What has happened to Christine's blog?
This is definitely not good, losing an open-minded blog by a researcher who is fascinated by the arguments at the intersection of quantum gravitation and GR. I can't imagine the amount of time it took her to build and maintain that resource, and have told her so on multiple occasions. I only hope she can afford to spend the time to bring back that wonderful site in a more limited fashion. Her "eye" for applicability is wonderful.
Maybe she is moving her blog to another host? Or did google delete her blog for some reason?
Her blogpage is still there, but most of the content has been deleted.
What does she mean by "The End"?
We can only guess. However, it would appear that she has no intention of resurrecting her blog. Today has been a busy day. Sean Carroll essentially called any non String/DEcosmology believer a crackpot.
You don't suppose that the forces of evil are trying to save the foundations of physics from destruction?
Wonderful, isn't it! I just hope Christine is OK, and hasn't been dragged off to a dank alley.
I wouldn't rule it out.
But it is also possible that it was simply pressure from her employer.
I seem to recall Christine saying that her work is in the Brazil defense sector---onboard software for satellites.
She was trained as astrophysicist but took a non-academic job. Her employer may simply have told her she was spending too much time on stuff (however praise-worthy) that was not related to work.
I think some of these military-related aerospace workplaces (at least in the US, maybe in Brazil too) have very fussy regulations about your activities on the web or on the internet in general.
Christine has a family. She and husband have a kid. She has to think about real life stuff.
I think Christine is something of a blog artist. Her blog was visually one of the most beautiful. Surely the most beautiful of any blog related to QG. It was also thoughtfully designed ---- the way the information was laid out ---- it was like a holiday feast table set out by a talented hostess.
I don't think Christine would be capable of doing a blog and not putting a lot of graphics and thoughtful information design into it.
In a sense, given the realities of her job, this was probably destined to happen.
Suddenly the movie Babette's Feast came to my mind. Babette (a French cook) couldn't just spend a little time and set out a simple meal----she had to put everything she had into it and make a banquet. The point of the movie was that Babette was an artist. Wonderful movie.
Hopefully she will show up here once she has caught up with her real world duties
Christine's blog was really wonderful. It was much better than if it had been a half-way effort. for us I think it was better she went for a year at all-out full force.
Carl said something curious. It is possible Christine's blog just became too effective----and some string establishment person felt threatened and used influence. Having Oriti as a guest blogger was effective, in the sense i mean. And it opened the possibility that she might have other prominent guests. It could have made non-string QG more visible and had a substantial impact. Maybe somebody didn't like that prospect. I don't know how seriously to take that kind of speculation.
It was right after she had the guest bloggers that she got shut down.
Everybody I guess knows the poem by Edna St.-Vincent-Millay
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!
This does not explain why she suddenly deleted the whole blog (which could have been left as it was), right after posting an article by Schroer which she mentioned on Woit's blog.
You are right Kea. It does look like some politics. I'm without a clue.
I suspect Christine will fill us in eventually, and the truth is probably mundane. It might be something as innocent[?] as attempting to switch her blog to a different format.
Here are the facts, before too much speculation runs wild...
Yes, the blog is "dead". The main reason is that I do not have the right temperament to be in the middle of so much polemics. Yes, I had fun with the blog and got a lot from it. But lately, although I wanted to make it seem that everything was all right in its first year anniversary, things were not that good, at least, not to me.
First, a major Brazilian journal posted (for the first time here in Brazil) a large article (with front page) about the current polemics in string theory. Some weeks earlier, a journalist (the author of the article) contacted me asking me to help him on the jargon and to correct possible mistakes and misunderstandings. The article is a review on Smolin's new book and also contains an interview with him. I have made some corrections (as well as another Brazilian physicist working with strings did, as I came to learn afterwards). The published article, however, includes a part that was not in the original draft sent for me to review. It indicates that there are hot discussions over blogs and cites (including the corresponding links) the blogs of a physics Harvard professor (you know well who) and my blog, and makes it appear we are both fighting each other over the web uneducatelly.
Second, Bert Schroer wrote a paper specially for the the blog anniversary. Although I felt that some parts were too harsh and unfortunate, I still believed that it would be interesting to make it available, since there was also a scientific content that could be of value. In fact, I was interested to read the constructive comments of readers in these specific scientific parts. However, after posting it over at my blog, I soon realized it was too polemic and was already causing a strong reaction, specially from people I have high consideration, like Bee, and she was right on what she wrote. Although it was clear that Schroer's post was not mine and that I did not necessarily agree with his points of view, I felt embarrassed and sad. (You see, I do not have the right temperament for "living in the blogosphere"...)
These recent past occurences, plus several other during the past year of its existence, and other internal pressures, made me realize I was not willing to go on with the blog, although I understand that it was useful and interesting not only for me but also for some of you out there.
I've made a (partial) copy of the blog and deleted it from the server. I do not wish the whole content to be available anymore, so I left no major traces. I just left Oriti's contribution because I wanted to do so and felt it was a right thing to do.
All things come to an end, so now it seemed to be a good time.
I am a quiet person, and wish to go back to my quiet life, to my quiet readings and studies.
Thank you, I'll continue visiting PF, I enjoy greatly this place.
Hi Christine, good to see you!
I understand your not liking the animosity and vituperation
Your decision makes sense.
these science issues are much deeper than human quarrels and they could be discussed with complete kindness and courtesy, in a different civilization
I am grateful to learn that this was your own, inner motivated, decision and not something imposed on you by economic or political forces.
You have always said in your blog that your temperament was inclined to peacefulness and you did not want any noisy bitter arguments in the blog.
I forget how you said this, but you made it clear from the start.
When the controversy gets nasty, then, if one is a naturally peaceful person, one loses SLEEP! I can understand this very well :-)
you know, one can BLAME the other people for being feisty and excessively polemical----and the journalist for being a cheap sensationalist who distorts the picture to stir up interest----but in the end it is just their STYLE. you have a quiet gentle style and they are more like clowns and gladiators. It's OK. I would have got out of that cat-fight just as you did. even earlier maybe :-)
your blog certainly was beautiful. that's a fact.
and it was effective in conveying information----helping to increase the collective intelligence without being quarrelsome.
for a "quiet person" that is doing extremely well, I think
And best wishes to you, too, Christine.
Thank you for filling us in, Christine. I respect your decision, though now (too late!) I wish I had used a web-site spider to download a copy of your site to my HD, so that I could continue tracking the papers that you linked and their citations. Stay well!
I've read your decision about the blog... I'm sad, it's true, but I'm here writing you because I want to give you all my understanding.
Only a regret: I really think that science need sensibility like your, let me say a "female sensibility"... even in this diatribe with Strings!
maybe your act will shake someone: the aim is a better knowledge, not personal fight and so on...
Não deixe o bloginho morrer.
Não deixe o bloginho acabar.
(Free to Alcione)
Tudo de bom!
It seemed as if B. Schroer essay had some part, I hadn't read it so I went to it just now.
Peter Woit provides the essay online here
It begins with a quote about post-StandardModel hubris--- from
Phil Anderson, in ”Loose ends and Gordian knots of the string cult"
which appeared in the Times Higher Education Supplement
25 August 2006. Another thing I havent read! Another chunk of it was here:
but can't recommend that site. I will try this
oops it says available only to subscribers
I'll also see if Peter Woit has a link.
I see Bee just posted at Peter's blog
November 7th, 2006 at 12:40 pm
Thanks for the link to PF, it makes me feel slightly better. I just sent Christine a long email apologizing for my last comment. I feel really bad about it since it seems I did upset her quite a lot. I can’t even remember exactly what I wrote, just that I didn’t like the insulting side remarks in Schroer’s paper, that this is not going to solve any problem, and that it surprised me she would post this writing. 1/2 hour later there were several other comments whose exact content I can’t recall, and a last comment from Christine saying it’s been enough, or something.
It makes me very sad to see her go, since her blog has been very balanced on various topics, and I’ve always liked to read it. On the other hand, I can relate to her problem with the journalist… - and I guess most of you around here know that at some point it just takes too much time, and effort, to set every misconception straight, and one wonders whether it’s worth it.
so the ultimate straw apparently was where CD posted Schroer's essay (which so far does not seem to me all that strident, it is comparatively mild Schroer IMHO) and then CD got some comment unhappy with the Schroer essay and decided to bow out.
that could have just been the trigger though.
It is very sad to see Christine abandoning the blogosphere after one year of hard work with the blog. I think I understand how she feels to some extent, because I myself could not tolerate all the mess that has been around on blogs. I have been thinking about this whole new blogging phenomenon, and I think that after all, it might be better for anybody not to engage in having a blog, except if one is really brave and tenacious. I myself gave up on the blog "Comme appele du neant" because of pressures (time, peace of mind, my temperament changed, and I felt like another person on the web, which is very depressing). I felt, even as an undergraduate, of having any point of view on some matters in physics. This whole situation is very sad, and I think I have learnt some lessons.
So, Christine, I say well done to have made it that far. This shows how courageous and hard-working you have been. Now, (i know it is easy for me to say that), let things be as they are, take a break from string and non-string theory blogs, and focus all your attention and care on yourself, and your family, and your work and thoughts. At least some people won't bother you anymore with their comments...
Please do not feel too bad about what has happened.
Didn't our friend Einstein say something about that...?
"Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds."
Supposed science journalists are amongst today's most mediocre minds...
Be well, and my best wishes.
We hope we will still hear from you from time to time.:tongue:
You had a great blog Mrs. Dantas, I specifically liked your booklist for LQG. I respect your decision though, best wishes.
I understand your decision but am very sorry to see the blog go. All the best, and I hope you visit us often here at PF.
There is only one specific post that I am willing to make it available, and here is a nice place to put it -- the one about a Basic Curriculum for Quantum Gravity. You can download it here:
It seems to me this guide is useful for students, specially those with no orientation (self-study), who are just starting off in quantum gravity.
I do not want to give the impression that removing the entire blog was some kind of childish or selfish attitude. I just do not want it widely available. So I am thinking on the possibility of sending a zipped file (copy of part of the blog) through email to a few people (under request) that I know would make a reasonable use of it. But for the moment, allow me some time to think over this. :uhh:
Thank you for the possibility of getting at least some portions of the blog, Christine, and thank you for posting the reading list again. Once I found your blog I tried to work through the archives chronologically, so my first real exposure was the introductory post when you explained that you wanted to build a resource that was open, non-confrontational, and even-handed - no fights, no personal attacks. You walked the tightrope with remarkable grace, even making it look easy, though I am certain that it was not, given the food-fights plaguing most such blogs. Please take your time making your decisions about how to release the blog. There's no hurry. I do wish that I could have seen what you were going to write about Mach's Principle, though - the subject is very important and I don't think it has ever been adequately addressed. Perhaps an upcoming paper?
Yes, I want to dedicate myself to Mach Principle and quantum gravity. Both are deeply related. I even think that one will only reach a consistent theory of quantum gravity when the problem of inertia is understood and vice-versa. I do not think this (MP) is a solved problem. It is a deep fundamental problem.
Separate names with a comma.