Scienceblogs doesn’t want to hear from you

It’s nothing personal. For much of this morning, they’re going to be moving the database to a new server, and they’re going to shut off write access to it. That means you won’t be able to write comments on any of the articles on scienceblogs for about 3 hours, from 9-12ET today.

Don’t panic.

This is one step they’re taking to improve performance and make those annoying “internal server errors” and double-posts a thing of the past.

D’oh! Coturnix, who must be more aware of the time than I am, tells me that comments will be off from 9-12pm today. Never underestimate how late a programmer will sleep in; I just assumed 9am was plenty late for someone to get up, have coffee, read the newspaper, write a couple of pages, make a trip to the grocery store, and go in and take care of the lab animals—which was what I got done before 9—and that all that stuff would have been gotten out of the way by lunchtime.


  1. Oh, fishy, fishy, fishy, fish! says

    Don’t panic.

    Why panic? It’s mostly harmless.

  2. dr.filbert says

    “improve performance?” i get those junk e-mails too. will the size of the server also be “naturally enhanced?”

  3. Mystic Olly says

    I take it as my right to mis-interpret CalGeorge.

    Clearly he meant “co-menting is fun.”

    And by ‘menting’ I assume he means thinking (from Latin menteo = I am a smart bastard).

    Thus I understand that he is implying that thinking together is fun.


    I capitulate. (From Latin capus = head, and late = late; therefore meaning – it takes a while for me to work out what the funk you are saying).

    Mystic (Oh so very Mystic) Olly

  4. CalGeorge says

    Hello new server!

    May you be filled with lots of anti-religious sentiments.

    May a giant photo of Ken Ham in bed with a blow-up sex doll grace your hard drive.

  5. says

    I don’t know. We were warned that commenting would be disabled for a while, but I haven’t seen any sign of it. Maybe it took them 10 minutes instead of 3 hours. Maybe they slept in. Maybe the New Agers are right, and all we have to do is wish for something to be so, and it is.

  6. John C. Randoph says

    Say, PZ… I know arthropods aren’t really your thing, but do you have any comments about the half-brown, half-orange lobster that’s all over CNN right now?

    Is it a miracle of nature, or god’s comment on a very heavy-handed Star Trek episode?


  7. says

    System admins always wisely over-estimate how long it’s going to take to do something, because things usually don’t go as planned.

    Swapping a failed drive (with slide mounts!) on the RAID? 5 hours!

  8. Sarcastro says

    I just assumed 9am was plenty late for someone to get up, have coffee, read the newspaper, write a couple of pages, make a trip to the grocery store, and go in and take care of the lab animals…

    Uh huh,it’s also time enough to spill coffee on your keyboard, download a dozen virus infected emails and get around to telling IT about the server issue you had last night but didn’t want to stay late dealing with.

    We deal with more morons before breakfast than most people deal with all day.

  9. llewelly says

    As every competent administrator knows, 90% of fixes take less than 20 minutes, but 9% take about 3 hours. Unfortunately there’s no way to know ahead of time whether a given operation will be in the former category or the later. So they must ask for 3 hours, even though they know it probably won’t take them that long.

  10. says

    9 a.m.? That’s about the time my father starts to nose around looking for lunch. When you get up at 4 a.m. for breakfast, 9 o’clock is not too soon to shift your attention to the mid-day meal. We slackers who get up at 6 a.m. are duly chastened when we finally stagger out looking for breakfast. (Oh, it is nice to live on one’s own and make one’s own schedule, esp. during summer vacation! Yay!)

    Of course, if I call Dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day after 8 p.m. on the big day, I’ll have to leave a message with Mom. He’ll be in bed asleep.

  11. TAW says

    HA! Well, I ain’t no programmer but 9am was when I was waking up the first time. Yup, I went back to sleep- Till past 1pm. :)

  12. says

    4am is when I go to bed. I posted he comment above shortly after waking up and dragging myself to the computer to check my e-mail and the Last24Hours page….

  13. travc says

    CS and IT are more like molecular than organismic or evolutionary biology. There is a definate advantage to starting work in the afternoon when you are very likely going to have to keep hacking on things (and waiting for steps to complete) for an indeterminate amount of time. Instead of having to put in a 20 hour day when things take longer than expected (which is most of the time), you can safely say “screw it til tomorrow” and go home at 2am after ‘only’ 12 or 14 hours ;)

  14. Luna_the_cat says

    Exactly what travc just said. I can vouch for the fact that IT engineers think this way; if they don’t start thinking that way, then they end up thinking that way in short order, because there are only so many 9am->3am days that one can take.

  15. John Hynes says


    I prefer to say “noon” or “midnight” for 12 o’clock, instead of am/pm, as some people don’t know that 12am is midnight and 12pm is noon, since it doesn’t really make sense to talk about “before noon” (am) and “after noon” (pm) when it is exactly noon; so this actually means nine in the morning until twelve o’clock noon. Whereas “9-12ET” could be either AM or PM. However, as a rule there should never be planned downtime during business hours, because it’s bad for business, so I would assume that it would be 9 pm to 12 midnight, anyway.

    Which raises the question of why Americans don’t use 24-hour time, like most of the world does. It’s easy to distinguish between 0900-1200 and 2100-2400. (Midnight can be written as either 0000 or 2400, when it’s part of a range.) Another alternative would be to say 9-11:59 pm, but I think that is awkward.

    Maybe it might be more logical to use stardates, e.g. 54253.9-54254.0!

  16. David Harmon says

    why Americans don’t use 24-hour time…

    probably for the same reason we still use inches and ounces….