Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz

Hi, my name is…


[Edit]… what? Who? {Chicca chicca} Slim Shady! *Cough*, yes, anyway…

A friendly request

 Who are you?

Would you be so very kind as to leave a comment below explaining why/how you’ve ended up on my little site and how much of a sciencey person you consider yourself to be?

People who write are often concerned they’re preaching to the choir/sounding off in the dreaded echo chamber…

Why do I care?

I’ve just been reading through a post from Ed Yong and I’d like to copy his experiment – although I’ve no idea how many people read my stuff here, how many of them return regularly or indeed how many have stopped bothering now I don’t tend to update weekly!

That’s something I will fix eventually, I hope. Got a few posts in the pipeline, it’s just finding the time to sort them out – poor excuses I know, sorry about that.

Now, this isn’t a ‘professional’ blog by any means; I don’t write exclusively about science (mostly, yes) or any one subject; it’s a mixture of whatever I feel like, including news that has irritated/amused me, events I’ve been to, some random things going on in my life and so on.

However, I’m still interested in who reads what I write when I actually get around to it and why. I expect most regulars are already friends, both on and off the internet. But if you’ve never met me, I’m even more intrigued as to how/why you’ve ended up here.

“You practically made me, via Twitter/Facebook” is one I’ll expect to see a lot 😉

Also, if you do visit intermittently/regularly, what kind of content are you looking out for and why?

Thank you for taking the time to let me know; even if it’s just in the format “waitress, was bored, linked from x site” – much appreciated!


Author: noodlemaz

I prefer to think of myself as a realist rather than a pessimist, but perhaps that's just optimistic. Honest, atheist, scientist, feminist.

39 thoughts on “Hi, my name is…

  1. Hello there,

    My name is Michael. I asked for your blog link on OkC because the hallmarks of ‘skepticism’, ‘scientist’, and ‘rationalism’ marked many of my favoured interests. I’m currently working at two places (one for money, one for experience); at the City of London and an Inter faith organisation respectively, in the hope of finding something full time or a way to fund my real academic dream. I’m a graduate of the so-called ‘lost’ generation, if you believe the newspapers, although my life does suck.

    I’m not a scientist, I’m not even a PhD holder. I did an MA in Philosophy where my focus was on Immanuel Kant’s systematic philosophy. This however led to an interest in contemporary philosophy of science. I saw parallels between Kant’s thought and that of later figures and how they seem to leave a legacy on the contemporary thought about scientific method and scientific reasoning. As such, I’m always interested in more populist or accessible accounts about the history of science, or where methodologies go wrong.

    Michael Shermer (I think it was) once said that the difference between philosophy of science and history of science is that the latter concerns when science ‘goes wrong’ in some interesting way. In my blog, I like to think about (inter alia) scientific method or things on the CFI-type agenda. I was also involved at university in forming and atheist society.

    I put this blog on my RSS feed in the hope of enjoying a discussion that is sophisticated and does not appeal to hyperbole bad reasoning and something else that may be a springboard for my own blog posts.

  2. Woah! Follow that guy. Name’s Leitch. Medic/scientist. Follow you coz you beat me in I’mascientist and I enjoy your fluctuation between buoyant enthusiasm and glum despond…

  3. Sorry to disappoint you by being interested in science. Is that my fault? Hey, I’m female, “more talented at the arts”, and I got very put off science at school and indeed at university during my science degree – my love of it was rekindled by the Internet – does that help? 🙂 (Stereotypes are surely there to be made fun of . . .) Anyway, I’m one of the people who runs the Galaxy Zoo Forum and Cardiff Skeptics. Science in the public is one of my main interests, though certainly not my only one.

    I don’t think I’ve met you yet, have I? But I hope to soon. I can’t actually remember how I first found your blog; you just got RT’d a lot and I thought you were a very cool person! It might have been when you blogged about Bleachgate, or it might have been before. But I added your blog to mine as one to follow. I don’t look here just for science or skepticism, but for humanity and sensible insights and reactions to things we hear about. Not sure if this answer helps much, but as you asked 🙂

  4. Hi, my name is Adam.

    I got to this blog because I follow you on Twitter, and followed the link from your tweet. Don’t regularly check your blog, but usually come here if you tweet about it.

    I’m a scientist (medical statistician to be precise) and I like reading about science, so if you write sciency things, then that’s something I’ll probably find interesting, particularly if there’s a medical flavour to it.

    So if you’re worried that you’re preaching to the choir, then guilty as charged. Except that I got thrown out of my last choir because my singing is a bit pants, but I expect you were talking metaphorically anyway.

  5. Hi,
    My name is Dave Lee, I’m a Photographer/Videographer and Skeptic. I started following you on Twitter when I linked through some mutual followers. Your Tweets are interesting, colourful and fun so I had a look at your blog which I now occasionally visit for a rational view on things.

  6. Hi, my name is Dan, and I am a skeptic and curry enthusiast. In my spare time I enjoy sailing, cookery and salsa dancing.

    I don’t read this blog regularly because I pretty much only have time to read Pharyngula and Bad Astronomy, but I read posts if you tweet them when I happen to be watching.

    I have met you. We danced. I sometimes buy you cider.

  7. Hello Missy!

    You know who I am; for the others, I am of the friends category, offline-before-online type.
    I was always “moderately” interested in science, don’t know why, and considered a career in bio-genetics before realising I am very bad at lab work and the reverse thinking that you need in order to come up with experiments. I think overall I am now more interested in science divulgation than in the science itself, often because issues of straight science are too complex for me. So I particularly enjoyed your posts about I’m A Scientist etc.

    I guess you are also the lens through which I keep tabs of the Skeptics “movement” and find those posts interesting too – again, the ones where you question yourselves more than the write-ups of the actual talks.

    Like Adam, I don’t come to your blog very often unless you tweet about it, and even then only if the topic catches me. I am unlikely to miss a tweet of yours though, so overall I guess you’ve got me in your clenched fist XP

  8. Uh and on mild manic depression: I generally find it really annoying in tweets (even though I am myself a culprit), but somehow in you it’s just fun to read =) Yes I laugh at your discontent, but hey, on the other hand, No I don’t mind it at all.

  9. Ok, I’m probably the oldest person here! I’m married with 2 daughters (19 & 15). Um, my trade is Biochemistry and I was the Chief Medical Laboratory Scientist at a Sussex hospital near Gatwick. 15 years ago my wife and I left the NHS and we started up our own business.

    I was invited to the Atheist Bus Campaign launch near the Albert Memorial two years ago by Ariane Sherine. I first noticed you (Marianne) on the ABC Facebook group. I don’t ‘do’ Twitter! I have been lucky enough to attend both the London TAMs.

    I’m a skeptic and atheist. I don’t have a problem with people who grovel to magic sky fairies, but I don’t like men (Ham, Hovind et al.) who teach impressionable children that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and that non-creationist scientists are stupid, evil, or both.

    I really enjoy the Noodlemaz blog, especially the bad science/ bad law posts. Sorry, but I don’t get the Super duper woo crusader broadcasts!

    Oh, and I don’t like peodophile enablers & protectors, whether or not they wear tall hats and white cloaks.


  10. I subscribe to your RSS feed but usually see your posts through Facebook first

  11. Hey dude,

    Well I am in the friends category (I hope! :-p). You probably didn’t even realise that I sometimes read this, almost entirely when I see something that looks interesting on facebook.

    In case you have not heard (which I think you have) I am currently studying a PhD in theoretical cosmology, stuff about the very early universe and where everything we see comes from! 😀 (Am having a lot of fun!) I also spend time teaching undergrad maths and physics and doing science outreach.

    I am also religious (I hope I will not get a lot of abuse for this on here, as that seems, unfortunately, to be what normally happens when someone religious comments on anything you link to!) This may surprise a lot of people as I spend my time studying the Big Bang which is considered by a lot of people to be the exact opposite to what Christians believe. I guess a lot of people would say the way I think makes me both a ‘bad Christian’ and a ‘bad scientist’ – I would disagree with both and also argue that the two ways of thinking are not mutually exclusive!

    Anyway the reason I read stuff you post and link to is because I am very interested in the way scientists and religious people communicate, or more often don’t communicate! And the ideas and thoughts that link the two areas. I spend quite a lot of time doing science outreach and it surprises me that so much common sense and politeness seems to be disregarded when many scientists and religious people talk – from both sides! I am also interested in a lot of the other humanitarian issues you raise here.

    I hope that answers your questions and hopefully you will be pleased you have someone who is reading this that maybe doesn’t fit your typical reader!

    Maybe some time you me and Mays should get together for a drink now that I am in London! 🙂

    xx 😀

    • Elliieee!! No I did not know you read, that’s really nice 🙂

      I’m sorry you felt a bit scared to mention your religion; I usually try to put the point across quite strongly that it’s not usually individuals with a faith that I have a problem with.

      It’s when that faith is used as justification to hurt others; that’s why I have issues with the Catholic church (not specific catholics themselves, generally) and faith schools etc. – I believe religion should be kept separate from policy, out of children’s minds except as information and not used as an excuse to discriminate against and hurt people who don’t fit with its followers’ worldviews.

      I absolutely encourage anyone of any faith or none to comment and only if said comment contains things worth attacking will it be attacked – I suppose in the opposite sentiment to ‘hate the sinner not the sin’, I’ll have a go at a religious person for what they say and do, not simply because they’re religious.

      I don’t think all ideas need to be respected; if someone tells me they’re going to try making oven gloves out of chocolate, I’ll laugh because it’s ridiculous. Doesn’t mean I can’t respect them as a person generally in other senses, but I’ll happily call them stupid for something like that. Because it is, and I’d expect the same directed at me from others.

      Anyway, after that ramble; YES let’s have a drink!!

  12. Evenin’,

    I forget now how I initially found you, but it may well have been in the wake of the #bleachgate kerfuffle. And I think Martin Robbins linked to your blog in his column at least once (possibly even about that same subject).

    And, well, this is just me trying to remain an integrated part of the skeptical movement. There’s been a number of people I’ve started following on Twitter, not really knowing who they are but noticing that they keep appearing in other people’s conversations, and often they turn out to be worth paying attention to themselves. I’ve made a few friends that way.

    And you did ask, so although it may not need clarifying, I’m pretty much a sciencey amateur but enjoy learning what I can under my own steam, and waffle at length about loosely related stuffs on my own blog.

    We haven’t met yet, but I’ll buy you a cider if and when we do. (No dancing, though.)

  13. I am a scientist, a postdoc, specifically. I do have a blog, but am definitely outside any science-blogging echo chamber.

    We met in a pub at a tweet-up last summer, but I think I knew of you before – when you explained your usual pic was blue I remembered having seen it before.

    Your blog is in my rss feed, but since I essentially never check it, I come here mainly via twitter.

  14. I started following you on Twitter a while ago (can’t remember how I found you, but I follow a bunch of scientists & skeptics so it was probably through a RT by one of them) and read articles on your blog whenever you tweet about them.

    I am interested in science and read various blogs/articles as I encounter them, though I haven’t had any formal science education since A-Level (over 10 years ago – eek!). I’m a software developer so am technically minded.

    I’m also attending my first BHA event next month (found through you!).

  15. Hello, my name is Keith. I suppose you know me :p

    I check in here every now and then, it’s one of half a dozen or so blogs I flick through when I’m bored. Originally I checked it out because you asked me to, and kept spamming the link on facebook 😉 I’d still check in here occasionally if you didn’t do that, though probably less often.

    For completeness, I am (or was until recently) a professional astronomer. I guess you know how ‘sciencey’ I am! As to *why* I read this, I guess they’re the same reasons I ever talk to you: you’re highly intelligent and clearly care about a wide range of issues, and more often than not you end presenting a different viewpoint to those I’m exposed to otherwise. I rather like thinking about old problems in a new way, so hearing your opinions on things is always interesting.

    (This next bit sounds rather critical. Hopefully it’s constructive, and no offence is intended)

    As to the echo-chamber thing, I think that is a big problem, and the replies so far seem to confirm that. The whole ‘skeptic movement’ (and I don’t think either word actually applies) has this problem. You obviously write about things that interest you, which is good, but often means you assume a certain amount of knowledge. Your writing style isn’t particularly welcoming to ‘outsiders’ – most of the time there isn’t a layman’s introduction, and quite a few posts seem like rather a brain dump. This has the side effect of making some of them rather long. These are things that will naturally improve over time.

    On content, things like meeting reports are primarily of interest to those who either went to the meeting and want what are effectively notes, or those who wanted to go but couldn’t for whatever reason. Whilst this is useful for those people, it isn’t exactly going to attract those who aren’t already extremely involved in that issue.

    What you could try writing about is some recent advances or news-type stories from biology (or any other science). Not only would that be very interesting, but potentially useful for you!

    Hopefully that’s helpful, and keep blogging!

    Keith x

    • Thanks, queef.

      The blog was only started as a respository for brain-dump anyway, so I’m really not surprised/offended that that comes across!

      Sometimes I write something that I’m specifically intending for people who don’t know about a subject; the meeting write-ups *are* just for people who went/couldn’t go and indeed for myself to remember what actually happened!
      If anyone else finds it interesting, that’s a complete bonus.

      I could have split everything up into different blogs, but I don’t update often enough to merit that. Ergo, everything resides here.

      Hopefully it’ll get more interesting when I’ve finished this god-forsaken stage of my life XD

  16. I’m Kat, and I guess you know who I am. I started following your blog after doing that training course at Barts with you, as I was interested to see what you have to say about science and related things. Keep up the sterling work!

  17. Hi, i found you through twitter, not sure by what route, i guess you got retweeted by someone i follow, something engaging enough to make look you up on twitter and then find your blog.

    I love science of all types, particularly medical science, despite having no training in that area. I live in constant amazement that people buy into all the pseudo bullshit that gets thrown around and i have the deepest respect for anyone who take on the woo pedlars.

    Keep up the good work.

  18. Hello, I’m Steve Leedale. I very occasionally I contribute to a joint blog that I have with Kash Farooq (who really does all the work.) I started following you on Twitter but really paid attention due to the conversations you have with Kash (and others) around various subjects that interest me.

  19. My name is Alex and Im a noodle-holic…

    Yes I know you, I read your blog becuase if I don’t you will kill me!

    Actually I read your blog because we regularly discuss these topics and I find your arguments interesting. We first met at work on a course for science communication.

    Uhhhh….I think thats about it.

    Oh and you always correct my grammar (which is probably a good thing)

    • Are you sure we first met then? I’m sure we’d bumped into each other before that at the pub or something, shortly after you’d started here? Whatevs 😛

      You left nothing for me to correct there! Well, apart from a full-stop to finish the post. That’ll do!

      • Oh yeah, wait…We must have met before then, because I recognised you at the xmas gig. Who knows when we met…but it brought some awesome into your life when we did.

  20. Followed a tweet to your blog post re:Science Museum and homeopathy (not your tweet but another reader “The @sciencemuseum abandons science and disgraces itself over alt med exhibit”).

    Quite sciency… (I have a B.Sc., work in maths side of computing, read science books for leisure, read Ben Goldacre in the paper etc) but no longer own a lab coat.
    I’ll have a nosey around around other posts etc and maybe follow you on twitter, but I don’t really “follow blogs” that much

  21. Just like Tim above, I found your blog through a retweet on the Science Museum. I will bookmark this site, and add it to my morning reading routine.

    I would describe myself as sciencey on the rise. Just joined the local amateur astronomers and paleontological society, as well as the skeptics and science educators group.

  22. Hi, I’m Alex, and I’m an alco… Wait, wrong meeting.

    Hi, I’m Alex, and I’m a science geek. I just came across the “Science Wooseum” guest post, I think via a comment on Pharyngula. I rather liked it, and am currently reading through the archives of all the non-guest posts.

    (I’m also reading the webcomic one of your commenters writes about an angry owl. But that’s not important here.)

    I’ve just recently moved to London (Vauxhall), so let me know if there are any events / societies / thingies I should be showing up to.

  23. Hi,
    my name is Rune, I am a “good European compromise” (to quote writer Dorothy Sayers), and I found your site because of one of the homeopathy links.
    Wanted to write some criticism, (from experience – all those “alternative” medicines work somehow) BUT was shocked by the way this Science Museum displays the topic.
    THAT is exactly the way to mislead people – in the US they often have no correct diagnose for lack of health insurance and therefore no way to know which possible interventions they could try – but those who have access to operations and the products of Big Pharma have a choice and need to know EXACTLY what is missing here.
    All the “alternatives” are coping techniques for chronical conditions, ways to trigger self-healing abilities which cannot be willed, or ways of life much superior to christian (I like to say “witchburner”) dirt and body hate.
    In some areas science works better now and will improve. In operations, for example, sterilisation has surpassed the cleanliness of the Chinese martial arts to treat accident wounds; opiates could be better even for chronic pain than acupuncture if the absurd “war on drugs” would not reduce fibromyalgia sufferers like me to it, etc.
    And of course all traditional knowledge has its limits.
    Western alchemists found poison gas while searching longevity, Chinese alchemists tried mercury.
    No need to repeat that!
    So one of your commenters did make a good point why the poor museum people do not explain history and the workings of ritual, but display new age claims.
    And I had to write something different than I expected.
    I am an engineer, for me the first question is “Does it work?”.
    “How?” is the second.
    And I always prided myself to say that cognitive dissonance (Answer to question 1 and not to 2) is one of the marks of genius.
    I do disagree with most atheists there, I know.

  24. Am very sciencey (some would say too sciencey!)
    Im here cos im slightly nuts but not in a bad way, well not for anyone else. Also, I practice extreme procrastination which is certainly a contributory factor. (Its me not you) (isnt it always)
    Will definately stop writing as even I cant see how I could be percieved as anything but a total nut!

  25. Hi, I’m Scott Brown and I’ve known you for a long time, not that we’ve seen each other in years! I’m here as your blog is in my WordPress reader but I don’t read as often as I should. However, a bus ride has seen me onto the site. Not sure how I’ve not seen this very old post the past, perhaps you’ve pinned it or something. Anyhow, hope you’re well 🙂

  26. 39yo female from the North Of England, landed on your post about privilege from Twitter then clicked on the home page.

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