Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Lurker Day: Who are our readers?

by PhilipJ on 22 September 2005

I wish I had known about this earlier today, as apparently today is Lurker Day (via Cosmic Variance)! In the spirit of the day, I’ll copy verbatim what Sean said:

...lazy bloggers avoid posting original content by asking their readers who never (or rarely) comment to drop by and leave a note saying who they are and what they like about the blog.

Well, I’m definitely a lazy blogger, and you guys almost never post a comment—we seem to fit the bill! So how about it, who are all our readers? I’ll start us off.

I’m a biophysics grad student at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada. I did my undergrad at Memorial University of Newfoundland in NL, Canada, in physics, and decided to escape a province with lots of precipitation for… another province with lots of precipitation!

I joined a new lab this past year and have helped build the group’s first instrument, a single beam optical tweezer apparatus. I like to think I’m an optics junkie, and I’m about to spend some time learning molecular biology (DNA cloning, specifically) techniques.

So who are you all, and is there anything at BioCurious that you particularly like/dislike?



  1. andre    4202 days ago    #
    I’ve also been “busy” lately and haven’t posted anything. I’ve become a lurker at my own site.

    Like Phil, I also did my undergrad at Memorial University and was proud to recently discover that many of the excellent contributions to Non Campus Mentis* came from our colleagues there. Now I’m working on a PhD in physics at the University of Pennsylvania.

    More precisely, I’m one of several suckers… I mean graduate students around the world trying to combine single molecule fluorescence with single molecule atomic force microscopy. Despite papers with titles like “Simultaneous atomic force microscope and fluorescence measurements of protein unfolding using a calibrated evanescent wave” (in PNAS no less) no one has published anything showing a force measurement on the same molecule that their fluorescence signal is coming from. Even I could simultaneously run a fluorescence microscope next to an atomic force microscope, but I don’t think I would learn anything new by doing it. The point is correlating the two signals to enhance your measurement. But I guess everyone knows that and I shouldn’t get too worked up over an ambitious title…

    Something I dislike about BioCurious is that we only allow plain text in the comments. :)

    *http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761122745/102-0346408-3312106?v=glance
  2. Jean-Claude Bradley    4202 days ago    #
    To the last comment writer, we are neighbors in Philly. I teach organic chemistry at Drexel. To the blog owner – we were neighbors. I come from Canada – got my degree at U. of Ottawa.

    I am subscribed to your blog because I am interested in how the intersection of science and RSS plays out. I have had undergrads working in my lab on a nanotechnology project keep blogs over the summer and it is stuff like that I would be pleased to see more of.

    Keep it up. Back to lurking.
  3. PhilipJ    4202 days ago    #
    André: you can post real links and things, using the regular Textile rules, if that’s what you mean.

    Jean-Claude: André is the other blogger (and in fact, he started this site before I joined! Glad to hear from you!
  4. Klara S    4200 days ago    #
    I’m also one of the poor suckers at UPENN working on “saving the World from cancer” by building smart molecules that will save us in the end of our lives, that are filled with eating junk food, drinking variously colored sugar concentrates and sitting in cars. I like to read your blog-it is a blend of interesting and well written information and I don’t need to spend hours by browsing the net (that would probably influence the length of my PhD). Now it should also be clear why I never post any comments-as a non-native speaker, my English writing is of a poor quality, so you really should prevent this by “not avoiding posting original content”.
  5. maria    4198 days ago    #
    I too am a poor sucker (i.e. graduate student) using this whole blog thing to avoid writing a thesis (M.Sc. Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology, MUN) :) wow. this seems to be a very popular trend. I visit this page because I used to hang out with the two goons that started this whole thing when they went to Memorial. I also visit to correct any of the fundamental biology they’ve messed up :) (eels ARE fishes, right andre!?!?). Plus,... sometimes I really miss the knowledge of a biologically minded physicst… it makes me think of my field in a much broader light,.. something, I’m sure, of which we could all use a little more. cheers,
  6. PhilipJ    4198 days ago    #
    Klara S – Hi, nice to hear from you! As you can probably tell from half of my posts it matters little if English is your native tongue, most people’s my writing is just bad! :) Don’t let that stop you from posting comments, too.

    Maria – Speaking of getting the other side’s point of view, I’m doing the exact reverse thing this coming month, I’m heading down to work in a microbiology lab at UBC to grow up E. coli with a plasmid of interest in them, sent to us from my supervisor’s old lab. I’m looking forward to talking some real biology talk. It will be a nice reminder why non-physics people are interested in the same things we are (i.e., evolution!). Cross-disciplinary projects are awesome! On a tangent, when are you meant to be finishing up? And (million-dollar question) do you have a post-MSc plan? :)
  7. mitokondrion    4197 days ago    #
    I’m a biologist faking as a biophysicist, or rather, trying to understand just enuf physics to make sense of molecular dynamics and electrostatics calculations of my favorite proteins. That’s taken me a year, long enuf time to know I want to pursue a phd in the field, someday soon!

    Guess it was a search for MD that brought me to your site a few months ago, and since then it’s part of my daily rss-snacks :)
    cool concept, neat reviews, good insights, not enuf posts :P keep writin’!!
  8. nate    4197 days ago    #
    I’m a Computer Scientist. I reload biocurious every hour, looking for my promised insightful post so I can post my promised insightful comment.
  9. PhilipJ    4196 days ago    #
    mitokondrion – welcome! I’m truly sorry about our laziness, though I think it is endemic in graduate students. We (or at least, I) will try to post more often.

    As for pretending, I hear you there. You should have seen the look of horror on my face as I tried to streak a few cells onto agar plates earlier today. :)

    nate – cool, what kind of CS?

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