Toy Universes

Gravity inside our minds

Re-thinking about the Toy Universes site

with 9 comments

I have recently been thinking about the “idea of this blog”, about its contents, scope, and audience, as contrasted to the time and energy that I have available to invest on it.

It is clear by now that I have not been able to blog here as frequently as I should, but this was somehow expected. Also, although I love writing, it seems that, as I age, it becomes more and more difficult for me to write, specially technical content, even if brief, as blog posts are supposed to be (at least, in this blog).

Another factor that is bothering me is: the subjects that I have chosen to blog about, although being my favorites, unfortunately are not related to what I am presently working on (professionally). As time passes, I feel more and more detached from those subjects, and when I do find  time or energy to write about them, it seems to take me forever to remember what I once knew, to keep up with otherwise new information, or simply “get into” the matter. Time runs out soon and I have to turn myself to something else.

In addition, this blog has never achieved a good statistics, it is really very poor in that regard. I have had other blogs in the past and this one has – by far – the worst statistics on visits. It is even worse than my shutdown blogs, which still receive traffic. I presently have another blog, called Matemática Replay!, written in Portuguese for Brazilian (or Portuguese-spoken) mathematics students (fundamental and high school levels), which receives a very high traffic, even though it is not frequently updated as well. Yet, I feel much more motivated to write there because I know it is being useful for the students and teachers.

Do not get me wrong: I do not write blogs just to gain traffic or attention towards myself. Since I have started blogging, back in 2005 or so, my sole purpose has been to write useful content and to learn in the process. Of course, having a good traffic is important because then you have an idea that the time spent is turning into something useful to others. I also think it is very important to revert the knowledge that I have gained – however small – back to society. But is it really worth the effort if it is rarely accessed? If I have such a hard time writing and the resulting posts end up not as good as I would like them to be?

As I age, and yes I am getting old, I must be even more selective on how to spend my time and energy. For example, I have stopped commenting on other scientifically-oriented blogs because I came to understand that what I write is quite often misunderstood. I came to the conclusion that I do not write (at least, in English) as well as I thought. So it may be the case that the present blog does lack clarity or some other feature that otherwise would increase the number of interested people. Therefore it may be not only a question of content but also of form.

In summary, I am re-thinking about Toy Universes, how to make it a useful and interesting blog, how to make my writing worthy and better, given that I have such a difficult time with it. So this post is just a short note to eventual readers – and a reminder to myself – that this blog might suffer some changes in the future.

I am not sure what those will be, and when, but eventually they must come.

Written by Christine

March 18, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Posted in Announcements

9 Responses

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  1. Sorry to hear of your concerns. I am an avid follower of this and your earlier blog. I really like the variety of items you include, particularly your earlier one. As for your English, I have always found it excelent and never have had any trouble following it. I certainly understand changes that come with age – but please you are still a youngster with much to offer the blog world! Best wishes always

    Chuck Meek

    March 27, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    • Thanks a lot, it is always nice to know that readers can find some meaning to my writings here and there. Your feedback is valuable and appreciated. Best,



      March 28, 2012 at 9:36 AM

  2. Hi Christine, I must admit that i haven’t made time to get deep into your blog posts because i am not currently a physics student anymore and like yourself choose to spend time on other matters. But i intend to resume my physics degree shortly and i certainly will use this blog as a resource since i not only like your style of explanation but i also admire the way in which you view physics. I found it refreshing to stumble upon your old blogs and to read your posts which convey a very open minded and flexible approach about how physics should be done. I think that the topics you discuss on this new blog can be quite heavy going but you have made an excellent effort to get them off the ground and am glad to see these blog tutorials. Just thought i would let you know that your posts are appreciated. Thanks:)


    April 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM

  3. Hi Lucasloca85,

    Thanks for your comment! I’m pleased to learn that those blog posts scattered in my past timeline have been useful/interesting to you. I hope you are able to resume your studies in physics as smoothly as possible, as it seems to be a subject that you intend to invest for a career, no? As mentioned in this post, I’m re-thinking about the overall objectives of this blog, and your inputs are highly appreciated. Good luck!



    April 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    • Hi Christine,

      Well im a little doubtful for a career in physics now since my studies have been so interrupted but i plan to resume a Bsc by studying part time for the degree next february. I thought that since i had worked so hard to get so far i may aswell complete it since i still love physics and study it as a hobby now. Perhaps if i can find a masters programme for the right cost i can pursue that and then maybe even a Phd somewhere.. but in the meantime i just want to brush up on my math and physics skills till then. Hope you are getting on well with plans on how to proceed in the blogging world.. i do find myself overwhelmed sometimes by all the blogs out there now but each has it’s own valued viewpoint i believe. Bye for now:)



      May 4, 2012 at 7:23 PM

  4. Christine,
    Just discovered your blog. Am not a formal student of Physics, just like to read about it. I love the concept of toy model universe, on several levels. Ever since I read Penrose – The Large, the Small… I keep a little compillation of interesting toy models when I find them. Please don’t stop this blog, I will visit it often. -keith

    Keith Woodward

    January 2, 2013 at 3:29 PM

  5. Hi – I am an amateur student of physics who has only recently started branching out from books to blogs. I started with Peter Woit’s “Not Even Wrong”, and started going down his list of Physics blog links to find other interesting sites. Yours was the first I found that was worth bookmarking. First of all, your English is excellent, really superb. Second, I am very interested in all of the subjects you write about. I am a bit of a rebel in general, and I became a committed physics rebel after reading Lee Smolin’s “The Trouble With Physics”. Given the scarcity of physicists writing about topics like loop quantum gravity, I’d say your blog is a rarity, and thus valuable. My suggestion is to not worry about the frequency of posting or the length of posts, and just post when you can with the most interesting and high quality writings you can. I plan to take my time going through all of your old posts, so I hope you keep this blog around so I and others can enjoy whatever you have the time to write.


    March 22, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    • Dear Andy: thank you very much for your kind words and good luck with your studies.



      March 23, 2013 at 8:47 PM

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