So, I don’t have a new post out (yet), but there’s some new stuff around the blog that I want to officially call your attention to…
1. Clarified my descriptions of how I’ve organized this blog
I want to make certain you are all getting the most out of this blog.
That’s why I want to explain the primary organization structure: modular units with fundamentals up top and involved concepts down below. You’ll see this on every fleshed-out science page, but right now, Astronomy shows it off the best–it’s got the most posts right now.
Basically, the drop-downs are more-or-less modular units. The units themselves are arranged with fundamental units up top and more advanced units below, but because I’m not actually teaching a course and people are going to pop in and read recent posts first, I’ve kept them as modular as possible.
Within the drop-downs, the posts up top are necessary to fully understand the posts down below. But depending on the depth of research you’re going for and your personal familiarity with each topic, you might not need to read all the earlier stuff–and I’ve tried to modularize individual posts as best I can, too.
In particular…since the blog as a whole is currently focused primarily on astronomy, I want to call attention to the two most fundamental posts on the subject: “The Spectrum of Light” and “The H-R Diagram.” These are referenced and linked all across my astronomy posts. They’re essentially the backbone of my astronomy “series.”
2. Revamped the sidebar a bit
In the sidebar, you’ll now notice a search bar, a Mailchimp subscription widget, a carousel of recent posts, the (more or less) new comment policy, a modest request from me for a little moral support, and an event countdown.
I don’t know a science website on the internet that doesn’t have a search bar–it just kind of goes without saying. Also, I’d obviously love it if people loved my blog enough to get updates, so there’s the subscription widget for ya.
I wanted to add a bit of “pop” to the sidebar, some color, some flare–so I added the post carousel to display links to recent posts, with featured images. Hopefully that helps you guys easily navigate to cool stuff to read about. I just thought the sidebar looked a little boring without it.
As for the comment policy. I created that fairly recently but haven’t said anything about it, because for most of you, comments aren’t a problem. I did run into a little toxicity recently–consequences of my blog expanding its reach, I suppose–so I drew up a little policy. It’s nothing huge and likely won’t impact most of you at all.
Next…as you probably know from my more recent (kinda pathetic) updates, I get pretty discouraged sometimes. Engagement with the blog is the best medicine ever. The widget says the rest. But no pressure. I’m hardly trying to farm attention or something.
Last but not least…I’ve had an eclipse countdown widget for a while now, but I updated it to a current WordPress widget (especially since all the “legacy” ones started crapping out on me). I like this “real-time” one a lot better, and I hope you guys do too! It’ll be used to countdown to the next solar or lunar eclipse, or the next transit of Mercury, whichever is next up on the astronomical calendar. (Technically, Venus transits are also on the calendar, but I doubt I’ll be alive for the next one.)
Anyway, hope you guys enjoy the revamped sidebar 🙂
3. Cleaned up the contact forms
Now they’re all on one page–the creatively named “Contact.” There’s a general one for just saying hi (I’d love to hear from you guys!!!), one with a programmed subject line for science questions, and one for blog feedback. That’s about it.
I’m sure there’ll be more updates coming up–Start Here definitely needs a bit of a revamp, and it’s probably about time I changed the blog’s header image…if I can just find a good replacement. I’ll be tweaking other minor things here and there too. I just wanted to put out this post so that (1) these changes don’t go unnoticed and (2) you guys know I haven’t forgotten about the blog! Lately, even when I haven’t been writing posts, I’ve been working on general updates and tinkering.
Hope you guys continue to enjoy, and I’ll try to publish a science post for you soon.