Ch-ch-ch-changes

The Musings has rather obviously been slowing down over recent months. This is in small part owing to my current circumstances, but for quite some time I’ve felt that I was slowly coming to the end of what I could do with the blog in terms of how it has run to date. The Musings has been going for just a shade under 5 years now and for the last 3 of that, (fieldwork aside) I’ve averaged right around a post every day. Now sure they vary from a few lines to a few thousand words, but still that has been a pretty significant and consistent output and one that I’m proud of.

However, it’s also getting harder and harder to write. When I started I always intended for this to be purely scientific in nature and stick to the archosaurs, science communication and related issues. More specifically though, I didn’t want to cover real basic stuff for non-experts or just cover new papers as there were lots of sites that already did that. But nor did I want to get into the super-detail and referenced reviews of some colleagues, it just didn’t appeal and I felt was often better covered by the papers themselves. Instead I stuck to a middle ground (or tried to) of beyond basic knowledge but not get right into the details – my rule of thumb has always been that it was for an audience who knew what a femur was, but not a 4th trochanter. Anyway, I really am running short of topics that I can write about quickly and easily that I’ve not covered before. I don’t want to have to start researching areas I’m not familiar with just to blog about them, but I also seem to have exhausted much of what I can say about dinosaurs and pterosaurs that’s not very basic or very complex.

As you might guess therefore, I’m building up to the idea that the Musings is going to be slowing down still further after this post. I am absolutely not stopping it – there’s too much that it’s still useful for – guest posts, art interviews, museum and zoo reviews, coverage of my own papers, bringing links forwards and the like that are best suited to this platform and audience and not others. So while I do expect that from now there’s not likely to be much more than one or two posts a week on here, this is far from the end.

Indeed, I mention other audiences since as the Musings slows, I’m starting afresh as a science blogger over on The Guardian. Back in January the call went out for new bloggers for their site, I pitched, and was offered one of the new places. This is in some ways little different to moving the site from one platform to another, and there enough bloggers who have moved to pastures new. However, I should warn regular Musings readers that I am intending to use this new platform to reach a new and broader audience.

While I’ll only be on the electronic side of The Guardian, it is a UK national daily newspaper and as such it going to have a much more eclectic audience and with far fewer dedicated dinosaur enthusiasts. But given that I was already looking to take a new angle with my online writing, this is an excellent fit. I can continue to be productive and not have to repeat myself, but start on a simpler footing and broaden my coverage (I might even include, shock, mammals). So while my output on here is going to be slowing further, if you want to keep reading lots of Dave-generate palaeo thoughts, then head over to The Guardian, but rest assured that the Musings is not shutting down, merely dozing a bit more often.

13 Responses to “Ch-ch-ch-changes”


  1. 1 HP 29/06/2012 at 3:17 pm

    [delurking] The lovely thing about RSS and a feed reader is that my favourite bloggers can take a hiatus or slow down, and I can still keep up.

    I know what a femur is, but I’d have to look up trochanter. (It sounds like maybe some kind of cervical process.) I don’t know how big an audience we are, but you’ve certainly reached me.

    Can you be sure to post a link here to your Grauniad blog when it goes live?

  2. 2 Kilian Hekhuis 29/06/2012 at 3:47 pm

    Congrats on the Guardian deal, hope to read you there as well. As HP said, let us know when we can head over there.

  3. 3 David Hone 29/06/2012 at 3:56 pm

    Well it;’s sort of started already. Those two articles I mentioned recently were effectively test-pieces and will be the start of what else I add to that beginning. I’m working on some stuff right now as it happens, and while this will start to appear over there it’ll be a while before I have a proper banner, RSS, icon etc. etc. and I can access things fully. Right now I have to write and hand it over to go up, but in the next few weeks will have full access to all their tools etc. and it should all go more smoothly.

    • 4 Robert A. Sloan 29/06/2012 at 4:57 pm

      I’d like a link to your new column too. If you get into mammals, that’ll be fun. I’m into cats including prehistoric cats, so I hope to read more about both the biting cats and the numerous times stabbing cats have come along in prehistory. There are times I look at my cat and think that if things changed enough to bring back the mammoths or something comparable, his species could give rise to Siamese saber tooths.

      • 5 David Hone 29/06/2012 at 5:04 pm

        Well don ‘t expect to I’m afraid. I do hope to cover things like papers on areas of VP outside archosaurs, but I’m in no position to go writing about cat evolution. But I do want to write about things like the basioc mechanics of evolution and the fossil record for example that I’ve simply never covered here for being too simple.

  4. 6 himmapaan 29/06/2012 at 5:38 pm

    ‘my rule of thumb has always been that it was for an audience who knew what a femur was, but not a 4th trochanter’

    That certainly describes me alright.

    I’m very glad (and relieved) to hear the Musings won’t be coming to an end. And I look forward to your Guardian blog too.

  5. 8 Zhen 29/06/2012 at 8:49 pm

    Congrats Dave. I will miss your daily updates. It’s one of the main reason I’m a big fan of your blog. That said, it’s not like you’re stopping completely, and I can also check out yourself on The Guardian.

  6. 9 Mark Robinson 30/06/2012 at 4:16 am

    I do know what a 4th trochanter is (and that it’s exclusive to the subject of this blog) but only because I came across it whilst checking the names of the segments of spider legs! Anyway, I have enjoyed your blog since I found it in 2009 (I think) and am glad that you only intend to wind it down rather than up.

    Good luck with your new venture and I echo the others re posting a link when you get a home at The Guardian.

  7. 10 Herman Diaz 01/07/2012 at 9:44 pm

    “my rule of thumb has always been that it was for an audience who knew what a femur was, but not a 4th trochanter”

    W/that in mind, any plans to write a dino book? I hope so, partly b/c there aren’t enough dino books “for the enthusiast” ( http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com/2008/04/paleo-reading-list.html ), but also b/c you’re 1 of the better dino paleontologists going today.

    • 11 David Hone 02/07/2012 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for the compliments. I’ve long had a hankering to write a book. However have been unable to get a commission for one (dinosaur or otherwise) and I really, really can’t afford the time to write one without the cheque waiting at the end of it. In short, hopefully a published will one day say yes. But right now, nothing.

  8. 12 Liz Somerville 04/07/2012 at 12:14 pm

    De-lurking both to say “Congratulations on the Guardian blog,” and also that I’m very relieved to hear that this isn’t the end of the musings. I have always found the musings very useful and informative and direct my final year UG students to it. One of the exercises I get them to do is to critique a reconstruction and your series of interviews with palaeoartists are very helpful with that.

    • 13 David Hone 04/07/2012 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks very much for that. I’ve heard a few people use my work for teaching / inspiration / general UG stuff and obviously that’s very nice to hear and a real bonus. Thanks!


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