Pardon the dust

I’ve been fiddling with D&T’s formatting yesterday and today, mainly because I want to use a more up-to-date version of Blogger’s template system, including slightly shinier integration of stand-alone pages and the native post-sharing buttons. I think I’ve finally got things about the way I want them.

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Programming note

I celebrated the Memorial Day weekend by, among other things, not getting around to writing the final installment of the Big Four series, which was scheduled for sometime this week. I did write up a piece about a neat little study of brood parasitism, which I wanted to discuss while it’s fresh anyway.

I’ll complete the Big Four series next week, with a discussion of migration.

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It has come to my attention

… that some readers are attempting to post comments, but experiencing some sort of glitch with the commenting system, in at least one case having to do with the “word verification” anti-spam device. I’m not sure what’s going on – I’ve successfully posted a nonsense comment myself (logged out of Blogger, to approximate the experience of a reader). I’m going to try and dig a bit more, and see what I can do to fix it. I’m reluctant to disable the word verification, but I also want readers to be able to comment!

Update 2008.09.14 – There’s a known issue for Blogger in Beta that sounds like what’s been described to me, though it’s supposed to have been fixed as of 2006. I’ve posted a note in Blogger’s support forum. Until I have an answer I’m switching comment submission back to the old Blogger system, where you’ll be taken to a separate page to post a comment. It’s clunky, but it used to work.

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A new plan for links

I post about science quite a bit, and when I do, I try to link to the “primary” literature – peer-reviewed research articles in professional journals. But even in this modern age, lots of professional journals charge for access. Sometimes a lot. I get through on my university’s institutional subscription – but that doesn’t cover everyone. So I’ve been trying to mark links to journal articles based on whether it’ll cost you to read the full text, but I haven’t been happy with the way it looks. Therefore, I’m instituting a set of simple abbreviations, which I’ll append to linked text to indicate access levels:

  • [$$] = total lockdown; nothing but the title is free online
  • [$-a] = the article’s abstract is free, but more will cost you
  • No mark = totally free access

Check out an example of how this looks in a post. Links to an article at PLoS, which is fully open-source, aren’t marked. But links to an article at Science get the [$-a] mark. Links to article titles in the “References” section at the end aren’t marked one way or the other – I sort of assume those don’t get the same kind of follow-through that the in-text links do.

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