This blog is mostly about quantum computing(1). Nevertheless, the medium —in this case blogging— always becomes part of the message. So I decided to pay homage to blogging by scouring the WWW and collecting from it cartoons about blogging that I especially liked. This is but a small sample. There are lots of good ones out there about the subject.
I believe reading blogs benefits many people. (I for one get a lot out of reading them.) A blog (especially if used in combination with ArXiv) is a very efficient way of disseminating scientific information to the general public and to the blogger’s peers. It is an excellent vehicle for one to explain the motivation behind one’s work, and for answering other people’s questions about that work. It’s also very good for discussing other people’s work.
Scientific conferences, on the other hand, I view less favorably. For one thing, conferences seem to be harder to opt out of, if you don’t like them, once you are there. In our times, now that it’s possible to communicate so easily, quickly and comprehensively between almost any two points on earth, physical conferences seem to me a bit antiquated. A big bit. Perhaps even an anachronism. This suggests the question, should physical conferencing be updated or simply abolished? I bet Steve Jobs would have immediately replied abolished. But Steve Jobs was a visionary who got things done, and such people are few and far between in Academia. Academia changes at a glacial pace compared with technology and industry. Academics are very slow learners about their own system.
(1) By this I mean it’s not about carpentry or home gardening, it’s not about every single topic under the sun that interests me, and it’s for the most part not about me. I try to keep this blog sharply focused on quantum computing. There are lots of blogs on the web that are of a more personal nature, and I myself much enjoy some blogs that are like that, but this one isn’t intended to be very personal. Of course, a blog is like a big bay window into a blogger’s inner soul, whether he wants it or not, but in this blog, I try to avoid as much as possible talking about myself (and my dark past…), except when I talk about my work on quantum computing.