It is always fantastic to hear blog has been recognised by the mainstream media, but when a site from the space blogosphere is recognized by Time.com as one of 25 best blogs of 2009, that’s a big deal. Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy is officially up there with other blog monsters such as the Huffington Post, BoingBoing and Mashable (although few would argue against Bad Astronomy being the biggest space/astronomy/sceptical blogs out there).
They seemed to like the idea of a skeptical blog, which is probably what I like most about what they wrote. It’s very gratifying indeed to know that people out there appreciate a reality-based opinion. One of my overarching goals is to avoid dogma and bias and use only factual evidence on which to base my opinions. I know some people will disagree with this, but in general I think that’s because they don’t like the conclusions I reach. But I have found over the years that the hardest thing to accept as a skeptic is that the Universe doesn’t care what you think is true, it only cares about what is true.
Congratulations Phil! Your blend of healthy scepticism, astronomy, science and humour continues to inspire and motivate the rest of the science blogging world, this award recognizes Bad Astronomy as being one of the few “standard candles” cutting through the noise that is the Internet.
Today marks a significant day in the history of my bookshelf.
Having moved to the US from the UK, leaving the bulk of my proto-library collection back in my Bristol hometown, I only transported my most prized science and university textbooks. Alas, I had to leave my treasured collection of Patrick Moore books, my guide to the Universe and several hefty quantum physics texts in storage, bringing the bare minimum across the pond.
Books are important to me, and I have big dreams about having a room filled with them; one of those in-house libraries filled with knowledge and history. But five books hardly constitute a library… heck, they barely fill a rucksack. So action needed to be taken… I needed to turn this proto-bookshelf into a source of reference!
I have a bookshelf. Check.
I have an office. Check.
I have an Amazon.com account. Check.
I have a credit card (it’s strained, but you can’t put a price on knowledge, right?). Check!
So I went shopping and brought Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible (of which I have been promising myself most of the year) and succumbed to Phil Plait’s Death from the Skies! (with a book title like that, you have to obey the calling). Can’t wait to put a crease down the spines of both books, but I am keen to read Dr Plait’s account of how dangerous the Universe can be. Having done battle with the 2012 doomsayers, I need to read a book with a good, scientific rundown of how the world might end – and not fighting against the pseudo-scientific claims about Planet X and those pesky Anunnaki. The world is going to end some time, so look at the facts behind the claims and find out yourself.
The praise from Mythbuster Adam Savage for Death from the Skies pretty much sums it all up, I can’t wait to review the book myself:
“Phil Plait has done it again. He brings his unique and funny voice of reason and sanity to bear on making sense of a deadly universe. If things worked the way I wanted them to, any reporter about to do another “sensational” story on deadly meteors would consult this volume and BANG! Common sense would find it’s way into the news. How strange would THAT world be? On his blog and in his books, Plait is an important source of sanity and critical thinking, with just the right sense of wonder, reminding us that the universe is an amazing enough place without having to make crap up about it.” – Adam Savage, from Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters.