Hello Balloon Juice (cue Robin Williams.)
It is a thrill to be here; this is the blog that has kept me as close to sane as I can hope for for the last several years, and I think I’m going to need all I can get of the front pagers and the community to make it through what seems to be bearing down on us.
So, first, of course, my thanks to John Cole, who for all his professed misanthropy, has managed to create such a fine village here, and to whom I’m deeply indebted for the keys. Also a shout out to Tim F. – almost the first reader of my home site, The Inverse Square Blog, whose support early and late for my writing there I am very grateful. And also, too, to y’all who gave me and Angry Black Lady such an enthusiastic welcome last night.
I’ve got my first real post ready to go, and it will come up immediately after this. (As predicted in last night’s comment thread, I’m just holding ABL’s coat on that one, but that’s not a bad place to start, not at all.)
But just so you know a bit of where I come from, here’s the quick background: Age, 52 (unpossible, but there it is), married, one kid, living in or around Boston, proud servant to one feline overlord, Tikka, aka Kitten Tikka Masala.
We picked up Tikka at the Animal Rescue League, aged about 12 weeks, and a vet friend of ours thinks he was seriously feral for those first months. In any event, if he doesn’t like your looks he’ll attempt field surgery on any extremity in reach.
You have been warned.
He’s the perfect cat to me, however, except in his expectation of regular 4:30 a.m. feedings.
My day job has me teaching science writing at MIT. It should go without saying, but in case it doesn’t, any views I express here are mine alone, and can’t be blamed on anyone else over at 77 Mass. Ave, nor on the Institute itself.
As for what I’ve actually done/do with my time – I’ve spent the better part of three decades variously committing journalism, writing books and making documentary television, mostly about science, its history and its context.
Oh – and I’m as a close to an obligate liberal as you can be: actually born between Telegraph and College Avenues in the People’s Republic of Berkley, in whose public schools I was educated through high school (go Yellow Jackets!), from whence I passed to a series of other towns in which no real Americans could possibly live. If anyone is auditioning for the role of sane conservative around here, it ain’t me.
Again, thanks for having me here, John and all and sundry – and I’m looking forward to the usual Balloon Juice full and frank exchanges of views.
And last: Angry Black Lady’s Macallan 18 is not safe from me. But I have not put the crayon line to mark the level of my Dalmore 15, so turn and turn about’s fair play.
(Same plea as ABL here too: still getting used to the tags and all that. Corrections and guidance always welcome.)
Davis X. Machina
Welcome aboard — regular reader of Inverse Square.
Great to have you! I, for one, welcome our temporary blogging overlords.
What type of science documentaries?
The old science films where they would explain something were great.
I hope you enjoy the blog and if not, starting calling the commenters names.
Tikka is a sweetheart, and welcome Tom, though you’ve been around for quite a while.
Welcome. Bienvenue. Wilkommen. Etc.
Welcome! (Exactly where between College and Telegraph, homey?)
BHS, class of ’79. (A little younger than thee.)
mem from somerville
Howdy [possible] neighbor. Great to have a science writer about.
And thanks for the warning on the field surgery.
Welcome aboard!! Liberal MIT professors with picture taking felines are always welcome. I will have to check out Inverse Square with my budding science geek son.
@Maude: Mostly NOVAs. You can see my last one here.
@General Stuck: Tikka is not a sweetheart — but he’s my lug and I’ll defend his cussedness to the end.
@eastriver: Alta Bates Hospital, compadre. Only hospital I know named after a nurse (it’s founder), and the better for it. BHS ’76, me. You might have known my younger brother, Leo (’78).
And thanks to all good wishes. I’m collapsing in a heap now, so I’ll engage all else tomorrow.
This post reminds me of:
Hi, Tom. Welcome to the zoo. Tikka is a cutie.
I took a course in scientific writing once. Is that the same thing? That course taught me about making things parallel and that skill has served me well for decades.
If you’re into science, verstehen sie peak oil?
[an obsession of mine. :-)]
At any rate, we’re glad to have you and will be polite tonight.
Hmph. ABL brought us scotch and a fine rant. What you got?
Well, science writer…kitteh pics…I guess you can stay. Seriously, though, welcome aboard!
James K. Polk, Esq.
Go Yellowjackets indeed.
I lived on Hillegass in the early 70s, 3 blocks from Alta Bates.
I don’t remember Leo, but I hung with many people from the class behind me.
Please bring some science to this blog.
I once had someone say that I had a Baltimore accent, though I have lived in Texas all my life.
I’ve always wanted to live in Baltimore or Boston, which I visited and liked very much, but I think my vote here holds something of a key to the future. We will see.
I can’t really say welcome, but I look forward to your posts.
Smitty Werben Man Jensen
Welcome, Tom, looking forward to your postings!
And you drink and you’ve got a cat, so that’s two out of three…
But how do you feel about hockey?
Welcome! Glad to hear the new voices! (Love the old voices as well.)
Nice to see you above the fold, Tom.
Psst, Cole, FYI, keep FP-ing people that laugh at mah jokes. It’s gratifying.
What’s w/ the felines? I roomed w/ one who wanted 0430 feedings too, though, luckily for her, I was usually still awake then.
Tikka is gorgeous. I respect his need for space. Welcome aboard, and I cannot wait to see what you do with the place.
I has a question:
Why is your blog called inverse square? Are you a fan of Newton’s? Is it meant to represent the gravitational force or the electrostatic force?
ETA: Tikka is a handsome cat, he is all dressed up!
They’re naturally crepuscular*, IOW most active during twilight. That’s why they get the evening crazies and like to wake people up god-awful early in the morning to be fed; it’s their natural behavior. It’s not their fault their circadian rhythms are different from ours.
*I love an excuse to break out a rarely used word like that.
To our Mr. Levenson, Newton isn’t just a hero, he’s a protagonist!
Angry Black Lady
I’m honored and humbled to share this space with an MIT professor.
::points to Tom’s eyes with two fingers::
::points to own eyes with two fingers::
::terrorist fist jabs::
@schrodinger’s cat: LOL I’ll say he’s a Newton fan his last book, which is very very good was called Newton and the Conterfeiters.
Welcome Tom, love your blog though I never comment. And to ABW too, man I do love me a fine ass-kicking rant.
‘Bout time Cole gave you the keys.
Love you long time.
@Angry Black Lady:
Seriously? You are awesome.
Let the Wild Rumpus Start!
I’m between you and Richard.
Wow. Have been circulating links to your blog for over a year. What a pleasure to find you here!
Welcome to B-J! I’ve enjoyed your blog the times I’ve visited. Look forward to your posts here.
Welcome aboard the train. Where are your boots?
@freelancer: Laissez les bon temps roulez indeed. Good thing I just made guacamole.
I knew that, but I could practically set the clock to her waking up & checking the bowl every a.m., & found it amusing another had the same schedule, esp. w/ the times of sunrise in L.A. & Boston being at least a few minutes off.
The Grand Panjandrum
Welcome to the front page although I have been enjoying your ripostes as a member of the our glorious commentariat for the last few years. I am also a regular reader of your personal blog. Cheers!
Delighted I am to have all these new scotch drinking buddies. McCallan 12 is my favorite. Dalhwhinnie also but it’s a bit dear to buy often.
Welcome Tom and Tikka!
Welcome Tom, but as a child from the People’s Republic of BerkEley, you should really spell that city’s name right :)
Wait a second. I work at MIT. I used to live in Berkeley. I drink Dalmore 15.
Do I have a dual personality I’m not aware of? Because that would be a great excuse for so much. Heck, maybe I could even vote twice.
Rooty toot toot!
Rooty toot toot!
We are the boys of the Institute!
We don’t smoke and we don’t chew.
And we don’t go with girls that do.