Monday, January 5, 2015

Writing Style

I have determined that I need to read more Terry Pratchett (of Discworld fame) before writing these blog posts.

About one book per post should be reasonable.

This occurred to me after skimming some of my earliest posts, notably "In the Beginning". I rather enjoy the irreverent, vaguely rambling style that occasionally sneaks into my writing after reading some good ol' English satire It tends to fade as I try to write more "proper" scientific prose, worthy of journals and newsletters, which is a shame (I really wish that this irreverent style could make it into the hallowed halls of Nature or Science. I think this would say something rather positive about humanity on the whole). 

Because, let's face it, science should be able to look at itself and laugh. Or at least giggle. You see, as scientists, or engineers (for those of us who think we get our hands dirty enough), we attempt to write the rules to something (rather, everything) which may not follow any rules at all.

We pretend to understand, and further our understanding, of a particular discipline, all the while waiting for that next clever upstart to turn our worlds upside-down.

I personally look forward to whomever takes the position of paradigm-shifter in my lifetime. Makes life a hell of a lot more interesting.

In the meantime, we scientists get along with the daily grind, focused on the microcosm that is our discipline while rarely picking our heads up long enough to really see the world we are trying to autopsy. I move along (hopefully) in the understanding of inlet migration and sediment transport, throwing out phrases like "current profiler" and "coupled model runs" as if they will lead me to a discovery that will hold water (har, get it?) in a centuries' time.

So it does us good to laugh once and a while. At ourselves, at our endeavors, and at what we know about what we do not know.

I will try to make future project-related entries as irreverent as possible, in the spirit of scientific discovery and, more accurately, scientific honesty.

Hence my desire to read lots of Pratchett in the near future. Elements of fantasy writing, I believe, can only assist the dissemination of science.

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