We've had a terrific number of interesting things happen this week and I'll send out some email to all of the members but I will also tackle some of it here on the blog so new visitors can catch up. First, we finished the video integration. We teamed up with a company called Magnify.net, which is the kind of company that would be worth a billion dollars right now if YouTube hadn't come out first. We used magnify to power the video section because it allows us the flexibility to do a number of things: 1. There is a keyword search in there to allow us to automatically find videos from any number of video sites, like YouTube, Revver, etc. and have that content automatically available to our readers - so it isn't just content we put up. 2. There is both an easy uploading and embedding capability for authors. If you already have video somewhere, you can just load the embed code here - http://video.scientificblogging.com/publish/ and it will be quickly and automatically available. Or you can load it from your computer. Once that is done, go to your video, click the 'Share' button at the bottom and you can email the URL or put the embed code in your articles. It's terrifically easy and they did a spectacular job. Second, we signed our bulked-up syndication agreement with LiveScience. As you all know, we currently do some content sharing with LiveScience. Their articles appear here and we appear on the front page and in the category sections on LiveScience.com The new agreement is a lot more robust. It's been a terrific relationship for us and they love your work so they'd like to co-brand some of it, and that includes getting it on places like Yahoo! We are co-branding it because, at our number of servers, traffic from something like Yahoo! would kill our site. They'll host some of our articles on their site because their servers can handle it but the name on it remains ours (specifically, yours) and a big chunk of the ad revenue also. It's a great way to get your work out there to a much larger audience without our having to wait until we get big enough to handle that sort of traffic load. We'll do a press release about these things and the feature set for version 2.0. I know I have been talking about version 2.0 for a while but we want to make sure everything is working perfectly so, if you have occasionally experienced strange glitches, it's because we're testing one feature at a time here to fix any bugs. Here is one of the other things we'll be working on for this week - a personalized 'widget' for each of your columns. Basically, your readers or people on other sites (or you, if you have another website) who want to include your content in a better looking form than a newsfeed or blogroll will be able to download this widget from your profile page and then paste it into their sidebars. Here is a sample but you can go to your profiles now and take a look for yourself: And this is all stuff we do working for free. Imagine if we had any money!! Since I'm in the blog screen anyway I'll point out some fun things I saw this week. We don't usually get much attention outside the hard science arena but here are a few places we showed up recently. Harper's Magazine got scientific, pointing to our article on scientists using lasers to stimulate lightning in the clouds. It's nice that in weeks filled with politics, economic issues and other less important things, mainstream media sites take time to recognize that good science happens in increments but it's still interesting and important. A blogger on USA Today, Angela Gunn, took notice of our little site (well, little being in the top 20, though not a household name like Scientific American) and was a little skeeved out by George, the new 'wound' model designed in the UK. Hey, I was skeeved out by it too. That's why we had to put a picture up of it. Did John Tierney have the cajones to run that picture? I bet not. A blogger on Grist also took time to recognize that waiting for homeruns in science does not make sense, and referenced our article on FLOX improved combustion in making this excellent point:
Anyone who thinks we can afford to wait for breakthroughs to start radically changing paths has to answer this question: If you think we need breakthroughs to survive the climate crisis, why shouldn't the public just count on a better breakthrough, one that not only solves the current problem but also makes up for future inaction?
The obverse is true as well. Since we can make incremental improvements now, there's no reason to shut down economies or tell a billion people in India and China they can never own a car. Science will eventually hit a home run on this issue but people on the skeptical side who assume no changes need to be made because science will create a magic bullet are no different than people on the advocacy side who insist we are doomed unless we all switch to solar power today. Improvements like better burning engines and even trucks with more aerodynamic skirting are important milestones - we can basically settle for a single and get some people on base while we wait for the home run. We just can't get complacent and assume good things will happen anyway.