Welcome to the new place!

As you’ve figured out now, I’ve joined the ranks of the many science bloggers at scienceblogs.com. The plaster’s still wet on the walls and there are a few things I still would like to see fixed up here in the new place (my rotating logos will be implemented some time—Carl Buell‘s Brontops will change now and then, pretty as it is; someday I’ll have to see what I can do to get Pirate Mode functioning here, too), but for now it’s a good clean layout and plenty of buckets to pour text into, and that’s all that really matters. Most importantly, with a team of pros managing the behind-the-scenes work and some really powerful servers to handle the pages, I’m hoping the frequent slow-downs and flailing databases of the past are now behind me. Let’s try to kick the tires and have a few hundred-thousand-visitor days to see how well it can all cope, OK?

Let me also reassure (or worry) you with one important thing: I think Seed gets it. When we were negotiating this move, one specific request was that I could be as free here to say what I want as I was on my own server, and I’m confident that that will be the case—so expect me to be as obnoxious as ever, sprinkling little bits of information on my usual abrasiveness to make it all go down smoothly. So, no changes except for the new URL, better performance, and a few quirky features that are gone but may slowly be restored…content will be the same, and there are promises of better things to come. We all win!

Of course, if there are things you really miss, or if you encounter new problems, please do let me know about them, and I’ll pass them onto the good guys who do the real work around here. I’m planning to just put my feet up and babble.


  1. says

    PZ. Just a quick suggestion to think about… I kind of dislike the way everybody’s blogs here at Science Blogs are looking the same now. I know that content is king, but somehow I find it depressing that different blogs I read suddenly all look the same.

    Also, you really out to widen out this comment form… You’ve got the screen real estate to do that easily.

    I’m hoping that everybody can get a look and feel that is their own.

  2. Dread Pirate Flint says

    ARRGH…No buccaneer with yer new buckets. Avast ye scurvy dog! I be glad of yer swabbin’ the decks of the new blog. Aye, but there’ll be no more Puska-brew for you till pirate mode is up an’ runnin’.

  3. Tiskel says

    I agree with ocellated.com’s post. I hate looking at these fixed width columns running down the middle of my large screen. I don’t know if that is something you can change, but at 1920×1024, I have to do a whole lot more scrolling down then should be necessary. What ever happened to letting the browser do the text flow?

    I find the comments harder to differentiate here as well… is there any way to make a better separation between them?

  4. CanuckRob says

    Congrats on the new deal and new site. I tend to agree with Ocellated, bigger comments seciton (bigger fonts for us old guys:)). Keep up the great work, I worry that my great southern neighbour is going to become a theocracy and that is very scary.

  5. says

    One thing I liked at the old site (which allowed me to read it at all on an old dial-up for a while while my computer was sick) was e-mail notification of comments. Is that possible here?

  6. Steve LaBonne says

    Holy crap PZ, you sure didn’t waste time filling the new site up with posts! Congrats on the new digs, and the check sounds pretty good too. ;) Suggestion for my fellow oldies: you can always increase the text size on your browser.

  7. rrt says

    Nice digs! Agreed, of course, that some tweaking will be necessary.

    Does this mean I have to get a subscription to Seed now? ;)

  8. says

    Holy crap!! Was I wrong about the prolific part in my comment at the old place or what!!

    Looks like I was also wrong about the group blog thing. I thought this’d be like Panda’s thumb or dKos with you being one of the contributors.

    Glad to see it is primarily server space you’re sharing.

    I agree that the new quarters feel a bit cramped (and yeah, the text is a bit smaller as well), but I guess that’s the price to pay for the screen real estate lost in the bargain.

  9. Geral Corasjo says

    Not bad, it can use some.. personal customization but its still new. I look forward seeing this one grow, and it should gain more traffic than ever.

  10. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says

    And of course I forgot to mention that the text is so much smaller here than it was on the old Pharyngula. Uggh.

    We’ll all have to compensate by using bigger words.

  11. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says

    Quotes don’t seem to be set off from unquoted text. Maybe there are some style variables somewhere that could be tweaked.

  12. Kristjan Wager says

    So, no more comments high scores? Probably a good thing – it just reminded everyone of how many irrelevant comments I made at the old site.

    I know that this is not your space in the same sense as your old blog, but could you please get rid of some of the clutter?

  13. Kristjan Wager says

    Hmmm… one bad thing – email addresses doesn’t show up here. It was a useful tool at the old site – maybe it would be possible for SEED to implement a functionality where it is possible to optionally show your e-mail address?

  14. Joe says

    Congrats on the new site!

    for some reason (and its probably my poor abiliy with computers) I was never able to post on your site.

    I’ve lurked pharyngula for over a year now and I’m glad to see that you’ve made it secure for (hopefully) a few years to come.

    Keep it up THANKS!

  15. says

    I like it PZ! I just hope you don’t temper your biting critique of religious wingnuts due to your new surroundings. Keep it real :-)

  16. Tara Mobley says

    So, we’ve traded in a computerised anti-spambot sytem of vocabulary words for comment moderation? Who moderates all our silly comments to weed out the spambots?

  17. Steve LaBonne says

    Click on the seedmagazine.com link at the bottom of the page to “Concerning the President of the USA” under “Focus” (a post which contains some more fun with BLAST)if you’re worried that these are surroundings that will force PZ to pull his punches. I think you’ll be reassured. ;)

  18. Kristjan Wager says

    Oh Damn, I just realized, we are not going to get mails with later comments are we? Can this be added?

  19. says

    Keep on tossing out suggestions. I’ll see what I can do — it’s only the first day I’ve been posting here, so we’ll work out the bugs.

  20. Moses says

    Where are the horns on you picture? I mean, that little photo you look like a respectable pillar of the academic community, not some Satanic Darwinist ready to eat baby Christians for breakfast.

  21. jbark says

    Congrats on the move!

    And glad to hear you’re getting at least a modest bit of pocket change for your efforts. Much deserved.

  22. says

    It looks good so far.

    I’m not worried by text size. Ctrl-scrollwheel resizes text as expected (in Firefox at least; IE users have their own handicaps).

  23. Ptaylor says

    Congrats on the move!
    The one thing I miss is the little blue icon that used to appear in my browser’s address bar and also in my Bookmarks drop-down menu – now all I get is a generic icon.

  24. says

    How do you feel about sharing the bill with Gene Expression, which I find to be always interesting, but sometimes more politically than intellectually daring — going out of its way to trumpet “politically incorrect” ideas about race and gender, out of a (IMHO) misplaced sense of suppression… ?

    Or, fellow readers, what do you think? Will we be well served by having Pharyngula and Gene Expression in counterpoint?

  25. says

    Aaaaahhh! Gone for a few hours and I miss everything! Wow!

    I do have to agree with those who have said the page looks a little dull, but I realize this is probably just a shock-to-the-system, lack of familiarity effect. I’m sure it will be great. And this should finally give me more reason to search out some more great science blogs.

  26. says

    I’m hoping that you view this move as an experiment that can be reversed if necessary! What I don’t like:

    • Lack of registration. Doesn’t this mean more work for you in approving comments, whereas before trusted users means trusted comments?
    • The template – small text cramped into a centre column doesn’t agree with my eyes/brain.
    • The ads – I know, they’re part of the hosting deal, but they take up a lot of page. At least they don’t flash.
    • The brand identity compared with the personal themed site.

    I guess it’s early days and some of these things can be addressed. I’m just a big advocate of DIY hosting, for the complete control that it affords. And I never found the old site to be especially slow or broken. On the other hand, I appreciate that your priority is to post content, not to be a sysadmin.

  27. SEF says

    Hmm… I can probably get used to the small text size but a simple line (eg HR tag) between successive comments would be a great help.

  28. Sage Donkey says

    So, is there no ‘log in’ function? It looks like it is holding my information as I ramble around the place, so that may do the trick.

    Will the citizens of Morris be holding a parade in appreciation of you releasing the other half of the internet bandwidth that the students weren’t eating up sharing music :-)

    The performance improvement is quite nice.

  29. says

    Wow, very sleek. The tiny font is a bit of a strain, though, and I have to admit to a bit of nostalgia for the old place. C’est la vie.

    Mandos, Dr Myers says in the post that he’ll have a look into Pirate Mode whe he can.

    -The Rev. Schmitt.

  30. says

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the new format. I do regret the lack of registration, though – it means I can no longer flaunt my comment count…

  31. judgemc says

    Wow! I like what you’ve done to the place. New curtains; new carpet; are those new pirates over there in the corner? Love the squids.

  32. says

    Could the scienceblogs.com home page zookeeper webmaster put up links to all the blogs it hosts? It would be convenient to have one page where I could find you and Chris Mooney and whoever else is hosted here.

    Oh, and I concur with most of the above suggestions about column width and font size.

  33. says

    Ah, never mind. I clicked the “About” link looking for the list rather than the logo in the upper right.

    I see the “strike” command doesn’t take. I used it pre- and post- “zookeeper.”

  34. magista says

    Glad to know you’ll not be having server problems now – it took a lot of refreshing the past couple of weeks to get the old page to load.

    With IE, at least, I have the comment text flush left with the white background. Is there a way to stand off the text a bit? I find it hard to read the comments that way.

  35. says

    my Thunderbird RSS newsreader seems to be having some difficulty reading the articles via the advertises newsfeed. i tried trashing the “Pharyngula” folder, exiting, entering, and re-subscribing again. it’s acting very quiet.

    i’ll report in if it comes to life.

  36. SEF says


    Testing the unspecified “HTML tags for style”:

    I still can’t get a horizontal rule (HR) to work (the above was underscore characters). I find the posts insufficiently separated for easy reading.

    Unsurprisingly, TABLEs don’t work (which would have been an alternative trick).

    Blockquote didn’t work (on preview anyway).

    While bold (B), italic (I) and strike (S) tags work, underline (U) doesn’t.

    • list items
    • and another
  37. Nix says

    Yeah, gotta agree with everyone else. Faster server, *nasty* layout.

    Downsides so far, in ten seconds of looking:

    – bombed with multiple 2038-expiring cookies: no way am I allowing that; cookies from scienceblogs are now blocked here until that stops
    – tiny text by default
    – if I zoom to expand the text, the columns are too small to read anything sanely (~40 chars!); I dread to think what the mildly-visually-impaired are doing (the very visually impaired are using screen readers which have probably been broken by the extreme table abuse this site rejoices in)
    – ~70% of my screen is filled with things *other* than the text I came here to read; the black and white bars are boring.
    – the URL isn’t as nice

  38. darkymac says

    What a wonderful change Prof.
    It’s such a relief to have your text served at a good pace once again!

    The layout changes aren’t at all distracting from the content for this little black duck.

    Pinch, punch for a new dress and hooray if you’re getting dollar recognition for your work along the way :-)

  39. Torbjorn Larsson says

    Thank you PZ, and congrats for the new faster site.

    I will miss my cat avatar briefly, but life goes on. And I really joined the pack this time, so perhaps it was not reflecting my public persona any longer anyway.

    Content is important on a blog, with merely a pretty face or trim body you will not come as far as otherwise. So I would think that the new site will work well even if the feel and technology is different.