Saturday, 17 July 2010

and so it begins....

So here I am, I've actually started blogging!! To answer your question of what this is all about, I attended two meetings this week, Wesminster Skeptics on Monday, with speaker Simon Perry and the Science Blogging Talkfest on Thursday, with the amazing panellists Petra Boynton , Mark Henderson, Jon Butterworth, Alok Jha, Andy Lewis and (my personal favourite) Ed Yong.

From these events I learned of the power of blogging and it has intrigued me.

Take Simon's example of Joanne Jordan, the medium whom he investigated. Through his lengthy blogging and insatiable campaigning "against pseudo-science and other nonsense" he remains the dominating figure of a google search result enquiring about Jordan and, with many other "adventures in nonsense", has brought awareness of many other such practices to audiences of all flavours. Prior to hearing what Simon had to say, I had no idea how many "bad fish" slipped the net, I genuinely thought that each Chinese remedy store or chiropractor that claimed to treat illnesses through their methods, were allowed to advertise this - despite my disbelief in their verisimilitude claims - but step up Simon Perry and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and, evidently, they're not!! Simon is a great figure in the world of skeptics and encourages important activism to protect the vulnerable consumer. By Wednesday, I was part of a team, helping Simon in his campaign against another company that had placed themselves into the ASA's remit. Blogging amazing!!

I admire the work of Simon and it is a virtue to actively seek out companies or individuals who make false claims about their products and to have them removed. On the other side, I also do agree that skepticism can turn into aggression and can make a person just appear a total arsehole....a fine line to be wary of!! Note to self: don't be an arsehole about it!!

Thursday's Talkfest had mixed reviews, I assume there were varied expectations, some met, some not. I, however, didn't know what to expect. I thought I would be in over my head with only journo, sci-blogger and highly intellectual types attending....and I was right, but there also were many people from other backgrounds too. For me, there were some great points raised such as why the panellists blog, the difference between writing for yourself and at the mercy of editors, whether bloggers should get paid or not and also the encouraging comment from Ed Yong about not letting anyone tell you that blogging is pointless or trivial!!

I'm currently studying a part-time MSc course in cellular pathology and as part of it I have just begun my research project. As a twitter member (@dellybean) I have begun to write mini blogs (the infamous 140 characters per tweet) about my progress (and setbacks as experienced yesterday) and I'm getting a kick out of it. I also realised I have a lot of jibba jabba in my head that I like to talk about so I just figured, why not blog? After the week I've had, it didn't seem much of an epiphany, it was more an obvious next move that's been biting me in the ass for some time now.

So what do I want from this blog? Honestly, I would love it to become a place where I can generate people's comments of concurrence, conflicts and even ideas that I would never have conceived alone. I want it to open the way I think about matters that interest me....if it's on here, I'm interested so please comment!!

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