My Internet presence

Given the fact that I have somehow gained a substantial number of new subscribers to the Renaissance Mathematicus and an even larger number of new followers on Twitter I thought it might be apposite to explain my various Internet activities.

The Renaissance Mathematicus is home base and is the hub around which everything else revolves. It is a platform on which I express my thoughts about the history of science, which is the great love of my life. Mostly the things written here centre on the Early Modern Period and to a large extent the so-called mathematical sciences. However I am king of this here castle and I am free to wander where my fancy takes me and often have and will continue to do so, landing maybe in the nineteenth century or perhaps in Ancient Greece or Babylon. The types of posts I write are also quite varied. A lot of the time I react to bad history of science criticising and correcting rubbish which others have published on the Internet, in newspapers or magazines, or in books. This very often involves busting the myths that unfortunately have become the everyday bread and butter of popular history of science.

I don’t however just post negative articles. The positive ones are oft in the form of potted biographies in particular of the less well known figures, who have made important contributions to the evolution of the sciences. Another form of post that can be either negative or positive are book reviews of which I have several in the pipeline at the moment. Occasionally I will write pieces on historiography or on the philosophy of science. From time to time, such as now, I write pieces about myself but I try to keep those to a minimum.

I have recently become very aware of the fact that over the years a relatively large number of posts on a fairly wide range of topics have accumulated here at the Renaissance Mathematicus. It has even reached the point where I sometimes find it difficult to find something I wrote in the past and can’t quite remember the ‘clever’ title I gave it at the time. On the other hand whilst searching in such situations I stumble across posts I had completely forgotten about and think, “Did I write that?” To improve the situation for both myself and others I intend to index the substantial posts sometime this summer (famous last words!).

My second major Internet presence in my Twitter stream (@rmathematicus), which shows up here on the right side of the blog. I am a serial retweeter! I tweet or retweet anything that has to do with #histSTM, that is the histories of science, technology and medicine. I also tweet or retweet some other stuff to do with my other interests in life like music for example. Anybody is welcome to follow me on Twitter, but on the whole I will only follow back if your tweets are somehow connected to #histSTM

My serial retweeting on Twitter does have another purpose, apart from informing people who follow me about the Internet world of #histSTM, and that is to serve as the principal source for my other blogging activity Whewell’s Gazette. Whewell’s Gazette is a weekly collated links list of as many #histSTM blog posts, articles etc. as I can find. It gets posted every Monday (if I get it finished in time!) on the Whewell’ Ghost blog site. Like my Twitter stream, I see this as a service to the wider #histSTM Internet community, spreading the gospel so to speak. If you are generally interested in some aspects of #histSTM go take a look! There are always lots of interesting things to read collected there.

I also have accounts on Facebook, Pinterest and but these are largely inactive as I only opened them to gain access to #histSTM material posted there. All of my posts here and at Whewell’s Ghost get posted both to Twitter and to Facebook so if you prefer to follow me there feel free to do so.

When I first started this blog more than five years ago I didn’t think I would find enough to say to keep going for six months, however I’m still here and am still finding things to write about, so you’re more than welcome to stick around and read my pearls of wisdom (or festering heaps of rotting Dodo droppings, depending on your point of view). Also feel free to add your own views in the comments column, that’s what it’s there for. However be warned if you attempt to bite me, I am almost certain to bite back.






Filed under Autobiographical

4 responses to “My Internet presence

  1. Jeb

    “To improve the situation for both myself and others I intend to index the substantial posts sometime this summer (famous last words!).”

    I have the same issue, and have just taken steps to deal with it yesterday, in my case I changed the blog theme to one that allows posts on the home page to be displayed as a series of images.

    I intend to use one image for each subject. Certainly helps with my dyslexic order of things. For some reason I also never index properly but this should help me at least identify subjects with speed.

    Changing the blog has also got me for the moment into changing my own habits and actually index posts.

  2. I use the tags and categories ability that wordpress has. Going back to add them would be a pain, but using them right from the start means I have an automatic index.

    The fun thing about going back to past writing is reading something good and interesting and realising you wrote it 5 years ago but forgot about it in the meantime.

    I do hope you carry on. The blogosphere is not as well served by history of science people as I would like. The early promise of the internet has not borne as great a fruit as I would like; nevertheless, despite the assault of sensationalism and short termism it still exists and performs useful functions even if most of the population is unaware of it.

    • C Hibbs

      I would second this, and take the chance to apologize for the ignorant and aggressive tone of the first couple of comments I made.

  3. C Hibbs

    There doesn’t appear to have been fundamental progress for 50 years or more. At the ‘edge’ there’s a sort of strange inverted consensus. Divergent camps that really do not interact anymore, each argue there is no crisis, Science is alive and well in the way of going ahead favoured by that camp. All the other camps are bad science, non-science or bad-philosophy, etc.

    So that’s a consensus of sorts, in that it is invariant across the field. The other invariant is that none of the camps produce predictions, and all but one exhibit the further invariant that they dismiss the importance of predictions in science. The one exception does make any prediction but does still acknowledge the centrality of being able to tell us something new about the world, as presumably naturally to follow from an important new theory about the world.

    So they all have this invariant feature, and that’s it’s a kind of sickly inverted consensus. Despite what they say, the funny thing is, if one of them did produce non-trivial predictions, all of this would just go away.

    But that isn’t going to happen thony, because all of them invoke infinities. Not in the proper way, which is for rigour in, say, mathematics. But as fundamental explanatory devices at the heart of their world view. Their theories and directions simply fall apart without their infinite whatever. So they’ll never ever predict.

    Is this something to worry about thony? I’ve tried to understand history and continue to do so. I found you. But I can’t find any parallels for this situation. Will you mention any that you know?

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