I talk a lot about community — the blog community, the local community, the community of science. I think of “community” as a way to help create, and to be part of, something larger than oneself, something capable of more than one could achieve alone. I suppose, though, it’s equally valid to see it as a kind of insurance: by contributing to the maintenance of a network of trust and mutual assistance, we assure our own access to assistance when we need it. Either way, a community is, among other important things, a means of spreading risks and costs so that no single incident should be catastrophic to any given individual.
Which is why it is exceeding remiss of me not yet to have mentioned that Bora could use a hand. He’s a grad student with a thesis in the balance and a family to help support, and the bills have piled up enough to be a hassle right now. As Abel Pharmboy says in comments there,
This is nuts […] but sadly all too common among the academic world these days. [Bora] should have a tenure-track position at a major scientific or liberal arts university but [is] stuck in the cycle of teaching-on-demand for far less than [he deserves].
More to my point, Bora’s a member of my community: inter alia, a researcher and a science blogger. And if you happen to be a blogger, teacher and/or researcher, consider this: Bora is the sort of person we want in our community. It will not take much reading of his main site, or his associated teaching and research blogs (Magic School Bus and Circadiana, respectively), to convince you that he has talent for science and for science teaching; nor will it take more than a glance at the support he has given various blogging carnivals to demonstrate that he understands and values community; nor is it necessary to look beyond his writing about science blogging itself to see that he has a forward-looking, can-do way of thinking about science and community and what the two can do for each other.
So: Abel and I have sent a little beer money Bora’s way, and now I’m asking my readers to do the same if they possibly can (PayPal and Amazon links are on the right hand side on Bora’s site). Please also consider passing on the request if you have a blog of your own.