As many of you already know, I blog about science, but I am first and foremost a science fiction writer (fingers crossed, soon to be a published science fiction writer!).
Back in 2010, I started this blog as a way to force myself to do the kind of research that I, as an aspiring Sci-Fi author, thought that I ought to be doing. In the beginning, I really didn’t know much about science, except for some stuff I remembered learning in school. And most of that stuff I remembered from school turned out to be wrong or, at best, only half true.
That’s one of the reasons I love being self educated. Writing this blog has given me an opportunity to discover and correct many of the misconceptions I once had about science. And my Sci-Fi writing has improved as a result. I was recently looking over one of my old manuscripts. So many silly misconceptions are on full display in that text. Thank God that story never got published!
Another reason I love being self educated: doing deep dives on topics that I find interesting or that I think could be useful in my stories—topics like lithium mining, Troodon intelligence, or Venus’s unknown absorber. The kinds of topics that never seem to get covered in school or that rarely get attention from the popular press.
I have, on occasion, surprised professional scientists with just how much I know about some weirdly specific topics. And then I’ve surprised those same scientists with how much I don’t know about more ordinary, more generalized things. That’s the peril of being self educated. Your knowledge is splotchy, inconsistent. You end up with these weird gaps in your knowledge, gaps that someone with a more traditional science education would not have.
And that’s why I keep blogging: because there’s still a whole lot I don’t know, and I’m sure I still have a lot of misconceptions in my head about science, and about other things too. One thing I didn’t anticipate when I started this blog was how valuable a resource you, dear reader, would be. You’ve asked me questions. You’ve challenged me. Some of you have pointed out my mistakes and suggested new avenues of research.
For that, I just want to say thank you, and please keep it up!
Next time on Planet Pailly, what if I told you Earth is not the perfect planet for life?