The Tangled Bank

In cooperation with several other of us geeky science types, I am pleased to announce our own version of the "Carnival of the Vanities". A Carnival is a weekly showcase of good weblog writing, selected by the authors themselves (that's the vanity part). Each week, one of our crew will highlight a collection of interesting weblog articles in one convenient place, making it easy for everyone to find the good stuff.

Two things will distinguish us from the original "Carnival of the Vanities": 1) we are specifically restricting ourselves to articles in the field of science and medicine, very broadly defined, and 2) we've got a different name. Our weekly compendium of great science weblog articles will be called the Tangled Bank, after Charles Darwin's famous metaphor:

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms.

It's a fine comparison to the world of weblogging as well, with some singing birds and a few of us crawling worms, all struggling to enlarge our Ratio of Increase. We only hope the analogy fails somewhere before that business about "Extinction of less-improved forms"...


Our first step is to request submissions from YOU, gentle reader. Are you a weblogger? Have you recently written something you are proud of, that you think other people with an interest in biology, medicine, science in general, or just the general workings of the natural world might find worth reading? Let me know! Send an e-mail message to [email protected] containing the words "Tangled Bank" somewhere in the subject line, and a link to your article, along with a sentence or two of descriptive summary. Don't hesitate, don't be shy, don't wonder if your work is good enough—flit right into the bank with the rest of us elaborately constructed forms.

This is an egalitarian activity. You do not have to be a Ph.D., you don't have to write articles with ten-syllable words, you don't have to discuss esoteric details. All you have to do is express some enthusiasm for the natural world or encourage study of the same.

The host will review your entry, and if it meets our generous standards, it will be included in that week's Tangled Bank. Our recommendations:

Anyone can submit an entry. Even if you don't routinely write about medicine or biology, if you just happen to have written about your gall bladder surgery that week or the pileated woodpecker that has taken to waking you every morning, if you think you've said something interesting and insightful, send it in.


Hosting the Tangled Bank for a week requires a bit more commitment. Ideally, we'll be able to rotate hosting duties among a number of people, minimizing the effort any one person has to put into it.

Other Carnivals

Philosophers' Carnival
The Bharteeya Blog Mela
Bonfire of the Vanities
Carnival of the Capitalists
The Kissing Booth
Carnival of the Canucks
The BestOfMe Symphony
The Carnival of the Cats
Carnival of The Consumers
The SciAn Melt
Carnival of the Godless
Grand Rounds

History & Future Hosts

Date Site Link
21 April 2004 Pharyngula Pharyngula :: Tangled Bank #1
5 May 2004 Invasive Species Weblog Invasive Species :: Tangled Bank #2
19 May 2004 10,000 Birds 10,000 Birds :: Tangled Bank #3
2 June 2004 De Rerum Natura De Rerum Natura :: Tangled Bank #4
16 June 2004 Borneo Chela Borneo Chela :: Tangled Bank #5
2 July 2004 Johnny Logic Johnny Logic :: Tangled Bank #6
14 July 2004 Rhosgobel Rhosgobel :: Tangled Bank #7
28 July 2004 reagank :: Tangled Bank #8
11 August 2004 Pharyngula Pharyngula :: Tangled Bank #9
25 August 2004 Wolverine Tom Wolverine Tom :: Tangled Bank #10
8 September 2004 Archy Archy :: Tangled Bank #11
22 September 2004 Lean Left LeanLeft :: Tangled Bank #12
6 October 2004 Preposterous Universe Preposterous Universe :: Tangled Bank #13
20 October 2004 Prashant Mullick Prashant Mullick :: Tangled Bank #14
3 November 2004 The Sixth International The Sixth International :: Tangled Bank #15
17 November 2004 Rhosgobel Rhosgobel :: Tangled Bank #16
1 December 2004 Penn Penn :: Tangled Bank #17
15 December 2004 Code Blue Blog CodeBlueBlog :: Ducks, Gills, Syphilis, and the Homunculus: Tangled Bank #18
12 January 2005 Science and Politics Science and Politics :: Tangled Bank #19
26 January 2005 JasmineCola JasmineCola :: Tangled Bank #20
9 February 2005 About Town About Town :: The Tangled Bank is here!
23 February 2005 The Scientific Indian The Scientific Indian :: Tangled Bank #22
27 February 2005 Pharyngula Pharyngula :: Tangled Bank #22½: The Quest for the Lost Articles
9 March 2005 Living the Scientific Life Living the Scientific Life :: Tangled Bank, Issue #23, The Birthday Edition
23 March 2005 Syaffolee Syaffolee :: Tangled Bank #24
6 April 2005 Respectful Insolence Respectful Insolence :: The Tangled Bank XXV: Dear Journal Editor, It's Me Again
20 April 2005 Circadiana Circadiana :: Happy Anniversary Tangled Bank
4 May 2005 Buridan's Ass Buridan's Ass :: Tangled Bank #27
18 May 2005 Chronicles of a Medical Madhouse Chronicles of a Medical Mad House :: Tangled Bank #28: "Alternative" to a Healthy Mind
1 June 2005 Organic Matter Organic Matter :: Tangled Bank #29—The Natural History Museum
15 June 2005 GeomBlog  
22 June 2005 Science & Sensibility  
29 June 2005 Technogypsy  
6 July 2005 Cognitive Daily  
13 July 2005 Evolgen  
27 July 2005 Creek Running North  

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