Friday, March 26, 2010

What I'm Doing

Since I'm not a professional geologist, I don't have a whole lot to say about this month's Accretionary Wedge, hosted at Geology Happens. The topic is stated as follows:
This AW is to share your latest discovery with all of us. Please let us in on your thoughts about your current work. What you are finding, what you are looking for. Any problems? Anything working out well?
Again, since I'm not working in geology, it's not easy for me to respond, and I seriously considered sitting this one out. However, I am a marginal member of the geoblogosphere- that is, most geobloggers focus almost exclusively on geology- and earth science-related topics. That isn't and never was the focus of this blog. My focus has always been just what it says in the header: "Miscellaneous thoughts on politics, people, math, science and other cool (if sometimes frustrating) stuff from somewhere near my favorite coffee shop," or more succinctly, stuff that interests and amuses me.

Still, I do consider myself part of the geoblogging community, and am committed to strengthening that sense of community. A quick check shows nearly 1800 posts over the last (nearly) two years, with 230 tagged geology, 71 tagged geoblogosphere, 47 tagged volcanoes, and so on. There's quite a bit of overlap between those, but clearly geology is a big interest of mine, and one that I like to share with others.

So my answer to Ed's question is that for as long as I can, I am working to develop a sense of community within the geoblogosphere. Most professional geologists are so busy with work/research/teaching/actual lives, that they simply don't have time to do the fiddly little stuff like editing the Accretionary Wedge, pestering people about hosting, trying to come up with fresh approaches to engaging people who could and should participate, but don't, and so on. I do have the time, and I don't have to worry about a career, or pleasing a corporation or university, or about students' reactions to my opinions.

I believe geology is a vastly undervalued discipline, and, particularly this year, it feels like the only time it gets attention is in the aftermath of a disaster, when the time to pay attention to the topic is before the disaster. I try to dissect irresponsible and misleading media reports, and draw attention to amazing news and discoveries that I don't feel are getting enough coverage. And I try to do this in a way that's accessible to anyone interested, regardless of what they already know.

I think the geoblogosphere has a lot to offer the broader public, and I'm proud to be a part of it. And I'm proud of the few hours I spend each month reminding geobloggers and others of the importance and awesomeness of geology.

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