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beyond the blog

For starters, apologies for flooding your RSS-aggregators a couple of days ago. Ive been copying my posts at F_un mathematics and have cross-posted them here. I will continue to do so as I prefer to search just one blog instead of two to find stuff. Besides, it’s unclear how long the F_un site will survive. Javier will be moving from MPI to London later this month, and is uncertain on the implications this will have for his research. Other people who told they’d like to post at F_un haven’t done so far… and I see little point in continuing a singleton-‘group blog’.

Over at the secret blogging seminar there is an interesting series on TQFTs via planar algebras by Chris Schommer-Pries. They also had a few nice words on the design of the F_un-site (though their commenters prefer a ‘traditional’ blog-layout). I think these days most people read blogs via their RSS-feeds, so are ignorant about the actual layout of a blog until they want to follow up a story that interests them. Besides, the main point of using the open book wordpress theme, which is a so called ‘magazine’-theme, was to try to get more structure in the blog (such as : indicating the intented audience for a post, organizing posts wrt. the papers mentioned etc.). Still, such themes are designed for news-sites having new content every hour/day, something we cannot say of the F_un-site…

Also at the n-category cafe they are thinking aloud on how to improve the blog-medium for mathematics-research. See the discussion following David Corfield’s beyond the blog post. Often, the comment-thread of an n-cafe post is a better read than the actual post, but the blog-concept is not very good at picking-out interesting comments. That’s why they are trying to set up a wiki-like thing with pointers to such interesting discussions. It’s still early days but they’ve started the nLab (powered by instiki) and describe it as “this place is like the library, or alchemist’s laboratory, in the back room of the n-Category Café. You come here to work and go there to chat”. Surely an interesting experiment to follow.

Finally, a link to images des mathematiques which is a news-site-style blog on mathematics run by the CNRS (the French NSF). They give their posts ‘colours’, indicating the intented public, surely a simple idea we can all implement that will make math-blogs a lot more useful. They also have repeating topics, such as ‘the object of the month’, portraits of mathematicians etc. Perhaps an idea to follow-up by other math-societies.

If you have ideas to improve the structure and usability of math-blogs, please share them!

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