One idea I’ve been batting around is to make a blog on information theory — an academic blog where there is discussion and posts of interest to the IT community, reviews of books, papers, and so on. It lacks a vision now, and the more I think about it, the less useful it seems.
In areas like economics, cultural criticism, literary/media studies, and journalism, academic blogging has found a good niche. John Holbo at Crooked Timber has two good posts on literary studies, and Wally has his essays on seriality and narrative. The strongest selling point is that blogging allows a sort of public hearing on a draft of new ideas without the formality of a graduate seminar or conference. It can enhance dialogue, which is good when you are trying to work out new ideas. These blogs deal with issues of interpretation.
In my academic world, interpretation has a different meaning than it does in media studies. I am constantly in search of “a result” — some objective (assuming basic axioms) result, codified into a theorem. In this setting, “interpretation” is a question of providing a context for the result, a heuristic for understanding it, or some possible design implications.
A partially worked out idea holds no water in information theory. You can have some pretty graphs which may indicate something, but discussion of what those implications may be is far less important than finding a clean result.
I may have an opinion that some area of research is uninteresting or barking up the wrong tree, but there’s little gained in a dialogue with someone in which they tell you your research is boring.
I don’t know if it’s just that my area of engineering is not amenable to the usefulness that blogs can provide, or if I’m just being obtuse.