Monday, March 19, 2007

The Thinking Blogger Awards

I return to this polluted, noisy orgy of people and concrete which is 'The Jing' (So good they only named half of it), and though the smell of the smog-filled air crept into the plane as we landed and the jack-hammers greeted us as we left the airport, it does feel like home, and that's pretty good.

I have all the detritus of a long trip to clear up and mounds of dust which have crept through the gaps in the door frame to hide, but that's fine because having managed 5 hours sleep in 3 days I need a bit of catch-up.

On arriving back into the office this afternoon I was greeted with 100+ blog posts to sift through in the feed reader, including a very pleasing nomination from Retrospectacle.

The Thinking Blogger award means that I get to nominate 5 blogs which I deem to fit the title - I also get to show the badge of my pleasingly geeky status:
A bit of fun, but it's nice to know that the random mix of thoughts which I lay down here in no particular order are appreciated.

Anyway, so, my nominations for the award go to:

  • Flip Tomato - An American Physics Student in England. As a part III student at Cambridge he's recently been posting a great mixture of expository writing on physics and his ideas and tips for how one can make the high energy physics community a better and more efficient place to work(not that it's not in many ways already).
  • My personal bias is for blogs which have an eclectic mix of topics and not simply science. This helps to show the wider world that while we love what we do, many physicists have a wide range of interests and can be pretty well-adjusted people - I'm sure I've met some, anyway. Backreaction has some of the best sets of introductions and overviews of topics which I've read in any blogs and mixes this with a bit of art, a bit of social commentary and a bit of, erm, physics rap.
  • I mentioned this as a newfound blog a couple of posts ago - Khymos mixes my love for food and science in excellently balanced proportions in his site dedicated to the world of molecular gastronomy.
  • There are a huge number of expat blogs from China. I tend to stay away from a lot of them which simply expound on how stupid the Chinese are and how country-X is better. It's very tiring very quickly - sure, everyone has their particular quibbles with life out here but generally nobody is forcing us to stay in this strange land and usually the arguments about the ignorance of the Chinese are cheap, generalised shots to make the other expats laugh. The Weifang Radish provides a more level-headed commentary of life out here though includes the politics which I usually shy away from.
  • There are many blog giants out there, some of whom I respect greatly and some of whom I enjoy reading, if only to get aggravated. However, one of them stands out for me as an exceptional mix of cutting edge mathematical physics and very good introductions to a whole range of subjects. In fact the title 'intelligent blog' may be debated simply because the site, starting as a proto-blog has a large range of formats within it. As an undergraduate I learnt many things from John Baez's site and was prompted to go and read lots of excellent books, having had a taster for various topics. Both the diary and this week's finds are blog-like areas of the site which frequently contain a lot of fascinating, thought provoking material.

OK, that wasn't easy, and I link to most of the above regularly, but I hope that those stumbling upon this site for the first time will check out some of these blogs and find lots to interest them.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Shock---

The Chinese Gov. hasn't blocked the expat sites? How does the censorship work over there?

Get some sleep---
tex

Jonathan Shock said...

Hi Tex,

There are various theories about this. My thought is that they have other things to worry about than a few expats who like to mouth off about the situation. Currently however almost all blogs are blocked here in China, including Blogspot as of yesterday. People have commented that this may be related to the national congress which has just finished and they may have wanted a crack-down on such sites, but it's always difficult to tell. Wikipedia is on and off pretty regularly. The Weifang Radish (address in the main post) is often the place to find information and speculation on these topics.

All the best,

J

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Do you ever have any problems accessing the things you need for research? I hate to admit it, but occasionally I have to tune in to Wikipedia for some stupid questions that I'm too embrassed to ask my advisor or the post-doc I'm working with.

tex

Jonathan Shock said...

There's no problem when there's a proxy server installed. Sure, I use wikipedia regularly and feel no guilt about it. It's a good resource as long as you recognise its inherent shortcomings. J

ChinaLawBlog said...

Weifang Radish is definitely a cut above. Good choice.

Finbar Breambeam said...

Well done on your award Biscuit. Curious thing though. If everyone you nominate for a 'Thinking Blogger Award' nominates five blogs themselves, and so on for 15 iterations, everyone on Earth can have one...

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Jonathan Shock said...

Finbar,

Under which logic I hope you won't feel too bad if you don't receive one.

Some fine logic also from shoe-stretchers all-shoe site:

'The best way to buy shoes that will fit your feet properly is to take their shape into consideration'

I couldn't have put it better myself. I may take that as my thought for the day.

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