I’m Sabrina, the new editor of Defector. I’ll mostly cover creature rhythm, I’ll write about non-human life, meaning all the little cuties and weirdos who generously share the planet with us. (We humans are very bad at sharing the planet, and for that I’m ashamed!)
You might be wondering: Defector is primarily a sports blog. What sport is there among the creatures? Not much, which is perhaps better considering the number of historic animal-related sports that often also revolved around the killing of animals (see: the eel draw, as well as the deadly riot of 1886). But in my eyes, Defector is a perfect home for the creature beat because Defector is a site full of joy and, more importantly, obsession.
To me, obsession seems crucial to creature pacing, because if you were to randomly encounter a creature in the wild, you might feel confused, unsettled, or even repulsed. Maybe this creature is a small insect that has more legs than you are used to. Maybe this creature has something distant, like thorns, slime, or a stinger. Maybe this creature is actually very beautiful and mysterious but has no interest in getting to know you – to which I say, good for them! I encounter creatures every day that I cannot understand. I meet even more creatures that I don’t even notice. But I want to notice them, and understand them!
This is where I come in. I’m not a scientist or an expert on any particular creature, but I am a science journalist who enjoys talking to people who dedicate their entire lives to unlocking the secrets of frog legs or weevil snouts. At Defector, I hope to be your guide to the many creatures that slither, tumble, and burrow around us on this stupidly beautiful planet, building on Birdfector’s excellent coverage and blogging about the secrets of the evolution of life on Earth.
I will also write about humans in science, like the people who shaped its history and the many other people who are now working to fix what the aforementioned people ruined or got wrong. My aim is to be deeply skeptical of what is morally acceptable in the name of science and scientific discovery, and I hope to center the voices of those who are directly affected by said science and who criticize the damage that research can cause to marginalized communities. I’m also interested in how science can advance fairness and justice, as well as how science seeps into a more mainstream culture, whether it’s goofy memes or yet another vaguely erotic film about a man and an octopus.
To be clear, I won’t be covering our country’s top science news, such as infectious diseases or buzzing SpaceX rocket launches. Instead, I’ll be looking for stories that might slip through the cracks or have no topical relevance besides the fact that I’ve heard about it and now want to tell all my friends about it. Consider entomologist Dr Alexander Riedel in Germany who had to come up with names for 101 weevils in one fell swoop (my favorite is sordid trigonopterusnamed for the singular quality of being indistinguishable from a grain of earth.)
I would be remiss to talk about science blogs without acknowledging one of the best to do so. Ed Yong’s decade-long blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science, had a simple mission “to celebrate the wonders of science and, above all, to make it as interesting and fun for any reader as it is for me. “. I started reading Ed’s blog when I was a young intern at American scientist who had no science background, had never taken (and passed) a science course in college, and had no idea what I was doing interning at a place like American scientist. Not exactly Rocket Science wasn’t just my guide to learning and loving science, it was also a model for the kind of science writing I realized I wanted to do: blogging that was accessible, engaging, and full of wonder. .
And now I’m finally free to blog about little guys — a term I deploy in a gender-neutral sense — to my heart’s content. Maybe some big guys will sneak in too, but only if they’re a little funky. Welcome to Creaturefector. Hope you like it here.