This was 2016 in the blog

A new year has come along with new year’s resolutions such as reading blogs. Therefore, we start 2017 revisiting 2016. This way, if you’re new to the blog, you can learn what it is about. Conversely, if you’re a faithful reader, you can re-read the most popular posts.

The most popular posts of 2016 in pictures

The most popular posts of 2016 in pictures

These are the posts published in 2016 with more hits (posting month in brackets):

  1. Correct these mistakes for Christmas (December)
  2. 1st SETAC science slam across the pond (August)
  3. Chemists conspiracy: all drinks are the same alcohol (February)
  4. Science slam: Enjoy learning science (June)
  5. Posters at scientific congresses (May)

Interestingly enough, the last post published was the most successful. Either people care a lot about mistakes for Christmas or I’ve been writing rubbish for twelve months.

Additionally, the two most visited articles of all times were:

The most popular posts of the year and of all times were mainly about science and language, respectively. It seems that readers want what’s in the title of the blog. It’d be weird if you came here to read mostly about books and birthdays.

Let’s hope we keep on the right track this year.

You’re not the WordPress I fell in love with

WordPress keeps annoyingly upgrading to impractical looks and as much as I like this platform—or maybe because I do—I need to draw attention to its absurd visualisation upgrades.

Don't focus on my tiny numbers; focus on them being there in the old stats page (above)

Figure 1. See it for yourselves

I started blogging with three blogs in different platforms. There was this WordPress blog and two other that in a few months merged into my other WordPress blog. I’ve always loved and recommended WordPress, however, I can’t help feeling uneasy every time they make changes on visualisation.

WordPress offers more options and information than other blogging platforms I know and it is [used to be?] a lot more user friendly. It seems, nevertheless, that it’s joining the trend of minimalist looks with more icons and space than actual information. Bear in mind that I’m administering a blog; hence I seek information, not blank space.

One of the first things you see when you access your dashboard and probably the most used feature of all is the stats page (Figure 1). In the old stats page you could see at a glance the views and visitors of several weeks, the views by country, the visited posts and pages and links followed to your blog and from it. The new stats page displays a single column with half screen blank. You need to scroll down to find beautifully but pointlessly spaced lines of data with informative paragraphs that will show again and again even if you hide them every single time.

Figure 2. Isn't it obvious?

Figure 2. Isn’t it obvious?

The makeover is even worse for the posts page as in the previous version up to nine posts were on screen with information about categories, tags, comments, links and publishing date available (Figure 2). And the whole dashboard menu still fitted in the left column! The new page can barely show two posts with no information (but with a—useless—picture) and half the dashboard menu. It’s like you’re reading someone else’s post, not managing your own, and that’s just wrong.

Now I dread the day when these changes are final and there’s no option of switching back to the old view. Please, WordPress, be the mature and practical platform I fell in love with; drop your high heels so that we can walk a long path together.

I’m interviewed at Ràdio Vilafranca

Few of this blog’s readers might know that last Monday 9th of June the radio station of my hometown, Ràdio Vilafranca, broadcasted an interview to me in the magazine Penedès gamma extra.

Carla Sanmartín and Daniel García Peris interview bloggers from my hometown area or who write about related topics, e. g. wine, since Penedès wines are well-known. They focused on the Catalan version of the blog, but they are quite the same. Here’s the audio in Catalan, but panic not, for you can find an abridged translation below:″

Download the interview

C – Here’s another edition of Penedesfera with Daniel García Peris to meet our bloggers. Good morning, Daniel.

D – Good morning. Today we’ve got Òscar Aznar Alemany, with his blog Traduquímica et al.

C – Welcome, Òscar.

Ò – Good morning.

Glasses of the magazine [source]

C – We have to introduce Òscar as a translator, corrector and chemist, which is an explosive combination. He’s a man who can both be an environmental chemist at CSIC [state lab] and work with Termcat [centre of terminology]. Congratulations because you fly high in the two fields.

Ò – Yes, I started studying Chemistry at university and then joined the Translation and Interpreting school thanks to a friend. That’s how this started.

C – And you seem to keep yourself active in both fields.

Ò – True. Lately, I had been focusing in collaborations with Termcat, on scientific texts, combining both. However, I got an offer for a PhD with a contract at CSIC and I felt like going back to the lab.

C – And what do you do there?

Ò – I analyse marine pollution, especially a kind of pesticides called pyrethroids.

C – So you’ve got a lot to do.

Ò – Well, it’s funny to be an environmental chemist because you want to find pollutants in your samples to draw conclusions…

C – But if you do you feel bad, right? I understand. How can we classify Òscar’s blog, Dani?

Here I learnt most of my chemistry, but nothing about the thin space [source]

D – He’s got a very personal blog, but it’s quite educational in his areas of expertise. Sometimes he even mixes them, like in that post about the thin space.

Ò – I find these things very interesting because, as a scientist, you’re not taught linguistic related stuff you need for the documents you’re going to produce.

C – So, how do you plan the topics for your posts?

Ò – I try to write about language because that’s something everybody can use and sometimes publish posts on simple chemistry or the chemical research process. I don’t want to overload people with excessively specialised matters. I also write about books and my trips, but from a cultural or linguistic point of view as much as possible.

C – What got your attention of his blog, Dani?

D – This duality and his will to communicate and help us avoid typical mistakes.

C – So, what bothers you the most, linguistic contamination or environmental contamination?

Ò – Ha, ha! It depends on how serious they are. I’ve recently analysed salmon from supermarkets and pesticide levels are a thousand times below the accepted limits. That doesn’t bother me.

D – I guess you analyse all kinds of materials, don’t you?

If they are that clean, someone’s not working [source]

Ò – Indeed, in the lab there’s people analysing all sort of compounds. I also work with flame retardants. These are used in everything, for instance computers or chairs in theatres, in order to avoid or weaken fires. These compounds are constantly released by these objects, but you’ve got to choose between a possible cancer at an old age or to have people dying in fires every day.

C – Well, if you add this ‘at an old age’ bit, maybe… But it scares me anyway.

Ò – But that’s the lesser of two evils. Ha, ha! The other option is not to use computers or chairs.

C – Well, I’ve been there. Without computers I mean, not chairs. But yes, there’s been a huge progress in our lifestyle, technology and also chemistry.

Ò – Sure. I fight this war, and sometimes write about it, trying to decriminalize chemistry. You see ads selling soap with no chemicals, as if soap flowed from a spring on a mountain.

C – But lots of soaps have unnecessary chemicals, right?

Ò – Sure, but the word chemistry evokes things like cancer, radiation, death, acid…

C – Ha, ha! Wow!

Ò – There’s a dark side to chemistry, indeed; but we owe it a lot.

Does this look familiar?

Does this look familiar?

C – Of course. We are chemistry. It’s just; sometimes we could use it less. Do we agree on that? Ha, ha!

Ò – Sure. Ha, ha!

D – So you focus on language because it’s more for all audiences than science.

C – But science on the media is becoming more popular lately.

Ò – From my point of view, common people are more likely to use the linguistic tips because not everyone has access to a lab.

D – On the Internet it’s easier for someone interested in that to find it, though.

Ò – That’s true. My colleges from university or the lab find it interesting too sometimes.

C – When did you start this blog? And was it your first?

Ò – I started four years ago because I took a course on presenting TV programmes and…

C – To become a presenter?

Ò – Yes, it was a short course.

The Catalan counterpart to this blog

The Catalan counterpart to this blog

C – That’s interesting because, talking about science becoming more popular, that’s thanks to good communicators. And we need people like this.

Ò – Right. So, a man had been recording and interviewing us throughout the course and gave us some advice at the end. He thought I had a funny way of telling things and making stories appealing even when they weren’t and encouraged me to start a blog. And I saw it as a way to practise my writing and learn in the process. And that’s my aim, to learn, not to get lots of readers. Of course, if someone likes it and learns something, that’s even better. So, I started a blog in Catalan and a bit of Spanish and its twin in English.

D – Maybe another option between TV and blog is YouTube.

Ò – In fact, I’ve thought about it. But I’d rather have a solid base and be really proud of my blogs—which I am, quite—before adventuring into something new.

C – So these are two actually different blogs we’ve seen today.

D – Indeed. Different because of this uncommon combination of topics and here we’ve got the exponent.

C – Fantastic. Thank you very much, Òscar. It’s been a real pleasure meeting you and talking about your work.

Ò – Thank you.

Three years, three months and three days

I just couldn't hold the geek in me back. Better this than Charmed, though.

I just couldn’t hold the Whovian in me back. Better this than Charmed, though.

That’s this blog’s age. Over these more than three years there’ve been several changes on my blog. I used to pick a new theme every year and not even the blog’s name is the same. Does anybody remember Òscar’s modern life? That was before I went completely professionally into languages.

And now there’s even a Facebook page that keeps you up to date with everything that’s posted — or was posted in the past — in EITHER A LINGUIST OR A CHEMIST BE.

Well, I’ve recently rearranged the categories as you can see on the left sidebar. Here’s a poll so you can vote for your favourite categories, should you have any. There’s no ‘None of the above’ option because, in that case, it’d be just wise to leave the blog instead. Take into account that you can get more of what you like if you vote for it.

Check — and use — Tim’s English lesson plans

Are you an English teacher in need for ideas? Or do you just enjoy trying new ways to improve your English — even as a native speaker? Tim’s got the answer to your prayers.

Tim is a British English teacher (meaning that he is British and teaches English, not that he is just someone who teaches British English) who writes a blog with free English lesson plans. Isn’t it great?

If you can't name this, you do need to check his blog.

If you can’t name this, you do need to check his blog.

In his blog, conversation, grammar, pronunciation, reading, vocabulary and writing lesson plans alternate with official exams preparation, games, recommended websites and other uncategorized stuff.

Being Tim’s [favourite] student in the in-company English programme, I can assure you that his lesson plans work and he is a most devoted teacher, as well as cute; not that this matters, though — to you who don’t see him on a regular basis.

Òscar’s busy life

Did you notice? … Yes, I changed my blog’s appearance. Do you like it? Does it make me look fat?

Hey sister, flow sister.

Summer’s here and it brings some changes with it — and I’m not talking about the hippy fashion now. And since everything in my life changed or is going to change this week, I decided to change some things myself. Ok, changing a blog theme is no big deal; but I changed something more. I’m sure that nobody ever noticed that I published a post every three days, which means two or three posts a week. And you obviously haven’t noticed that this month it changed to one post a week.

The thing is that from next Saturday until September I’m going to be either working on my Catalan language master’s project or doing summer camps with kids — and working on my master’s project in my free time. I also have my Catalan blog and I’ll probably be writing the camps’ blog as well. Busy, busy summer.

I’m not going to pretend I think you feel sorry about it, because you don’t; but some blog has to pay for it. Looking on the bright side of it, this blog may stop depending on the other one and evolve like a Pókemon. I don’t know yet. I’ll just go with the flow — sister, soul sister, go sister.