I am going to take a break from astronomy blogging for an indefinite period of time.
I'm finding that as I'm involved in my new job, while I still do get a charge out of posts like the Big Bang post I did the other day, my heart isn't 100% in this.
Also, after the deleted post yesterday, I'm just too digusted with the nature of academia at our forefront research institutions (and with Vanderbilt in particular-- as anybody who reads this knows, I already bore a fair amount of bitterness towards that institution, and now I have a huge amount of disgust with Vanderbilt's Physics department). Yes, in the past I got a lot of mileage out of echoing those complaints, and I know that I hit something of a chord because of the response I received. Heck, even to this day news stories get generated in part by my own meta-issues with academia. But the fact is that I'm out of it now, and I'm finding myself really wanting to move on and not remain so mired in the issues that drove me into clinical depression and eventually drove me out of the field. They are not my problem now, and I'm not enough of the crusader type to want to fix the world even though I've been booted from it.
I truly do regret having to give up teaching college. Ironically, yesterday when I visited Vanderbilt, I also dropped by the Society of Physics Students meeting, and really enjoyed meeting and saying "hello" to the students. I loved the science, I loved the teaching, and I loved interacting with the students... but the academic politics and the nutty standards of "rigor" that Universities think they are applying wrecked it all. And learning what I learned about the academic politics reminded me that, yes, however wistful I may have been in the interactions with students, I made the right decision by fleeing that environment.
The fact is that my heart just is not in this astronomy blogging gig right now. I have moved on, and I really want to move on. I will make myself unhappy if I continued to be mired in what I was mired in before. And, the fact is that I don't have enough left over cognitive energy to be making the kinds of astronomy breaking news and pedagogical posts that composed what I think were the best of Galactic Interactions. Astronomy and teaching remain two of my passions, and some day I may try to come back to it. In the the mean time, however, farewell.
It is possible at some point in the future I may change my mind, and want to start blogging again— about astronomy, or about something else. I can't predict if I'll ever be able to re-join the scienceblogs.com family, but in any event I'll link to it from my personal home page. If for whatever reason you may have some interest in that possibility, periodically check that page, as I'll assuredly drop a link there to any public blog that I'm doing.