Counting my millions

Breaking Bad Money

Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/AMC

I’m at a net loss from blogging so far. My net income for two years (here and on the old site) has been $21.54, while I’ve paid around a hundred bucks for domain name registration and stuff like that. That’s fine; I don’t do it for the money. I have a lot of other reasons for doing this, and there have been lots of benefits both intangible and tangible. The blog was partly responsible for me being invited to write the meeting review for the 2015 Volvox meeting, and I’m working on another manuscript inspired by an exchange that played out on Fierce Roller. Still, the main reason I do this is that I like to.

[Read more…]

Sorry about the ads

I use an ad blocker. Two of them, actually. I’m willing to add a website to my whitelist(s) if their ads aren’t obnoxious, but if it’s flashing in my face, popping up new windows, or autoplaying audio, forget it.

So I didn’t know; that’s my only excuse. I had actually never seen the ads on Fierce Roller until a friend messaged me on Twitter [Pg-13 below the fold]:

[Read more…]

Test post: featured images working properly (?)

The last couple of posts have shown up in my feed reader the way I always thought they should: with the image I chose in WordPress as the “Featured Image.” In the past, they have included the first image, no image, or the FreeThought blogs logo.


I don’t see what the point of identifying an image as “Featured” is if it doesn’t show up in the rss feed. I hope this means I can count on this to happen in the future. Let’s see…I’ve included one image in this post and identified a different image (of the rss icon) as the Featured Image. [Read more…]

Thoughts on a year of blogging

Facebook reminded me the other day that it’s been a year since I started the original Fierce Roller blog. I didn’t know back then if I’d stick to it this long, and I still don’t know if I’ll keep it up another year. One step at a time.


My very first blog post.

What is Fierce Roller, exactly? I guess it’s a few different things. One of the ideas from the start was to be a service to the Volvox community, reporting new papers, meetings, and news relating to volvocine algae. But that has only been one aspect. It is also a place for me to talk about my research interests, both scientific and philosophical. Scientific usually means that it has to do with the so-called ‘major transitions’ or related evolutionary themes. I wish I could cover this topic more thoroughly, but it has become a big subfield within evolutionary biology, and I can’t possibly keep up with the relative flood of papers. Philosophical usually means that it has to do with the one discussion in the philosophy of science that I’ve contributed to, about the meaning of biological individuality. There is also, of course, a thread of skepticism, occasionally about ‘alternative’ medicine, but usually responding to creationist arguments.

[Read more…]

So much wrong

Say what you want about the Discovery Institute; they are prolific! Evolution News & Views alone publishes several articles a day. I’m lucky if I can crank out three a week, and I try to limit the proportion that are about cdesign proponentsists being wrong. It’s a continual temptation, because those posts are easier to write than, say, digging into a peer-reviewed article. PZ promises me that blogging on FtB will eventually earn me enough to buy a cup of coffee, but I have a job. All of this means that I have to let a lot of big, juicy targets sail by. So, quickly:


Thank you, Michael Denton; no evolutionary biologist ever considered the possibility that not everything is adaptive. To answer your question, some aspects of leaf shape are adaptive, some are not. Next.

[Read more…]

F paywalls


Sure, I have $2000 a year to spend on this one journal.

I’ve written twice before about paywalls and how to get around them (On paywalls, Paywalls revisited). Paywalls pop up when you try to read a peer-reviewed article that you don’t have access to. If you work at a university, museum, or other research institution, you probably see these only every once in a while, because most such institutions have subscriptions to most of the big journals. Otherwise, you’re pretty much out of luck. [Warning: PG-13 below the fold]

[Read more…]