Abel of Terra Sigillata kindly tagged me with a recent blog trope, naming me one of the bloggers who makes him think. This, it goes without saying, is undeserved, but that never stopped me grabbing for good things before. So without further ado, here are five blogs (in no particular order) whose authors make me think, challenge my preconceptions, and generally give my grey matter a workout on a regular basis:
The Bell by Jared Dunn. In his own words:
Content, likely to be a mish-mash of politics, culture, media, sports, and tech, with emphasis probably on politics. I’m a rather incorrigible generalist / dilettante and a serial digressionist…
He’s also smart as hell, and never stops trying to figure out why people do the stupid shit they do. Obdisclaimer: he’s a pal.
One Foot In, by Alice Domurat Dreger. The title refers to one foot in the academy, one foot in the real world. In her own words:
Most of my professional energies have gone to improving the medical and social treatment of people born with socially-challenging bodies, including people with intersex, conjoinment, dwarfism, and cleft lip. I work with affected adults, parents, and clinicians to make things better in the social and medical worlds. The question that motivates me is this: Why not change minds instead of bodies?
Her essays are fascinating, and showed me a whole shadowy world I never even knew was there. For a quick intro, try When Medicine Goes Too Far in the Pursuit of Normality, Proof that I Like Penises or Separate Together. You will also find Dr Dreger blogging — more frequently than on her own site, in fact — at the Hastings Center Bioethics Forum.
Philosopher’s Playground, by Steve Gimbel — “an on-going game of intellectual tag concerning ethics, science, politics, and all topics philosophical”. Steve is smart and well-read and funny and personable (online, I mean; we’ve never met, although he likes beer which inclines me to think we’d get along). He recently triggered an excellent blogversation about teaching science with a provocative post about whether labs are a waste of time, he’s dead wrong about impeachment, let’s see… oh yes, he’s also a prophet, and as far as I know the inventor of the tragically underused phrase civil fucking discourse.
Update: dammit, someone got Steve before I did. I read that post, too, and forgot all about it. OK then:
Big Monkey, Helpy Chalk by Rob Loftis. I’m not entirely sure what it is that Rob does for a living, apart from the fact that he’s an academic (or, as I like to call it, a government thinkmonkey) — but how can you not love a man whose latest writing proposal is “Gaius Baltar and the Image of the Tyrant in Plato and Boethius”. If you need more than that, try the North County Academy for the Excruciatingly Fine Arts.
Majickthise, by Lindsay Beyerstein. You probably already read Lindsay, and if you don’t you should. You should also support her efforts to establish a truly independent reporting career, and, I dunno, maybe name one of your children after her. Some of her big stories include Hurricane Katrina, Scumbag DeLay’s perp walk and Ned Lamont whuppin’ Holy Joe. I hope she runs for President one day. (Oh yeah, “magic thighs” — it’s a Hitchhiker’s Guide reference.)
Adventures in Ethics and Science, by Janet Stemwedel. I’m surprised Janet hasn’t already been tagged (someone got to Zuska before me, dammit). Science is not like law and sausages: you are encouraged to watch it being made. Adventures is an excellent window onto that process; Janet is a PhD chemist and a PhD ethicist, and looks at science not only from the bench but as a human endeavour, a process carried out by a particular (and peculiar) tribe. If you are interested in how science works, read this blog.
I want explicitly to say that I don’t expect my tag-ees to play, but if you feel like doing so the original guidelines, from Ilker Yoldas who started this thing in February, are as follows:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display this ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ graphic (in silver or gold) with a link to the post that you wrote.
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I strongly recommend never doing any business of any kind with this company.