Endings &Amp; New Beginnings

It’s been exactly three years since I moved on from Discover. Change is timeless. So I thought it would be a good time to announce the move to another project today. Until further notice this is my last post as a blogger at Unz Review. Just as when I left Discover, this shouldn’t impact regular…

Endings & new beginnings

Screenshot 2016-11-27 20.15.36It’s been exactly three years since I moved on from Discover. Change is timeless. So I thought it would be a good time to announce the move to another project today.

Until further notice this is my last post as a blogger at Unz Review. Just as when I left Discover, this shouldn’t impact regular readers very much in terms of substance and content. As always you can follow me through my RSS feed, http://feeds.feedburner.com/RazibKhansTotalFeed, Twitter, http://twitter.com/razibkhan, and of course, my website, http://www.razib.com (I’m surprised how many people bookmark that website, as I got some emails when I changed the formatting).

Screenshot 2016-11-29 15.20.38The new site where I will host my content is not up yet, but it should be live within less than two weeks as engineers and designers work to get the final pieces in place (~2 weeks is within 95% confidence interval of the expected value, obviously hope it will be closer to now than not). If you want to be notified by email when the site goes live, subscribe to my newsletter. I probably won’t send out an email more than once a month, but I realize that not everyone uses RSS or Twitter, so it is probably best to start collecting a list of addresses for those who follow my work and would prefer to be contacted that way. If you are old school and just want to bookmark and check the site to see when it goes live, this will work:

http://gnxp.nofe.me

If you have a blog, please update your link to: http://gnxp.nofe.me. It will help me with getting some PageRank (I’m also going to point the front page of http://gnxp.com to the new site).

There will be some changes and flux. I’m starting “my own thing” over at N of Everyone, where I’m working with some friends to develop a new way of disseminating science to the masses. That is, I’m not just going to be a blogger, but am taking an active role in running the shop. A few of the big ideas motivating this move can be found in the piece I coauthored with David Mittleman from a few years back, Dragging scientific publishing into the 21st century. So expect the newest iteration of Gene Expression to be somewhat more experimental in terms of playing around with feature set and evolving more over time.

Also, honestly I’m not sure that Twitter will be around in its current form in another five years, so the Gene Expression at N of Everyone is going to be my attempt to create an independent platform so that I can communicate to who I want to communicate without relying on intermediaries…indefinitely (as long as I’m interesting in doing this, my professional path is definitely going to remain in science so I can express my opinions honestly without having to toe party lines).

Addendum: I’ll be moderating comments here for a bit as long as stray threads continue as long as Ron lets me continue with my permissions, but eventually I’ll stop checking.

Top books purchased through this site

51OftfuYlSL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_So I have an Amazon referrer account. I’ve had one since 2003. Pretty much I use it to get money when people buy books (or other items) through links here. It’s a non-trivial, though not princely, sum of money. Especially since it’s passive. These are books I’ve read and want to talk about anyhow (usually around Christmas someone follows a book link, and ends up purchasing a computer or two, which is a way of “supporting my work” that I can get behind).

But one of the more interesting side effects is that I can see what my readers are buying (or if they are). For example, it heartens me when I see someone purchase Principles of Population Genetics. That means “I’m making a difference,” as I doubt that these are advanced undergraduates or graduate students. An interesting aspect is that I can see what interests people in terms of “clickbait”, before clickbait was a thing. Bobbi S. Low’s Why Sex Matters routinely gets a lot of clicks because of the title, despite the fact that I don’t flog it. In contrast, In Gods We Trust gets a lot of clicks because I tell people to read it to understand my thinking on religious phenomena.

51gYdVvOoQL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_As the year ends I like to tally books people have ordered. It turns out that the most purchased book through this website for the year leading into December is The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life. For Kindle, it’s Congo: The Epic History of a People.

Another category is conversion rate. In relation to number of clicks what proportion purchase. Tops for the books in that category is Bioinformatics Data Skills: Reproducible and Robust Research with Open Source Tools. My personal experience is that for technical books many people still prefer print for physicality and rendering of figures and graphs. For Kindle the highest conversion was Intelligence: All That Matters and Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. I think there was a “daily deal” or something at one point, and that prompted many purchases of the latter.

1846077Finally, there are books I see which I didn’t recommend, and didn’t know about. An intriguing one off this list is Barry Cunliffe’s By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia. The main issue I’ve had with Cunliffe’s work of late is that he doesn’t seem to be reading enough of the Reich/Willerslev duopoly’s papers. Not that everyone has time to engage in such primary literature diving, but at this point you’re remiss if you write about archaeology and don’t include genetics. Unfortunately a search inside doesn’t indicate that By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is DNA-heavy, but sometimes you take history and archaeology on its own terms and integrate them into your overall model of the world, rather than having someone else do that for you….

Top books purchased through this site

51OftfuYlSL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_So I have an Amazon referrer account. I’ve had one since 2003. Pretty much I use it to get money when people buy books (or other items) through links here. It’s a non-trivial, though not princely, sum of money. Especially since it’s passive. These are books I’ve read and want to talk about anyhow (usually around Christmas someone follows a book link, and ends up purchasing a computer or two, which is a way of “supporting my work” that I can get behind).

But one of the more interesting side effects is that I can see what my readers are buying (or if they are). For example, it heartens me when I see someone purchase Principles of Population Genetics. That means “I’m making a difference,” as I doubt that these are advanced undergraduates or graduate students. An interesting aspect is that I can see what interests people in terms of “clickbait”, before clickbait was a thing. Bobbi S. Low’s Why Sex Matters routinely gets a lot of clicks because of the title, despite the fact that I don’t flog it. In contrast, In Gods We Trust gets a lot of clicks because I tell people to read it to understand my thinking on religious phenomena.

51gYdVvOoQL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_As the year ends I like to tally books people have ordered. It turns out that the most purchased book through this website for the year leading into December is The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life. For Kindle, it’s Congo: The Epic History of a People.

Another category is conversion rate. In relation to number of clicks what proportion purchase. Tops for the books in that category is Bioinformatics Data Skills: Reproducible and Robust Research with Open Source Tools. My personal experience is that for technical books many people still prefer print for physicality and rendering of figures and graphs. For Kindle the highest conversion was Intelligence: All That Matters and Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. I think there was a “daily deal” or something at one point, and that prompted many purchases of the latter.

1846077Finally, there are books I see which I didn’t recommend, and didn’t know about. An intriguing one off this list is Barry Cunliffe’s By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia. The main issue I’ve had with Cunliffe’s work of late is that he doesn’t seem to be reading enough of the Reich/Willerslev duopoly’s papers. Not that everyone has time to engage in such primary literature diving, but at this point you’re remiss if you write about archaeology and don’t include genetics. Unfortunately a search inside doesn’t indicate that By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is DNA-heavy, but sometimes you take history and archaeology on its own terms and integrate them into your overall model of the world, rather than having someone else do that for you….