Declan Butler, reporter This is the personal blog of Declan Butler, a senior reporter at Nature. All views expressed here are mine, and not those of Nature. Contact me at

April 18, 2007

Bush commends Darfur Google Earth layers; I recount the history of the project

Filed under: Blogging,GIS,Google Earth,Open data,Uncategorized — admin @ 9:11 pm

For what it’s worth, Georges Bush tonight commended the Darfur layers in Google Earth built by a group of volunteers (including yours truly), and endorsed by Google and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. On tonight, I tell the story of how this project evolved.

To read more of that history, see below:

November 30, 2006

Blog anniversary, and latest news

This blog is 1 year old today. I’d like to say thanks to all of you for visiting, and often getting in touch.

It’s been an eventful year, with content mostly a mix of posts — too-infrequent 🙂 — on GIS, avian flu and public health, computing, and, of late, the venue for disseminating information on the Libya HIV case, and the campaign to free the six medical workers facing the death penalty — see here and here.

I’ve an article in today’s Nature — Amazon puts network power online — on an interesting form of computing-on-demand from Amazon, that might appeal to many scientists — it is in beta. It costs $0.10 per computing hour, and to store data for $0.15 per gigabyte per month. To get started, see the FAQ, and a guide here.


July 29, 2006

When new news is old news

Filed under: Blogging — admin @ 11:21 pm

Bob Cringely, the self-acclaimed IT guru who describes himself as a “sex symbol, airplane enthusiast and adventurer [who] continues to write about personal computers and has an active consulting business in Silicon Valley, selling his cybersoul to the highest bidder” has been sounding off — “The Wrap Fish, Don’t They? — about the short half-life of news on the Internet. His story is based on a paper — that he thinks was just published, but which was in fact *just republished*– in Phys. Rev. E 73 066132 – see here.

July 6, 2006

Top 50 science blogs

Filed under: Blogging,GIS — admin @ 9:27 pm

Quick pointer to an analysis I’ve done of where science blogs rank in the overall blogosphere; its on free access at
1. Top Five Science Blogs
2. Top Five Science Writer Blogs
3. Top 50 Science Blogs
4. Note on how I did the rankings
5. Five odd facts about the ranking

A note for my fellow flu bloggers; Effect Measure comes in at number 9 of all science blogs with a Technorati rank of 6186, and H5N1, not listed, came in at number 9 in the writers’ category with a Technorati rank of 10159.

April 16, 2006

Easter avian flu map update

Map update

This weekend’s update adds a minor change to make it easier to see the latest human cases and animal outbreaks. The initial screen will by default only show — in yellow — those events that have occured since the last map update (see screenshots below). Download the new maps directly to Google Earth by clicking here. For a more detailed explanation of the new maps, click here.

December 7, 2005

‘Thin blogs’, RSS and ‘social bookmarking’

Filed under: avian influenza,Blogging — admin @ 7:45 pm

Journalists are information professionals. We handle, and select, huge amounts of information every day, and add to it through our own investigations. That’s what we are paid for. But can we use new technologies to help us share our research better, rather than leaving it in notebooks and on our hard drives? I think so; here I kick off with just some personal reflections on bookmarks and web resources.

November 30, 2005

Nature on blogging in science

Filed under: Blogging — admin @ 9:49 pm

I’ve published in Nature an article on blogging in science; Science in the web age: Joint efforts (pdf here). It’s all now on free access.

It’s part of a special on new developments in science communication on the Web; read the intro, and other articles on search , and digital libraries.
Nature also has an accompanying editorial on web services.

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