Posted by: cjobrien | 20 December 2009

Back to Blogging…

Yes, I’m coming back to blogging. My absent over the last almost two years was driven largely from accepting a new position with the US Forest Service. I won’t bore you with the details (and I’m still very serious about not mixing my federal employment with personal views on various matters – perhaps even more so now) but the position requires significant effort to partner with local, state and national partners to effect change on the forest ground. This means working with many groups and individuals, all of whom hold different political and religious views. So it also means not purposefully trying to piss people off who might be future partners with the government.

Over the last few months I’ve considered coming back to blogging, but there was always the specter of the implications for my position. Not for fear of being fired or transferred – fortunately there are numerous laws and regulations that protect my own speech just like that of everyone else – federal employment does not negate my own First Amendment rights. Instead, the issue was how affective I might be if potential groups knew of my personal positions on issues – religion in particular. I tried the anonymous blogging thing for a while, but in short, I can’t “do anonymous”.  So, after consulting some fellow bloggers and a few others (all of whom encouraged me to come back to blogging – thanks for the support!) I decided to pick it up again. Some other things weighed in on the decision:

1)      First, I really miss it. I miss the blogging community and being part of a system that subverts main stream media every day that it exists. I miss the repartee with other bloggers. I’ve kept up with everyone’s blogs, but I missed being part of the conversation.

2)      Almost as important, there’s just too much out there now to pass up making a comment or two! Teabaggers, Palinistas, swifthack, the resurrection of Evolution News and Views, the surge of an anti-intellectual and anti-science populace, kindergarten mentalities with crayon signs and poor spelling, a local paper editor who has done too much information “grazing” of late…lots of good stuff – and I want back in!

3)      Over the last couple of years I’ve also found that groups and individuals I partner with aren’t really interested in my personal viewpoints. It’s hard to see how creationism fits with designing a new hiking trail (oh wait…I feel another bad Egnor analogy coming on…). In any event, people I work with are generally only interested in the project on the ground and even in polite company around campfires, politics and religion rarely comes up. Working with the local paper could be a problem, but fortunately, I have proxies for that.

4)      Most people I work with don’t read blogs (unfortunately)…if they have a favorite news source it’s probably FOX. During almost three years of blogging, there were only a few people at work who knew I blogged. I have yet to work with ANY external partners who were aware of my blogging past.

5)      My previous blogging is already out there and hard to deny.

6)      Quite frankly, I need some kind of intellectual release! The vast majority of the public I deal with are great and they make my current position very rewarding. However, I have also become one of those political animals who is capable of hiding what I’m really thinking. There are just some people with whom outwardly I remain all smiles, nods and an appearance of serious understanding…all while quietly thinking “god, you’re an idiot!”.

7)      Ultimately, however, I came to the realization that I don’t care what someone else thinks about my personal viewpoints. If they wish to use that as an excuse not to work together to accomplish important projects on the ground, then they’re probably someone we don’t want to partner with anyway.

So, I’ve decided to continue with Northstate Science. Obviously, more to come….



  1. Yay! Glad you’re back.

  2. Welcome Back!

  3. Welcome Back!

  4. Welcome back! Northstate Science has lain silent in my reader for too long!

  5. I’m pleased to see you’re back too.

  6. Thanks everyone! I appreciate the encouragement and good will! It’s nice to be conversing with great people again…

  7. I am glad to hear you have resumed blogging!

  8. Very cool. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.

  9. Great news, Chris, welcome back! I’ll send some guys over.

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