newscience is a site for me to look at interesting bits of science and technology, among other things (such as poker, cooking, making things, code, and IT).
Once upon a time, my consulting firm was newscience InterActive, which primarily provided a range of IT consulting services, as well as designing and producing multimedia.
Our multimedia projects most commonly were used to explain or educate about scientific, medical, or technical issues, most commonly for Big Pharma, tech companies, etc. Our platforms ran the gamut from complex interactive tradeshow kiosks to CD-ROMS and web sites, incorporating video, video and audio capture, animation, games, etc.
Due to the name of our domain, when I first set up our own web site, in the early days of the web, a curious thing happened. A few times a week, I would receive emails requesting science information. Usually these requests were from young people, possibly even children, but also parents of children, and college and high school students. In some (okay, most) cases, it was clear that they were looking for help with some school assignment or project.
But why were they asking ME? Very curious – sure, www.newscience.com might seem like a reasonable spot for science info, but there were an awful lot of more likely spots.
And it worked. In most cases, I would answer their questions, or provide them with some suitable links on where to find out more. My background includes a fair coverage of the sciences, having a degree in biology, having studied physics in some depth, spent a lot of years in graduate school in atmospheric and energy science, as well having worked for more than half a decade in research in biomedical materials. I also taught science classes at the college level for two years. So answering the questions was always kind of fun, as was poking at the kids to do their own research.
After a few weeks I noticed that the requests seemed to share some features that led me to believe that the bulk of them were writing in from various parts of the former British Empire. The extra “u” in colour, and the like, and the politeness, and certain turns of phrase convinced me, and then I figured it out.
It seems that newscience.com was WAY too close to newscientist.com for most people. New Scientist is an excellent British publication that covers science. It’s sort of like a younger, hipper British version of Scientific American. And apparently kids from the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia view it as a homework resource.
I ended up placing a link, on my home page, to direct people to that website for the magazine, and eventually the science questions dropped off.
But I had always enjoyed writing about science, and kind of missed it. I figured at some point I might turn the website to that topic, and finally have.