Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Direction for this Blog

The current content of this blog is heavily influenced by my job and living situation - which will hopefully change soon! I'll be upgrading the graphic design, incorporating professional info, etc.

But content is the big question.
So I'm wondering: what do you like reading about in this blog?

1. economics and logistics behind how our food system really works
2. my own, local experiences with gardening, foraging and farming
3. science of how plants work, how scientific research is done, etc.
4. other?

I don't see any patterns in the posts that get the most visits or comments but I'd appreciate any input on ways I could make this site more compelling.


  1. I don't know what I think. I kind of like the diversity of posts. There aren't too many (that I'm following at least) that cover more scientific and news portions of horticulture. By far most are personal. Maybe spice it up with some personal posts or tag them into other more informative articles? I don't know if that helps...

  2. I've been entertained by the diversity too. I say keep diversifying.

  3. Science seems the hardest to find -- or at least it's what I spend the most time looking for -- but they're all worthwhile subjects.

    If you really want to know what people are looking for, get Sitemeter and then watch your search engine keywords for a while. It'll be depressingly repetitive (or at least for PATSP it is), but it'll tell you what people are trying to find.

  4. I like the content of (3) quite a bit.

  5. I like 2 and 3 most, but it's all worth reading.

  6. I know what you mean! For me, 1, 2 and 3 are all interesting. 4 probably would be too. Sorry not to be more helpful. I think what I'm saying is just keep doing what you like to do.

  7. I enjoy the economics and logistics. My own personal site metering tells me that the words "best ever" in a blog post title will be the most reached by search engine. I've considered making a blog called "the best ever".

    All the wierd food stuffs also recieve a lot of traffic: like wild onions, duck eggs, riverbank grapes, kumquats. However, it is the personal thread of my posts that bring in the regular readers. And I get the most interaction from my readers from the little personal stories that get thrown in.

    But that's just me. You should write about what you want to or it will make blogging a chore.

  8. 5) all of the above. Like everyone else, I enjoy the mix of your blog. In relation to Mr. S's comment, what people search for, and what people who subscribe to your feed may be different. I was drawn to your blog by the title, and keep reading it because you writing interesting thing on a variety of topics that get me out of my groove a little.

  9. I love your mix of content, but the science side of things is what has kept me reading. Say, I have a question for you. I was reading that one of the fears some people have about GE foods is the fear that a plant designed to be sterile will spread. After I finished laughing at the contradiction, I realized they were concerned with plants that produce no seed, but that still produce viable pollen which could then (I guess) contaminate other crops. Is this something that you think does pose a danger to other crops? Does such sterility happen naturally anywhere?

    I have heard that Bradford pear trees are somewhat like this: they were sold as sterile plants, but it turned out that they were self-sterile but could in fact pollinate closely related trees and produce viable (and invasive) offspring. Even if we could engineer crops that are supposedly sterile in seed and pollen, can we ever say with certainly that the plant won't surprise us like this?

    I would love your scientific opinion on this. Thank you. :D

  10. I enjoy it all.
    If it were more one thing than the other it would be too redundant.
    I agree with Aerelonian. Personal posts are always enjoyable.

  11. I'll vote for 2&3 because I think the internet has enough foodies and localvores patting themselves on the back and preaching to the choir. It was the "science" that caught my attention and made me subscribe to your blog.

    Edit: my word verification is "votes."

  12. thanks guys! that helps a lot.

    I think any scheme that involves a selective advantage for sterility is highly suspect!

    As far as spread of transgenic traits in general, there are all kinds of technological fixes that propose ways to limit the spread of transgenic traits. Though at the scale that ag is practiced (how many millions of corn plants does the U.S. have?), even the tiniest probability of safeguard failure could prove inevitable. I generally don't favor the "release" of any transgenic trait that has a realistic chance of hurting us or our environment.

    In my opinion, none of the first or second generation commercial transgenics fall into this category, but I'm skeptical of planting, say, pharmaceutical-producing plants across the landscape unless they're provably harmless when consumed accidentally or produce enormous good for humanity. I don't see why (expensive) drugs can't be produced economically in bioreactors or greenhouses.

  13. Thanks Mat!

    If you ever feel like going into this in more detail, I think it would make a great post. . . ;)

    BTW, I would love to hear more of your thoughts on the GE section of Whole Earth Discipline!

  14. thanks for the idea! I'll put it in my mental queue.

    From what I remember, the science was pretty much on track, but his writing style kinda collapsed into an abusive rant in that chapter;) The earlier slums and nuclear power chapters seemed much better organized and measured in their tone. I think he took a little too much glee in shooting down myths of GE. People aren't receptive to changing their minds when they're made to feel defensive...



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