The aging science group blog Ouroboros has been defunct for some months now, which is more the pity. Working your way through the archives will show you that it was a quality effort whilst it lived - and those archives continue to provide value for those interested in learning more about evidence, debates, and directions in aging research. But that is not dead which can eternal lie. Glancing in the direction of Ouroboros today, I notice signs of renewed life from organizer Chris Patil, one of the Buck Institute for Age Research folk:
I’m trying to claw my way back from a long period of inactivity. In late 2009, experiments and other work prevented me from devoting time to this project, and even after some of those obligations lightened, I was finding it difficult to get back in the saddle. My last moment of inspiration turned out to be a false alarm, and rumors of my resurrection had been greatly exaggerated. Most of the posts in the final quarter of last year were made by one of our other writers (turritopsis’ excellent coverage of the SENS4 conference).
But I’ve decided that this is important to me, for a variety of reasons, both selfish and other-centered. I like the way that Ouroboros helps me keep on top of the literature - even if I’m deciding not to write about an article, I’m thinking about it - and I’ve been missing that. I also liked the small but growing sense that I was doing something that other people enjoyed, and that benefited the field as a whole. On the careerist side: Knowing the field helps me choose the best experiments to do in my own work. Beyond that, as my generation gradually takes over the reigns of academic science, more and more people will appreciate the value of activities like blogging - so hopefully there will be no ultimate career tradeoff between time spent blogging and time spent on research activities.
So as of tomorrow, I’ll be back, in some form.
Profit, either monetary or in the form of other personal benefits and growth, is the incentive that enables longer-term initiatives. If there is no profit, no personal benefit, then sooner or later even the most starry-eyed altruist will burn out. All too few authors write regularly on the topic of aging and longevity science, especially when it comes to addressing laypeople in the wider audience beyond the research community. Progress in the big picture of fundraising for aging research is as much a matter of educating people of the potential inherent in present longevity science as anything else, and more voices are the way to achieve that goal. So if you found Ouroboros valuable whilst posting was regular, then drop by and offer a few words of encouragement.