spread over the 5 days of the conference.

    For my part, I wasn’t there and I’m not a great fan of simply regurgitating press releases – though for what it’s worth, I was planning to stick up a summary post later today which highlights the other blogospheric activity.

    Perhaps this is something that we geobloggers, as a community, should think about addressing next year ourselves – a liveblogging Accretionary Wedge – perhaps?

  5. December 14, 2007 12:40 pm

    I have posted on at least four stories coming out of the meetings.

  6. December 14, 2007 12:44 pm

    OH, and let me add to what Laelaps, fellow blogger said: I will be very happy to write about any of a number of geology/geophysics stories if you simply let me know about them. I write about evolutionary biology, human evolution, and earth sciences, but my efforts in searching for things focuses more on the evo-creo debate (where timeliness is essential). Lots of people send me stuff to write about, and I encounter things all the time in my normal perusal of the literature I keep track of. In other words, there is a lot of competition. But if scientists working in this area want at least a mention and a link, you can have it from me. More detailed writing would depend on the exact topic and my background and interest in it, of course.

  7. December 14, 2007 11:26 pm

    Greg…yes, I saw your posts (and I like your writing). I didn’t mean to imply there was “nothing” at scienceblogs…just that it wasn’t a big deal there. Which is fine…I guess my post was more just me being whiny :)

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