and so i say so long and thanks for all the fish

May 24, 2011

Having survived the Rapture, I’m afraid I have sad news to report. Due to the demands of my work and study, with a transition to a new career and the end of my graduate program now in sight, this blog will be coming to an end. This is not a decision that I made lightly because when you spend two and a half years working with any project, much less building it from the ground up post by post, you tend to get quite attached to it and I am absolutely sure that in the first few weeks away from blogging it will require a whole lot of willpower not to log in and check up on comments and updates, much less not to try and make a new post. But all things have to come to an end sometime and Weird Things is no exception. I hope you were entertained, informed, and had fun around here, and thank you for taking the time to read my daily ramblings on all sorts of skeptical matters, physics, and the reality of transhumanism. Over its lifetime, this blog received roughly 1.5 million views, which isn’t much for the likes of Phil Plait or PZ Myers, but quite decent from a science blog built from scratch. It was a real blast to watch it grow and see it mentioned in SEED, Discovery News, and syndicated across the web.

Originally, this blog started in an unusual time in my life; when I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do for a living, and it played a big role in my decisions as well as adding an interesting project to my resume. I started Weird Things as an experiment, prompted to at least consider it by another blogger, and quickly made it my test of everything I knew about design, promotion, and web marketing. Writing post after post and doing everything I could to encourage whatever spikes in traffic I’d receive was a time-consuming challenge and any attempts to figure out what would bring in solid, steady hits seemed to evade me for months at a time. Those of my friends who thought that blogging was as quick, simple, and fun as blog networks generally make it out to be, were quickly surprised to discover how much time it took to build a more or less professional blog. And all that time and effort paid off. It introduced me to all sorts of blogs and scientific news sites, gave me a brief chance to rent this blog to a big shot blog network (too bad it didn’t work out, but hey, things happen), and last but certainly not least, directly and indirectly got me in touch with people who I now call friends. In fact, if you’d know enough about me, you could make the argument that I’d still be single without Weird Things. That’s why the idea of putting this blog into archive mode feels like having to put down a puppy you just raised.

It was also under the influence of all the science I was reading and the scientists to whom I was talking that got me thinking about diving deeper into the tech world and doing research into machine vision and basic AI, and working as a programmer. Having to constantly dust off my math and critical thinking skills got me in the right mode, and the time I spent searching for good information to back up my stances in posts gave me the necessary patience to start asking questions and spend hour after hour immersed in relevant reading to find answers I could back with evidence. This certainly wasn’t my intent when I started writing, but that’s what two and a half years of science blogging did for me, and if I had the ability to keep working on the kind of posts I’d usually make here day in, day out, I would certainly continue doing it. However, that simply doesn’t seem like a real possibility in the foreseeable future. I still stand by all the nearly 1,200 posts written here and I’m certainly willing to accept that I made mistakes in some of them. When in the next few weeks I flip off a a few switches to make Weird Things static, I’ll feel good knowing that a lot of the posts I wrote cover enough ground to keep their relevance even years down the road, as people wander to this blog via random links and searches. And maybe someday, I’ll come back or start a different kind of blog. I will certainly make an update to let you know. But meanwhile, I want to thank you for staying tuned, and for helping make Weird Things what it was…

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  • Joe Bowers

    I was one of your many viewers…I will wait in anticipation for that day (someday) that you start writing another kind of blog…

    I am sure that whatever you do, you’ll be successful!
    Thanks for all the fish :)

  • Jypson

    It’s sad to see the blog go Greg, it was definitely an enjoyable source of information and ideas. I’m sure it’s painful to let it go, but the right decision for now for more effective time management. Well, adios to WoWT for now, but I’m certain we’ll hear more from you in the future.

  • Bruce Coulson

    I’m sorry to read that you will be discontinuing your blog. I’ve enjoyed it immensely, and I wish you well in your future work and hobbies.

  • Rob Bovie

    Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! You will be sorely missed. I hope to at least see your comments on other critical blogs and issues. Good Luck !

  • badbass9

    Good luck in your endeavors and thank you so much for the amusement and making me rethink some things. I discovered your blog about a year ago and it’s been one of the only things I look forward to on a daily basis. Logical debate and civility are a rare find these days. Again, thanks and good luck.

  • Nostromo

    Well, thanks for all the years, and good luck for the future. Your blog was part of my daily routine, and it was always informative, enlightening and challenging, and I’ll surely will be checking this place for reference, and maybe a bit in the hope that one day, you will find the time to make us think again.

    Smooth sailing.

  • http://xatal.com Paul

    Definitely going to miss this blog. It’s been a great read. I wish you well!

  • steffen

    thank you very much! gonna miss your breath-taking long sentences, many of them were food for thought for me and it took sometimes quite a while for me to grasp their intellectual content, but i always had a good time reading. what a pity you close this witty blog. all the best for your future and career!

  • http://scientificilliteracy.blogspot.com Mike Varney

    You will be back… ;)

  • Steven Stringer

    Good luck with your future endeavors! I’m sure that you will succeed at whatever disciple that you ultimately pursue. I will miss the sheer amount of relevant, vetted, factual information that you stuffed this blog with. However, you have also made me lazy and now I’ll have to do my own homework and that is a good thing.

    How about a final post of your favorite blogs, sites, etc and other sources?

  • Greg Fish

    “How about a final post of your favorite blogs, sites, etc and other sources?”

    That’s exactly why the blogroll exists. =)

    Thank you for the kind words everybody. It’s going to take me a while to really let this blog go but I’m happy you enjoyed it while it was active.

  • Skeptiverse

    As only a new reader (Clicked your name after a particularly pithy comment on Pharyngula) i am really dissapointed to see the blog go though i understand you reasons and wish you all the best for whatever you choose to do and whatever awaits you.

    P.S. I hope this does not mean you will stop posting on Pharyngula sometimes when the trolls really seem on the warpath one comment from you can make all the difference.

  • Paul (Another Paul)

    But…

  • http://www.risingstarmovie.com DamianD

    Count me among the readers who will miss this blog. I haven’t been as active in commenting over the last few months, but I’ve continued to read nearly every day. I wish you well in your future endeavors and am confident you’ll do well with them. Congratulations on the impending completion of your graduate work.

    It’s going to be strange eventually removing this from my list of home page tabs from Google Chrome. I’ll have trouble finding something adequate to fill the void with.

  • DOG

    Good luck ,sad, but hey you have to move on…….may the science be with you

  • Russ Toelke

    Selfish: dang, I won’t have my daily dose of skepticism to keep me sharp.
    Realistic: you gotta take care of #1. Good luck, man.

  • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Just Al

    Well, despite my muttered expletives, thanks for the time and effort you’ve put into it, since it’s definitely been a useful place to visit! And yes, you’ve done remarkably well in that time, so carry that with you on your travels.

    Best of luck to you (both, it would appear). I expect you haven’t actually sworn off commenting on some of your other haunts…

  • Dave H.

    Sad day, best of luck! I’ll miss your blog – it was my favorite out of all the ones I read.

  • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Lou Doench

    You’ll be missed!

  • Dar Norris

    Sorry to see you go Greg. You will be missed. Thank you.

  • http://mentalgeysers.blogspot.com Kae

    Not having your blog to read will be a true loss.

    All the best with your new career.

    K

  • Jordan

    I’ve only been reading your blog for a short time, but I very much enjoyed it! I loved reading about your take on higher education, science funding, and politics. I’ll miss your realistic brand of transhumanism, and your honest reading of progress in AI. Good luck in your furture endevour and I hope you will again find time to blog. Thanks.

  • ToddJansensMonkey

    And I just found this page within the last couple of months. I’ve enjoyed it so much. It’s a shame to see that you’re closing shop. Hopefully, we will see you back again in the future.

  • http://www.arch-dragon.com Jamie

    Noooooooooo!! Where will I get my dose of science and skepticism now!?

    What, blogroll? How have I never found this before? Ah, even at the end you are still teaching us.

    Fairwell and best of luck. I hope our paths cross again some time.

  • http://www.wix.com/lrfotography/lindsayrenee Lindsay

    I spent many an afternoon watching you brood in your corner while you typed this blog, drinking a tasty latte and scowling at idiots on the internet. Thanks for providing such a wonderful blog for me to read on lonely days out here on the west coast. I don’t think you realize how much this blog made me feel “at home”. Miss you, and already miss your blog. See you soon my friend.

  • http://www.wix.com/lrfotography/lindsayrenee Lindsay

    PS – How many more times do you think I can say the word “blog” in one comment? Sigh. The loss of this site already has me feeling less intelligent already.

  • DreamQuestor

    Will we still be able to read the old blogs or will you be removing the site completely?

    Best wishes in all of your trials and triumphs!

  • Abber

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your work over the past couple of years and will miss your insights into science, skepticism and the crazy world we live in. Best of luck with your future endeavours.

  • Professor Layman

    Wow. What a Journey. Greg you’ve done us a great service with your work on this blog. I’ve never read a more sensible and well thought blogger, and to be honest, none have enraptured me the way weirdthings has, becoming the only one I’ll gladly return to daily.

    We’ve learnt so much, and opened our minds to a critical way of thinking, stepping closer to the ever elusive objective reality.

    While I’m sad to see you go, I’m ever so pleased that you’ve found something to move onto in your life. It’s a new dawn, and while I’ll miss your daily updates, with an archive on hand it’ll be a joy to randomize it and return to some of the ones I’ve missed or forgotten. This blog is like a good book with thousands of pages, and I’ll be keeping it in my life to return to for entertainment and learning whenever I feel a Weird Worldly Thing missing from life.

    Good Luck, Greg Fish.
    Live Long and Prosper.

  • http://skeptikai.com Skeptikai

    Greg!!

    Your blog has been amazing and I REALLY(!!) encourage you to (and hope you will) keep writing. Your blog was one of the big reasons I decided to start my own, and it even influenced how I write. I hope everything goes well for you, regardless of what you do.

    But I’ll keep watching – fingers crossed – for that update…

  • HikerTom

    Thanks for the very interesting and thought provoking blog. And the opportunity to add a comment here or there was was good for letting us to get involved on some level. Thanks again, hope to see you return some day.

  • Jamie

    Omg, my life got busy for a couple weeks, missed your blog for the first time in over a year, come back and… Oh my, I am so sad. I feel like I just lost a friend. I’ve so enjoyed your thought processes, finding such similar thoughts expressed in a way that I never could. You are going to be sorely missed. I sure hope you start again… In the mean time, wish you the best. Cheers!

  • Reggie

    Sad to see it go into retirement. That I didn’t notice this until months later is a testament to similar demands on my life that cut down my time perusing interesting blogs and forums. You have my empathy. Good luck and Godspeed, as they say.

  • green

    Aw dammit, I finally find a good sci-blog, and it closes -_-

  • Mother Russia

    apparently your blog doesn’t deserve to be digital.

    checkmate.

  • Drew “THE Mr.E.” Engman

    I feel like I just missed an old friend who moved after I finally got their address! Great blog, interesting thoughts, wonderful conjecture and questions asked, good conclusions or inferences. I wish I could have shared the last few years with you, new old friend, but, like Doctor Who, I guess we’re time crossed and out of sync. That’s OK, you left your past on these blog pages, which, apparently, is part of my future. Thanks, it’s nice to say good-bye to you. Drew