Go On Till You Come to the End; Then Stop

ScienceBlogs is coming to an end. I don’t know that there was ever a really official announcement of this, but the bloggers got email a while back letting us know that the site will be closing down. I’ve been absolutely getting crushed between work and the book-in-progress and getting Charlie the pupper, but I did manage to export and re-import the content to an archive site back on steelypips.org. (The theme there is an awful default WordPress one, but I’m too slammed with work to make it look better; the point is just to have an online archive for the temporary redirects to work with.)

I’m one of a handful who were there from the very beginning to the bitter end– I got asked to join up in late 2005, and the first new post here was on January 11,2016 (I copied over some older content before it went live, so it wasn’t just a blank page with a “Welcome to my new blog!” post). It seems fitting to have the last post be on the site’s last day of operation.

The history of ScienceBlogs and my place in it was… complicated. There were some early efforts to build a real community among the bloggers, but we turned out to be an irascible lot, and after a while that kind of fell apart. The site was originally associated with Seed magazine, which folded, then it was a stand-alone thing for a bit, then partnered with National Geoographic, and the last few years it’s been an independent entity again. I’ve been mostly blogging at Forbes since mid-2015, so I’ve been pretty removed from the network– I’m honestly not even sure what blogs have been active in the past few years. I’ll continue to blog at Forbes, and may or may not re-launch more personal blogging at the archive site. A lot of that content is now posted to

What led to the slow demise of ScienceBlogs? Like most people who’ve been associated with it over the years, I have Thoughts on the subject, but I don’t really feel like airing them at this point. (If somebody else wants to write an epic oral history of SB, email me, and we can talk…) I don’t think it was ever going to be a high-margin business, and there were a number of mis-steps over the years that undercut the money-making potential even more. I probably burned or at least charred some bridges by staying with the site as long as I did, but whatever. And it’s not like anybody else is getting fabulously wealthy from running blog networks that pay reasonable rates.

ScienceBlogs unquestionably gave an enormous boost to my career. I’ve gotten any number of cool opportunities as a direct result of blogging here, most importantly my career as a writer of pop-physics books. There were some things along the way that didn’t pan out as I’d hoped, but this site launched me to what fame I have, and I’ll always be grateful for that.

So, ave atque vale, ScienceBlogs. It was a noble experiment, and the good days were very good indeed.

4 thoughts on “Go On Till You Come to the End; Then Stop

  1. Ah, I’m really sorry to hear this news. I think I’ve been reading Uncertain Principles for as long as it’s been around, and I recall fondly some of the comment threads and interactions I’ve had here.

    I really consider Forbes to be extremely reader-hostile, especially with their insisting on splitting “long” posts onto multiple pages—as though there were a finite amount of space in my scroll bar—putting hardly any of the body of the posts into the rss feed, their extremely aggressive ad-blocking-blocking and simultaneous use of lots of tracking services. I’m subscribed to your rss there, but basically get annoyed 100% of the time I navigate anywhere on the Forbes site. I know a lot of these complaints are beyond your control, but that doesn’t make me hesitate less when clicking through.

    1. Agreed. I’d also say, the posts on Forbes get fewer comments, and engagement between commenters, than the scienceblogs posts. And, of course, the content is a bit different. I always appreciated the posts about music and family stuff, and the more in depth physics.

  2. Greatly appreciated your Project: Non-Academic Scientists series of posts – they were very helpful when I made the leap from quitting grad school to working in industry. Hopefully some others found great use for them as well.

  3. I know I was around in the beginning because I commented on some of the rankings that followed the “most beautiful experiment” post. More than a decade. I’ve enjoyed all of it.

    One correction, however: You typed 2016 instead of 2006 in the text of the second paragraph when referencing your first post.

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