Why is National Geographic Killing Science Blogs?

I don’t care whether Yahoo merges with AOL.  In fact, other than serving as a synonym for Huffington Post and a foil for Mike Arrington, I’m not really sure what AOL is or does.  Can you still log on to AOL?  I honestly don’t know.  I’m guessing not.

I used Yahoo for a long time.  My Yahoo was only supplanted by iGoogle as my old school news page about a month ago.  I still use Flickr some, but it seems to be in the post-purchase, pre-death coma that plagued Delicious for years (Delicious eventually got bought- or given away- I’m not sure which, but it still looks pretty sleepy).  If Google Apps users ever get to use Google+, I’ll probably move my photos to Picasa.  If I’m not too old to use a computer by then. 

The death of things internet is inevitable.  Remember ProdigyCompuserveGenie?  MySpace?  TechCrunch?  Kidding, sort of.

That’s OK.  Take Yahoo.  Take AOL (please).


But what in the heck is happening to Science Blogs!?

It would be hard to overstate how much I have enjoyed Science Blogs over the years.  I have an entire folder in Google Reader for science-related blogs.  Almost all of them used to be Science Blogs blogs.

Until a series of staggeringly bad decisions conspired to kill them.

Last year saw Pepsi-gate.

Earlier this year National Geographic bought Science Blogs.  You’d think that would be a good thing.  Stability.  Cred.  Money.  Cool photos.  But maybe not.


I’ve read National Geographic.  I was a subscriber back when I read printed magazines.  I like the publication.  But I liked Science Blogs better.  Liked.

Because now there seems to be an exodus.  Some of it seems to be over the new corporate overlord’s decision not to allow people to blog under pseudonyms.  That is a horrible, and probably fatal, policy change.  And I’ll tell you why.

Lots of the Science Blogs bloggers are, directly or indirectly, involved in academia or government.  And there is simply no way someone in either of those fields- or any field for that matter- is going to write as freely or as interestingly if they have to write under their real name.  Plus, if you use your real name and those (quacks in some cases) who disagree with you do not, you are incubating social terrorism.  There is a reason why I have rarely mentioned my day job here.  Well, actually there are two.  One, it’s boring.  But, two, people know who I am.  If I could go back in time, I would probably blog under a pseudonym.  Thor.  Or Persifal.  Or Cat Daddy.

I don’t know the full back story at Science Blogs, but Drug Monkey dropped some pure wisdom in one of his/her last posts:

It is pretty clear that when corporate flacks ask you for your opinion in response to their reflexive stance they are not in fact going to be influenced.

That is an absolute fact.  Less than a month later he/she split, in search of more progressive bananas.

Mike the Mad Biologist soon followed.  And set up shop here.  Greg Laden is sort of leaving.  And sort of staying.

At least Tara Smith, one of my favorite Science bloggers (lower case) who shares my wish for a time machine, is hanging around.  I just wish she’d blog more.

I don’t know what’s happening to the internets these days, as old media tries to conscript parts of new media.  Do what you will dinosaurs.  But keep your hands and rules off my Science Blogs.

Cat Daddy, signing off for now.

One thought on “Why is National Geographic Killing Science Blogs?

  1. Yeah…It was nice to have one great big giant RSS feed.  Now I have to chase all over the place, collecting them back again.  Bah.

    As for “why”?  Well, there are folks who subscribe to the “Natl Geo wanted the *name*, not necessarily the *bloggers*” idea, that they bought it for the prestige.  Of course, the reason there was the prestige was those very same bloggers…

    Sorry you’re not able to get into G+.  I have a thriving “Science” circle in G+, with lots of those bloggers there.

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