Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mammoth Tales: The FAQs

Does the world really need a new blog? I don't know, but I need a new blog and, really, what's more important than that? It's a rhetorical question; you're not expected to answer unless you want to. Below, I have provided answers to some of the questions I imagine you might have.

Who are you?
I'm John McKay. If you know a John McKay, I'm probably not him. There are way too many John McKays in the world. I keep waiting for all of the others to change their names and leave the field to me but, so far, they are not cooperating. This John McKay is an underemployed, middle aged, historian with an interest in science. I'm writing a book.

Really? Tell us about the book.
It's about woolly mammoths, a history of their early discoveries and how Enlightenment scientists reconstructed them into the animal we know. It is not about mammoth extinction or about cloning new mammoths. Other people have written about that and I'm trying to fill in some of the gaps in the mammoth story.

But, what did kill the mammoths and when will we clone some new ones?
Bad luck and not soon.

Is this blog going to be all mammoths all the time?
No. Mammoth Tales will feature science journalism, science education, history of science, and maybe a little plain old history in those fields that I feel comfortable commenting on. I plan to offer links to stories that I find interesting, even if I don't have much to add to the stories. Moving away from science, I like good conspiracy theories, pseudo-science, and hidden histories. Expect an occasional deconstruction of those ideas. I also like to expose bad writing about science and history. But, there will also be mammoths.

Even with that other stuff, is there really enough to say about mammoths to fill a blog?
The short answer is yes. But if I ever get to busy to post or run into a dry stretch in the news, I have a pool of old mammoth and science posts from my other blog that I can update and post here.

Other Blog? If you already have another blog, why do you need this one?
The other blog includes a lot about politics and social issues. I am very opinionated on most things. However, it can be bad business to mix too many things together. How often do we hear conservatives complain about how a celebrity's off stage liberal politics ruin their enjoyment of that celebrity's performances? How often are non-believers and other believers turned off by businesses that push the owner's religion? Mammoth Tales is a blog for people who share my interest in mammoths, science, history, and bad ideas, but might not share my political, social, or religious beliefs.

Can you tell us a little more about those political, social, and religious beliefs?

The place look a little sparse. Are you planning to fix it up a little?
That's high on my to-do list. I'll have a blogroll up in the next few days. After that, I plan on making a nice logo and adding some pictures to the sidebar. I'll also look for some cool bells and whistles to make the Mammoth Tales experience more interesting.

Is there anything else you want to say at this point?
No. That's about it.

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