When we’re not leafing through our library, our team regularly spends their coffee or lunch hour perusing some of the most unique blogs on the Internet. We were a bit hesitant about sharing our favourites — we’d be sharing where we get our best dinner party trivia from — but our readers are much too important to us. Here we share 25 eccentric, weird and wonderful science blogs that we love — in no particular order!
You’ll see that we’ve organised them by category — everything from bodies buried below to bugs in the great outdoors. There’s probably something here to read for any secret interest you nurture.
Don’t see the blog that you absolutely adore? Feel it fits the “eccentric, weird and wonderful criteria”? Tell us about it in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Six Feet Under (Or Nearly There)
Morbid Anatomy is the brainchild of Joanna Ebenstein, a graphic designer and photographer, who runs the eponymous Morbid Anatomy Library in Brooklyn, New York. This remarkable site is run in conjunction with a photographic exhibition called Anatomical Theatre. It focuses on the intersection between art, medicine, death and culture — showcasing specimens from the Museum and elsewhere alongside a comprehensive list of relevant links (lined neatly like books along endless library walls) along the sidebars. It shouldn’t be missed, and certainly, once you’re on it — cannot be ignored.
From human remains in the news to the strange history of corpses, Strange Remains is curated by Dolly Stolze, an MSc graduate in forensic anthropology from California State University. It swings between reporting on macabre art; numerous odd skeletal collections and ossuaries from around the world; gruesome histories and traditions; as well as contemporaneous analyses of human bones. Recent posts include a closer look at the mummified head of Oliver Cromwell. Better still, the accompanying Twitter feed regularly updates and retweets relevant material from the far corners of the Internet — so it is definitely worth a follow.
Written by a zooarchaeologist and field archaeologist, this site covers an astonishing breadth of material: sift through the wonderfully-curated posts, and begin to absorb Hayley Forsyth’s take on archaeology; history of medicine; osteoarchaeology; pathology; Roman history; and several additional topics within her extensive realm of expertise. The author’s commitment to the material comes shining through her posts — all of which are well-researched and presented for the amateur looking to discover a wondrous discipline. We’ve massively enjoyed Hayley’s posts, especially a recent one on memento mori, or the practice of reflecting on one’s own mortality.
One thing you should know: Heather is a first-generation funeral director and embalmer. While she writes about real (freshly dead) people she encounters in her day-to-day work, she is careful to ensure that any identifying details are not committed to the page. Her accounts are satisfying and compelling. Probably one of the most notable is her piece “Wichita Vortex Sutra #3” — which tells of a couple’s heartbreaking miscarriage at 15 weeks. What follows is a deeply personal recollection that deserves a close read. We’re quite sure that this one is an undiscovered gem, so be sure to have a look through. One thing to note, though: some of the posts are personal, so the stories we might be after are sort of somewhere in-between.
Medical historians really do tell the best stories — and Dr Lindsey Fitzharris (who is also a writer and TV presenter) is notable among them. She specialises in the history of early surgery after receiving a doctorate from Oxford University, and uses her wildly popular blog to publicise her findings. Loved by many, The Chirugeon’s Apprentice is “dedicated to a study of early modern chirurgeons, and all the blood and gore that comes with it.” Read the casebooks for a glimpse at some of the fascinating specimens and literature that Lindsey studies as a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellow on a regular basis. Her several spin-off side projects are also well-featured there (e.g. her IndieGoGo campaign for a medical history documentary was overfunded).
Tucked away from the specimens lining the vast Barts Pathology Museum, curator and qualified mortuary technician Carla Valentine makes time to write a simultaneously saucy and stimulating blog. She approaches the relatively dark subject matter with a sense of humour, whilst carefully integrating stories about the items found in the Museum with the content she publishes on her own personal blog. Still, some of the up-close shots are certainly not for the squeamish! Not in the mood for reading through a blog? Fortunately, Carla also publishes YouTube videos that are definitely worth a watch.
It took a broken bone and an X-ray to inspire this talented author to pursue bioarchaeology in later life. Now an assistant professor at the University of West Florida, Kristina Killgrove made it her mission to spread the word about archaeology, bioanthropology and the classical world. As a trained classical bioarchaeologist, she is one of the few scholars who has started to answer questions about ancient Romans using skeletal remains. Best of all, Kristina does a superb job in profiling the accuracy of the hit TV show Bones — episode by episode.
Katy Myers is the voice behind this blog. As a PhD candidate at Michigan State University, she’s well-versed in mortuary archaeology, bioarchaeology and anthropology in general. Her writing shows remarkable insight into the breathtakingly intriguing topics she selects: headless Romans; where vampires comes from; the future of cemeteries; and funerals in Ancient Greece. Read some of it, and you’ll swiftly be transported into a strange and ancient world.
Powered by a team of archaeologists, palaeontologists and geologists on a quest to prove the extraordinary contributions of women to these disciplines (and to inspire the next generation of researchers), this blog regularly documents both old and new pioneers in this field. It’s a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in looking at the role that women played in remarkable discoveries across the world. Packed with stories and profiles of incredible individuals, this stop is sure to inspire.
Psychology and Neuroscience
10. Mind Hacks
A strikingly incisive look at neuroscience and psychology news, Mind Hacks — which is published in part by the University of Sheffield psychology lecturer, Dr Tom Stafford — has attracted a tremendous following since its inception. This is a general resource for anyone intrigued by the human mind, its inner mechanisms and all secrets unrevealed. Specifically, it reflects on the latest peer-reviewed for the benefit of lay readers. This particular blog is strongly recommended on the off-chance that our audience may have not heard of it previously.
Eric Schwitzgebel is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, and a prolific blogger regarding philosophical and psychological issues. The subject matter is varied, well-written, sometimes provocative, thoughtful and thought provoking. Eric covers subjects thoroughly and both inform and incite curiosity. He has invited prestigious guest bloggers to add different takes and opinions on some subjects. This is a blog you can certainly get lost in without regret, so if you delve in, be sure you don’t have anywhere else to go for a while!
Providentia is described as a biased look at psychology in the world by its creator, Romeo Vitelli. Drawing on an unusual 15 year stint as a staff psychologist at the Millbrook Corrective Center, a maximum security prison in Ontario, Canada, he peppers his opinions from field work as a disaster management volunteer for the Red Cross. Some blogs detail crimes by some of his inmate/patients, as well as others that draw his attention, so the forensic connection is quite intriguing.
An extensive and current selection of articles that describe various toxins, drugs and poisons, especially related to their effect on the human body in general and, in particular, the domain of medical toxicology. The blog’s primary author, Leon Gussow is also the medical editor of The Poison Review and board certified in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine. Very authoritative and technical, yet written for regular people, the articles also feature a five skull-and-crossbones rating system that indicates the toxicity of the subject so described.
14. Nature’s Poisons
Based on the assumption that “Mother Nature is out to get us”, blogger Justin Brower is a forensic toxicologist with a PhD in Chemistry. He writes about natural poisons coming from plants and animals, including snakes; recent and historical poisonings; and traditional applications of natural poisons from days gone by. Each plant, mushroom, fish, reptile and other element reported includes a colourful photograph taken by the author, who believes in copyright protection — and will not purloin other images from elsewhere on the internet.
Billed as the incessant ramblings of a forensic toxicologist and drug chemist, this blogger takes on a very scientific approach down to chemical makeup and compound diagrams and definitions, interspersed with an occasional movie review and New Year’s resolution. Many articles discuss the analysis of poisons ingested by victims at crime scenes, and discuss toxicology and symptoms in detail. If you enjoy counting compounds and molecular charts, you will love this approach.
16. Bad Science Blog
Dr. Ben Goldacre is a medical doctor, best-selling author, broadcaster and academic who delight in picking apart the misuse of science and statistics by politicians, journalists, Pharma PR reps and other non-scientists. He is a TED presenter, and award-winning writer and presenter. He includes video clips from some of his broadcasts, and these along with his written blogs are entertaining as well as informative. Should we trust all that we hear when companies use “scientific evidence”? Take a look, become more informed and you can be the judge.
Victor Hugo once said that “science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing”. This blog contains content from a variety of writers from Science, Scientific American, National Geographic and many other periodicals, in addition to science textbooks, books and other publications. This blog is where they publish their own opinions. Using Hugo’s quote to promote the idea that the more you know, the more you discover that you don’t know, these prolific blogs cover a wealth of interesting short subjects nicely written for interest and information. If you want to be popular at dinner parties, your material is all here.
Like The Last Word on Nothing on Facebook.
Another group effort in science blogging, this time in the broad field of biology is composed by a variety of academics who find topics that are either related to the main subject – biology as it relates to evolution – but branching out into subjects relating to working processes, natural phenomena, art, cinema and special effects, and much more. All well written, illustrated with a variety of attractive visuals, and intelligent comments by readers make this blog a visit well worth your time.
Like Nothing in Biology on Facebook.
19. Strange Science
This blog is essentially an eclectic collection of science facts harvested from old illustrations, treatises and papers published by scientists who had so-called “weird ideas”. Knowledge of how scientists figured out how to assemble dinosaur skeletons, and other facts were slow to come into our general knowledge. Many of these blogs explain why. Good depth of research in to early discoveries by such notable thinkers as Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Richard Owen and others.
Like Strange Science on Facebook.
Micro to tele (Under the Microscope)
A very dense medical catalog regarding diagnostic histopathology (the microscopic examination of tissues and organic fluids in order to study and determine manifestations of diseases) written by a senior biomedical scientist, this set of blogs show true passion about molecular diagnosis, with microphotographs to demonstrate what is being discussed. This blog is aimed at raising awareness of early detection and recognising pathology by symptoms and processes. Della Thomas has created some incredibly beautiful images from her microscope that reveals medical secrets that are hard to resist.
The World At Large
21. Atlas Obscura
Tales of unusual explorations, interesting geographic locations, and daring exploits include some crime scene analysis, links to literary greats such as Edgar Allan Poe and their landmarks, this blog looks into the amazing history and hidden wonders near major centers. Take a virtual visit to Barnstead, New Hampshire, the birthplace of America’s first serial killer, or research The Sausage Works in Chicago, where Adolph Luetgert dissolved his wife in a tank of solvents. There are 137 articles filed under Crime and Punishment, and many other topics to investigate.
Entomologist and photographer Alex Wild posts incredibly beautiful photographs of insects and their miniature environments, obviously carefully composed and exposed. Many of his images can be bought as enlargements for decorations, and are breathtaking additions to anyone who appreciates the color and beauty of our tiny colleagues on this planet. His writings are also interesting and well researched and include practical advice like adopting the iPhone for insect macrophotography.
Ted C. MacRae has an “inordinate fondness for beetles”. With the premise that there are an enormous number of colorful and fascinating beetles throughout creation, this blog likewise has a wealth of information, photographs and discussions about beetles. Ted is the managing Editor of the Pan-Pacific Entomologist, layout editor for the journal Cicindela, among others. This blog shows off his true passion, and it is a delight to read.
While some may call the subjects of these photographs “freaks” or “human oddities”, this website celebrates its subjects as marvels. Organised by talents, deformities and disfigurements, the story of each person is told with compassion and as much detail as possible. While the most popular categories are featured with pop-out images at the top of the page, there are many more categories along the right column index.
25. Ravishing Beasts
Ravishing Beasts originated from the post-doctoral fellowship of Rachel Poliquin in the history department of the Massachusetts Institute of technology. It is the study and presentation of taxidermy specimens from museums and collections around the world. Exploring the intersection of art and science, the blog brings together her book The Breathless Zoo, an exhibition and the writings and photographs that make up the site. Subjects include reviews of important collections, theatrical taxidermy (animals posed in unnatural poses, like drinking from a cup of tea, and even fraudulent presentations of creatures made up of more than one animal.