Two things happened this past year and I just recently figured out they were related.

nakedmolerat wikipedia

Naked Mole Rat – Superhero of the animal world! (photo: Roman Klementschitz (CC BY-SA 3.0) )

Thing 1: My writing critique group was going over a piece I wrote on naked mole rats.  Near the end of the 90-minute discussion I had a revelation: “How many of you had ever heard of a naked mole rat before you read this?”

No hands went up.

Really? Really.  They had no idea such an animal existed. Now this surprised me. These are eight well-educated, widely-read, smart and creative people. How could they not have heard of this legendary animal? In the online science world you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a naked mole rat story.

So that’s the first thing.

Thing 2: I was interviewed by Paige Brown for her research on how science becomes news. Her line of questioning revolved around how I select topics to blog about and how my audience plays into those decisions. I told her that many of my readers were from outside of the field of science so I try to cover things I think they’d be interested in.

It was only later that I realized she didn’t ask  me why I might reject covering particular stories or topics. (Or maybe she did and I forgot.)

In any case, lately I’ve been thinking about that. Which brings me back to the naked mole rats.

Why, with all the excitement around naked mole rats for so many years, have I never blogged about them? As my niece would say:

“That’s just crazy!”

We don't all inhabit the same neighborhood .. real or virtual.

We don’t all inhabit the same neighborhood .. real or virtual.

Here’s why: In my internet neighborhood, naked mole rats are so well-covered, they are practically a meme. Heck, they were even named Vertebrate of the Year by Science Magazine.

So I just assumed everyone had already had their fill of the creatures. And I realized the same holds true for a whole bunch of interesting topics. I didn’t blog them because “everyone else” already had.

But of course, I forgot a crucial point: You don’t all hang out in my internet neighborhood. You might not open 10 or 12 science or nature blogs before the day is over.  You don’t necessarily get news alerts in your email from Nature News, Nautilus Magazine or the Scientific American Blog Network.

You might not even recognize the names Ed Yong,   Maryn McKenna, Carl Zimmer or any of the other internationally renowned science bloggers. And because I’ve been skipping over a lot of those stories, you’ve been missing out on them.

I aim to fix that.

From now on you’ll see a lot more stories here that are well-covered within the science media realm but that you may have missed. Like always, they’ll be topics that catch my interest and that I think you’ll enjoy.  Some of these I’ll write up myself. Other times I may give you a short summary and then send you off to read someone else’s post. I encourage you to click those links. You’ll meet some very fine bloggers that way.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to write up my own stories and give you my take on things that aren’t covered by everyone else. You’ll still see local news and animal stories that catch  my eye, in-depth looks at some of the bigger issues, essays, links out to my guest-posts elsewhere, and the occasional rant.  Friday Fiction Facts and Beautiful Sunday will continue in their current, somewhat sporadic way.

Finally, I’ll be starting up another series (or two? I haven’t quite decided how to spin this yet) in the near future.

My new neighbors

My new neighbors

As some of you know, I recently moved to downtown Toronto, becoming a city-person for the first time in my life. For me, this raises all kinds of questions around nature and animals:

Where will I find nature in the city? What animals live here? What do people think of them? What do city planners do (if anything) to create natural spaces? What effect does city life have on people’s relationship with nature?

I’ll be talking about those things beginning with an essay over at The Center for Humans and Nature, City Creatures Blog at the end of the month and then continuing the thread here.

At the same time, we are purchasing land to build a net-zero, minimum-impact (or as close as possible) lake-front home over the next 2 or 3 years.

I want to share our progress on that and talk about things like the environmental issues and decisions we have to make, the balance between cost and ecological soundness, green technologies, and of course the nature of our land itself.   We haven’t quite closed the deal on the property yet, but as soon as we do, I’ll share some photos and first thoughts.

So that’s the new Fall lineup here at Endless Forms Most Beautiful. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy sharing it.