Following Fierce Roller


There doesn’t seem to be an RSS button here at Freethought Blogs, but if you use Feedly or some other feed reader (Jema), you can subscribe to fierce roller at I haven’t yet figured out how to subscribe by email, but if that’s your preference there is a slightly kludgy solution: you could convert the rss feed into emails using a service like feedmyinbox or rssfwd.

Fierce Roller is moving!

Volvox tertius

I got word Sunday night that my application to join the blogging community at Freethought Blogs was approved, so starting today Fierce Roller will be located at I’m trying to figure out how to migrate previous posts to the new platform; meanwhile, this site isn’t going anywhere (it just won’t be updated).

Hello world!

Hi, everyone! I’m excited (and surprised, to be honest) to join the freethoughtblogs community. I’ve been blogging for about ten months over at, a platform that I initially set up to serve the (pretty small) Volvox community. Volvox, in case you haven’t encountered it before, is a multicellular green alga, just visible to the naked eye, that is an important model system for understanding the evolution of multicellularity. Volvox is Latin for ‘fierce roller,’ a name bestowed by Linnaeus, who was impressed by their ability to move around without limbs.
Volvox aureus. Beautiful, isn't it?

Volvox aureus. Beautiful, isn’t it?

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New spam filter

Image from Wikimedia CommonsFierce Roller has been getting a lot of spam comments, hundreds of them. They’re all pretty obviously spam, with user names like “Nfl Jerseys 2015” and “cheap ray ban sunglasses.” None of them get through, because I set up the blog so that I have to approve a commenter’s first comment, but just sending them all to spam was getting to be a chore (I have to look at them all, since I don’t want to send legit comments to spam).

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Excess of vigilance


Fierce Roller gets a lot of spam comments, like several a day (I assume this is normal). If you are looking for cheap Ray-Ban glasses or NFL jerseys, I can hook you up. At some point in the last week or so I apparently hit “select all” before marking some new comments as spam, accidentally consigning all comments ever to spam purgatory. I have now restored all legitimate comments.

By the way, my (informal and subject to change) policy on comments is that I approve all of them unless they are straight up spam. I haven’t ever blocked a comment for any other reason.

Fierce Roller will be offline next week

Missouri River Breaks

The Upper Missouri River National Monument in Montana. Photo by Bureau of Land Management.

I’ll be leaving Sunday morning for the Epic Canoe Trip on the Upper Missouri River (Coal Banks Landing to Kipp Recreation Area). We’ll be paddling, hiking, and camping in the White Cliffs of the Missouri and the Missouri River Breaks, a total of 107 miles. I’ll be totally offline; no cell service and no email. Don’t cry for me.

Fierce Roller is under attack!

In the last 24 hours, 20 new users registered on the Fierce Roller blog (prior to yesterday, there were 15). Good news, right, expanding readership and all that? In the same 24 hours, there were 35 malicious login attempts, where the previous four weeks had seen 2. All  of the new registrants are from a or .website address, and none of them bothered with a real name. I’m not sure why someone would bother hacking a blog that’s lucky to hit 200 views in a week, but that’s what seems to be happening.

Some time today, I will purge all of these new registrants. If you are a legitimate reader and you get caught up in this, the solution is simple: just email me and tell me you’re a real person.