Begin at the Beginning
So, obviously, I've decided to start a general web log. I've been running a book log for nearly a year now, posting comments about every book I've read during that time, and I've enjoyed that very much. I've also killed a lot of time in the past year reading various other people's personal weblogs, and kicked around the idea of starting up my own.
Two things have prevented me from starting a weblog of my own (other than the fact that Kate didn't approve of the idea): 1) The fear that I would get sucked into Reynolds-esque posting levels, and what's meant to be an amusing diversion would eat my life, and 2) I'm not sure that my half-assed political pontificating would really be any more interesting to read than anyone else's half-assed political pontificating.
Taking these in reverse order, I realized that there are two obvious ways around the second problem. First, there's the trivial solution, the fact that while my half-assed pontificating may not be much more interesting than anyone else's, it could hardly be less interesting than some of the stuff that gets posted. More importantly, though, Derek Lowe's Lagniappe reminded me that, while most of the weblogs I read are political in nature, that doesn't have to be the case. Most of the material posted to Lagniappe has more to do with medical chemistry, and he's posted some fascinating details about the way the pharmaceutical business works.
While my job as a professor of physics at a small liberal-arts school doesn't have quite the same cachet (teaching engineers the difference between velocity and acceleration is hardly on the same level as working to cure cancer), it does provide a similar opportunity for writing about things from a different perspective than most people are used to. It also has the potential to be somewhat useful-- writing about what it is that I do for the (presumably non-physicist) audience of weblog readers will probably prove helpful when the time comes to explain these same topics to students.
As a way around the first objection, I'm starting this with a few self-imposed ground rules, chiefly that I'm not going to post more than once a day during the week. We'll see how that works for starters. I'm also going to try to hold to talking more about physics and pop culture than politics, though that's less likely to last a long time, given the rate at which irritating political developments happen these days.